Q&A with our resident TOTAL Expert
Written by Sarah Rogers on December 6, 2023
You hear a lot about our products, new features, and the industry, but what you might not know is who is behind the scenes making your technology work and building out new features to improve your workflow. So, we think it’s about time you got to know the a la mode team a little better.
Meet Rebekah, our product manager for TOTAL. Working on our flagship product, the one our customers need the most, is no small task. She takes customer feedback, manages a team of beta testers, and works with every department at a la mode to ensure our teams know how to best help our appraisers. How does she do it all? Well, we think this Q&A will give you an idea.
1. Tell us about your career in the real estate industry.
I went to college for Art. My first mortgage job in 2000 was supposed to be a temporary gig because it worked well with my class schedule. Instead, I’ve spent the last 23 years in the real estate industry in almost every role on the origination side, including processing, closing, and underwriting.
I spent the ten years prior to a la mode working in compliance and quality control. I worked as a forensic underwriter for the GSEs, and in 2008, designed and implemented new servicing quality control products for my former employer due to the housing crash.
2. What is your role at a la mode?
I came to a la mode as a product marketing manager in 2018. Ironically, that was the same year the GSEs decided the 1004MC was no longer required. My prior experience, combined with my time in a la mode marketing, helped me easily transition into the product owner for our flagship formfiller, TOTAL, in 2020. Since then, I’ve had the honor of working closely with our customers to help implement the improved Suggested Value feature, QuickSource, Subject Public Records, Feedback.alamode.com, and our transition to Google Maps.
3. How does your previous experience impact the work you do?
My experience in market analysis and lender requirements was helpful right off that bat as I worked with appraisers to reimagine Titan Analytics in 2018. Having been on the other side of the fence, I am passionate about helping our customers reduce revision requests and improve the communication process between appraisers and their clients.
4. Tell us about some current projects you are managing. What impact will they have on our customers?
Currently, I’m deep in the process of research and working with our team to design and implement the new UAD dynamic form. I think we all remember the last UAD update and the headaches it brought. That’s one of the many reasons we’re working tirelessly to ensure this new iteration is even smoother. I’m actually excited about many of the changes that will come with the new UAD as it should reduce confusion and subjectivity from the appraisal report. No one wants to field questions about why they chose specific comps or defending adjustments. The dynamic form is much clearer and groups all similar information together, making it much easier to digest.
5. As a project manager and someone who influences change, what advice would you give to our customers?
My best advice for appraisers is to embrace technology. Yes, change is scary, but it also allows you to expand your customer demographic, skill sets, and wallets. All of us are feeling the burn of the downturn in the market. Use this time to up your game with product coaching, continuing education classes, and free webinars. Then, as interest rates drop and orders increase, you’re already saving time on every report.
Want to learn more about our incredible team at a la mode? Check out our last blog featuring Kevin Cheung, the appraiser and product owner behind ScanToSketch!