The internet has allowed people to take control over their real estate purchases. Previously, a seller had to contract with a realtor to sell their home and pay them thousands of dollars (generally 3% of the selling price). But the internet offers the opportunity for exposure without paying a real estate agent to get an MLS listing. For $200 (although we are giving away free listings right now), a FSBO seller can list for 6 months and have the exposure necessary to sell their house.
There are several national FSBO chains that generally don't appear to have been very successful. That's no surprise -- you don't want to list with a national website when you want visitors targeted to your area. Several local, targeted sites like FSBOMadison.com in Wisconsin have been a huge success.
Cutting out the real estate agent middleman also lets buyers and sellers increase their control over the process. In the biz blog world, Michele Miller has written about how frustrating it can be to search for real estate:
With the mantra, "Good things come to those who wait," my husband and I spent three years searching for a new house in Arizona. We put thousands of miles on the car and went through realtors like numbers at a New York deli counter. Armed with the real estate section of the local paper, each and every weekend was spent on the hunt for the "Open House" signs that matched the ads we'd circled in red ink.
That's what I love about this. Because of technology, people don't have to depend on an agent anymore, they can do it themselves and save money. FSBO isn't for everyone; some people don't have the time. But for sellers and buyers who want to save money and not surrender control, we're a good alternative.
We've got a fancy FSBO Austin TX yard sign too.