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Investing Strategies

Working Smarter


The internet has changed many business models. Remember when there were travel agencies in strip malls? Real estate isn’t immune to such changes. Websites like Zillow and Trulia have made it possible for real estate investors to search for weeks or months to see listed homes without having to talk to a real estate agent.

Searchability isn’t ideal though, as you must sit down at the computer or use your smartphone to do it. You also need to remember and re-enter your search criteria, and you may not even know about some deals because you missed them due to search-input limitations. Time is important as well unless you sit up late at night searching the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

There is a better way to keep up with new listings, sold homes, and especially price reductions. The MLS databases are all computerized and they provide real estate agents with tools for searches by whatever listing criteria they use. The great news is that these same MLS reports can usually be set up on an automated basis to alert the agent to new listings, sales, and price reductions.

What they can do for themselves, they can also do for you. This is precisely why building a great relationship with local real estate agents is crucial. An agent can set up automated email reports to alert you to new listings, sales, and price reductions for homes that meet your specific criteria for price range, location, home features, and keywords. You’ll get an email as it happens, or on a daily basis that keeps you informed about the home market and properties you may want to acquire and allowing you to track neighborhoods for price fluctuations and buying or selling trends.

One thing you want to do before you contact an agent to get these reports is to do a quick Google search for properties for sale in your area, but add “IDX” to your search text, as in “Atlanta real estate IDX.” IDX stands for Internet Data Exchange. Most sites are signed up for this as it allows all members to display the listings of all members. So, you’ll be searching all the listed properties for the members of the local real estate MLS.

Once you find a site you like, you may see a sidebar offer to get automated alert reports. If so, just fill out the form with your search criteria and email address to allow the agent to set you up. If you don’t see the offer, email the agent and ask for a report. You can make clear that you’re in the early stages of your property search, so they won’t be calling you every other day.

Once you’re set up, you’ll get emails for new listings, sold listings, and price adjustments for homes that meet your search requirements. It’s like having an agent working for you day and night!