State and local real estate organizations are heading to court in an attempt to stop FSBO web site companies from taking a cut of the real estate business ' and they just lost a big one.


A federal judge in California just reversed a cease-and-desist order issued by the California Department of Real Estate in 2003 against ForSaleByOwner.com. The company charges a fee to sellers in return for posting home listings on line, but does not act in any capacity in any transactions that result. The cease-and-desist charged that ForSaleByOwner.com was participating in the sale of real estate without a license. In New Hampshire, a similar complaint has been lodged with the state against ISoldMyHouse.com by the New Hampshire Association of Realtors.

In the California ruling, the judge questioned why the state would or could require such a website operator to have a license when they are serving in essentially the same role that newspapers have played for years.