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After Foxtons, a ‘real’ real estate story

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The news of discount brokerage company Foxtons' demise comes at a time when many in the real estate industry are dealing with the market transition. My phone rang off the hook within two minutes of the "group e-mail" saying the company had terminated 90 percent of its work force. I received calls from competing brokers who for years wished for this day and also from agents who chanted that age-old phrase, "See, you get what you paid for." I hung up each call feeling bad for these brokers and agents and worse for their customers. The real story of Foxtons is much greater than a discount broker going out of business. It's larger than the joy traditional competitors feel when one of the discounters has gone under. The real story is that Foxtons represents the real estate community's psychology. The situation says much more about the competition than it does of the company itself. I was a former senior founding executive with YHD and Foxtons before leaving in 2001, and I thi...