Save Money on Real Estate Commissions

May 25th, 2010 · 1 Comment · Buying or Selling Your Property

One of the posts I did for Million Dollar Journey was about the Canadian Real Estate Association and the Competition Commissioner.  I read the whole case in my pursuit for wisdom & insight. I truly believe that in the end all of us consumers will benefit from this case, regardless of whether it succeeds or not. CREA will surely be on it’s best behaviour because someone with the chops to make their life very miserable is watching them like a hawk.

In August of 2009, I tried to find a discount service for selling the property I was managing. I came up with pretty much nothing as an alternative to the usual commission structure. The real estate agent we had used before was not great, he never learned anything about the property and I, as a property manager, was required to attend every single showing to try and sell the property and answer questions. When you are dealing with 24 townhouses for sale, it requires a little more expertise than here’s the kitchen, here’s the bathroom. I never found any cheaper service at that time.We chose to put an ad in the Toronto Star, I answered the phone and showed the property many times. The property sold in January and closed in March.

I’m not sure what happened but once the case between CREA and the Competition Commissioner started appearing in the news a veritable treasure trove of cheaper options appeared. Then last week I found another great middle ground option for people that are concerned about the amount of their home equity they will be losing to real estate commissions. Let’s face it, real estate agents do a lot of work that you can do. Taking phone calls and showing the property are two things they do that you could probably do as well or better. After all you know more about what’s in your neighborhood than they do. I’m pretty sure you also know more about your house than any agent after having lived there.

Here are descriptions of each money saving option.

1 – For Sale By Owner, here there is a lot of options available from doing it all yourself to getting listed on one of the many websites devoted to helping you sell your home such as, but not limited to, PropertySold.ca, By The Owner.com, Property Guys.com. For the truly frugal, ads on craigslist.org or Kijiji.com and an ad in the local paper might float your boat and be just as effective. That is how we sold our 2.2 million property in Oshawa.

2- For Sale By Lawyer This option is the middle way in helping you sell your home partly on your own and I was very impressed by their service offerings and excited by the prospect of this new way of selling property. While not as cheap as some of the above options it does offer more assurances for safety and security. It also exposes the lie of real estate agents everywhere that they will protect you from lawsuits and they have insurance and blah blah blah. Here’s a group of real estate lawyers who are currently helping people sell their homes. Believe me the real estate lawyers are the ones who really do the heavy lifting when it comes to crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s of real estate transactions. The name of the company is Lawyer’s Web Property Shop Ltd. So for those who want to save money and be fully protected this is a viable and interesting option.

3 – MLS By Owner Another objection frequently heard to selling your own home is that the MLS is great and 80 to 90% of the action is on the MLS and your house won’t sell without the MLS. You’ve made your point and you know what I have an answer to that too ! Go to Joe Williams’ Best Value Realty and get your house listed for $109.

4 – Realtors What can I say? For those of you hooked on real estate agents negotiate the hell out of the commissions.  There are cheaper options out there just shop until you find someone who will agree to a lower commission.

So go for it ! Figure you could work months and months or you could just save the money on your real estate fees and commissions. That’s a bargain.

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