Real Estate Agents and the Internet
It was and is Ten years ago, the search for real estate would have been initiated in the office of an agent who was local to the area or by just driving around town. At the agent's office there was a long afternoon perusing the pages of active properties on your local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). After choosing properties of interest, you would spend many days touring each home until you find the perfect one. Finding market data to enable you to gauge the price of the property would require longer and more driving, and you may not be able to locate all the necessary information to really feel confident about a fair market value. Today, most property searches start with the Internet. A quick keyword search on Google by location could result in thousands of listings. If you spot something Real Estate Agency that is of interest on a real-estate web site, you'll typically look at photos online and even take a virtual walkthrough. Then, you can look at other websites like the county assessor's office to get an idea of the value of the property as well as the amount the current owner has paid for the property, check the real estate tax, get census data, school information, and even see what shops are near by. All without leaving your house! While the information available on the Internet are helpful and useful but their use correctly could be a hassle due to the quantity of information available as well as the difficulty in verifying the accuracy of it. As of the writing time an internet search for "Denver real estate" yielded 2,670,000 Web sites. A neighborhood-specific search for real estate may return thousands of Web sites. With the abundance of resources available online what can an investor do to make use of them without being bogged down or winding up with incorrect or incomplete information? It's true knowing how real estate business works offline makes it easier to comprehend the information on real estate online and strategies. The Business of Real Estate Real estate is typically bought and sold either through licensed real estate agents or directly by the owner. The vast majority is bought and sold through brokerage firms for the real estate industry. (We employ "agent" and "broker" to refer to the same professional.) This is due to their expertise in real estate as well as knowledge and experience and, at minimum generally, their exclusive right to an online database of active properties for sale. Access to this database of property listings provided the most efficient way to find properties. for properties. The MLS (and CIE) The database of residential properties, land, and other income-producing properties (including certain commercial property) is often referred to as a multi-listing service (MLS). In the majority of cases the properties that are listed by member real estate agents can be added to an MLS. The function of the MLS is to allow member real estate agents to offer compensation to other agents of the MLS if they locate buyers for an property. These goals did not encompass the possibility of direct publication of information from MLS information to the general public; times change. Today, the majority of MLS information is readily available to the general public through the Internet in a variety of forms. Commercial property listings can also be accessible online. However, aggregated commercial property information is harder to find. Larger MLSs typically run a commercial information exchange (CIE). CIEs are similar to MLSs. CIE is similar to an MLS however, the agents that add listings to the database aren't obliged to provide any particular form of compensation to other members. Compensation is decided outside of the CIE. For-sale-by-owner properties cannot be directly linked to an MLS or CIE, which are typically maintained by real estate associations. There is no managed central database could make the properties harder to locate. Traditionally, these properties are found by driving around or searching for advertisements in the local newspaper's real estate listings. A more efficient way to find for-sale-by owner properties is to search for an online for-sale-by owner website in the geographic area. What is a REALTOR? Sometimes the phrases real estate agents and realtors are employed interchangeably. However, they're not the same. An REALTOR can be described as a licensed real estate agent, who is also a part of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS. REALTORS must comply with an extremely strict code of ethics and behavior. MLS and CIE information on property listings was previously available only in hard copy, and as we said, it was only available by real estate brokers members or members of the MLS or CIE. Ten years in the past, this vital property information began to trickle out to the Internet. The trickle has become becoming a flood! One reason is that most of the 1 million or so REALTORS have web websites. The majority of them have various amounts of information for the local MLS or CIE property data displayed on the sites. Another reason is that there are several non-real estate agency Web sites that also offer real estate information, such as foreclosure sites, regional and international listing sites, County assessor websites as well as value and market data websites. The flood of real estate data available on the Internet is sure to make the information more accessible but also more difficult to comprehend and vulnerable to misinterpretation and misapplication.

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