FSBOs do better than agent listings in Wisconsin town


A new study based on data in Madison, Wis., concludes that sellers in the city do not get a higher price for their homes when using an agent and the local multiple listing service. But with a relatively low FSBO market share, that could mean that either more sellers are willing to pay agent commissions regardless of the sale price or that homeowners aren’t aware of the FSBO Internet option.

In Madison, the average market share of FSBO listings during the economists’ study period was 20 percent of a total of about 12,000 properties. Of the properties that eventually sell (87 percent), 95 percent sell through the initial listing platform, while 5 percent switch from FSBO to MLS, and only 0.3 percent switch from MLS to FSBO, according to the study.

The authors note that the FSBO Web site they received data from launched in 1998 and that the share of FSBOs increased from 6 percent that year to more than 27 percent by 2004. The success rate of sale via FSBO also increased from 63.1 percent in 1998 to 71.2 percent in 2004, but the authors say there is no clear trend in the years between.

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