InsightsExperience efficiency gains by automating quality control review for valuations

An automated appraisal system: from scheduling to quality control

ServiceLink aims to build efficiency, accuracy and transparency into the appraisal process: from start to finish. The process starts with ServiceLink connecting the borrower or their real estate agent with the real-time calendars of local appraisers. This process allows them to select the exact date and time of their inspection appointment – within minutes. Ultimately, it shaves days off turn times by eliminating back and forth associated with scheduling. But the efficiency gains don’t stop there: lenders working with ServiceLink also increase efficiency through our automated quality control process.

How can lenders make the appraisal review process more efficient?

Appraisal reviews have traditionally required lenders to have a team of underwriters in place for the time-consuming task of poring over data to ensure accuracy and completeness. An automated platform built to accommodate customized rule and data sets can save a lender that expense, while also getting borrowers to the closing table much more quickly.

“We can lift much of the burden from the lender by partnering with them to share their collateral underwriting requirements. We can build an underwriting platform that replicates their ruleset and collateral underwriting process. If we need to adjust or modify as we go, we’ll do that. If we need to add new data or leverage different data as part of the review process, we’ll do that as well,” explains Matt Woodhouse, managing director of valuations at ServiceLink.

Natalie Bowman, vice president of valuations at ServiceLink, adds, “Our goal is to provide one-touch, underwriter-ready appraisals. Once we complete our quality review process and submit it to the lender, they don’t need to review the report because we have mirrored their QC process through our robust process.”

Our process includes running automated rules, collaborating with appraisers to address any issues identified during that process and submitting appraisals to the UAD and EAD portals when requested. ServiceLink also pulls an AVM, an automated valuation model, on every report, to compare this snapshot of the home’s value with the value presented in the final appraisal report.

How does the appraisal review process work?

Bowman explains, “Once the appraiser uploads a valuation, ServiceLink runs more than 3,000 automated rules including completeness and consistency checks, data formatting, USPAP requirements, state requirements, license checks, fair lending requirements, and any client-specific guidelines. The system flags any issues that need to be addressed by the appraiser. Once those issues have been satisfactorily acknowledged or revised, we submit the valuation (with client approval) to the UCDP or EAD portals. Those results help us tailor our review and determine whether a manual review is required.”

What if manual review is preferred or required?

ServiceLink’s manual reviews are conducted by analysts with specialized areas of expertise, which are governed by our underwriting platform's user profiles, resulting in orders being routed to the most qualified analyst based on property type, value CU score, lender preferences, etc. During the manual review, our proprietary underwriting platform provides the analyst with a range of tools, including electronic maps that offer aerial as well as street views to help them evaluate the property location and external factors that may play into the valuation. Research data provided by Black Knight Financial Services enables underwriters to evaluate comps based on a variety of attributes: GLA, lot size, bed count, bath count, etc.

“We address every aspect of quality control pre-delivery so our lender partners can have complete confidence in every valuation,” Bowman says. “Based on month-over-month and year-over-year reporting, we’ve validated that this process works and lenders have realized the benefits of our process.

Bowman offers an example of a lender who has reaped substantial rewards from ServiceLink’s automated quality control review process:

This lender had experienced challenges working with other AMCs on automated review, because those companies weren’t able to customize their collateral underwriting process to mirror the lender’s process. When they came to ServiceLink for automated review, we worked with their quality team to understand what their underwriters look for. They gave us a full checklist, along with permission to submit to the UCDP portal, which enabled us to gain those extra insights that are critical to addressing issues in pre-delivery. We were able to cut post-delivery issues in half (the rate has consistently held in single digits month-over-month), and the lender was able to reduce their underwriting team by half.

“The lenders who work with us have seen firsthand that they can rely on our work to the point of forgoing their own internal processes and controls. Why should they spend time doing the exact same thing we can do for them — with exceptional speed and accuracy?” says Woodhouse.

Interested in learning more about ServiceLink’s valuation products? Explore the valuation services section of our website, read about our commitment to appraisal modernization, or fill out the form below.

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