I often wonder, how good am I doing, really? You always hear about how the asset management companies grade and score you. A few of them, you can actually see your score - but the rest? Pfft. Who knows. So long as the listings keep coming, I guess we're doing OK.
This morning, I got a broadcast BPO request from a company that also does REOs, but I have never listed an REO with them. The guy who sent the request out mistakenly did not use a "bcc" - blind carbon copy; that is, every recipient got to see all the other recipients. It was interesting to see who else in my area is doing BPOs!
One of the recipients did a reply-all back, and said:
"The one and only time I did BPO work for your company it took more than 90 days to get paid, and I had to write letters and threaten to sue you to get paid at all. $60 for an interior BPO? Are you sure you want to pay that much? Perhaps you can find someone who will do it free of charge, just to do you a favor."
Yeah, $60 is cheap for an interior BPO. But you're missing the point. Even $100 is a trifle, if you value your time. Is not the whole point of slogging thorugh these miserable BPOs to get a crack at the listing? This business is really a lot of work. I guess if you're trying to make a living on BPO fees, I can see the rancor. But that's thinking pretty small, IMO.
Also this morning, I got an e-mail from an asset manager questioning one of the BPOs I did for another agent's upcoming listing. There was a big discrepancy in the square footage between me and the other agent - about 1,000 square feet. I had used the actual assessor's data for the square footage figure, which as I understand it, we're only supposed to count legal square footage. So I wrote back to the asset manager, and explained the discrepancy, sent along a copy of the assessor's data sheet, and also mentioned how when the house had sold in 2005, it had sold in-line with prices for 2,000 square foot homes, not 3,000 square foot homes.
I am guessing that the listing agent for this property didn't actually look at the assessor's data, but pulled the data off the MLS. But that's not the shocking thing. The shocking thing is the image that was used for the "front view" of the property. This company uses the "front view" image from the BPO as their "thumbnail" image for the property, which they show on their consumer web site of REO listings.
What was the biggest thing in the picture? The side-view mirror of the agent's car. The house itself was practically a speck, partially obscured by trees, and the clearest thing in the picture was that side-view mirror.
I have a theory. My theory is that most people do a mediocre job of whatever it is they are doing. Surgeons, lawyers, physicists, carpenters, presidents - you name it, the average person in that capacity does mediocre work. Few are truly exceptional. The same is true in the default services side of the real estate business. Actually, that's also true in the traditional "retail" side of residential real estate as well.
The lesson here is: don't waste time worrying about how you're doing, especially not compared to how everyone else is doing. Be diligent, apply yourself, be honest, and work like hell. The rest should take care of itself.