*Appraisal Vendor Steps Up*
**By Tony Garritano**
***As mortgage lender orders for disaster inspection reports surged to more than 200 times the normal level in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, real estate technology provider a la mode, inc. announced that its Mercury Network service will completely waive all fees related to gathering disaster reports in the affected areas. Mercury Network is the nation’s premiere vendor management platform, handling millions of transactions each year for the nation’s largest lenders and appraisal management companies.
****a la mode urged lenders, appraisers, and management companies to visit www.mercuryvmp.com/sandy for details on how to smoothly scale up disaster operations to meet the current crisis. Vendors and clients can be conducting transactions at no charge whatsoever within minutes of visiting the site. With more than 3,300 appraisers available in the affected areas, lenders can be assured that every property in their portfolio is within reach of a professional appraiser ready to provide the inspection reports, safety conditions permitting.
****“Our focus right now is to make sure lenders are able to immediately move forward on closings for unaffected properties, and get rapid assessments using the Catastrophic Disaster Area Inspection Report, or CDAIR, on those that have been impacted,” said Jennifer Miller, president of a la mode’s Mortgage Solutions Division. “We’re glad to be in a position to help the industry and the local area’s housing markets at a time when they need it the most. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by Hurricane Sandy, but especially our lenders, appraisers, management companies, and agents. It’s a real estate disaster which will alter their livelihoods for years to come.”
****a la mode’s client and partner, CoreLogic (CLGX, www.corelogic.com), released pre-landfall estimates of approximately 284,000 homes at risk with a combined property value of nearly $88 billion. Since the time of that estimate, post-landfall insurance risk reports have been dramatically upgraded, with industry leader EQECAT (www.eqecat.com) doubling its insured and economic damage estimates to up to $50 billion as updated information streams into its computer models. Real estate damages are potentially even larger than previously forecasted, with more than 8.2 million homes out of power in 17 states, and large-scale commercial property damages highly visible in media reports.
****John Farley, president of a la mode’s Appraisal Division, gave advice to lenders and appraisers as to how to proceed: “We designed the CDAIR as a triage tool, to give lenders a quick assessment as to whether the property is still viable collateral. It’s intentionally not a full appraisal. Remember that in a disaster, the appraisers serving the area are working under highly abnormal conditions, so delivery times for traditional appraisals with the full URAR scope of work will stretch to several weeks or months. By comparison, the CDAIR lets a qualified appraiser rapidly and inexpensively complete and deliver an initial ‘boots on the ground’ assessment of the property’s damage, marketability, and habitability. Full appraisals or engineering reports should be ordered after reviewing the CDAIR’s conclusions.”
****The CDAIR is available inside a la mode’s TOTAL family of appraisal software, used by the majority of appraisers in the United States. TOTAL users cover every city and county in the nation.
Tony Garritano is chairman and founder at PROGRESS in Lending Association. As a speaker Tony has worked hard to inform executives about how technology should be a tool used to further business objectives. For over 10 years he has worked as a journalist, researcher and speaker in the mortgage technology space. Starting this association was the next step for someone like Tony, who has dedicated his career to providing mortgage executives with the information needed to make informed technology decisions. He can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.