For appraisers, time is money. If you can find a way to complete more reports, you will increase your income. All appraisers have their own unique process and workflow, but the key to improving efficiency is breaking down your workflow and organizing it into different stages. Below you’ll find several tips to increase your efficiency, divided into five stages.
Try to visit each stage only once, doing the work as completely as possible the first time. This will reduce the need for re-work and revision and increase your consistency and accuracy. You may consider hiring an assistant to complete specific, directed tasks. That way, you can focus your time on the tasks that require your expertise.
The first stage is the acceptance of the assignment, subject and preliminary data, and scheduling. Follow these tips to ensure you make the best use of your time:
- Choose specific times of the day to check your email. Reading emails as they come in will distract you from what you are working on.
- Do not leave social media sites open while you work. Close sites that send you alerts.
- Encourage email and portal communication with clients rather than phone calls. This way, you control the timing and have a written record of all communication.
- After researching the property, make fee and turn-time quotes quick, clear, and well-defined. Then, move on.
- Consider quoting some businesses after approval rather than offering a specific due date.
- Schedule one office-only day per week. Consolidate visits to rural areas to reduce travel.
The second stage is the inspection and comp photos. To increase your efficiency, consider doing the following:
- Pre-pull sales (i.e. possible comps) and bring list to inspection. Another option is to do remote research at a library or hot spot. Avoid driving back even a short distance.
- Use a mobile app to finish sketch and text areas while you’re still in the field. Load all subject photos.
- If you have an assistant, do not handwrite your inspection and ask your assistant to re-type it. This is a waste of your assistant’s time. Do it yourself initially and allow your assistant to work on something else.
- Complete every field possible while visiting the property instead of at the office. This way you won’t waste time later trying to remember information.
- Take a few extra comp photos while you’re at the property.
To reduce the amount of time you spend on market research, comp research, and data entry, try using these tips:
- Do all desk research in one sitting. Don’t stop and restart.
- Do not duplicate searches. If you anticipate that you’ll need to look at it again, print it.
- If you have one, assign some tasks to your assistant, such as:
- Performing MLS searches and generating charts and exhibits based on your criteria.
- Entering the subject and comp data. Direct the assistant to inform you of any discrepancies.
- Filling in statistical data fields and attaching maps, charts, exhibits, and studies.
To increase your efficiency regarding comp photos:
- Keep a photo database. If your state’s laws and the assignment’s condition allows, reuse photos.
- Take photos of possible or back-up comps.
To speed up the write-up, clean-up, and delivery portion of the appraisal process, try the following time-saving tips:
- Build a standard checklist or template for your narrative that you can use each time.
- Use voice-to-text to speed up your process.
- Track the common questions your clients have and proactively address them in all applicable reports. This will reduce your revision requests.
- Delegate spell-checking, E&O, quality control checklist, report delivery and work file tasks to your assistant.
Organizing tasks, avoiding distraction, delegating to an assistant, and proactively heading off the need for revision means you will have very few revision and clarification requests. By taking the above steps, you can greatly increase your efficiency, freeing up time complete more reports and bring in more income each year.