Editor's note: This special four-part series will explore who controls the average real estate transaction, who or what is challenging and changing that central role and how it impacts the industry and consumers. (See Part 2: Battle is on for real estate consumer, Part 3: Web pushes realty agents out of spotlight and Part 4: Lenders woo and sidestep real estate agents for customers.) You give them your home phone number, your cell number and home address. You invite them into your living room and show them your dirty closets. You share your personal financial information with them, discuss your divorce with them and they know what church you attend. You ride around in their car and talk about your job, your dreams and aspirations. You don't do this with trusted brands like Microsoft, Federal Express or Home Depot. But you do so with your local Realtor. As consumers, we give our local real estate agents immense power over our decisions. And that explains why agents control the aver...
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