Recently, while driving between homes and offices in Waterloo Region, I’ve been hearing radio commercials for ComFree home selling franchise (formally known as ByTheOwner.com). “Sell your home commission free”, the radio ad says.
Sounds good. Why pay an agent big bucks when you can do it yourself? You just have to remember to say “powder room” instead of “bathroom”. Easy, right?
People love talking about real estate. I often meet people who have sold privately and say that they would never do it again. “It just wasn’t worth it” they usually say.
I recently helped some clients buy a home that was listed with a home selling franchise. At one point early in our negotiations, the couple selling said “we have no idea what we’re doing”. When I got to know them, helping them through the process, I found they’d become frustrated by many of the things realtors take for granted – false hope, time spent and broken promises. They hadn’t even got to the negotiations and contract stages yet.
I wonder if most private home sellers save anything and if it is worth the stress, the time taken and money spent.
According to this article in Property Wire, ComFree, part of the largest For Sale By Owner network in Canada, recently conducted a survey of 5000 Canadians that states “1.32% of homeowners would not automatically turn to a real estate agent to sell their property.”
That’s a small percentage.
The article states, “The odds of selling a home without involving an agent are very slim. If the house is priced perfectly, is in the perfect location, and the timing is perfect, then it could and often does work. The problem is that most homes don’t fit that situation.”
One drawback to selling privately is exposure, as most home shoppers won’t know your home is for sale if it isn’t listed on MLS, advertised online and in print, has a sign out front and open houses held. With around 90% of all homes selling with the assistance of an agent, excluding an agent is shrinking your pool of possible buyers to a fraction of the exposure you need to compete with other homes for sale.
However, trust and confidence are also issues. Imagine you have a seller who doesn’t know how to close the deal, or handle competing offers, or questions about land title, zoning, age of the furnace or roof… and a buyer who is uncertain of how to make an offer, what the true value of the home is, or if they can even afford to buy it. What’s going to happen? Is this sale sailing through or is the home going to stay on the market for a while longer?
It’s no wonder the survey says that less than 2% of homeowners would not automatically turn to a real estate agent to sell their property. At first, when I read that, I thought it seemed like a small percentage. But now that I’ve thought about it, it makes sense. If you have car trouble, you turn to a mechanic, with a tooth ache, you turn to a dentist, and with a question, you turn to maybe your dad, mentor, teacher, or God…