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[photopress:ShackPrices.gif,thumb,alignright]As of midnight last night, is live. We have a post up on the ShackBlog about what you’ll find on our new site, but I’ll summarize it for our readers here:

What is ShackPrices?

[photopress:map_sample.jpg,thumb,alignleft] is a snappy Google maps-based real estate search site that makes finding a home better by augmenting each real estate listing with data about what is nearby, including the distances to nearby landmarks, nearby schools and nearby bus stops. ShackPrices also helps home buyers learn about cities and neighborhoods through reviews, statistics and photos. Home buyers can search for shacks (shabby to chic, of course) across all of Western Washington on

What makes different?

[photopress:tabs_1_2_3_4.jpg,full,alignright]You’ll spot some obvious things that differentiate right off the bat, including information about what is nearby every listing (check out the surroundings near this Ballard listing) and Suggested Shacks, which predicts houses home buyers might be interested in if they like any of the 20,000+ houses for sale on

ShackPrices is still in its infancy, so expect more handy features in the coming year and please let us know how we can improve your experience.

“Disguised” FSBO Market Share

Some big news happened last week in Texas which I discuss on my blog [link removed]. In a nutshell, the FTC obtained a Consent Order from the Austin Board of Realtors to eliminate a rule that treated Exclusive Agency Listings different from Exclusive Right to Sell Listings, at least with respect to the publishing of those listings on public web sites. Rules like these have been adopted to deal with flat fee listing brokers who did nothing more than insert the listing into the MLS database. In other words, these are “disguised” FSBOs where the owner has agreed to pay some selling office commission but usually receives little or no additional help from the listing broker.

In its investigation, the FTC found that, prior to the adoption of the rule, 18% of the listings in the Austin MLS were Exclusive Agency Listings. Once the rule was adopted, the number of Exclusive Agency Listings dropped to 2.5% of the total.

I have always heard that the FSBO rate was somewhere around 10-15% nationally. Since the 18% figure does not include what I might call “pure” FSBOs where the seller basically hammers up a sign and calls it good, the actual FSBO rate in Austin (before the rule adoption) was probably greater than 20%. Is this surprising? Do you think it reflects historical numbers or is some kind of trend? Any thoughts on where the 15.5% went after the rule was adopted?

This is a job for…SUPERGEEK!

[photopress:geek_logo.jpg,thumb,alignright]I would very much appreciate it, and I think agents would buy the software, if someone would write a program to fill this need.

I am setting up a home tour of nine homes for tomorrow. They are spread out from South Bothell to Upper Mill Creek. There will be so much going on in evaluating these homes that I often “mapquest” and print out the directions from one property to the next.

How about one of you setting up a “” that we can subscribe to for a monthly fee, where we can type in all of the addresses at once and it will spit out the driving directions one to another. Would also come in handy for large offices that do weekly tours of new listings and for agents who are previewing a lot of Broker’s Opens all in a short two hour period. Would save a ton of time.

If someone knows of a program or online service that does this already, I would love to hear about it.

Just throwing it out there as I know many of you are looking for new products in the technology arena that agents would find useful. You may even be able to get from whoever owns it but doesn’t seem to be using it.