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March 17 2016


Real Estate Agents and the Internet - Choosing the perfect and Sell Real Estate Today

Then now

Panama City Realtor

Ten years ago, looking for real estate would have started in the office of a local real estate agent or by only driving around town. With the agent's office, you'd probably spend an afternoon flipping through pages of active property listings in the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). After choosing properties of curiosity, you would spend several weeks touring each property before you found the right one. Finding market data so you can assess the asking price would be more difficult and a lot more driving, but you just might not be able to find all the information you needed to get really comfortable with a good market value.

Panama City Real Estate

Today, most property searches start the Internet. A quick keyword search on Google by location will more than likely get you thousands of results. In case you spot a property of interest on a real estate website, you can typically view photos on the web and maybe even take a virtual tour. You can then check other Web sites, such as the local county assessor, to obtain an idea of the property's value, see just what the current owner taken care of the property, check the real estate property taxes, get census data, school information, as well as check out what shops are within walking distance-all without leaving your house!

While the resources online are convenient and helpful, utilizing them properly can be a challenge as a result of volume of information as well as the difficulty in verifying its accuracy. During writing, a search of "Denver real estate" returned 2,670,000 Web sites. Even a neighborhood specific hunt for real estate can easily return a huge number of Web sites. With so many resources online how can an investor effectively utilize them without getting over-involved or winding up with incomplete or bad information? Believe it or not, understanding how the business of real-estate works offline makes it much easier to understand online real estate property information and strategies.

The process of Real Estate

Real estate is normally bought and sold either through a certified real estate agent or directly by the owner. The vast majority is traded in through real estate brokers. (We use "agent" and "broker" to refer to the same professional.) The reason is , their real estate expertise and, at least historically, their exclusive use of a database of active houses for sale. Access to this database of property listings provided the most beneficial way to search for properties.

The MLS (and CIE)

The database of residential, land, and smaller income producing properties (including some commercial properties) is frequently referred to as a multiple listing service (MLS). Typically, only properties listed by member real estate professionals can be added to an MLS. The principal purpose of an MLS is to enable the member agents to make offers of compensation with other member agents if they find a buyer for the property.

This purposes would not include enabling the direct publishing from the MLS information on the public; times change. Today, most MLS details are directly accessible to the general public over the Internet in many different forms.

Commercial property listings are also displayed online but aggregated commercial property details are more elusive. Larger MLSs often chance a commercial information exchange (CIE). A CIE is similar to an MLS however the agents adding the listings on the database are not forced to offer any specific form of compensation to the other members. Compensation is negotiated away from CIE.

In most cases, for-sale-by-owner properties can not be directly added to an MLS and CIE, which are typically maintained by REALTOR associations. Having less a managed centralized database will make these properties more challenging to locate. Traditionally, these properties are simply by driving around or looking for ads in the local newspaper's real estate property listings. A more efficient way to locate for-sale-by-owner properties is always to search for a for-sale-by-owner Web site in the geographic area.

What is a REALTOR? Sometimes the terms real estate professional and REALTOR are used interchangeably; however, they are not precisely the same. A REALTOR is a licensed agent who is also a an affiliate the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS. REALTORS must comply with a strict code of ethics and conduct.

MLS and CIE property listing information was historically only obtainable in hard copy, so when we mentioned, only directly offered to real estate agents members of an MLS or CIE. About 10 years ago, this valuable property information did start to trickle out to the web. This trickle is a flood!

One good reason is that most of the 1 million or so REALTORS have Websites, and most of those Websites have varying numbers of the local MLS or CIE property information shown on them. Another reason is there are many non-real estate agent Web 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 weblogs. The flood of real-estate information to the Internet definitely helps make the information more accessible but also more confusing and at the mercy of misunderstanding and misuse.

Real estate professionals

Despite the flood of real estate property information on the Internet, most properties are still sold directly through real estate agents listing properties in the local MLS or CIE. However, those property listings don't stay local anymore. By its nature, the Internet is a global marketplace and local MLS and CIE listings are normally disseminated for display on many different Web sites. For instance, many go to the Nar Web site, http://www.realtor.com, and to the local real estate agent's Web site. In addition, the listing could possibly be displayed on the Web site of your local newspaper. Essentially, the Internet is just another type of marketing offered by today's realtor, but it has a much broader reach as opposed to old print advertising.

Along with Internet marketing, listing agents may also be helpful the seller establish a price, hold open houses, keep the seller informed of interested buyers and offers, negotiate the contract which help with closing. When a representative provides all of these services it is referred to as being a complete listing arrangement. While complete listing arrangements would be the most common type of listing arrangement, they are not the only option anymore.

Changes in the technology behind agreement business have caused many agents to change the way they do business. In large part, this is due to the instant access most consumers will have to property listings and also other real estate information. In addition, the Internet and other technologies have automated most of the marketing and initial searching process are the real deal estate. For example, consumers can watch properties online and make inquires via email. Brokers may use automated programs to send listings to individuals who match their property criteria. So, some agents now limit the services they offer and alter their fees accordingly. A realtor may offer to advertise the house in the MLS but only provide limited additional services. Down the road, some real estate agents offer services in more of an ala carte fashion.

Because of the volume of real estate information on the Internet, when people employ a real estate agent today they should look at the particular services available from the agent along with the depth of their knowledge and experience in the relevant property sector. It's no longer just about use of property listing information. Buyers and sellers historically found agents by referrals from family and friends. The Internet now provides solutions to directly find qualified agents as well as to research the biography of an agent referred to you offline. One site, AgentWorld.com, is quickly becoming the LinkedIn or Facebook for real estate agents. On this site a real estate agent can personalize their profile, take up a blog, post photos and videos and even create a url to their web site free of charge. Once unique content is added to their profile page search engines like google notice!

Some have argued the Internet makes REALTORS and also the MLS less relevant. We presume this will be false in the long run. It may change the role of the agent but will make knowledgeable, qualified, and professional REALTORS more relevant than ever before. In fact, the number of real estate professionals has risen significantly in recent years. No wonder, the Internet has produced local real estate a universal business. Besides, Internet or not, the simple fact remains how the purchase of real property could be the largest single purchase most people make in their life (or, for several investors, the largest multiple purchases over the lifetime) and they want expert help. Are you aware that MLS, it remains the most reliable source of real-estate listing and sold information available and will continue to enable efficient marketing of properties. So, exactly what is the function of all the online property information?

Online real estate property information is a great research tool for buyers and sellers and a marketing tool for sellers. When used properly, buyers can conserve time by quickly researching properties and, ultimately, make smarter investment decisions. Sellers can efficiently investigate the market and make informed decisions about employing an agent and marketing their properties online. The next task is to know where to use the internet for some of the best resources.
Internet Strategies

Within the sections that follow, our company offers strategies and tips on how to use the Internet to locate properties for sale and research information strongly related your decision to purchase the home. There are many real estate Internet sites from which to choose and although and we don't mean to endorse any particular Site, we have found the ones right here to be good resources generally or to be so popular that they need mention. A great way to test a Web site's accuracy is usually to search for information about a property you already own.

Finding Real Estate for Sale

Despite the accessible access to real estate listings, many believe that MLS databases still offer the most complete and accurate method to obtain real estate information. Most MLSs now distribute prepared to other Web sites (primarily run by real estate agents). An excellent place to start for MLS originated submissions are the national NAR Web site, realtor.com, which is also the most popular web site for searching real estate property listings. Virtually all local and regional MLSs come with an agreement with realtor.com to produce much of their active listing inventory.

Some local and regional MLS systems furthermore have a publicly accessible Site. However, to get complete information you are going to most likely still need to discover a qualified local REALTOR. Many local real estate agents will also provide their clients (via email) new listings which can be input into the MLS that match their predefined criteria. This is very helpful to a busy buyer.

There's also many Web sites that display both realtor listed and for-sale-by-owner properties. A few of the more popular Web sites include zillow.com and trulia.com. Internet websites offer other services too. As an example, zillow.com is best famous for its instantaneous property valuation function and trulia.com for providing historical information. Another method to obtain properties for sale is the state, regional, and native Web sites associated with brokerage companies; for example, remax.com or prudential.com. Google.com and classified advertising sites like craigslist.com in addition have a large number of active real estate property 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 a point however you will need to click through for the agent's Web site for more information. Many new real-estate search engines allow you to search through listings without having to fill out a form. The best method is to browse a number of the sites listed above to discover geographic areas or price tags that are interesting. When investing in serious about a property, then which is the time to find a qualified REALTOR of your choice to conduct a total search in the local MLS.

In addition, it never hurts to search the old-fashioned way by driving from the neighborhoods that appeal to you. There is no substitute for physically, not virtually, walking the block when you find yourself making a serious financial investment. In this sense, real estate property is still a very local company marketing and standing in front in the property can lead to a much different decision than viewing an online page printout.

Valuing Real-estate

As we mentioned, the most popular real estate tools is zillow.com's instant property valuation. Just key in an address and in and also you get a property value. It also charts the price pros and cons, and shows the past date sold (including price) and the property taxes. There are other sites that provide similar tools including housevalues.com and homegain.com. Unfortunately, many people use these estimated values alone to justify sales prices, offers and counteroffers. However, these are generally only rough estimates using a formula that incorporates the local county sales information. These estimates can swing wildly over the short period of time and do not appear to always track actual market changes, which can be normally more gradual. Furthermore, these estimates tend not to automatically take into account property remodels or renovations or other property specific or local changes. It's not to say these sites are certainly not useful. In fact, they may be great starting points and will provide a good ball-park value on many occasions.

When it comes to getting a more accurate value for a particular property, there are other strategies that are more trustworthy. An example may be to go directly to your county's Site. More often than not the county assessor's part of the Web site provides sales and tax information for all those properties in the county. If you need to research a particular property or compare sales prices of comparable properties, a nearby assessor's sites are really helpful. When you visit a county's Web site you are receiving information straight from the source. Most counties today publish property information on their Web sites. Many times you may cannot only see the price a previous owner paid, however the assessed value, property taxes, and maps. Some county assessors are now adding a market and property valuation tools too.

In the importance of valuation to investing, were also going to remind you of the two most important (non-Internet) valuation methods: realtors and appraisers. Working with a local REALTOR can be an accurate and efficient supply of value information for the property. While most significant purposes of the MLS is always to market the active property listings of the company's members, the system also collects sales information for those listings. REALTOR members can pull this sales information and convey comparable market analyses (also known as CMAs) that provide an excellent snapshot of an particular property's value to the market in a particular area.

Finally, one of the most accurate way to value a home is by having a certified appraiser provide an appraisal. An appraiser will typically review both the sold information within the MLS system as well as county information and after that analyze the information to produce a valuation for the property according to one or more approved methods of valuation. These methods of valuation normally include a comparison of similar properties adjusted for differences between your properties, determine the charge to replace the property, or, having an income producing property, determine something based on the income generated from the property.

The Neighborhood

There are many ways the Internet may help you get the scoop on a particular neighborhood. By way of example, census data is found at census.gov. You can also check out the neighborhood scoop at sites like outside.in or review local blogs. Your site is a Web site where people discuss topics by posting and addressing messages. Start by considering placeblogger.com and kcnn.org/citymediasites.com for a directory of blogs. Trulia.com features a "Heat Map" that shows how cold or hot each neighborhood is founded on prices, sales, or popularity on the list of sites users.


When it comes to selling residential property or rental properties that focus on families, the quality of the region school district produces a huge difference. There are many Web sites devoted to school information. Take a look at greatschools.net or schoolmatters.com. Most local school districts also have their own Web site. Web sites contain a variety of information regarding 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 boom in solid estate information is Websites that let real estate agents market their expertise and local knowledge by displaying their professional profiles and socially networking with blogs. You can look to find an agent which has a particular expertise, geographic part of specialization, or an agent offering specific services. Your website AgentWorld.com lets users quickly and easily find an agent with the proper expertise using keyword searches and and also simple agent profiles. AgentWorld.com also enables agents to create personalized blogs, photos and videos to help consumers find a very good agent for their needs. Plus, many agent profiles include a direct link to the agent's internet site where you will likely get the local MLS listings.

Maps as well as other Tools

The Internet has made mapping and locating properties easier. To get an aerial view or satellite picture of a property or neighborhood, head to maps.live.com or maps.google.com or visit walkscore.com to find out how walk-able a particular residence is. These sites can give you an idea of the neighborhood characteristics as well as the types of entertainment, restaurants, and other facilities that are within walking distance of the property. Maps.Live.com provides a view at an angle so you can see the sides of homes and Maps.Google even provides you with a 360 degree street-level view for sure neighborhoods. If you have not tried one of these simple satellite map Websites, you really should if only for amusement.

Conclusion on Internet Strategies

The Internet is a very effective research and marketing tool for real estate investors but is not a replacement for a knowledgeable experienced real estate professional. The Internet can save you time and money by enabling easy and quick property research and marketing options. Sites like AgentWorld.com also aid you efficiently discover a REALTOR who fits your selling or buying needs.

Always remember, in terms of Internet strategies for real estate: More knowledge is way better. You need to use the Internet to build your knowledge base with a target property in order to find a real estate agent with expertise you need. However, the big caution the following is that the Internet must not replace human judgment and perspective, expert advice or physical due diligence-keys to successful investing.

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