Relocating Real Estate to the Net

The process of buying a house could be so much simpler if it only would move to the Internet.
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Every aspect of buying a house belongs on the Net. I ought to know. I'm buying one, and all I can say is, "Good grief." This process was made for the Net, and it is obvious that every middleman wants progress stopped.

And I thought newspapers were antediluvian!

Take yesterday. I am out shopping for quotes for property and casualty insurance. Ridiculous process. Time-consuming. I use the Net. I make calls. I try to find the best policy. It takes up an hour of my time and two hours of my wife's time.

How about if I could go to

Priceline

(PCLN)

and just put up a picture of my house with some specs and the price I am willing to pay and let the insurance companies bid on me? Let them do the work!

Same with life insurance. Hey, come get me, married and 44 with two kids, good health. No smoking. No drugs. How much you want to pay?

Or title insurance. Here's the block of land -- you bid.

If the Net is to win and be worth some of what we are paying for all of its acolytes, it must continually shift the balance of power to the user and away from the suppliers and their marked-up minions.

So much product right now in this country is sold by people for others at a high price, when the reality is the consumer is driven simply by high quality at a low price.

Of course, there are turf wars ahead that will make the battle inside

Merrill Lynch

(MER)

between high-priced brokers and low-priced Web offerings just seem like minor skirmishes.

For instance, let's take home-buying. The most important issue in buying a home is getting a mortgage. Right now it is a fractured and ridiculous process. All you really want to do is be able to do is go to a home page and put up a picture of your house, the directions to it and a price you are willing to pay. Then banks and insurance and title companies should bid on it.

You take the lowest bids, and you close on it. Time missed from work: none. Costs associated: minimal to the consumer. You miss nothing; they work for you. And forget about that 6% commish and all of those other fees. You set the price.

Right now, you can expect to miss a lot of work or family time in the process and feel completely ripped off to boot.

If the Net is to realize its potential, someone has to solve this stuff now. Right now it is crying out for Web efficiency. Who will answer the call? And don't tell me you have answered it. I have been to your site. You haven't. Not yet.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund had no positions in any stocks mentioned. His fund often buys and sells securities that are the subject of his columns, both before and after the columns are published, and the positions that his fund takes may change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Cramer's writings provide insights into the dynamics of money management and are not a solicitation for transactions. While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to comment on his column at

letters@thestreet.com.