National appraisal management company (AMC) Class Valuation, which includes reverse mortgage appraisal services as a part of its full product suite, has been acquired by Connecticut-based investment firm Gridiron Capital, in a deal for which terms were not disclosed.
Gridiron is making the acquisition from the previous majority owner of the AMC, Boston, Mass.-based Narrow Gauge Capital. As a part of the deal, Narrow Gauge will remain now as a minority owner in Class, according to an announcement of the deal.
“This partnership comes at a great time as we gear up for an exciting year with a lot of advancements in the valuation space,” said John Fraas, CEO of Class Valuation in an email to RMD. “Gridiron’s commitment to investing in tech-enabled business will give us the power we need to scale rapidly and better serve our growing list of clients.”
For Gridiron, the sale came about from previous investment experience it has had in similarly-sized and positioned organizations according to Tom Burger, managing partner at Gridiron Capital.
“Gridiron Capital has extensive experience investing in similar business models that utilize technology to compete more effectively, and we are confident this partnership will position Class Valuation for further growth and continued long-term success,” Burger said.
A Class Valuation spokesperson confirmed for RMD that no specific impacts on reverse mortgage-related operations are expected as a part of this acquisition.
In late 2018, Class acquired Van Nuys, Calif.-based Landmark Network, which was a real estate appraisal firm with a leadership position in the reverse mortgage space. That was one of the elements of the business that interested Class at the time.
“Landmark is a leader in a market that we expect to grow as Baby Boomers look for options to carry them through retirement,” said Scot Rose, chief innovation officer for Class Valuation in 2018. “In addition, the company has a strong leadership team and the proven ability to support niche products. That’s the kind of specialization and expertise we’re seeking as we continue to expand our footprint.”
Last year, Class launched a mobile-based app that allows homeowners to share interior photos and property data with appraisers who are completing exterior-only appraisals, a process which became more common after the onset of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Particularly for homeowners whose properties have been updated or have made interior improvements, this can help them show value that may not be not evident from an exterior inspection.