Start a FSBO
You may have read the New York Times article about the success of FSBOMadison.com, a small business that lists "for sale by owner" properties on its website in Madison, Wisconsin. In 2005, FSBOMadison listed about 2,000 homes and earned $300,000 in revenue. Other local FSBO websites are also doing well, like FSBOBend and FSBOLansing.
Their success is undoubtedly due to growing public frustration with real estate agents. As Douglas Gantenbein argues in this 2004 Slate article, it's surprising that it still costs so much to sell a house through an agent. The internet has shrunk the fees of other information brokers--like travel agents, stockbrokers, and auctioneers. We believe it's only a matter of time before real estate agents come under siege as well. When that happens, we believe that there will be a unique opportunity for new FSBO businesses to emerge and fill the void.
Running a FSBO business isn't for everyone. To succeed, you need to have enough money not only to launch the business but also to weather a year or more of losses or low profits until it becomes established.
If you're interested in launching a local FSBO business, we can help. We can set you up with a choice domain name, a feature-rich website that is integrated with a network of FSBO websites, and a license to use our advertising and sign templates. In February, 2010, we also plan to offer a workshop in Northern California to help new FSBO website business operators learn how to set up and run successful businesses.