Believing These 5 Myths About REALTORS Keeps You From Growing

Ten years ago, a seek out 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’ll spend an afternoon flipping through pages of active property listings from the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). After choosing properties of interest, you would spend many weeks touring each property and soon 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 each of the information you had a need to get really comfortable with a good 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 house of interest on a genuine estate web site, it is possible to 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 obtain a concept 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 house!

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 difficulty in verifying its accuracy. During writing, a search of “Denver real estate” returned 2,670,000 Web sites. chester houses for sale Even a neighborhood specific search for real estate can easily return thousands of Internet sites. With so many resources online so how exactly does an investor effectively utilize 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 property information and strategies.

The Business of PROPERTY

Real estate is typically bought and sold either through a licensed real estate agent or directly by the owner. The vast majority is purchased and sold through real estate brokers. (We use “agent” and “broker” to refer to the same professional.) This is due to their property knowledge and experience and, at the very least historically, their exclusive usage of a database of active properties on the market. Usage of 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 often referred to as a multiple listing service (MLS). Generally, only properties listed by member real estate agents can be put into an MLS. The primary purpose of an MLS is to enable the member real estate agents to make offers of compensation to other member agents if they find a buyer for a house.

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 general public over the Internet in lots of different forms.

Commercial property listings are also 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 however the agents adding the listings to the database are not necessary to offer any specific type of compensation to another members. Compensation is negotiated beyond your CIE.

Generally, for-sale-by-owner properties cannot be directly added to an MLS and CIE, which are typically maintained by REALTOR associations. The lack of a managed centralized database could make these properties more difficult to locate. Traditionally, these properties are located by driving around or looking for ads in the local newspaper’s real estate listings. A far more efficient way to locate for-sale-by-owner properties is 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’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 available in hard copy, and as we mentioned, only directly open to real estate agents members of an MLS or CIE. About ten years ago, this specific property information began to trickle out to the Internet. This trickle is currently a flood!

One reason is that most of the 1 million roughly REALTORS have Web sites, and most of those Web 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 property 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 real estate information to the web definitely makes the information more accessible but also more confusing and at the mercy of misunderstanding and misuse.

Real Estate Agents

Despite the flood of real estate information on the Internet, most properties remain sold directly through real estate agents listing properties in the neighborhood MLS or CIE. However, those property listings usually do not stay local anymore. By its nature, the web is a global marketplace and local MLS and CIE listings are normally disseminated for display on a variety of Web sites. For instance, many go to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS Internet site, http://www.realtor.com, also to the local real estate agent’s Web site. Furthermore, the listing may be displayed on the internet site of an area newspaper. In essence, the web is just another type 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 also may help the seller set up a price, hold open houses, keep carefully the seller informed of interested buyers and offers, negotiate the contract and help with closing. When an agent provides many of these services it is known as being truly 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 real estate business have caused many agents to improve the way they do business. In large part, this is due to the access immediately most consumers now have to property listings along with other real estate information. Furthermore, the Internet and other technologies have automated much of the marketing and initial searching process for property. 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 provide and change their fees accordingly. An agent may offer to advertise the property 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 level 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 is no longer just about access to 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 to research the biography of a realtor referred to you offline. One particular 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 link 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 Internet makes REALTORS and the MLS less relevant. We believe this is 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 realtors has risen significantly recently. 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 within their life (or, for many investors, the biggest multiple purchases over an eternity) and they want expert help. As for the MLS, it remains the most reliable source of real estate listing and sold information available and continues make it possible for efficient marketing of properties. So, what is the function of all online real estate information?

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