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The war on proprietary information between real estate agents & consumers is all but lost at this point…..or is it? Real estate agents still have very detailed histories of home sales, home conditions, disclosures and other pertinent data held captive from the general public to create the need for our existence. That data is very helpful and fills in the blanks where zillow.com and other public information sites fall short.
The flat fee, limited service or just FSBO network companies gobble up a large portion of the home listings who don’t want the services of a conventional real estate agent. Depending on your source for the statistics (most reference NAR 2010 stats) there is a success rate of 2%-10% of these transactions that close without using a real estate agent.
Let’s consider for a moment what those numbers mean for both the buyers and sellers out there.
Sellers: We real estate agents love to use this 2%-10% FSBO statistic to justify why sellers need our services to list a home. The biggest mistakes home owners make when trying to sell a home without a real estate agent (FSBO): bad marketing, unrealistic asking price and often times the seller’s availability to show the property. These are valid issues without a real estate professional assisting in the process. Obviously those hurdles can be overcome by the 2%-10%.
Buyers: The most important aspect of those statistics and the likely reason for the extremely low success rate of FSBO transactions (according to NAR) is that a majority of buyers have a real estate professional assisting them. Technically the sellers are paying the real estate agent’s commission so the buyer typically sees the services and expertise the real estate agent provides as free. If the real estate agent has access to all the properties on the market, can get actual historical data on specific homes (as mentioned above) and have the same source of information that appraisers use…..a real estate agent serves as a tremendous value (free) for a buyer.
Here is where real estate agents and the MLS make the strongest case.
Sellers: The national FSBO company can get you on a handful of websites reaching a large audience of buyers, sellers and folks seeking general information. The local MLS in your area has anywhere from hundreds to thousands of real estate agents (466,000+ real estate agents nationwide & 7,500+ in the Kansas City Metro – Dept of Labor 2010) that have access to it.
Just about every agent out there has a website that pulls data from their MLS and posts all the properties in the local MLS system for viewers to navigate. The local MLS also syndicates the home listing information to most of the big real estate related websites (zillow.com, trulia.com, realtor.com, etc).
So when you use a Real Estate Agent you get the same site visits these huge companies advertise. More importantly, you get your property on the websites of the real estate agents who have actual buyers they are working with.
The MLS is the undisputed best resource for home sale marketing. It reaches the biggest audience and is the quickest way to reach actual buyers.
Buyers: Here is some technical information that you need to consider in addition to the fact that you can have the expert advice of a real estate agent for free in your corner as you look for a home. The local MLS sends out information that is input into their system either hourly, daily, weekly or monthly. The amount of data collected by the large nationally recognized companies is too great to input hourly & daily. For example, Realtor.com updates their information twice a week.
That means if you are looking for the perfect home at a cheap price (everyone is) you need to know about it as soon as it hits the market. The only way to get that information the instant it enters the market is through a real estate agent part of the local MLS. The real estate agent can either set up an automatic email system that delivers changes in the market the moment they are updated or they can filter what you get by sending you specific properties they know you would be interested in.
Buyers have to decide if it is worth taking the risk of losing the perfect home based on bad and dated information.
Real Estate Agents still serve an important role in the process. They are involved in 90%-98% of all real estate transactions. If you seriously want to sell your home you have to be willing to work with a real estate agent. If you want real estate agents and their buyers to see your property – you have to have to your home on the local MLS.
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