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Believing These 5 Myths About REALTORS Keeps You From Growing

Ten years ago, a search for real estate would have started 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 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 each of the information you had a need to get really comfortable with a good market value.

Today, most property searches start on the Internet. A quick keyword search on Google by location will probably get you thousands of results. If you spot a property of interest on a real 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 obtain an idea 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 web are convenient and helpful, using them properly can be quite a challenge because of the volume of information and the difficulty in verifying its accuracy. During 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 Web 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? houses for sale chester Believe it or not, understanding how the business of real estate works offline makes it easier 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 refer to the same professional.) That is due to their real estate 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 probably 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 real estate agents can be put into an MLS. The primary reason for an MLS is to enable the member realtors 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 general 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 aren't necessary to offer any specific type of compensation to another 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 typically maintained by REALTOR associations. The lack of a managed centralized database can make these properties more difficult to find. Traditionally, these properties are located 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 would be to search for a for-sale-by-owner Web site in the geographic area.

Exactly what is a REALTOR? Sometimes the terms real estate agent and REALTOR are used interchangeably; however, they are not the same. A REALTOR is a licensed real estate agent who is also a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS. REALTORS are required to 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 a decade ago, this valuable property information started to trickle out to the web. This trickle is now a flood!

One reason is that the majority of the 1 million roughly REALTORS have Web sites, & most of those Internet sites have varying amounts of the neighborhood MLS or CIE property information displayed on them. Another reason is that there are numerous 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 information sites. The flood of real estate information to the Internet 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 neighborhood MLS or CIE. However, those property listings usually do not stay local anymore. By its nature, the Internet is really a global marketplace and local MLS and CIE listings are normally disseminated for display on many different Web sites. For example, many go to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS Site, http://www.realtor.com, also 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 form of marketing offered by today's real estate agent, but it includes a much broader reach compared to the old print advertising.

In addition to Internet 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 a realtor provides all these services it is referred to as being a full service listing arrangement. While full service listing arrangements are the most common kind of listing arrangement, they're not the only real option anymore.

Changes in the technology behind the real 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 now have to property listings and other real estate information. In addition, the Internet along with 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 house 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 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 consider the particular services provided by the agent and the depth of their 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 methods 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 an agent 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 Internet 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 property a global business. Besides, Internet or not, the simple fact remains that the purchase of real property may be the largest single purchase a lot of people make within their life (or, for many investors, the largest multiple purchases over a lifetime) and they want expert 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 is the function of all the online real estate information?

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