It's been my experience that originators look at the process of ordering, reviewing, and receiving appraisals as inefficient. The problem isn't appraisers, however, who are on the leading edge of mortgage technology. Lenders don't seem to take advantage of technology to decrease the inefficient, often manual, processes. Despite readily available technology, many originators and AMCs do it the hard way - fax or e-mail the appraiser an order, call daily for status, request the appraisal via e-mail and hope it gets to them, call again if it doesn't, call again if there are questions about the report, and then manually type the information from the appraisal into the loan software. Later, if there's a question and the originator can't find the PDF, they call the appraiser again for a copy. Sound familiar?
A "plugin" is simply a small program that allows a "host" program like WinTOTAL or XSites, to interact with a third party program. Our XSite Order Manager plugins solve the issues listed above for originators and reduce the amount of time appraisers spend keeping all parties "in the loop". Plugins are built so each lender or AMC defines the format of the appraisal delivered, the automated review rules run on the appraisal prior to delivery, and how the appraisal is delivered.
The format of the completed appraisal can be a combination of files such as a PDF, text or XML file, the subject and comp photos, and the results of the appraisal review. These are delivered to the originator or AMC via the plugin so that they can be stored with the loan file, cutting down on manual processes. For example, the text files can be used to enter the appraisal information into the loan automatically, and the PDF and photos can be stored for future reference. Also, the review results can be analyzed to see if a manual review is needed.
The review rules built into each plugin are defined by the originator or AMC, and eliminate the need to have a clerical person print the report and go through a checklist of standard items like whether the report is signed, is the appraised value filled in, or did the appraiser include a license number and is it expired? Sure, WinTOTAL's E&O rules accomplish this, but until plugins there wasn't a way to automatically incorporate originator or AMC-specific rules.
The last piece that a plugin does is deliver the report to the originator's system. Generally, this delivery is done over the Internet but not via e-mail, so a file's security isn't compromised. The report is transmitted directly from the appraiser's PC, to the client (or AMC's) system. The processing of all the files associated with the appraisal report are done automatically, and the result is that only a small portion of appraisals have to be manually reviewed.
The HVCC is coming, and lenders and AMCs both will be moving towards technological solutions due to the mandate of separating appraisers and loan production staff. Fortunately, our XSite plugins and Mercury Network are already in place and time tested. To get an XSite, visit www.alamode.com/XSites. To learn more about Mercury Network and how to get listed, visit www.MercuryVMP.com.