I wonder

Café con leche and Socrates are great inspirational sources for new ideas; “Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.” Driving into work this morning I thought, why are commercial appraisals still two-dimensional products? We constantly view video content on our devices, so why can’t our appraisals be streaming? What about an interactive PDF?

Here’s a few ideas after a second cup of coffee.

  • Google birds eye view of subject and comparables (360 degree video rotation).
  • Annotated neighborhoods highlighting developments (similar to a brokerage package).
  • Google Street View of subject property with timeline advancement to current image.
  • Interactive traffic count and demographic overlays comparing subject and comps.
  • Audio VoIP and email links of conversations with property owner and confirming sources.
  • Auto bank policy and FIRREA checklist completion.

An interactive appraisal should definitely not be bifurcated, sending strangers to inspect the subject property. That’s your job. If anything, commercial real estate valuation is about seeing more things, not sending an Uber driver to randomly walk around and take pictures. Appraisers know what to look for.

Many appraisers feel over-burdened with current work-load, which may be due to lack of (or partially implemented) productivity software tools. So interactive reports would take a mindset change and investment. The result might be a “new product” with the potential for higher fees. Interactive reports would do a better USPAP job “describing” than our current product. Back in the day, we physically taped 4 x 6 paper photos to our reports. Now we download them from our cell phone. What’s next?

Maybe an interactive appraisal “probably can be done, but it’s not worth doing.” Fair enough. Our customers aren’t asking for interactive PDFs. At least not yet. I’m guessing our clients would love an interactive experience facilitating credibility. I wonder if it would be a good idea? Rene Descartes, “Wonder is the first of all the passions.” I wonder.