First of all, what the heck is a BPO? A BPO is a “broker’s price opinion”. You might also see BOV (broker’s opinion of value) CMA (comparative market analysis) or other forms of the same basic meaning. The broker is usually simply considered a real estate professional with expertise in the area. What is an appraisal then? An appraisal is an appraiser’s opinion of value. (no, I don’t think they usually abbreviate) since we know what a broker is usually defined as, a real estate appraiser is usually defined as a professional who develops an opinion of value on a specific type of property. Sound like the same person? Yes, but it is not.
So, back to the question at hand, what is the difference?
While any old real estate agent can compare recent sales (often called comps or comparables) and develop an opinion of value for someone, it usually cannot be used by a bank or lender to verify a property is worth or what someone is willing to pay for it. In fact, most real estate agents are not even allowed to be compensated for a BPO, usually only the responsible broker of an office can be compensated. However, most good brokerages will provide market analysis and opinions of value for free. (ahem).
On the other hand, a real estate appraiser is obligated by federal law to be state licensed or certified. That involves acting as a trainee for a certain number of hours, (yes, appraisers must train their own future competition) becoming a licensed appraiser, and becoming certified for specific applications. Just like a real estate agent, appraisers are required to complete many hours of education and continuing education for their profession. An appraiser is an unrelated party to a real estate loan, usually in place to protect the lender.
So, can a real estate agent performance appraisal? No! Unless that real estate agent is a licensed appraiser. Can a real estate agent give you an opinion of value for your property? Sure! But it cannot be considered an appraisal.