The commercial real estate appraisal software reviews provided by experienced appraisers who have been using various report writing solutions are excellent sources of information for appraisers who are just planning to start using an automated report writing program, but don’t know which one to choose. If you have been using a word processor, spreadsheets and databases available from multiple sources and you would like to integrate and automate as many of the tasks related to the preparation of appraisal reports as possible, here are the types of information to look for in online software reviews that compare the options.
The Type of Platform
Commercial real estate report writing programs come in two versions: desktop programs and web-based applications. If you choose a desktop program, your provider will probably require you to sign a contract, then you will have to download and install the program on your computer (or on your computers, because many programs can run on multiple devices simultaneously). Web-based platforms are used online – you can access the features and the functions of the platform from any device connected to the internet using your username and password and your work be safely stored in your user account as well.
Prices and Fees
Appraisal software reviews usually provide information related to fees and prices as well. Desktop programs usually need to be purchased paying a one-time price, updates and support being offered either for free or for a small fee, while most cloud-based application come for a small monthly fee that includes support and automatic updates as well.
Look for detailed reviews that provide information related to features and functions. Try to figure out what features you need, such as support for narrative reports, photo management, access to databases, customization options that allow to create templates for consistent reports that use your preferred layout, fonts, your logo and other components that make your reports stand out, the option to create PDF reports or presentations. Look for a solution that comes with mapping options – automated linking to zoning maps, flood maps, geocoded street maps and other maps is a very useful feature that will save you lot of time and energy.
Look for a Free Trial
Use online software reviews to have an idea of the available solutions, but make the final decision based on your own experiences. Most software providers offer demo versions of their products that allow you to use their software for free for a specific amount of time, usually for a week or a month. In the case of desktop programs, you will have to download the program on our computer to be able to test it, while cloud-based platforms can be tested after requesting a temporary user account. Most demo versions offer full functionality, but some providers might limit the features available with their trial versions, so pay attention to that detail as well. Be prepared that testing the software might take some time, so try to pick a period when you are not very busy for the testing, so that you can really focus on the testing process.