Who’s telling the truth about FSBO sales?

A sponsored article on behalf of ForSaleByOwner.com (“FSBO”) touts the value of selling a home without an agent. In support of its claims the article cites a number of statistics from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers (pdf).

The FSBO claims are deeply misleading in a number of respects, but one in particular bears highlighting.

According to the FSBO article:

According to NAR, the median sale price of agent-assisted home sales in 2013 was $230,000, while ForSaleByOwner.com’s average sale price was nearly $20k more. Imagine what you could do with all that extra money in your pocket.

Here’s the source of that $230K figure from the NAR report:

The typical FSBO home sold for $184,000 compared to $230,000 among agent-assisted home sales.

ForSaleByOwner.com says FSBO homes sell for $20K more; the NAR says $46K less.

Who’s telling the truth? It’s possible that both are – FSBO homes in general sell for $46K less than agent-assisted sales while those listed on the FSBO site sell for $20K more.

I’m inclined to suspect that the FSBO site doesn’t have actual sale prices, and conflated list prices on its site with sale prices. Whatever the case may be, selectively quoting the NAR data doesn’t inspire confidence.

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