Real Estate Agents and the web – How to Buy and Sell Real Estate Today

Ten years ago, a search for real estate would have started in the office of an area real estate agent or by simply driving around town. At the agent’s office, you would spend an afternoon flipping through pages of active property listings from the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). After choosing properties of interest, you’ll spend many weeks touring each property until you found the right one. Finding market data to enable you to assess the asking price would take more time and much more driving, and you still is probably not able to find all the information you needed to get really comfortable with a fair market value.

Today, most property searches start on the Internet. An instant keyword explore Google by location will probably get you a large number of results. If you spot a property of interest on a genuine estate web site, you can typically view photos online and maybe even take a virtual tour. You can then check other Web sites, such as the local county assessor, to get an idea of the property’s value, see what the current owner paid for the house, check the real estate taxes, get census data, school information, and also check out what shops are within walking distance-all without leaving your home!

While the resources online are convenient and helpful, with them properly can be a challenge because of the volume of information and the issue in verifying its accuracy. At the time of writing, a search of “Denver property” returned 2,670,000 Sites. Even a neighborhood specific seek out real estate can simply return thousands of Internet sites. With so many resources online so how exactly does an investor effectively use them without getting bogged down or winding up with incomplete or bad information? Believe it or not, understanding how the business of property works offline makes it easier to understand online real estate information and strategies.

The Business of PROPERTY

Real estate is typically bought and sold either through a licensed agent or directly by the dog owner. The vast majority is bought and sold through real estate agents. (We use “agent” and “broker” to make reference to the same professional.) That is due to their property knowledge and experience and, at least historically, their exclusive usage of a database of active properties for sale. Access to this database of property listings provided the most efficient way to seek out properties.

The MLS (and CIE)

The database of residential, land, and smaller income producing properties (including some commercial properties) is commonly referred to as a mls (MLS). Typically, only properties listed by member real estate agents can be put into an MLS. The primary reason for an MLS would be to enable the member realtors to make offers of compensation to other member agents if they find a buyer for a house.

This purposes didn’t include enabling the direct publishing of the MLS information to the general public; times change. Today, most MLS information is directly accessible to the general public over the Internet in many different forms.

Commercial property listings are also displayed online but aggregated commercial property information is more elusive. chester houses for sale Larger MLSs often operate a commercial information exchange (CIE). A CIE is comparable to an MLS however the agents adding the listings to the database aren’t required to offer any specific type of compensation to another members. Compensation is negotiated beyond your CIE.

Usually, for-sale-by-owner properties cannot be directly put into an MLS and CIE, which are usually maintained by REALTOR associations. Having less a managed centralized database can make these properties more difficult to locate. Traditionally, these properties are found by driving around or searching for ads in the neighborhood newspaper’s real estate listings. A far more efficient way to locate for-sale-by-owner properties would be to search for a for-sale-by-owner Site in the geographic area.

Exactly what is a REALTOR? Sometimes the terms real estate agent and REALTOR are employed interchangeably; however, they are not similar. A REALTOR is a licensed real estate agent who’s also a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS. REALTORS must adhere to a strict code of ethics and conduct.

MLS and CIE property listing information was historically only obtainable in hard copy, and as we mentioned, only directly available to realtors members of an MLS or CIE. About a decade ago, this valuable property information began to trickle out to the Internet. This trickle is now a flood!

One reason is that almost all of the 1 million or so REALTORS have Web sites, and most of those Internet sites have varying amounts of the neighborhood MLS or CIE property information displayed in it. Another reason is that there are plenty of non-real estate agent Internet sites that also offer real estate information, including, for-sale-by-owner sites, foreclosure sites, regional and international listing sites, County assessor sites, and valuation and market information sites. The flood of property information to the Internet definitely makes the info more accessible but additionally more confusing and at the mercy of misunderstanding and misuse.

Real Estate Agents

Despite the flood of property information on the web, most properties are still sold directly through realtors listing properties in the neighborhood MLS or CIE. However, those property listings usually do not stay local anymore. By its nature, the web is really a global marketplace and local MLS and CIE listings are usually disseminated for display on a variety of Web sites. For example, many visit the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS Web site, http://www.realtor.com, and to the local property agent’s Web site. Furthermore, the listing may be displayed on the internet site of a local newspaper. In essence, the web is just another form of marketing offered by today’s agent, but it has a much broader reach compared to the old print advertising.

In addition to Internet marketing, listing agents may also help the seller set up a price, hold open houses, keep the seller informed of interested buyers and offers, negotiate the contract and help with closing. When an agent provides all of these services it is referred to as being a full service listing arrangement. While full service listing arrangements will be the most common type of listing arrangement, they’re not the only option anymore.

Changes in the technology behind the true estate business have caused many agents to change the way they do business. In large part, this is due to the instant access most consumers will have to property listings along with other real estate information. In addition, the Internet along with other technologies have automated a lot of the marketing and initial searching process for property. For example, consumers can view properties online and make inquires via email. Brokers can use automated programs to send listings to people that match their house criteria. So, some agents now limit the services they offer and change their fees accordingly. An agent may offer to advertise the house in the MLS but only provide limited additional services. In the foreseeable future, some realtors may offer services in more of an ala carte fashion.

Because of the volume of real estate information on the Internet, when people hire an agent today they should look at the particular services offered by the agent and the depth of these experience and knowledge in the relevant property sector. It is no longer just about usage of property listing information. Buyers and sellers historically found agents by referrals from family and friends. The Internet now provides methods to directly find qualified agents or to research the biography of a realtor referred to you offline. One particular site, AgentWorld.com, is quickly becoming the LinkedIn or Facebook for realtors. On this site a realtor can personalize their profile, start a blog, post photos and videos and also create a connect to their web site for free. Once unique content is put into their profile page the various search engines notice!

Some have argued that the web makes REALTORS and the MLS less relevant. We believe this is false over time. It may change the role of the agent but can make knowledgeable, qualified, and professional REALTORS more relevant than ever before. In fact, the amount of real estate agents has risen significantly in recent years. No wonder, the web has made local real estate a global business. Besides, Internet or not, the easy fact remains that the purchase of real property is the largest single purchase a lot of people make in their life (or, for many investors, the biggest multiple purchases over a lifetime) and they want expert help. Are you aware that MLS, it remains the most reliable source of real estate listing and sold information available and continues to enable efficient marketing of properties. So, what’s the function of all the online real estate information?

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