Appraisal management company Clear Capital is looking to beef up tech tools for its network of appraisers, and it is doing so through an acquisition.
The Reno, Nevada-based company just closed on the acquisition of Finnish proptech startup CubiCasa this week. The two are well acquainted – Clear Capital already utilized CubiCasa’s digital gross living area technology.
The partnership will allow CubiCasa’s automated floor plan sketching technology to integrate with Clear Capital’s ClearInsight Platform, a mobile property data collection application.
CubiCasa’s mobile capture technology collects data through a walk-through of the home, which it then uses to create a floor plan sketch and calculate the GLA. Accuracy in these calculations is imperative as square footage is the second-highest driver of a home’s value — location is the first, Clear Capital said. The calculations reached by CubiCasa technology are aligned with American National Standards Institute standards and the technology can be used without prior training by anyone with a smartphone.
According to Clear Capital, companies can easily embed CubiCasa’s technology into their existing applications through APIs and mobile SDKs.
“What they’ve already built can serve as an industry utility to help modernize the valuation industry, and we’re excited by the additional innovations our investment can bring to the product,” said Jeff Allen, executive vice president of innovation labs at Clear Capital, who has stepped up to become president at CubiCasa. “We think there’s major change coming to our industry in years ahead, and we want to help lead it, not just react to it.”
In the past year alone, Clear Capital has rolled out several new products including ClearCollateral Review, a review system that automates collateral underwriting in compliance with internal credit policies and GSE guidelines, and ClearLabs, an in-house innovation lab.
The appraisal-valuation space has seen quite a bit of mergers and acquisitions and disruptions in the last year.
Earlier this month, appraisal management company Class Valuation, a subsidiary of investment firm Gridiron Capital, acquired Kansas City, Missouri-based Pendo Management for an undisclosed sum. Class Valuation also has digital floor plan capabilities.
And United Wholesale Mortgage, America’s largest wholesale lender and the second-largest mortgage lender overall, announced on Sept. 9 that it will no longer require its brokers to use appraisal management companies to complete appraisals. The lender will instead coordinate appraisals in-house, contracting with appraisers directly, offering appraisers and brokers a way to bypass AMCs altogether, which UWM CEO Mat Ishbia characterizes as “middlemen.”
The AMC sector is not without controversy, as HousingWire examined in an investigation in. Appraisers have said that AMCs — which became ubiquitous as a result of Dodd-Frank — introduce inefficiency into the appraisal process, degrade their working conditions and cut into their pay.
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