It’s a well-known fact that the quality of appraisal software depends upon a number of factors: software product compatibility, easy installation, and visuality of operations for the user. Another important requirement of competitive real estate appraisal software is the accuracy of calculations and accuracy of report data. All facts mentioned above imply that good real estate appraisal software should include a powerful analytical platform and powerful decision-making platform which would make price estimations on the basis of the multi-factor model. Today there are different kinds of software solutions for real estate appraisal, yet they may be different by the range of functions provided, analytical abilities, and functionality. In this paper, I would like to discuss two appraisal software products, which from my viewpoint, offer a wide range of functions for real estate appraisers: The Appraiser’s Toolbox and AppraisalGear.
ApprisalGear software offers a number of evaluation functions for a real state appraiser. In addition, it has a number of specific calculators and decision support tools, which allow choosing optimal financial solutions from a list of given variants. AppraisalGear software includes investment analysis tools and cost approach calculation tools, which are essential in appraiser’s practices and require a lot of effort in case of manual calculations.
The main advantage of ApprasialGear is its compatibility with different database solutions as this product has an MS Access database which gives extra features of data import from databases previously used by customers. This feature is very important as it saves a lot of time on product integration in case of software change or considerable updates. In addition, AppraisalGear allows incorporating spreadsheets into a complete report doing all necessary appraisal calculations.
The disadvantage of the product is the limited number of appraisal forms compared to other existing solutions and the absence of build-in maps and digital imaging features.
The Appraiser’s Toolbox
The Appraiser’s Toolbox includes a full set of functions needed to develop a complete appraisal report and is considered to be one of the most effective tools for real estate appraisers. This software product has several hundred appraisal forms, sketching, maps, and digital images features, property analysis tools, etc.
The Appraiser’s Toolbox has the ability to analyze hundreds of comps using its worksheets and has different appraisal accounting functions.
Yet, its main advantage is the ability to build complete reports using different sorts of media: maps, digital images, EDI, etc. Reports can be built in one window, adding pictures, forms, sketches, and comments. Built-in report-making features of the Appraiser’s Toolbox allow saving a lot of time on routine work, which in other products takes up to several hours.
Yet, its apparatus of financial calculations, evaluation forms, and cost approach are not as complete as the apparatus of AppraisalGear software solution. So we can say that Appraiser’s Toolbox is more an application for making a complete appraisal report on the basis of accurate data rather than an analytical evaluation tool.
Making conclusion, it’s important to note that both: The Appraiser’s Toolbox and AppraisalGear are very powerful, effective, and competitive solutions for standard appraiser’s practices. The quality of both software products responds to their price. The price of a standard set of tools for AppraisalGear is $650, and the price for The Appraiser’s Toolbox is $499, which makes both software products affordable for a wide range of property appraisers.