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From a press release by today announced that it has become the nation’s first “by owner” real estate website to enable home sellers to advertise their home on without appearing on a local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This new direct access to follows the May 2008 settlement between the U.S. Department of Justice and the National Association of Realtors.

“The DOJ-NAR settlement benefited consumers by giving them access to without the expensive cost of a commission fee,” said Greg Healy, Vice President of Operations at “We’re proud to be the first to offer this new consumer-friendly access to In today’s challenging housing market, sellers need cost-saving ways to sell their homes.”

“Our typical home seller saves nearly $13,000 in commission and this new access to will help even more people sell their home without using the services of a real estate agent,” added Healy. is a popular real estate website that attracts nearly five million monthly visits. The new Showcase Listing service from will allow sellers to have their homes marketed on, and interested buyers will be able to directly contact these sellers.

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(my emphasis in bold italics)

Someone explain it to me like I’m 3 years old

Clearly I’m missing something. is the “Official Site of the National Association of Realtors”. And now said official site is allowing folks to do an end-around on Realtors.

I’ve read and re-read the DOJ / NAR settlement Mr. Healy references in his press release as the reason why this is being done. I’m no attorney, obviously, but I completely missed this ramification of said settlement. Assuming it’s true the the DOJ has forced this upon us, I am only left with one question….

Why didn’t the NAR explain what was about to happen? It’s been almost six months since the settlement was reached. Couldn’t someone at the NAR have said by now, “Oh, by the way this means that your Official Site will soon begin allowing unrepresented sellers and buyers to advertise on your Official Site, completely circumnavigating the needs for your professional services.”

Why am I left to read this news in a biased press release? Where is the NARs release on this?

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OK, so that’s three questions. But I don’t get it. Someone please explain it to me like I’m three years old.

UPDATE: Scott Brunner, CEO of the Virginia Association of Realtors, got wind of this and sent Laurie Janick, NAR General Counsel an email seeking clarification. Ms. Janick’s response is below (more details at VARBuzz).

Please reassure your members that there are no unlisted properties on

We still cannot figure out the basis for the outrageous claims being made by in this press release.  No relationship exists between that entity and  Listings displayed on continue to be provided by the MLSs, and contrary to the headline, there is NO “agent free access to”.

Please read the NAR’s official news brief regarding this matter, as well as the blog post by Hilary Marsh, Managing Director, The NAR reputes much of what Greg Healy, the Vice President of Operations at, said in the press release.

Summary from Hilary Marsh:

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Contrary to what the news release says….

1) They are NOT in a partnership with
2) The settlement between NAR and the DOJ did NOT force to accept FSBO property listings
3) Properties from sellers not represented by Realtors will NOT appear on
4) MLSs still get to decide which listings to distribute to

NAR has demanded a retraction by

Photo Credit: Valerie Everett

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Written By

Jay is the Broker / Owner of Thompson's Realty in Phoenix, Arizona. A self-professed "Man with a blogging problem" he can be found across the Interweb, including at the Phoenix Real Estate Guy blog where he opines on all things real estate and tosses out random musings.



  1. Michael Wurzer

    November 13, 2008 at 10:49 am

    Jay, I think this is just a spin on limited service listings. I’ve got links and quotes over at the FBS Blog showing that a broker is still involved and that Showcase Listings on are only for REALTORS.

  2. Kim Hannemann

    November 13, 2008 at 11:29 am


    Once again, we are done in by the people we pay to safeguard our interests – for a smashing fee, no doubt.

  3. Deborah Madey

    November 13, 2008 at 11:33 am

    My account manager has been trying to renew expired featured homes with me. He never mentioned this to me. ??

    I do support homeowner’s rights to sell without a real estate agent or Realtor. I totally do not understand why the official site of Realtors would contain any listings from any source other than a Realtor.

    Interesting that this was announced after the NAR meeting in Orlando.

  4. Deborah Madey

    November 13, 2008 at 11:34 am

    Yes, I need an explanation also….just like I am 3 years old. Spell it out clearly and simply, please. Anyone?

  5. Linsey

    November 13, 2008 at 11:39 am

    Did just become an oxymoron?

  6. Benn Rosales

    November 13, 2008 at 11:39 am

    I’m killing my accounts today.

  7. Chris Shouse

    November 13, 2008 at 11:40 am

    Again we are paying for something we are not getting. This is just the frosting on the cake..I need a 2 year explanation!

  8. Jay Thompson

    November 13, 2008 at 11:43 am

    Thanks Michael for posting that.

    I guess though that I still really don’t get it. If the contacts go directly to the seller, what is in it for the “broker affiliate” that “lists” the FSBO on, and why does allow a non-MLS/unrepresented seller listing to appear on their site? (well, other than getting the enhanced listing fees from this “broker affiliate” with

  9. Matt Stigliano

    November 13, 2008 at 11:46 am

    The worst part is that the press release feels like its laughing in the face of NAR (probably just what I read into it).

    I am fine with the idea that some people will sell their houses without an agent (I wish they wouldn’t as a professional who works hard to help them), but to force an association of dues paying members to accept their listings onto a site that they pay for just seems a bit wrong to me. I hope they at least give them the same pricing structure to enhance their listings. I’d hate to find out that they negotiated a lesser fee for it.

  10. bryanslist

    November 13, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    Come on man?

    Do you really think that the NAR wouldn’t wait until the last possible minute to announce this and avoid the massive shitstorm that would ensue? They aren’t even close to staffed to handle that.

    Plus, everyone with even a moderate web presence has known this was going to happen for months, even years.

    It was inevitable. It’s like eTrade, etc. did to stockbrokers.

  11. Deborah Madey

    November 13, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    @Michael Wurzer – I don’t understand the article that Jay quoted above, where the statment is made that FSBO can appear on without appearing on a local MLS. If this were a spin on a limited service lisitng, then wouldn’t the lisitng appear on the local MLS?

    What part of this did I miss?

  12. Danilo Bogdanovic

    November 13, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    I’m with Jay on this one…can someone please tell what the $!@%! is going on?!

  13. Michael Wurzer

    November 13, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    I can’t say I have all the answers but from the site and’s FAQ, I’m pretty sure this is just a clever twist by on a limited service listing. The way they get around the MLS is through the “Showcase” feature of, which, I believe, allows entry of the listing directly into (importantly, though, I don’t KNOW that’s how it works, so hopefully someone else can confirm). The next question is whether the “broker affiliate” is violating MLS rules by taking the listing and not entering it into the MLS.

    Regardless of the issues above, I’m quite confident that is trying to pull one over on everyone by claiming this is related to the VOW litigation. It’s not.

  14. Lisa Sanderson

    November 13, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    There must be a logical explanation to this and I look forward to hearing it. In the meantime, I will hold off on re-upping my account.

  15. Deborah Madey

    November 13, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    Can someone confirm how a listing can be uploaded to directly instead of through MLS?

  16. Todd

    November 13, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    Ouch – Doesn’t having “For Sale by Owner” under cut real estate agents? I thought the NAR was supposed to ONLY serve the best interests of its members.

    That’s “evil” as in Microsoft making its user miserable for profit “evil”

  17. Jason Sandquist

    November 13, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    Waiting for NAR’s SM guru to make a grand entrance for explanation on this or did they just sally up. Waiting…Waiting, nothing. That’s what I thought!

  18. Lisa Sanderson

    November 13, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    Micheal’s explanation makes a lot of sense, that is spinning to make it sound like a major coup. And if the brokers take the listings as open listings or under some other non-exclusive contract, they would not be obligated to go through the MLS.

  19. JKR

    November 13, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    So does that mean they will remove articles like this from their website???

    Why exactly would any Realtor pay fees to be a member of a non-protected club that now anybody can join by going thru

  20. Jay Thompson

    November 13, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    Lisa – I agree that Michael’s take is plausible. And if that is the case, then in my opinion isn’t just “spinning”, they are flat out lying.

    So this beg’s another question. Are these really FSBO listings? My take is this — if the contact info on the page leads directly to the seller as claims, and the listings aren’t in the MLS with a brokerage cooperation agreement, then yep, that’s a FSBO listing.

    So then, what about this:

    “3. No “For Sale by Owner” properties may ever appear on”

    That comes straight from “key provisions” in the operating agreement… (

  21. Patie Millen

    November 13, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    Great, does this mean we can post our listings for free on I also think it is great that we will have all of the FSBO’s in one place so that we can try and get their business. Yahoooooooooooo!

  22. Heather Elias

    November 13, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    I pay (ahem, paid. Won’t happen again, not after this) for enhanced listings; there is no way to upload a listing as far as I can tell, you can only add details to your own listings that are fed through via the MLS…

    I credit myself as being a reasonably intelligent person, and I did have my coffee today too…and I still can’t grasp this.

  23. Kim Hannemann

    November 13, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    I complained and received this:

    It is totally not true. We have demanded that publish a retraction. We and are talking with them about that now. If they refuse, we are going to publish an article to set the record straight. We have already informed the media who received fsbo’s news release.
    Thanks for your comments.

    Lucien Salvant
    Managing Director
    NAR Public Affairs
    500 New Jersey Ave., NW
    Washington DC 20001
    ph: 202/383-1176
    cell: 202/256-3707

  24. Deborah Madey

    November 13, 2008 at 2:32 pm


    Thanks for the update!

    I support FSBO rights. I have a big problem with misrepresentation.


  25. Bob

    November 13, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    “I’m killing my accounts today.”

    What needs to be killed is

    As it is, I can put a FSBO on via a limited services listing with a broker, but the seller’s contact info wasn’t allowed.

  26. Craig Barrett

    November 13, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    Ugh… Good point Bob. Thank goodness I haven’t renewed. This kind of stuff just makes the MRIS news Jim Duncan reported recently that much mo betta.

  27. Eric Blackwell

    November 13, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    I would click **agree** with first Jay and then with Bob on this…

    Yes. This is blatant. Yes (IMO) they meant to do it. Now, as they are getting caught red handed, they are trying to retract to save face.

    Is it plausible that did not know about this and that was jamming them? Somebody had to accept the checks and cash them. That somebody had to know that this was NOT a REALTOR that was advertising.

    That somebody should be gone.

    Is it possible that NAR didn’t know. I think so.

    THE ONLY TRUE VOTE WE HAVE IS TO ALL STOP PAYING THE EXTORTION FEE TO PERIOD. Voting with our feet is the only way we win.

    I’d kinda like to know “who knew what and when they knew it.” And I’d like that “transparency” that everybody’s craving on this one as well.

    Off to give you some more links and exposure to this one, Jay. Nice post.

  28. Mark Storolis

    November 13, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    I just called for the official response. After being passed up the food chain and being placed on hold 3 different times, an operator at named ‘John’ stated:
    “No comment. I will not confirm or deny the story as reported by We only received the news about 30 minutes ago. We will have an official response in the next two days.”

  29. Joshua Dorkin @

    November 13, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    LOL! The irony is thick and juicy!

  30. Daniel Rothamel

    November 13, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    VARbuzz has a quote from NAR General Counsel addressing the issue. Apparently, NAR had nothing to do with the announcement:

  31. Benn Rosales

    November 13, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    “I’m killing my accounts today.”

    What needs to be killed is

    cause = effect

  32. Paula Henry

    November 13, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    I haven’t used enhanced listings for four years now, but they were calling me yesterday to see if I wanted enhanced listings and a spotlight ad. I said no- but I was thinking about the enhanced listing.

    Today – NO WAY am I giving them any of my hard earned money until they provide some answers.

  33. Brad Nix

    November 13, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    It is totally not true. We have demanded that publish a retraction. We and are talking with them about that now. If they refuse, we are going to publish an article to set the record straight. We have already informed the media who received fsbo’s news release.
    Thanks for your comments.

    Why respond by publishing an article that no one will read, especially not FSBOs? I would hope for legal action if this truly a violation by ForSaleByOwner. Don’t we pay NAR enough to afford legal counsel on important issues like this?

  34. Eric Blackwell

    November 13, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    @cause and effect – good point Benn.

    Cancelling our enhanced listings with is the only vote we have.

    Think of the timing of this (right after NAR). Looks like it was pretty planned to me. Seems like we need to do some planning of our own and Take Back Our R from those morons using the REALTOR trademark to market FSBO properties.

    @the gentleman from BiggerPockets…how would you feel if your trademark (Bigger Pockets) got trampled like the REALTOR trademark just did? Hmmm? Not so ironic then, no?

  35. Mark Storolis

    November 13, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    The President of, Errol Samuelson, called me at 5:20 this evening to personally clarify this situation. Politely, he explained that has no intention of listing listings on their website. will only allow brokered MLS listings to be entered into their database. This press release is a misconstrued hoax. What appears to have happened is a discount broker (or collection of brokers) made an agreement to feed listings from onto the website by manipulating the flexible rules of certain MLSs, which allow out-of-area brokers to list such things as vacation properties. will be requesting an issue of retraction from as a result.
    It’s a hoax. Straight from the horse’s mouth.

  36. Heather Lawson

    November 13, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    I checked the fsbo website and typed in my zip code. For the Silver package that is supposed to include the enchanced listing on the fee was $599.

    I have heard rumors about this swirling around and really didn’t think they would do this to us.

    Boy was I wrong. It’s all about the money, honey. I am taking a stand and refusing to pay for enhanced listings. It is so sad that the general public is so used to going to to look up listings and we are almost forced to cave in.

    I need a good script for handling objections from sellers.

  37. Brad Nix

    November 13, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    T,Z,C,FD, etc… are all loving this.

  38. Jeff

    November 13, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    Thats a good article to read before I pay my dues. I think I will do the installment plan as I look for a way out of the association. I think it’s time to come up with a new association for real estate agents that is worth paying for.

  39. Eric Blackwell

    November 13, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    @Heather – I started a pretty good script over a year ago.

    I will add to that with some more info and shoot you an email. Unless is DOMINANT on the serps or actually generates provable LOCAL buyer traffic, why do sellers NEED them?

    @Brad- you are correct. It makes them look better because they are 3rd party listings agregators just like…and they aren’t charging for the privilege of taking advantage of the REALTOR (my opinion of course). They probably are laughing.

    Straight from the horse’s mouth would be Errol paying AG a visit and saying it himself. High time to speak up IMO, Mr. Samuelson. This is a big enough blog to deserve your attention.

  40. Missy Caulk

    November 13, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    Jay, been reading all this buzz for several hours today. I stopped enhanced listings two years ago and it has not hurt my business at all. I never got any calls from it anyway.

    Unfortunately, our own trade org is not advocating for us, the way RDC has always been run is a sham, TAKING our listings and selling them back to us with Enhanced Listings.

  41. Matthew Rathbun

    November 13, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    Guilty until proven innocent…

    As much as I hate, they really should have been given a chance to defend themselves from this.

    Unfortunately, it’s such a ridiculous system; that I fully understand why everyone assumed this was a fact as opposed to reckless PR attempt. I am sure the NAR attorneys will stay on this.

  42. Judy

    November 13, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    “What appears to have happened is a discount broker (or collection of brokers) made an agreement to feed listings from onto the website by manipulating the flexible rules of certain MLSs, which allow out-of-area brokers to list such things as vacation properties”

    So what is to keep this practice from happening anyway? Is planning on policing the discount brokers to ensure that fsbo’s don’t slip through? Somehow, I think not.

    This is a perfect example of why real estate professionals should take their marketing dollars and invest them in their own websites and internet presence. If we don’t take control of our business, somebody else will – and they will sell it back to us!

  43. Benn Rosales

    November 13, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    @Guilty until proven innocent…

    wreckless until proven otherwise.

  44. Brad Nix

    November 13, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    @wreckless until proven otherwise…

    worthless until proven valuable

  45. Hilary Marsh

    November 13, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    As others have pointed out earlier today, will not be carrying FSBO listings:

  46. Barry Cunningham

    November 13, 2008 at 11:06 pm


  47. Ryan Johnson

    November 13, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    I will be making sure that we will not be renewing our enhanced listings this year. I’ve had enough from . They are not representing our best interests!

  48. Michael J. Maher

    November 13, 2008 at 11:37 pm

    Eric, et al are correct, the only vote you have are your dollars. Why pay another cent to a site that continues to commit extortion? Fees without explanation? Pages that don’t generate leads. Featured listings that aren’t seen. Go to, then Fire I’m tired of seeing the professionals of this industry being treated like a herd of sheep.

    Also, the more maelstrom and distress we can cause for Realtor will lead to a bigger lawsuit from against Firing right now could serve two purposes: 1) send a message to and 2) put out of business from the damages and lawsuit.

    I’m not a radical individual (typically), but this is just another example of dropping the ball and not staying on top of its industry.

    Am I the only one that thinks staff shuld have GoogleAlerts for “National Association of Realtors” and “”?

    Come on!


  49. Steve Simon

    November 14, 2008 at 6:49 am

    I stopped the membership in the National org. many years ago (when I was first in public office) but prior to that Iwas a faithful member of local State and National. I used to do some speaking for them as well. Fifteen years ago I felt the entity was more interested in itself than its membership. I still feel that they are the most ineffectual of all the large groups of their kind. They have not done well for their members for as long as I can remember. I am not sure exactly where they are in this current debacle, but when the dust sttles I would not be “amazed” to find that some “Nose of the camel was in the tent”

  50. Eric Blackwell

    November 14, 2008 at 7:15 am

    I have apologized to Errol publicly on the Bloodhound Blog and I will do so here.

    Do I PROFOUNDLY disagree with the business model of – YES. But one thing that I do not do is KNOWINGLY pass on lies. And that (apparently) is what happened here.

    My apologies to you Errol, for that. We can debate the issues and what is good / bad for the individual on merit. (And I am sure we will many times in the forseeable future. But I will not knowingly pass on mis-information without a personal public apology.

    Here’s yours.

  51. Lisa Sanderson

    November 14, 2008 at 8:02 am

    The NAR bashing is tiresome…especially when it is instigated by lies. There are way more reasons than not to be proud of our Association. And for the few reasons we’re not, we need to work together to correct them and not undermine our collective credibility by whining incessantly about it and making it look like that is all there is to us. How about sprinkling some positive feedback out there across the to balance the picture?

  52. Roni

    November 14, 2008 at 8:22 am

    I stopped the enhanced listings with over a year ago. I also feel that it’s wrong that we have to pay to see our own listings “enhanced”. Ever since the advent of, utilizing them has been almost shoved down our throats. It is not an inexpensive service.

    I was truly shocked when I read this announcement yesterday and wouldn’t be surprised if did something like this.

    Our fees are very high at a time when many of us can barely eke out a living. Do we need more competition than we already have?

    Is and NAR going to dispute this “hoax” announcement in print?

  53. Jim Duncan

    November 14, 2008 at 9:35 am

    Sure, the FSBO guys lied. Whatever. I expect that NAR will justifiably light into them. (At least) two thoughts –

    1 – @hilarymarsh and @pamela_kabati, as well as Laurie Janik via VarBuzz provided pretty quick responses to soothe the blogs’ anger.

    2 – That we all so readily believed that this was accurate speaks tremendous volumes about the credibility of NAR/RDC/Move.

    They should be concerned about that perception, but I doubt that their actions will reflect that they are aware of this disconnect between the members (customers providing the content for RDC and the respective corporations.

  54. Danilo Bogdanovic

    November 14, 2008 at 10:11 am

    Here’s a tiny update on the situation from NAR over at VARbuzz

  55. Jim Grapes

    November 14, 2008 at 12:36 pm had better get ahead of this and clarify whehter this is information or misinformation. I want to hear something from my local association.

  56. Michael T. Malkasian

    November 14, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    Just wanted to clear up some confusion – is NOT the same as which is the company that issued the controversial press release. We are a different company/website and are not affiliated with them in any way.

  57. Tim Downs

    November 14, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    Here’s something from off of the site. It gives more details about the service.

  58. Tim Downs

    November 14, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    There’s more info about the service if you go to the website. Look at the info button.

  59. Vicki Moore

    November 14, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    Jim Duncan “2 – That we all so readily believed that this was accurate speaks tremendous volumes about the credibility of NAR/RDC/Move.”

    Now that’s the sad truth.

  60. Jim Reppond

    November 14, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    From’s website “no need to be listed in your local MLS or work with local agents” to have property showcased on

    (see screenshot here)

  61. Tom Everitt

    November 14, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick….

    I don’t know, people. Things are gettin’ kinda’ creepy out there.


  62. fred

    November 14, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    I CAN TELL YOU HOW THIS WORKS! I have been researching this and I know how this showcased package works.

    First sends the listing to a CA broker at then she places the listing in her local CA MLS. Now lets say the listing is in CT. The claim is that you offer a 1% co-broke, but what CA agent is looking for CT homes on the local MLS? NONE. this is how they can say you dont pay any commission.

    Basicly they are using one broker to list all the homes in CA MLS. They will show on, they set the fsbo seller up with a extension/voicemail on the toll free number, they forward all emails to the seller…

    Walla! forsalebyowner on the site.

    The BIG question is “is this legal” for a CA broker to list a CT home? I am looking into this right now. If so, that’s the loophole that makes all this work.

  63. Ernie Tabel

    November 14, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    Amazing how can issue a single press release of hoax and lies, tailored to do so much damage to by inflaming its mouth-before-brain customer-base. You’d think this was a Presidential election campaign move…

  64. Vicki Moore

    November 17, 2008 at 11:53 am

    Fred – Yes, that’s it. But we can only list/sell houses within the state we’re licensed.

    Keep in mind that corporate sites like, Coldwell Banker, etc all pull the listings for their sites from

  65. Deborah Madey

    November 17, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    @ Vicky, There are a few loopholes that apply to a few states where it can be done. I don’t know that it does or does not apply to the situation Fred referenced.

  66. Vicki Moore

    November 17, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    Deborah – I guess there always is. 🙂

  67. Little House Company

    February 21, 2009 at 11:17 am

    Its all about free markets and giving the consumer choice, at the end of the day agents and private sellers websites can work side by side to improve services for the clients. This will be done as both sides will want to offer the best and most affordable services. Bravo to they have seen the light

  68. Deborah Madey

    February 21, 2009 at 2:28 pm does not allow FSBO’s. Through a manipulation of the system and exploitation of loopholes, there may have been some FSBO’s appear on The bravo wishes from Little House are in error. The agreement between NAR and the parent of prohibits placement of FSBO listings. Since does such a poor job for consumers and Realtors in delivering transparent data at inexpensive rates, NAR should be looking at alternative partnerships with which to license the name.

  69. Maureen McCabe

    May 7, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    Why does ForSaleByOwnerdotcom still have the option for an ad on on their website?

    Another company eListdotme has 751 listings on the site with big old featured ads. All FSBO? The brokerage is in CA but the listings I saw were NJ, NY, OR, WI, IN, OH, FL…. Not represented by a local real estate company, don’t show up in the local MLS but they show up mixed in with the rest of the properties that are

  70. Fred Romano

    June 14, 2009 at 10:15 pm IS the exclusive broker that works with They place the listings on the CA MLS as “out of area” listings, bypassing the local MLS and agents to get on

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