Editor's note: In this three-part series, Inman News uncovered the different real estate business models through the eyes of consumers. We sought out their experiences with full-service versus flat-fee discount brokerages and for-sale-by-owner to see how they stacked up. (See Part 1: Going it alone: The FSBO experience first-hand and Part 3: Traditional home sale hinges on good agent.) Joan Murakami first noticed ZipRealty while visiting the Weather.com Web site. "I had seen their little logo for quite awhile," she said. The logo appeared in an advertisement at the online weather site. When it was time to sell her condo in Walnut Creek, Calif., in search of a home closer to work, she decided to do some research on her own. Murakami, a scientist for a biotechnology company in Fremont, purchased "Home Buying For Dummies" and "House Selling for Dummies." She decided to look for comparable home sales in her area using an online tool at the ZipRealty.com site. She registered at the si...
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