Online appraisal services looks to expand, receives Start Garden investment

Scott Packer's big idea is really just a simple one. Make the process for homeowners to purchase a non-lending home appraisal cheaper (as much as 50%)  and easier. "The idea came from the real estate meltdown. For non-lending appraisals, I've created a process that is much easier than through banks."

Packer and his partner, George Laidlaw, have been building the online business, Appraisal150.com for three years. Relying on sweat equity, hustle and personal funds, Packer had enough success to pursue additional investment and mentorship from Start Garden, where the staff deemed the venture worthy of a $5,000 investment.

Appraisal150 is a network of home appraisers, accessed via Packer's website, who perform non-lending appraisals for Appraisal150 customers. "At first glance, it looks like I am undercutting the market. The going rate for appraisals is $350. But once you get into it, we just simplified the process for appraisers. Everything is automated and taking less time." Packer explains that the paperwork on typical appraisal can be daunting and time-consuming.

Parker says that non-lending appraisals are used in a variety of circumstances, such as divorces and bankruptcies, where a fair value of the house is needed. He also says a non-lending appraisal can help a homeowner get more value from their house during the sales process, sharing an anecdote about a time when one of his appraisals came in substantially higher than a real estate agent's recommendation. Subsequently, the house sold at the higher appraised amount and both the homeowner and real estate agent benefited.

With the Start Garden funds, Packer says he will upgrade his site, add better search engine optimization strategy and test his concept in the Lansing market. He says the results are already very positive and he'll share the final numbers at his update night.

To learn more about Appraisal150, you can visit the site here.

Writer: John Rumery, Innovation and Jobs News Editor
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