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1) how do I find out a homes Style?
2) What is the best way to describe The subject property? Best way to describe subject neighborhood?
3) And where do you get the stats or statistics of the neighborhood?
4) Should we use absorption rates? Is so can you give me an example on how you would write it out.       5) what are the BPO Companies that pay $50.00 & up for exterior BPO's.

I am in Los Angeles 

Thank you everyone!!!

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Hi William,

Fire your Broker and go to a large franchise get the proper training do you use the MLS have access to homes.....most of the time the description will be on an older listing of the property that would be in the history of the property. BPO's are not easy I have been doing them since 2009 the forms have changed accordingly. Not my full time job I am a fulltime Real Estate Broker in NJ for 25 years and you need a large franchise with training.   

Sorry but I really disagree on this large franchise being the answer. Many times large companies are so over whelmed with the daily activity of the brokerage with so many agents that they have very little time for a good training program for an individual agent needing help in a specific area. Many times what happens is the newbee becomes and assistant to a veteran and becomes the go-for and learns through experience which takes a long time. Many small agencies have time and resources and want their agents to be fully trained and well rounded. Many take the time to give the extra help because they have the extra time since they have fewer agents. Neither large of small agencies can be claimed to be the better way. It all depends on the agency, the broker and the management team.

I TOTALLY disagree with a large franchise being the asnwer. Been at this 34 years and have been in and known many others who were/are in them. Not putting them down---just saying they aint the 'end all' of learning/training.

William, Each company has their own requirements for BPOs to some small extent. Basics are still basics and most have similar forms and requirements. Many forms are drop down as has been said. Many companies have a guide line in the letter of engagement sent with their orders that spells out a lot of what you need to know.

Begin by doing BPOs only in areas you are very familiar with. This will help with neighborhood descriptions and actual market knowledge you have with an area you are familiar with. 

Your MLS also has information on the neighborhood data and statistics that can help. Taking an MLS class at your local board can be very helpful. You will be surprised at all the features , functions and information that are available on the MLS that really assist in doing accurate BPOs.

Using absorption rates are required in some BPOs . You can easily find these figures in your MLS in the market conditions report. If the company does not require them you can add them to additional comments to support you opinion of value if you want to.

The biggest thing to remember is do not do adjustments just to do them. Make sure you have market data to support them. If  there is no market data to support a difference in market pricing relating to styles then don't adjust for that.. For example, there are as many buyers for a 2 story as there are for  a ranch or other styles where I am at so there is no market data to support an adjustment for style in my area. Condition and amenities means more than style or even GLA at times. Do your research.

Make sure you do not adjust on what and item costs to build or add to a home. Your adjustment should only be on what a typical buyer will really pay for that item in that home. A good thing to remember is Matched Pair Analysis. If you had 2 homes exactly alike next door to each other and one had a I/2 bath more, (for an example ) what would the typical buyer in THAT neighborhood and THAT price range be willing to pay for that half bath? Remember every thing adds up in payment. Most buyers have an amount per month they can afford. If that half bath adds too much to the listing price that it pushes them over their comfort zone then most buyers will do with out it. The only way to know what a half bath or any amenity adds to the price is to do the research and use proven data to support the adjustment. Not all differences effect value.  In fact many do not. Remember don't ever "PFA." Support all of your adjustments , conclusions and remarks with data researched from the market for the BPO you are doing..

Good luck!

Thank you Barara & and everyone for your advice as of right now I have completed 10 BPOs.  After a complete each one it gets easier and easier thanks again


What companies were those BPOs for?

Hi William, I red a lot of replies, but my advise to you is to learn  how to do BPO exterior/interior assignments, therefore there is a web site All your questions and concerns will be answered if you become a member of that site( Seriously I'm not advertizing them). I started doing BPO's since 2005, and I learned everything by that site. There is a fee to pay to become a member, but is worth it.  They will proved you with the list of BPO companies, which ones are paying. One more thing, if the company is asking to pay some fee's do not sign up, check them in Google... Good Luck!!! :)

William - What companies did you do the BPOs for and what were the fees?

Good post Barbara. Some of your advice is perfect in a market that has many comps but in a horrible market like ours, one must be creative. Few people even know about absorption rates but Ive only seen ONE company require anything to do with that for a BPO form in almost 5,000 bpo orders. You bring up a huge point about single vs multi level housing. In some areas of Portland, ranch style is preferred and will command higher prices. Problem is, unless you have had many 1 and 2 level homes sell in the same area withing an allowable time, you have NO WAY of computing the difference. Its easy if you have ten 1 levels all sell at $200,000 and ten 2 levels all sell at $220,000, all other features comparable. In a mrket like our with so terribly few comps of any kind, trying to cross level types and adjust is almost impossible. I stick to the level type and expand proximity until I get all equal comps, then possibly adjust for the location which is a lot easier.  And as I said way above, though we want to be as accurate as possible (or we should do the danged job at all) its is only about $50 bucks. The lenders know it. The bpo portals know it, except for a few like FARVV that takes you to task for anything and everything that the crew from India doesnt see matching their check off list. Ive made life easier by adjusting for bathrrom count with a general cost approach, assuming it would have been built in on initial constuction. This takes into account the area quality of course. A 1/2 bath will cost more in a $500,000 area than a $100,000.


So usually I assign 1500 for a 1/2 bath. 2500 for a full, 5000 for a single vs double car, etc. It makes life easier and is never questioned by the QC people. who ONLY seem to want an explanation just to have one. Throw something in and they can see it then leave you alone. Of course dont throw something in that doesnt make sense just to do it.

If your one and two levels are the same GLA, features, lot size, age why would you value a two level higher?

Hope this comes through correctly, its a cut n paste

This document lists conventional characteristics of common home styles. Individual houses

may have elements from more than one style and not every home will have all the characteristics

of a particular style. Use this document only as a guide.

2 Story

Listing Form Abbreviation: 2STORY

A two-level home with the main entrance on the lower level. Upper

spaces generally hold the sleeping areas.


Listing Form Abbreviation: A-FRAME

Has a peaked, high pitched roof line in the shape of an “A”. There are

many variations: one story or two, one large room serving as living

quarters, main living area in the shape of an A-frame with additional

rooms, etc.


Listing Form Abbreviation: BUNGALO

A one- to one-and-one-half story structure with a gabled roof and a

porch across the front.


Listing Form Abbreviation: CABIN

A small, one-story structure usually containing one or two rooms.


Listing Form Abbreviation: CHALET

A rustic style home featuring projected roofs, large windows and raised

foundation. Rough-cut lumber is used.

Cape Cod

Listing Form Abbreviation: CAPECOD

Has a steeply pitched gabled roof, framed as a one-story with an a

tt ic

conversion giving an additional one-half story.


Listing Form Abbreviation: COLONIL

A two-story in the traditional style, small casement windows, steeply

pitched roof, may include columns across the front.

Common Wall

Listing Form Abbreviation: COMNWAL

A one- or two-story residence connected to another residence by a wall.

Any style is appropriate. Owner owns only the four walls of the dwelling

and not the surrounding grounds.

Country French

Listing Form Abbreviation: CONT-FR

Can be one- or two-story, formal in structure, steep hip roof, curved

windows, sometimes with shu

tt ers.


Listing Form Abbreviation: CONTEMP

Characterized by simple, unclu

tt ered lines with a non-traditional design.


Listing Form Abbreviation: COTTAGE

Has a gabled roof line, but lower than the bungalow style, sash windows,

and a plain front door. Front porch is either very small or non-existent.


Listing Form Abbreviation: CRAFTSM

Has a low pitched gabled roof with wide eaves and exposed rafters.

Can be one- or two-story, with a decorative brace and full front porch.

Daylight Ranch

Listing Form Abbreviation: DAYRNCH

A rambling ranch style home with a lower level basement that is partially

exposed and above ground.

Dutch Colonial

Listing Form Abbreviation: DTCHCOL

A variation of the traditional colonial style with a gambrel or mansard

roof, sometimes a side wing.


Listing Form Abbreviation: ENGLISH

Has a steeply pitched roof, prominent cross gables and tall windows,

can be half timbered.


Listing Form Abbreviation: FARMHSE

Featuring simple, uncomplicated construction, most have a front porch

and are two-story.


Listing Form Abbreviation: GEORGIN

A formal square box-like structure featuring a hipped roof, decorative

crown or pediment over the front door, columns on each side of the

door, and/or cornice moldings.


Listing Form Abbreviation: LOG

A variety of styles are available, both in pre-designed kits and as homes

designed by an architect. The primary distinguishing feature of a log

home is the use of logs in its construction.


Listing Form Abbreviation: DOME

A ball- or sphere-like structure built with a complex network of various

sizes of triangles.

Double Wide

Listing Form Abbreviation: DBL-WDE

A manufactured home that is twice as wide as a single wide

manufactured home.


Listing Form Abbreviation: MODULAR

Living units constructed in a factory and shipped to the building site to be erected. All home

styles fall into this category. They are basically “stick built” homes and di

ffi cult to identify. Not

to be confused with the “manufactured/mobile” home.


Listing Form Abbreviation: MANUFHS

A single story dwelling constructed in a factory then transported to the

home site. These can be single wide, double wide, and triple wide, and

are usually constructed from metal,

fi berglass, & plastics.


Listing Form Abbreviation: MEDIT

Can be one- or two-story with stucco siding. Wrought iron trim and

arched windows are features of this style, and red tile roofs are common.

Old Portland (Four Square)

Listing Form Abbreviation: OLD-PDX

A very distinctive style popular around the early 20th century. A large

square box with low hipped roof and a deep overhang, full porch with

wide stairs. Two- to two-and-one-half stories with a large central dormer.

Mid-Century Modern

Listing Form Abbreviation: MIDCMOD

This style emphasized creating structures with ample windows and


fl oor-plans with the intention of opening up interior spaces and

bringing the outdoors in. Also known as Rummer.

*Photo source: Modern Homes Portland (Marisa Swenson)


Listing Form Abbreviation: PRAIRIE

Characterized by low-pitched roofs with very wide overhanging eaves,

a strongly emphasized horizontality, large hearths separating parts

of the living-area, and the use of traditional materials. Also known as

Frank Lloyd Wright style.


Listing Form Abbreviation: RANCH

A rambling single story, with simple construction, a large picture

window, and a

tt ached garage.


Listing Form Abbreviation: TOWNHSE

A two-story single family dwelling, part of a long and narrow structure

with a similar structure adjacent, owner owns the lot as well as the

structure. Exteriors may di

ff er.


Listing Form Abbreviation: TRAD

An open design, not holding to a classic historic detail. Often uses a

variety of more than one architectural characteristic from past styles.

Split Level

Listing Form Abbreviation: SPLIT

A two-story home split at the entry with one set of stairs going up and

another going to the lower level. Upper level is the main living area and

the lower level consists of utility, garage and/or family room.


Listing Form Abbreviation: STUDIO

A small apartment usually consisting of one main living space, a small

kitchen, and a bathroom.


Listing Form Abbreviation: ROW

A two-story single family structure sharing walls with an adjacent

dwelling, built in a row.


Listing Form Abbreviation: SALTBOX

Characterized by the distinctive sloping roof line from the top of the

gable, these can plunge from two-and-one-half stories in the front to a

single story in the rear.


Listing Form Abbreviation: TRI

A “raised” ranch style structure that adds a full story on one end of the

typical ranch home.


Listing Form Abbreviation: VICT

Usually two-stories with steep gables, ornate wood detail, Gothic style

windows (pointed top) and brackets under the eaves. Some are built

with a turret.


Listing Form Abbreviation: TUDOR

Has a steeply pitched roof, low doors, small-paned windows, and

decorative half-timbering. This style is similar to the English home.


Listing Form Abbreviation: OTHER

Includes any styles of dwellings that do not

fi t into the categories above.

Houseboats, lofts, and many other styles

fi t in the “other” category.


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