Online Tools for Real Estate Agents
In the old days of real estate agents submitted information about their listings to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which previously took the form of a phonebook-like monstrosity. The MLS published their book once a month, which led to a burst of buying and selling activity around that time.
But the rising of the Internet has changed the way that the real estate industry operates.
The MLS is now online, enabling houses to be displayed immediately. Search engines have become more sophisticated, allowing people to search for and view houses from their computers. A recent poll showed that nearly all home buyers use the Internet to shop for homes before using a real estate agent. However, the best agents view the Internet as a tool, rather than as competition.
It is crucial that beginning real estate agents set up professional real estate websites with their brokerages. If your brokerage does not offer this service, find an inexpensive website template company to build one for you. This should not cost more than $100 to set up and $10-20 to maintain each month. Some real estate agents pay to get their names higher ranked on search engines, but this is extremely costly and not worth the hundreds of dollars per month. The best investment is to buy a catchy real estate web address (URL).
Consider investing in a smart-phone and a tablet, e.g., iPad, so that you can be connected to email when you are away from your desk. A significant portion of your real estate job will be on the road or at houses so these mobile devices provide a way to keep contact with clients and be instantly notified of new listings.