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Counting the real estate discounters

Panelists discuss the rise in cut-rate business models

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SAN FRANCISCO–Discount and reduced-service real estate firms have met resistance from traditional brokerages on occasion, but consumers will ultimately decide whether the old and new models can coexist, said panelists who spoke Thursday at Inman News' Real Estate Connect 2004 conference. Lyle Martin, co-founder of Assist-2-Sell discount firm and a member of the "Don't discount the discounters" panel presentation, said that discounters have been edging in toward the industry's mainstream. The industry has slowly accepted discounters as a fixture in the real estate landscape, Martin said. And as Assist-2-Sell grew, it was clear that "discount was no longer a dirty word – discount was becoming popular," he added. "The consumer is embracing our model. The real estate community is reluctantly embracing our model." Martin said that the industry is increasingly competitive, and the bottom line is thinning for many agents, necessitating changes in the overall market. L...