Portland Area Real Estate Appraisal Discussion

The Next Big Thing for Real Estate Appraisers
April 29th, 2015 12:19 PM

Portland Appraiser Excited about Surface Pro 4

I am always excited to hear about the newest gadgets for appraisers.  Today is day one of Microsoft’s Build Developer Conference and some exciting news should come out of the show.  Particularly, I’m excited because rumors are swirling that Microsoft will announce the new Surface Pro 4 to be released with Windows 10 later this year (Maybe July).  Surface Pro 4 will likely have more processing power, generate less heat, have more memory, and more screen size options.

Those who regularly follow my posts (or know me personally) also know that I prefer using desktop replacement tablets.  These tablet computers allow field workers to use one device at home and in the field, without the need to maintain, learn, or transfer files between multiple devices.  Prior to the Surface Pro, the only devices with the power of a desktop computer in a handheld device were significantly larger and heavier than other tablets (like the iPad), and very expensive like the commercial Motion Computing tablet that I use today.

With the introduction of the Surface Pro in 2012, things started to change for desktop replacement tablets.  Now, a computer featuring the same chips and memory of many desktop or laptop computers, a penabled screen, and all in a package not much larger than an iPad was available.  However, the first generation of the Surface Pro was launched alongside the Surface RT and Windows 8, both products that had problems and lot of negative press. 

In generations two and three, public perception changed as the Surface Pro was refined.  Today the Surface Pro 3 is being advertised as, “The tablet that can replace your laptop.”  However, I still do not think that the public fully realizes or believes that a laptop or a tablet like the iPad is no longer needed; while others think that the Surface Pro is just too expensive.  My response is, “How much do two devices cost and how much time is spent maintaining, switching between, or learning two devices?”  Thomas Edison said, “Time is really the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can’t afford to lose.”  I think the Surface Pro is a bargain starting under $1,000 and at about $1,300 well equipped.  Take a look at this video showing the Surface Pro 3 in action as a desktop computer with multiple monitors.

Did I leave anything out or do you want to join in the conversation?  Let me know in the comments below.

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Thanks for reading,

Gary F. Kristensen

Thank you Gary. This is a topic I will be looking into with great detail after I am a State Certified Residential Appraiser. A high functioning Portland Appraiser needs to be educated with the best technology available.

Posted by Lucas on April 29th, 2015 1:03 PM
Thank you for the comment Luke and for being my technology model. ;-)

Posted by Gary Kristensen on April 29th, 2015 1:08 PM
Gary; Loved this. Love to learn more about your setup. Which Motion tablet are you using? Did you get the docking stations locally or order it? What about your car set up....looks interesting. Love to learn more about this. How much time do you think you save overall using this configuration. Dave

Posted by Dave Smith on April 29th, 2015 1:14 PM
Dave, thank you for following. I am using the Motion J3500 and it is no longer made or available. Motion now makes a tablet similar to the Surface Pro called the R12. However, that tablet is twice the cost of the Surface Pro and with the release of the Surface Pro 4, will not be as powerful. The Motion R12 does however have great docking systems and rugged features that make it attractive to appraisers. If you have not already, go to my YouTube channel and watch my video called 3 Steps to Mobile Appraiser. You can also copy and paste this link https://youtu.be/05D3T4VS6sY . Let me know if you have any more questions, I am always happy to help and share my experiences.

Posted by Gary Kristensen on April 29th, 2015 1:38 PM
You're always on the cutting edge. Thanks for the heads-up. I need to make this switch at some point.

Posted by Ryan Lundquist on April 29th, 2015 2:01 PM
Thank you for following Ryan. If you're thinking of a change, I would wait for the release of Windows 10 if possible. It is much easier to change operating systems at the same time as the computer.

Posted by Gary Kristensen on April 29th, 2015 2:05 PM
Gary, thanks so much for the news on SP4 running Windows 10, excited. I recently purchased a super computing PC running 8.1 only because Windows 10 was just around the corner. Appreciate ALL you do to help us. Bill

Posted by Bill Cobb on April 29th, 2015 6:01 PM
Thank you for the comment Bill. Are you saying that you have concerns about Windows 10 and want to stay with Windows 8.1? What I've been hearing in the a la mode appraiser beta testing group is that Windows 10 is fantastic and working well for the early users.

Posted by Gary Kristensen on April 29th, 2015 6:11 PM
Gary; I recently signed up with DataMaster and found that it is saving my 40-60 minutes per report. Do you have any experience with that, and if so, does that change anything you do with your mobile computing? Dave

Posted by Dave Smith on April 29th, 2015 11:17 PM
Dave, I'm glad to hear that DataMaster is working for you. However, for me, DataMaster did not save that much time off my process and the price is very high. I already have software that does the 1004MC and I use a la mode Total with its built-in import and clean feature. Additionally, I have an excellent office staff that cleans the data and points out discrepancies to an extent that is greater than DataMaster. If I did use DataMaster, that would not change my mobile computing. The purpose of mobile computing for appraisers is to input data into a computer while in the field and not need to spend that thirty or more minutes inputting data when returning from the field. Also, mobile appraisal allows fewer errors and helps me to continue to run my business from the field. If you want to learn more about reasons to go mobile for appraisers, copy and past this link http://www.aqualityappraisal.com/Top+Reasons+for+Real+Estate+Appraisers+to+Go+Paperless+and+Mobile

Posted by Gary Kristensen on April 29th, 2015 11:39 PM
Thanks for all the great information Gary. I have a feeling I'm about to spend some money on upgrades.

Posted by Rob Meadows on April 30th, 2015 2:09 PM
I'm excited for you Rob. Let me know how it goes and happy appraising.

Posted by Gary Kristensen on April 30th, 2015 6:39 PM
Gary; The local Microsoft store is offering specials on the Surface Pro 3, with free upgrade to Windows 10 when it comes out. Is this the route you would go if you were just starting your mobile computing? What about the desk and car docking stations? Also, your monitors, do you have any size/brand you would recommend. I am just launching my new website www.kansascityappraiser.net, love to get your feedback on it and anything that you could suggest that I should do with it. Thanks so much, and if I can do anything for you, please let me know. Dave Smith

Posted by David Smith on May 5th, 2015 9:40 AM
Good question Dave. I think the Surface Pro 3 is a very good computer and there are some great deals available on it right now. For me, there are a few issues. One is that I would not want to be kicking myself when the new Surface comes out, especially if it has the larger monitor and a chip that does not require a fan. Another issue is that it is much easier to change the operating system when the computer is still new. With that said, if I needed a computer now, I would have no problem buying a Surface Pro 3. Being mobile is so important to my business and workflow that I would spend $1,300 on a Surface Pro 3 if my other option was a month without being mobile.

Posted by Gary Kristensen on May 5th, 2015 9:58 AM
That is one great set up he has. Gary, my only issue, besides the investment, is how durable the surface table is in the field. I would be afraid of damaging it. How has that worked out for you, and how about in the rain? Thanks for getting us up to date on this technology.

Posted by Tom Horn on May 9th, 2015 4:34 PM
Great question Tom. I think the Surface Pro is not as durable as the Motion that I use. The Motion that I use can withstand rain, dirt, and drops. With that said, the Surface Pro is pretty durable (see this video https://youtu.be/WamGptZ1zR4 ), at least similar to an iPad and there are cases available to help protect it even more. With the Surface Pro costing half the price of a similar Motion R12, you could replace it if you broke it and still be ahead price wise. Of course, one should always use a continuous backup service like Carbonite incase the unthinkable happens.

Posted by Gary Kristensen on May 9th, 2015 5:59 PM

Posted by RICK MILLER on July 25th, 2015 10:20 AM
great video, thank you for sharing your mobile experience, one question what is the program that you use to draw the floor plan?, it does the lines straight by it self thank you again

Posted by anthony on May 23rd, 2016 12:27 AM
Hello Gary, I appreciate the information and video here. I'm residential for many years and have not gone with mobile apps. because I did not want to have 2 platforms to have to bring together to complete and deliver a report. Now, I want to be able to complete most if not all of the appraisal on the road and see the Surface Pro 4 as the solution. Can you recommend a set-up for someone like me? My main concern is being able to reliably and accurately do the sketch and work in the actual form while at the property. I also am concerned about getting photos shot and loaded as seamlessly as possible. Thanks.

Posted by Sean Kiernan on March 12th, 2017 2:13 PM


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