Then and now
Ten years ago, a search for real estate would have started in the office of a real estate agent or by just driving around town. At the agent's office, you would spend an afternoon flipping through pages of active property listings from the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). After choosing properties of interest, you would spend many weeks touring each property until you found the right one. It would take a lot of time to get there, and you would not need it.
Today, most property searches start on the Internet. A quick keyword search on Google by location will likely get you thousands of results. If you spot a property on a real estate website, you can usually take a virtual tour. You can then check other Web sites, such as the local county assessor, get the idea of the property's value, see the the current owner paid for the property, check the real estate taxes, get census data, school information, and even check out what shops are within walking distance-all without leaving your house!
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 difficulty in verifying its accuracy. At the time of writing, a search for "Denver real estate" returned 2,670,000 web sites. Even a neighborhood specific web site can easily return thousands of web 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 the business of real estate works offline makes it easier to understand online real estate information and strategies.
The Business of Real Estate
Real estate is being bought or sold by a licensed real estate agent or directly by the owner. The vast majority is bought and sold by real estate brokers. (We use "agent" and "broker" to refer to the same professional.) This 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 is the most efficient way to search for properties.
The MLS (and CIE)
The database of residential, land, and smaller property-producing properties (MLS) is commonly referred to as a multiple listing service. In most cases, only properties listed can be added to MLS. The primary purpose of an MLS is to enable the member of a real estate agent.
These purposes did not include the direct publishing of the MLS information to the public; times change. Today, most MLS information is accessible to the public in many different forms.
Commercial property listings are thus 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 but does not provide any specific type of compensation to the other members. Compensation is negotiated outside the CIE.
In most cases, for-sale-by-owner properties can not be directly added to MLS and CIE, which are typically maintained by REALTOR associations. The paint of a managed centralized database can make these properties more difficult to locate. Traditionally, these properties are located in the local newspaper's real estate listings. A more efficient way to locate for-sale-by-owner properties is to search for a sale-by-owner website in the geographic area.
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 therefore a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS. REALTORS are required to comply with a strict code of ethics and conduct.
MLS and CIE property listing information what historically only available in hard copy, and as we mentioned, only directly available to real estate members of MLS or CIE. About ten years ago, this valuable property information has started to trickle out to the Internet. This trickle is now a flood!
One reason is that most of the millions of REALTORS have web sites, and most of these sites have MLS or CIE property information displayed on them. Another reason is that there are many non-real estate agents, including 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 more accessible but more confusing and subject to misunderstanding and misuse.
Real Estate Agents
In the local MLS or CIE. However, those property listings do not stay local anymore. By its nature, the Internet is a global marketplace and local MLS and CIE listings are usually disseminated for many different web sites. For example, many go to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS website, http://www.realtor.com, and to the local real estate agent's website. In addition, the listing may be viewed 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 has a much broader reach than the old print advertising.
In addition to internet marketing, listing agents, negotiate the price, hold open houses, keep the seller informed, and negotiate the contract and help with closing. When an agent provides all of these services it is referred to as a full service listing arrangement. While they are the only option anymore.
Changes in the technology behind the real estate business. Nowadays, most consumers have access to property listings and other real estate information. In addition, the Internet and other technologies have automated much of the marketing and initial searching process for real estate. For example, consumers can view properties online and make inquires via email. Brokers can use automated programs to send their personal property. Thus, they are offering and changing their fees accordingly. An agent may offer to advertise the property 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 they look at the particular services offered by the agent and the depth of their experience and knowledge in the relevant property sector. It is no longer just about access to 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 to research. One search site, AgentWorld.com, is the LinkedIn or Facebook for real estate agents. On this site you can personalize your profile, start a blog, post photos and videos and even create a link to their web site for free. Once unique content is added to their profile page the search engine notice!
Some have argued that the Internet makes REALTORS and the MLS less relevant. We believe this is false in the long run. It may change the role of the agent to make knowledgeable, qualified, and professional REALTORS more relevant than ever. In fact, the number of real estate agents has risen significantly in recent years. No wonder, the internet has made a real global business. Besides, Internet or not, the simple fact remains that the purchase of real estate is the largest single purchase in a lifetime (or, for many investors, the largest multiple purchases over a lifetime) and they want expert help. As for the MLS, it continues to provide efficient marketing of properties. So, what is the function of all online real estate information?
Online real estate information is a great research tool for buyers and sellers and a marketing tool for sellers. When used properly, buyers can save time by quickly researching properties and, ultimately, make better investment decisions. Sellers can efficiently research the market and make informed decisions about hiring and marketing their properties online. The next step is to know where to look online for some of the best resources.
In the sections that follow, we provide strategies and tips on how to use the Internet. There are many real estate websites that we have to mention and do not like. One way to test a web site's accuracy is to search for information about a property you already own.
Finding Real Estate for Sale
MLS databases continue to offer the most complete and accurate source of real estate information. Most MLSs now distribute content to other Web sites (primarily operated by real estate agents). An excellent starting point for MLS originated content is the national NAR Web site, realtor.com, which is the most popular web site for real estate listings. Virtually all local and regional MLS have an agreement with realtor.com to display much of their active listing inventory.
Some local and regional MLS systems also have a publicly accessible web site. However, to get complete information you want to be able to find a qualified local REALTOR. Many local real estate agents also want to provide their customers (via email) new listings that are input into the MLS that match their predefined criteria. This can be very helpful to a busy buyer.
There are many Web sites that display both real estate agent and for-sale-by-owner properties. Some of the more popular web sites include zillow.com and trulia.com. These sites offer other services too. For example, zillow.com is best known for its instantaneous valuations function and trulia.com for providing historical information. Another source of properties for sale is the state, regional, and local Web sites associated with brokerage companies; for example, remax.com or prudential.com. Search engines like yahoo.com and classified advertising sites like craigslist.com so have a large number of active real estate listings.
One key difference between these sites is how much information you can access anonymously. For example, at trulia.com you can shop anonymously up to date and then you want to go through the agent's web site for more information. Many new real estate search engines allow you to make listings without having to fill out a form. The best strategy is to browse a few sites listed above. REALTOR of your choice to conduct a complete search in the local MLS.
So it never hurts to search the old-fashioned way by driving through the neighborhoods that interest you. There is no substitute for physically, not virtually, walking the block when you are making a serious investment decision. In this sense, real estate is still on the web page printout.
Valuing Real Estate
As we mentioned, one of the most popular real estate tools is zillow.com's instant property valuation. Just type in an address and you get a property value. It even charts the price downs and downs, and shows the last dues sold (including price) and the property taxes. There are other sites that like them like housevalues.com and homegain.com. Unfortunately, many people use these estimated values alone to justify sales prices, offers and counteroffers. However, these are only rough estimates based on a formula that incorporates the local county sales information. These estimates can swing wildly over a short period of time and do not always appear to change actual market changes, which are normally more gradual. In addition, these estimates do not automatically take into account property remodels or renovations or other property specific or local changes. These sites are not useful. In fact, they are good ball-park value in many cases.
When it comes to getting a more accurate value for a particular property, there are other strategies that are more trustworthy. One is to go straight to your county's website. More often than not the county assessors section of the website provides sales and tax information for all properties in the county. If you are looking for a particular property, the local assessor's sites are really helpful. When you visit a county's website you are getting straight from the source. Most counties today publish property information on their web sites. Many times you pay, but the assessed value, property taxes, and maps. Some county assessors are now adding a market and property valuation tools too.
Given the importance of valuing to investing, we are thus going to remind you of the two most important (non-internet) valuation methods: real estate agents and appraisers. Working with a REALTOR is an accurate and efficient way to get value information for a property. While one of the primary purposes of the MLS is to market the active property listings of its members, the system also collects sales information for those listings. REALTOR members (sometimes called CMAs) that provide an excellent snapshot of a particular property's value in a particular area.
Finally, the most accurate way to value a property is by having a certified appraiser produce an appraisal. An appraiser typically reviews both information in the MLS system as well as county information and evaluates it. These methods of valuation of the property, determine the cost to replace the property, or to determine the value of the property.
There are many ways the internet can help you get the scoop on a particular neighborhood. For example, census data can be found at census.gov. You can check out the neighborhood scoop at site like outside.in or review local blogs. A blog is a website where people discuss topics by posting and responding to messages. Start by looking at placeblogger.com and kcnn.org/citymediasites.com for a directory of blogs. Trulia.com has a "Heat Map" that shows how hot or cold each neighborhood is based on prices, sales, or popularity among the sites users.
It makes a huge difference. There are many web sites devoted to school information. Check out greatschools.net or schoolmatters.com. Most local school districts also have their own web site. These sites contain a variety of information about the public schools and the school district, including its district demographics, test scores, and parent reviews.
Finding the Right Real Estate Agent
A recent addition to the Internet's boom in real estate information is published by their professional profiles and social networking with blogs. You can search to find an agent with a particular expertise, geographic area of specialization, or an agent offering specific services. The web site AgentWorld.com lets users quickly and easily find the right expertise using keyword searches and clean and simple agent profiles. AgentWorld.com also allows agents to post personalized blogs, photos and videos to help consumers find the best agent for their needs. Plus, many agent profiles include a direct link to the agent's website where you can find the local MLS listings.
Maps and Other Tools
The Internet has made mapping and locating properties much easier. To get to aerial view or satellite image of a property or neighborhood, go to maps.live.com or maps.google.com or visit walkscore.com to see how walk-able a particular property is. These sites can give you an idea of the neighborhood characteristics and the types of entertainment, restaurants, and other facilities that are within the distance of the property. Maps.Live.com gives you a 360 degree street-level view of certain neighborhoods. If you have not tried one of these satellite map web sites, you really should if only for amusement.
Final Thoughts on Internet Strategies
The Internet is a very effective research and marketing tool for real estate investors. The Internet can save you time and money by enabling quick and easy property research and marketing options. Sites like AgentWorld.com so help you efficiently find a REALTOR who fits your buying or selling needs.
Always remember, when it comes to Internet strategies for real estate: More knowledge is better. You need to use the Internet to build your knowledge base on a property or to find a real estate agent with expertise. However, the big caution here is that the Internet should not replace human judgment and perspective.Immobilienmakler Heidelberg Makler Heidelberg
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Source by Tyler Kraemer