Firm Turns To Digital Appraisals

    GRAND RAPIDS — Great Lakes Appraisal Co., a commercial and residential real estate appraisal and consulting company, has announced the launch of an interactive appraisal report CD-ROM.

    According to Todd Schaal, CCIM, who is Great Lakes’ CEO, the firm is the first commercial real estate appraisal company in southwest Michigan — and possibly even the Midwest — to offer commercial appraisal reports on CD-ROM.

    “This easy-to-use and environmentally friendly product has been available to the public since late July 2003,” Schaal said,” and we’ve already received extremely positive feedback from many of our current clients.

    “Many of our clients were trying to find space to store 150-page, three-ring-binder appraisal reports in areas that were already filled to capacity,” added Michael Cerny, “so we delivered what we consider an effective solution.”

    Cerny — along with Matthew Provot, also of Great Lakes — developed the CD-ROMs.

    Provot said the CD-ROM is user-friendly and that its graphically enhanced auto-play report is compatible with most IBM-based desktop and laptop computers.

    Some features of the appraisal report CD-ROMs are the ability to self-start, a brief company introduction, and interactive menus with links to the appraisal report table of contents.

    Cerny and Provot said the CD-ROM also includes appraisers’ qualifications in Adobe PDF format, e-mail links to the appraisers and support staff, an instructions menu, online status updates for other pending reports, ability to instantly order a new appraisal report and a link to the company Web site.

    Schaal said the innovation has enabled Great Lakes to solve clients’ spacing issues, to speed appraisal turnaround time, and to lower costs.

    “And the materials cost of producing appraisal reports in CD-ROM vs. three-ring binders is a savings of approximately 68 percent per completed report,” Schaal said, “not to mention the environmental advantages of utilizing discs vs. bond paper.”

    Schaal further explained that the realized savings will allow Great Lakes to expand its business and increase local market share while keeping competitive rates.

    The firm is headquartered in Grand Rapids with branch offices located in Canadian Lakes, Holland, Kalamazoo, Lansing and Muskegon.

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