Believing These 5 Myths About Real Estate Agents Keeps You From Growing

Ten years ago, a search for real estate would have started in the office of a local 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 neighborhood Multiple Listing Service (MLS). After choosing properties of interest, you would spend weeks touring each property until you found the right one. Finding market data to help you assess the price tag would take more time and a lot more driving, and you still is probably not able to find all the information you needed to get really comfortable with a good market value.

Today, most property searches start the Internet. A quick keyword explore Google by location will likely get you thousands of results. If you spot a house of interest on a genuine estate web site, it is possible to typically view photos online and maybe even take a virtual tour. After that you can check other Web sites, such as the local county assessor, to obtain an idea of the property’s value, see what the current owner paid for the property, check the true estate taxes, get census data, school information, and even check out what shops are within walking distance-all without leaving your home!

While the resources on the web are convenient and helpful, using them properly can be quite a challenge because of the level of information and the difficulty in verifying its accuracy. At the time of writing, a search of “Denver real estate” returned 2,670,000 Web sites. Even a neighborhood specific search for real estate can simply return thousands of 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? Contrary to popular belief, understanding how the business enterprise of property works offline makes it easier to understand online real estate information and strategies.

The Business of PROPERTY

Real estate is normally bought and sold either through a licensed agent or directly by the owner. The vast majority is bought and sold through real estate agents. (We use “agent” and “broker” to refer to the same professional.) houses for sale chester That is due to their property knowledge and experience and, at the very least historically, their exclusive access to a database of active properties on the market. Access to this database of property listings provided probably 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 commonly referred to as a multiple listing service (MLS). Normally, only properties listed by member realtors can be put into an MLS. The primary purpose of an MLS would be to enable the member real estate agents to create offers of compensation to other member agents should they find a buyer for a property.

This purposes did not include enabling the direct publishing of the MLS information to the 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 kind of compensation to the other members. Compensation is negotiated outside the CIE.

Usually, for-sale-by-owner properties can’t be directly added to an MLS and CIE, which are usually maintained by REALTOR associations. The lack of a managed centralized database could make these properties more difficult to find. Traditionally, these properties are located by driving around or looking for ads in the local newspaper’s real estate listings. A more efficient way to locate for-sale-by-owner properties would be to search for a for-sale-by-owner Internet site in the geographic area.

What is a REALTOR? Sometimes the terms agent and REALTOR are employed interchangeably; however, they are not the same. A REALTOR is really a licensed real estate agent who is also a member 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 obtainable in hard copy, so when we mentioned, only directly available to realtors members of an MLS or CIE. About a decade ago, this specific property information started to trickle out to the web. This trickle is now a flood!

One reason is that a lot of the 1 million roughly REALTORS have Web sites, & 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 several 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 websites. The flood of property information to the web 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 real estate information on the web, most properties remain sold directly through real estate agents listing properties in the local MLS or CIE. However, those property listings do not stay local anymore. By its nature, the web is a global marketplace and local MLS and CIE listings are usually disseminated for display on a variety of Web sites. For example, many go to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS Site, http://www.realtor.com, and to the local property agent’s Web site. In addition, the listing could be displayed online site of an area newspaper. In essence, the web is just another form of marketing offered by today’s real estate agent, but it has a much broader reach than 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 a realtor provides most of these services it is known as being a full service listing arrangement. While full service listing arrangements are the most common type of listing arrangement, they are not the only real option anymore.

Changes in the technology behind the real estate business have caused many agents to change the way they do business. In large part, that is due to the instant access most consumers will have to property listings and other real estate information. In addition, the Internet along with other technologies have automated much 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 consumers that match their property criteria. So, some agents now limit the services they provide and change their fees accordingly. A realtor may offer to advertise the property in the MLS but only provide limited additional services. Down the road, some real estate agents may offer services in more of an ala carte fashion.

Because of the volume of real estate information on the web, when people hire a real estate agent today they should consider the particular services offered by the agent and the depth of their 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 friends and family. The Internet now provides methods to directly find qualified agents or even to research the biography of an agent referred to you offline. One such site, AgentWorld.com, is quickly becoming the LinkedIn or Facebook for real estate agents. On this site an agent can personalize their profile, start 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 web makes REALTORS and the MLS less relevant. We believe this will be false in the end. It could change the role of the agent but will make knowledgeable, qualified, and professional REALTORS more relevant than ever. In fact, the quantity of real estate agents has risen significantly in recent years. No wonder, the Internet has made local real estate a worldwide business. Besides, Internet or not, the easy fact remains that the purchase of real property may be the largest single purchase a lot of people make in their life (or, for most investors, the biggest multiple purchases over an eternity) and they want specialist help. As for the 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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