Are you allowed to charge for a broker price opinion?

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05/08/2015 | Author: Editorial Staff

Can I charge a fee to provide a broker price opinion or comparative market analysis to an owner, buyer, or lender?

Yes. The Real Estate License Act and TREC rules permit a broker to charge a fee for providing a broker price opinion (BPO) or a comparative market analysis (CMA). A salesperson may provide a BPO or CMA as well, but they must be submitted in a broker's name. The broker is responsible for a BPO or CMA submitted by a salesperson.

BPOs and CMAs are not appraisals. Appraisals may only be completed by someone who is licensed or certified as an appraiser. TREC rules require BPOs and CMAs to contain certain language to make this clear. BPOs and CMAs must contain the following statement verbatim:

"THIS IS A BROKER PRICE OPINION OR COMPARATIVE MARKET ANALYSIS AND SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AN APPRAISAL OR OPINION OF VALUE. In making any decision that relies upon my work, you should know that I have not followed the guidelines for development of an appraisal or analysis contained in the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice of the Appraisal Foundation."

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Categories: Forms, Legal
Tags: legal, legal faq, broker price opinion, cma, bpo, comparative market analysis


Susan Carothers on 06/23/2015

Sorry I’m a little late with with my comment on this, but I have to say I agree with Rick wholeheartedly!  I truly believe that people in general do not value us or what we offer unless there is something of value they have to pay for it.  I believe it’s how our brains are wired.  Where this all started with the “free” products, advice and experience we provide, I wish I knew!  It is so frustrating to work so hard, take that time away from your family and they use another agent or FSBO their home.  I do charge as well if they break the listing agreement for no good reason.  I’m getting better at getting the Buyer’s Representation Agreements signed, but there’s times you think you really know the client and you can trust them and they end up stabbing you in the back by going to a builder without you or working a pocket listing and not being honest with the agent when they ask if they’re working with someone.  If we ALL started charging and again, Rick is right, if the large brokerages started it, then there would be perceived inherent value in what we do.

Rick DeVoss on 05/26/2015

It’s really funny how so many Realtors make the assumption that the entire industry has to continue on the same track it has been on for so many years.  (Only a locomotive pulling a very long train of heavy cars has to do that.)  Each one of us is really in business for ourselves, and we have the power to change the way we operate our business.  There is no reason to wait and see what someone else will do.  There is no reason to think that nothing can change until a large brokerage makes a change.

Each of you has the ability to set your own fee schedule.
Each of you can charge a fee for a listing presentation.
You all can charge a buyer a fee to show them houses.
You can all charge the seller a fee in case the listing is canceled for any reason short of closing.  (I have a $1,000 termination fee built into every listing agreement.)
And any up-front fee can be refunded at closing.

Some of us are already charging fees “up front.”  Every tenant pays me $40 to show them houses for lease.  If they won’t pay, I won’t waste my time with them.  That nominal amount doesn’t even cover the cost of a tank of gas.

So charge what you think your services are worth.  Let people know that you don’t work for free, and remind them that they don’t work for free at their job.  Help them put it all in perspective by comparing your professional expertise to a lawyer or an accountant.  Many of them will give you a free consultation for 30 minutes. 

Realtors need to start doing the same thing.

Once your co-workers see You doing it, they will pick up on it and start doing the same thing.  I’ve seen a lot of changes over the last 35 years, but this is one that needs to catch on right now!

Cyndia Moore on 05/26/2015

It really is very interesting that real estate agents are about the only field that doesn’t charge a fee for services.  I can’t even get a landscaper to come out and put a plan together for less than $375-425, and that has to be paid up front, whether or not I actually end up having them do the landscaping work.  It’s credited to me if the work is done.  I wonder who it was, way back when, that decided that it was just fine for us to do all the work that we do for free.  Some would say that none of these other fields have the capacity to make as much on each job as we do.  I hear that all the time, and it may be true.  But none of these job spend nearly the hours and gas money that we do either.  It’s a very strange business that we are in!  I can’t get an interior decorator to come out and even look at my house for less than $150 for an hour consultation, and that has to be paid whether or not I hire them for the job.  We go out and spend an hour or two with the client, AFTER we have already spent a couple of hours researching values and putting a report together, but we get “nuttin” unless they decide to list/buy with us.

Rolf Mitzkat on 05/19/2015


You are 100% correct.  I have been in this business for over 20 years and it’s always been beyond my comprehension why we don’t charge a minimum fee, especially on the listing side.  That in and of itself would also weed out weak seller motivations and prevent some homes from even getting on the market and wasting EVERYONES time. 

Unfortunately until one of the leading companies decides to step up and create a policy to do this then this industry will not change and everyone will continue to give away their professional experience and knowledge.  The other companies will soon follow because it’s simply a good business practice.  It would ensure cash flow to a company which could even result in increased advertising budgets which would translate into more sales.

Rick DeVoss on 05/15/2015

To Ms. Akin:
First of all, I did not “compare” anyone to ‘ladies of the evening’, nor did I use the word ‘prostitute.’  (That was Your idea.)    I was merely stating a fact about business practices.  Some “professionals” charge a fee up front, like attorneys, doctors, etc.  But typically, most Realtors do Not.  We give away our services to the customer, and they have learned over the years to expect it, and then they are free to do what they wish with the information.  (A Realtor’s expertise is worth something!  Any idiot can unlock the front door of a house, and say “this is the kitchen…”)

Secondly, you are quite mistaken about your relationship with a seller when you are soliciting a listing.  You may have done some considerable work for the owner of the property, and you may have put your professional expertise into it, but that person is NOT your client prior to you getting the signed listing!  So, therefore, you don’t represent them.  (And even after they sign the listing, you are willing to work for free, because you have agreed that you will not get paid Until the house is sold.  Tell me, do you charge the seller a fee if the house does not sell?  Haven’t you done a lot of work and spent your own money on advertising the property?  ~I always write a $1,000 fee into my listing agreements, should it not sell for any reason, such as the seller changing their mind.)

Do you have a Buyer’s Rep agreement with every customer?  What do you charge them if they Don’t buy a house after spending months showing them properties that they have said they might be interested in?  ~What do you get paid if they buy a house from another agent after you have shown them multiple properties?

We call ourselves ‘professionals’, and then we give away our services, our time, and our expertise.  ~Name another professional who does that. (?)

The only way this industry will change is if each agent, and each broker, changes their habits, and starts educating the public to make them understand our time & expertise is worth something.  (They don’t work for free at their job!)  So if you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you will keep getting paid less than you are worth.



Bill Taylor on 05/14/2015

On a listing appt.  Present your CMA/BPO to the Seller.  If they say they
want to think about it but would like the CMA/BPO.  Tell them that is
perfectly OK, but there will be a fee.  Charge them what ever you feel
is fair for your time. Advise them that if they decide to list with you, the
fee will be refunded.  A lot of time is spent in doing a good CMA or BPO.
We do not work for free.

THERESA AKIN on 05/14/2015

First off I find it very insulting for real estate agents to be compared to ladies of the evening, prostitutes and the like, especially by another agent. How dare you! I have never charged for a CMA for buyer or seller. I never thought I had to. It was just part of representing the buyer or seller. I showed them the stats and went from there. The seller got to look at the CMA at the appointment but I never left it with them unless they listed with our brokerage. The buyer would get a CMA of properties in the area of their buying interest. We would already have a Buyer Rep Agreement in place. The buyer received a copy! We proceeded from that point!

Donna L Burton on 05/14/2015

Lisa Creed made a good point about the fees going through the broker.  This may be why agents have not started charging for a CMA.  Too much trouble and end result may not be worth billing for depending on your commission split with said broker.

Rick DeVoss on 05/14/2015

I agree with Linda.
Too many agents are willing to work for free.
Set a fee schedule for everything you do that is of value.  You are free to charge any amount you want.  If all of us would start doing that, the public would change their impression of real estate agents.

~even ladies of the evening are smart enough to get their money up front.
Why aren’t real estate agents??


Linda scardis on 05/14/2015

I think if we all charged minimal fee and then it they list with you give it back to them at closing.  We work hard and pay a lot of fees in our profession and it’s a shame that people can take advantage and get that information only to go and sell it themselves.  I get most of my listings but there are those people out there that use you for your information .

Candace Cargill on 05/14/2015

I didn’t check, but I bet it was part of the news on or our Associations site just in case I have the name wrong.  I bet they compile some of the most interesting news and send it out in the newsletter.

Rick DeVoss on 05/14/2015

...that would be:
“Independent Contractor Agreement” ...


~Why am I just getting this TAR newsletter 6 days after it was published??
Is anyone else having this problem?  (I have it all the time.)

Lisa Creed on 05/08/2015

Just a reminder…also check with your broker about how those fees are to be received. As with commissions,  fees related to real estate go to the broker unless otherwise agreed between agent and broker as a part of the Independent Contract Agreement.

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The material provided here is for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be considered as legal advice for your particular matter. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Applicability of the legal principles discussed in this material may differ substantially in individual situations.

While the Texas Association of REALTORS® has used reasonable efforts in collecting and preparing materials included here, due to the rapidly changing nature of the real estate marketplace and the law, and our reliance on information provided by outside sources, the Texas Association of REALTORS® makes no representation, warranty, or guarantee of the accuracy or reliability of any information provided here or elsewhere on Any legal or other information found here, on, or at other sites to which we link, should be verified before it is relied upon.

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