A new gadget for my appraisal toolbox- Bosch laser distance measurer

A New Tool

I recently purchased a new tool for my appraisal toolbox, a Bosch laser distance measurer. Up until now I have been happy with my handy 100Bosch Laser Measurer GLM 80 foot fiberglass tape measure, however I have to admit that I’m pretty hard on them and found myself buying a new one every couple of months. In addition to that I was looking for something that would help me take measurements on houses with shrubs, which is usually  harder to do with a regular tape measure. Thanks to a great sale on Amazon I recently purchased the Bosch GLM 80, a compact laser measurer that will measure distances up to 265 feet which will more than meet my requirements. While I consider myself a tech savvy appraiser there are areas where I have lagged behind and this is one of them. To get ahead in today’s business environment we need to embrace and utilize all the tools available to us so that we can become better appraisers.

Helping Productivity

The technical side of appraising has really taken off over the last several years and there are so many tools that appraisers can use to make the job easier. I’ve written in the past about my top iPad apps for appraisers toolboxappraisers to use but this is the first time I’ve discussed hardware. In addition to laser measuring devices there are tablets and digital cameras. I know there are some practicing appraisers who have fully embraced this technology and use every tool possible to maximize their productivity. This has become a necessity in today’s market because appraisal fees have gradually decreased over the years while underwriting requirements have increased. This has resulted in an increase in the time required to complete and assignment. When fees decrease and completion times increases the rate of pay will decrease, so it is important to find ways of streamlining the appraisal process. By using technology effectively the time required to complete and assignment can be decreased and profitability increased.

What Are You Doing?

So I would be interested in knowing what technology you use and how you use it. There are many appraisers working today that may be timid about all of the technology available so if you can provide some tips or tricks to help someone get started please leave a comment below. Has technology helped you increase your productivity? What is your favorite tool? Thanks in advance for sharing.

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  1. Thanks for your great posts, Tom. I’ve used a Bosch laser measuring device for a few years now, and it definitely comes in handy. It doesn’t seem to accommodate all situations, however, so I tend to use it in conjunction with my fiberglass tape and a steel tape. I’ve also discovered that in daylight conditions, the red laser dot is sometimes hard to see, so I bought a pair of red plastic glasses that makes the dot quite visible, even in bright sunlight. I’d be interested to know how you deal with outside walls where there is nothing to bounce the laser off of . . that’s where I continue to use my fiberglass tape; if you or others have a solution for that, I’d be most interested.

    • Thanks for your question, Michael. I tend to fall in the same camp as you. I use both my laser measuring device and my fiberglass tape depending on the situation. Sometimes there is nothing to bounce the laser off of. In cases like this, I use my tape. Some appraisers say they are able to always find something to bounce the laser off of. I have heard some say they use a roof eave or possibly a distant object to measure to and then subtract the distance from the end of the wall to the object. This is why having a laser with the +/- function is so important. I believe there are some Youtube videos online that may cover this topic.

  2. Well written post thanks for sharing with us keep it up.

  3. good information, your tutorial very helpful well done!

  4. Great post Tom! I use laser levels on a daily basis, I havent tried the Bosch GLM 80 but now I might have to buy it just cause its so compact. I actually use DeWalt’s laser levels mostly cause my company provides them lol, never had a problem with them but they are a bit pricey

    • Thanks, Michael. The Bosch was on sale and I have to say I have not been disappointed. A lot of other people I know use the Disto, which I might try whenever the Bosch dies but right now it is doing everything I need.

  5. 100% Agree with you Tom. I’m a huge fan of Bosch as well. Thanks for the good advice.

  6. I have been using an inexpensive Stanley for the last 6 years or so. I have dropped it more times than I can count and it still works great. The laser is maybe a bit weak on sunny days, but I’ve learned to adapt. Maybe it’s time to upgrade!
    Thanks all for the good advice.

  7. I currently use the Bosch, received as a present and have had no problems for last 2 years. It is reliable and works great and good value/price. Until disto comes way down in price and can completely draw the house after measurements, i’m not a fan. Good idea mike, I too have been looking for a way to measure outside walls to put down the tape.

  8. I’ve been using a Disto A5 for many years, and love it. It has easily paid for itself many times over in saved time, as well as shoes and clothing that I’ve not destroyed pushing through the landscaping that homeowners seem to love to grow right up against the house. It is very quick for measuring second stories from inside since you don’t have to find places to hook the tape to. And for those of you hesitating to buy a laser because you wonder what you’ll do when there’s nothing to bounce the beam off of at the other end of the wall, I carry a piece of stiff white plastic (about 2 x 8 in, cut from a blood donation license plate 🙂 with a small ball of poster putty on it. Stick it on the other corner and boom, instant target. I’m not convinced on some of the other in-the-field tech stuff yet, but I promise you will not regret the purchase of a quality laser to measure with.

    • Great tip on the plastic and putty Mike. I guess that is similar to what Wendell wrote about earlier. I don’t miss squeezing through bushes and spider webs either.

  9. Although, Bosch is a great brand and their tools quality is very good. However, since I’ve always used Leica. I’m not an appraisers well, but I am very like the design style of the Leica. The only downside of the Leica is expensive than a bit Bosch.

    • I hear good reviews about Leica as well. It seems there are a lot of brands to choose from these days and I know most appraisers use the Disto. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Great blog post. You’re the first appraiser that I have heard go with a Bosch and not a Disto. I use a Disto because the other brands of laser measuring devices that I have tried (have not tested in field), do not have as bright of a laser and don’t seem like they would work as well in bright light. It will be interesting to hear your take on the Bosch after a while. Here is a video about my mobile technology and I cover Distos and tablets: http://youtu.be/05D3T4VS6sY

    • Gary, I agree that most appraisers appear to use the Disto. I have communicated with others that use something different and they seem to be happy with them, although I’m not sure if they’ve used a Disto and have anything to compare it to. Price was a factor, however I did ask some appraisers who use the Bosch and they said it was good and it did have good user reviews. Thanks for sharing the youtube video, I will definitely watch it. I’m sure you have a lot of insight you could share since you have been using this technology in your own practice for so long.


  1. […] Measuring Tools – Laser measuring tools have replaced the tape measure as the preferred way to measure a house. There are many different […]

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