Appraising the State of Appraisal Reviews

Expert Perspectives: Covius-Service 1st SVP of Valuations, Pete Gianfrancesco

Published May 26, 2021


Pete Gianfrancesco is the SVP of Valuations at Covius (Service 1st).

Given a shortage of homes for sale, rapidly rising property values and more borrowers looking for 2nd homes, what trends or insights is your Chief Appraiser Mark Cassidy seeing?

PG: Our panel is definitely observing short-term pandemic effects with inventory at historic lows and new construction fueling inflation in the cost of materials in many market segments. More people are relocating to the suburbs or exurbs and even to another region, while other first-timers are hoping to buy their first home locally. These factors and others are pushing prices up. Trends and conditions change, and technology certainly helps appraisers be more efficient and accurate with their valuations. However, the basics of home valuation still apply – considering existing sales, sales activity, listings, inventory, comparable home features and market dynamics and, of course, being diligent about location similarities and age of comparisons. At Covius, we ensure our professional appraisal panel is not only experienced in Field Reviews but is also knowledgeable in the subject property’s local market so that our clients are getting the most accurate appraisal verifications possible.

An integrated AMC is a best practice for quality control companies, yet QC companies cannot rely on technology alone. What more are your clients asking of Service 1st?

PG: Our clients appreciate that we have an experienced quality control team delivering accurate and reliable products to their QC teams. We start with an appraiser panel of knowledgeable Field Review professionals, and our team assigns orders based on local market knowledge, competency and consistent quality. When the Review Appraisal is returned, our QC team has a full suite of technology tools to validate the finding – geo-spatial mapping (where you’ll find RR crossings and busy streets noted), local MLS listing and sale data, broker notes and more. In essence, our tools enable us to validate the validation, which provides our clients with additional peace of mind. Of course, technology can’t replace human expertise, so when there are special requirements, such as additional sale comps and listing comps, our team also double-checks the findings to make sure the review appraisals comply with specific client requirements.

In addition to technical expertise, we put service first (hence the name). Our clients prefer a partner that understands their business and unique needs/requests. This starts with a well-defined engagement letter, frequent updates on order status/timing and confident delivery and question resolution. Every client has a single point of contact, with back-up, who learns their people and business. Our team has a reputation for answering phones and returning emails. Of course, our clients also appreciate our competitive pricing and quick turn times.

How has the Covius-ACES partnership/integration progressed since its inception? What are the benefits to using an integrated AMC for Field Reviews in the QC process?

PG: Once the integration was in place, we immediately received inquiries from over a dozen clients and have begun a relationship with many more since then. I think this speaks to the value the client receives through ACES. The client orders a review through ACES, it transmits directly to our system and is automatically returned to ACES for easy review by the client. The client also receives status notifications along the way to assure efficiency and no constant checking to see if an order is received or completed. Ordering and receiving the Review couldn’t be easier and we appreciate how the ACES integration eliminates the friction for our mutual clients. As it relates to getting set-up to order reviews: from the Service 1st side, we respond to any client outreach within one business day and introduce them to their dedicated service manager. Of course, I try to meet as many of our clients as possible too.

Looking ahead, our parent company, Covius Solutions, offers solutions that span the mortgage lifecycle. We intend to add additional services through ACES’ technology platform and give our clients more choices. (

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