Do you know How to Buy and Sell Real Estate Today? Ten years ago, the search for real estate would begin at the office of a local real estate agent or simply by driving around town. You’ll spend an afternoon at the agent’s office flipping through active property listings from the local Multi-Ad Service (MLS). Once you choose interesting properties, you will spend many weeks touring each property until you find the right one.
Buy and Sell Real Estate
Finding market data to allow you to estimate the asking price will take more time and much more driving and you may still not be able to find all the information you need to feel really comfortable with fair market value.
Today, most property searches start on the Internet. A quick Google keyword search by location is likely to bring you thousands of results. If you spot an interesting property on a real estate website, you can usually view photos online and maybe even take a virtual tour.
You can then check other websites, such as the local county appraiser, to get an idea of the value of the property, see what the current owner has paid for the property, check real estate taxes, get census data, school information, and even check out which stores are within walking distance – all without leaving your home!
Although resources on the Internet are convenient and useful, their proper use can be challenging due to the amount of information and the difficulty of verifying its accuracy. At the time of writing, Denver real estate searches have returned 2,670,000 websites. Even neighborhood-specific real estate searches can easily bring back thousands of websites.
With so many resources online, how can an investor use them effectively without drowning out or finding incomplete or bad information? Believe it or not, understanding how the real estate business works offline makes it easier to understand online information and real estate strategies.
The real estate business
Real estate is usually bought and sold either through a licensed real estate agent or directly from the owner. Most are bought and sold through real estate brokers. (We use “agent” and “broker” to denote the same professional.) This is due to their knowledge and experience in real estate and, at least historically, their exclusive access to an active property database for sale. Access to this property list database provides the most efficient way to search for properties.
MLS (and CIE)
The database of housing, land and low-income properties (including some commercial properties) is commonly referred to as the Multi-Listing Service (MLS). In most cases, only properties listed by members of real estate agents can be added to the MLS. The main purpose of MLS is to enable members of real estate agents to make offers of compensation to other member agents if they find a buyer for a property.
These objectives do not include allowing MLS information to be published directly to the public; times change. Today, most MLS information is directly available to the public over the Internet in many different forms.
Commercial property lists are also displayed online, but aggregate commercial property information is more elusive. Larger MLSs often operate in the CIE. The CIE is similar to the MLS, but agents who add lists to the database are not required to offer any specific type of compensation to other members. Compensation is negotiated outside the CEE.
In most cases, properties for sale by the owner cannot be added directly to MLS and CIE, which are usually maintained by REALTOR associations. The lack of a managed centralized database can make these properties more difficult to find. Traditionally, these properties are found by driving or searching for ads in real estate ads in the local newspaper. A more effective way to find properties for sale by owner is to search for a website for sale by owner 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 also a member of the NATIONAL REAL ESTATE ASSOCIATION. REALTORS are required to adhere to a strict code of ethics and conduct.
MLS and CIE property list information was only available on paper and, as mentioned, only directly available to real estate agents, MLS, or CIE members. About ten years ago, this valuable information about real estate began to flow on the Internet. This trickle is now flooding!
One reason is that most of the approximately 1 million REALTORS have websites, and most of these websites have different amounts of MLS or CIE property owned by them. Another reason is that many non-real estate websites also offer real estate information, including owner-selling sites, foreclosure sites, regional and international classified sites, county appraiser sites, and evaluation information and market sites. The flow of real estate information on the Internet definitely makes 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 Internet, most properties are still sold directly through real estate agents who list properties in the local MLS or CIE. However, these property lists no longer remain local. By its nature, the Internet is a global marketplace and local MLS and CIE lists are usually distributed to display many different websites. For example, many go to the website of and to the website of a local real estate agent.
Real estate agents
In addition, the list can be displayed on the website 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 wider scope than the old print advertising.
In addition to internet marketing, listing agents can also help the seller set a price, hold open days, inform the seller of interested buyers and offers, negotiate the contract and help with the completion. When an agent provides all of these services, it is called a full list of services agreement. Although full-service list arrangements are the most common type of list ranking, they are no longer the only option.
The changes in the technology behind the real estate business have led many agents to change the way they do business. This is largely due to the immediate access that most users already have to property listings and other real estate information. In addition, the Internet and other technologies have automated much of the marketing and initial real estate search process.
For example, users can browse properties online and make inquiries via email. Brokers can use automated programs to send ads to users who meet their own criteria. So some agents are already limiting the services they offer and changing their fees accordingly. The agent may offer to advertise the property in MLS but only provide limited additional services. In the future, some real estate agencies may offer ala carte services.
Due to the amount of real estate information on the Internet, when people hire a real estate agent today, they need to consider the specific services offered by the agent and the depth of their experience and knowledge in the relevant real estate sector. It is no longer just a matter of accessing the information on the property list. Buyers and sellers have historically found agents through testimonials from friends and family.
The Internet now provides ways to directly find qualified agents or research the biography of an agent recommended to you offline. One such site, AgentWorld.com, is fast becoming LinkedIn or Facebook for real estate agents. On this site, an agent can customize their profile, start a blog, post photos, and videos, and even create a link to their website for free. Once unique content is added to their profile page, search engines notice!
Some argue that the Internet makes real estate brokers and MLS less relevant. We believe that this will be untrue in the long run. This may change the role of the agent but will make experienced, qualified, and professional REALTORS more relevant than ever.
In fact, the number of real estate brokers has increased significantly in recent years. No wonder the internet has turned local real estate into a global business. Moreover, internet or not, the simple fact remains that buying a property is the biggest single purchase that most people make in their life (or, for many investors, the biggest multiple purchases in their lifetime) and they want expert assistance.
As far as MLS is concerned, it remains the most reliable source of information available on listings and properties sold and continues to enable effective property marketing. 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 making better investment decisions. Sellers can effectively research the market and make informed decisions about hiring an agent 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 to find properties for sale and research information related to your decision to buy the property. There are many real estate websites to choose from, and although we do not want to approve a particular website, we have found that the ones listed here are good resources in most cases or are so popular that they should be mentioned. One way to test the accuracy of a website is to look for property information you already own.
Finding real estate for sale
Despite widely available access to real estate listings, many believe that MLS databases continue to offer the most complete and accurate source of real estate information. Most MLSs now distribute content on other websites (mostly managed by real estate agents). An excellent starting point for MLS-derived content is NAR’s national
Finding real estate for sale
which is also the most popular real estate search website. Virtually all local and regional MLS have an agreement with realtor.com to display much of their active inventory.
Some local and regional MLS systems also have publicly available websites. However, to get complete information, you will probably still need to find a qualified local REALTOR. Many local real estate agents will also provide their clients (by email) with new listings that are being introduced in MLS that meet their pre-defined criteria. This can be very useful for a busy buyer.
Many websites show both listed real estate agents and properties for sale by the owner. Some of the more popular websites include zillow.com and trulia.com. These sites also offer other services. For example, zillow.com is best known for its instant property appraisal feature, which is best known for providing historical information.
Other sources of real estate for sale are state, regional and local websites linked to brokerage companies; for example remax.com or prudential.com. Search engines like yahoo.com and classified sites like craigslist.com also have a large number of active real estate listings.
One key difference between these sites is how much information you can get anonymously. For example, from trulia.com you can shop anonymously until a certain point, but then you will have to click on the agent’s website for more information. Many new real estate search engines allow you to view listings without having to fill out a form.
The best strategy is to browse several of the sites listed above to find interesting geographic areas or price ranges. Once you are serious about a property, then it is time to find a qualified REAL ESTATE of your choice to perform a full search at your local MLS.
Also, never stop looking in an old-fashioned way by driving through the neighborhoods that interest you. There is no substitute for physically, not virtually, walking the block when making a serious investment decision. In this sense, real estate is still a very local business, and standing in front of the property can lead to a very different decision than looking at a printout on a web page.
Real estate appraisal
As mentioned, one of the most popular real estate tools is the instant property appraisal on zillow.com. Just enter an address and you will get the value of the property. It even outlines the ups and downs of prices and shows the last date of sale (including price) and property taxes. Other sites provide similar tools such as. Unfortunately, many people use only these estimates to justify sales prices, offers, and counter-offers.
However, these are only rough estimates based on a formula that includes local county sales information. These estimates can change dramatically in a short time and do not always seem to track actual market changes, which are usually more gradual. In addition, these estimates do not take into account automatic property remodeling or repairs or other property-specific or local changes. This does not mean that these sites are not useful. In fact, they are great starting points and can provide good value in many cases.
When it comes to getting more accurate value for a specific property, other strategies are more reliable. One is to go directly to your county’s website. More often than not, the district appraiser’s area of the website provides sales and tax information for all properties in the county.
If you want to research a specific property or compare the sale prices of comparable properties, the sites of local appraisers are really useful. When you visit the county’s website, you receive information directly from the source. Most counties today publish property information on their websites. Many times you can see not only the price paid by the previous owner but also the estimated value, property taxes, and cards. Some county appraisers are now adding market and property appraisal tools.
Given the importance of valuation for investing, we will also remind you of the two most important (non-internet) valuation methods: real estate agents and appraisers. Working with a local REALTOR is an accurate and effective way to get information about the value of a property. While one of the main goals of MLS is to market the active property lists to its members, the system also collects sales information for these ads.
REALTOR members can download this sales information and produce comparable market analyzes (sometimes called CMAs) that provide an excellent snapshot of the value of a particular property for the market in a particular area.
Finally, the best way to evaluate a property is to get a certified appraiser to do the appraisal. The appraiser usually reviews both the information sold in the MLS system and the county information and then analyzes the information to make an appraisal of the property based on one or more approved valuation methods. These valuation methods may include comparing similar properties, adjusting for differences between properties, determining the cost of replacing the property, or, with property generating income, determining value based on the income generated by the property.
There are many ways in which the Internet can help you get information about a particular neighborhood. For example, census data can be found at census.gov. You can also view neighborhood information on sites like outside. or browse local blogs. A blog is a website where people discuss topics by posting and replying to messages. Start by looking for a blog directory. Trulia.com has a “Heat Map” that shows how hot or cold each neighborhood is based on price, sales, or popularity among site users.
When it comes to selling residential or rental properties that take care of families, the quality of the district school district makes a huge difference. There are many websites dedicated to school information. See greatschools.net or schoolmatters.com. Most local school districts also have their own website. These sites contain a variety of information about public schools and the school district, including area demographics, test results, and parental reviews.
Finding the right real estate agent
A recent addition to the real estate information boom is websites that allow real estate agents to offer their experience and local knowledge by displaying their professional profiles and social media blogs. You can search to find an agent with specific experience, a geographical area of specialization, or an agent offering specific services. allows users to quickly and easily find an agent with the right experience using keyword search and clean and simple agent profiles. AgentWorld.com also allows agents to publish personalized blogs, photos, and videos to help users find the best agent for their needs. In addition, many agent profiles include a direct link to the agent’s website, where you are likely to find local MLS lists.
Maps and other tools
The Internet has made mapping and finding property much easier. To get an 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 suitable the property is for walking.
These sites can give you an idea of the characteristics of the neighborhood and the types of entertainment, restaurants, and other facilities that are within walking distance of the property. Maps.Live.com provides an angled view so you can see the sides of houses and Maps. Google even gives you a 360-degree street-level view of specific neighborhoods. If you haven’t tried any of these satellite map websites, you really should, if only for fun.
Latest thoughts on internet strategies
The Internet is a very effective research and marketing tool for real estate investors, but it is not a substitute for an experienced real estate professional. The Internet can save you time and money by enabling quick and easy research and marketing options. Sites like AgentWorld.com also help you effectively find a REAL ESTATE that meets your buying or selling needs.
Always remember when it comes to internet real estate strategies: More knowledge is better. You need to use the Internet to build your knowledge base on a target property or find a real estate agent with the experience you need. However, the great caution here is that the Internet should not replace human judgment and perspective, expert advice, or physical keys for proper verification – keys to successful investment.