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

Ten years ago, a search for real estate would have were only available 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 many weeks touring each property and soon 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 might not be able to find each of the information you needed to get really comfortable with a fair market value.

Today, most property searches start the Internet. An instant keyword search on Google by location will probably get you thousands of results. If you spot a property of interest on a genuine estate web site, you can typically view photos online and maybe even take a virtual tour. After that you can check other Web sites, like the local county assessor, to obtain an idea of the property’s value, see what the existing owner paid for the property, 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 house!

While the resources on the net are convenient and helpful, with them properly can be quite a challenge because of the level of information and the issue in verifying its accuracy. At the time of writing, a search of “Denver property” returned 2,670,000 Sites. Even a neighborhood specific search for real estate can easily return thousands of 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? Believe it or not, understanding how the business of real estate works offline makes it easier 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 agents. (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 access to a database of active properties for sale. Access to 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 multiple listing service (MLS). Normally, only properties listed by member realtors can be put into an MLS. The primary reason for an MLS is to enable the member real estate agents to make offers of compensation to other member agents should they find a buyer for a house.

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 general 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 are not 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. Having less a managed centralized database can 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 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 used interchangeably; however, they are not similar. A REALTOR is a licensed real estate agent who is 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 a decade ago, this valuable property information began to trickle out to the Internet. This trickle is now a flood!

One reason is that the majority of the 1 million or so REALTORS have Web sites, & 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 Web sites that also offer property 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 additionally more confusing and subject to misunderstanding and misuse.

Real Estate Agents

Despite the flood of real estate information on the Internet, most properties remain sold directly through real estate agents listing properties in the local MLS or CIE. estate agents chester However, those property listings usually 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 instance, many go to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS Web site, http://www.realtor.com, also to the local real estate agent’s Web site. Furthermore, the listing could be displayed online site of a local 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 than the old print advertising.

In addition to Internet marketing, listing agents also may 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 many of 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 are not the only real option anymore.

Changes in the technology behind the true estate business have caused many agents to change the way they do business. In large part, that is due to the access immediately 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 property. 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 offer and change their fees accordingly. A realtor may offer to advertise the property in the MLS but only provide limited additional services. In the future, some realtors may offer services in more of an ala carte fashion.

Because of the level of real estate information on the web, when people hire an agent today they should look at 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 ways to directly find qualified agents or even to research the biography of an agent referred to you offline. One such 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 for free. 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 term. It may change the role of the agent but will make knowledgeable, qualified, and professional REALTORS more relevant than ever. In fact, the quantity of realtors has risen significantly in recent years. No wonder, the web has made local property a worldwide 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 property listing and sold information available and continues to enable efficient marketing of properties. So, what’s the function of all the online real estate information?

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