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 a local real estate agent or by just driving around town. At the agent’s office, you would spend a day flipping through pages of active property listings from the neighborhood MLS (MLS). After choosing properties of interest, you would 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 may not be 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 house of interest on a real estate web site, you can typically view photos online and perhaps even have 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 existing owner paid for the house, 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, 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 Internet 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 utilize them without getting bogged down or winding up with incomplete or bad information? Contrary to popular belief, understanding how the business of property works offline makes it better to understand online real estate 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 bought and sold through real estate brokers. (We use “agent” and “broker” to refer to the same professional.) That 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 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 often referred to as a mls (MLS). Generally, only properties listed by member real estate agents can be added to an MLS. The primary reason for an MLS would be to enable the member realtors to create 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 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 similar 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 beyond your CIE.

In many instances, 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 could make these properties more difficult to find. Traditionally, these properties are found 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 Site in the geographic area.

Exactly 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 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 available to realtors members of an MLS or CIE. About a decade ago, this specific property information started to trickle out to the Internet. This trickle is now a flood!

One reason is that a lot of the 1 million or so REALTORS have Web sites, and most of those Sites have varying amounts of the local MLS or CIE property information displayed in it. Another reason is that there are numerous non-real estate agent 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 real estate 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 real estate information on the web, most properties remain sold directly through realtors listing properties in the local MLS or CIE. However, those property listings do not stay local anymore. By its nature, the Internet is really a global marketplace and local MLS and CIE listings are normally disseminated for display on a variety of Web sites. For example, many go to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS Internet site, http://www.realtor.com, and to the local property agent’s Web site. In addition, the listing may be displayed on the internet 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 compared to the old print advertising.

In addition to Online marketing, listing agents may also help the seller set up a price, hold open houses, keep 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 referred to as being a full service listing arrangement. While full service listing arrangements will be the most common type of listing arrangement, they are not the only option anymore.

Changes in the technology behind the true estate business have caused many agents to improve the way they do business. In large part, that is due to the instant access most consumers now have to property listings and other real estate information. In addition, the Internet and 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 may use automated programs to send listings to people that match their house criteria. So, some agents now limit the services they provide and change their fees accordingly. An agent may offer to advertise the house in the MLS but only provide limited additional services. In the future, 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 look at the particular services provided 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 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 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 also create a link to their web site free of charge. Once unique content is put into their profile page the search engines notice!

houses for sale chester Some have argued that the Internet makes REALTORS and the MLS less relevant. We believe this will be false over time. It could change the role of the agent but will make knowledgeable, qualified, and professional REALTORS more relevant than ever before. In fact, the number of realtors has risen significantly in recent years. No wonder, the web has made local property a worldwide business. Besides, Internet or not, the simple fact remains that the purchase of real property may be the largest single purchase a lot of people make in their life (or, for many investors, the largest 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’s the function of all online real estate information?

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