Guest Post: Making Valuation Tech Look More Like Consumer Tech
Or: Consumer tech all set to take the Real Estate Valuation industry by storm
By Tim Moreland
If you’ve ever been to a consumer technology trade show, you’ll understand why consumers are so tech savvy these days. Developers who cater to these buyers know how to create excitement and so today we see people wearing cameras on their heads, watching feature length movies on their cell phones and making money with mobile apps.
The so-called “sharing economy” has made it possible for peer-to-peer networks to spring up effortlessly, allowing people to share pictures of their grandkids (Facebook), a weekend in their homes (AirBnB), or a ride to the theater (Uber). When it comes to commerce, sites like eBay, Amazon, and Craigslist have turned everyone into the owner of their own online store.
Meanwhile, the business community is still creating and deploying software with clunky connections to business partners, less-than-exciting interfaces for consumer interaction and none of the grace and fluidity we find in the User Experience (UX) built into the modern web apps, consumers have embraced.
But that may be changing. Some of the business relationships in the real estate industry have started to more closely resemble the peer-to-peer relationships that have made other consumer technologies so successful. New real estate software is making it easier for consumers to find homes to buy, online mortgage portals are finally making it easier to apply for a new mortgage and even some our business-to-business relationships are benefiting from new mobile technologies.
For instance, very soon you’ll see real estate brokers working with mortgage industry collateral valuation firms using new web and mobile based softwares that looks more like a Fandango or OpenTable interface than an LOS. Imagine sending out a request for a BPO and allowing the closest agent to the subject property to pick up the job from a mobile device. And that’s just the beginning. I am sure that there will more updates about these tools in the near future.
It’s time for this change in the way our industry has always treated technology. In the past, our systems were primarily used to connect to our partners, but now that consumers have embraced technology so completely, we have to shift our focus to more consumer-centric applications.
We see several advantages to this, not just for our interactions with consumers. For instance, by deploying a cloud based portal for real estate brokers who want to do more valuation work, we can make it quicker and easier for them to accept orders. We can speed up the entire report process with mobile capture and a more intuitive user interface that makes order input quicker. This will allow brokers to take on more orders and earn more. Meanwhile, the entire lending industry will benefit from an overall more efficient process.
We believe the days of mortgage industry technology trailing consumer tech by a decade or more are coming to an end. Some evidence of this trend is already visible through specialized technology companies in the mortgage domain and we anticipate more to come.
Tim Moreland is Senior Vice President, SLK Global Solutions, a firm that provides technology based solutions for the real estate lending and settlement services industry. Tim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.