Though just about any AMC will tell you that the total number of appraisals ordered has declined over the past 12 months, our customers have actually seen a 36% increase in deliveries to AMCs via WinTOTAL plugins — to 1,187,000 orders, up from 875,000 the year before. For the last 17 months, in fact, orders delivered via WinTOTAL plugins have grown steadily. It looks like our users are getting more and more of a smaller pie, while users of other vendors are getting less and less.
These companies received 1,187,000 WinTOTAL appraisals via plugins, without ACI or Lighthouse involved at all, in the last 12 months.
One reason for that may be that our customers have a strong reputation. “Right now, lenders are making a ‘flight to safety’,” said a source at one of the nation’s largest AMCs. Our source went on to say that with lending practices under scrutiny, lenders are more concerned with getting a quality, accurate appraisal than simply getting some kind of value on the cheap.
We did some digging for other signs that AMC work is shifting to WinTOTAL users. We didn’t have to dig far. Each time an AMC signs up with us, we analyze their fee panel to see how many of their users already have WinTOTAL. It’s consistently composed of 50% to 55% WinTOTAL users. Given our market share, that makes sense. So when the last fee panel we analyzed just recently came back with over 65% being active WinTOTAL users, we were surprised, but pleased. The momentum does indeed seem to be toward WinTOTAL users.
And this gravitation towards WinTOTAL users will likely continue. Forward-looking AMCs are abandoning proprietary single-vendor systems and working with all software vendors to ensure any appraiser can work with them. Why wouldn’t they? They need national coverage. They need as many appraisers as possible, and can’t stake their business on any one vendor’s user base.
Unfortunately, it’s not hard to find instances of appraisal software vendors making questionable claims about their membership, which confuses everyone. A recent example is Appraisal.com/Day One. As of this writing, the Appraisal.com homepage still claims to have a vague “over 1/2 of all the active licensed appraisers in the USA,” and says it covers every county and state. But when Zaio bought them in February, a press release on BusinessWire.com said there were only 7,500 Day One users and 9,184 appraisers in their nationwide appraisal network. Clearly, there was some serious “creative spin” going on there.
And we see that often in other areas too. Some vendors claim that by using them, appraisers are “hooked in” with “preferred status” to virtually all AMCs and lenders. If that were the case, why would WinTOTAL users be getting a bigger and bigger share and actual real growth in orders, in a shrinking AMC market, where other vendors supposedly have “preferred status”?
The only numbers that can ever add up are the ones that are specific. It’s easy to mislead with vague sweeping generalities. So, ask those vendors for hard, cold facts. How many orders did appraisers using vendor XYZ do for AMCs this year and last? How many orders came in on those fancy new websites and appraisal directories? How many appraisers have signed up in my area, and can I talk to them? You can hear the hemming and hawing right now. Ask us, and we’ll tell you that over 1,187,000 orders have been delivered by appraisers using our software over the last 12 months.
Over time that “strategy of vague” could leave you with the impression that you’re stuck with that vendor, or you’ll lose business. But you’re never stuck. You’re free to choose whatever software you want, whenever you want. And hopefully you choose us, since we’ve been pretty darn specific and accurate over the years. Our numbers add up. So do all those checks our customers are depositing.