Comps Exchange Data Base

Share Comps: Shared Appraiser-Only Database

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.

By Dave Biggers, Chairman, a la mode, inc., source Appraisal Team Blog

Image credit flickr - Bernd Baltz


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5 Responses

  1. Retired Appraiser Retired Appraiser says:

    A la mode marketing at it’s finest.

    In one sentence you claim: “You’ll have the same data that’s being used to judge you.” That’s quite a claim if you are implying that the amount of data available to appraisers is identical to the FNMA database mined from appraisers since 2009. You are also implying that every appraisal sent to lenders since 2009 went through a la mode (not even close). You have a fine product & service (I used it extensively) but let’s not go overboard with the claims here Mr. Biggers or jump the gun before you think through the legal implications for your company.

    If you truly intend to share ALL of the appraisal data sent through your system you can look forward to lawsuits from MLS owners across the country. They will come out of the woodwork to lay claim to owning the original data.

  2. Mike Ford Mike Ford says:

    Dave, I LIKE the idea! As far as RA’s concerns about MLS lawsuits I simply don’t believe they are well founded. What I report on a sales comparison grid is a combination of MY opinion and publicly available verified facts. My consideration of mls data or NDC or RealQuest or a brokers opinions does not make MY conclusions their work product. This is especially true where the same data is available from multiple sources (listing broker/ agent; selling broker/agent, buyer, neighbors, open house flyers, my own prior inspection, etc.).

    RA is right about the hyperbole though. Your proposal goes a long way to assuring we have comp data but it does nothing to address the current fad favoring regression analysis for adjustment amounts. Then again, it does not need to.

    Of more concern to me is that the sales being used have open market transaction verification. But that’s still MY job even when you give me the lead on a possible comp.

    Go for it! Mike Ford, (714) 366 9404

  3. Baggins Baggins says:

    I’m still waiting on Fannie to provide a visual reference chart for UAD quality and condition ratings. A hundred thousand appraisal careers on the line, and Fannie apparently cannot provide a simple few page document illustrating visually, where the differences in UAD ratings should land. How much did they spend on UCDP, and how many man hours did that take? Why won’t they provide a visual illustration document to help appraisers? Alamode, could you please engage Fannie to allow your company to create this visual illustration document so they could adopt it as their own or something along those lines? We need visual reference much like the M&S cost book provides. UCDP is a multi million dollar government tech project with billions of points of considerable data and an entire staff of workers. Not one picture reference to help appraisers.

    I have never exported or imported a comp personally. If appraising becomes fully automated, human appraisers won’t be needed. My exports would read like this: Similar2subject. Inferior. Superior. BestMatch. LargerDeck. SSremodK, Dlux imprvmnts, etc, etc. If more appraisers utilized a manual comparative method, there would be no data to export anyways. My opinion is that comp data should be filled to contrast the subject, not as a fixed point of exchangeable data. While staring down the barrel of UCDP, I’d probably rather have a CompsXChange, than not have one though. Fannie is acting like an internet leecher. They take all the data, and don’t share any back.

  4. Heidi Heasley Ford on Facebook Heidi Heasley Ford on Facebook says:

    This is fantastic and forward thinking by Ala Mode. Additionally, it will put pressure on FNMA to release the data to the appraisers.

  5. bubba jay bubba jay says:

    i got a revision request today that basically said, “your adjustments are different than your peer and model adjustments. please comment.”

    are you kidding me? comment on WHAT?

    if i am reading this correctly, i am suppose to comment on my adjustments being compared to someone elses adjustments, but i cant be told or see anything about those other adjustments that i am being compared to? are the peer adjustments higher or lower than mine? the peers i am being compared to – are they trainees, or have they been doing it a long time? do the peers i am being compared to know what they are doing?

    in a nutshell – i am being expected to comment on things now that nobody can be told anything about?

    and this somehow makes sense to ANYONE?


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Comps Exchange Data Base

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