The new owners of the "for sale by owner" website ByOwner.com have revamped it by expanding its coverage beyond real estate, eliminating fees for users placing classified ads, and syndicating inbound and outbound postings from other classified portals.
Under the ownership of Boca Raton, Fla.-based Wild Wild West Group LLC, ByOwner.com will generate revenue by selling ads to nonclassified advertisers such as apartment communities and auto dealerships, President Greg Sullivan said. For now, paid advertising is limited to ads served up by Google’s AdSense program.
ByOwner.com, which previously served homeowners selling their properties "FSBO" — without the help of a real estate broker — is not getting out of the real estate business. In addition to offering free classifieds advertising properties for sale or rent, the site also plans to offer a "flat fee" listing program for sellers who want their homes advertised in a multiple listing service (MLS).
As it branches out of its FSBO niche into consumer classifieds, Sullivan said ByOwner.com will attempt to differentiate itself from the competition by being "database driven." Most classified websites that accept ads in multiple categories don’t collect detailed information in database fields, he said.
When users submit a classified ad for a single-family home to ByOwner.com, Sullivan said, "many of the fields we collect are similar to what a broker would collect to enter a property in the MLS," including the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, year built, square feet, lot size, and school district. Users advertising single-family homes on the site — including brokers and agents — can also include descriptions of up to 1,000 characters and eight photos.
All real estate, auto and boat postings will be database-driven, Sullivan said, making it easier for users to search and filter ads. The sites’ six main categories are broken into more than 90 different subcategories that allow site users to look for specific characteristics.
Sullivan said ByOwner.com has syndication partnerships with Owners.com, Rentalads,com, GoSection8.com, PopYachts, Oodle and Indeed, and currently features 115,000 real estate listings, including rentals and properties for sale. There are more than 200,000 classified ads on the site in six main categories: real estate, rentals, cars and trucks, boats, jobs, and "everything else," he said.