Founded in Metro Detroit, Dart Appraisal started out by mainly serving our home state of Michigan. In the company’s early years, Founder and CEO Darton Case struggled to generate local business because many ties between lenders and their appraisers proved too strong to sever. In need of alternatives, he was determined to get enough out-of-area jobs to build a business. By 1995, the company had expanded coverage across the state of Michigan and began looking beyond its borders.
Early on, Dart relied on both a fee panel of independent appraisers, as well as staff appraisers who were direct employees of the company. Dart also employed trainee appraisers, who were able to complete in-field inspections (reports still had to be signed by a credentialed appraisers).
As the decade rolled on, it became apparent to Case that his sophisticated clients were regional or national – this is where he wanted to take his company. In 1998, he and his team began recruiting a panel of qualified appraisers across the nation. When at least 70 percent of a state’s largest counties were covered by available, licensed appraisers, the company would add that state to its coverage area. Slowly, state by state, Dart Appraisal was becoming a nationwide provider.
Our appraiser panel is one of the major factors that differentiates Dart from our competition. We’ve spent 25 years developing our panel, and are proud to have one of the industry’s most experienced panels of appraisers. All of our appraisers are licensed and have over 1,000 appraisals experience, which translates to roughly 5-8 years of experience. That’s our minimum. Most of our appraisers have more than 3,500 units experience.
97% of Dart’s orders are handled by a group of roughly 4,000 appraisers, although we have nearly 8,000 approved appraisers on our panel to ensure orders in even the most remote locations can be processed in a timely fashion.
Dart places a strong emphasis on appraiser loyalty. Our team makes regular relationship-building phone calls to our panel. Dart also hosts in-person events across the country to meet appraisers in their local markets. We survey our panel annually to measure their satisfaction levels with Dart, and also ask for their feedback and suggestions on how we can best work together.
While the large majority of our orders are fulfilled by independent contractors, in 2017 we began onboarding staff appraisers in key markets to assist with service levels. Moving forward, we will continue to hire additional staff appraisers in areas where turn times are trending up.
Dart also wants to bring innovation, ideas and funding to the industry to help solve the looming appraiser shortage. It is important that we continue to have fully licensed, local appraisers who know the market. Later this year, we’ll be rolling out a comprehensive program to not only use supervised trainee appraisers to fulfill orders, but also to attract interest in the appraisal profession and help new appraisers succeed.
We believe that at the end of the day, every business relationship comes down to people. We want our appraisers to enjoy working with Dart, and building relationships with our panel is something we will focus on in perpetuity.