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

Ten years ago, a seek out real estate would have were only available in the office of an area 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 Multiple Listing Service (MLS). After choosing properties of interest, you’ll spend many 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 a lot more driving, and you still may not be able to find each of the information you had a need 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 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. After that you can check other Web sites, such as the local county assessor, to get an idea 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 have a look at what shops are within walking distance-all without leaving your home!

While the resources on the Internet are convenient and helpful, with them properly can be a challenge because of the level of information and the difficulty in verifying its accuracy. At the time of writing, a search of “Denver property” returned 2,670,000 Web sites. Even a neighborhood specific search for real estate can simply return thousands of Internet 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 of property works offline makes it simpler to understand online property information and strategies.

The Business of Real Estate

Real estate is typically bought and sold either through a licensed agent or directly by the owner. The vast majority is bought 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 access to a database of active properties on the market. 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 commonly referred to as a multiple listing service (MLS). In most cases, only properties listed by member realtors can be put into an MLS. The primary reason for an MLS would be to enable the member realtors to make offers of compensation to other member agents should they find a buyer for a property.

This purposes didn’t 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 however the agents adding the listings to the database aren’t required to offer any specific kind of compensation to another members. Compensation is negotiated beyond your CIE.

In most cases, for-sale-by-owner properties cannot 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 locate. Traditionally, these properties are found by driving around or searching for ads in the local newspaper’s real estate listings. A more efficient way to locate for-sale-by-owner properties is to search for a for-sale-by-owner 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’s also an associate 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 real estate agents members of an MLS or CIE. About ten years ago, this valuable property information started to trickle out to the Internet. This trickle is currently a flood!

One reason is that almost all of the 1 million or so REALTORS have Web sites, & most of those Sites have varying amounts of the local MLS or CIE property information displayed in it. Another reason is that there are lots of non-real estate agent Web 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 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 property information on the Internet, 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 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, and to the local property agent’s Web site. In addition, the listing may be displayed online site of an area newspaper. In essence, the web is just another type of marketing offered by today’s 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 an agent provides all 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 are not the only real 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, this is due to the instant access most consumers will have to property listings along with other real estate information. Furthermore, the Internet along with 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 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 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 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 usage of 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 even to research the biography of a realtor referred to you offline. One particular site, AgentWorld.com, is quickly becoming the LinkedIn or Facebook for realtors. On this site an agent can personalize their profile, start a blog, post photos and videos and also create a connect 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 web makes REALTORS and the MLS less relevant. We believe this will be false in the end. It may change the role of the agent but can make knowledgeable, qualified, and professional REALTORS more relevant than ever before. estate agents chester In fact, the quantity of realtors has risen significantly in recent years. 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 most people make within their life (or, for most investors, the largest multiple purchases over an eternity) 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?