Sometimes you really need to dig into the nitty-gritty details of something to understand how home shoppers behave and why they make choices when using online property information websites. For this particular case study, I am looking for a multi-unit residential complex in North Hollywood, CA.
I am working with a REALTOR® – actually a team of REALTORS®. They “found me” through a sign call when I was driving neighborhoods. My needs – An investment property that is walkable to dance studios since parking is horrid. Parking. Cash-flow neutral with 25% down. Safe neighborhood.
North Hollywood is part of The MLS CLAW, but my REALTOR® is a member of both The MLS and CRMLS. The REALTOR® is also part of a franchise organization.
I told the REALTOR® clearly that I will be doing a 1031 Exchange and that I need to market another investment property before I buy. I just need to get a feel for the market.
Client Servicing Tools
Listingbook The MLS
The MLS Client Servicing Solution Pro
Although my REALTOR® did not suggest it, I am also using R.com, Zillow, Trulia, and Homes.com
How New Listing Alerts Favor Portals
New Listing Alerts are my personal favorite feature of website technology. Rather than having to search for listings everyday, listings come to me. Clearly The MLS listing alert feature is by far the best: it is the first one to arrive, and it has more depth of information.
- The biggest flaw in the MLS Client Servicing Tool is that new listings often lack photos. Listingbook (and all IDX websites) was also lacking photos. Hence, as a consumer, I searched the property address for the photos.
- I am able to find the photos of the new listing on the portals before the MLS, although the listing shows as off-market.
- The MLS was the only site that displayed the rental income of each unit in the building.
- The site that had the best source of information for this particular property type was LoopNet. I would deduce that the REALTOR® listed the property on LoopNet before The MLS.
- There may be an opportunity for brokers, franchises, MLSs, technology vendors, and others to license historic photos from portals and display them when photos for the property do not exist in the MLS (with proper disclaimers and disclosures). My understanding is that realtor.com has every photo ever sent to their site. Although other portals are newer, I would presume they all store them because in most cases, they continue to display them on off market properties.
- The industry could take a leadership role in protecting consumer privacy and require that photos used for marketing a home for sale are expunged from everyone’s database after the property goes off the market. If I were a homebuyer, I would value this service.