The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is having its mid-year convention in Washington this week, and the Realtors should have quite a lot to talk about. The Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department issued a joint report last week taking a critical look at the state of competition in the real estate business. I’m quoted several times in the report talking about the impact of the Internet.
And I appeared last night in a “60 Minutes” story looking at the growth of online discount brokers and NAR’s continuing attempts to crush Internet competition. I talked about my experience as a founder of eRealty, one of the first online discount brokerages targeted by NAR’s new rules. These “competition prevention” rules are still the subject of an anti-trust lawsuit filed against the NAR by the Justice Department.
It didn’t make the broadcast, but in my actual interview with Leslie Stahl, I warned Realtors to allow more innovation and price competition in their own ranks or risk losing their lucrative business to increasing competition from non-Realtors who don’t have to follow NAR rules. That’s a message that all Realtors need to hear, and I’d deliver the message personally if I thought it was safe for me to crash their convention.