FSBO’s on Realtor.com?

Nov 13, 2008  |  Michael Wurzer

ForSaleByOwner.com is promoting a new way for sellers to get their listings on Realtor.com with “[n]o need to be listed in your local MLS or work with local agents.”  Further, they are claiming this has something to do with the settlement of the VOW litigation between the NAR and DOJ.  (I suppose one could argue that some of the FTC and other litigation involving limited service listings is relevant here, but the claim above is regarding the VOW litigation settlement.)

I think this is just a gimmick, and really has nothing to do with the litigation or anything other than an attempt by ForSaleByOwner.com to make more sales.  Their web site says, “You will work with our partner – a broker affiliate – who will help you complete the paperwork.”  And Realtor.com’s FAQ (PDF) regarding “Showcase Listings” makes clear that only REALTORS are allowed to participate.  So, this is just another version of a limited service listing, not some revolution in policy regarding FSBO’s.

15 Responses to “FSBO’s on Realtor.com?”

  1. Matt Cohen says:

    The ‘third rail’ of FSBO and agent listing co-mingling is an interesting subject. Agents advertise alongside FSBOs in newspapers and on various online sites that they don’t control (i.e. Craigslist). In the world of car advertising (i.e. cars.com) one sees the same mix of professional and consumer listings. Is holding back the co-mingling of property listings a “Maginot Line” of sorts? I have heard strong feelings and valid opinions on both sides of this issue before.

  2. Matt, I think the key here is your phrase “sites they don’t control.” Right or wrong, agents who get upset about FSBO’s on R.com believe they should be able to control their branded site how they want.

  3. Matt Cohen says:

    You cued in on my key phrase Michael – I agree.

  4. Jay Thompson says:

    I’m still confused….

    If a “broker affiliate” has to submit the FSBO listing to R.com, and any contact from the R.com page goes to the seller, what’s in it for the “broker affiliate”? I find it difficult to believe a broker is going to submit listings to R.com for a FSBO purely out of the goodness of his/her heart.

    I’ve got no problem with FSBOs. If someone wants to sell their own home, they are more than free to do so. In fact, I hope to soon display some FSBOs on my own sites IDX. But a potential buyer will be routed to me, not the seller. Call me selfish, but selling homes is how I make a living.

    That R.com, the “Official Site of the NAR”, would allow some broker to “list” properties on R.com that provides for direct access to the seller seems to fly in the face of every NAR member. You know, those same members that write dues checks to them every year.

  5. […] Michael Wurzer opines on FBS blog about the claim that this came about as a result of the DOJ/NAR settlement. He makes very valid […]

  6. Jay, I think this is just a limited service listing. The broker takes some flat fee, puts the “Showcase Listing” up, and then says bye-bye to the seller.

  7. Limited service is OK. (We offer various levels of service at various pricing points.) But….and in huge letters, BUT……we don’t misrepresent anything to anyone…..not our sellers, not other agents, not the public, and definitely not in press releases or on a public forum. How does one get on Realtor.com without being on a local MLS? Another release I read from this source made this specific claim. I fully support a homeowner’s right to sell without representation. I have a problem with spin statements that lead to false conclusions.

  8. […] FBS Blog Conversations about the MLS industry, creating software, and employee ownership. « FSBO’s on Realtor.com? […]

  9. Oh man the blogosphere is really buzzing about this….

    Looks like NAR wants ForSaleByOwner.com to retract the statement.


    It’s going to be fun to watch out what happens!


  10. […] The analysis… Wurzer […]

  11. Walter Hayes says:

    The key to all this is to remember that while ForSaleByOwner.com says you can do all of this, it is NOT a FSBO when it goes into realtor.com. They have to sign a representation agreement with a broker affiliate that has agreed to work for a flat fee with ForSaleByOwner.com. It’s a listing just like any other limited service listing that shows up on realtor.com.

    ForSalebyOwner.com is just playing both sides of the field without trying to look like it to there customers.

  12. Lloyd Graves says:

    I don’t think this is as much about displaying FSBO listings on web sites that historically have banned them, as much as it is about deceiving consumers into thinking they are getting something they really aren’t.
    Specifically, home sellers are given to believe that every real estate agent and/or company provides the same services and that to sell their house all they really need to do is to get the listing on to the MLS.
    Our current housing market and the economic toilet bowl we find ourselves in today is having an impact on educating sellers what it really takes to sell a house but tactics being used by ForSaleByOwner.com illustrate there is only one reliable constant when it comes to making money: there will always be people driven more by GREED than by character.
    Lloyd Graves
    RealAlliance Consulting

  13. Ron Stephan says:

    How do these rumors get started anyway? This is nothing new….
    Limited Service Brokerages have been offering this as a service for many years This is nothing more than slick advertising trying to use language that makes it sound like a new window has opened for “for sale by owners”
    Well, if the seller has to list with a broker somewhere to get in an MLS in order to get placed on REALTOR.COM they are not FSBO’s are they….

  14. Ron, ForSaleByOwner.com did a good job of whipping up this controversy with their press release and with the text on their web site. They clearly wanted to poke R.com and REALTORS in the eye and were successful, if only for a few hours (though the full text remains on their web site even now).