Cloud storage has been a godsend for professional real estate appraisers. The ability to store, categorize, access, and share digital information—like building plans, tax records, and other related data—speeds up the appraisal. It also makes the transaction smoother for clients, lenders, and RE professionals. Here are a few practical tips to help you leverage the power of cloud storage in your appraisal process.
1. Print directly from your mobile devices
You need to fill out your cost, income, and sales comparisons for your appraisal reports and submit these to lenders, buyers, sellers, and other RE professionals. If you need a physical copy, printing directly from mobile devices using cloud storage instead of transferring files to a desktop or laptop computer will save you time and effort.
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2. Sync folders directly to the cloud
Let’s say you are using a Disto laser tool to take measurements of a property and the data is stored directly to your tablet or smartphone. You can link your native device storage to your other devices, like your desktop or laptop, and access that information without having to move or email the file.
3. Free up storage on your devices
In the course of your appraisal duties, you will often have to take high-resolution photos and video of a property or neighborhood. These files are crucial to creating an accurate appraisal, but they also take up a great deal of storage on your mobile devices. If you set these files to upload directly to the cloud, then you will have more available room on your device. If you are not able to connect to the internet, you can set the file to upload when you can access the web.
4. Take advantage of group sharing
Google Docs, Dropbox, and other cloud storage systems have built-in sharing functionality. This allows you to share documents, images, and videos in real time with relevant parties, including clients, loan officers, and real estate agents.
5. Integrate encryption directly into your cloud storage
In the course of an appraisal, you will come across and utilize a great deal of personal information, like tax records, property records, etc. Improperly storing or sharing this data can lead to legal problems, as well as reputation issues if people believe their data is not safe in your hands. Use an encryption program like SpiderOak to ensure that all the information you upload to the cloud is protected from attackers.
6. Manage documents and reports
One of the best ways to work collaboratively with your team or other real estate professionals is by using cloud-based document management services like Google Docs or Dropbox. When you are filling out URARs or Certification Statements, you can save each version on the cloud and allow other users to make comments or ask questions. This saves time compared to collaborating via phone, email, or working with physical documents.
Do you have any more tips for leveraging cloud storage in your appraisal duties? Let us know. Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. For more ways to improve your appraisal process, or to learn more about what appraisers do, check out our appraisal blog.
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