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The Launch of Appraiser Toolkit: Powering the Next Steps in Appraisal Technology

June 13, 2024

Today is a big day for the appraisal profession. Aloft is launching Appraiser Toolkit.

Toolkit is a robust analytics platform for real estate appraisers. It enables highly defensible and data-backed analysis and introduces a new adjustments methodology - the Paired Cost method. Toolkit empowers appraisers to be able to do the math faster, arrive at the right answer, back up their answers with objective data, and show their work.

We founded Aloft to help fix an industry. We’ve been working with stakeholders across the nation, including lenders, consumers, tech providers, and, of course, appraisers. If there is one thing I’ve learned, it is that appraisers are not the problem, it’s the tools, it’s the incentives, it’s the lack of understanding. For too long, appraisers have been blamed. There is a constant flow of narratives: “The appraiser slows down the transaction,” “the appraiser is biased,” “appraisals are entirely subjective,” “the appraisal fee costs too much,” etc. It is simply unfair to the appraiser to take these statements at face value.

If you take a step back, it’s clear to see that the incentive structures in place in the industry today reward the wrong behavior, especially in current market conditions. Appraisers are incentivized to move faster and faster and often need to sacrifice quality to be competitive on turn-times. The appraiser who will do the work the quickest and is willing to take the lowest fee is usually the one being awarded the order. Remember the expression “Good, fast, or cheap… pick 2”? Guess what gets sacrificed? When quality suffers, the headaches that result are not worth the few dollars saved, especially for lenders and consumers. It’s become a race to the bottom, and appraisers have not been equipped to turn this race around.

Of course, turnaround time and price will always be part of the equation, but, at Aloft, we’re saying that quality matters most. I think most people would be shocked at the amount of detail and research that goes into an appraisal report. We believe that appraisers drive tremendous value in the real estate transaction and have the opportunity to provide even more. It is not a profession that can or should be automated away. The technology and the data-quality level required to fully automate property appraisals do not exist, and the need for highly-trained, experienced human perspective is too important.

With all of this in mind, we come to Aloft’s Appraiser Toolkit. Appraiser Toolkit helps appraisers perform their analysis and adjustments at a higher level of quality and objective proof than ever before. Toolkit is truly a game-changer. It will put a glowing spotlight on appraisers who care about delivering a high-quality appraisal. Toolkit makes appraisers more efficient and bulletproof. It will protect the appraiser against bias accusations by making it clear that the appraisal results are tied to data-backed and objective decision-making. We think what we’ve built is pretty special - for appraisers, for lenders, and for consumers.

The problems we are solving are nuanced and complex, but it’s worth every ounce of effort. Accurate property appraisals are the foundation of the housing market, depended upon by everyone from lenders, to governments, to homeowners. Modernizing the industry needs to be a combined effort among appraisers, lenders, AMCs, regulators, and others. We’re encouraged by the partnerships we’ve forged and the collaboration we’re experiencing in this space.

At this point, I’d like to thank the team behind what we’ve built so far. It all starts with appraisers who are willing to share knowledge, feedback, and real-world experience. I want to especially recognize the engineers, product managers, designers, educators, operators, and all other Alofteans who have been working so incredibly hard to get Appraiser Toolkit ready to share with the world. It’s been inspiring and humbling to see the dedication you’ve all had to learning appraiser pain points and working toward solutions. This is a complex profession, and your level of understanding and empathy is incredible.

With that, it’s time to get back to work. We still have a lot to do as we remind everyone that the appraiser is the hero in this story.

If you’re interested in joining the cause, you can sign up for Toolkit here: https://toolkit.aloftappraisal.com/?sign_up


Travis Soukup

CEO of Aloft

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