ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Jan. 20, 2015 – David Howell of McEnearney Associates says that many of today's real estate professionals are worried about control: of the search process; of the creation, compilation and dissemination of data; and most of all, of the customer.

Today, more homebuyers are identifying the house they eventually buy on the Internet. With regard to "losing the customer," Howell insists that agents cannot lose something they never had.

"We have never controlled the search process for real estate, we've never controlled the data and we certainly have never controlled the customer," he states. "And we're kidding ourselves if we think we did, could or should truly control any of those things."

The real focus, Howell suggests, should be on providing value to the transaction; and in recognizing what the industry does have, clearly that is accurate data, according to Howell.

"On a Friday afternoon in November using zip codes where we have offices, we compared the number of all agent-listed, fully available listings in the multiple-listing service (MLS) with those on our website and two popular national sites," Howell says. "Out of nearly 1,000 listings, (our website was) off by one."

By comparison, according to Howell, one of the national sites showed nearly 28 percent too many properties and the other national site showed 30 percent too few.

"The first national site simply doesn't update its data on a timely basis," Howell says, "and the other one has the same problem compounded by the fact that lots of sellers don't want their homes on a site with inaccurate estimates of the market value."

Source: Washington Post (12/30/14) Howell, David

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