Entry by Mary Pope-Handy

Baby Steps Toward Consulting


Unless you're in a small or independent brokerage, there's a good chance that you've got a bit of a challenge on your hands in terms of getting your management to OK your work as an ACRE, in which you are paid for the work you do.

I'm at a very traditional company, which means that it's pretty much "pay by commission" only. But not entirely. With all the short sales and REOs out there, more managers and brokers are allowing their agents to do BPOs - Broker Price Opinions - for which they are compensated a small fee.

What this really is...is a "baby step". It's a small but prevalent way of getting paid for the work you do.

I haven't done any BPOs, but instead occassionally am asked to do something like it, but retroactively, for some particular date in the past. The reason for the request has to do with tax consequences. Sometimes the date is when someone died. At other times it is when someone was added to title. It's always when there was a change in title.

The easiest way to get that value is when it happens. I've had a few of these in the past and they're easy to do since everything is online, complete with descriptions and photos.

Sometimes homeowners don't "get around to it" for awhile. Sometimes decades. I've had two like that in recent years - two where it was so long ago that the MLS online wasn't going to be of much help. The first one is for a great past client (I've sold 3 homes for her) who needed something in the 80s. This was before I was an ACRE and I must have spent between 6 and 10 hours doing what it took to find the darned comps, analyse the market from 20 years ago etc. And no, I didn't charge her for it. She's sold a bunch of homes with me and still has a luxury property that she wants to sell (worth more than 1.5 mil). So I thought of that as built in.

A couple of weeks ago I got a similar request from a total stranger who wanted the valuation as of July 1997. Our MLS has online comps through 1998, so it almost could have been easy! Knowing how much work it was when I did the one in the 80s, I told the gal I could do it and gave her a range of prices, depending on how involved and time consuming it was.

Then I told my manager. I explained that I do these "once in awhile" and don't like to turn down the chance to make a little extra money, especially now (with two kids in college and real estate paying less but taking more time). I explained that what I'm doing is a service, there's not a chance of it becoming a listing, and it would be fair to be paid for it. He agreed. He was very supportive, in fact, and understood that in these times especially, we don't turn down viable ways of making a living.

So I wanted to share a little "baby step" with consulting within a traditional brokerage model. I suspect that for many, the transition to "being paid for the work we do" will be a series of incremental moves rather than one cataclysmic move. And I'm ok with that.


Way to go, Mary!

The brokerage I'm with now doesn't support the fee for service model either. But my plan is to do something like you've done, and present them with a check. Will they refuse the few extra bucks in their pockets? I doubt it!

Time will tell,


I'm proud of both of you - it's not easy working to work for a traditional with ACRE blood flowing in one's veins! Keep taking the baby steps - from everything I'm hearing, we're on the right track.

Betty - or they may say "it's so small, keep it all" if it is just a few hundred. I suspect your manager will think that any income is a good idea, though, and will give you credit for doing it the right way and running things through the brokerage.

Mollie - thank you!

This page contains a single entry by Mary Pope-Handy published on March 25, 2010 9:42 PM.

Should You Be Licensed to be an ACRE? was the previous entry in this blog.

Is "Stop Working for Free" Really The Message We Want To Promote? is the next entry in this blog.

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