OpinionIndustry News

Real estate transparency is overdue

Perspective: Buyers, sellers deserve chance to shop for settlement services

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One of the most dysfunctional aspects of the typical real estate transaction is the near inability of home buyers and sellers to comparison shop for settlement services. A new business model that creates some sort of transparency has been introduced and is welcome, though whether this particular model is exactly the right tool for this important job remains to be seen. Comparison shopping is severely limited today because buyers and sellers have little or no easy and reasonable access to information about settlement-related products and services. This dearth of information encompasses the nature of these products and services, the differences (if any) among similar products and services offered by various companies, the level of customer satisfaction with these products and services, and lastly, but not insignificantly, the prices of these products and services. In lieu of comparison shopping, buyers and sellers typically select settlement services without much thought and typicall...