Searching for a home is becoming easier every day with more access to web sites across the country Realtor.com is the king of real estate listings. There are real estate company sites such as ColdwellBanker.com and Remax.com where you can access the local affiliates and all their listings in the US, Canada, or International. Or a little back door play is to go to the state board of realtors where they list all the local realtor boards and the local MLS sites.
1.Realtor.com – The number 1 real estate web site bar none. It is comprised of all the local MLS realtor board listings. It has all the visual and virtual tours and more photos than the local MLS systems allow. Local real estate agents will pay to get good positioning on the webpages for advertising when their local area is requested you see them first or at least in the top six. You can also request information about any of the listings on the site and you will normally receive a response within 24 to 48 hours from the better agents. One draw back is that realtor.com is sometimes 3 to 5 days behind the actual listing date.
2.ColdwellBanker.com – The number 2 real estate web site. Has easy access to its real estate listings around the world. The “Personal Retriever” feature allows you to enter in your criteria and will notify you of any updates or new listing you can select to have the emails sent daily or weekly. Coldwell Bankers “Lead Router” system is state of the art in high tech features when you request information on any of their listings your request goes one stop and then directly to the agent’s phone who listed the home. During normal business hours you should get a return call within minutes with all the up to date information directly from the listing agent. No other real estate company or lead source has anything that approaches this system.
3.Remax.com – The number 3 real estate web site behind ColdwellBanker.com. Still has a long way to go your basic site allows you to search listings has local information available from the local franchise sites. Doesn’t approach anything like the “Lead Router” or “Personal Retriever” of ColdwellBanker.com. You can get easy access to their Remax listings.
4.Realtor Pay for Leads Sites –These companies sell you to real estate agents and mortgage brokers. You log on to the web site select the city and the zip code where you want to buy or sell a house and enter all your required personal information. The agents who have paid for you at $200, $400, $600 per month or $40 to $80 per lead decide based on your zip code and price range if they want to work with you in buying or selling a home. The pitch to you is that you pick the agent and there is a little truth to that because you do get to chose between 2 or 3 agents. The fact is that many people filling out all this personal information don’t get to choose an agent at all. The agents don’t take the leads because you are either buying or selling in the wrong price range or zip code. Its one of those little steering or redlining things that slips under the federal and state government’s radar.
5.Realtor Association and MLS – Searching local realtor associations by entering a search by state for realtor association this will bring up the state association and all the local associations within the state. Then you will have access to the public side of the local MLS. Some are now directing you to Realtor.com to see the listings.
6.All the Other Sites – Miscellaneous sites, sale by owner sites, agent sites, smaller real estate company sites, local company sites all have useful features but can’t give you everything you are looking for.
7.Your Real Estate Agent – When you get down to working with an agent, the internet savvy agent will have all you need. They will set you up on a VIP Buyer or Seller program very similar to Coldwell Banker’s “Personal Retriever” and your access to your agent will be better than “Lead Router” because you will have all of the agents contact numbers.
Searching for your home on the internet can be easy if you take your time and don’t get sucked into any on-line site that sells you and your information to the highest bidder. Remember local Chambers of Commerce, School Districts, and City web sites have great information about the local area. Keep a file in your favorites of all the websites you find useful.