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

Ten years ago, a seek out 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 a day flipping through pages of active property listings from the neighborhood Multiple Listing Service (MLS). After choosing properties of interest, you’ll spend weeks touring each property until you found the correct one. Finding market data to help you assess the asking price would take more time and much more driving, and you still might not be able to find all the information you needed to get really comfortable with a fair market value.

Today, most property searches start the Internet. An instant keyword explore Google by location will probably get you thousands of results. If you spot a house of interest on a real estate web site, you can 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 get 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 even check out what shops are within walking distance-all without leaving your home!

While the resources on the web are convenient and helpful, with 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. houses for sale chester Even a neighborhood specific search for real estate can simply return thousands of Web sites. With so many resources online how 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 enterprise of real estate works offline makes it better to understand online property information and strategies.

The Business of PROPERTY

Real estate is normally bought and sold either through a licensed real estate agent or directly by the dog owner. The vast majority is purchased and sold through real estate brokers. (We use “agent” and “broker” to make reference to the same professional.) This is due to their real estate knowledge and experience and, at 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 mls (MLS). Typically, only properties listed by member realtors can be put into an MLS. The primary reason for an MLS is to enable the member realtors to create offers of compensation to other member agents if 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 lots of 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 similar to an MLS however the agents adding the listings to the database are not required to offer any specific type of compensation to the other members. Compensation is negotiated outside the CIE.

Generally, for-sale-by-owner properties can’t be directly added to an MLS and CIE, which are typically maintained by REALTOR associations. Having less a managed centralized database can make these properties more difficult to find. Traditionally, these properties are located by driving around or searching for ads in the neighborhood newspaper’s real estate listings. A far more efficient solution to locate for-sale-by-owner properties is to search for a for-sale-by-owner Web site in the geographic area.

Exactly what is a REALTOR? Sometimes the terms agent and REALTOR are used interchangeably; however, they are not similar. A REALTOR is really a licensed real estate agent who is also a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS. REALTORS are required to 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 open to realtors members of an MLS or CIE. About ten years ago, this valuable property information began to trickle out to the web. This trickle is currently a flood!

One reason is that the majority of the 1 million or so 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 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 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 web, most properties are still sold directly through real estate agents 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 usually disseminated for display on many different Web sites. For example, many go to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS Web site, http://www.realtor.com, and to the local property agent’s Web site. In addition, the listing could 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 carefully the seller informed of interested buyers and will be offering, 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 kind of listing arrangement, they are not the only option anymore.

Changes in the technology behind the real estate business have caused many agents to improve the way they conduct business. In large part, this is due to the access immediately most consumers will have to property listings along with 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 example, consumers can view properties online and make inquires via email. Brokers may 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. Later on, 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 consider 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 access to 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 an agent can personalize their profile, take up a blog, post photos and videos and even create a link to their web site free of charge. 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 long run. It may change the role of the agent but will make knowledgeable, qualified, and professional REALTORS more relevant than ever before. In fact, the quantity of realtors has risen significantly recently. No wonder, the Internet 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 most people make in their life (or, for many investors, the largest multiple purchases over a lifetime) 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 make it possible for efficient marketing of properties. So, what’s the function of all online real estate information?

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