Features and Benefits of VaaS

What you need to know about the world’s highest performance property valuation ecosystem

Patent Protected Solution 

MPAC protected VaaS by patenting its methods and systems for real estate valuation internationally under the World Intellectual Property Organization. Titled “Method and system for real estate valuation”, the Abstract for International Publication Number WO 2016029313 A1 reads as follows: “A method for valuation in heterogeneous real property systems includes extracting, from a legacy property management system, a legacy system property data defined for a target real estate property from a legacy property management system, converting the legacy system property data from a legacy data format to a standardized format to obtain converted property data, and transmitting the converted property data to an orchestrator. The orchestrator queries a valuation tree with multiple property attributes from the converted property data to obtain a valuation model. The method further includes applying the valuation model to the converted property data to obtain multiple valuation results, generating a property value from valuation results, appending the property value to valuation results, and storing valuation results with a real estate property identifier for the target real estate property.”

Innovative Valuation Tree 

The core of the VaaS ecosystem is the VaaS Engine and the ValueR facility.  The VaaS Engine is fueled by three inputs: Property Data; Valuations Models; and the Valuation Tree.  The VaaS Engine receives Property Data, queries the Valuation Tree to retrieve the applicable Valuation Models, executes the Valuation Models against the Property Data and persists the resulting Valuation Results in a Valuation Data Repository.
The Valuation Tree is the essential input into the VaaS Engine and maintains a mapping between Property Data, Valuation Models and Data Preparation Code.  Each Valuation Model has a corresponding Data Preparation Code specified in the Valuation Tree.  The Valuation Tree further maps a set of property attributes to one or more valuation models.  The property attributes may be a subset of attributes of a property.  For example, the Valuation Tree may map residential real estate property to a first valuation model, undeveloped farmland to a second valuation model, warehouses to another valuation model, and so forth.  The primary nodes of the Valuation Tree may be the base year specific valuation models, each of which has associated child nodes for valuation type, locational neighborhood, regional neighborhoods, property type(s), structure type(s), component type(s) and data preparation code.
The Property Data consists of the physical attributes describing the property and the environment in which the property is located that has the potential to affect the value of the property.  The Property Data can originate from any data source including legacy databases or CAMA environments.  The Property Data is standardized for valuation purposes through Data Preparation scripts (native Python) which are under the control of the valuer.  In image #1 in the gallery (Valuation Tree Node Configuration), the Data Preparation script is identified as res_dpm.py. The Valuation Models are native Revolution R equations/scripts.  Valuation Models can contain syntax to value properties using a Direct/Sales Comparison Approach (Multiple Regression Analysis; Cost Approach (Cost Manuals); or Income Approach.  Valuation Models are once again under the control of the valuer. The ValueR facility enables the valuer, through its ModelR functions, to manage/configure the Valuation Tree, Valuation Models and associated data preparation scripts.  Traceability of all supporting documentation and analytics associated with a model is maintained through the ModelR interface. Images 2 through 6 in the gallery illustrate this functionality.

Multiple Valuation Methods and Property Types

The VaaS ecosystem can handle all forms of valuation methodologies including Gross Rental Value (GRV), Unimproved Value (UV), Capital Value (CV) and Market Value (MV). VaaS supports the three approaches to value (Direct/Sales Comparison, Cost and Income).  The VaaS ecosystem is proven effective in valuing all forms of property including residential, commercial, farm, hospitality, large industrial, managed forests, multi-residential, industrial, special purpose and other assets such as billboards, industrial wind turbines, solar panels and more. By illustration, MPAC’s 2016 Assessment Update of over 5 million properties was executed under VaaS, utilizing the three approaches to value as appropriate across its various property portfolios. Since many properties have a multiplicity of components (e.g., a farm may include land, farm structures, a residence and a retail storefront), VaaS supports the application of multiple valuation models on a single property or component. Modellers can test and iterate models to determine the optimum valuation approach and aggregate valuation results, all the while maintaining a record of data lineage.

Open Source, Cloud Deployed

To drastically drive down the costs of adoption and ensure that foreign assessment jurisdictions can build their own components to integrate with VaaS should they choose (e.g., such as billing and collection systems), VaaS has been engineered entirely using Open Source technologies including JSON, Python, Kubernetes and more. VaaS is also a Cloud deployed ecosystem, and can run on any commercially available public cloud service including AWS, Google and Azure, or can be configured to run in a private cloud environment.

Traditional and Non-Traditional Data Sets

Today, all other commercial CAMA offerings, whether software or cloud-based, are nearly 100% reliant on high quality property state and condition data, with valuations generally derived from the interplay of five key variables: location, lot dimensions, living area, age of property and quality of construction. Until recently, absent high quality, structured property data, a jurisdiction was unable to move forward with a progressive system of property assessment and taxation. With VaaS and the combined Axilogic/MPAC “Big Data” analytical expertise, we can use non-traditional datasets to render quality valuations, therefore ensuring that even the smallest or least developed jurisdictions enjoys the substantial benefits associated with property taxation while avoiding the enormous upfront expense and effort of collecting property data. VaaS can efficiently process:

 

  • Large quantities of data
  • Data in any format and in any location
  • Incomplete and/or low-quality data sets
  • Non-typical data for property valuation:
    • Property state and condition
    • Sales transaction data from land registry
    • Social media data
    • Demographic data (age, religion, gender, etc.)
    • Socioeconomic data (e.g., school ratings, crime statistics, traffic, weather, transportation)
    • Unstructured data (free form text)
    • Image data (property images)
    • Spatial data (parcel fabrics)
    • And more….

Exemplary Valuation Transparency

Establishing accurate and equitable property values is the key responsibility of any assessment jurisdiction, so that tax yield can be optimized in support of the delivery of essential municipal services.  So too is defending those values when requests for reconsideration or formal appeals are pursued by taxpayers or tax agents acting on behalf of them, so that expected tax yields are actually realized. One of the most significant features of VaaS is that it is architected to ensure the strongest possible tools and resources to manage data lineage and demonstrate the traceability of values. As a large assessment jurisdiction, MPAC must provide and defend valuations in the Request for Reconsideration and Appeal process. For every property in Ontario that MPAC assesses, the complete historical package of data underlying the valuation is maintained in the data warehouse, including attribute data, direct comparison sales data, statistical analysis methods, valuation models utilized, market report consulted and more. For instance, for properties where multiple or competing models may be considered to produce the best, most equitable valuation, modellers have the flexibility to produce a value using direct comparison, income and cost approaches, then select the optimum model for that property, all the while having their analytical “working papers” recorded in the system in posterity to ensure the valuation lineage is maintained.

Because VaaS places a premium on maintaining exemplary data lineage, assessment jurisdictions can achieve a fully transparent valuation regime and produce rapid and comprehensive disclosure during the appeal or objection process. To be sure, a key factor for success in valuation is accurate data – whether it is state and condition data, property sales information, cost manual data or income and expense data – accurate information produces accurate valuations. But if your valuers cannot defend their valuations or substantiate the methods in which valuations were produced and the data utilized therein, then tax yield may be at risk. The transparency architected into VaaS allows your jurisdiction to expose all data associated with a valuation. If there are data errors, then these can be addressed and a new valuation produced. However, if the underlying data is sound and valuation methods are fully revealed, then taxpayers or their agents are forced to defend their appeal or requests using better information, which may not be possible. Ontario’s practice of exemplary valuation transparency, combined with MPAC’s business practices embodied in its Taxpayer Portal Access framework, have produced from 2012 to 2016 a 40% reduction in requests for reconsideration and formal appeals.

Commercial Client Portal Access

Commercial Client Portal Access is an important feature of the VaaS ecosystem and serves to monetize your data assets and therefore offset the costs associated with operating your assessment jurisdiction. Built with HTML5, e-commerce enabled and fully extensible and integrable with any data source, a commercial client facing portal framework is available which allows commercial consumers including banks, insurance companies, realtors and others to acquire valuation information products, derived from the Hindsight data repository – See Image 1.  Commercial customers in your jurisdiction can interact with a website like www.propertyline.ca, where registered users can purchase assessment, site, structural and sales data on all types of properties in your jurisdiction, either on a pay-as-you-go or subscription purchase model. The propertyline framework is fully customizable to accommodate the unique needs of any jurisdiction including municipal, state/province or countrywide assessment jurisdiction. The Propertyline framework increases the quality of your public education, improves client satisfaction and generates new revenue for your assessment jurisdiction. Working in partnership with your team and industry stakeholders, Axilogic and MPAC can build and price a custom report catalogue, with products driven from the Hindsight data warehouse and updated weekly – See Image 2. Depending on the state, condition, property attribute, geospatial and other data secured inside VaaS from your jurisdiction, a number of reports can be offered, such as the following:

  • Assessed Value Report
  • Assessment Roll Report
  • AVM Basic Residential Market Value Report
  • AVM Enhanced Residential Market Value Report
  • AVM Residential Comparable Report
  • Basic Building Permit Report
  • Business Property Owner Report
  • Commercial / Industrial Basic Report
  • Farm Property Report
  • Four Year Phase-In Report
  • Law Professional Report
  • Legal Description Report
  • Market Income Property Detail Level 1
  • Market Income Property Detail Level 2
  • Residential Detail Level 1 Report
  • Residential Detail Level 2 Report
  • Residential Floor Area Report
  • Residential Primary Structure Report
  • Residential Year Built Report
  • Roll Number Report
  • Valid Sales Report

A current capability of the VaaS ecosystem is a standing order solution, where we employ a robust scheduling engine which can be configured to automatically deliver valuation products to your customers as they require them.

Taxpayer Portal Access

Taxpayer Portal Access is another essential feature of the VaaS ecosystem and can assist in meeting statutory disclosure requirements and enhancing taxpayer understanding of their valuation, which in turn, raises satisfaction and reduces appeals. Built with HTML5 and integrable with any data source, www.aboutmyproperty.ca is a rate/taxpayer facing portal framework which allows property owners to access two key layers of progressive information. The first layer of information is available publicly to any visitor with no login required – see Image 1. In this layer, visitors can access and download market trend reports for residential, farm, multi-residential, industrial and commercial properties for any neighbourhood or municipality in your assessment jurisdiction, which are automatically generated from the VaaS ecosystem. These reports help taxpayers understand aggregate changes in valuation within a region, important in helping them understand how changes in their valuation relate to a broader area.

Also in this open layer are informative, 3 to 5-minute video tutorials describing various aspects of valuation, including titles such as How MPAC Assesses Residential Properties, How Your Property Tax is Calculated, Understanding Phase-in, The Request for Reconsideration Process for Residential, Farm and Managed Forest Properties and more. The open, public access layer also includes written educational material on How Assessment Works, including how MPAC assesses various kinds of properties, how to understand a property assessment notice, how municipalities use property assessment information, what to do if you disagree with your assessment and frequently asked questions.

While www.aboutmyproperty.ca is deployed for MPAC’s needs in Ontario, the framework can be completely customized by Axilogic and MPAC for use in any assessment jurisdiction, including creating new written and video materials that meet local requirements and design considerations. As well www.aboutmyproperty.ca contains a second layer of information generated by VaaS, which is accessed through a confidential login procedure. On every Property Assessment Notice issued through the VaaS ecosystem, a unique Roll Number and Access Key is found. Using this information, visitors can register a User ID and Password which permits access to two important sets of information: information about their property, as well as information about their neighbourhood. See image 2.

Regarding their property, authenticated users can access current and historical property assessment notices for their property, download informative reports relevant to their specific property (such as a Methodology Guide, Market Valuation Report and Local Market Adjustment Report), as well as review detailed state and condition information about their property which formed the basis of their valuation. MPAC has found that by being fully transparent with property owners in the disclosure of state, condition and other relevant data, requests for reconsideration and appeals drop considerably.

If taxpayers identify any material errors or discrepancies in their state and condition data, working in collaboration with MPAC changes can be made and a new valuation generated, therefore avoiding the troublesome appeal or reconsideration process. Authenticated users can also access a rich array of information about their neighbourhood. Using simple to use mapping tools, users can select their property as well as others in their neighborhood, for which they can generate a custom neighbourhood market report comparing their property to others across an array of data attributes including current assessment values – See Image 3. This level of disclosure helps users understand how their value compares to other similar properties, which also has demonstrated its power in improving taxpayer satisfaction while reducing appeals and requests for reconsideration. Should the taxpayer not be satisfied with this information and still wish to invoke a request for reconsideration as is their right in Ontario, for residential, farm, and managed forest properties this can be lodged within the ABOUTMYPROPERTY framework. Taxpayers are required to provide summary details along with their reason(s) for why their valuation should be reconsidered. See Image 4.

Sophisticated Workflow Management

WorkSight is a workflow management toolset which allows work objects and tasks to be assigned to staff and monitored for completion across an entire enterprise. WorkSight is architected using Atlassian’s JIRA product and can be readily customized to meet the workflow management needs of any foreign assessment jurisdiction, as well as can be integrated with virtually any additional data source.

Comprehensive Reporting Facility

ReportR: is a dynamic reporting engine within the VaaS ecosystem that empowers modellers and other valuation staff to create and execute their own reports including but not limited to ratio studies, extreme value reports, equity studies and more.

MyCart Comparable Property Toolset

When performing quality assurance after a mass appraisal, responding to a taxpayer request for reconsideration or managing a formal appeal, efficiently assessing the equity and accuracy of valuations is an important aspect of property valuation practice. To empower valuation staff in this regard, MPAC developed MyCart, a set of tools within VaaS which enables valuers to select and analyze local comparable properties to evaluate local equity and accuracy. Using a subject property as a reference, valuation professionals can select from a vast array of attributes related to property, sales information, land, structures, cost and more. As attributes are selected, MyCart dynamically counts properties that meet the selected criteria, allowing staff to amend their selection of variables until a desired property count is achieved (see Image 1), shown as 30 properties which will be compared to the subject property. Once criteria are selected and a summary report is generated showing properties in closest proximity to the subject property, staff can the manually select properties for further examination which are presented geospatially and in spreadsheet format – See Image 2.

Manual Adjustments and Overrides

VaaS permits valuation staff to perform manual adjustments and overrides to data, components and valuations. Following the application of mass appraisal models to properties, valuers can make adjustments at the component or property level to ensure equity and accuracy.  Adjustments can be in the form of percentages or amounts.  To support traceability, all adjustments require the recording of reasons for the adjustment and VaaS facilitates the inclusion of documents, analysis, etc.  as supporting evidence.  In support of manual adjustments, VaaS includes a robust set of tools that allow valuation staff to assess/analyze accuracy and equity on a localized basis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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