State Tries to Get Real Estate Listing Website for Practicing Without a License

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Perhaps you are familiar with the website ForSaleByOwner.com. Essentially it is a website which allows users to list their property for sale, and also publishes useful information related to real estate.

In short, it doesn’t do anything a whole lot different than does the real estate section of your local newspaper.

So you can imagine that ForSaleByOwner.com’s owner, Colby Sambrotto, was plenty surprised to receive a cease and desist order from the state of California’s Deparment of Real Estate for practicing real estate brokering without a license.

ForSaleByOwner.com sued the state of California in Federal court, seeking a decision by the courts as to whether a real estate listing website has to get a broker’s license.

The judge held that the real estate licensing law under which California was making the demand appeared to be “wholly arbitrary” because newspapers which publish the same information were not required to get a broker’s license. The bottom line is that ForSaleByOwner.com does not have to get a broker’s license, and the State of California was wrong to demand that they do.

Chalk one up for the little guy.

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