FSBO Story in Wausau Distorts NAR Study

The Wausau Daily Herald did its readers a great disservice by running the StatePoint Media article, “Get more money when selling your home,” July 10. The one-sided article inaccurately cites and distorts findings of a National of Association of Realtors® study.

It is patently false that REALTOR.com, the NAR website, accepts property information from individual owners or from the ForSalebyOwner.com website. Only properties listed by a licensed real estate broker are displayed on REALTOR.com.

Quoting the 2009 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the article misleads readers about the effectiveness of unrepresented sellers selling their homes more quickly than they could with the help of a real estate professional. The article then fails to mention that half the homeowners who sold their homes on their own sold to someone they already knew-a neighbor, friend, or relative. That existing relationship significantly reduces the home’s time on market.

In addition, the NAR study found that, because homes sold without professional representation often aren’t exposed to the open market, “for-sale-by-owner” (FSBO) homes sold for a median of $172,000, while homeowners who used a real estate agent sold their home for a median of $215,000-25 percent more than the FSBO homes. Sellers can gain from the pricing expertise of Realtors®.

Real estate professionals like Realtors®, who are NAR members, bring value to home sellers by exposing homes to more buyers and saving owners time and money throughout the home selling process. That exposure is essential.

Most of today’s buyers search online-nine out of 10 recent buyers used the Internet in looking for a home-and unrepresented sellers have no access to major online marketing avenues such as REALTOR.com and other websites with large pools of listings to which buyers are attracted. The article misleads readers into thinking the For Sale By Owner website has a strong online presence, but the company is comparing its website to other sites for unrepresented sellers. These sites’ total listings are in the tens of thousands in contrast with more than 4 million homes showcased on REALTOR.com.

The article attempts to legitimize itself by citing “Studies from Northwestern and Stanford Universities,” but clouds credibility by failing to report the names of the studies or their authors.

During one of the most challenging housing markets in decades, when timing, pricing and market insights are extremely important, it’s very risky for sellers to forgo professional representation. Realtors® sell hundreds, if not thousands, of homes over the course of their careers, compared to the average person who may only move a handful of times during their lifetime. Smart sellers know that Realtors® are essential to get from “for sale” to “sold.”

%d bloggers like this: