Crowdsourcing Appraiser Data
Just imagine the possibilities of having a hyper-local database…
If you are not in the business of data you will be out of business. I’m not sure if I heard this somewhere or not, but this mantra has been in my head for a while now. Being in the data business is essential for every business today. We see it across all industries where the companies that embrace data are still in business, and the companies that didn’t make that pivot are out. In our profession we saw Fannie Mae get into the big data business with the creation of CU. CoreLogic took their data business to a whole new level when they bought Alamode. One of my favorite examples is sports: just in the last several years data & analytics have completely changed the way football, basketball, and baseball is played— and those sports have been around for 100 years. It doesn’t matter what business you’re in, you have to be able to capture the right data and communicate it effectively.
I suggest that appraisers start crowdfunding their data. You could start at the local level by coming together with a few other appraisers in your town and begin pooling your appraisal reports. While your appraiser co-op is amassing this data, begin aggregating the data and decide how to use it in an effective way. Just imagine the possibilities of having a hyper-local database: you could build algorithms for adjustments, formulate a legit AVM, forecast market trends, develop market studies, or even sell the data if you wanted to. You could create a whole new client portfolio with a hyper-local database. I’m not sure if most appraisers realize that “appraisals” only make up about 25% of the entire valuation business out there. There is so much opportunity for other valuation assignments. This would take a little cooperation and teamwork among appraisers that are ultimately competitors, but there is more than enough work to go around.
If we independent fee appraisers don’t start controlling OUR own data, then AMC’s and anyone else will just continue to take and monetize our data while driving us out of business in the process. It’s time for independent fee appraisers to make that pivot. I’ve already started building my database and welcome any feedback from my peers.
By Jerin Harper, IFA, ASA, CREA. Jerin is the owner of Harper Certified Appraisals, LLC and Certified Real Estate Solutions, LLC.