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Realtor.Rock is a bi-monthly column where local Realtors share their expertise on real estate matters.
This weeks interview is with Jeff Hill, a Realtor with RE/MAX Property Source. He can be reached at (815) 489-3401 or (815) 315-2626 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why would you want to register on a local real estate Web site?
Realtor.com is an advertising site owned by a company called Homestore and, while its licensed to operate using the Realtor name, it is a for-profit company that has yet to turn a profit…forever squeezing out pennies and irritating the agents and companies that it is charged with helping. The properties are used to draw you in so that they can build ads around the listings… this makes the site painfully slow. Although some recent changes have been made, Realtor.com is an opt-in site that is missing lots of data…it is notoriously out of date and doesnt let you know if a property is under contract…creating an unfriendly and tiresome home search.
Eventually, as you get more serious in your home search, you will want to go local.
Most people dont understand why agents ask them to register on their sites to get more information about properties for sale. The truth is that we dont need it for our own listings, or even those of our company. The problem lies with showing you other companies listings.
In order to address this… two options were developed; IDX and VOW.
IDX stands for Internet Data Exchange. This is an opt-in system. No registration is necessary. The listings that you are looking at should say something about compliments of the listing company. This is kind of like walking into my office, plopping down in a chair and going through the various homes magazines…its fun, there is great information, but its lacking in depth and missing a bunch.
VOW stands for Virtual Office Web site. This means that I can treat you like the person who walked into my office asking about homes…meaning we plug in your criteria and go through the whole Multiple Listing Service so that you dont miss anything, except that you get to do it in your own sweet time. The great thing about a VOW site is that you get access to all of the properties…there is no opt-out for the real estate companies, and you dont have to wait for days to get the updated info. Some of us can also allow access to recent sold properties. … The VOW solution is the ultimate in home information, but it comes with a price. The National Association of Realtors has set a national policy that all VOW sites require registration.
So, there you go….
Its not a matter of you giving up your anonymity…its about empowering you with information for you to enjoy some autonomy. The payoff for us is that we hope you grow comfortable with us and our services, that over time you decide we are the right ones to help you with this process.
If not…you can always unsubscribe…I promise, I wont hold it against you.
Why would I use an agent to buy a home?
Traditionally, in what I like to call old school real estate, all the real estate agents represent sellers. Even YOUR agent was working for the seller…not you. But now, as a result of new agency laws, consumers have a choice: buyers agents who represent buyers. Thats a big difference!
A buyers agent is bound by law and ethics to work solely on behalf of the buyer, and provides levels of support and service not given by traditional agents. And, best of all, it costs the buyer nothing extra.
Consider this: if you call the agent of a particular property, youre calling the person hired by the seller to get the highest price for his property. The sellers agent has a vested interest in selling that property, and no allegiance to you.
A buyers agent, with sole allegiance to you, has access to all properties on the market where he/she is licensed to show and sell. You have a professional advocate and representative helping you every step of the way throughout the entire buying process…working only for you!
Your buyers agent is paid a percentage of the purchase price by the seller, so it cost you nothing extra. This percentage would go entirely to the sellers agent if you were not represented, and your sales price would not be reduced.
Very few people are aware of buyers agency, but now that you know. Doesnt it make sense to have your own buyers agent?
Please visit my Web site for more information on Northern Illinois Real Estate at: www.AgentHill.com. There, you can search properties, see current market conditions, and view my blog.
James Frazier is the owner of A Defined Design-Professional Home Staging Service. He can be reached at 815-997-3212 or through his Web site at www.adefineddesign.com.
from the August 8-14, 2007, issue