Appraisers to Have Access to the Same Data that’s Being Used to Judge Them
I’ve always said that I think it’s insane that everyone has access to appraiser-provided data EXCEPT the appraisers who generated the appraisals in the first place. That needs to be fixed. So, we’re creating a system enabling you to seamlessly share comps among yourselves. You’ll have the same data that’s being used to judge you.
We’re confident it will be effective: a la mode users alone generate enough appraisals per day to cover the entire market with high quality subject and comp data. With just the existing TOTAL and Aurora users joining in, tens of millions of comps will be available, exactly like in Fannie’s system – in high-quality UAD format.
How do we know that?
It’s not by data mining. We’re basing these calculations on our street map statistics. When you ask for a street map in TOTAL or Aurora, our web servers scrub the addresses for you against the USPS database, then geocode all of the properties you’re mapping, and then pass that map back to your desktop. The address and type of property (subject or comp) is all we know – we don’t have your comps data, trust me. But those address lookup stats are enough to tell us that the average subject is re-used approximately six times in other appraisers’ reports over the next year. That’s consistent with what Fannie says as well. And, we know from Fannie’s statements on the CU website that the volume of addresses flowing through our map servers is about the same as what they see. In other words, when a la mode appraisers voluntarily share their data en masse with each other, they’ll basically have the same data that Fannie has access to. Instantly.
Let me be clear however: Any database we build for sharing comps will not be a database for us to use for our own purposes. The data is yours. It isn’t ours. We don’t want to sell it, use it, move it, share it, or do anything else with it other than manage it for you. (We’ll also put in place full controls to prevent others from misappropriating it.)
Building that shared appraiser-only database is easy from a technical perspective, but it’s the political part that creates risk for us. Many years ago, we built our first CompsXChange product, allowing appraisers to create “buddy lists” of others with whom they’d like to share their subjects. But there was too much suspicion among appraisers – suspicion of each other, and of us – for it to get critical traction. We finally killed the product because of complaints from appraisers who hadn’t even used it. It was a massive opportunity for appraisers to take control of their own data, and that opportunity was lost.
With the stakes so much higher today, and with Fannie and lenders already using your appraisal peer data to judge you, we’ve decided to release CompsXChange again, as part of our Comps Dashboard project. (This isn’t a new concept of course. Local appraiser-run comps sharing services have existed for decades.) It’ll be fully optional, so you’ll be able to choose whether or not to participate. I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t – certainly not today.
Help us spread the word about how your data can finally be in your own hands, not everyone else’s. It’s critical. You’ll see more about it from us in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.