Work Optimization of Appraisers and Admins

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Work Optimization of Appraisers and Admins
Jeff Weiner

Jeff Weiner

CEO & Co-Founder | Transforming Commercial Real Estate Valuation | B2B SaaS Product Innovator | Creating Amazing Software from Zero to Scale | Longevity Enthusiast

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Work Optimization of Appraisers and Admins

If there is such a thing as a “typical” commercial real estate appraisal office, it might be a group of 3-5 appraisers and as many administrative support people. Urban offices tend to specialize while rural offices more likely work a wide array of properties.  Whether they are big or small, rural or urban, all need the right work optimization of appraisers and admins. This allows offices to efficiently complete appraisal assignments in a consistent and high-quality manner. However, prosperous times can mask a lot of inefficiencies.

As we talk to CRE appraisal industry professionals, we find the best have implemented these common practices described briefly here.

Move Admins to the Front of the Appraisal Report

Many offices leverage administrative staff to proof and revise appraisal reports at the end; after the appraiser has created the draft document in a word processor. We recommend moving the admin role to the beginning of the report. One of the most valuable roles admin staff can play is starting reports. Then, using a standard format for the property type being appraised. Of course, this requires the creation of standard reports. And not just opening the last report of that property type and start revising. Entering data, and notes or assembling photos are examples of these tasks. The tasks are trainable and do not require an appraisal professional.

What do you do at the end? We recommend using realquantum. The report is generated automatically after all the data, narrative sections, photos and calculations have been completed. We find about 40% of the appraisal report can be completed by the admin. This frees the appraiser for higher-value tasks. Customers tell us that errors drop from an average of 4 per report to 1 or zero. Both appraiser and admin have more enjoyable jobs as well.  I wrote a blog that goes into more detail here.

Admins Work on Research, Appraisers Appraise

This is another task that many appraisers do. Instead, it can be done by admins with a little process structure. Locating comparables and maps for simple or familiar properties is one example. Options are open based on the skill and experience of the admin staff. The key, as Dan Craig described in his blog, “The E-Myth Appraiser” is to move tasks to the lowest-cost resource that can complete the task successfully. Again, this is a way to make the admin’s role richer and more rewarding. Then, allowing the appraisers to focus on what they do best.

Implement Efficient Collaboration Tools

There are many technologies that can improve appraiser work optimization. I’ll focus on 3 here: web-based appraisal reports, site inspection, and cloud work folder storage.

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Web-Based Appraisal

If you create the entire appraisal report on the web (no word processor or spreadsheets), then an admin can help.  You can both work on the same assignment concurrently.  That makes it easier to divide the work between admins and appraisers. It’s also easier when they are in different physical locations. We created realquantum with this in mind. The right work optimization of appraisers and admins means both can be working on different parts of the assignment at the same time and their work is saved as they go. No emailing documents or downloading spreadsheets from servers at the office.

Site Inspection

It’s time to retire that old digital camera knocking around in your glove box.  First, taking pictures and making hand-written notes. Then, transcribing those notes into the report and side-loading the photos through a cable. Then finally arranging everything in the report. It’s a tedious time-wasting effort. Using realquantum mobile eliminates most of those tasks. Instead, an appraiser can take pictures and either write or dictate notes directly in the mobile app. It’s all uploaded automatically to the assignment and in the order they were captured. An admin can begin arranging both the photos and notes while the appraiser is driving back from the property. We typically see up to a 1-hour savings per assignment with this approach.

Cloud Storage for Work Folders

Accessing the work folder for an assignment is difficult if the folder is on a local server in the office. An easier approach is to store everything in a cloud service such as Box.com or Dropbox.  Or, if your office uses Microsoft 365 or G-Suite, then cloud file storage is included. Your team can access files from anywhere. This supports remote workers or anyone not in the office when they need a file. All the services include mobile apps. They’re handy if you are on a site inspection and need to look up something. They can save save the day on vacation if you need to quickly help a coworker. You can do it without even leaving the beach.

Flexible Work Location and Schedule

The current record low unemployment rate has made the job market a “sellers’ market” for good workers. To recruit and retain good people, flexibility in how the work gets done goes a long way. It helps people fit the work into their lives. In the past, a structured 9-5 in the office was the norm.  However, today, people want options.  We work with appraisal offices that allow remote work from home or offer part-time hours. In one case, an office had a valued employee that planned to retire. Her reason? Forty hours in the office and a long commute no longer fit her goals. They made arrangements for her to work at home 20 hours per week. As a result, they retained an experienced, high-performing worker. She has a job that fits her needs that she loves.

That same office has agriculture appraisers that work in far-flung, remote locations. But, due to the collaboration tools described above, office management can maintain a consistent process across the team. Therefore, all are more productive. The caveat…these work arrangements do not work for all people and all situations. Being a good communicator is critical, so is being productive with autonomy.  So, it’s important to plan the duties and expectations fairly but keep in mind the strengths of the people involved.

Hopefully, you can try some of these techniques for work optimization of appraisers and admins in your office. Drop us a note and let us know how it goes.

Are you ready to optimize your office? Created by appraisers, for appraisers, realquantum customers get up to a 50% productivity improvement within 60 days. Let us show you how, and answer your toughest questions.

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