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Avoiding Realtor commissions might seem like a good idea now that home prices are falling and many people owe more in mortgages than their homes are worth. Free sites like Craigslist.org certainly help that approach. Forsalebyowner.com was among the first sites to facilitate such sales online. It charges a fee of from $90 to $900 for advertising on its site. That’s a lot less than a 6% commission.
Data from the National Association of Realtors shows that fewer people are finding the homes they buy through agents. Last year 29% of all home buyers found their home on the Internet first versus 34% through their agent. Ten years ago those numbers were dramatically different. Half found their homes through an agent and only 2% through the Internet.
Those are the home buyers though. I’m sure the agents don’t mind that home buyers are doing some of their work for them. I’d like to see data on how many people try to sell their homes on their own first and then call an agent.
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.