BPO's don't have any real value. The only way to get a true professional "opinion" is to hire a state licensed appraiser, who has very specific procedures and criteria they must go by to provide an accurate assement of a property. The only thing a REALTOR can legally do is a CMA strictly for the purposes of listing a home for sale.
Agents who need verification of this should call the PAR legal hotline and/or contact the PA Real Estate Commission. Many brokers are not aware of the specific rules regarding BPO's and may inadvertanly allow an agent to do them.
Pennsylvania Association of Realtors (PAR) has indeed written extensively about BPOs and their status in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. A Schuylkill County real estate broker took issue with my position stating that we cannot perform BPOs as agents or brokers. Here is the proof, cited from the PAR website.
This is from their website:
Can licensees perform Broker Price Opinions for a fee?
â€œBroker Price Opinionâ€ is not a legally defined term, as are â€œappraisalâ€ and â€œcomparative market analysis.â€ When a fee is charged for a BPO, it will either be considered an appraisal or a CMA. If it is determined to be a CMA (i.e., provided for the purpose of determining the asking/offering price for a property for the seller or buyer), then it falls within the scope of permitted activity for a real estate licensee. If, however, the BPO is determined to be other than a CMA, it will qualify as an appraisal, which requires an appraisal license to perform.
To avoid confusion, the term BPO should not be used for any written expression of value for a fee. â€œAppraisalâ€ and â€œcomparative market analysisâ€ are the terms that should be employed, depending on the purpose and scope of the valuation.
Agents from out of state should not be commenting on state rules/regulations out of their area of expertise.
That being said, however, sometimes companies ask for a BPO when all they really just desire is a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). Real estate licensees may provide CMAs if the CMA is being performed in order to obtain the listing. Remember, the CMA must have the disclaimer language contained in the RELRA.
If PA stands for Pennsylvania, I agree with Erica's answer - especially being a broker in the state. For all other states, actively licensed real estate agents who hang their license with a broker of record and have E&O insurance can be contracted to complete BPOs. You are putting your name to a valuation. Just remember that if you ever do them. Don't want a $40 BPO to come back and haunt you later.
I personally don't do them.
If you are an agent licensed in 2 bordering states, you will be asked to cross the border to do a BPO in a state where BPOs are not legal in all cases. You are not free and clear because they are legal in one of the states. I've had arguments with BPO companies that have tried to get agents I've taught on BPOs to break laws for them. BPO companies are not looking out for our best interest, it is up to us to do it for ourselves. Be careful and if you do a good job, you'll get more work!
This is a big detail that you simply don't want to overlook when deciding if you want to and are able to do BPO work. The first place you want to go is directly to your broker. If they do not know then you and/or your broker may need to research this question more in order to get a crystal clear answer.
A good place to start is with your local real estate licensing board or your state's department of licensing. Click here to see an example of what my state's rules are on this.
Other places that are good to check in with are your state legislature. As an example my state's laws on this are explained in great detail on this page. Click here to go to their now!
Some more places that you might want to consider checking are with your local Realtor Association or through the legal department within your local MLS.
I hope this helps!
p.s. check out my free list of over 120 BPO, REO and Asset Mgmt companies that was added to my site on Jan.1, 2009 Click on the following link to go there now.