In the beginning real estate was an exclusively For Sale By Owner “business”. This would be before brokers, agents, middlemen and everyone else inserted themselves between a buyer and a seller. Of course in the beginning there weren’t so many people and less properties. I imagine in those times if a person wanted to build a house they did it themselves or hired someone to do it for them. If a person wanted to sell their house they stuck a sign in the yard or simply let all their neighbors know. Again, there weren’t that many people.
Somewhere along the line, my guess would be the late 1800’s when banks started experimenting more with lending money for homes after the National Banking acts of 1863 and 1864, someone got the idea of bringing buyers and sellers together. As homeownership became possible for more Americans there would be a need for some sort of a middleman or system to market homes and find buyers. As the real estate market became more crowded For Sale By Owner wasn’t as effective.
Early entrepreneurs got the bright idea of looking for and keeping lists of homes that were for sale by owner and a list of people wanting to buy a home. That would be a way to bring buyers and sellers together and consequently charge for the service. Hence the real estate agent, of sorts, was born. I did some research trying to tie down a date, place, and person responsible and ran into many different theories. This was the closest I could surmise. As with any business others saw opportunity and jumped in. In 1908 these so called real estate agents got organized and The National Association Of Real Estate Exchanges was born. This all went down in Chicago. There were 120 original founding members and 19 boards.
The idea was “to unite the real estate men of America for the purpose of effectively exerting a combined influence upon matters affecting real estate interests”. The real estate industry in America was now a thing. There was a better way than For Sale By Owner.
In 1916 the name was changed to The National Association of real Estate Boards. The term Realtor was invented that same year. In 1972 the name was changed again to The National Association Of Realtors. And that is what we all recognize today, the Realtor.
The National Association Of Realtors or NAR is the largest professional association in America followed with a distance second by The American Bar Association, lawyers. NAR yields incredible power in the United States. They greatly influence real estate laws, rules and regulations. NAR has over a million members. That means in the United States and its territories there are over a million Realtors.
There was a time when the profession was very much needed and useful. It was no longer effective to stick a For Sale By Owner sign in the yard. There had to be a way to communicate the fact that a house was for sale to a wide audience. There also had to be a way for potential buyers to find the homes that were for sale. The real estate brokerage now controlled all of the information in a good way making buying and selling a home a process. If you want to sell your home people have to know it’s for sale and on the other hand if you want to buy a home you need a place to look. That was the function of the real estate broker. For many good years they helped millions upon millions of home sellers and buyers come together.
Today real estate professionals are still helping people every day buy and sell homes and are still very useful but just not necessary any more. The industry has changed from the need of a broker to help you to a choice. Yes, you can hire an agent to sell your home and pay them a lot of money or you can easily sell your home by yourself and keep your money. It comes down to do you want to do the work and save all that money or do you want to pay.
With the internet and websites like Zillow, Trulia and Google it makes selling your home on your own very possible. All the information you need is right at your fingertips. For Sale By Owner is becoming more popular around the country as people are figuring this out. No longer does the real estate industry hold close all the information. No longer do you need to hire a brokerage. The information now is easily accessible.
For Sale By Owner has come full circle.
You can easily sell your home yourself. It’s your money. Keep it.