Hot-button issues and debates abound in the world of real estate.

Are agent rankings fair? Who really “owns” listing data? What are the limits and potential drawbacks of real estate “transparency”? What should be the role of the National Association of Realtors? Do subprime loans deserve a place in mortgage finance?

The questions are endless.

Some of them can provoke strong, even emotional reactions. And all too often, those reactions can calcify into hardened beliefs that are inimical to constructive dialogue.

To guard against that, Inman News believes that real estate stakeholders should periodically revisit their beliefs and challenge the assumptions underpinning them.

So, we’ve decided to launch a new series. “Real Debate” will present different viewpoints from Inman News readers on salient — and sometimes polarizing — topics in the real estate industry.

Every week or so we’ll post a question across our social media networks that strikes at the heart of an issue affecting the business. Based on responses, we’ll invite four commenters to expand their musings into larger pieces. Then, we’ll publish them as a package on

The goal for each Real Debate is to serve up perspectives representing all sides of a debate, hopefully setting the stage for some fruitful discussions that can help readers both test and refine their opinions.

We hope you’ll participate in this experiment with us. Please visit our Facebook page to respond to our first question: Can you run a successful real estate company without Zillow, Trulia or

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