The Commission Squeeze

The Internet can make it cheaper to buy a house, but not everyone is putting out the welcome mat

When Bryan Geston set out to buy a home, the first thing he did was log on to where he described what kind of house and mortgage he wanted. A day later, several real estate agents and lenders contacted him. Then, in a single afternoon, he viewed more than a dozen listings online and visited two places in person. That night he made an offer. The process was painless, says Getson, 23, who moved into his Centreville, Va., home just five weeks after starting his search. "As a bonus," he adds, "I'm getting a Home Depot gift card...

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