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Brokers emerge in online lead scene

Part 2: Real estate digs deeper to harvest Internet leads

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Editor's note: With more consumers starting their home search on the Internet, online lead generation and management has morphed into a sophisticated business as agents, brokers and real estate companies scramble to adopt the new channel. This three-part series examines the changing nature of online lead generation as local Internet search becomes more relevant, more brokers get involved in lead systems, and more technologies emerge. (See Part 1: Search engines rev up for local realty results and Part 3: Lead management technology grows up.) The lease on their rented house just outside Washington, D.C., was set to expire in about four weeks. Karla Hicks and boyfriend Rob Brown knew they had to make a decision and make it quickly – renew their lease or buy a house. Twenty-eight-year-old Hicks went online to browse houses and eventually found a listing on Weichert, Realtors' site one weekend afternoon. She filled out an online form to get more information and an agent called ...