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

Pensacola homes for sale
Then and after this

Ten years ago, research online for real estate would’ve started in the office of an local real estate agent or just by driving around town. In the agent’s office, you’d spend an afternoon flipping through pages of active property listings from your local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). After choosing properties appealing, you would spend a few months touring each property and soon you found the right one. Finding market data so you can assess the asking price would harder and a lot more driving, and you still might not be able to find every one of the information you needed to obtain really comfortable with a reasonable market value.

Today, most property searches start taking the Internet. A quick keyword browse Google by location will probably get you thousands of results. If you spot a property of curiosity on a real estate website, you can typically view photos online and maybe even take a virtual tour. You may then check other Web sites, such as the local county assessor, to obtain an idea of the property’s value, see exactly what the current owner paid for the property, check the real-estate 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 on the net are convenient and helpful, utilizing them properly can be a challenge as a result of volume of information along with the difficulty in verifying its accuracy. At the time of writing, a search of “Denver real estate” returned 2,670,000 Web sites. Even a neighborhood specific seek out real estate can easily return thousands of Web sites. With so many resources online how does an investor effectively rely on them without getting over-involved or winding up with incomplete or bad information? Believe it or not, understanding how the business of property works offline makes it much easier to understand online real estate information and strategies.

The process of Real Estate

Real estate is commonly bought and sold either through a licensed real estate agent or directly from the owner. The vast majority is traded in through real estate brokers. (We use “agent” and “broker” to consult the same professional.) This is due to their real estate experience and, at least historically, their exclusive use of a database of active properties 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). In most cases, only properties listed by member agents can be added to an MLS. The primary purpose of an MLS would be to enable the member real estate agents to make offers of compensation with other member agents when they find a buyer for any property.

This purposes didn’t include enabling the direct publishing with the MLS information for 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 facts are more elusive. Larger MLSs often operate a commercial information exchange (CIE). A CIE is just like an MLS nevertheless the agents adding the listings on the database are not forced to offer any specific kind of compensation to the other members. Compensation is negotiated beyond your CIE.

In most cases, for-sale-by-owner properties is not directly added to an MLS and CIE, that are typically maintained by REALTOR associations. The lack of a managed centralized database may make these properties tougher to locate. Traditionally, these properties are simply 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 is usually to search for a for-sale-by-owner Web site within the geographic area.

Exactly what is a REALTOR? Sometimes the terms agent and REALTOR are used interchangeably; however, they are not the same. A REALTOR is a licensed real estate agent who is also a part of 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 available in hard copy, so that as we mentioned, only directly accessible to real estate agents members of an MLS or CIE. About ten years ago, this valuable property information began to trickle out to the net. This trickle is now a flood!

One good reason is that most of the 1 million or so REALTORS have Websites, and most of those Websites have varying quantities of the local MLS or CIE property information displayed on them. Another reason is there are many non-real estate agent 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 information more accessible but additionally 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 continue to be sold directly through realtors listing properties from my MLS or CIE. However, those property listings tend not to stay local anymore. By its nature, the Internet is a global marketplace and local MLS and CIE listings are usually disseminated for visible on many different Web sites. By way of example, many go to the Nar Web site,, and also to the local real estate agent’s Website. In addition, the listing could possibly be displayed on the Web site of the local newspaper. Basically, the Internet is just another form of marketing offered by today’s agent, but it has a much broader reach compared to the old print advertising.

Along with Internet marketing, listing agents may also be helpful the seller establish a price, hold open houses, keep your seller informed of interested buyers while offering, negotiate the contract which help with closing. When a realtor provides all of these services it’s referred to as being a complete listing arrangement. While full service listing arrangements are the most common type of listing arrangement, they’re not the only option anymore.

Adjustments to the technology behind real estate business have caused many agents to change the way they do business. Mainly, this is due to the instant access most consumers will have to property listings along with other real estate information. Moreover, the Internet and other technologies have automated a lot of the marketing and initial searching process the real deal estate. For example, consumers can view properties online and make inquires via email. Brokers can use automated programs to deliver listings to individuals who match their property criteria. So, some agents now limit the services they offer and modify their fees accordingly. A representative may offer to advertise the property in the MLS however only provide limited additional services. In the foreseeable future, some real estate agents may offer services in more of the ala carte fashion.

As a result of volume of real estate facts about the Internet, when people hire a real estate agent today they should look at the particular services provided by the agent along with the depth of their knowledge and experience in the relevant property sector. It is no longer just about usage of property listing information. Clients historically found agents by referrals from friends and family. The Internet now provides methods to directly find qualified agents in order to research the biography associated with an agent referred to you offline. One site,, is quickly becoming the LinkedIn or Facebook legitimate estate agents. On this site an agent can personalize their profile, start a blog, post pics and vids and even create a hyperlink to their web site totally free. Once unique content is included with their profile page the various search engines notice!

Some have argued that this Internet makes REALTORS as well as the MLS less relevant. We feel this will be false ultimately. It may change the role in the agent but will make knowledgeable, qualified, and professional REALTORS more relevant than ever. In fact, the number of real estate professionals has risen significantly recently. No wonder, the Internet has created local real estate a global business. Besides, Internet or not, the simple fact remains that this purchase of real property is the largest single purchase most people make in their life (or, for many investors, the largest multiple purchases on the lifetime) and they want expert help. As for the MLS, it continues to be most reliable source of real estate listing and sold information available and is constantly on the enable efficient marketing of properties. So, exactly what is the function of all the online property 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 smarter investment decisions. Sellers can efficiently investigate market and make informed decisions about employing an agent and marketing their properties online. The next task is to know where to go online for some of the best resources.
Internet Strategies

From the sections that follow, our company offers strategies and techniques to use the Internet to locate virginia homes and research information relevant to your decision to purchase the exact property. There are many real estate Sites from which to choose and although do not mean to endorse any particular Site, we have found the ones listed here to be good resources in many instances or to be quite popular that they need mention. A good way to test a Web site’s accuracy would be to search for information about a home you already own.

Finding Real-estate for Sale

Despite the widely available access to real estate listings, many believe that MLS databases carry on and offer the most complete and accurate way to obtain real estate information. Most MLSs now distribute prepared to other Web sites (primarily operated by real estate agents). An excellent kick off point for MLS originated content is the national NAR Web site,, and this is the most popular web site for searching real-estate listings. Virtually all local and regional MLSs have an agreement with to display much of their active listing inventory.

Some local and regional MLS systems furthermore have a publicly accessible Web site. However, to get complete information you’ll most likely still need to find a qualified local REALTOR. Many local real estate professionals will also provide their customers (via email) new listings which are input into the MLS that match their predefined criteria. This is very helpful to a busy buyer.

There are also many Web sites that display both realtor listed and for-sale-by-owner properties. Some of the more popular Web sites include and These websites offer other services too. By way of example, is best known for its instantaneous property valuation function and for providing historical information. Another source of properties for sale is the state, regional, and native Web sites associated with brokerage companies; as an example, or Search engines like and classified advertising sites like furthermore have a large number of active real estate listings.

One key among these sites is how many details you can access anonymously. For example, at it is possible to shop anonymously up to a point but you will need to click through for the agent’s Web site for more information. Many new real estate property search engines allow you to dig through listings without having to submit a form. The best technique is to browse a few of the sites listed above to discover geographic areas or price tags that are interesting. When you are serious about a property, then that’s the time to find a qualified REALTOR of your choice to conduct a complete search in the local MLS.

What’s more, it never hurts to go looking the old-fashioned way by driving from the neighborhoods that interest you. There is no substitute for physically, not virtually, walking the block when you are making a serious financial commitment. In this sense, real estate property is still a very local business and standing in front with the property can lead to an extremely different decision than viewing an online page printout.

Valuing Real Estate

As we mentioned, one of the most popular real estate tools is’s instant property valuation. Just enter an address and in and you get a property value. It also charts the price good and bad, and shows the past date sold (including price) along with the property taxes. There are many sites that provide similar tools like and Unfortunately, lots of people use these estimated values alone to warrant sales prices, offers and counteroffers. However, these are only rough estimates according to a formula that incorporates the area county sales information. These estimates can swing wildly more than a short period of time and do not seem to always track actual market changes, which can be normally more gradual. Furthermore, these estimates don’t automatically take into account property remodels or renovations or another property specific or local changes. It’s not to say these sites usually are not useful. In fact, these are great starting points and may provide a good ball-park value in many cases.

When it comes to getting a more accurate value for a particular property, there are more strategies that are more trustworthy. The first is to go directly to your county’s Internet site. More often than not the county assessor’s part of the Web site provides sales and tax information for all properties in the county. If you want to research a particular property or compare sales prices of comparable properties, the local assessor’s sites are really helpful. Whenever you visit a county’s Web site you will get information straight from the source. Most counties today publish property information about their Web sites. Many times you may cannot only see the price an earlier owner paid, though the assessed value, property taxes, and maps. Some county assessors are adding a market and property valuation tools too.

Due to the importance of valuation to investing, we have been also going to remind you of the two most important (non-Internet) valuation methods: realtors and appraisers. Working with a local REALTOR is definitely an accurate and efficient method of getting value information for any property. While most significant purposes of the MLS is always to market the active property listings of the members, the system also collects sales information for anyone listings. REALTOR members are able to pull this sales information and provide comparable market analyses (sometimes called CMAs) that provide an excellent snapshot of the particular property’s value for your market in a particular area.

Finally, essentially the most accurate way to value home is by having a certified appraiser provide an appraisal. An appraiser will typically review the two sold information in the MLS system along with county information and after that analyze the information to generate a valuation for the property based on one or more approved ways of valuation. These methods of valuation can include a comparison of similar properties adjusted for differences between your properties, determine the charge to replace the property, or, with the income producing property, determine something based on the income produced by the property.

The Neighborhood

There are several ways the Internet will help you get the scoop on a particular neighborhood. For example, census data are available at You may also check out the neighborhood scoop at sites like or review local blogs. A blog is a Web site where individuals discuss topics by posting and giving an answer to messages. Start by investigating and to get a directory of blogs. has a “Heat Map” that shows how hot each neighborhood is dependant on prices, sales, or popularity one of the sites users.


When it comes to selling residential property or rental properties that cater to families, the quality of the area school district is really a huge difference. There are many Web sites devoted to school information. Look at or Most local school districts also have their own Web site. Internet websites contain a variety of information about the public schools along with the school district, including its district demographics, test scores, and parent reviews.

Discovering the right Real Estate Agent

A recent accessory for the Internet boom in actual estate information is Internet sites that let real estate agents market their expertise and native knowledge by displaying their professional profiles and socially networking with blogs. You can look to find an agent which has a particular expertise, geographic area of specialization, or an agent offering specific services. Your website lets users quickly and easily find an agent with the right expertise using keyword searches and clean and simple agent profiles. also enables agents to post personalized blogs, photos and videos to help consumers get the best agent for their needs. Plus, many agent profiles will include a direct link to the agent’s web site where you will likely find the local MLS listings.

Maps along with other Tools

The Internet has produced mapping and locating properties much simpler. To get an aerial view or satellite picture of a property or neighborhood, check out or or visit to see how walk-able a particular property is. These sites can give you a concept of the neighborhood characteristics along with the types of entertainment, restaurants, and other facilities that are within easy reach of the property. provides a view at an angle to help you see the sides of homes and Maps.Google even will give you a 360 degree street-level view for several neighborhoods. If you have not tried one of them satellite map Web sites, you really should if only for amusement.

Final Thoughts on Internet Strategies

The net is a very effective research and marketing device for real estate investors but is not a replacement for a knowledgeable experienced real estate agent. The Internet can save you time and money by enabling quick and easy property research and marketing options. Sites like also help you efficiently look for a REALTOR who fits your buying or selling needs.

Always remember, in relation to Internet strategies for real estate property: More knowledge is much better. You need to use the Internet to construct your knowledge base with a target property as well as to find a real estate agent with expertise you’ll need. However, the big caution here is that the Internet should not replace human judgment and perspective, expert consultancy or physical due diligence-keys to successful investing.

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