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’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 until you found the right one. Finding market data to help you assess the asking price 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 fair market value.

Today, most property searches start on the Internet. An instant keyword search on Google by location will likely 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 perhaps even take a virtual tour. You can then check other Web sites, including the local county assessor, to obtain an idea of the property’s value, see what the existing owner paid for the property, check the true estate taxes, get census data, school information, and even have a look at what shops are within walking distance-all without leaving your home!

houses for sale chester While the resources on the Internet are convenient and helpful, with them properly could be a challenge because of the volume of information and the issue in verifying its accuracy. During writing, a search of “Denver property” returned 2,670,000 Web sites. Even a neighborhood specific seek out real estate can easily return thousands of Web 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 better to understand online property information and strategies.

The Business of PROPERTY

Real estate is normally bought and sold either through a licensed agent or directly by the dog 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 least historically, their exclusive usage of a database of active properties for sale. Access to this database of property listings provided probably 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 mls (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 realtors to make offers of compensation to other member agents if they find a buyer for a property.

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 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 comparable to an MLS however 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 beyond your CIE.

In most cases, for-sale-by-owner properties can’t be directly added to an MLS and CIE, which are typically maintained by REALTOR associations. The lack of a managed centralized database can make these properties more difficult to find. Traditionally, these properties are found 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 Internet site in the geographic area.

What is a REALTOR? Sometimes the terms agent and REALTOR are used interchangeably; however, they are not the same. A REALTOR is really a licensed real estate agent who’s also an associate 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 available 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 now a flood!

One reason is that most of the 1 million or so 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 many 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 information sites. The flood of property information to the Internet 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 Internet is really 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 Site, http://www.realtor.com, also to the local real estate agent’s Web site. In addition, the listing may be displayed online site of a local newspaper. In essence, the web is just another type of marketing offered by today’s agent, but it includes 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 an agent provides many of these services it is referred to as being a full service listing arrangement. While full service listing arrangements are 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 instant access most consumers now have to property listings and other real estate information. Furthermore, the Internet along with 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 can 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. A realtor may offer to advertise the house in the MLS but only provide limited additional services. In the foreseeable future, some real estate agents may offer services in more of an ala carte fashion.

Because of the level of real estate information on the Internet, when people hire an 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 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 ways 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 also create a link to their web site free of charge. Once unique content is added to their profile page the search engines notice!

Some have argued that the Internet makes REALTORS and the MLS less relevant. We believe this is false in the long term. It could change the role of the agent but can make knowledgeable, qualified, and professional REALTORS more relevant than ever. In fact, the number of realtors has risen significantly in recent years. No wonder, the Internet has made local real estate a global 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 a lifetime) and they want expert help. Are you aware that MLS, it remains probably the most reliable source of property listing and sold information available and continues make it possible for efficient marketing of properties. So, what’s the function of all the online real estate information?

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