Then and Now
Ten years ago, Thailand real estate search would begin at the local real estate agent’s office or only in the city. In the agency office, he spent an afternoon browsing the pages of the Multi-Listing Services (MLS) event property list. After selecting the property you are interested in, you will spend weeks browsing each property until you find the right property. Finding market data that allows you to estimate the asking price will take more time and drive more, and you may not be able to find all the information you need to be satisfied with the right information and market value.
Today, most property searches are based on the ability to quickly search for keywords in Google from the Internet, which can result in thousands of results. If you find a property of interest on the Thailand real estate website, you can usually view the photos online and even make virtual tours. You can then visit other websites, such as local county councilors, to find out the value of the property, to know what the current landlord is paying for the property, to check the property tax, and to get the data store within walking distance, all without leaving your house!
Although Internet resources are practical and useful, proper use of them can be a challenge due to the sheer volume of information and the difficulty of verifying its accuracy. At the time of this writing, the search for “Denver Real Estate” has produced 2,670,000 websites. Even a specific search for a Thailand real estate area can easily return thousands of websites. With so many online resources, how can investors use them effectively without getting incomplete or erroneous information? Believe it or not, understanding how the offline Thailand real estate industry works helps understand online information and real estate strategies.
The Business of Real Estate
Real estate is usually bought and sold by licensed real estate agents or directly by the owners. The vast majority are bought and sold by real estate agents. (We use “agents” and “brokers” to refer to the same professional.) This is because of their knowledge and experience in real estate, and at least in history, they have exclusive access to the property database for sale. Accessing this property list database provides the most efficient way to search for properties.
Real Estate Agents
Despite the large amount of real estate information on the Internet, most properties are sold directly through real estate agents listed on the local MLS or CIE list. However, these property lists are no longer kept locally. Due to its nature, the Internet is a global marketplace, and local MLS and CIE lists are usually published on many websites. For example, many people go to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS website at http://www.realtor.com and on the local real estate agent’s website. In addition, the list can be published on the website of the local newspaper. In essence, the Internet is another form of marketing offered by current real estate agents, but its scope is much broader than previous print ads.
In addition to online marketing, listed agents can also help sellers set prices, keep homes open, let sellers know about interested buyers and offers, negotiate contracts and help close. When an agent provides all of these services, it is called a full service list protocol. While full service listing agreements are the most common type of listing agreement, they are no longer the only option.
Technological changes behind the real estate business have led many agents to change the way they do business. For the most part, this is due to the fact that most consumers now have instant access to property listings and other real estate information. In addition, the Internet and other technologies have automated most of the marketing and initial search for real estate. For example, consumers can view properties online and query by email. Brokers can use automated procedures to send lists to consumers who meet their ownership criteria. As a result, some agents now limit the services they offer and change their rates accordingly. The agent can propose to promote the property in the MLS, but only provides limited additional services. In the future, some real estate agents may provide services in a more singular way.