Real Estate Agents and the web – How to Trade Real Estate Today

Ten years ago, a search for real estate would have were only available in the office of a local real estate agent or by simply driving around town. At the agent’s office, you’ll 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 weeks touring each property and soon you found the correct one. Finding market data to help you assess the asking price would take more time and a lot more driving, and you still may not be able to find all of the information you needed to get really comfortable with a fair market value.

Today, most property searches start on the Internet. A quick keyword explore Google by location will likely get you thousands of results. If you spot a property of interest on a real estate web site, you can typically view photos online and perhaps even take a virtual tour. After that you can check other Web sites, including the local county assessor, to get a concept of the property’s value, see what the existing owner paid for the house, check the true 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 on the Internet are convenient and helpful, with them properly can be quite a challenge because of the volume of information and the issue in verifying its accuracy. During writing, a search of “Denver real estate” returned 2,670,000 Internet sites. Even a neighborhood specific seek out real estate can simply return thousands of Internet sites. With so many resources online how does an investor effectively use them without getting bogged down or winding up with incomplete or bad information? Contrary to popular belief, understanding how the business enterprise of property works offline makes it easier to understand online property information and strategies.

The Business of Real Estate

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

The MLS (and CIE)

The database of residential, land, and smaller income producing properties (including some commercial properties) is often referred to as a multiple listing service (MLS). Usually, only properties listed by member realtors can be added to an MLS. The primary reason for an MLS is to enable the member realtors to create offers of compensation to other member agents should 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 public over the Internet in many different forms.

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

Typically, 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 could make these properties more difficult to locate. Traditionally, these properties are found by driving around or looking for ads in the neighborhood newspaper’s real estate listings. A more efficient solution to locate for-sale-by-owner properties is to search for a for-sale-by-owner Internet 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 the same. A REALTOR is a licensed real estate agent who is also an associate of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS. REALTORS are required to comply with a strict code of ethics and conduct.

MLS and CIE property listing information was historically only available 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 web. This trickle is currently a flood!

One reason is that most of the 1 million roughly REALTORS have Web sites, and most of those Internet sites have varying amounts of the local MLS or CIE property information displayed on them. Another reason is that there are various 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 web definitely makes the info more accessible but also more confusing and at the mercy of misunderstanding and misuse.

Real Estate Agents

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

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

Changes in the technology behind the real estate business have caused many agents to improve the way they do business. In large part, that is due to the access immediately most consumers now have to property listings and other real estate information. estate agents chester Furthermore, the Internet along with other technologies have automated a lot of the marketing and initial searching process for real estate. For instance, consumers can view properties online and make inquires via email. Brokers can use automated programs to send listings to people that match their property criteria. So, some agents now limit the services they offer and change their fees accordingly. A realtor may offer to advertise the property in the MLS but only provide limited additional services. In the 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 a real estate 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 really 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 such site, AgentWorld.com, is quickly becoming the LinkedIn or Facebook for real estate agents. On this site a realtor can personalize their profile, take up a blog, post photos and videos and even create a connect to their web site for free. Once unique content is put into their profile page the search engines notice!

Some have argued that the Internet makes REALTORS and the MLS less relevant. We believe this will be false over time. It may change the role of the agent but can make knowledgeable, qualified, and professional REALTORS more relevant than ever. In fact, the quantity of real estate agents has risen significantly recently. No wonder, the web has made local real estate a worldwide business. Besides, Internet or not, the easy fact remains that the purchase of real property is the largest single purchase most people make within their life (or, for most investors, the largest multiple purchases over an eternity) and they want expert help. As for the MLS, it remains the most reliable source of property 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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