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Five strategies for writing strong appraisals in a timely fashion — and how LightBox Valuation can help

LightBox Profile
LightBox Insights
October 12, 2022 4 mins

Appraisal report writing was once an onerous process requiring repetitive data entry and the manual stitching together information from different sources. Those days are past, and the task is faster and smarter. But while many report-writing platforms have lots of bells and whistles, even the most experienced appraisers may not know how to fully take advantage of tools that increase efficiency and produce high-quality reports. Below are five flexible strategies for working smarter that will fit into your workflow, align with Excel and Word, and save time.

No. 1: Curate a perfect property record

Lease data, comparables, and income/expense data are dynamic and can change quickly. Creating property records once required manual data entry, typically into Excel or Word. This time-consuming process was prone to human error and made information difficult to access at a later date. To help you curate a perfect property record, appraisal report-writing software should have the ability to easily import and export data into existing templates or new ones with custom fields to convey the information your customers want. 

No. 2: Create custom worksheets, tables, and fields in your model to support your valuation

Property valuation is a combination of art and science. Accurate data is necessary to create an opinion of value (science), but creating an appraisal is a finely tuned process cultivated from experience (art). That’s why appraisal report-writing software must allow customization and flexibility so that users can create worksheets, tables, and fields that support their specific valuation methods. Templates should be completely flexible so appraisers can create or edit them according to their unique specifications. The ability to handle custom calculations in worksheets can save time and reduce errors—and that’s good for your customers.

No. 3: Make copies of analysis grids and effortlessly apply data from separate parcels, buildings, or unit types

A robust analysis is the foundation of a strong property appraisal report, so your software must streamline the process. Thorough property analysis often reveals several ways to understand value. For example, some parcels on a property with multiple parcels might be valued differently than the others. Analyzing this type of property and developing multiple scenarios should not be a challenge. Appraisal software should let you easily copy analysis grids to show what can be done before the launch and after the completion of a project. 

No. 4: Automate to quickly insert fields and tables in Word reports

Appraisal writing typically requires a rapid turnaround time, so it’s critical that solutions have features to improve accuracy and save time. When making a copy of map fields, appraisers should not have to manually find and replace them on Word reports, a time-consuming process that can lead to mistakes.

When choosing an appraisal solution, look for one that allows you to insert fields into Word and automatically merge uploaded data collected from Excel-linked fields and tables. If your report requires hundreds of tables, the ability to automate and streamline the entry process (rather than manually find and replace custom data for Word reports) is a huge time-saver.

No. 5: Text library customized for your specifications

An auto-text library—similar to the feature in Microsoft Word that automatically fills in text sections of databases and templates—is a must-have. Your library should allow you to categorize auto-texts specific to regions or project types. For example, you should have the ability to create a database containing whatever you need from an analysis and drop in the saved text—such as widely used definitions, biographies, profiles, and property descriptions—for designated regions. You should be able to automatically insert auto-text into reports, and it should always be accessible according to your needs.

LightBox Valuation: The solution for streamlined and flexible appraisal research and report writing 

LightBox Valuation, an end-to-end commercial appraisal workflow solution, helps appraisers manage each of these five tasks successfully. With Valuation, you’ll win more engagements as well as research property and market data, complete income analyses, and write high-quality appraisal reports in less time. Our appraisers have stated they can complete appraisal reports up to 17 times faster than before.

In addition, you can compare your company’s performance against our market-level benchmarks, monitor your firm’s performance over time, find opportunities before your competition, improve win rates, and grow revenue.

Commercial real estate appraisers around the country rely on LightBox to develop quality reports quickly and efficiently. Our platform offers an intuitive user experience and delivers immediate ROI. You’ll produce accurate, reliable reports faster using its automated processes and immediate access to information. 

Contact a representative to learn more about how LightBox Valuation can change the way you do business.

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