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If you interacted with the housing market in the first half of 2021, you know that business is booming. Prices are hitting record highs, and demand is far outstripping supply.

While that may be great news for realtors, Cindy Nasser, COO of PCV Murcor, a real estate valuations and appraisals firm, says, in Housing Wire, that the industry has a shortage of appraisers. “Appraisers are under a tremendous amount of pressure to turn around appraisals quickly so that lenders can meet their closing dates.”

In this challenging environment, real estate appraisal mapping software should make it easier for appraisers and appraisal management companies (AMCs) to get their appraisals filed quickly. The truth is, they’re missing a critical set of features—specifically around route planning and route optimization— that can instantly boost an appraiser’s ability to visit sites and get appraisals done.

In this article, we’ll break down what appraisal mapping software tools do, why route optimization is critical for appraisers, and how you can use route optimization tools like OptimoRoute to map your appraisal routes.

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What Real Estate Appraisal Mapping Software Does Right Now

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Currently, real estate appraisal software tools cover the appraisal process after an appraiser has reached an inspection site, starting with digital measurements and all the way to filling out forms for submission.

  1. Digital Measurements: Appraisers used to measure the dimensions of a property with a measuring tape. Now, digital measuring tools like DISTO help them capture these dimensions and move them directly to their property sketches.
  2. Digital Sketching: Appraisal mapping tools like TOTAL Sketch and TOTAL Sketch Pro enable real estate appraisers to sketch the property’s layout using the measurements they’ve captured.
  3. Specialized Mapping: Appraisers have to provide flood maps, census tracts, and neighborhood location map data to arrive at the value of the property they’re evaluating. Appraisal mapping tools like MapRight have plug-ins and GIS layers to provide all of this data easily.
  4. Cloud Storage: Appraisers capture photos and videos of the properties as part of their appraisal report requirements. They either store these in their appraisal mapping tools like SFREP’s Image Manager or in Google Drive and then share them directly in their reports.
  5. Form Filling: Lenders can have different forms that appraisers need to fill out to file their reports. This is where form-filling tools like Bradford Technologies’ ClickFORMS come in handy so that data entry can be automated for them.

All of these tools are great for making appraisers efficient at preparing and filing their appraisals, but they don’t address the challenges appraisers face with scheduling visits, planning their routes, and optimizing their daily mileage. That’s where route optimization comes in.

Route Optimization Is the Missing Feature in Your Appraisal Mapping Software Stack

Route optimization enables appraisers to visit more sites daily, reduce their daily mileage, modify routes on the go, and delight homeowners. Here’s how:

  1. Increases the number of daily visits
    Route optimization software can help reduce the time it takes to visit each site by finding the shortest route between them. This frees up appraisers so that they can add more site visits to their schedule and file more reports every week.

    For example, Clarke Customer Care, an installation and maintenance business in New England, was able to increase its onsite visits by 15% by using route optimization software.
  2. Reduces daily mileage
    Mileage costs are a major expense for appraisers, so much so that some appraisal software tools offer a mileage estimator so that they can file these costs as a deduction during tax season.

    Route optimization software designs shorter routes for appraisers so that their mileage costs are instantly reduced.
  3. Modifies routes on the go
    An appraiser’s schedule is constantly changing. A homeowner might arrive onsite late, delaying the visit, or a cancelation might free up a spot on the schedule.

    Whatever the case may be, appraisers should have the flexibility to change their routes in real time. Route optimization software gives them the tools to do so.
  4. Makes the appraisal process delightful for homeowners with notifications
    Not every homeowner will find the appraisal process to be a pleasant experience. One way you can make the process easier for them is to send notifications to let them know when you’re on your way to the appraisal.

    Great route optimization tools offer real-time notifications so that customers or key parties are kept in the loop on the status of a visit or a service order. By sending these notifications ahead of time, you can make sure homeowners are ready to receive you and that you include them in the appraisal process so that they’re engaged.

Four Ways You Can Use OptimoRoute to Map Appraisal Routes

OptimoRoute is a real estate route planner and route optimization software that makes it easy for appraisers and real estate professionals to route their visits up to 5 weeks in advance—in just a few seconds. Here are four ways you can use OptimoRoute to map your own appraisal routes:

1. Bulk upload your site addresses

Export your site addresses from your multiple listing service (MLS) in an Excel spreadsheet and upload them to OptimoRoute to get an optimized route in seconds. No more manually entering addresses in Google and trying to double-check whether you’ve got the right one.

2. Modify routes with Dynamic Replanning

With Dynamic replanning dispatchers can react quickly to last-minute changes in near real-time, and experiment by giving some drivers a day off, changing work times, reprioritizing some customers and so on. Dynamic replanning replanning helps dispatchers efficiently solve exceptions such as having a vehicle breakdown, customers canceling orders or valuable rush jobs.

3. Set time windows for your visits

Select specific time windows during which you need to visit each property on your route.

Set time windows for appraisal appointments in OptimoRoute

4. Capture photos and appraisal notes directly in OptimoRoute

OptimoRoute has the ability to capture photos of your sites and appraisal notes directly in the OptimoRoute Mobile App. You won’t waste any time switching apps when you’re in the field.

Capture photos and appraisal notes in OptimoRoute

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Enhance Your Appraisal Mapping Software with OptimoRoute

If you’re an appraiser currently working in the high-pressure housing market, your existing suite of appraisal mapping software tools isn’t going to cut it.

OptimoRoute can help you map multiple stops in seconds, visit those stops faster, and boost your overall productivity. Our pricing is friendly for solo entrepreneurs, small businesses, and independent contractors. Get started today with our 30-day free trial!