Industry News

Home builders gain leverage online

New-homes Web sites hook up buyers, builders

Builders have joined the ranks of home sellers who now use the Web to advertise homes directly to buyers and eliminate the cost of the real estate salesperson's commission. ForSaleByOwner.com, one of the more successful online do-it-yourself home sale companies, last month launched a service that lets builders post their own for-sale properties on the ForSaleByOwner.com Web site and connect directly with prospective buyers. Builders pay $200 a month to display an unlimited number of homes on the Web site. A $400-per-listing option adds the MLS and Realtor.com to the builder's online advertising package. The National Association of Realtors estimates that at least 70 percent of people now start their home search online. New programs like ForSaleByOwner's give builders a chance to connect directly with those buyers without the assistance of a real estate broker. Builders have been able to upload inventory to ForSaleByOwner for some time. But the new service makes it even easier fo...