Editor's note: Real estate commissions once again are at the center of debate after a recent "60 Minutes" segment on online discounters and a federal report on industry competition. In this three-part series, Inman News looks at recent research on commissions, the mystery around what agents and brokers can and cannot legally discuss, and how the new discount entrants are collaborating to add pressure to price. (Read Part 2, "'Mum' sometimes the word with commissions" and Part 3, "Discount brokerages band together.") Real estate commissions once again are at the center of debate. A recent "60 Minutes" television segment on commissions and a report issued jointly by the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission have prompted dialogue around the questions, "Are real estate commissions too high?" and "Does the industry create artificial barriers to lowering them?" While some forms of discounted real estate services have been around for decades, the Internet has enabled some brokerage...
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