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FSBOs do better than agent listings in Wisconsin town

Study takes detailed look at sale prices of owner vs. MLS properties

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Two economists have taken on the question: Who gets the better deal -- the home seller who uses a real estate agent and the local multiple listing service or the seller who does it on his own? Their conclusion is that the for-sale-by-owner does. At least in one Midwest city. A new study based on data in Madison, Wis., concludes that sellers in the city do not get a higher price for their homes when using an agent and the local multiple listing service. But with a relatively low FSBO market share, that could mean that either more sellers are willing to pay agent commissions regardless of the sale price or that homeowners aren't aware of the FSBO Internet option. The study, "The Relative Performance of Real Estate Marketing Platforms: MLS versus," became public today and has already received a fair amount of attention from an article in the New York Times. The authors -- Igal Hendel, Aviv Nevo and Francois Ortalo-Magne -- say the results imply two thin...