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Realtors sue FSBO Web site

Iowa Association seeks injunction against AgentsBeware.com

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The Iowa Association of Realtors is trying to shut down a local for-sale-by-owner real estate advertiser for allegedly operating a real estate business without a broker's license. The association last week filed a lawsuit for an injunction against AgentsBeware.com and its operator Jeremy Smith. The association alleges the Web site is illegally acting as a real estate broker. But Smith argues the company acts only as an advertising service, much like sites like eBay that connect buyers with sellers via the Internet. "We're not a broker–we're an advertising outlet," Smith said. Despite the company's cheeky name and aggressive "Taking a bite out of commission" motto, Smith doesn't believe the company directly competes with real estate agents for clients because it targets sellers who want to sell their homes themselves. He said the name is "risqué so people will remember it." Home sellers purchase a $150 or $350 advertising package from AgentsBeware and the company posts...