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Real estate data worth paying for

Perspective: MLS has bright idea with pay-per-view service

Real Estate Information Network, a multiple listings service in Hampton Roads, Va., has decided to charge consumers a nominal fee to access detailed information in the MLS's database of for-sale homes. There have been some complaints, but the new service is a great idea that's well worth a fair try. The ePass service creates a new revenue stream for the REIN and is intended to prompt more prospective home buyers to contact a Realtor earlier in their search. Both of those aims accomplish the very purpose for which any MLS exists, that is, to benefit the MLS's owners and member brokers. REIN's Web site displays basic bits of data about for-sale homes to entice home buyers and sellers to sign up for the service. The signup is quick and easy. The price, which is set at $3.95 per day or an even more attractive $4.95 per month, shouldn't be burdensome for anyone who has a serious interest in using the data for its intended purpose, that is, to research and purchase any of the homes listed f...