Update: Lisia Amburn, an AE from SVAR, has clarified things at least a little. Apparently, FSBO is “getting Brokers (REALTORS) to work with them and in turn getting them to put the listings on MLS’s and REALTOR.com.”

Realtor bloggers around the country have been burning up the tubes of teh Internets today because of this press release:

ForSaleByOwner.com Becomes First to Provide New Access to Realtor.com

NEW YORK, Nov 12, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) — ForSaleByOwner.com today announced that it has become the nation’s first “by owner” real estate website to enable home sellers to advertise their home on Realtor.com without appearing on a local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This new direct access to Realtor.com follows the May 2008 settlement between the U.S. Department of Justice and the National Association of Realtors. [Emphasis ours.]

Huh? FSBOs listed on Realtor.com and not in an MLS? To say this is Big News would be a bit of an understatement, and the fact that NAR didn’t tell anyone about this agreement — well, something’s not right.

It’s so “not right,” in fact, that VAR CEO Scott Brunner shot off a message to Laurie Janik, NAR’s general counsel. “We’re all a bit blindsided by this news, and I’m wondering if or how I and other Virginia AEs missed it at last week’s NAR meetings,” he wrote. “It’s a significant and controversial decision.”

About 90 minutes later, Laurie wrote back:

Please reassure your members that there are no unlisted properties on Realtor.com.

We still cannot figure out the basis for the outrageous claims being made by ForSaleByOwner.com in this press release.  No relationship exists between that entity and Realtor.com.  Listings displayed on Realtor.com continue to be provided by the MLSs, and contrary to the headline, there is NO “agent free access to Realtor.com”.

So, bottom line as we know it now: Home sellers cannot list their properties on an MLS — and therefore on Realtor.com — without going through an agent.

NAR is working to figure out what’s going on, and we’ll have more as we know it. Stay tuned.

More as it develops.