Millions of people are clicking on real estate URLs and searching millions of homes on the Internet. The number of Web sites offering direct access to the MLS has proliferated nearly as fast as the number of people searching the Web for houses. The MLS genie is out of the bottle and there is no turning back. The challenge for the industry is to figure out the ultimate consequences of this revolutionary phenomenon, which confronts a business that has stayed much the same for decades. This four-part series looks at how the event will forever change how real estate is bought and sold, what the innovators are doing to maximize opportunity in having listings access online, and why not everyone is happy about it. (See Part 2: Online listings attract horde of innovators.) The online home listings movement started out small and simple, as many revolutions do. Technologist Richard Janssen in the early 1990s began to share home listings data with the public through kiosks that were set up at L...
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