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 an area real estate agent or by just 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 and soon you found the right one. Finding market data to enable you to assess the price tag would take more time and a lot 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 likely get you a large number of results. If you spot a house of interest on a real estate web site, it is possible to typically view photos online and maybe even have a virtual tour. After that you can check other Web sites, such as the local county assessor, to obtain a concept 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 also check out what shops are within walking distance-all without leaving your home!

While the resources online are convenient and helpful, with them properly can be a challenge because of the level of information and the issue in verifying its accuracy. During writing, a search of “Denver property” returned 2,670,000 Internet sites. Even a neighborhood specific search for real estate can simply return thousands of Sites. With so many resources online how 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 of real estate works offline makes it easier to understand online real estate information and strategies.

The Business of Real Estate

Real estate is typically 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 agents. (We use “agent” and “broker” to make reference 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 on the market. 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 commonly referred to as a mls (MLS). In most cases, only properties listed by member real estate agents can be added to an MLS. The primary purpose of an MLS is to enable the member real estate agents 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 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 are not required to offer any specific type of compensation to the other members. Compensation is negotiated outside the CIE.

Normally, 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 neighborhood newspaper’s real estate listings. A 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 real estate agent and REALTOR are employed interchangeably; however, they are not similar. A REALTOR is 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 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 valuable property information started to trickle out to the web. This trickle is currently a flood!

One reason is that a lot 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 various 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 property information to the web definitely makes the info more accessible but also more confusing and subject to misunderstanding and misuse.

Real Estate Agents

Despite the flood of property information on the web, most properties remain sold directly through realtors listing properties in the local MLS or CIE. However, those property listings usually do not stay local anymore. By its nature, the web is really a global marketplace and local MLS and CIE listings are normally disseminated for display on a variety of Web sites. For instance, many visit the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS Site, http://www.realtor.com, also to the local property agent’s Web site. Furthermore, the listing may be displayed on the net site of a local newspaper. In essence, the Internet is just another type of marketing offered by today’s agent, but it includes a much broader reach compared to the old print advertising.

estate agents chester 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 these services it is referred to as being truly 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 change the way they conduct business. In large part, this is due to the instant access most consumers will have to property listings along with other real estate information. Furthermore, the Internet and other technologies have automated a lot of the marketing and initial searching process for real estate. For example, 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. An agent may offer to advertise the property 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 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 access to property listing information. Buyers and sellers historically found agents by referrals from friends and family. The Internet now provides ways 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 connect to their web site free of charge. Once unique content is added to their profile page the various 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 term. It could change the role of the agent but will make knowledgeable, qualified, and professional REALTORS more relevant than ever before. In fact, the amount of realtors has risen significantly recently. No wonder, the web 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 within their life (or, for most investors, the biggest multiple purchases over a lifetime) 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 the online real estate information?

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