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The risks of online home listings

Part 3: The MLS Internet revolution

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Millions of people are clicking on real estate URLs and searching millions of homes on the Internet. The number of Web sites offering direct access to the MLS has proliferated nearly as fast as the number of people searching the Web for houses. The MLS genie is out of the bottle and there is no turning back. This four-part series looks at how the event will forever change the real estate industry. (See Part 1: Listings on the Web: From radical idea to ubiquity and Part 2: Online listings attract horde of innovators.) In early 2003, real estate brokers who advertised their home listings in The Real Estate Book print publication noticed that those listings were appearing on the Web site and that the broker's name oftentimes had been stripped from the data. That misuse of listings data is one of the risks realty brokers cite in having MLS information online. The MLS has been freed from the shelves of real estate offices and there's no turning back. The event has crea...