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Ideas that save time and money

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TEL2002

Thread Starter
Elite Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Retired Appraiser
State
Louisiana
I thought maybe we could start a list of items that save us time and money. Probably somewhere in appraiser land someone is being frustrated and they just have not yet hit on the correct solution for their situation.

Ideas can be big or small. Please don't criticize another person's idea...it works in their situation. If you have an alternative solution...list it...the more ideas the better. It is of course understood that ideas submitted by people from Texas will have to be reduced in size so they can work in other states.

My first idea will follow in next post.
 

TEL2002

Thread Starter
Elite Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Retired Appraiser
State
Louisiana
I put all jobs in individual legal size, manila file folders. I cut the index tabs off of all folders. Then I put an Avery #5164 label in the corner. The label is about 3.3" x 4". I made a master copy page that breaks the label into different boxed areas (address, job #, appointment day/time, etc.) I preprint the labels by running them through my copy machine. All folders are kept in plastic wall pockets (available at Office Max). Now all jobs and their appointments times etc. are readily viewable. When the job is done, I just paste a new label on top of the old. When labels get too thick, just peel them off folder. I have been using the same 20 folders for about a a year.
 

TEL2002

Thread Starter
Elite Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Retired Appraiser
State
Louisiana
I used to keep all old jobs in their own job folder.

I invested in a large heavy duty stapler (about $90). This baby can staple about 70 pages together. Now I take all notes, the report etc and staple it once on the long side. Just above the staple in the margin I write the job #.

The job # can be quickly found if some one calls in with an address or date of appriasal from the master list I keeep in the office.

This idea has same on the cost of file folders, misplaced or shuffled papers, and it saves a lot of space in the file cabinet.
 

jtrotta

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
TE;
File Folders; we just buy the multi-cut tab and keep all file# & address on those tabs, easier to find, when boxed we note the file#'s on the box for easy refference. Cna't see any savings in re-use of the same product, when we can use those costs against income.

Time savings today could be related to better or upgraded equipment, IE; camera's; fax machine; computer's; etc.; but if ya'll can come up with some way to save time on driving that might go over big, it appears to me that's where we need to improve, but can't based on the need for inspection.

Good Idea - appreciate your time 8)
 

Dan/Fla

Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Florida
I recently bought a laptop after I lost the power supply thing in my main computer, on a Saturday morning with, with 3 reports due Monday before noon. Panic though I had a backup computer it did not have Apex or Adobe writer on it. I had all my computer hardware moved to new box by Saturday afternoon. That week I bought a new lap top, Installed Total, apex and writer into it. I had it with me about a week, then had a home that was a pain to measure. So sitting in driveway I open Apex and finished before I left the property, been doing this ever since, later same week had about an hour to kill before next appointment and already shot my comps. So I parked in a Park, and type most of report sitting there. I planned to by a Laptop stand for my car (like the cops have) in the next 2 weeks. I found I have decreased my office time so far by at least 5 hours a week.

For fun I have even sent 1 report, attaching laptop to a friend's mobile phone. Suprized by it worked fine. Trouble is my mobile I have right now, does not connect. Next I see a New phone purchase in my future. Though I have to get some more money before I spend more.

Dan
 

Jo Ann Meyer Stratton

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Arizona
My own personal favorite is my filing system for the entire office (when I can get it done!). Everything is filed in assessor's parcel number order. Either through my computer data base or my log book I can find the APN for a specific property in a second. Then go to that APN and there are all the MLS printouts, copies of FSBO adds, recorded documents, notes after talkng to someone involved in transaction or been inside the home near close escrow, identification numbers for every photo every taken of the property, a copy of an appraisal review, gossip, info from my appraisal file, improvement sketches, etc, etc, etc, for the past 5-6 years. So within a few seconds I have a complete history of that specific property for at least five years or longer. The time consuming part is physically filing but occasionaly my husband takes pity on me and gets caught up for me!
 

Jim McGrath

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Florida

Everything is filed in assessor's parcel number order. Either through my computer data base or my log book I can find the APN for a specific property in a second.
Jo Ann, I like many appraisers use the date of the appraisal as the file number. That way when someone calls me and asks about an appraisal that I did, I can ask when I did it and based on the date go right to it, Many people call and don't have the copy handy so if they can even tell me what year and preferably what month it was I am 2/3rds there.

When they may only remember the address, I have to hunt through the appraisal tracker which is time consuming. The APN does not always help because some properties I do are new and have no APN assigned yet.
And some times I may do the same property over several times, and then the first file gets overwritten by the second, if they are filed by APN, etc. But most people will remember the time frame it was done.

Jim McGrath
 

Dee Dee

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
I keep manilla files, all pre-numbered ready for each order as it comes in. In each file there are two sheets of legal-sized pre-printed forms that I will use on the inspection.
The top half of the first sheet is a checklist that reflects questions that would be filled out on a standard URAR, such as design/style, improvements, site description, basement specifics, Kitchen equip., attic, car storage, etc.... In the middle of the sheet is an area that I use to take notes on improvements, concerns or HOA information, and on the lower portion of my sheet is a graph paper area that allows enough space for sketching a structure up to 60' x 80' (I carry extra graph paper in my truck just in case this isn't big enough). When I drive up to a home that I'm inspecting, I can fill out quite a bit of the information before I ever go to the door, and it serves as a reminder for those little things that I might forget if I didn't have my checklist handy, such as information on the appliances or what kind of ceiling the basement has. It's easy to read as I'm typing the report later because it's laid out so similarly to the URAR.
The second sheet is divided into 6 sections, each providing for information on comps that I've selected before the inspection (note:I always take a complete comp search with me to the inspection because sometimes my original picks won't work after I've seen the subject). Each section in my comp sheet provides space for the address, style, porches and decks, garage, view and location, and of course square footage. I frequently will also make a note of the sales price and year of construction next to the comp.
My next step is locate the subject in my Pierson Graphics map book and make a copy of the page. I then highlight the subject's address and also each one of the comps. This makes it easier for me to figure out the most reasonable driving plan and cuts wasted time zig-zagging around.
The map page, comp page and subject information page all go on my clipboard (map with highlighted subject and comps on top). I give myself an extra half hour or so (depending on the neighborhood boundaries) to allow time for driving by the subject, then going by the comps and taking pictures (if they still appear to be similar to the subject by outside appearances). After the inspection I take another quick look at my comp page and decide if they still fit. If not, I have my comp search with me and choose different ones, or <sigh> I go home and start all over again looking for new comps and make another trip for photos at a different time.
The one thing I love most about that comp sheet is that I don't have to shuffle through MLS info while I'm driving. It's easy to read at a glance, and laid out so that I can simply circle the correct information for each comp (kind of like a multiple choice rather than writing out the information). This is quick and efficient, and not too hard to manage while I'm driving 8O . As I take the photos I also put a number in front of each comp address to show which picture # it is when I download my photos.
 
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
North Carolina
I've found that using an electronic measuring device when interior measurements are necessary is a great time saver. It sure beats stretching the tape across the floor when there is nothing to which to attach.
 

Jo Ann Meyer Stratton

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Arizona
Jim M:
I don't use the APN for my file number. I changed 1/1/02. I had been using 01 for the year, 01 for Jan and then the next four digits indicated the order number for the year. 1/1/02 I switched the last four digits to indicate the number of orders I have done since coming "home", I thought it might be interesting to track that. If I get a later order that is an extension of one done earlier I change the year if necessary and the month but continue with the last four digits. So an original might have been 01010001, the final inspection was 01020001, the retype to a new client 01030001, the update to an appraisal letter 01040001, etc. etc. That way all extensions of the one report are tied together. Where the APN has not been assigned I will use 106-20-028 ? for example because the new parcel will be a split of that parent parcel. Then all the reports and market data is still filed in the same location and can be identified as separate parcels by either the situs address or the owner's name. But the APN ties everything together for that specific area and maybe that specific improvement for future neighborhood or subject data.
 
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