What is the best way to get data from your commercial real estate database into your appraisal reports? The founding team gave this question a lot of thought when designing realquantum. We first considered how other products operate. They use a function similar to a mail merge to send data from the database into a word processor or spreadsheet. This method was the status quo for the best software several years ago, but there was lots of room for improvement. For example, if you Google “problems with mail merge” and “mail merge no longer working after software update” you will get over 130,000 results on the subject.
There were so many problems and they killed efficiency. Problems included broken links and data that won’t refresh consistently throughout the report. Other tools force users to switch between various apps to make even a minor change. Users groan watching the spinning cursor for waaaaay too long waiting for each sync to finish. Even worse, every change to a product in the chain (database, word processor, spreadsheet) causes a potential version mismatch problem. All of these issues have been addressed in realquantum.
Our CEO, Mark Davis, quickly determined that we should have a product that doesn’t need separate word processing and spreadsheet programs. He envisioned a powerful application like the enterprise systems used by Fortune 100 Companies he had helped in the past. Our users should only need a web browser on a PC or Mac. Our product development team, headed by Matt Speer, MAI, placed a heavy emphasis on avoiding the problems that we as appraisers experienced with software that relied on that “mail merge approach”.
The realquantum team also took time to listen to what other working appraisers were telling us on all sides of an appraisal report assignment. One of our founders, Tim Keller, MAI wrote an excellent blog on this topic focusing on what chief appraisers want: https://www.realquantum.com/what-chief-appraisers-want/. In short, the end users of appraisals want a simple, clean appraisal report in a consistent format that is free of errors. Syncing is unfortunately a cause of many errors especially when it’s either done at the last minute, or (as perfectly captured in our promotional video) a user forgets to sync. Chief Appraisers also prefer data summarized in tables rather than in narrative paragraphs. Equally important is what they do not care about. Contrary to what many appraisers think, they place no value on any appraisal firm generating a report with a “unique” look.
Our CTO, Dan Wieschhaus, and his development team were able to skillfully implement these requirements. All fields, maps, comp write-ups, cost calculations, adjustment grids, income and expense projections and other calculations in the integrated realquantum database and appraisal report system are updated every time the save button is clicked. Users particularly like how they can change a field in the database or within a table in the report and have it update everywhere. Appraisers don’t have to waste valuable time watching the cursor spin or switching between applications. Dan’s engineering team monitors screen refresh time across the realquantum app. So, they’re proud to report that it’s under 2.5 seconds more than 90% of the time.
Dan and Mark’s forward thinking means no one will be effected by an updated spreadsheet or word processor. No one will be forced to live with a security risk a database sync prevented them from updating software.
Realquantum combines all features into one web-based application that is easy to learn and easy to use. There is no more syncing. It’s all together. It’s simple and secure. As a result, realquantum customers report fewer errors, from an average of 4 per report down to 1 or zero. The elimination of syncing reduces wasted time and reduces conflicts with word processor and spreadsheet application versions. No one should ever again have that dreaded last-second panicked feeling, “I forgot to sync!’
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