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mastering_CMAThe most significant part of the homebuying transaction is often price—knowing what your clients should pay for a home and developing a strategy to get to that figure. A new REALTOR® pricing certification course, Pricing Strategies: Mastering the CMA, will help real estate professionals refine their approaches to valuation. Set to launch at the 2015 REALTORS® Convention & Expo, the course is part of a new program replacing the Broker Price Opinion Resource (BPOR) certification, and is also an elective for the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation.

“Everyone in real estate gets asked their opinion of a property’s price or value,” says Melanie McLane, course co-developer, a practicing appraiser and broker, author, and instructor. “A conscientious agent will always want to do a competitive market analysis or a BPO in order to price the property to sell, or to make certain that their buyer client does not overpay.” With this in mind, the Pricing Strategies: Mastering the CMA course strives to give real estate professionals the tools to provide value opinions their clients expect.

The course covers the nuts and bolts of a comparative market analysis (CMA), including its purpose, key principles of valuation that impact these analyses, and important valuation terminology. Participants will understand the purpose of appraisals, how they differ from CMAs and the scope of the appraiser’s role. The course also gets down to the nitty gritty, and highlights tools to use when choosing comparables, identifies causes of imperfect information, explains how to adjust comparables, and guides agents in applying a CMA for subject properties. After taking the course, real estate professionals will be able to effectively address client concerns about pricing, choose appropriate comparables, prepare and present a superior CMA and generate ideas for working constructively with appraisers.

Course attendees will gain an understanding of the limitations imposed on appraisers based on the type of financing the buyer is getting or the specific underwriting requirements of their lenders. The course also helps agents identify “red flags” in appraisal reports.

McLane notes that agents may not lawfully perform a BPO in her state. This is the case for many agents. According to NAR’s State Issues Tracker, 35 states allow real estate licensee price opinions, but 15 states have extensive provisions that govern such opinions. McLane also notes that “the demand for BPOs is waning as the inventory of foreclosures dwindles.” While state restrictions and the rebounding market confine the need for certified BPO agents, homebuyers and sellers still want to know their agents’ opinions of a home’s value.

Pricing Strategies: Mastering the CMA provides the necessary tools required of agents to offer an educated opinion of a home’s value and effectively communicate aspects of the valuation and appraisal process with their clients. Encourage your agents to consider taking the course, and check out the many resources available to ABR® designees on

Marc Gould is vice president, Business Specialties, for NAR and executive director of REBAC.

For more information, visit