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US Government Weighs in on Issues Facing Real Estate

Written by Posted On Wednesday, 10 October 2018 06:00

The Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice held a joint public workshop in Washington, DC on June 5, 2018, to explore competition issues in the residential real estate brokerage industry.

Buying or selling a home is one of the biggest financial transactions most consumers make in their lives, and the residential real estate brokerage industry has seen a significant change in recent years, including the emergence of new business models. The workshop focused on developments since the publication of the FTC and DOJ’s Report on Competition in the Real Estate Brokerage Industry in 2007.

Topics discussed at the workshop included:

Existing and emerging consumer-facing platforms for accessing listings information
Availability of listings information to consumers
Regulatory and competitive hurdles facing listings platforms
Effect of listings platforms on consumers’ use of real estate services
Changes in traditional real estate broker, brokerage, and Multiple Listing Service (MLS) practices
Emergence and growth of non-traditional fee and service models
Obstacles and catalysts to innovation in real estate fee structures and service models
Competitive impact of non-traditional real estate fee and service models
Effect of antitrust enforcement actions and consent decrees on competition in the residential real estate industry
State licensing regimes relating to residential real estate transactions

A Review of the Issues

To aid our analysis of these issues, the staff of the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice seek public comment from interested parties. In particular, we invite comments on the following questions:

How has residential real estate brokerage competition evolved over the last ten years? Has consumer demand for particular brokerage services or models changed with increasing reliance on internet-enabled technologies? How do brokers compete today with respect to fees, services, reputation for quality, and other variables?

How have internet-enabled technologies, including consumer-facing platforms for accessing listings information, changed the residential real estate brokerage industry? What are the benefits and drawbacks of these platforms for consumers?

What are the current barriers to competition in residential real estate brokerage markets?

What have been the effects of past regulatory and antitrust enforcement actions on residential real estate brokerage markets? What actions can legislatures, regulators, and other government bodies take to maintain future competition in this industry?

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Saul Klein

In 1948, doctors told my father that his life aboard submarines on war patrol in the South Pacific and the depth charging he experienced had rendered him sterile. Although controversial and not widely applied, he was treated with an Ayurvedic therapy called “shivambu.” If you are unfamiliar with this term, I recommend you Google it because against all odds, I came to exist.

That was a loony segue into my life but is a fitting precursor to a career that would be just as incredible.

Like my father, I joined the Navy. However, due to a medical inconvenience, I was honorably discharged after 6 years of commissioned service, all on Sea Duty. This was an opportune misfortune that led me down the path to a successful career in real estate. Both my father and grandfather flirted in real estate brokering and flipping part-time, and I followed suit but making a lifelong career out of it.

With over 40 years in real estate, it is impossible to talk about my experiences in this small window. But I can proudly say that I am well-recognized as an industry pioneer, especially in real estate syndication and education, and one of the few luminaries that paved the way for real estate’s transition to the online world.

Some highlights of my life’s work:
● Co-created ePRO, technology certification course that certified 70,000 students
● Created the first online communities for real estate professionals to network, learn, and sell
● Created "Opt Out" Listing Syndication, aggregating over 1.4 Million Listings in 18 months
● Built the #2 National Listing Syndication Service, Point2 Technologies, sold to Yardi in 2010
● Founder of the California Association of Buyer’s Agents
● Member of the first Team, pre-IPO, responsible for obtaining first 500,000 listings
● Helped Zillow and Trulia build up their MLS data inventory

Today I continue to lead efforts that bring new technologies to the real estate industry. Feel free to reach out and learn more.

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