My name is Marc Kamyab and I’m a certified residential appraiser in the Los Angeles area. I like going to the movies, have a soft spot for animals and I’m addicted to gummy bears.
A couple months ago, I was contacted by AXIS to see if I’d be interested in participating in a test run for a new product they were launching — a review product called AQC or Appraisal Quality Compliance. I don’t know about you, but I’m typically skeptical of new appraisal products and have a general aversion to being an early adopter.
So…my initial reaction was, “quick, come up with something to get out of having to do this.” But I didn’t have the heart. After all, I’d been working with AXIS for almost 6 years and they’ve always been very good to me. Following a brief silence, I felt compelled to say yes. That afternoon I received my first batch of 10 and I was on my way to being an AQC Beta tester.
The next morning, I started with a couple orders and was surprised with the quickness and ease I was able to get through these assignments. The interface is clean and you don’t have to install any software. It’s all done in your web browser.
Over the next few days, I found myself squeezing in 1 or 2 here and there — whenever I had some downtime. It was actually kind of nice to have something to fill in the gaps throughout the day. When a borrower called to reschedule an inspection, instead of sitting around with nothing to do the rest of the afternoon, I was able to sit in my home office and make some extra cash by completing a few of these assignments. By the end of the week, my test batch was done – and I wanted more!
There are a number of reasons why I think this is a great product and why I enjoyed completing them. When I gave AXIS my feedback, they were happy to hear about my positive experience and asked if I wouldn’t mind sharing. So…here we are.
What is AQC: Appraisal Quality Compliance?
AQC is a USPAP compliant desktop review product that allows you to review an appraisal and analyze the overall credibility and reliability of the methodology, analysis, and opinions provided in the report. It does not ask that you state your own opinion of value or provide additional comparables. It’s not an appraisal, it’s simply a review to let the client know if an appraisal is reasonable and reliable.
Why I Think It’s a Great Product – The KISS Principle:
Keep it simple, stupid is a design principle coined by John Kelley, lead engineer at Lockheed Skunk Works in the 1960’s. The KISS principle states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated. Over the past 50 years, this principle has been used by the U.S. Air Force and is pretty much the rule of thumb in current software development.
AQC is simple and straightforward. It’s completed in 4 steps.
- Lists 5 Questions
- Is the material in the report complete and sufficient?
- Is the market data in report adequate and relevant?
- Is the analysis of the comparables reasonable?
- Is the analysis and methodology in the report appropriate?
- Are the opinions and conclusions in the report credible?
- Then Rate the Following 3 Items (Low, Medium, High)
- Complexity of Assignment
- Availability of Comparables
- Market Density
- Lists the Following 3 Approaches to Value
- Sales Comparison Approach
- Cost Approach
- Income Approach
All you need to do is check a box stating if these approaches to value were developed – and if not, whether they should have been. This is accompanied by a drop-down next to each that states if these approaches to value appear reasonable, unreasonable or were adequately addressed if not developed.
- Then, at the bottom of this page, you are asked to summarize the overall reasonableness and credibility of the report and assess its compliance with USPAP.
- Lists 2 Questions
- Did the original appraisal note any appraisal assistance?
- Did the original appraiser report any prior services within 3 years?
- List subject’s sale/transfer history within 36 months of the effective date.
- Grade the overall credibility and reliability of report with an “A, B, C, D or F”.
- Have you performed services on the subject within 3 years (Yes/No)?
How Long Does It Take?
Now, I was told that these assignments should take about 30 minutes. Honestly, they took me a bit longer. I found that the assignments I thought deserved an “A or B” typically took about 45 minutes. Those that had some issues and received a “C or D” about an hour and those that I felt were “F” reports up to an hour and a half. Throughout my initial Beta test of 10, I would say the average time I spent on an AQC assignment was about an hour.
To be fair, these assignments were new to me and the more I became accustomed to what I should be looking for and commenting on, the faster they went. It’s likely that with some more practice I could get my average time down to about 45 minutes.
Is the Fee Worth It?
This, for me, is always the make it or break it criteria. Nobody wants to spend time on an assignment and make less money than they would if they were working on something else. When you factor in research and pulling comps, the inspection, shooting comp photos, the drive time and writing a report, I would say that it takes me an average of about 4 hours to complete a full appraisal. If I were to complete 4 AQC assignments in the same 4 hours, I would actually end up making more money while never leaving my home office. So, is it worth it? Yes.
A Beneficial By-Product:
Completing these assignments also gave me a new perspective. It allowed me to see how my peers were completing appraisal assignments, where they excelled and their shortcomings. In the following weeks, I realized that when completing my own appraisal reports, I found myself adding an extra comment or clarifying something that in the past I may have brushed over. I was able to see my own reports through the eyes of someone else. Someone who had not inspected the subject property was not necessarily familiar with the neighborhood or nuances of the market area. Someone who would rely on my data and analysis to make an informed decision.
I didn’t know when I agreed to be an AQC Beta tester, that by completing these assignments – even a handful, I would become a better appraiser.
Should You Try It?
Yes! If you have a general aversion to new appraisal products like me, I would suggest you reconsider. If you’re on the fence about it…just give it a shot. It’s not much of a time commitment to start with 1 or 2 and see if this is something you enjoy.
Good luck and all the best!
To register for this product, please visit the appraiser registration page HERE where you can update and register your profile for future assignments. Please also visit our Vendor Center where sample reports and training documents are posted.