Real estate rumble resolved

Real estate rumble resolved
In June 2006, Angie’s List Magazine published a cover story about minimum-service laws, which states had recently enacted or were considering. The laws required real estate agents to offer a certain level of service, such as presenting and receiving offers, and assisting in the closing process — whether the seller wanted the help or not.

But experts say the combination of hard economic times, advancing technology and legal changes have made minimum-service laws largely moot.

Last year, the Department of Justice and National Association of Realtors settled a long-running lawsuit in which the DOJ alleged NAR policies inhibited competition by allowing Multiple Listing Services to block access or listings by nontraditional brokers, many of whom adopted minimum-service models.

While NAR admitted no wrongdoing and paid no fine, it guaranteed online brokers wouldn’t be treated any differently than traditional brokers. Industry watchers say that while the lawsuit didn’t directly address the minimum-service laws, it sent a message that the federal government would protect competition.

Steve Murray, a real estate consultant and editor of REAL Trends, says his nontraditional clients have modified their practices in minimum-service states without much trouble.

“They’re living with the requirements, and it doesn’t affect them much,” Murray says. “It’s like somebody flipped a switch and traditional brokers no longer live in fear of getting sideswiped by the other models.”

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Home buyers, sellers empowered by online information

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Photo by Tyler Mallory -  Kimberly and Joe Cohen used the Internet to research a new house for themselves and their children, Michael (left) and Zach.
Photo by Tyler Mallory - Kimberly and Joe Cohen used the Internet to research a new house for themselves and their children, Michael (left) and Zach.

Angie's List Magazine reports on how increasing amounts of real estate information online is changing the way people buy and sell homes.

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RICK

Subject:

NAR should have been fined for restraint of trade. The state legislatures should be ashamed to let NAR dictate the rules of the industry when they are supposed to protect the public. I am a former broker in VT and real estate instructor. thanks

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