Entry by Deb Orth

Charging (or not) for CMAs


Ok, as I was saying when I welcomed Linda, my board here in Richmond just clarified the subject of charging for CMAs or BPOs.

In an article in our recent CVRMLS Board magazine, the author pointed to the Code of Virginia Secttion 54.1-2011.A which states "It shall be unlawful to enagage in the appraisal of real estate or real property for compensation or valuable consideration in this Commonwealth without first obtaining an appraiser's license in accordance with Board regulations."

We can still perform these duties, we just can't get paid for them, or else, we would also be in violation of Article 11 of the Code of Ethics by providing services that are outside our normal course of business.

Of course, I disagree with this interpretation and have been charging for CMAs in my previous consulting efforts because I am not trying to perform an appraisal nor do I represent the work product as an appraisal. it is merely an agent's professional opinion of market value. But, I'll conform just as Linda and, others, I'm sure, will have to do as well. There is so much more to what we offer than just doing CMAs.

Merv and Susan M, I'd be interested in your take on this subject. And, Martha , since you are our board's recent past president, do you have any insight into this matter?

Deb Orth
Keller Williams Realty
Richmond, Va


Deb, has the board consulted an attorney? It just seems to me that if you are not representing it as an appraisal, but a broker opinion of value, then it doesn't violate the law. Again I wonder: why is it ok to give the consumer a CMA for free but not ok to charge for it?

Oh, and Deb. Way to go on starting a new entry! After what Judi and I went through trying to organize the Exchange, you'd think I wouldn't have been the one to go launching into another subject, when Linda brought it up, but I did. Thanks for starting it fresh before it became one of those 25 comment threads.


I've been doing it under a "property evaluation" task that includes an estimate of value as well as my opinion of property condition (see my sample report in the document library under GENERAL CONSULTING::Property Evaluation Report). I never pin a value on a property. A CMA or whatever you want to call it produces a range of value based on a study of similar properties from the MLS.

Strange that this has become an issue. This is what we do whether paid for or not.

By the way, many agents in our office do BPO's (CMAs) for lenders for a fee that result in potential REO listing business. What's the difference? I think none.

We get emails all of the time requesting a BPO from lenders for around $50. With the time involved to do a good CMA/BPO, we have never felt this to be the best use of our time. I have always felt that appraisers, at least good ones, are not paid commensurate with the time involved. OTOH, they do get paid every time they take a camera and head for a home!

I agree with Merv and Bonnie:

Call it something else if need be, or lump into a category so you can be paid. As Bonnie said "appraisers" get paid for what they do evertime they take a camera and go to a house. In my area - that is a $350K job, so I give the choice to my clients to hire the appraiser at $350K or I'll do it for $250K or I lump it in with a set number of services.

Life is good, choices are what it is all about and you prove your value and worth. After that, all of the rest works if you use the SmartPlan Merv has, if you don't have it, I recommend it if you can spend the money, it makes this so much easier and transparent. If you can't, then save up your pennies til you can, it's worth it!

Best of 2008 to all!

Just calling it something else is what I had planned to do after reading your comments. I like Merv's property evaluation suggestion. And, like Merv, I never pin a value on the property either. I give a price range and let the Seller decide.

Thanks for all the input.


This page contains a single entry by Deb Orth published on January 4, 2008 6:15 PM.

Pre-listing Package was the previous entry in this blog.

Consulting with Homeowners is the next entry in this blog.

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