and other websites catering to for-sale-by-owner deals say they are similar to TurboTax in that they help consumers navigate a complicated process. Fizber — which had more than 12,000 listings nationwide as of mid-October — allows sellers to list for free, and the listings are automatically posted on Zillow, Trulia,, Yahoo Real Estate, and other free sites. Additionally, Fizber helps sellers price their homes and provides free marketing tools for uploading photos and creating fliers, brochures, and video tours. Sellers can offer a commission to buyers’ agents; pay for additional help with contracts or other legal forms, yard sales, MLS listings, and escrow and title services; and even access discount brokers if they end up wanting an agent. “Whatever route you take to sell your home, we have things that will help you save,” says Fizber President Zack Zackrison. The National Association of Realtors says the percentage of sellers without agents fell to 9 percent in 2013 from 20 percent in 1987. California Association of Realtors economist Leslie Appleton-Young attributes the decline in FSBOs to the increased complexity of real estate transactions, the extra assurance and liability protection that agents provide, and the need for a professional to help sellers make sense of the wealth of information available online. Critics of FSBOs point out that do-it-yourself sellers generally do not have the necessary negotiating and marketing skills or the knowledge to navigate the contract and escrow process; meanwhile, they often are emotionally attached to the property and unable to remain objective. Moreover, buyers’ agents often do not show FSBOs to their clients due to concerns about commissions and dealing with amateurs. | Read More