Utilizing appraiser mobile tools can make all the difference to commercial appraisers. These tools save time, increase productivity and oftentimes, are free or come with an already active subscription. Why should you take advantage of appraiser mobile tools? Evan Himel, MAI was kind enough to answer that question and highlight the reasons why mobile tools should be part of your appraisal process.
RQ: As an appraiser, how important are appraiser mobile tools for doing your job? What are the benefits?
Evan: Mobile tools are very important. The tools we use in the field improve our efficiency for most assignments. Most importantly, they eliminate redundant data entry tasks such as sketching, notes, and pictures. Therefore, you’re only entering the data once and with photos you’re not wasting time uploading or dragging them into the report and then labeling. For example, I sketch, take and label photos, go through my checklist, and take notes all on one device.
RQ: Which appraiser mobile tools do you use on a regular basis? About how much time do you save per assignment?
Evan: My iPad replaced my clipboard about six years ago and I haven’t looked back. It has all the apps I need for mobile appraising and definitely the MVP. In addition, I use Otter (voice recording & voice to text), LandGlide (maps and assessment info for mobile), Evernote (notes), and Google Maps (directions and route planning). Similarly, I’ve been using a laser distance measurer since 2015. It took some practice with some of the advanced functions, but I’m now measuring exclusively without using a tape. Most importantly, the time savings and efficiency of all these mobile tools are critical to my business. I couldn’t imagine operating without them and estimate I save about one to two hours per assignment.
RQ: What kind of device are you using your mobile apps on? What happens if you lose connection?
Evan: I use an iPad Air 2 with 4G. However, I don’t have issues with losing connectivity since LTE is pretty good in my area. But, if for some reason I wasn’t able to use the Internet on-site, most applications still function off-line. Further, if I did have an issue, then after the inspection was complete, I would make sure everything made it to the cloud once I got to a better service area or Wi-Fi hotspot.
RQ: What features help increase your productivity the most when using realquantum mobile?
Evan: The feature that increases my productivity the most is the pictures being automatically added in the report. Each time I use the mobile app to take photos, they are added to the web application without me having to download photos from a camera and upload them onto my computer. Meanwhile, the app is so much faster.
RQ: Do you utilize the talk-to-text function to make notes about the property you’re appraising? How does it help?
Evan: Yes, I use the talk-to-text function. This helps save time by eliminating having to write information down or switching between the voice recording app on my phone. I can record my notes directly into the app without writing anything down.
RQ: How easy was it to learn how to use realquantum mobile?
Evan: Learning to use the mobile app was easy. It’s a very user-friendly app and there was practically no learning curve.
RQ: If there was no mobile app, what would be your process for getting the same information into your report?
Evan: Previously, I would take photos in the field and then upload them to OneDrive via Google Photos. After that, I would audio record notes on my phone using an app called Otter. I would sketch properties using the Total app from Alamode and send the pdf to OneDrive. When I got back to my desk, I would download all of the notes, sketches, and photos and then upload them to the web app. In short, mobile tools eliminate all of those extra steps.
Evan is an MAI located in Lafayette, LA. He has been appraising both commercial and residential property in South Louisiana since 2009. He likes adopting new technology and processes to help his business run more efficiently. His favorite property type is manufactured home parks. He enjoys analyzing complicated lease structures for shopping centers, and absolute net properties.
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