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 simply driving around town. At the agent’s office, you would spend an afternoon flipping through pages of active property listings from the local MLS (MLS). After choosing properties of interest, you’ll spend many 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 might not be able to find all of the information you had a need to get really comfortable with a fair market value.

Today, most property searches start the Internet. A quick 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, you can typically view photos online and perhaps even have a virtual tour. You can then check other Web sites, including the local county assessor, to get a concept 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 even 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, using them properly can 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 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? Believe it or not, understanding how the business enterprise of real estate works offline makes it simpler to understand online property information and strategies.

The Business of PROPERTY

Real estate is typically bought and sold either by way of 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.) 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. Access to 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). Usually, only properties listed by member real estate agents can be added to an MLS. The primary reason for an MLS is to enable the member real estate agents to create 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 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 are also 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 necessary to offer any specific kind of compensation to another members. Compensation is negotiated outside the CIE.

Usually, for-sale-by-owner properties cannot be directly added to an MLS and CIE, which are typically maintained by REALTOR associations. The lack of 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 far more efficient solution to locate for-sale-by-owner properties is to search for a for-sale-by-owner Web site in the geographic area.

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 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 obtainable 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 Internet. 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 Sites have varying amounts of the local MLS or CIE property information displayed on them. Another reason is that there are several non-real estate agent Internet 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 information sites. The flood of property information to the web definitely makes the information more accessible but also more confusing and subject to misunderstanding and misuse.

Real Estate Agents

Despite the flood of real estate information on the web, most properties are still 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 many different Web sites. For instance, many visit the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS Internet site, http://www.realtor.com, and to the local real estate agent’s Web site. In addition, the listing may be displayed on the Web 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 than the old print advertising.

In addition to Online marketing, listing agents may also 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 a realtor provides many of these services it is known as being truly a full service listing arrangement. While full service listing arrangements will be the most common type of listing arrangement, they are not the only real 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 access immediately most consumers now have to property listings along with other real estate information. In addition, the Internet along with other technologies have automated a lot of the marketing and initial searching process for property. For instance, 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 house in the MLS but only provide limited additional services. chester estate agents In the foreseeable 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 Internet, when people hire an agent today they should look at the particular services provided by the agent and the depth of their 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 methods 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 real estate agents. On this site an agent can personalize their profile, take up 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 various search engines notice!

Some have argued that the Internet 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. In fact, the quantity 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 in their life (or, for many investors, the largest multiple purchases over an eternity) and they want specialist help. As for the MLS, it remains probably the most reliable source of real estate listing and sold information available and continues to enable efficient marketing of properties. So, what is the function of all the online real estate information?

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