This Startup Is Changing the Way Real Estate Appraisals Are Done, And It’s About Time
By Maggie Wilson @ Real Estate Daily
March 22, 2018

Bowery Valuation is a real estate startup founded by Noah Isaacs and John Meadows with the goal of automating the way commercial appraisals are done. Both of the founders have experience working at an appraisal firm in New York where they were made aware of how antiquated and time consuming the appraisal process is.

Some key features of the Bowery’s platform are that it will instantly provide public record data for appraisers, the comps that are normally lost are now saved forever and are searchable, and appraisers can navigate the user-friendly interface to show why the property they are appraising is better than a comp. While this startup is still in its early stages, it’s planning to expand and help the real estate industry across the nation.

Key Takeaways

  • Bowery Valuation is a young company out of New York that’s striving to improve the appraisal process in the real estate industry.
  • The company has received funding from Cushman & Wakefield, it received an accelerator program from MetaProp, and it recently hired as their chief appraiser a VP from CBRE.
  • Bowery Valuation provides automatic data for appraisers as well as an app so that information can be checked off rather than having to be written down.
  • The company sells a white-label version to banks and lenders, and is hoping to expand to other large U.S. cities in the near future.

Excerpt

[Bowery Valuation] just raised $5 million in seed funding, including from Cushman & Wakefield. In fact, the real estate giant is now using the startup’s technology to automate and optimize the entire appraisal process, allowing its appraisers to provide multi-family valuation services (meaning for apartment complexes) at a much larger scale for the first time.

The valuation and appraisal piece of real estate has remained largely unchanged over time. Appraisers trudge through properties, scribble down details, snap pictures and complete a painstaking analysis afterward that includes visiting more than a dozen sites to collect information about taxes, zoning and land use.

Bowery was able to hire a VP from CBRE, the biggest commercial real estate company in the country, to be its chief appraiser. It also plugged more resources into its offering, which includes a mobile app that let’s appraisers tick off items, rather than write everything down.

It automatically pulls in public record data so appraisers needn’t surf the web to find what they need. According to Meadows, once an appraiser has entered in a property, all subject-level data is right at his or her fingertips. Another feature, they say, is so-called passive databasing, meaning that rental and sales comps that are often lost today are saved forever and can be easily found via a map-based search.

The company is using natural language generation to help its appraiser clients produce reports. “Instead of writing the same paragraphs time and again,  you click and check boxes to explain why a property is better than a comp — whether it’s because it’s on a corner or has high ceilings or proximity to public transportation,” says Isaacs.

Like any other appraisal firm, Bowery bids on properties, often winning its bid, it suggests, because it’s faster and more affordable than traditional options. (Typically, the appraisal fee for an apartment complex in New York costs between $3,000 and $4,000; Bowery says it charges roughly half.)

It also has ambitions to expand nationally in the not-too-distant future, first to L.A., then possibly to Boston, Chicago and Washington, D.C., if everything goes as planned.

View the original article at Tech Crunch

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