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Import Public Records using Total

Terrel L. Shields

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
May 2, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Arkansas
I often wonder how many of the appraisers that utilize these 'services' of data entry actually take the time to verify all the data.
That is the right question to ponder.

If I need to deal with a lot of MLS data, I go to the excel export but I've not found an efficient way to import directly from the assessor's records - they are text only and then you have the issue of parsing the data which, in turn, means any missing field shifts you to the left on that line.

I don't see any reason to do this considering the total number of comps I genuinely need to do all the reports that i do in a year.
 

Brian W Street

Sophomore Member
Joined
May 17, 2006
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Indiana
That's what I have liked about Alamode from the beginning (the DOS days), they have seemed to be focused on empowering the individual appraiser to compete against larger forces who seem bent on downplaying and/or controlling our vital role in the process and I don't mind them making a profit along with me.
That's what I used to like about them too, now I think that empowering the appraiser is not part of the business plan. Like you, I remember the early DOS days, as a trainee, the firm that I worked at used strictly ACI and I could only wish that I had the cool features of Alamode! The first thing that I did when I got on my own was to change the software, 20+ years later I am still using it, and while I think that the company focus has changed I believe that they are still the best available. Is Spark available in your area? Very nice service!
 

Mike Ault

Junior Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2004
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Texas
Is Spark available in your area? Very nice service!
Unfortunately neither Spark nor Data Master work in any of the areas that I service and show no sign of expanding our way despite inquiries from multiple appraisers. It's quite possible that I might come to the same conclusion that negative posters have regarding these data import schemes however i would like the opportunity to try one before passing judgment. The fact that Alamode automatically hits as many databases as it does for public records regarding the subject is an impressive feat around here.
 

Brian W Street

Sophomore Member
Joined
May 17, 2006
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Indiana
And to think I complain about the local records around here, I can only imagine! I feel for all the appraisers with similar circumstances and I can see where this service if it is priced right would add value. My only objections to it are that like many years ago, maps were added to the software package adding value and reducing my arrow sticker purchases but Alamode didn't charge more for this new feature.
 

NC Appraising

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2006
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
North Carolina
Has anyone tried this "Free" (for now) new tool that Total has?
I have not, so just looking for any feedback from those who have tried it/use it
Thanks


My issue is that I use a tablet and start my report in the field using a template. When I get to the office and upload it, it does not have a option to use this feature to the best of my knowledge. I haven't had the time to contact Alamode to find a answer.

I also use the "import from MLS text file" from within the tool section. Alamode will help you set it up, but I made additional changes that works with my canned fields in the grid. This is kinda like Datamaster, which is not in my area. Below is a example of how it comes out when downloaded. Saves a lot of time. Click to expand. You can customize the below to your likings.

As for your post, I have most of the data "unclicked" as it messes up my canned grid data (porches, patio, garage, amenities, etc. I use the owners name, legal, APN, prior sales (this can get you into trouble also...realist does not always have the prior sales or most recent sales listed....taxes are a year behind..double check with the county always.

That being said, it saves me 1-3 minutes per report, as I already have the county website open and I usually just copy and paste it. It saves Skippy the "I do not verify" the appraiser a bunch a time as realist is all is needed (MLS agent uses realist, so it is not really verifying anything.


1610490871887.png
 

Terrel L. Shields

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
May 2, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Arkansas
I can see where this service if it is priced right would add value.
That's a real problem in rural areas where you have several counties to cover. I live near a state line so I have 2 states and 4 counties within 10 miles of me. And a 3rd state is less than 20 miles away. If I paid for 2 MLS, deeds and records, a compiled county that is 10cents a minute, one that is $30 a month, or $10 a day (24 hour pass) and a service like Spark, well, I'd be broke before I start. Easily run $1000 a month. Not worth it. As it is, I am pushing $250 a month.
 

Mike Ault

Junior Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2004
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Texas
That's a real problem in rural areas where you have several counties to cover. I live near a state line so I have 2 states and 4 counties within 10 miles of me. And a 3rd state is less than 20 miles away. If I paid for 2 MLS, deeds and records, a compiled county that is 10cents a minute, one that is $30 a month, or $10 a day (24 hour pass) and a service like Spark, well, I'd be broke before I start. Easily run $1000 a month. Not worth it. As it is, I am pushing $250 a month.
I'm 100 miles from a state line and still pay for 4 MLS's with questionable online county resources for most of the counties that I cover. If Alamode could aggregate some, most or all that data for me I would be happy to write them a check every month. In any case if we believe the GSE path towards the future somebody's going to have to be verifying all of this for the hybrid appraisals they are trying to pass off on everybody, I don't think the "Inspect and Measure for $100 Field Associates" are going to burn up much shoe leather at the county courthouse verifying relative characteristics and I don't think the "$50 Desktop Guys" plan on wasting many electrons on the phone lines doing much verifying either. Simple USPAP definition changes to "credible", "reliable" and "verified" should do the trick and stop appraisers from impeding commerce with all their antiquated techniques.
 

Terrel L. Shields

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
May 2, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Arkansas
still pay for 4 MLS's
Yipes...We had our MLS combine with the largest in the state- basically 1 MLS for the whole state. It was an absolute disaster. The software at the time was inadequate and within six months, each separated and went their own way.
 

Mike Ault

Junior Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2004
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Texas
Yipes...We had our MLS combine with the largest in the state- basically 1 MLS for the whole state. It was an absolute disaster. The software at the time was inadequate and within six months, each separated and went their own way.
Yes, we have one state database that only covers part of my territory, the rest of the population centers have their own unless the realtors don't get along well enough to form an association and have an MLS. I was able to drop one MLS subscription last year as one of my outlying territories was absorbed into a larger MLS, I personally hope that is a trend that continues just from the aggravation standpoint on my end even though you lose some local control every time that happens which is sad, similar to all your mom-and-pop stores being replaced by Walmart. On the other hand and in the greater scheme of things if all my territories were absorbed into one big state MLS then it makes it much easier on the data miners looking to replace us which will eventually lead to lower fees in the end. I believe it was the esteemed TC whose tagline used to read that appraising was similar to "gathering up nickels in front of a steamroller", I don't believe that scenario has a happy end.
 

NC Appraising

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2006
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
North Carolina
My issue is that I use a tablet and start my report in the field using a template. When I get to the office and upload it, it does not have a option to use this feature to the best of my knowledge. I haven't had the time to contact Alamode to find a answer.

I also use the "import from MLS text file" from within the tool section. Alamode will help you set it up, but I made additional changes that works with my canned fields in the grid. This is kinda like Datamaster, which is not in my area. Below is a example of how it comes out when downloaded. Saves a lot of time. Click to expand. You can customize the below to your likings.

As for your post, I have most of the data "unclicked" as it messes up my canned grid data (porches, patio, garage, amenities, etc. I use the owners name, legal, APN, prior sales (this can get you into trouble also...realist does not always have the prior sales or most recent sales listed....taxes are a year behind..double check with the county always.

That being said, it saves me 1-3 minutes per report, as I already have the county website open and I usually just copy and paste it. It saves Skippy the "I do not verify" the appraiser a bunch a time as realist is all is needed (MLS agent uses realist, so it is not really verifying anything.


View attachment 50564


Per alamode, in the data tab, you can launch it. So I will be using it as long as it is free for elite members. If they charge, it will not be worth it. MLS importer is free and is a much better time saver.

That being said, 95% of my clients do not use mercury or any other plug ins to auto upload data from the engagement letter into the forms. Another factor to consider as I have a template set up for every client and AMC.
 
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