How I work: Paul Stansberry, part 2 Software

August 26, 2015  |  Paul Stansberry

Last week, in part one of this post, I talked about the hardware that I use to get work done both in the office and on the road.  This week, I'm covering the other piece of my productivity puzzle: software.


Some of the options here will have direct applications for appraisal work and others may help you improve your day-to-day productivity in general.  I use almost every one of these on a near daily basis:

Check FHA EAD rules in the next TOTAL update

August 25, 2015  |  Amanda Gladfelter

Edit: This update is now live in TOTAL. Be on the lookout for the update to WinTOTAL soon.

The FHA announced they'll launch an Electronic Appraisal Delivery (EAD) portal for transmission of your appraisal reports.  You can read all about it here

Basically, it's much like the GSE initiatives in that FHA wants your appraisal reports to be pre-screened for potential compliance issues early in your workflow.  They're also working to streamline the transmission process. 

The mandatory compliance date is June 27, 2016 and some lenders will start using the system as soon as mid-October.  (Onboarding schedule here.)  As usual, we want you to be ready well before then.  So, we will be releasing an update to TOTAL that checks against the rules that will be applied when your report is uploaded to the EAD portal.   However, you have the option not to run these rules even if your report is an FHA report.  Simply uncheck the FHA checkbox in the Assignment PowerView and your report will not be checked for these rules in TOTAL.

Here's how it works:

  1. When you start a new report, select FHA Report.  This can be done either the SmartStart window or in the FHA/VA Case number on the Assignment PowerView.
  2. As you work on the assignment, you'll be able to see the FHA Rules on the E&O PowerView.  Use them to see if your report is compliant with the new rules.  (See those rules here.)

When you start a report in SmartStart check the correct box.  That way, TOTAL will know to use the FHA review rules.


How I work: Paul Stansberry, part 1 Hardware

August 19, 2015  |  Paul Stansberry

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how different people who do the same job work in different ways to accomplish what is in effect the same goal.  Appraisers are a great case study in this because as we’ve joked for years, if you have 10 appraisers in a room, you’ll get 12 different ways to do any given task.

Fundamentally though, what’s different?  In a technology-based job like appraising, the specific hardware, software, gadgets, and tools you use can have a dramatic impact on your efficiency.  And there are tons of tools and applications available to make our lives easier.  Not just for appraisers, but in general.

So, I wanted to take some time to share how I work. What tools I use, what software, etc., and why I use them. Simply put, the time and effort I’ve put into identifying the best tools for my job may be useful to you as well. Bear with me on the length.

Marketing 101: Why appraisers need testimonials

August 19, 2015  |  Faye Pham

We talk a lot about making sure you're marketing yourself to high-fee, non-lender clients by having an online presence and interacting with social media.  Sometimes though, the best marketing comes from your past clients in the form of glowing testimonials.  A testimonial is basically positive feedback you get from your clients that you can use to attract new clients.  Think about it:  aren't you more likely to be swayed by the reviews of a new restaurant rather than the actual flyer the restaurant mails to you?


Word of mouth can be very influential for potential non-lender clients, especially homeowners since they're probably searching for an appraiser for the first time.  Seeing what previous clients have said not only makes you look good, but also sets expectations for new clients who don't necessarily know about various valuation services.  

Below are some tips on getting testimonials from your clients.  Once you have them, start sharing them: post them in a blog, use them on your website or Facebook page, include them on marketing material you send out (flyers or even your business card), etc.  You can always add more as they come in and they might encourage people to proactively reach out to you with their own feedback.

SmartStart now in TOTAL for Mobile

August 18, 2015  |  Joel Baker

Have you ever been in the field when you get a new assignment and decide you want to drive by the property to make some preliminary notes?  Create a new report - from template - using SmartStart in TOTAL for Mobile.  In just a few seconds you'll be up and running with a new, template-based report on your mobile device.  

See how it works in the video below:

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