What’s a Broker Price Opinion (BPO)?

Home value, home value, let me count the ways.

You likely know what an appraisal is.

Most people have also heard of a comparative market analysis, or CMA, which a Realtor provides when estimating a home’s value for a potential seller.    

A lesser-known term is broker price opinion or BPO for short.

A broker price opinion is just as it sounds. It’s a real estate broker’s or agent’s professional opinion about the value of a home, condominium, land, or even commercial property. 

BPO vs CMA (Comparative Market Analysis)

A BPO and a CMA are similar, but the terminology can change depending on the purpose of the value estimate. 

The main distinction is that BPOs are usually requested by mortgage lenders and real estate asset managers, while Realtors® provide CMAs to potential clients. 

The mortgage industry orders BPOs to get quick and cost-effective value estimates of properties that secure troubled loans and foreclosed properties (also known as “real estate owned,” or  REO properties). 

How Is a Broker Price Opinion Done?

Similar to a comparative market analysis, a Realtor will analyze recent sales of similar homes near the subject property. The value is determined by making adjustments based on differences between the subject property and the sales comps. 

After the adjusted values of all comps are calculated, they can all be averaged equally or some comps can be weighted more heavily. Presto! Here’s your BPO from a pro.

To further support a home value, a Realtor may also consider homes currently listed for sale or pending sale (in escrow). These might be helpful depending on the market, but actual, closed sales are where the rubber meets the road.

For each property, the typical data included in the BPO report are listed below:

  • Sale Price
  • Sale Date
  • Proximity
  • House Size
  • Bedrooms and Bathrooms
  • Lot Size
  • Age
  • Condition
  • Pool (Y/N)
  • Zoning
  • Other Amenities (Solar power, RV parking, shop, stables, etc.)

Exterior BPO vs. Interior BPO

There are two types of broker price opinions: 

Exterior BPO

Sometimes a Realtor may not have access to the inside of a home. Lenders often want the values of properties that are in foreclosure, so they prefer to avoid confrontations with owners or unruly tenants.

An exterior BPO is a decent solution since it’s relatively fast and cheap compared to an appraisal, and the value can still be accurate. Investors with experience buying foreclosures will say that the exterior condition of a home is usually a good indication of the interior condition.

There can certainly be hidden issues and repairs without viewing the inside of a home, but those can be factored in by applying a buffer to the value estimate (i.e. $10,000).

Like the example below, many BPO forms list various repair estimates that should be subtracted from the overall value.

Interior BPO

Of course, seeing with your own eyes is always preferable unless you’re wearing rose-colored glasses. An interior BPO allows brokers and agents to evaluate a home’s condition, amenities, functionality, and potential issues.

An interior BPO will be more accurate since a Realtor® will be armed with more information, and will likely provide supporting photos. 

Pros and Cons of a Broker Price Opinion

Here are some fun facts about BPOs. 

BPO Pros

  • BPOs can be very accurate for estimating the value of a home. 
  • BPOs are performed by brokers or agents who are dialed into the local market. 
  • BPOs can be done quickly.
  • BPOs cost much less than appraisals for lenders.
  • BPOs are free for home sellers and buyers.

BPO Cons

  • BPOs cannot substitute for appraisals in certain situations.
  • BPOs cannot be used for a home purchase or refinance.
  • BPOs might be less accurate than appraisals, depending on who’s conducting them.

It’s important to note that appraisals are often done after the fact, to support a sale price that initially began with a BPO or CMA done to peg a sale price for a home seller.  

What’s The Difference Between an Appraisal and a BPO?

The primary differences are time, cost, and format. See a table for a side-by-side comparison.


An appraisal typically takes 1 to 3 weeks to complete, depending on the appraiser and the sales volume in a particular housing market. 

A broker price opinion takes 1 day to 1 week, depending on whether it’s an internal or external BPO and who’s requesting it.


The typical cost of an appraisal runs $350-$500 but can be much higher if the buyer rushes the order or it involves multi-family or commercial property. 

A BPO is free for a homebuyer or seller since the Realtor is looking to form a relationship. 

Lenders will pay between $50-$200 for BPOs depending on exterior or interior reporting and the time allowed for completion.


For an appraisal, a licensed appraiser generates a detailed, standardized report comparing recent sales of similar homes to the subject property. Price adjustments are made in a grid-type layout that factors differences in property size, age, location, condition, and amenities. Photos of the subject property and comps are typically included for the lender.

Broker price opinions (or comparative market analyses) are not regulated so they take on many forms, often condensed to a couple of pages if there are no photos. The purpose of a BPO is to provide a cost-effective valuation to a lender or potential client, so the empirical facts are usually represented in a very concise format.

Cast your gaze on the handy table below, comparing a BPO with an appraisal.

BPO vs Appraisal

FAQs Broker Price Opinion (BPO) Appraisal
Who performs the valuation? Real Estate Broker or Agent Licensed Appraiser
What details are included? Home value estimate including comparable sales and adjustments. A detailed report including comparable sales, adjustments, and photos.
What's the methodology? Uses comparable sales data along with a knowledge of the home and neighborhood. Uses comparable sales data along with a brief inspection to evaluate condition.
Is it accurate? Usually very accurate. Exact value is never known until it sells. Usually very accurate. Typically done based on a purchase contract or refinancing.
What does it cost? Free for home sellers and buyers. $50 - $200 for lenders. Typically $300 - $500 depending on timing.
How fast can I get it? 1 day - 1 week, depending on timing and interior vs. exterior. Usually 1 - 3 weeks.
When do I use it? To get an accurate and free home value estimate. Required by a lender to buy or refinance a property.

How Accurate Are BPOs?

The Realtor performing the BPO will dictate its accuracy. It’s difficult to substitute for experience, so a newbie typically won’t match the accuracy of an experienced Realtor. The data matters as well, since a couple of very similar sales comps can make the task much easier.

As mentioned before, a Realtor’s home value estimate is often the first and most important estimate, since the true market value will ultimately be determined by a home buyer. Appraisals are done after houses are in escrow to support contractual sale prices to front-line lenders and institutions that purchase those loans. 

Appraisals Can Be Required

On rare occasions, an appraisal will be waived by a lender because their internal, automated underwriting system is sufficient to support the property value, and the homebuyer is also highly qualified. Beyond that, an appraisal is normally required by mortgage lenders when a home is being purchased or refinanced. 

Moreover, any GSE (government-sponsored enterprise) like Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac will not buy loans from a lender without an appraisal. It follows that BPOs are not acceptable for VA loans, FHA loans, and Cal HFA loans.

How To Order a Broker Pricing Opinion

If you’re thinking about selling a home, a local Realtor would be happy to churn out a BPO for you. You’re not obligated to sell your home and most Realtors realize it may take a while until you ultimately sell. It’s just part of the job.

Some companies specialize in broker price opinions for lending institutions. Here are some of those companies.

Final Opinion of a Broker Price Opinion

Broker pricing opinions are an essential part of the real estate ecosystem. 

  • They provide fast home value estimates to home buyers, home sellers, and financial institutions. 
  • They are free for buyers and sellers and cost much less than appraisals for lenders.
  • They can be quite accurate since they are performed by local Realtors who are familiar with the real estate market.

Not all BPOs are created equal. Some Realtors are better than others, so some BPOs are more reliable than others. Either way, it’s a great starting point for anybody thinking about buying or selling a home.

Broker price opinions are here to stay!

Contact Us if you need a comparative market analysis, a broker price opinion, or anything else related to Bakersfield real estate.

Of course, you can always get 3 quick Bakersfield home value estimates right here.

Check out our side-by-side comparison of automated valuation models (AVM), comparative market analyses (CMA), and appraisals.