Adobe Acrobat is becoming a dominant standard for transmitting appraisals over the Internet because it is a stand-alone product that can be used with any appraisal software package. While many clients might prefer that we use a particular software package, most will accept PDF files as an alternative. Many appraisers also have clients other than lenders, so the fact that Acrobat Reader is free, makes it easy for homeowner/clients to accept these files.
PDF is an acronym for Portable Document File and was created by Adobe. One of the main advantages of a PDF file is that it looks the same on every computer. That’s a necessary feature when you consider how heavily formatted an appraisal form is. You wouldn’t want the appraisal form to look different when your client opens it. Most documents, such as word processing documents, automatically reformat themselves depending on the fonts contained in the user’s computer. If you email a Microsoft Word document to someone who doesn’t have the same fonts on their computer, that document will look different when they open it. Their computer will substitute its own fonts in place of yours and the document may grow or shrink in terms of the number of lines of text.
Fortunately, many people use the standard True Type fonts that come with Windows, so most documents don’t have to reformat. But you can see the benefit to using something like a PDF file for sending a document to someone who will open it on a different computer. So the next time you email a letter, appraisal, invoice or spreadsheet where the appearance needs to stay exactly the same, remember PDFs.