a la mode News

Leveraging your XSite for more, and more productive, business

June 15, 2004

Last week we asked XSite users how they've been evangelizing to their clients to train them to take full advantage of XSites' ordering, status reporting and secure report delivery. We heard a number of success stories.

Free home values online! Business Week reports: Don’t bother

June 15, 2004

This week's Business Week includes a piece on how to get a reliable estimate of the value of your house online. Turns out, you really can't.

Appraisal Institute, with a stake in acceptance of AVMs, promotes their use

June 15, 2004

An alliance of the Appraisal Institute, the International Association of Assessing Officers (subject to its board's approval) and a Collateral Risk Assessment Consortium representing mortgage lenders has been formed to "enable mortgage and other industry players to apply automated valuation models [AVMs] to the mortgage origination process with greater confidence," according to a press release.

Search engine news and views

June 09, 2004

What's new in the world of search engines on the Internet, and how can you get them to notice your agent website? Here are some news, views, tips and tricks.

To open house or not? For many agents, the answer is clear

June 09, 2004

When was the last time you discovered a home's eventual buyer at an open house? It happens, to be sure. But usually, open house traffic — at least the first one you have in a home — is made up of neighbors gauging the competition (or just being nosy) and "tire kickers" who are considering buying eventually but who haven't gotten serious enough yet to make appointments. Besides, with virtual tours and Flash listings, are open houses really worth the effort, potential liability and glad handing with unserious visitors? Of course they are! Agents who still swear by the open house know what to expect, and get a lot out of them.

Put your best face on your website with Flash

June 09, 2004

You have a very limited amount of time to grab a web visitor's attention. The need to present information and impressions in an attractive, interactive way and in a short time led to the development, years ago, of Flash programming. But for years Flash was hamstrung by the size of Flash files — which resulted in much slower downloads — and the fact that you needed a special software program on your computer to see and hear Flash files. With Agent XSites, it's not that way anymore. But a generation ago — in Internet Time — using Flash animation on a website was regarded as ostentatious, a waste of bandwidth and time, something that kept the web visitor from getting to the important parts of the site.

Sites managing more appraisals than ever, faster than ever

June 08, 2004

Mercury Network servers routed more than 1,565,000 appraisal reports in May, the sixth busiest month ever. Our servers have reliably delivered more than 5,167,000 reports in the last three months, an annual clip of more than 20 million appraisals.

Concerns over new URAR aired

June 08, 2004

Fannie Mae released its proposed new 1004 form last week, as you probably heard from us (or from someone who heard from us). Those of you who have gone over it have tended to not like what you see, though you've identified some positives.

Mortgage XSites Websites Debut, Bringing More Leads, Faster Closings and Less Paper to Brokers

June 07, 2004

From the floor of the National Association of Mortgage Brokers Annual Convention and Exposition here, a la mode, the nation's largest provider of software and technology to the people who power the mortgage transaction, debuted its Mortgage XSites websites for mortgage professionals.

HUD, Farm Service Agency appraisal requirements highlighted

June 02, 2004

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) revised its Mortgagee Handbook 4000.2, Application through Insurance, including some changes to the chapter on Property Appraisal and Valuation. Note that this is not the long-awaited revision of HUD's single family appraisal handbook.