Banks and other Lending Institutions are overwhelmed with a record number of properties needing Broker Price Opinions (BPOs). This is an opportunity for Real Estate Agents to increase their earnings. Executing a BPO is an additional stream of income for agents because agents get paid after the BPO is finished, which is much better than waiting for a property to get sold. If an agent accepts a large number of BPO assignments, it won’t take long before he/she gets overwhelmed with just the thought of having to handle the entire process alone. There is a way to increase the number of BPO orders while making sure that the quality of work exceeds the expectations of the BPO companies. Let us first find out what a BPO is.
What is a Broker Price Opinion?
A BPO is essentially a tool used by banks and lenders to determine the value of a property without having to pay for a full blown property appraisal. An agent is usually assigned the task of carrying out the BPO which can be an exterior BPO – requiring only the pictures of; the street, the street name, the address numerals, the front of the property, the side(s), the back and so on; typically pictures that can be taken without entering the property itself OR an interior BPO – requiring pictures of the interior, pictures of every room, repairs needed, mechanical parts like the water heater, HVAC, sump pump and so on.
These pictures are usually accompanied by additional information of three sold and three actively listed properties that are comparable to the subject properties. Agents are paid more for the interior BPOs than the exteriors. Depending on the market area, agents can get paid between $30 on the low end to as high as $75 (and sometimes even more).
How to increase the number of BPO assignment by using a Virtual Assistant (VA)
- Registering with new BPO companies: The VA can help get additional BPO assignments by taking over the time consuming task of signing up with new BPO companies. The VA gives the required information and fill out the application forms on behalf of the real estate agent. The competition between agents for BPOs is fierce; it can easily become a question of how badly an agent wants it and how quickly can the agent accept it. In order to get a sizeable and predictable number of BPO orders daily, the agent needs to sign up with a lot of BPO companies.
- Following up with BPO company contacts: The VA can help the real estate agent follow up with key contacts at the BPO companies in order to get assigned BPOs. Most times these contacts will say they are no longer looking for agents or might just tell the VA to be patient and wait to be assigned a BPO. The solution is really to attempt to get them to assign BPOs that are needed in a hurry – rushed BPOs or those that were previously assigned to other agents who for one reason or the other did not do a good job on it. The VA can call these contacts quite frequently using a standard script to ask for “BPO Re-Assignments” and “rushed ordered BPOs”. After helping with these kinds of BPOs the agent can become a much needed resource to BPO Companies because they need agents to correctly turn in BPO that other agents dropped the ball on or BPOs that they need to get back immediately.
- Entering in time consuming BPO data: The VA can help enter the BPO data into the system used by the BPO companies so the agent can spend time doing more important things. All that needs to be done is to supply the VA with the comparable sold and actively listed properties in form of a Comparable Market Analysis (CMA), as well as the pictures of the subject property. Once the VA has completely entered in the data, the real estate agent can then go back and quickly review the data and enter in the final comments to establish the value of the property. One of the reasons why using a VA to enter in the data is a great option is – this allows the agent to keep track of what type of information each BPO company requires and essentially create a system for the VA to actually pull the data on their own.
- Taking pictures of the property: This point has two sides to it because it depends on where the VA is located. If the VA is located in the state as the subject property, then the agent can actually train the VA on how to take the required pictures for the interior and exterior BPOs so that the VA can go out and take the pictures. In situations where the VA is not located in the same state, the VA can help find people to take the pictures by posting ads on online classifieds such as Craigslist, Kijiji and so on. In this economy folks are eager for a paying job, I suggest paying them $10 per property and also paying for their gas. The VA will then be responsible in coordinating the picture taking activities of these folks by letting them know the addresses for each property, the types of pictures required and when they are due back.
These are the various reasons why it makes sense for Real Estate Agents to hire Virtual Assistants help with BPOs. It really boils down to the systems put in place. If a good system for doing BPOs is already established, a VA can easily take on some of the tasks or all of it so as to free up time for the agent to work on more BPO orders while ensuring the quality of work so that their relationship with the BPO companies is well maintained.