Regarding, "From Flips to Flops" [Pipeline Column, April 22], we strongly disagree with the assertion that broker price opinions are unreliable for short sale or loan modification purposes.

First, the issue is about the collection and analysis of data — not just who gathers the data. In today's complex world, technology allows us to gather and assimilate data quickly and efficiently. The accurate and efficient collection and analysis of real estate data is what lenders and investors are demanding.

Second, the argument that real estate agents are likely to engage in fraudulent "property flopping" is predicated on falsehoods that demean the many professionals with years of experience in the field where practitioners pledge to uphold the BPO Standards and Guidelines provided to prevent conflicts of interest. Erroneously, the argument apparently assumes that the real estate agent who prepares the BPO also gets the listing on the property, which is generally not the case. In fact, most lenders and servicers obtain a BPO where the real estate agent has no past, present or anticipated financial interest in the property to ensure objectivity.

Third, there is no evidence to suggest that real estate agents are more likely to engage in fraudulent activity than other valuation providers, regardless of whether the agent delivering the BPO actually lists the property at a later date.

We are also disappointed that the article failed to mention the public response made by the National Association of Realtors to assure consumers that real estate agents are objective observers of value. As NAR president Vicki Cox Golder stated in her letter to Treasury Secretary Timonty Geithner and Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Donovan, "BPOs are completed by licensed real estate agents with a detailed knowledge and understanding of real estate pricing and local market trends developed through active participation in the listing, negotiation and sale of properties. This perspective offers a unique viewpoint that supports sound real estate decisions with accurate estimates of the value of real estate."

The article could have gained a more robust perspective of what is actually occurring in the industry by allowing additional sources from the valuation industry or Realtor community to be heard.

Duane Andrews
Chief Executive Officer
Clear Capital

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