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Software Recommendations

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Rob Lentz

Thread Starter
Junior Member
Joined
Nov 8, 2005
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Michigan
Hello Forumites.

I have been using Appraisal Studio by United Systems (now Zaio) for residential software for several years. When it first came out I felt it was very good software, but is now IMO not on par with ACI, WinTotal, or ClickForms.

Used to not matter because I didn't do enough residential work to make it cost effective to switch.

The situation has now changed (my residential volume is up and accounts for about half my invoicing) and I'm considering a switch, so I'm looking for your input.

A few years ago I did some vendor management work, and they provided ACI. So I've used that. I liked how you could be writing in the addendum and still view the sales matrix, etc. on like a split screen. I felt, however that the image handling was sub-par and there were other things I did not like either.

Wintotal was offering a free trial, but I didn't really try it out because I don't have the time to create an appraisal that I can't send off to a client. I think it was not a fully un-locked trial period like clickForms offers. I like the idea of being able to see all my comparables at once since I often have 4+ and also a couple of active listings, too.

ClickForms had a full(working) demo that I used to create a report or two last summer and it was OK. Some features I liked...such as the pricing ($50/month), the picture interface (being able to additional text anywhere you want, even ON the picture). On the other hand it seemed to be deficient in the text overflow/canned commentary functions.

My dilemma is that I know I'm not real happy with Appraisal Studio, I know there's better out there. The trial offers expire too quickly to really get a full understanding of a software's strengths and weeknesses, or (in the case of WinTotal) there is no full working trial that would make testing the software also productive in my workload. I don't have time to be counter productive.

So, I am looking for your recommendations. If you've tried more than one software for residential applications, what do you recommend? What do you like about X vs. Y? If it matters, I'm still running XP and not planning to go Vista anytime soon. I'll just upgrade RAM and HD space for the next year or two.
 

Michigan CG

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Joined
Nov 1, 2006
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Michigan
Rob, I use and like ala mode, but have not used other softwares. One thing to consider is the support, especially in recent months, that the owner of ala mode has shown the residential appraiser in these trying times and the amount of effort he has put forth to stop unfavorable legislation that would harm the residential appraisal profession.
 

Mike Garrett RAA

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
I, also, am a Wintotal fan. Have used a couple others long ago and found them to be quite inferior. Tim also hit it on the head, Dave Biggers, the owner of Alamode works hard for us.
 

GCJim

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2007
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
New Jersey
FWIW,
I had used ACI and Day One Nova before switching to WinTotal Aurora (alaMode). I used to like ACI (as a software product) until I sensed their 'political persuations' toward the AMC's. Nova was OK, but I never was crazy about it. WinTotal is a great product, very robust, and I'm glad I made the switch. As a bit of a bonus, alaMode owners/management tend to have a 'bias' toward the individual working appraisers. There is a bit of a learning curve with WinTotal, may have TOO MANY bells & whistles, is expensive, imho, but a great product.
Good Luck!
 

Karl

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Arizona
Dave Biggers has supported Appraisers more than ALL the other Sofrware programs combined. Every time anyone sends money to united systems you have supported Zaio. I too had United Systems cause the company I had previously worked for had Win Total & I had to be sure I was completely distance from them, so I went to United but, for less than 1 year. I had to change back to win total cause United was bought by Zaio.
 

Jill Kinnaird

Junior Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2005
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Ohio
Having been using Alamode for 12+ years. Investigated using others but they could not surpass the total ease of use or support with Wintotal.
 

Rob Lentz

Thread Starter
Junior Member
Joined
Nov 8, 2005
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Michigan
Thanks Tim, Mike, Jim, Karl and Jill.

I think you all make a good point...I've been impressed with Mike Biggers and his efforts to support the independent appraiser through this HVCC process, his grassroots approach to disseminating information and making it easy for busy (and concerned) professionals to act and have our concerns be heard. It sounds like a pretty favorable report for WinTotal.

Now, does anyone have an extra $1800 laying around? (haha!)

Or via the Income Approach:
4 kids + married + braces = 1 busy and cheap Appraiser

Have a good day!
 

Tucson Appraisals

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2007
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Arizona
Thanks Tim, Mike, Jim, Karl and Jill.

I think you all make a good point...I've been impressed with Mike Biggers and his efforts to support the independent appraiser through this HVCC process, his grassroots approach to disseminating information and making it easy for busy (and concerned) professionals to act and have our concerns be heard. It sounds like a pretty favorable report for WinTotal.

Now, does anyone have an extra $1800 laying around? (haha!)

Or via the Income Approach:
4 kids + married + braces = 1 busy and cheap Appraiser

Have a good day!

I have four licenses for ACI, now I wish I had spent the money on Aurora (alaMode) because I took some online seminars and it WAY WAY WAY out-does ACI.

Anyone want to trade 4 license of ACI for one license of Aurora (alaMode)? hahaha

-Aaron
 

Mztk1

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2006
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Florida
I've been using Total for a long time, 16 years maybe. I used DayOne and ACI along the way. Nothing has ever outpreformed Total. I know one person who switched to ACI and prefers it. I can't imagine that with me though. Also, the cost of Total is high but by the time you get all the add ons with ACI that you need and Total sells out of the shoot, the price is about the same, maybe even a little cheaper through Total.

Trust me, 4 kids, one wife, a dog, 2 cats, 2 kids needing braces, a high mortgage and a snake that hasn't eatin in 3 weeks is killing me. I seriously wanted to switch to ACI when I got my renewal bill of $1,800 this year for Total. Once I priced ACI and adjusted some things, Total ended up being the better deal.
 

David Molenaar

Sophomore Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2004
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Michigan
Try some of the online demo's for ACI or alaMode. It always amazes me how many functions that the software has to offer, but most appraisers do not take the time to use most of the functions. As a ACI user for 20 years, I swear by their product. However, which ever one you choose, take the time for the take any online learning as it will make the change much easier for your.
 
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