frequently asked questions
What is AI Ready™?
AI Ready™ is a certification given to forms software packages certifying that they comply with the Appraisal Institute's residential data storage and transmission standard. All software and Web interfaces consistent with the AI Ready™ Standard can be marked with the AI Ready™ logo (under appropriate license/use agreements), indicating they can read and write to the same standard XML format.
Before the creation of the AI Ready™ Standard, there was no industry standard for either appraisal transmission or storing appraisal data. FNC's Open Appraisal Document Interface (OADI) was designed as an interface specification for the transfer of proprietary appraisal data formats into the open AI XML (part of AI Ready™) standard and vice versa. The interface provides appraisal document software companies with a simple process for translating their data into the standard format (through a common application programming interface (API)).
With several years experience, most mortgage lenders, appraisers, and other real estate professionals have already seen that appraisal data becomes more useful as it is standardized across the many software platforms used by appraisers and other appraisal service providers. Use of the AI Ready™ Standard ("AI Ready™") has allowed appraisers and others to work comfortably within their favorite appraisal forms software, yet transmit their appraisals in an open standard non-proprietary form that is readily accepted by their lender clients.
Are there any potential disadvantages to using AI Ready™ (or for that matter any data standard, such as the MISMO standards for appraisals)? No. But, don't forget, the standards are data standards, they focus all of their efforts on preserving the data itself and not as much on the presentation. For appraisers who favor using custom fonts and formatting, that formatting is not included in the data itself (such as bold face, italics and so on), much as when a highly formatted e-mail is sent to a BlackBerry® user, who sees only the words, but not the formatting. Every character is preserved-so no one is misled, but the special formatting disappears.
Appraisers who wish to preserve the formatting of their presentation always have the option to transmit their appraisals in the Portable Document Format (PDF). (Note: Appraisers should check with their clients prior to submitting a PDF; some lender clients require submission of files using the AI Ready™ Standard.)
What are the OADI Envelope Uploader and OADI Downloader?
The Open Appraisal Document Interface, or OADI, allows forms software to communicate with a "middleman agent." The middleman is software provided to forms software companies by FNC that translates to and from the common AI Ready™ XML format. OADI also provides communication interfaces with FNC's Collateral Service Portals (AppraisalPort®, Data Express, etc.). The OADI Downloader brings your orders from AppraisalPort directly into your software. Subject and comparable data from the National Collateral Database (NCD) can be downloaded directly into your forms software as well. The OADI Envelope Uploader uploads reports in the AI Ready™ format through AppraisalPort and back to your clients.
Who uses AI Ready™ Certified Forms Software?
Since 2001, all major providers of appraisal forms software, multiple vendor management firms, and most major mortgage lenders have adopted the AI Ready™ Standard. For a list of form vendors and the supported AI Ready™ forms software, please visit https://www.aiready.com/vendormatrix.asp.
As a result, thousands of appraisers routinely deliver their appraisals to their clients through AppraisalPort® using AI Ready™.
How do I become AI Ready™?
Your forms software provider will have the updates necessary to make your software AI Ready™. Typically, this is simply a file you download from your software provider's Website and install on your computer. For further information on updating to the AI Ready™ version of your forms software please contact your forms software provider directly.
Is AI Ready™ safe?
Yes. AI Ready™ technology forms a secure link between the appraiser and his or her work product. The data in the appraisal report is the same data the appraiser entered into his or her appraisal using his or her favorite appraisal forms package. The data itself is not modified or separated from the total report. Since appraisers are most concerned about their reports at the point they transmit them to their clients, appraisers using AppraisalPort® have a special viewer available to them to see their appraisal before they are asked to send it. While every AI Ready™ upload requires the use of the Uploader, appraisers have the option to use the viewer or not. Many have opted to bypass the viewer since they have had ample experience that their appraisals are accurately represented.
How does AI Ready™ Handle Signatures?
Some appraisers have heard that in the AI Ready™ process the signature is being separated ("stripped") and their appraisal is no longer "secure." This is incorrect. Again, appraisers can assure themselves that their signature is present by viewing the appraisal before they send it through AppraisalPort.
Depending on the appraisal forms package the appraiser uses, when an appraiser is satisfied with his or her work, he or she "signs" the appraisal using the process provided by the forms package. In some forms packages, if the appraiser goes back to change something, the "signature" is removed and the appraiser must "re-sign." This assures the appraiser that whatever he or she has signed has not been altered. After that, the appraiser either creates an AI Ready™ file or a PDF for delivery through AppraisalPort to his or her clients.
Of course the appraiser does not physically sign the appraisal in the traditional manner: pen to paper, "affixing" the signature permanently to the paper. When a computer affixes a signature on an appraisal, it does not take a photograph of the appraisal with the signature on it. It stores the "signature" in a logical place in the computer file, however that electronic signature is indicated, for example: date/time stamp, a coded series of characters, or an "image" of the signature such as a "jpeg" image (the same format used for most photographs). It stores all of the other data in the appraisal, along with the photos, maps and other components, the same way. When the appraiser or client then looks at (or prints) the appraisal, the computer reassembles those components into the signed appraisal with which we are all familiar. That is true whether the signed appraisal is saved in the forms package, in a Portable Document Format (PDF), or in AI Ready™.
How does AI Ready™ Help You Keep Your Appraisals Secure?
What keeps the appraisal secure is not the format but whether anyone can interfere with it between the time the appraiser completes his or her work and "signs" it and the delivery of it to his or her client. Since the appraiser has complete control over how he or she creates the appraisal, then converts it to an AI Ready™ file or for that matter a PDF, the only gap is in the delivery. To eliminate that gap, the Uploader hands the appraisal directly to AppraisalPort, which only transmits the appraiser's final work product through a secure connection with the appraiser controlling each step in the process: upload, viewing for accuracy, delivery to AppraisalPort, transmission to the appraiser's client. This means your appraisal data is always protected.
What happens when the appraiser clicks "ok to send" from AppraisalPort?
AppraisalPort performs a few quick technical checks of the appraisal files the appraiser has just uploaded (scanning for viruses and checking the file type) then transmits the appraisals directly over a secure channel to the appropriate lender client, in strict accordance with the client's instructions. The client then stores, manages, and processes those appraisals on its collateral management computer system as part of its loan origination and servicing processes.
Does AppraisalPort keep a copy of your appraisal after you send it?
As part of keeping your appraisals secure, AppraisalPort keeps a copy of the appraisal long enough to assure that it was actually delivered to and properly received by the client (we all know that computers are not perfect). After the audit period, it is deleted. It is never shared with anyone. No data is stripped out, separated, or used for any other purpose.
Occasionally an appraiser will find that his or her signature does not appear properly in the viewer in the Uploader for AppraisalPort. This is not an AI Ready™ issue, but has to do with how that part of the process is set up by the appraiser inside the appraisal forms package.
FNC's Customer Support can help with this issue or any other issue you might have.
Is AI Ready™ USPAP compliant?
Yes. The AI Ready™ Standard is in complete compliance with USPAP. It was developed by the Appraisal Institute in association with FNC as a benefit for appraisers, recognizing the importance to all appraisers of USPAP compliance.
With respect to the use of a data standard, the most important concern for appraisers (outside the quality of their work, of course) is to be sure their prepared appraisal is delivered to their clients without alteration. The mechanisms in the Uploader and AppraisalPort that manage the process for preparing and sending AI Ready™ certified software versions of appraisals give appraisers a chance to view their work as it will be seen by their clients through the viewer in the Uploader. This includes the signature portion of the appraisal. That way, the appraiser can be assured that their work is being delivered intact to their client and is not somehow misleading.
But what about the changes in format? As described above, data standards such as AI Ready™ or MISMO preserve all of the data, but do not preserve any special formatting, such as bold face, italics or unique fonts. USPAP addresses this question directly in the comment to Standard 2: "STANDARD 2 does not dictate the form, format, or style of real property appraisal reports. The form, format, and style of a report are functions of the needs of intended users and appraisers. The substantive content of a report determines its compliance."
Still, appraisers who are concerned specifically about that part of the presentation of the appraisal and how it might better reflect their intent always have the option to transmit a PDF version of their appraisal instead. AI Ready™, while preferred, is entirely optional with AppraisalPort. Remember that some lender clients do require AI Ready™ files. Check with your clients to be sure.
How do I upload my file in the AI Ready™ format?
The OADI Envelope Uploader User's Guide provides in-depth, step-by-step instructions on how to use the OADI Uploader. The guide covers the initial setup of the OADI Envelope Uploader, how to create and apply a filter when uploading to Data Express, how to upload your AI Ready™ report to your client, as well as uploading appraisal report data to the National Collateral Database (NCD).
What does "downloading" with AI Ready™ mean?
Downloading is the secure electronic transfer of order information from AppraisalPort directly into your appraisal report. AI Ready™ automatically imports all of the entered client order information directly into your appraisal report, so you no longer need to re-key. In addition, your AI Ready™ forms software package gives you seamless access to industry leading comparable and subject property data. The data you choose to download automatically populates whichever AI Ready™ form you choose.
How do I download order information from AppraisalPort or subject and comparable data from the National Collateral Database (NCD) into my appraisal report using AI Ready™?
The OADI Downloader User's Guide covers importing appraisal order information from AppraisalPort, as well as importing subject and comparable data from the National Collateral Database (NCD), both directly into your AI Ready™ forms software.
What is AppraisalPort?
AppraisalPort is a secure, Web-based work site where appraisers receive orders, send completed reports and communicate with their clients. It is an integrated component of a complete and unified collateral management system that FNC markets to mortgage lenders.
AppraisalPort is a tool that will help you - the appraiser - to improve office productivity, lower costs, speed turn-times and build a more integrated business relationship with your lender clients.
For more information on AppraisalPort, please visit http://www.appraisalport.com.
Questions about AI Ready™, AI Ready™ certified software or AppraisalPort?
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OADI Downloader User's Guide - (0 kb)
The OADI Downloader User's Guide will provide you with in-depth, step by step instructions on how to use the OADI Downloader functionality of AI Ready™ . This guide covers importing appraisal order information from AppraisalPort directly into you AI Ready™ forms software, as well as importing subject and comparable data from the National Collateral Database (NCD) directly into your AI Ready™ forms software.
OADI Envelope Uploader User's Guide - (314 kb)
The OADI Envelope Uploader User's Guide will provide you with in-depth, step by step instructions on how to use the OADI Uploader functionality of AI Ready™ . This guide covers the initial setup of the OADI Envelope Uploader, how to create and apply a filter when uploading to the National Collateral Database (NCD) in addition to how to upload your AI Ready™ report to your client through AppraisalPort and how to upload your appraisal report data to the National Collateral Database (NCD).
AI Ready™ Invoices Guide - (994 kb)
The AI Ready™ Invoices Guide provides you with in-depth, step by step instructions on how to send your invoice in the AI Ready™ format. This guide includes the steps involved in sending an AI Ready™ invoice for each of the forms software packages that currently include an AI Ready™ invoice as well as the steps involved for completing and sending an AI Ready™ invoice directly from the OADI Envelope Uploader.