Thanks for your question. First, let me request that if any of the
following is unclear or if you require any further research please
dont hesitate to ask me for a clarification.
Let me just start with an anecdote several years ago, I lived in St.
Louis Missouri and this little startup, FSBO, rented a nice little
building at the corner of Lindbergh and Olive and began publishing a
weekly FSBO magazine with listings; the idea was that for a very low
fee (I seem to recall about $450) you could receive signs, a listing
in this magazine, and some help with contracts etc. but no MLS
listing. Well, a couple of years later the big, shiny signs came down
and the company went out of business. Anyway
Most of the data in the press comes from surveys conducted by the
National Association of Realtors (NAR); I have reviewed several dozen
articles - however, if you feel that this is not the kind of data you
are in need of, let me know - and we'll keep looking.
An article in the Dec 8 2002 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette titled SELLING
SOLO SOME CHOOSE FOR SALE BY OWNER TO CUT OUT THE MIDDLE MAN, SAVE
MONEY (see citation below) quotes the following statistics:
+ An association (National Association of Realtors) survey of 5,700
people who sold and bought houses in 2001 found that 13 percent of
those were For Sale By Owner transactions. In 1997, it was 18 percent.
A couple of years back, experts were predicting that the number would
reach 40 percent by 2005.
In other words, rather than becoming more popular, FSBO is becoming
less popular even though house prices have increased rapidly and the
potential savings today are therefore far greater in real dollar
+ The survey says the median sale price nationwide of a house sold
with agent assistance in 2001 was $175,000, while that of a FSBO was
$137,400, a difference of 27 percent. (same National Association of
This article contains some great stats on FSBOs I cant quote
everything here because of copyright restrictions, but here are some
of the numbers, and if you have access to a public library you should
be able to have them find the article for you and extract the rest
Characteristics of FSBOs
* Median age is 42 years.
* Estimated median household income is $64,300.
* 73 percent are married couples.
* 56 percent have no children living at home.
Reasons for selling homes themselves
* 46 percent -- did not want to pay commission fee.
* 18 percent -- sold to friend or neighbor.
* 13 percent -- buyer contacted owner directly.
(there are about five times more stats in the article)
More statistics from what appears to be the same survey but from a
different article this is from Knight Ridder Tribune Business News,
Jan 13 2003 -
The association's survey found the lowest percentage of FSBO deals in
the Northeast: 9 percent of total sales in 2001, compared with 19
percent in the Midwest, 13 percent in the South and 11 percent in the
Of those who sold homes themselves, only about 35 percent said they
planned to use that route again, according to the survey. About 43
percent said they weren't sure whether they would do it themselves the
next time, and 22 percent said they would use a real estate agent.
And heres an interesting tidbit
FSBO sales often have other hidden costs. Attorneys may charge more,
because a for-sale-by-owner transaction may include some paperwork
that a real estate agent might otherwise handle...
From the Washington Post, August 3 2002
George Hamilton-Brown decided to try selling his five-bedroom Clifton
house himself because he was disabled and home all day to show the
But more than two months passed and he got only one offer, which fell
Well, eventually, George sold the house through a Re/Max agent
Hamilton-Brown had listed the house at $425,000. Walker (the Re/Max
agent) sold it for $428,000.
An article in the Los Angeles Times from June 30 2002 is titled
For-sale-by-owner Web listings appeal to thrifty home sellers but
haven't quite clicked yet with buyers. The article provides several
examples of sellers in the Southern California market who had tried
the FSBO route but have not seen any results; for example
Christie Stoddard hasn't done much better. She recently listed her
$490,000, four-bedroom Brea home on ForSaleByOwner.com. But after a
month, her ad doesn't appear to be working. "We've gotten more calls
from just having a for sale sign out front," she said.
And another relevant stat
Only 16% of homes nationwide are sold without an agent, and that
figure drops to 10% in the West, says the National Assn. of Realtors.
The following is from the Seattle Times, September 16 2000
But that's a slight adjustment compared to other FSBOs. One on
Seattle's South Lake Washington Boulevard recently had a sign that
said the price was reduced from $1.5 million to $900,000. It then sold
for about that amount and through agent Endanchy Girma of Skyline
Properties, who also got her 3 percent commission, although the
sellers at first didn't want to give her anything. But as Girma said,
the house had been on the market "forever."
And results from an earlier realtor association survey
A 1999 survey by the National Association of Realtors found that
home sellers used agents 77 percent of the time, down 3 percent from
1994. But of those who went on their own, only 32 percent said they
would do it again.
An Aug 6 2000 article in the Sun provides additional data from this
the No. 1 obstacle FSBOs faced was the owners' ability to set the
correct price. The NAR survey reported that the final median selling
price of a FSBO home was $113,000. The median price for an
agent-assisted transaction was $129,900.
In the NAR's 1989 survey, 68 percent reported that they sold their
homes themselves to save the commission. Last year (1999), 46 percent
gave that reason.
More data from the latest NAR survey is online at
The following page has some more FSBO statistics
I hope this response adequately addresses your request. Please let me
know if you are in need of additional information concerning this
SELLING SOLO SOME CHOOSE FOR SALE BY OWNER TO CUT OUT THE MIDDLE MAN,
SAVE MONEY; [REGION Edition];
Pittsburgh Post - Gazette, Pittsburgh, Pa.; Dec 8, 2002; pg. J.1
ALAN J. HEAVENS, KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS;
More Owners Pass On Agents, Sell Own Homes
Knight Ridder Tribune Business News; Washington; Jan 13, 2003;
For Sale by Owner, With Some Help; Marketing Update: Despite Best
Efforts, 2 Owners Give In to Realty Agents
The Washington Post; Washington, D.C.; Aug 3, 2002;
Sites Unseen; For-sale-by-owner Web listings appeal to thrifty home
sellers but haven't quite clicked yet with buyers
The Los Angeles Times; Los Angeles, Calif.; Jun 30, 2002;
FOR SALE BY AMATEUR Keeping that 6 percent for yourself sounds mighty
tempting, until you have to do the work.
Seattle Times; Seattle, Wash.; Sep 16, 2000;
Survey homes in on trends Realtors association releases report on
buying, selling; `Biggest sample in decade'; Data indicate increasing
use of Internet in process
The Sun; Baltimore, Md.; Aug 6, 2000;
ti (for sale by owner) or ti (fsbo) <on Proquest - searched all
articles from 2000 to date>