How Pre-Appraisal Tools Improve the Home Appraisal Process

If you’re a mortgage loan officer and not taking advantage of pre-appraisal tools, your clients could be paying the price with higher fees and longer turnaround times. Read on to learn why pre-appraisal tools are the perfect solution for providing a better borrower experience and, for loan officers, how these tools can expedite the process with quicker closing times.

What Are Pre-Appraisal Tools? 

These tools are a set of technology resources that have been developed by Kairos Appraisal and are designed to accomplish the following four things:

  1. Provide a more accurate home evaluation tool using actual comparable sales from appraisers for sellers, buyer’s agents, and loan officers before the official appraisal is ordered. 
  2. Provide a guaranteed fee to loan officers and the customer so we can eliminate unhappy borrowers and the loan officer potentially having to redisclose.
  3. Create a more satisfying transaction for all parties. At Kairos, we call this the “better borrower experience.”

A Look at the Benefits

For homeowners and home buyers, the tools offered on Pocket Appraisal, Kairos’ innovative hybrid website, give them a realistic value of the home they’re purchasing or looking to refinance. Plus it provides an estimated fee, expected turnaround time, and pocket comps—all before the appraisal is even ordered. 

Once it is ordered, the borrower can provide all the information they want the appraiser to see (cost of upgrades, new construction plans, photos, etc.) at the click of a button. This helps expedite the process and ensures that the appraiser is armed with the information they need to produce the most accurate report. 

For the loan officer, simply put, our tools provide a better borrower experience. Loan officers that utilize Pocket Appraisal’s tools have access to guaranteed fees and experience quicker turn times, more accurate reports, and higher customer satisfaction. Our online reviews speak for themselves: You can click here to have a look.

Smart Tools Pair Up with the Loan Process

The speed of the loan process has increased greatly in the past 10 years. Borrowers today who apply for a mortgage can be approved in two hours and get a clear to close in 24 hours. However, the appraisal process hadn’t caught up…until now.

Kairos leverages technology and data analytics to bridge the gap, bringing the process up to speed and current with today’s loan process. 

Pocket Appraisal’s Powerful Tools

Pocket Appraisal’s tools use real-time analytics and technology to provide realistic fees and turn times, so there are no surprises or unrealistic expectations for any of the parties involved in the mortgage process. Read below to learn more about the specific tools offered.

Guaranteed Fees 

Other appraisal management companies may also guarantee their fees. But they typically do this by taking their standard fee sheet, raising all the prices by 20%, and covering the difference if the appraiser’s fee comes back higher than their guaranteed fee. This results in higher fees across the board for customers.

The Kairos difference is that we leverage our Guaranteed Fees tool to determine the most accurate fees, property by property. These are real fees from real appraisers who are invested in this opportunity and want to help you and your client complete the transaction.

By guaranteeing fees on an individual basis, we can keep costs down for the borrower and prevent any unexpected add-on charges that might hurt your relationship.

Pocket Comps 

The Pocket Comps tool gives the borrower and loan officer a realistic home value expectation based on real comps by real appraisers. 

Consider this scenario: A homeowner comes to you to do a cash-out mortgage refinance and thinks their house is worth $1 million because that’s what Zillow says. They go into the appraisal expecting it to be valued at or above that, and you have structured their deal based on that value. 

What happens when the home ends up being valued at $925,000? They’re not happy, you’re not happy, and it could potentially cost you the deal. 

This is where Pocket Comps comes to the rescue. It manages expectations from the beginning (even before the application) by providing a list of comps that will lead to a realistic value. This ensures that all parties are on the same page right from the start. 

A Better Borrower Experience 

Involving borrowers in the appraisal from the start leads to higher customer satisfaction, and our Pocket Appraisal tool is designed to do just that. Our comprehensive intake process (which includes technology and some pretty rad humans) helps borrowers maximize their value and prepares them for the process ahead of the inspection. 

Whether the information is provided by the borrower or their real estate agent, it gives Kairos insight on the property from their perspective, including if the home has any nuances. We can then immediately communicate potential issues to the appraiser and confirm that they are competent to handle the appraisal. 

If they’re not, our process provides the opportunity to find the appraiser who is the best fit for that property. Having a heads-up on such issues also allows us to communicate to the borrower if additional information is needed from them to comply with their home loan requirements. 

Thanks to our comprehensive intake process designed to create a better borrower experience, we get advance notice of potential problems that can arise and can tackle them head-on so there are no delays. 

At a minimum, this new process gets the borrower engaged, makes them more committed to closing, and makes them less likely to shop their loan around with other mortgage brokers. 

Kairos’ Innovative Solutions

While most borrowers wait until the appraiser contacts them to engage in the process, our pre-appraisal tools put your clients steps (and days) ahead.

Based on the analytics and real-time information Kairos can pull from Pocket Appraisal, we are able to pick the most competent person to provide a guaranteed fee, conduct the appraisal, and deliver a quicker turn time. This ultimately creates a better borrower experience.

By educating and preparing the borrower for the appraisal, home inspection, and potential values, we have dramatically improved the borrower experience and are delivering reports more efficiently than ever before.

Watch this video to learn more about Pocket Appraisal and why our team felt it was so important to fix the process. 


At Kairos Appraisal, our 4.9-star average customer rating is a tribute to our customer service, technology, and our talented team. For more information about the appraisal home buying process, click here to read additional articles.

Alex Todak