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Internet Doesn’t Replace Good Service

By: Huntsville Real Estate Expert Mike Manosky On September 22, 2006

The Internet’s role in Huntsville real estate is much more like health information Web site WebMD than Amazon or eBay, NAR President Thomas M. Stevens says in a letter to the editor published Sunday in The New York Times.

The Internet “empowers and informs the consumer — which is good for everyone — but it doesn’t replace the need for a doctor’s professional services,” Stevens writes.

The letter comes in response to the Sept. 3 article, “The Last Stand of the 6-Percenters?” by Damon Darlin of The New York Times. The article depicts the real estate industry as resistant to online innovation and to companies such as Seattle-based Redfin, a Web-based real estate brokerage.

“About three out of four buyers today use the Internet to begin their search for homes, and those using the Internet are more likely to work with a professional than those who do not,” Stevens points out in his letter.

The New York Times article also takes issue with real estate commissions, citing an economics professor who says traditional practitioners spend “very little time” brokering each deal and “most of their time” looking for new clients, which doesn’t benefit consumers.

“Most real estate agents do good work and earn their clients’ loyalty,” Stevens writes. “Some 85 percent of home buyers surveyed said they would use a real estate agent again or recommend their agent to another.”

The full text of Stevens’ letter is available at REALTOR.org.

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