Internet shifts focus from paperwork to people

A decade of homes on the Web

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Editor's note: Ten years ago, the first home listings were put on the Internet. In this special Inman News series, our editorial team explores the implications of this decade of online experimenting, investing and haggling. Ah, the good ol' days. Credit reports that took two weeks to get. Out-of-date printed interest rates. All consumer interaction had to be done in person or on the telephone because e-mail didn't exist yet. Seem like a distant memory? In fact, it was only 10 years ago that the Internet appeared on the scene and the housing sector began taking notice. Since then, however, the Internet has dramatically changed the mortgage industry. Has the Web revolutionized your business? Take a survey. "The old days when you'd schedule an appointment with a client and go meet them and bring an application and start the process was way too slow," said Mark Prather, president of Mark 1 Mortgage in Southern California. "Now, you need to get rolling right now. If you can't get approval...