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What's Your Beef About Your Work?

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1963jag

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Lack of quality software that incorporates a database with report building software. There are a few companies that do it, but they are far from efficient.
In your opinion, what do they lack?
 

NachoPerito

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In your opinion, what do they lack?

They are small companies with a limited budget for programming. Narrative1 is one example, they have a database you use for comps that is pretty bad, which they are dismissing for a new web-based database system that has way too many glitches so far. They also have an excel to word setup that autofills areas of the report, but it has its issues as well. It also isn't very customizable. and Narrative1 is regarded as the best so that tells you about the quality of some of the others.
 

Terrel L. Shields

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I am not clear what "database" information is so vital and time saving that one could not create their own.
I vet comps and save by state, year, and type. I have a template that I fill out of each comp.
Then I transfer that information to a grid as needed. That takes about 2 minutes. My tables in my report calculate so bingo, I am done.

The report is a keyboard merge which jumps from place to place allowing you to type, run a macro, or insert a file.
 

NachoPerito

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I am not clear what "database" information is so vital and time saving that one could not create their own.
I vet comps and save by state, year, and type. I have a template that I fill out of each comp.
Then I transfer that information to a grid as needed. That takes about 2 minutes. My tables in my report calculate so bingo, I am done.

The report is a keyboard merge which jumps from place to place allowing you to type, run a macro, or insert a file.

I have a sales and rental database with a few thousand comps in excel with 10 fields +/-. That is the easy part. The advanced version is a database system that is (1) web-based and shared among colleagues with up to 100 fields that (2)automatically creates full writeups that you can embed in word (3) has the ability to filter and search by map to find your 5 best comps. I do not have the savvy to do any of this myself and Narrative1 doesn't have a good method yet either. The only one I can do right now is filter and search my big excel database to narrow down the sales so I can pick my five best from the 20 available.
 

Terrel L. Shields

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Arkansas
How broad an area are you serving? I rarely have more than 100 comps in any given year between bare land, commercial and rural properties.

A shared database would be different but personally, t can't recall not picking most of my comps by simple memory or in a unique property, I will have to find the comps from the public record or MLS, then work them up and add to the database. Some comps get used several times, most get used once, perhaps twice, and that is all.
 

NachoPerito

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My area is pretty tight at 900 square miles (30x30) for most property types. I add 200-250 sales per year to my excel file and 200 leases. When I want to look for sales for an office appraisal, for example, I will have a few sales on top of my mind, but I will pull up the latest 20 office sales in my excel document to get a visual. Then I will go to three sources online to find more sales to add to the excel document. After choosing five I retype the information in the Narrative1 comp grids to get full writeups and that takes me 30 minutes per comp.
 

Terrel L. Shields

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Arkansas
My area is pretty tight at 900 square miles (30x30) for most property types
Our entire MLS coverage is basically the NWA MSA and that stretches from Berryville, AR to Kansas, OK, and from Pineville in S. Missouri to Ft. Smith - an area of about 60 mi. x 60 mi. or 3,600 Sq miles. We had 173 sales in the past year incl. everything from a converted house on the highway to large industrials. But the actual dynamic of those properties are concentrated around Bentonville, Rogers, Fayetteville, and Springdale, while the rural towns I work probably represent only 20 to 30 of those sales.
 

PL1957

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Illinois
This is a great example of why there isn't a standard reporting technology. Needs are dramatically different and the depth of the market won't support multiple options, especially when Word/Excel offer a viable alternative. That's why Argus dominates the dcf side - not because it's good software, but because the market isn't deep enough to justify a competitor.
 

RebelNYC

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Aug 6, 2009
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
District of Columbia
I am not clear what "database" information is so vital and time saving that one could not create their own.
I vet comps and save by state, year, and type. I have a template that I fill out of each comp.
Then I transfer that information to a grid as needed. That takes about 2 minutes. My tables in my report calculate so bingo, I am done.

The report is a keyboard merge which jumps from place to place allowing you to type, run a macro, or insert a file.

You've demonstrated some luddite tendencies in the past Terrel. You work in a market and with a product type where volume is low, and repetition is infrequent.

A database, by its very nature, even if not integrated into any other system, insures data integrity. You confuse the term "database" with "I have my data in a way I like". They are not the same. With a modern database, every record and its multitude of variables and associated data has historical records attached. You can see who entered it, when it was changed, etc. It can be used for statistical analysis by directly accessing it with programs like SPSS.

Excel can also link to a database to pull appropriate record data as necessary and populate whatever analyses you wish.

Now, if you're working with 20 comps a year for your farms, then yes. this is perhaps not necessary.

Here in Washington, DC, I have stored over 800 comps of various types in the past year, and that doesn't include hundreds upon hundreds of condominium sales that I have not saved in database as we do not have one yet.

As has been said by the Appraisal Institute for a very long period of time, our goal is to become arbiters of data who rely upon statistics for our adjustments and market analyses.

The days of using your appraisal expertise to simply make up adjustments is coming to an end. Qualitative adjustments will work in many cases, but it is my understanding that in these days of agribusiness, farms are subject to the same kinds of analytical methods. How many chickens or heads of cattle can be raised? How many bushels of wheat?

The market for farm real estate in this case is very much regional, so there should be ample data beyond what you are using.

This is the future of appraisal.
 

Terrel L. Shields

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Arkansas
With a modern database, every record and its multitude of variables and associated data has historical records attached
Nothing keeps me from incorporating data I generated in the 1990s. I still have sales write ups from the 90s. Yes, I work with a limited data base. But what data after 5 or 10 years has any serious meaning? I mean do you use the same cap rates you used 25 years ago? Have the buildings not changed in that time frame?
The days of using your appraisal expertise to simply make up adjustments is coming to an end
Which means what? I didn't make up my adjustments then. I don't now. But there are things that are simply too sparse to quantify. And if I cannot monetize the database, why am I doing it? To create learned charts to display to my buddies? I work to eat. I try to work as efficiently as possible. That means I try to keep costs low, while generating higher priced work. They pay me for my opinion, not my software. So does the database allow me to work faster AND monetize that into cash in my pocket? Or simply to do a lot more work for the same end dollar?
 
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