How to Make your Appraisal Reports More Accessible
When a property appraiser completes their investigation, they put their findings into a report for the clients to utilize as the basis for making decisions.
Clients may seek an appraisal for a variety of reasons, which may include:
- Selling the property
- Buying a new property
- Refinancing to pay down the mortgage or another loan
- Disputing property taxes
- As collateral for another type of loan
But property appraisals can be dense and data-heavy documents. The reports are not always the most accessible to clients who may have limited attention and not a lot of time to parse the information.
Luckily, there are a few ways for appraisers to make their reports more easily readable to their clients, which also makes them more likely to leave a positive review and refer the appraiser to colleagues.
What Goes Into an Appraisal Report?
All appraisal reports must include certain information, and they all follow the same format for the most part. Appraisal reports will include descriptions of the inside and outside of the property, the surrounding neighborhood, and any comparable properties nearby that have recently gone to market.
All appraisal reports have certain components that they must include. These are:
- An exterior image or sketch
- Photographs of the front and back of the property, as well as the street view
- A map that indicates the location of the appraised property and any compared properties
- Photographs of any comparable properties mentioned
- Data on current market rates
- Public land and tax records
- Any other information the appraiser used to determine the property’s market value
The report concludes with an estimation of the property’s value based on the findings.
One of the best ways to make a document more legible is to divide the information under appropriate themes and headings. Make the statements bite-sized for easier digestibility, with approximately 120 words per paragraph, and move to a new paragraph for each new topic.
Creating separation will also help clients to navigate the document when they are in search of specific details. Longer reports will benefit from a table of contents as well.
Numerate, List, and Use Headings
Along with making space, it’s important to establish a hierarchy of points, whether by using different headings, numbers, or some other technique to show the depth of analysis.
Consider replacing paragraphs with lists where appropriate. It is much easier to understand a list of facts or figures than it is to read a paragraph explaining them.
The point of this is to make clear that there is one main point and several details that must be considered. Do not go overboard. The idea is to be as clear as possible – too many frills can be distracting.
Emphasize Salient Points
When making conclusions or summarizing information, consider highlighting the point in some way. Whether bolding, underlining, or enlarging, it can help quick readers to get to the point of the information quickly if they know where to find it.
There are many ways of using graphics and text art to emphasize a point, but again it is important to make sure the text gets the attention, not the graphics.
Make Your Report Accessible
During the pandemic, we learned that it is not always possible to be where clients are. Safety precautions have led to an increase in completing appraisals online. In some ways, this has been beneficial for appraisers who are now able to take on many more appraisals from areas farther than they would typically travel.
For this reason, it is important now more than ever to stand out with excellent reports. One insider tip is using appraisal software services like Valcre, where clients can create and access their reports anywhere and on multiple devices.
Valcre’s appraisal software solution allows appraisers to be more organized, efficient, and intelligent. With data hosted in the cloud, assignments can be tracked and easily accessed. What’s more, appraisers can use the software to create custom templates for their clients. So be sure to stand out with your clients and look into Valcre.