Real estate brokers and salespeople have long touted themselves and their services as the crucial "center" of the real estate transaction. But that position may be in jeopardy now that mortgage lenders and brokers have gained ground in their quest to capture the point of purchase into the transaction. The point of purchase is crucial because it determines who first obtains the buyer's or seller's loyalty and business. When the realty agent controls the point of purchase, he or she can refer the buyer or seller to a mortgage lender or broker. But when the mortgage lender or broker controls the point of purchase, it is that person who can refer the buyer or seller to a realty agent. Take Bank of America, which has long sought to display for-sale home listings on its own Web site. The bank'...
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