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Real estate, the Web and the great divide

Guest perspective: Web will restore power and profitability to brokerages

There is an incompatibility, a mismatch between the Web and the traditional real estate and mortgage business today. Simply put, Internet leads are junk. They convert in the low single digits, with just 1, 2 or 3 percent of the leads turning into transactions. But the real estate sector is built for leads that convert in the double digits -- in the teens. In "first life," as one might call the real world, eight inbound calls to a real estate office on a Saturday morning might turn into one deal. In "second life" (the Web) it may take 30 Web leads to generate one home transaction. Ask any Realtor about leads from HomeGain, HouseValues or LendingTree. Ask any mortgage lender about leads from LowerMyBills, LendingTree and others. They'll say they're crummy Internet leads burn out Realtors and lenders because none of them have the resources, systems or the patience to incubate 30 or 40 leads to get one mortgage or one home sale. That should be no surprise. It takes 90 seconds for consum...

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