"The days when real estate agents were the gatekeepers for the housing market have gone the way of typewriters and printed MLS books. The key to coping in today's online housing market is to provide as much information as possible and let the consumer decide."(Kudos to the Sacramento Land(ing) blog for this quote.)
-Steve Brown, Dallas Morning News
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A Chicago district court cleared the way Tuesday for the Department of Justice (DoJ) to proceed with its antitrust lawsuit against the National Association of Realtors (NAR).I can't help but wonder if realtors and real estate agents as a whole (as an industry) had acted with greater integrity, had not engaged in fear mongering (e.g., "buy now or forever be priced out", etc.), had not promoted false expectations and "mythology" (e.g., "real estate always goes up", "now is a great time to buy" (when prices are racing upwards), "now is a great time to buy" (when prices are falling), "we here in [insert your favorite locale] are immune", etc.), had not effectively privatized information, had committed to making more honest public statements regarding the state of the market, and if the house buying process fairly emphasized the buyer's interests as much as the seller's interests, that public perception of their industry would not have become so dour. Now they face extinction. Like dinosaurs, they had their chance, they had their moment in time when they could prove their utility; but alas, in the end, as an industry, they could not adapt their behavior and move beyond their self-interest.
The DoJ contends the NAR is engaging in anti-competitive behavior against online home brokers.
According to the DoJ, the NAR is concerned online sites might lead to lower commissions for real estate brokers. In 2003, NAR passed rules allowing traditional brick-and-mortar brokers to block their home listings to brokers operating Virtual Office Web sites (VOWs).
The DoJ claims online brokers can deliver brokerage services more efficiently, resulting in better services and lower prices.