The appraiser behind ScanToSketch
Written by Sarah Rogers on October 4, 2023
Appraisers have already used ScanToSketch to generate over 10,000 reports with this innovative new tool. We sat down with Kevin Cheung, a seasoned appraiser, and a la mode product manager, to uncover the story behind the development of ScanToSketch. Learn more about the revolutionary technology and get answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about its creation.
Could you provide an overview of your career as an appraiser?
Kevin Cheung (KC): I’m a certified residential appraiser in New York City. When I started in the appraisal industry in 1998, I had to learn how to appraise in all five NYC boroughs, plus Long Island. After becoming a staff appraiser in 2006, I focused on mainly the Queens and Brooklyn markets. I appraised single-family homes, 2-4 family income properties, condominiums, and cooperatives, but my areas of specialty were the 2-4 families and condominium properties.
How does your appraisal experience impact the work you do?
KC: My appraisal experience has a fundamental impact on my work at a la mode. Besides bringing 20+ years of domain expertise, I was also a long-time customer, having used a la mode software since 2006. Now, as the product manager of TOTAL for Mobile, I cannot help but view all our product decisions through the lens of an appraiser.
What inspired the creation of ScanToSketch?
KC: In early 2022, I reviewed existing property scanning apps and realized most of the existing apps didn’t exactly fit the appraiser workflow because they scanned properties from the interior, which is not how appraisers typically measure homes. Except for condos and coops, we appraisers measure houses from the exterior to do the sketch and calculate GLA (Gross Living Area) and non-GLA size. This led me to the idea of looking for a solution that scanned from the exterior. We tested several iterations of technology before we found the combination of LiDAR and AR (Augmented Reality) scanning and incorporated it into a workflow that was easy for the appraiser to use. From our testing and customer feedback, this proved to be highly successful and is now our current ScanToSketch solution.
How do you want ScanToSketch to impact appraisers?
KC: As with any innovation we build at a la mode, the main desired impact is to make the appraiser’s job easier, faster, and/or more productive. Measuring and sketching a property has always been a pain point for many appraisers. The goal of ScanToSketch is to provide a tool to help make measuring and sketching a smoother process.
How has it changed an appraiser’s workflow?
KC: ScanToSketch enables an appraiser to just walk around a property, scan the corners, and then get an instant exterior footprint sketch right on their device. The process can potentially be 50-90%+ faster than traditional measuring methods. Plus, it allows them to stop juggling their clipboard and other measuring tools while they’re out in the field. ScanToSketch handles both the measuring and sketching automatically, giving the appraiser an editable sketch with the size of the property immediately while still at the location.
As an experienced appraiser and a la mode expert, what advice would you give to our customers?
- Embrace technology! Changes are coming in the appraisal industry. Being versed in the latest technologies could provide a competitive edge in getting ready for these changes.
- Try out mobile technologies, such as TOTAL for Mobile, that can help you modernize your workflow, become paperless, and prepare for larger inspection dataset requirements.
- Leverage new innovations, such as ScanToSketch and ScheduleAssist, that can help improve your productivity.
- Be willing to experiment with transformative tools, such as AI (Artificial Intelligence), that can potentially augment how you perform appraisals. At the 2023 World Economic Forum Growth Summit, Professor Richard Baldwin said, “A.I. won’t take your job. It’s somebody using A.I. that will take your job.” I believe this applies to all technologies that have the potential to transform workflows. Appraisers that embrace these emerging technologies and use them to their advantage will be better prepared for the future.
Interested in trying out ScanToSketch for yourself? You can experience its capabilities firsthand by downloading the free TOTAL for Mobile app at www.alamode.com/scantosketch. Give it a go and discover the convenience it brings to your appraisal workflow!