Today’s technology can be a real asset in your search for a new home, however in my experience it seems that many people are afraid that if they leave any information on a realtor’s website, that the information will be used inappropriately. While it is understandable that you might be resistant to leaving your contact information, at the same time, you may be missing out on some truly valuable resources.
One of the resources offered free of charge on many realtor's websites that can be a very powerful asset in your search for a new home is the Virtual Office. You will see it listed on some websites as a VOW, Personalized MLS® Home Search, or Virtual Back Office. Many people who log into the website will browse the listings but hesitate to sign onto the service because it requires them to leave an email address, however it is necessary in order for your system to be able to provide you information that you request of it.
In a nutshell, the realtor has paid for a specialized tool to be embedded into their website that allows you to access all the public information that is available on the MLS® without any restriction, and that is just the beginning.
How Does Your Back Office Work?
When people begin researching to purchase a home, they immediately turn to the MLS®. What your realtor offers you by allowing you to use their web server as a registered user, is the ability to search for and save properties and property details to a special repository that is dedicated and set aside for your personal use only.
Secondly, you can trigger the system to send you confidential emails with any new listings that come on the market the moment they are listed on the MLS®. For example, let’s say you are searching for a home in Chestermere in a price range between $500,000 and $650,000. You require 3 bedrooms and a finished basement. From your personal virtual office, you can set this criteria and the system will automatically search for and send you a private email with any homes that come up on the MLS® system the moment they are listed. If you are looking for Real Estate updates, news or promotions from this realtor, most virtual offices will provide you an option to opt-in for that information as well. The dream of the system is that you can opt-out and unsubscribe from any of the services at any time. They are fully automated services that you are in full control of.
That Scary Sign Up!
Your Virtual Back office is designed to empower you in your search for a new home. You will find a number of questions that you are asked when you first set up, and this is where most people hesitate. It is understandable that you may not want the realtor to know a lot of information about you, however once you are registered in the system, should you decide to contact the realtor regarding homes you would like to see, or you just have questions about a specific home, or the market in general, the information that you have provided in your sign up process helps the realtor to understand where you are it in the process. It also enables the system to send you the updates that you customize for yourself once you are logged in.
There is no limit to the number of homes you can save into your system, and it is the ideal venue for you to do side by side comparisons of homes that might be suitable for your family. In the end, that is the real goal of you and your realtor, not just to find a home, but to find the right home for you, that special place you love coming home to, and taking your time and doing thorough research can assist you in attaining that goal.
One of the great aspects of the virtual office is that as you save a number of homes to your personal file folders, should you decide that you wish to have a personal tour of the homes you have selected, you can contact your realtor and advise them that you would like to set some appointments to view the homes in your virtual office. The realtor can then open up the folder from their side, access the listings and make the appropriate appointments to view if the homes are still actively listed.
Learning how to access and properly use your virtual office truly empowers you as a new home buyer and if used properly, keeps you abreast of the market as it changes. It is truly a valuable tool free to use and made possible by most realtor who are current in their use of technology.
Absolutely Free To Use
To find where to sign in and set up your own personal Real Estate office that you can use while researching for a new home, look for links on your favourite realtor's site that offer free services, or free MLS® services where you can sign in. Look for the SIGNUP link that you can find on most realtor websites.
Author: Natasha Eden