Google Glass: A Useful Tool for the Real Estate Appraisal Industry? Envision this!

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Google Glass Blog

A new technology, Google Glass, is on the testing market as a new breakthrough from Google. Google Glass allows “wearers” to use a computer anywhere, hands free. Google Glass is worn as glasses; however there are no lens, nothing except a small computer device with an optical head-mounted display.

What exactly does Google Glass do? Google Glass communicates with the Internet through voice commands. Tell it to take a picture and it will take a picture of whatever the wearer is viewing.  You never need to hold a device again, simply put it on like a pair of glasses and record what you see, and stream what you’re seeing live. Share it on the Internet with whomever you please, right then and there, or for later viewing. Google Glass can also be a useful tool for other purposes – ask Google Glass a question and it will give you an answer. It can also translate languages and provide directions.

How could Google Glass meet the needs of the real estate appraisal industry? Picture this – an appraiser is inspecting a C-Store situated on the east side of a 4-lane, divided major roadway. The store location has restricted access due to a raised concrete median.  West bound traffic does not have direct access to the driveway of the subject property since there is no break in the median. To give the intended recipients of the report a visual feel of the access to the property, and to support adjustments for what may be inferior access in comparison to access features of other properties, the appraiser would record a video clip while walking the boundaries of the parcel recording the traffic and flow patterns. The appraiser could put a “click here” link in the appraisal report for the reader to access a visual. Or, visualize this – a lake home is located on a gently sloping, deep water lakeside lot on a point with an unobstructed 300’ view of the lake and mountains from virtually any room in the home – far superior to any of the comparable sales. The appraiser could record a video clip to capture a panoramic visual of the site and views as support for adjustments made for site and view and put a link to the video in the appraisal report. Can you imagine a final inspection being streamed to the underwriter just minutes before a scheduled closing thus preventing having a disgruntled client and referral source?

Juggling a clipboard or notepad, a measuring tape, a camera and possibly a set of plans can be a challenge for an appraiser – wouldn’t it be a huge benefit to the appraiser to simply give Google Glass the command to take photos or videos of exactly what the appraiser is currently inspecting and viewing?

As it relates to the appraisal industry – I can foresee endless possibilities for Google Glass to be used as a tool to enhance the process. Of course, like all technology – it comes at a cost.   As a lender – would it be worth paying more for an appraisal prepared by an appraiser who used the technology to capture all or part of the inspection? As an appraiser, do you envision Google Glass as being a sound investment in your business? I’d love to hear from you.

A version of this post appeared on “Opinions of Value:”

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