Competition in the Real Estate Business
Real estate professionals are changing the way they do business: offering potential buyers the chance to view detailed property listings online, using websites to gather leads on potential customers, and using the Internet to match buyers and sellers. Some are changing the “menu” of services they're offering. More and more, consumers can choose among real estate professionals who do business on a “fee per service” basis and others who provide the full complement of services. Because buying a home is the single most important purchase many consumers will make, the Federal Trade Commission has enforced antitrust rules in the real estate business to make sure that increased competition continues to lead to more choices, better prices and stepped-up services for buyers and sellers. For instance, the Commission challenged a number of restrictive rules adopted by Multiple Listing Services (MLS) to keep low-cost and discount brokers off MLS listings and popular websites listing homes for sale.