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Locked files.......am I missing something?

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Mike Seward

Thread Starter
Senior Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Florida
Last Friday, I received a call from a client ( major Southeast bank) telling me that a report I had sent on a $1.8 mil home had "too many pages and too many pictures". The caller asked me to re-send the report "unlocked" so they could delete the unwanted pages. I said no, violation of USPAP, etc. He said he would never change anything without telling me. I said "maybe not, but you COULD; the answer is NO." He said most other firms send them unlocked files.

Monday, I received a call from another client (another major southeast bank) asking me to send all future reports unlocked so they could rearrange the order of the pages if needed.....similar conversation, same answer, no. He also said most other firms send unlocked files.

Yesterday, I received a call from a third major southeast bank/client, (this caller is a client that I talk to daily and know well.) She was calling to tell me there was a minor typo in a report I had just sent and said "since you send locked reports, we can't fix it and have to ask you to fix it and resend the report." I said "wait a minute. Do other firms send you unlocked reports?" She called over to her 4-5 co-workers and came back and said I was the only firm that sends locked files.

This was the third call in three days. Am I missing something?

Mike Seward in Tampa.
 

BigBlueGA

Junior Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Georgia
Missing about 3 calls to the state boards.. that's all...
 

larryhaskell

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Nevada
Mike,

Your also the only appraiser that doesn't hit every value, ignore health and safety issues, complete a 442 when the property isn't finished, and the only one not putting your license on the line but they won't tell you that. Stand firm.
 

Ross (CO)

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
Mike, After I apply the electr. sig. as last step to finish a report it becomes "locked" (ACI). As one goes to view the report, or if I go to look at it again, I too am faced with the need to use my password, should I want to edit my report. No password, no edit, once signed. As well, I have taken the steps to print out for my own workfile any "extra" pages which are part of my developed report but which are not needed by the client, ie. extra comps gridded and photo'd, maybe another map page, order page. I may likely delete the very extra pages that are not in my final report after I have printed them. If additional comps are needed I can fax that page. It has been so very long since I have been asked for additional comps that I do not anticipate that happening. I then arrange all the forms in the logical sequence they would be in were it to be a printed hardcopy sent by regular mail. All the client must do is open the attachment of the report and then print as is and that is just the way it should be. Any small typo error on our part is certainly unfortunate as we generally feel that we have corrected those in our proofing of the report, but they do occasionally happen. I am certain the reader can see the letter flip-flop or the adjacent keyboard letter we meant to hit and the meaning of our word or sentence in the report is not lost and sure as heck not misleading. I will gladly correct a misspelling if brought to my attention and then re-send. Their need to rearrange your pages in printing the report is very easily resolved --- print them all, shuffle them in any order they want and then staple. Very simple ! If our ability to "lock" is really, and I mean really, secure, then one feather in our cap for taking a little bit of control over our product.
 

Nancy in Friday Harbor

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Washington
Hi All,

Please do remember that just because you "locked" your report in your primary software (ACI, SFREP, etc), if you print that file to Adobe Distiller/Writer (ie convert to .pdf), you have to LOCK IT AGAIN!!!!

Unless you go into "Document Security" in Adobe, the recipient can change anything they want.....type in new numbers, delete/reshuffle pages, etc. I've run into several appraisers who were unaware of this fact. I'll bet the majority of those "unlocked" files they are getting is the result of appraiser ignorance of their software. Which, I agree, is absolutely no defense.

It's another step in the rush to "get that thing outta here", but necessary.

Cheers,
Nancy
 

Ross (CO)

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
Nancy, could you ofer a liitle more about the "lock it again" stuff. Last week I sent out a report as e-mail attachment to first-time client, through normal local I-net/e-mail provider and learned that this party could not "open" the attachment. (Another main client who receives in the same manor has no problems) I was asked to reformat to PDF, which I did as my first PDF'd request, and sent file and again they called to say they could not open the attachment. Last option was print hardcopy and send out with their FedEx account. Have not heard back since and it should have arrived on Monday. I do not recall having to "lock it again", and offered no prompt for that. Does conversion to PDF automatically un-lock anything which was locked before ? If they actually did receive and could open the PDF'd report, and perhaps were able to make any changes, I am left wondering why the request to print hardcopy and incur their expense to send. When I am done with this reply to you I will go back into that report and look for the "Document Security" option you mentioned. Clearly, I know there is much more to learn about all aspects of my software and its complimentary support features, ie. Adobe. Thanks.
 

Nancy in Friday Harbor

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Washington
Ross,

First of all, I have Acrobat 5.0.5 -- so, if you have another version, the process may be different.

Second, I don't personally use the absolute highest encryption/security level available, because if someone wants to change it that badly, they'll find a way. :roll:

Third, when I print my appraisal report from SFREP to my "PDF Writer Printer", I ALWAYS turn on the feature that numbers the pages. That way, "1 of 22" "2 of 22" is on every single page. Harder for someone to play funny with the report.

So print to PDF Writer or PDF Distiller, dpending on your appraisal software. Then get out of your appraisal software & open Adobe. To use the Document Security function of Acrobat, first open the appraisal file in Adobe (not your primary appraisal software). Make sure everything is in the Adobe file that you want there, ie proof read it.

Then click the "File" button at the top left corner.
Go down the list until you get to "Document Security". Click that.
A window will open saying "No Security". You get a choice of "No Security", "Acrobat Standard" and "Acrobat Self-Sign". I pick "Acrobat Standard".
Then you get asked to choose those things you want to control:
No printing; No Changing; No Content Copy or Extraction; No Adding or Changing Comments and Form Fields.
Needless to say, I check all except No Printing.
I have also checked the encryption level for Adobe 3.x & 4.x. Maybe I should force my clients to download Adobe 5.x, but I haven't.

Then SAVE the report. You then attached the .pdf report to you email, and away you go.

If any of you computer gurus out there disagree with the way I'm doing this, please be gentle. 8O But I'd appreciate your suggestions.
:)


Nancy
 

slacker

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2002
Ask them what pages and pictures they want removed. Remove or re-arrange them yourself and re-send it.

Locking the file makes it more difficult for changes to be made but doesn’t guarantee it won’t be changed. If someone really wants to change a report it can be done with little effort. Electronic signatures are not fool proof. Who knows how many crafty LO’s might be out there with their own appraisal software? Anyone with a scanner can pull your signature or pictures off any report and place them where ever they want.

An instructor once told me he sent everything Fed-x singed in ink. If it wasn’t in ink, it wasn’t from him. At the time I thought he was crazy, I’m revisiting that thought now.

I usually don’t have problem sending un-locked files. If something ever comes of it, I always have the original that can be compared to what ever changes might have been made.

http://www.appraiseillinois.com
 

Mountain Man

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Georgia
In Adobe 4.0, the "lock" feature is done when you "save as" in a file. You print the report to Adobe, click "save as". At the very bottom of the window is a drop down "security settings" button. Click on the button to set security settings to "standard", then click on the last three choices of Do Not Allow: Changing the Documtent, Selecting Text & Graphics, Adding or Changing Annotations. Set the "security settings options password" (use something you can remember, but not obvious), confirm the password and click ok to save.
 
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