Monday, January 23, 2006

Realtors face new challenges

There was an informative piece in the January 22, 2006 Chicago Tribune Real Estate section regarding the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and their continuing efforts to insulate themselves from competition and their lobbying efforts in Washington.

Of course late in 2005 the Justice Department brought suit against NAR alleging discrimination against Internet-based brokers. Many consumer groups are also fighting NAR on a state by state basis.

To me the largest threat to NAR's collusion are Web-based companies and discount brokerage firms. As both a real estate lawyer and regular real estate consumer I have been using HelpUSell, Assist2Sell, ZipRealty, and RealEstate.com over recent years. When I represent clients in real estate transactions I strongly emphasize my involvement before the listing agreement is signed. The client/realtor relationship is the biggest money-saving potential in the transaction. If there's a listing agreement in place by the time I get involved, I can't be as effective in saving client's money.

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