Whether you’re a seasoned real estate agent looking for a new income stream or getting started in your career and want to gain new skills, property data collection is a great opportunity to meet your goals. It’s a fairly new service offered in the real estate industry, but it’s becoming more widely sought after, so we’re providing an in-depth look at everything you need to know to see if becoming a property data collector is right for you.
What is property data collection?
Property data collection is a standardized process in which a trained third-party data collector gathers essential information and takes photos to document the property. Then, the data and photographs are drafted into a report and shared with the mortgage lender or a real estate appraiser to complete a desktop or hybrid appraisal.
So how did this come about?
Prior to 2019, mortgage lenders could either require a comprehensive property appraisal to determine the accurate market value of a property, or they could waive it entirely. In all but extremely rare cases, they required the property appraisal to mitigate risk and ensure they were making a lending decision based on the property’s fair market value. But around 2019, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac found that delays in property appraisals were slowing down the loan origination cycle and needed a solution beyond a full appraisal or nothing at all. They created three new options to fill in the gaps:
- Desktop appraisals
- Hybrid desktop appraisals
- Property data reports
All three rely on accurate property data collection which is why there is such a growing need for this service.
What does a property data collector do?
A property data collector performs a physical inspection of a requested property, documenting information including:
- Building materials used, such as the exterior cladding, type of flooring, or roofing
- Type of foundation
- Floor plan details like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms and measurements
- Additional property elements, such as outbuildings
- Utility connections such as whether the property relies on municipal water and sewage or a well and septic system
- Physical safety issues or structural integrity issues with the property
They log the information and support their observations with photographs of the property. The app used in property data collection can even pull the data into diagrams to create floor plans. Once the inspection is complete, the collector completes a property data report and submits it to the appraisal management company (AMC) or mortgage lender.
Are property appraisals and property data reports the same?
Property data collection is very much a “fact-finding mission,” and the report only includes observed information – no opinions, judgements, or analysis.
On the other hand, a property appraisal must be completed by a licensed or certified appraiser with comprehensive education and experience. They go far beyond the basic facts and provide in-depth analysis, comparisons, and judgements to determine the true market value of the property.
Who becomes a property data collector?
While there are minimal barriers to property data collection, this role is most often completed by:
- Real estate agents seeking an additional form of income
- Trainee appraisers who want to get more comfortable with working in the field and inspecting properties
- Photographers who would like to expand their skillset
Is property data collection a full-time job?
Typically, property data collectors work on an as-needed basis, so this is an excellent way to boost your income without overwhelming your schedule.
How to get started in property data collection
All property data collectors must pass an annual background check and are trained to meet specific GSE requirements. At McKissock, we’re developing a live-streamed, six-hour course that provides you with the comprehensive knowledge you need to succeed. Based on the official Property Data Collection User Guide1 from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, this course covers the expectations of a Property Data Collector and the data points you will capture on a site visit. We also provide you with the “soft skills” that you’ll need, including information on how to stay safe in the field and how to communicate with homeowners. An added bonus is a “leave-behind” reproducible for your use that explains what property data collection is and how it differs from an appraisal!
Kick off a new opportunity with our Property Data Collection course
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