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Liability costs, technology, discounted commissions

Part 2: Real estate brokers under siege

Editor's note: Real estate brokers are feeling pressure on profits from all sides. Business and insurance costs are up, top-producers want higher commission splits and new technology, and new competition in the brokerage space is lowering the average commission on a home sale. In this three-part series, we dive into the economics of real estate brokerage, find out what brokers are thinking and what they're doing to protect their stake. (See Part 1: Profit margins up for brokers; worries remain and Part 3: Taking on the real estate enemies.) Technology is expensive. There is software, hardware and the IT team to maintain it all. Also, the costs of the Internet are rising: the cost of getting traffic, leads and exposure on the Web. "These are all expenses that I didn't have 10 years ago and that have become a major part of our expenses now," said Paul Giannantonio, broker/owner of ERA American Dream, Realtors in Hillsborough, N.J. Despite a 10-year housing market run, real estate ...