There is a considerable advantage to using a local real estate agent in your initial online home searches. It’s a secret unknown to many homebuyers searching for a home online. If you’re like most of today’s home buyers, searching listings online is a significant benefit and allows you to start months earlier to find that perfect home.
You don’t need a real estate agent this early, and that is partially true. Getting in touch with one and then getting a bunch of phone calls is not what you want, so you stick to online searching and stay away from giving up your personal contact information early. Here’s an argument on how to get valuable service from an agent without the bother until you’re ready.
What is the IDX?
The Internet Data Exchange (IDX) is an agreement between real estate brokers in a local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) area that allows all of the listings of all member brokerages to appear on all of their websites. This is a service to you that you get without exposure of your contact info. You can go to one IDX participant’s website and see all of the listed homes in that market area.
What about sites like Zillow.com? Zillow has lots of bells and whistles, and you can take advantage of some of them. However, Zillow does not have all of the listings in a local market area, as the site is not a member of every MLS and doesn’t have an IDX participant site. So, if you want to see all of the listed homes in a market area, Zillow isn’t where you can do that.
The Biggest Service You Shouldn’t Pass Up
Now that you know what the IDX is, here’s a service you’re missing out on that is of huge value to finding the perfect home for your needs. It’s the computerized nature of today’s MLS services and the reporting abilities that are available to the member agents.
Do you know that almost all of these computerized MLS systems allow the real estate agent to set up an automated search and email alerts for their buyer prospects? You can give an agent your home search criteria, features, bedrooms, baths, location, price range and others. The agent takes a few minutes one time to build your alert search.
From then on you get two surprising results. Every new listing entered into the MLS and matching your criteria will be reported to you on a daily basis, or sometimes as they happen. Not only that, but you will receive notification of price changes on these listings. So, if you’re watching the market, you will know before most of the local real estate agents when a home’s price gets reduced.
How do you get these reports? Well, you’re going to have to give the agent your name, email address, and your home search criteria; there’s no other way. However, being upfront with an agent can do wonders for your relationship. Yes, when you submit a form to get these reports, their system is going to put you on a drip email marketing list. You can easily unsubscribe from that though. That shouldn’t kill your alert search. Also, send the agent an email to say that you’re early in your home search, and you do not want or need any phone calls. You will email them any questions you have and will let them know when you need more help.
How to Get These Reports
Check out area real estate websites, usually on their home search pages, and the most online service oriented agents will be offering email alerts with a form to give them your information. You don’t want to pass this up.