Choosing an online real estate broker is a little different from choosing one in real life but many aspects remain the same. You still want professional, experienced, ethical and the ability to provide you the level of service you are looking for. The biggest changes are the amount of technology used and the fact that you generally complete most or the entire deal online.
The Technology Advantage
Online real estate agents and brokerages are made up of people who have embraced technology and come up with ways to provide a professional service online. Services are provided through a host of platforms such as computers, smartphones and tablets. The online agents and brokerages often are much more flexible because many operate on the global scale, no longer considering their hometown the only place to do business. Technology also makes it easier to communicate through email and texting at any hour instead of waiting until standard business hours.
Less Language Barrier
Many online brokerages have agents capable of speaking several different languages to accommodate the global operations or have access to translators who help make the deal happen. This is all part of the great customer service many clients are demanding in their search for properties.
Do Background Checks and Get Referrals
When searching for a brokerage, whether it’s for buying or selling, do careful background checks on the companies you are considering. Like with anything else, online scams are easy to get caught up into. Get referrals, check with local governments or businesses, and contact previous clients of the company to find out about the experience (don’t just rely on website testimonials, those can be faked). Commercial deals are very different from home deals, you want an agent who understands the ins and outs of the one you are seeking to do.
More Options are Better
Look at the options the brokerage is offering. Most often you will have less headaches and less time involved when you get a firm that has brokers, bankers, equity sources, advisors and more all in house. It’s much more cost effective and generally offers more security because your documents and information stay in one place. More options also means more variety for you, allowing a brokerage to customize their services to what you want.
Good Principals List
You also want an established firm with a good principals list already in place. Time costs money and whether you are buying or selling, the more time you spend looking for or hunting for the right piece of property, the more you’re spending. One exception to this option would be if you are seeking out the best deal as well; new and inexperienced brokers may offer you a better deal in exchange for your business.
Security a Must
Security is a big concern because buying or selling property requires you to release a great of financial and personal information over to people you don’t know that well. Make sure the online brokerage has secure networks and uses virtual deal rooms equipped with encryption software for all your documents. Another great feature of these rooms is the ease of examining and signing documents from the convenience of your living room or any location.
If property auctions are something you are interested in, make sure the brokerage has the capabilities to handle an auction property. Auctions are a little differently than regular property buying and selling because they most often require buyers to have the money upfront.
With plenty of careful research and consideration, you can find the perfect online real estate broker for buying or selling a property. Don’t forget the one cardinal rule: make sure the broker and the brokerage is licensed and has insurance. A reputable business always has both of these even when it’s an online real estate brokerage. Protecting yourself is always front and foremost when conducting any form of business.
Ken Thomas is a professional blogger that enjoys providing real estate advice. He writes for Onboard Informatics, a leading real estate data company.