How to create a BPO that’s not only accurate but also outstanding
BPOs are the gateway to the REO market. They are an extension of an agent’s resume and a client’s first impression. BPO forms may seem straightforward, but there is plenty of room to let your skills, market knowledge, and professionalism shine through. Being thorough and following instructions are simple but notable ways to get noticed through BPOs.
Follow Client Instructions
It may seem obvious, but following client instructions is highly important and easily overlooked. When you’re used to one way of doing things, it can be easy to go into auto mode, fill out a form, and think you’re done. Different clients will often have slightly different specifications, and the agents who pay attention and meet those guidelines will easily gain favor over those who overlook them.
It is also advisable to ask clarifying questions upfront to avoid rework or lost time later. Clarifying a particular client’s instructions is also an opportunity to make a connection with a new firm or client.
When taking photos of a property for a BPO, be sure they are as high quality as possible—well framed and focused. Include a front view of the home, generally at a 45-degree angle. Also offer a street view, an address verification image, a photo of the street sign, and if required, a photo of each room in the interior. If there are additional images that would portray the property, take photos of those features as well. Make sure all photos have a date stamp.
When selecting comparables, come as close as possible to matching the major criteria of the property: proximity, date of sale or listing, square footage, and age of the home.
An acceptable proximity may vary depending on the location of the property. It is more acceptable to select a comparable slightly farther away in a less densely packed urban area than in an active urban market.
Keep the following guideline in mind:
If you must include a comparable outside of these radii, the National Association of Broker Price Opinion Professionals (NABPOP) recommends including a comment to explain why a closer comparable was not available.
It is best for the date of the comparable to be within the past six months.
When it comes to size, the acceptable variance also varies by the size of the property in question. Homes with a larger square footage should vary less from their comparables than those with a smaller square footage.
For Square Footage
|Up to 1,000 sq. ft.||+/- 25 percent|
|1,001 – 2,000 sq. ft.||+/- 20 percent|
|2,001 – 3,500 sq. ft.||+/- 15 percent|
|3,501 or larger||+/- 10 percent|
For Lot Size
|Less than 1 acre||+/- 30 percent|
|1 – 2.9 acres||+/- 0.5 acre|
|3 – 5.9 acres||+/- 1 acre|
|6 – 10.9 acres||+/- 2 acres|
|11 acres or more||+/- 20 percent|
NABPOP recommends including an explanation when selecting a comparable that falls outside of these ranges.
However, the client’s specifications always take precedent over any industry standards or general training.
If there are ample comparables, consider more detailed property characteristics such as general amenities, upgrades, property damage, et cetera.
The comments sections are your area to show your professionalism and market knowledge. Be clear, concise, accurate, and use good grammar.
Include local market and neighborhood information, and paint a picture of the community and the property, keeping in mind that your client may not reside in your community.
“Be sure to elaborate on the current market situations as it will determine if the property should be priced at a buyer’s market price or a seller’s market price,” says FORCE member Karen Watkins, Principal Broker, and Foreclosure Specialist at Arkansas Real Estate Solutions.
“Be sure to add details of the neighborhood and why a buyer would or would not prefer that neighborhood,” Watkins says. “What would make a buyer choose the subject’s neighborhood rather than the neighborhood across the highway?”
Make a note if the property has disruptive noise from a nearby airport, railroad or other facility.
Before submitting your BPO, read over it to ensure it is complete, thorough, and accurate. Quality BPOs can catch the attention of an asset manager, lender or investor; and some FORCE members have found them to be a great entryway into the REO or investor market or a foot in the door with a particular firm.