Ten years ago, a seek out 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’ll spend a day flipping through pages of active property listings from the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). After choosing properties of interest, you would spend weeks touring each property until you found the correct 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 good market value.
Today, most property searches start the Internet. An instant keyword explore Google by location will likely get you thousands of results. If you spot a property of interest on a genuine estate web site, it is possible to 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 existing owner paid for the house, check the real 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 on the Internet are convenient and helpful, using them properly can be a challenge because of the volume of information and the issue in verifying its accuracy. At the time of writing, a search of “Denver real estate” returned 2,670,000 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 use them without getting bogged down or winding up with incomplete or bad information? Contrary to popular belief, understanding how the business enterprise of real estate works offline makes it better 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 dog owner. The vast majority is purchased and sold through real estate brokers. (We use “agent” and “broker” to refer to the same professional.) That is due to their real estate knowledge and experience and, at the very 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 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). In most cases, only properties listed by member realtors can be put into an MLS. The primary purpose of an MLS is to enable the member real estate agents to make 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 general 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 another members. Compensation is negotiated outside the CIE.
Typically, for-sale-by-owner properties can’t be directly put into 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 found by driving around or searching for ads in the neighborhood newspaper’s real estate listings. A far more efficient way 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 real estate agent and REALTOR are employed interchangeably; however, they are not the same. A REALTOR is really a licensed real estate agent who’s also a member 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 began to trickle out to the Internet. This trickle is now a flood!
One reason is that most of the 1 million roughly REALTORS have Web sites, & most of those Internet sites have varying amounts of the local MLS or CIE property information displayed in it. Another reason is that there are numerous non-real estate agent Internet 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 Internet 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 are still sold directly through realtors listing properties in the local MLS or CIE. However, those property listings do not stay local anymore. By its nature, the web is really a global marketplace and local MLS and CIE listings are usually disseminated for display on many different Web sites. For example, many visit the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS 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 Internet 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 also may help the seller establish 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 all of these services it is referred to as being a full service listing arrangement. While full service listing arrangements will be the most common kind of listing arrangement, they’re not the only real option anymore.
Changes in the technology behind the true 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. In addition, the Internet and other technologies have automated much 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 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 future, some realtors 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 consider 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 friends and family. The Internet now provides ways to directly find qualified agents or even 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 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 search engines notice!
Some have argued that the web makes REALTORS and the MLS less relevant. chester houses for sale We believe this is false in the long term. It may change the role of the agent but can make knowledgeable, qualified, and professional REALTORS more relevant than ever. In fact, the amount of realtors has risen significantly recently. No wonder, the Internet 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 specialist help. Are you aware that 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?