Ten years ago, a search for real estate would have were only available in the office of an area real estate agent or by simply driving around town. At the agent’s office, you’ll spend an afternoon flipping through pages of active property listings from the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). After choosing properties of interest, you’ll spend weeks touring each property until you found the correct one. Finding market data to help you assess the asking price would take more time and much more driving, and you still might not be able to find all of the information you had a need to get really comfortable with a fair market value.

Today, most property searches start the Internet. An instant keyword explore Google by location will likely get you thousands of results. If you spot a property of interest on a genuine estate web site, you can typically view photos online and perhaps even take a virtual tour. You can then check other Web sites, like the local county assessor, to obtain a concept of the property’s value, see what the existing owner paid for the house, check the true estate taxes, get census data, school information, and also check out what shops are within walking distance-all without leaving your house!

While the resources on the Internet are convenient and helpful, with them properly can be a challenge because of the level of information and 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 simply return thousands of 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 how the business of real estate works offline makes it simpler to understand online property information and strategies.

The Business of Real Estate

Real estate is typically bought and sold either by way of a licensed agent or directly by the dog owner. The vast majority is purchased and sold through real estate agents. (We use “agent” and “broker” to refer to the same professional.) That is due to their property knowledge and experience and, at the very least historically, their exclusive access to a database of active properties for sale. Access to this database of property listings provided the most efficient way to search for properties.

The MLS (and CIE)

The database of residential, land, and smaller income producing properties (including some commercial properties) is often referred to as a multiple listing service (MLS). Normally, only properties listed by member realtors can be put into an MLS. The primary reason for an MLS is to enable the member realtors to create offers of compensation to other member agents should they find a buyer for a property.

This purposes didn’t include enabling the direct publishing of the MLS information to the public; times change. estate agents Today, most MLS information is directly accessible to the general public over the Internet in many different forms.

Commercial property listings may also be displayed online but aggregated commercial property information is more elusive. Larger MLSs often operate a commercial information exchange (CIE). A CIE is comparable to an MLS but the agents adding the listings to the database are not necessary to offer any specific kind of compensation to another members. Compensation is negotiated beyond your CIE.

In many instances, for-sale-by-owner properties can’t be directly added to an MLS and CIE, which are usually maintained by REALTOR associations. The lack of a managed centralized database could make these properties more difficult to find. Traditionally, these properties are found by driving around or looking for ads in the neighborhood newspaper’s real estate listings. A far more efficient solution to locate for-sale-by-owner properties is to search for a for-sale-by-owner Internet site in the geographic area.