When Dart opened its doors in 1993, we were pasting real photos onto reports with real signatures, and sending physical copies of reports out to our clients. As digital cameras, the Internet and Pentium computers emerged in the marketplace, Founder and CEO Darton Case recognized the advantages in turn time that technology could offer. In 1995, Dart was one of the first AMCs to offer a website for appraisal orders. Case encouraged each one of our panel appraisers to invest in a digital camera, and when they couldn’t, he loaned them the money to do so.
By 1996, Dart became one of the first AMCs to produce and ship reports with digital pictures and signatures, yet the final documents still had to be delivered in hard copy format. Dart invested in huge commercial printers stocked with extra RAM memory to print out 2 sets of appraisals per order. Dart incurred weekly costs into the thousands to overnight reports to its clients, not only to increase speed but also for tracking purposes.
It took several long years to get the digital appraisal process adopted by the main stream. All three pieces – digital photos, digital signature on the appraisal, and digital transmission of the appraisal – had to happen at the same time, without any breaks in the chain.
Dart developed our proprietary system, Darto, in 2001. The company has invested millions of dollars into Darto since its inception, and it remains the engine behind all of our processes today. In 2002, Dart began integrating with Loan Origination Software (LOS) platforms, allowing lenders to seamlessly order and receive appraisals through their everyday operating system. In early 2009, Dart developed an online platform specifically for mortgage brokers called DartExpress. This platform streamlined the appraisal process for brokers while maintaining compliance with the Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC), which became effective in December 2008.
Dart continues to invest in technology to better serve our clients, brokers, appraisers and team members. We’re directly integrated with major LOS platforms (view our current list of integrations), and are continuously improving those integrations to provide the most efficient client experience possible. Darto is constantly evolving to improve efficiencies for all parties. As our system is proprietary, we are able to quickly make changes to support individual clients’ requirements. Personal service is one of the hallmarks of Dart Appraisal, and a main reason we are able to provide that great service is the superior technology supporting all of our processes.
Dart also recognizes the critical importance of information security. Preservation of confidentiality, integrity and availability of information is a key driver for our company. We build and maintain a secure information technology infrastructure, based on the world’s leading security framework ISO 27001, through the deployment of control processes, technologies and security awareness. We also voluntarily undergo regular Service Organization Controls (SOC) audits.
Technology will always be a driving force for Dart Appraisal, and we are committed to providing agile, robust and secure systems. In the first part of 2018, we’re implementing the largest system change project in Dart’s history. Nicknamed “Project 827,” this project is a sweeping workflow change that will increase efficiency by 25%. This major workflow enhancement includes multiple additional “catches” to ensure every file is managed to our specific SLAs. Project 827 will provide Dart the capability to handle much greater volume with the same seasoned staff.
We’re also currently enhancing our assign process through a new integration. Appraisal orders will be scrubbed against national property information data before they are assigned, which will help steer complex properties towards the most qualified appraisers. This integration automatically identifies multi-unit dwellings, rural/acreage homes, and large GLA properties. By identifying these properties up front, our system can send the assignment to appraisers experienced with complex properties. Additionally, the appraisal assignment will include property information from the integrating including number of buildings/units, property type, bedroom and bathroom count, and more.
Our intelligent QC review tool, Dart iQ, continues to evolve. Dart iQ can be run in addition to our manual audit, and reviews over 2,400 rules from up to 1,200 data points. Dart iQ can be customized to client requirements, and has reduced client corrections up to 50%. Our team is constantly refining Dart iQ to make it as efficient as possible.
Dart will also be focusing on mobile-driven technology, especially as it relates to increased mobile access for appraisers. As more and more work is done on mobile devices, we want to make sure our panel is able to provide order updates from the field.
Technology is the engine behind almost everything we do, not just here at Dart but in our industry as a whole. We will continue to invest and develop technology to provide the best experience for our clients, brokers, appraisers and staff.