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Realtors will argue that only a professional can get you a good price and guide you through the intricacies of closing. But selling your house without an agent is getting more and more convenient, thanks to increasingly sophisticated Web tools.
One new advertising-supported site called emongoo.com looks vaguely like google.com and offers free listings by owners. You can post as many as 20 photos of your house for free. You also get a free yard sign. Hand-holding costs extra: For $626 you get unlimited telephone consultations on pricing, selling, interior decorating, doing open houses, etc. That’s not cheap unless you compare it to the thousands of dollars you’d be paying a brokerage firm.
emongoo.com is still light on listings, so it’s not yet much of a magnet for potential buyers. Then there’s the name—I keep picturing a mongoose. But my guess is that with real estate markets softening, emongoo.com and other FSBO sites are poised to pick up business from sellers who simply can’t stand to pay what full-service agents are asking.
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.