As a nationwide appraisal management company, there are a lot of pieces to the puzzle that we are responsible for. One of the key components of today’s AMC is a successful quality control program. I’d like to share 5 best practices we follow at Nationwide Appraisal Network to ensure quality appraisals.
1. Appraiser Panel: A good quality control program starts with quality appraisers. In order for this to happen, you must first have a thorough and efficient vetting process. An active appraisal license should not qualify as assurance an appraiser produces quality reports. When considering adding an appraiser to your panel you should consider researching state boards to determine if there is any disciplinary history, require background checks to determine if there is any criminal history, require sample reports to review the quality of reports, have a preliminary approval period to see first-hand how the Appraiser’s performance.
2. Continuous Monitoring: It doesn’t stop once you’ve vetted and approved the appraiser. Now you have to continuously monitor their performance. This is yet another key factor in a successful quality control program. At Nationwide Appraisal Network, we have an ongoing scorecard that helps to keep track of certain items like revision requests, underwriting conditions, timeliness, communication, and accuracy, among other things. Our designated Appraiser Panel Manager ultimately monitors all aspects of our appraiser’s performance.
3. Appraiser Selection: Appraiser selection is arguably the most important factor when it comes to best practices for quality control. When selecting an appraiser for an assignment, it is crucial they have experience and competency with that type of property in that market. This means knowing your appraisers. Appraisers will have different experience with different property types, locations, and loan types. One appraiser may specialize in 203K appraisals and have no experience with waterfront properties, while another appraiser may be a waterfront expert and have no 203K experience. Clearly these factors should be taken into account when selecting an appraiser. At Nationwide Appraisal Network, the appraiser profiles are set up to note any property or appraisal types they are experienced in so we can check for that during our selection process with a click of the mouse.
4. Internal Quality Control: The internal review process is extremely important in quality control. The best practice is to combine an automated review with a manual review. There is a lot of debate over automated reviews, however when utilized in addition to a manual review, they can be a great asset and help immensely with efficiency. Nationwide Appraisal Network tested this theory when we decided to partner with Platinum Data Solutions to use their RealView™ in our QC process. RealView™ screens for thousands of factors that can compromise appraisal quality. It enables us to review, analyze and score appraisals with far more depth, consistency and accuracy then ever before. Once the appraisal has gone through the automated review, one of our trained quality control specialists performs a final manual review. We feel it’s imperative to keep the human factor as a key role in the quality control process.
5. Clear and Consistent Process for Appraisal Deficiencies: The final factor in a successful quality control program is to have a clear process for appraisal deficiency and dispute resolution. If an appraisal is submitted that is found to have material deficiencies, you should have a process that allows the appraiser to review and address the items, while maintaining compliance with Appraiser Independence Requirements (AIR). You also need to determine when it’s necessary to obtain a second appraisal due to quality.
As you can see, a successful quality control program is not a simple task. There are many facets involved and components to consider. If you follow these 5 steps, you’ll be well on your way to success in quality control.