Do I Need a Real Estate Agent? Why Your Answer Should Be “Yes”

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If you’re getting ready to buy or sell a home, you might be asking yourself “Do I need a real estate agent?” Here’s why it’s a good idea.

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What is the MLS?

What is the MLS?

Guest post from Marc Rasmussen – Lido Key Condos

I was writing an email this morning to a new potential client from England explaining how our real estate system works in the United States. Over in Europe it is typical for a buyer to work with several Realtors because each agent may only work a certain geographic area. If the buyer is looking in several areas they have to hire several agents to see all available property. They don’t use a central database to access all available properties for sale.

The point of my email was to explain how it worked over here and that it was unnecessary to hire multiple Realtors. I always have this conversation with Europeans because I have been burned by this before. But, that is the subject of another blog post.

The reason people only really need to hire one good Realtor is because we use (in most but not all) markets what is known as the MLS or Multiple Lising Service.

Multiple Listing Service

An MLS is basically a service that enables real estate Brokers to establish offers of compensation (commission) between brokers, facilitates cooperation with other brokers in an effort to market their listings, provides valuable information to enable appraisals for ease in valuing property and is a central database that stores information about real estate to serve broker’s clients, customers and the public.

In a nutshell the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a central database that participating real estate brokers and agents use to share information about properties and establish commissions. Most of these databases are now on computer. Years ago before the internet large books were published that displayed available properties for sale.

Here in Sarasota, Florida we use the Mid-Florida MLS which is one of the largest databases in the country. It encompasses properties over a large section of Florida. We used to have our own Sarasota MLS like many areas but that changed a few years ago.

Marketing Your Home

The MLS is really the number one marketing tool for a Realtor. It is more valuable than a busy internet site, print advertisement, open houses, direct mail and all other marketing tools that Realtors use. When a property is listed in the MLS system thousands (depending on your market size) of Realtor instantly have access and information about this property. Typically the MLS contains multiple photographs, square footage, bedrooms, bathrooms, age, agent remarks and most other information that a potential buyer may want to know about the property. Since most MLS’s are on the internet now this information is disseminated very quickly.

If you are looking to sell your home make sure you hire a Realtor that is a participating member of the MLS system. You really hinder your chances when your home is not listed in this powerful database.

When you visit a Realtor’s website and look at properties for sale you are probably not using the MLS system directly. Many agent websites claim that you are searching the MLS but most likely you are searching an IDX or VOW system which is essentially a database with limited information pulled from the MLS. Either way it is a great way to find your next home or help you measure up your competition if you are looking to sell.



Marc Rasmussen | Broker/Owner of DWELL Real Estate | c 941.812.6272 | [email protected]com |



Metro Atlanta has spoken and Duffy Realty is 92% referred to friends and family for our $500.00 flat fee listing to sell a home that lasts until SOLD, now 8 years in a row. Over 1 Billion Dollars saved in Listing Fees and Over 14,000 listings has reigned Rhonda Duffy, top agent in Atlanta and the #1 Agent in Georgia and #6 in the U.S. for 6 years in a row! Browse the site and you will see many success stories of loyal Duffy clients and how they sold their home and saved a lot of money in the process. Visit or call 678-366-7846

Gateways with Buyers & Sellers

Gateways with Buyers & Sellers

One of the “magical” tools that agents have is the access to set up an email system called a Gateway for clients. Gateways have been favored by both buyers and sellers in the past as a way to look for potential properties to purchase as well as competition that comes on the market. Gateways are traditionally set up within the Multiple Listing Service and emailed directly to the client.

The way that Gateways work is that the searches can be customized to be as broad or narrow as you like. They can be as broad as a city and a price range, or as specific to also contain four or five plus features that are important to buyers and sellers.

Even if a buyer has a home to sell first, Gateways are a great tool to narrow down subdivisions and areas that best fit the buyers needs. That way when the contract does come in and the seller now has thirty days to find a new place, the core of the search has already been done. This makes it much easier for the seller when it comes to the due-diligence of finding their next home.

We often hear of sellers that keep there eye on one property waiting to pounce once they go under contract.

Another reason Gateways appeal to sellers is to see what their competition on the market looks like. If a property that would normally be considered competition drops their price or makes a change the client will get an instant email with a link to that listing. This also happens whenever a new property comes on the market.

Gateways are now easier than ever to set up and Duffy Realty has developed a feature where a buyer or seller can set up their own Gateways through the link below:

The Evolution of Real Estate Brokerages and Real Estate Agents

The way we know real estate today is not the way that real estate was once known. Real estate has evolved over the last few decades into being less of a service business and into more of an expertise. Real estate brokers and real estate agents do business differently today than they ever have before.

Here is the history of the real estate broker and real estate agents from the 1950’s to today, 2008, some 60 years later…

1950’s – In the 1950’s there were no women in real estate. Real estate was a man’s world – period. All deals sold by a real estate company were the real estate companies listing, with few exceptions. Brokers knew each other, but they rarely sold each other’s listings. The broker was also the “deal doctor”. The broker was the smartest person in the office when it came to real estate. Agents did not do a deal without the broker being involved and them going to every listing and buying appointment. The agent was basically the assistant. The broker was the agent in the 1950’s. Listings were kept on index cards and buyers viewed these cards only if they met the broker’s approval.

1960’s – In the 1960’s the first multiple listing service was formed to help companies sell each other’s listings. The first multiple listing service was done with index cards, similar to how brokers had kept their listings before. Cards were sent to each other’s offices listing the commission that an agent from another company would be paid. Then the MLS progressed into the book that was published every week. An agent was prohibited to give this book to their clients. However, every Friday (or whatever day of the week that the book came out) the offices would have new listing night where families could come to the office and see the new listings in the new MLS book.

1970’s – Franchising became popular. Franchising offered brokers some continuity in training. Franchising also brought in referrals from other parts of the country to the broker. The Realtor boards also started offering training and designations. The agents were able to tell the public that they were “trained” and that they have this or that designation. The Million Dollar Club became known as a designation to the public. However with all of this “training” agents became more independent and they started doing business without the broker.

1980’s – The real estate agents take over. They start marketing themselves on signs, not just the brokerage. The real estate agent starts demanding higher splits from the broker for the business they are doing. They start getting glamour shots and personalized advertising. ReMax starts with a bang and many agents leave their current broker for higher splits. Their thought is, they already know what to do to bring in their own business and they have been trained by the Realtor board.

1990’s – Cendant now known as NRT starts to buy all the big affiliations. Coldwell Banker and Century 21 become one in the parent company but still appear as different brands to the public. The real estate business becomes more about branding of the company than advertising homes. Agents are taught more about synergy and passing leads through relocation companies.
The co-founder of MTV is involved in this giant corporation and he starts to teach the business about selling other services besides the home. One-stop shopping for the consumer starts.

1998- Brings Internet shopping for homes to the consumer. This shopping also brings the emergence of discount brokers and multi-level brokerages like Keller-Williams, which is a model based on recruitment and overrides of what those who you’ve recruited sells.

2001 – Hyper inflationary market begins and produces rapid increase in broker and agent populations. The Realtor boards grow from 800,000 agents in the U.S. to 1,400,000. Everyone was getting into real estate. There was absolutely no lead management in most of the brokerages because buyers were plentiful.

2005 – Contraction in home sales begins. Unprepared brokerage firms begin to fail. Unprepared for a lack of profit and agents start getting out the business and many affiliated firms drop their contracts to become independent. Their effort is to make more money for themselves as brokers in the everyday business.

2007 – Housing sales drop as doom and gloom sets into the financial markets. Lenders face record numbers of foreclosures due to hyper inflationary markets in 2001 and their lending practices. Under the Clinton administration, Congress had passed laws for social engineering to help buyers buy homes with loose financing restrictions. These homes could not have been purchased by these buyers without more stability or while under free market conditions. Realtor board numbers drop back to 800,000 as many agents get out of real estate.

Today, the Internet tells the story.

Market and Neighborhood demographics, mortgage history, taxes and Google Earth shows buyers exactly what they want to see before they visit a home. The information highway is doing the job that real estate agents once coveted as the most important part of their job – finding a buyer a home. Now, buyers walk into real estate agent’s offices prepared with the facts that ultimately prepare them to buy a home. Sellers are telling agents what their neighbors sold for and how long it took them to sell. Buyers are now literally and figuratively driving the agents. The power that a real estate agent and a broker for that matter have individually and collectively has now shifted. Real estate agents now need to re-invent themselves to stay in business.

Atlanta Real Estate Jobs

Atlanta has many real estate jobs. According to the First Multiple Listing Service in 2007, there were 42,000 agents registered as members in the state of Georgia and most of those of course, were in Atlanta. And as in any industry, the types of jobs in real estate vary.

Here is a list of the real estate jobs that you could have in Atlanta:

1. Real estate agents working on behalf of clients. This requires a salesperson license in the state of Georgia, which means that you must take a 75-hour course for a salesperson license. There is also a state test. There are many real estate schools in the Atlanta area, which include The Georgia Real Estate Institute, Barney Fletcher and many others. Course work can be taken in traditional day classroom settings, night classes for those who are presently employed or online. The fee for most classes is around $400.00 and the test is around $195.00. Real estate agents are licensed to do both residential properties and commercial properties. However, it is rare to find an agent that specializes in both.

2. Real estate brokers run and sometimes own the office that real estate agents work in. A real estate broker has 3 years of experience as a real estate agent under someone else. Real estate brokers are required to take an additional 90-hour course and state test. Classes are held in the day, night and online at any school that offers continuing education. Many agents today become brokers as part of their continuing education and they work in the brokerage as an associate broker continuing to perform the duties that they originally had as a real estate agent. The advantage that they have however is that they can open their own brokerage and hire agents to work under them.

3. Real estate assistants can be both licensed and unlicensed. If you are a licensed assistant to a producing agent, you are able to do everything for the public that the real estate agent can do. If you are not licensed, you are not able to speak to the public about property at all. You can do limited paperwork and procedural items but an unlicensed assistant is highly restricted in the eyes of the law.

There are many other jobs in real estate like appraising, inspection, mortgage broker and surveyor. Not to mention closing attorneys, insurance agents and home warranty representatives. Most all of these jobs require schooling and a license. All real estate licensees are required to do continuing education every one to four years.

At Duffy Realty, we hire real estate agents and brokers. We have an aggressive split and we have plenty of leads that are generated during phone duty wherein you take live calls from real buyers. These calls are generated from the over 1,000 Duffy Realty yard signs representing listings all over Atlanta. We also do extensive training to help our agents become experts in the art of negotiating contracts, implementing sales skills and exercising common sense. If you have a desire to be a real estate agent because you want to impact how the public buys and sells homes and want to be on the cutting-edge in the future of real estate, you must join Duffy Realty.

Duffy Realty’s training program includes DVDs, a Playbook and recommendations of legal manuals you must have in your home library. You will be tested on real life materials used everyday in real estate thus you will hit the streets of Atlanta having a real working knowledge of real estate. Many people feel that they know real estate after taking the 75-hour course, but they are wrong and we can prove it. Let the experience of closing over 12,000 transactions in just 6 years show you we know what we are doing. Don’t just be a real estate agent – be a real pro.

Where To Buy A Home In Atlanta

When you are deciding where to buy a home in Atlanta you can use this simplest method of search possible. It is as easy as this if you don’t have a specific location to which you want to move:

1. Spread the map on a table, close your eyes and throw a dart at the map. Where the dart lands, move there.

2. Ask your friends if they know any place around Atlanta. They probably have an obscure Aunt that lives in some suburb around Atlanta, move there. This method saves the hole in your coffee table from the dart.

3. Look on Google maps, or overhead satellite mapping and pick a spot.

4. Read about Atlanta and a great new bar, move around the block.

Okay, all kidding aside with the presence that real estate now has on the internet, it is no big deal to get the information that you need to make an educated decision.

When looking for properties in Atlanta, my clients tell me that they are searching based on the following criteria:

1. School scores – easily found on county websites
2. Demographics for people similar to them – found on census bureau
3. Shopping – found by googling
4. Easy access to where they work – found by mapquest
5. Airport location and access to other transportation – found by mapquest
6. Area that they can afford – found on
7. County that has low taxes – found on county websites looking at millage rates
8. Sometimes based on cultural events and surroundings – found on Atlanta Access and websites
9. Whether they want mature landscaping or cleared land – found on looking at pictures of homes and their surroundings
10. Whether they want a social neighborhood with pool and tennis – found on

Once you have investigated these areas, my real estate clients tell me that it becomes obvious to them where they need to be to put down roots in Atlanta. Hopefully this will work for you as well. As you go through the list of 10 things to search, I think that you will be able to also identify what is really most important to you on the list. You will then have your top three criteria to focus on.

Once you have decided where you want to be, let a real estate agent set up a search for you on their MLS (multiple listing service) so that you can be notified of new homes as they come on the market. This MLS “gateway” is a free service and is very valuable when it comes to getting an education and ultimately buying something. The system works based on your price range, location and criteria so as a house falls into your price range, you are sent an email. This is very effective and every buyer should be on this system. We do this for all of our buyers and it has really helped them by keeping them in the loop and thus they are able to make a quicker decision after they have received enough education. It always buyers to make their search more efficient, informed and focused.

To Find a Home or Condo in Georgia visit Duffy Realty of Atlanta

Real Estate For Sale – Atlanta, Georgia

How do you find real estate for sale in Atlanta? Due to the internet it is really quite easy now. Over the last 10 years the internet has allowed home buyers all over the world to see what is for sale and an intensive overview of what the house has to offer. Pictures, taxes, comparables, mortgage payoff and more can all be investigated when viewing a listing on both for sale by owner properties and the properties listed by real estate agents.

In the past, Real Estate Agents held the power to find the properties by networking with other agents. As a result the public believed that they had to go from company to company to see what the agents there had for sale. That was due to the fact that the MLS (multiple listing service) books that were printed bimonthly held all the information on houses actively being marketed. Now that power to control the flow of information agents once had is gone. Real Estate Agents are used now to facilitate the showings and to perform the contract duties relevant to the transaction. The public rarely relies on the agent today to find out what properties are available or to know what’s going on in the market.

The Multiple Listing Services now populate out to many websites, whether they be a real estate agent’s own site, a real estate company site or even moving and relocation sites. The MLS is now used as a lure to get buyers and sellers to these websites. And, the public shows that they like it. These sites continuously have more hits and longer views than almost any other sites. Even the buyers who are not buying for the next ten years are mesmerized by searching for properties and learning about the neighborhoods they have interest in and even their own neighbors.

So, if you want to know what is listed for sale in Atlanta, simply visit any site that has the MLS data feed on it. If you find that other companies listings are on the site, you are looking at everything on the MLS because the MLS says that if you post anyone besides yourself on your search, you must post all listings. If you are looking for a For Sale By Owner property, you may search any of the number of For Sale By Owner sites or even most newspapers now offers photos on each online listing.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the search is easy now! You have more real estate data at your fingertips than at any other time in history. Happy House Hunting!

How To Find A Rental Home

Finding a rental home has gotten easier over the years. Now with the multiple listing services adding a feature for rentals that immediately populates the information on the internet, you can look for a rental home 24/7. The MLS (multiple listing service) populates information by city, monthly rent, bedrooms, schools etc…

Here are some things that you should know:

1. You can search properties listed on the MLS anytime on most major websites.

2. Before you go to see them, call and verify that they are available. The downfall to the MLS posting of these properties is that the policing of this process turns out to be not as strict as when houses are listed for sale. Often times the agent fails to take the property off the MLS.

3. Speak to the neighbors and get a feel for how they feel about the rental house. If you get into a house as a renter that the neighbors despise, you need to know this to make the decision if you want to watch your p’s and q’s. At least before you sign the rental agreement, you can make that decision for yourself.

4. Rents are negotiable based on the market and the laws of supply and demand.

5. Gather your documents that would prove your identity, credit worthiness and employment history before you start the search process.

6. Know what your credit score is so that you aren’t shocked and surprised when you are asked about stuff on your credit.

7. Have your deposit and first and last’s months rent ready to pay. Landlords don’t want to hear your sob story and you will loose power to get the things that you want.

8. Have the Landlord be responsible for pest control.

9. Ask for the first option to buy.

Pre-planning is key to a commitment of this manner and you should easily be able to do your due diligence to live happily ever after for as long as you choose in any rental environment.

Contact Duffy Realty of Atlanta Today

List My Home In Metro Atlanta

Are you looking to list a home in Atlanta? So are many other people right now as you read this. Why? Because the Atlanta metro area is a vibrant place to live and people want to move around it and move to it, especially Atlanta. So what do you do now? How do you list your home for sale and most importantly get the results of getting it sold quickly and for the most amount of money?

Your Options

You can either list for sale by owner or list with an agent. Listing for sale by owner will give you the most rights as far as not paying a commission if an agent is not involved, and perhaps save you the most money in the long run. If you list with an agent, you will most likely get more exposure for your home because the internet embraces the feed into many sites from the multiple listing service that agents put your home in.

The Best of Both Worlds

Many people in Atlanta have discovered that listing their home with Duffy Realty IS the best of both worlds. With Duffy Realty, you are listed in 1000’s of websites that the MLS feeds. You are working with an expert who can give you advice and support AND you are a for sale by owner exposed in all of the for sale by owner venues. When an agent brings the buyer, you pay an agent commission BUT when they don’t you save the commission.

Duffy Realty charges a little upfront and a little at closing, thus you get to put a lot in your pocket versus what you would pay in an average listing commission. You are able to sell quicker because you have maximized your advertising by covering all the bases.

At Duffy Realty, you pay $500 to be listed until sold and .0034 of the sales price at closing. I know that sounds ridiculous but the question is not Why do we charge so little? The question is why do others charge so much? Why pay more money and get less advertising and results. Only a schmuck likes to pay more.

By the way, Duffy Realty sold over 231 houses in your city of Atlanta in the last 2 years. Will you be next?

Rhonda Duffy on CNN Headline News – Another Quick bit of Advice on how to Sell Your Home –