Real estate listings are traditionally done in either a newspaper or an MLS. The fact that newspapers are used at all can probably serve as indication to you of how archaic the traditional methods are. This has almost been entirely done away with due to newspapers going away.
Everything is digitized nowadays. Nobody wants to have a newspaper thrown at their door every morning, as they do not want to figure out what to do with pound after pound of paper. Particularly when newspapers have to compete with the internet in both volume and frequency.
MLS, or multiple listing services, have adapted much better to the digitization. You can still sign up to get MLS listings sent to you physically, but you can also go and search them out yourself.
The abundance of information technology has also made it so that no MLS is so exclusive that you have to pay to see it. You may, however, have to pay in order to be listed on it.
The Problems with Traditional Methods of Real Estate Listing
So, on the one hand we have the problems of listing homes in the newspaper. This was originally done to get the home listed in front of as many people as possible. But since no one reads newspapers anymore, they no longer serve as a solution to that concern.
And then on the other hand, you have MLS listings. These are still around, but they are harder to get on. And while you can technically find the listings if you look hard enough, they are still not exactly posted up on Facebook like the rest of the information of the world.
How does one go about circumventing the limitations of these listing methods?
Solving the Newspaper Problem
As we mentioned before, listings appearing in newspapers were a product of everyone reading newspapers at the time. The problem that newspaper listings solved was that sellers wanted as many people to see the listings as possible, while buyers needed easy access to them.
Once that accessibility went away, real estate listings had to move. The need to get listings in front of people did not change. Only the medium by which those listings were listed did.
There are two sides to this problem: On one end, you have the sellers. They need people to see the listing. And on the other end you have the buyers. They are the people in question.
If the solution is not obvious already, then we will spell it out for you: The internet solves this problem. Whether it is accessed through a desktop or a smart phone, everyone has a constantly updating newspaper nearby them all the time.
Solving the MLS Problem
In contrast to newspapers, MLS listings are not an equal issue shared between both buyer and seller. The internet allows people to make databases of all sorts of existing real estate listings. But even among these databases, not all real estate listings can be gathered as data points.
Imagine you are a buyer, and you pass by a vacant lot. This lot would be perfect for your business. But it does not have a sign indicating who owns it, or whether or not it is for sale. No matter, everything can be sold for the right price. You search for who owns the property.
Google turns up nothing. The usual sites that aggregate listings of real estate turn up nothing. You go to the city zoning office and look up who owns the property. You call their phone number, but they do not pick up. What are they doing with this land? Are they even using it?
Well, they probably are. But what they are probably doing is listing it somewhere that is very hard for you to find. They might even be listing it in another city, state, or country.
That means people can buy it if they find the listing, but they are much more likely to find that listing if they live in that other region. The owner of the property might be doing everything they can to hide this listing from the region the property is actually located in.
As you can tell, a huge advantage is given to the seller when it comes to MLS listings.
Is This Good or Bad?
Ultimately, this is good. Imagine if you are the seller rather than the buyer of this property. There is actually ample reason to sell real estate in a specific region. For instance, your property might be in New York. Yet you don’t want to sell to the New York economy for one reason or another.
The most common reason a person would want to list their property elsewhere is that they only want bids on the property from a better economy. New York might be suffering while somewhere like Texas is booming. You want the Texas money, not the New York money.
There is a potential downside to this: It means that real estate in one area is being given up for money from another area. It is entirely possible for this to open a window that results in money from the first area (New York) to flow to the other (Texas) with no way of flowing back.
This is balanced out by the fact that it is uncommon for this sort of listing to consistently work. Ten New York properties might be listed in Texas, Florida, and California. Each is equally likely to sell to people or businesses in each of those states. Over the grand scheme of things, these equally likely transactions will normalize so that no state is extracting more money than others.
When it comes to real estate listings, every method of listing real estate is a solution to a problem. The issues we discussed today come about when the solution to those problems becomes a problem in itself. This happens to most solutions as progress marches on.
If you want to know how the progress of the mighty real estate industry is going, check with Teifke Real Estate.