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A la mode, inc., a market share leader in the appraisal technology sector, has announced its “UAD Reader” product. UAD Reader is a free desktop tool which allows anyone to open, view, error-check, and manage appraisals in the new “UAD” MISMO 2.6 XML format. It works with any UAD-formatted appraisal, regardless of which software was originally used to create the report.

According to the company, UAD (Uniform Appraisal Dataset) is the appraisal format designed and required by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and adopted by FHA as well. All GSE-destined appraisals as of September 1, 2011 must be in strict UAD format. FHA has announced it will require UAD after January 1, 2012.

The UAD specification standardizes both the technical XML file structure as well as the particular words, number formats, and abbreviations that appraisers are allowed to use in the report. Some industry members will find UAD appraisals to be hard to read and understand as a result of the new terminology, but first they have to be able to view the reports on screen at all, which is harder than it seems.

The problem is basic and unavoidable, as Dustin Moore, president of a la mode’s Real Estate Solutions Division explains. “Appraisals are now delivered as ‘.XML’ files, not as ‘.PDF’ files, so anyone in the entire workflow chain will start encountering documents they can’t open, or which look like gibberish on screen,” says Moore. “UAD Reader solves that problem, plus others.”

According to the company, with a la mode’s UAD Reader, anyone double-clicking a UAD XML file gets the embedded PDF on screen just as they’re used to seeing, along with a variety of appraisal document review and management features. It not only allows the user to save the PDF out separately, it also shows the XML appraisal data in a handy visual “split screen” mode.

Beyond the visual display of the appraisal, the UAD Reader also verifies that the appraisal file passes the GSE’s tightly defined rules. Any errors flagged are hyperlinked to the actual GSE descriptions of what the form field should contain, and the offending data is also clearly highlighted on the form. For lenders or AMCs, this makes it easy to request revisions from the appraiser. For the appraiser, it allows errors to be caught before sending to the client in the first place.

With an appraisal on screen, several different UAD Reader communications tools streamline the client delivery process. Lender staff, as well as any real estate agents who encounter UAD files, are given a convenient “Send to Borrower” e-mail function which not only provides proof of receipt to comply with Dodd-Frank timely disclosure rules, but also includes a “How to Read This Appraisal” guide explaining the abbreviations, formats, and conventions of the UAD report. The delivery also ensures GLBA compliance by not attaching the files directly to the email. Borrowers follow a coded link, providing both security and an audit trail.

Due to a la mode’s direct integration with the GSEs’ Uniform Collateral Data Portal, or UCDP, lenders and AMCs can also submit the UAD appraisal report to UCDP from within the UAD Reader. The report is automatically pre-checked for any UAD rules compliance before it leaves the UAD Reader. Careless mistakes such as accidentally submitting the wrong XML file are also eliminated since the report is clearly displayed on screen at the time.

For appraisers, the same functions allow them to send the report to any lender or AMC using a la mode’s free DataCourier service, regardless of the brand of software used to create the report. DataCourier sends the client a GLBA-compliant email, provides access to the XML and PDF, and also routes the client to the links for convenient installation of UAD Reader itself.

By having UAD Reader at both ends, appraisers and their business partners can quickly discuss any issues while seeing the exact same XML data on screen. Since the XML data is checked by the GSEs for compliance errors, the content of the XML itself is not a tangential issue. Quickly drilling down visually to particular XML fields is a critical time-saver.

UAD Reader runs on any modern Windows PC, but also taps into the power of a la mode’s massive Mercury Network cloud-based appraisal management and review infrastructure. DataCourier is a la mode’s zero-configuration slimmed down “skin” on the robust Mercury Network SaaS backbone. Lenders and AMCs can migrate from DataCourier to a full Mercury Network configuration in just a few clicks, with no loss of data and no account fees.

UAD Reader is a free download, available at www.alamode.com/UADReader.

For more information, visit www.alamode.com.

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