Many people dismiss BPOs (broker price opinions) considering it a waste of time that doesn’t pay very much. What if I told you there are agents out there making high five figure incomes doing just bpos! Many other agents balance their workload spending part of their time doing bpos which provides a predictable “bread and butter” income to offset the delay in commission income they will get working with buyers and sellers. If bpos are something you have been considering, here are five things you can do to help get started:
- Get registered. Go to a site like www.bpo-companies.com and search for the bpo vendors you want to sign up with. The vendors on this site are rated by fellow agents so you can see which ones are worth signing up with and which aren’t.
- Get organized. The key to making money in bpos is being as organized as possible. Plan your day in advance. For example: 7am-10am work on reports pulling comps, uploading pics,writing your comments, etc; 10:30-3pm (between morning and evening rush hour traffic) in the field taking pictures and property notes; 3:30-6pm preparing reports for the properties you just visited in the afternoon). Create geographical regions within your market area and dedicate certain days of the week exclusively to those particular areas. This way you are not running to the northwest part of town to take pics of a property and then heading back all the way to the southeast part of town to do another bpo. This not only wastes gas, money and time, but also your energy. The last thing you want to do is get burned out. It is also very important to complete your orders in a timely manner. You want the bpo vendors to assign you more bpo work, right? Then provide them with a quality bpo, before the expected deadline (we tell our agents if it’s due in 48 hours, get it to them in 24!) and with none or very rare clarifications required.
- Get certified. Look to getting certified by an industry-recognized independent organization. I recommend the National Association of Broker Price Opinon Professionals (NABPOP). This certification is highly regarded by many bpo vendors and it will give you a solid background in preparing a quality bpo. You can get more details on them at www.nabpop.org . This will also help you stand out in the crowd of other agents signed up with the same vendors.
- Get more productive. Once you get a system going and you are comfortable with your production I recommend getting bpo automation software which many of our agents say increases their productivity by 30-40%. The program is nothing more than macros which auto-populate the data from the comps you pull in the MLS and puts it into the appropriate fields in your vendor’s bpo web form. This is a major time saver. Some programs also allow you to set up custom “canned” comments which you utilize frequently. There are many software programs available, play around with their demos and find the program that works best for you. I would not make the investment in the software until you have a good system in place and get comfortable preparing the bpos without the system.
- Get street smart. Remember when you are out in the field to always be alert with your surroundings, particularly when doing interior bpos. If possible, let someone know exactly which addresses you will be visiting for the day. Always park at the street curb, never in the driveway. Have signage on your vehicle identifying who you are and what brokerage you are with. Keep your cell phone on you at all times. Never visit a property after dark. More than likely, you will not run into any trouble but it pays to be safe!
There are many other things you can do as well from utilizing a bpo auto-accepter program which “grabs” bpo orders for you to hiring an assistant to help with the typing. The market for bpos will be around for a long time coming and it is a great source of predictable income. Not only that, by continually doing bpos in a particular geographical region you gain a command on the area property values which will allow you to become THE market expert!
Hopefully this information will help you get started. Please feel free to leave a comment sharing other tips and advice that have helped you get into the fast-paced world of bpos.