As I have worked with appraisers, I have noticed a common fear that computers and algorithms will eventually replace appraisers altogether. I can understand the fear especially as technology is becoming more and more advanced. To some extent, big data has already replaced appraiser roles, but I believe appraisers are, on some level, ultimately irreplaceable.
Computers can only use algorithms to predict price. However, they cannot distinguish between price and value. Appraisers look at value in a way that cannot be determined by a machine. For example, big data cannot tell if the house is trashed or if there was something wrong with the financing. Additionally, a computer will likely be unable to evaluate houses that are unique, at least in any credible way.
However, technology and algorithms are changing the appraisal world, and that can be understandably scary. Rather than becoming paralyzed with fear, it is important that we use it to inspire positive change in our own businesses.
Big data is not the future, it is already here. For example, if you are using an MLS system, then you are already incorporating big data into your appraisal process. Algorithms can help you be more accurate in interpreting this data. Embracing technology and marketing yourself as an irreplaceable element of the appraisal process with help insure that you are successful as technology use increases. I believe that the appraisers who will ultimately thrive in the future will be those who are able to adapt to change and incorporate big data into their appraisal businesses.
For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode: 258 Big Data and Asparagus