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Anyone sold their own home? Or used a flat-fee MLS service?

Wooba, not to start a debate but 90% of homes are sold through the MLS, and probably much more now because of the FSBO's having access to the MLS. I don't believe that 90% are sold privately I am looking at so many stats right now from Comfree that have used a cooperating agent. What bothers me is when I see "another property sold on using property guys", and I look and find that that property was sold using a cooperating agent. To me that is mispresenting what is really going on.

The problem with the 1.25% is that it costs $5000 to enter the industry, plus the splits, monthly fees and marketing costs. We Agents need to make our money somewhere. If there were less agents in the industry, more professional standards, less costs, we maybe can lower our commissions. Blame the brokerages and not the agents sometime. Like I said in the previous post Agents are bound to a system that is set up to fail, the reason why 90% fail in two years.

I understand where you are coming from trying to sell privately, and I will save you the sales pitch on why you should use an agent. Good luck with it!
 
Wooba, not to start a debate but 90% of homes are sold through the MLS, and probably much more now because of the FSBO's having access to the MLS. I don't believe that 90% are sold privately I am looking at so many stats right now from Comfree that have used a cooperating agent. What bothers me is when I see "another property sold on using property guys", and I look and find that that property was sold using a cooperating agent. To me that is mispresenting what is really going on.

The problem with the 1.25% is that it costs $5000 to enter the industry, plus the splits, monthly fees and marketing costs. We Agents need to make our money somewhere. If there were less agents in the industry, more professional standards, less costs, we maybe can lower our commissions. Blame the brokerages and not the agents sometime. Like I said in the previous post Agents are bound to a system that is set up to fail, the reason why 90% fail in two years.

I understand where you are coming from trying to sell privately, and I will save you the sales pitch on why you should use an agent. Good luck with it!


I said 20-25% are sold privately throughout Canada (this probably includes Quebec, where Comfree - Duproe or something like that it's called there is about half the market).
90% of comfree listed homes sell without an agent involved, contrary to your earlier posting. It's possible it might be listed on realtor.ca, but that doesn't mean an agent has to be involved.

As for the "another sold using property guys", how is that different to remax (or whichever brokerage) putting "SOLD BY REMAX" on their sign, when the buyers agent might be from century 21. Is that misrepresenting? Even if 100% of comfree sales are done with only one agent, you're still saving money. What's the average home price in Toronto? $450k or so? That's still a $10,000 saving after HST. Sounds good to me.

I think one thing we agree one is there's far too many agents and culling those numbers would be good news for the consumers and the quality agents out there.
 
The difference from Re/max or Century 21 is that Property Guys says that you can sell your home privately when in realty there was a cooperating agent involved. Re/max or Century 21 are known to be full service brokerages.

One thing we both can agree on for sure is to stiffen the educational requirements and accountability. I really think they should shut down the MLS system completely and start from scratch. The good agents will find a way to survive, and the ones that won't know what to do without the MLS will be out of the industry even sooner. This will decrease the realtor fees, because our expenses will be less, in turn bring the people back to working with a realtor exclusively.
 
The difference from Re/max or Century 21 is that Property Guys says that you can sell your home privately when in realty there was a cooperating agent involved. Re/max or Century 21 are known to be full service brokerages.

Well I don't see it as a big deal, especially when only 10% of the sales involve an agent.
BTW, if an agent is involved, it will probably involve OREA form 201 or 202. If form 201 is used, then the agent is allowed to put his/her "SOLD" sign on the lawn.
 
The comfree MLS listing is done through the Ottawa board. Buyers will see you on MLS but Toronto agents will not see you.

According to a ComFree customer service representative (above), Toronto agents can see the listing as well.

Lisa Petker said:
That is correct the MLS listings are posted through the Ottawa Real Estate Board. We do work exclusively with the broker there and do not offer listings through TREB. However, the Broker that we work with does use the connect system and agents anywhere can see the listing through this system.

Opinions?
 
According to a ComFree customer service representative (above), Toronto agents can see the listing as well.



Opinions?

I don't know what the connect system is, but I've heard from many sources that agents can't see your listing on the regular site they use (I think it's Torontomls.com or something like that). This includes a neighbour agent who when I told her I was for sale she came back to me a little while later and said I can't find you in the system.
 
If you are looking for a service in the GTA I'd recommend checking out www.CloudRealEstate.ca. They currently have a special for Flat Fee and list specifically on the Toronto Board MLS. They also help you with your measurements etc so it's no hassle. Do read their top 10 section. Gives you some useful information about their services and about what to consider before picking an MLS listing company.

I've been working on building out a Flat Fee information website. Should be up shortly and will give users a bunch of information about listing your home for a flat fee on the MLS system. www.flatfee101.com It's not fully functional yet but will be soon so definitely check it out when you get a chance!

In the mean time be careful about the services you pick. There are many of bad services out there for every good one. Full Disclosure - I'm actually friends with the owner @ CloudRealEstate.ca and Simon helped me sell my home. Great guy, great service and way better than the competition in the neighbourhood. Believe me I called many!. He actually goes to your home to help you out. Definitely worth considering or at least checking out!

When considering ComFree and PropertyGuys the key thing to keep in mind is this.. Those guys are competiting Directly with MLS. They started out as companies who wanted to create a portal for folks to sell privately and have been successful in doing so far. They dont' have much incentive to property display your property on MLS property and accurately.. If you dont' believe me go ahead and just take a look at their MLS postings. They dont' have any description and limited information. As a result, often times the homes doesn't even come up on the results of realtor searches. If you want to list on MLS properly try to go with a listing company that is local to your neighbourhood.

one flat fee for Vancouver
I hate commissions for Ottawa
and www.cloudrealestate.ca for GTA

This will ensure your home is listed on the Local board as well as on the broader MLS / Realtors.ca System

Hope this helps!! :)

FlatFee101!
 
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According to a ComFree customer service representative (above), Toronto agents can see the listing as well.



Opinions?

The connect system is a search area for TREB members to search listings outside the board, but it not used or known of by most agents. The reason is because Agents don't search for properties based on boards, they search using clients criteria and area. When an Ottawa board listing does not show on my MLS I would not know it exists. The only way I find out about this property is if my client informs me of the listing. With every buyer client I work with, they sign a buyers service agreement that states that the listing brokerage will pay me 2.5%. When and if I inform my client of this listing where the seller is not paying a cooperating commission I ask my client would like to see the property knowing that my client would have to pay me 2.5%. They usually say they don't want to see it.

With comfree you are paying an upfront fee no matter if the property sells. I really wish they would inform people that most agents would never be aware of these listings unless they do a connect search, and look specifically for an Ottawa property. But how many Agents know to search in the Ottawa board, not many I can assure you. So what exposure do you really get this way?

I am not trying to push my agenda, I just think the public needs to be informed of this so they can make a decision based on facts not speculation.
 
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I can confirm that what drewp is saying is accurate. Therefore it's important to list with a company that is listed in your local area. Most of the MLS Listing companies don't want you to know about all this so they just don't emphasis it in their advertising..

we'll have a list of all the Flat Fee websites and their target regions listed on www.flatfee101.com shortly!.. In the meantime the list I provided in my previous post should serve as a start!

Rule #1 - Always list with a Realtor / Brokerage located in your Neighbourhood (Review my previous post above)
Rule #2 - If you don't wanna offer 2.25% - 2.5% co-operating commission to the buying agent don't even bother listing on MLS -> U'll get minimal response
Rule #3 - Make sure the agent is taking all the measurements for you. Last thing you need to do is get into legal issues with the buyer regarding measurements etc. It's happened all too many times! Best of luck

www.FlatFee101.com
 
Here's a humourous but insightful look into the life of a realtor.

Original blog link: http://johnblicha.blogspot.com/2011/07/so-you-want-to-sell-real-estate.html

So you want to sell real estate?

There are plenty of books on how to be successful in real estate, or how others succeeded in real estate, but this is something new. It’s a quick look at the promises, the realities and the meteoric flash that was my real estate career as it hurtled inevitably toward the ground. It’s what no one will tell you: this career is expensive, difficult, time-consuming and your probability of real success is minimal. It is ALL only my opinion.

Overriding themes to this diatribe:

I’m sarcastic. If you can’t read sarcasm in writing, this may be difficult for you.

I hate idiots….and the world of residential real estate if full of them.

They hate you. This refers to everyone….I’ll explain later.

Why Did I Make This Leap?

Because I’m dumb.

My story: I went to college, got two BS degrees in business and started my career. I even went back and got an MBA. I was fairly successful, rising up the corporate ladder for 15 years to run a US division of company based in England, then I got let go. I decided I hated “Corporate Life†and should do something I would enjoy that didn’t have as much BS. In retrospect, I should have burned a pile of money in the fireplace, it would have been quicker. Plus, who doesn’t love a nice fire?

So You Want to be a Real Estate Agent

Good luck.

Here are some tips, from me to you:

Tip 1:

There is a ton of money being made in real estate. It’s just not going to be made by you. In truth, much of it is actually going to come FROM you. The real estate companies themselves make an obscene amount of money in part by churning people through their “programs†and spitting them out with emptier pockets.

Tip 2:

There’s no salary. Make sure you have enough money in the bank to eat and pay your bills for six months. And start looking for a real job NOW. By the time you get it, you’ll be out of money. I landed a position at a company six months and 1 day from the day of my layoff. If it wasn’t for Unemployment, I would have been living in a cardboard box waiting for my real estate career to blossom.

Tip 3:

Everyone you know will feign support while questioning the decision and making fun of you. I’m serious, and you know this already. You’ve hated every real estate agent you’ve dealt with, didn’t you?

The Interview

You’re hired!

Real estate offices are constantly listing open positions, so it’s easy to get an interview. Don’t be too nervous, because guess what? You’re hired. This isn’t an interview, it’s a pep talk. You could walk in and urinate in the lobby, you’re probably still hired.

Their ideal agent: someone who is divorced and miserable, sitting on a pile of alimony cash or an available line of credit, and just needs something to keep them busy. Next in line: unhappily married, sitting on a pile of cash or an available line of credit, and just needs something to keep them out of the house and away from their spouse. If you’re not one of these two, that’s ok – they’ll take you.

Licensing

How do you make things better? You get the state involved!

This company that “hired†you will now send you to a training “school†(these are companies that, for a price, teach you all about the real estate industry and help you pass the state required test). This is 2 weeks of classes that have very little to do with the actual career.

A quick story: There are laws that say that even though your licensing training is taking place in a Real Estate office, that no one from that office may “recruit†you. Expect to be recruited. One of the instructors was a Company X manager and took a special interest in me. He took me to open houses at expensive homes during the weeks of training, introduced me to everyone in the office, took me to lunches and took me out for beers after the training was over. The entire time, he talked about how Company Y (who had sent me to this training) was horrible, and why Company X was far superior, and definitely the place for me. Ethical? No. Fun? Yes. I still went with the company that sent me to the training.

Fees, Fees and More Fees

You didn’t think that was free, did you?

Licensing.

If you talk to a real estate company before you take the class and get licensed, they’ll pay for the class. Well, sort of. They’ll pay for it, then take the fee back out of your first commission. Wait, who paid for it then? Yes, you did. You didn’t think that was free, did you?

The Multi-List System.

You simply cannot be a real estate agent without access to the MLS. It must be free right? No. Have you been paying attention?

Cardkey.

You need this to get into any house that’s up for sale. Yes, you have to pay for it. And they can’t ship it; you need to drive 30 miles to pick it up.

Associations

The County Realtor Association. You have to join it. It costs money…every year.

The State Realtor Association. You have to join it. It costs money…every year.

The National Realtor Association. You have to join it. It costs money…every year.

Join this organization. Join that organization. You’ll get a magazine, and maybe even a pin. It’s all mandatory, and it all costs money. Sometimes they have free cookies at the meetings though.

Signs

Small signs, big signs, plastic signs, metal signs, name signs, for sale signs, open house signs. You have to have them, you have to pay for them, and they cost hundreds of dollars.

Business cards.

They’re free! Well, kind of. The basic, crappy versions are free, the ones that scream “I’m new to this!†To get nice ones, with a picture, you have to pay, and you have to pay for the picture.

They’ll pay for your car!

No, they won’t. If you’re one of the top 2 producers, and are willing to put a God-awful giant sticker on the sides and back of your (correctly colored) car, they’ll pay a nominal amount to you. Why shouldn’t they? It’s the cheapest advertising they could get.

Free trip!

5 years from now, if you beat ALL the odds, work ridiculous hours and sell everything you get near, you might get a free trip. Don’t hold your breath.

Name tag.

Good news, the name tag is free. The bad news, you have to wear a name tag. I knew a gentleman who said “If a man has to wear a name tag during his job, he’s not very successful.†I thought about him every time I put that name tag on.

The “Realtor†pin.

This is the most expensive pin you’ll ever hate wearing.

The “Old-Timersâ€

They hate you.

When I say “old-timersâ€, I’m referring to the agents that have been working in the office for more than a year. They will rarely make eye contact at first because they expect you to be gone in a few months and they don’t want to waste their time. Once you’ve been there for 2 weeks, they’ll start offering you the “opportunity†to sit in their open houses for them. What they’re actually asking you to do is sit in a house for three hours that no one will visit, and basically sell it for them, on the off-chance that you could get a client out of it.

When there aren’t enough newbies in the office, they’ll fight over your house-sitting efforts, and may even offer you cash (don’t get excited, I’m talking about $20.) Get paid FIRST, I never did get paid for helping someone out.

By the way, "top producers" use exclamation points! Lots of them! In everything they do! Just an FYI. I mean: Just an FYI!!!!

Clients

They hate you.

You will be asked to basically alienate everyone you know and make social situations incredibly awkward by begging for referrals. Parties, church, school, the gym – anywhere…you need to be fishing for house buyers or house sellers. It is painfully awkward for all concerned. Don’t forget to wear the little R pin everywhere you go!

If you’re lucky enough to get someone to say they’ll use you to sell their house, you should know now that their house is worth much more than the one three doors down that is exactly the same. Why? I don’t know. Maybe they’re delusional. Maybe they’re dumb. Maybe they’re greedy. Maybe they’re upside-down on the house. Maybe they just need the money. Probably all of the above.

It’s weird to be involved in such a significant financial project for someone you know. They will use you to buy or sell a house, but no one wants you to know their personal financial business, so it’s hard. Your friends and family might want little favors, like….they’ll want all their money back. Yes, seriously. I had a relative ask if I would give them back all of my commission if they used me to buy a house. I declined, and her request was probably the nail that sealed my real estate coffin shut.

The life of an agent (or the lack of a life)

Goodbye weekends of fun and leisure!

Here’s your week, broken down:

Monday

Mandatory meetings and house tours, all day. The meeting is useless, which is why you’ll rarely see old-timers there, they veer off after the first house and end up God-knows-where. They’re probably at the bar.

The tour is fun, though. You get to hear everyone complain about everyone they work with and everything in the houses. You get to walk through a stranger’s house and hear your co-workers (proudly displaying their name badges) criticize the homeowner’s choices in everything. Examples: What were thinking with this carpet? Have they ever cleaned this room? Wow, those are some ugly kids in that picture. I can’t believe they left Prozac AND Paxil on the sink, what a basket case.

Tuesday

In-house training, or “how to waste 3 solid hours of prime work time.â€

Wednesday

“Twilight†open houses. This means your night is shot.

Thursday

Nothing is required. This is your weekend, enjoy. Don’t spend money though, you don’t have it.

Friday

Mailings, client hunting, sitting around.

Saturday

Mandatory training…all freaking day. Done with the mandatory 15 week training? Start ongoing training that repeats what they taught you in the 15 week training!

Sunday

No more football games, family picnics, etc., you need to sit in Open Houses.

At times during the week, you’ll get a few 2 hour stints answering the phone. The idea is that clients will call in looking for an agent because they have a house they want to buy. I would guess that this has happened once, ever, in the history of real estate. Most of the time you’re sending calls to the old-timers.

I had a gorgeous Mustang GT when I got this “jobâ€. I sold it because I was told that you have to take your clients all over the place to view houses. Out with the sportscar, in with the Volvo station wagon (in the horrid corporate color, of course.) As it turns out, no one wants to ride with their real estate agent; they want to follow you around in their car. This is for many reasons: so they can escape you when they want, so they can talk about the houses without you hearing them (even though you are their trusted advisor)…oh, and they hate you. I really miss that Mustang.

Support, Or the Lack Thereof

Don’t know a computer from a toaster? Don’t worry, no one else does.

I don’t know why, but everyone I worked with was horrible with any technology-related tool. They constantly needed help with the computer, and the PC’s were always down with a virus of some sort. Somehow I became the IT help desk and spent a fair amount of time telling people why a Nigerian prince was not, in fact, going to send them $75 million.

Your web site.

The company has set up a page for you on their website, you need to fill it with useless things that no one cares about, like “resident of (our general area) for umpteen years†and Realtor and “Member of (Our County) Real Estate Club. None of this helps them or you, but it does fill the page, even though no one will look at it. You can put a picture up there too, unless you’re ugly or hideously disfigured.

Office Help

They hate you.

Mailings. I lucked out with Company Y, they pay for mailings. This means they provide the marketing materials and they pay the postage for a certain amount to be mailed out. The database of addresses that you could send mail to was protected by a rotweiler in our office, a man I’ll call Travis. Travis was tremendously tan year-round, with slicked-back hair, and he was dressed like a 1970’s JC Penny mannequin every day. I don’t know if he was gay, but I bet his boyfriend was.

A quick story: the first day I met Travis, he was in the middle of a full-fledged hissy fit because someone had stolen his Cross pen. This is understandable, as it’s not like they sell them at drug stores for a few dollars. Yes, they do indeed sell them at drug stores for a few dollars. The hissy fit lasted an hour, and included our manager sending a phone message to every agent in the office to please return the pen if they had it.

Travis also kept a much-needed eye on the labels that one would use to send out these mailings. To get them, you had to request the exact number of sheets you needed. There were 25 on a sheet and if you were printing 68 labels, you would not get 3 sheets.

Black & White and Shades of Grey (alternate title: Ethics or the Lack Thereof).

Just get the listing:

This means that if you have a person that wants to sell their house for $330,000 but you and everyone know it won’t fetch $250,000, you tell them that you will list it for their price, and then slowly let the price drop when people laugh at the house.

Story: My wife and I were selling our townhouse for $122,000. We received a bizarre offer from a woman for $116,600 with $5,000 of seller-assist (that means we get $5,400 less than we’re asking AND give her $5,000 for the privilege of selling our house to her. Their real estate agent justified this fun math exercise by saying that a townhouse down the street sold for $120,000 with a tremendous amount of seller-assist, so ours was clearly overpriced. His mistake was in not knowing that we were in fact friends with the owner of the $120,000 townhouse and the house was bought for cash with no seller-assist. In fact, the buyer gave the owner an extra $25,000 for all his furniture! Being a jerk, I made sure he knew that he was busted. A sheepish “oh†was I got back.

By the way, we ended up getting $124,000 for our townhouse after a bidding war…and NOT to the lowball woman.

Become a “Realtor�

I am one man. The Realtor’s Association is a huge conglomerate which no doubt has numerous lawyers on the payroll. My brother-in-law is a lawyer. …but I still feel outnumbered. So you’ll notice I only refer to real estate agents, not Realtors. Keep in mind though, that you have two choices here: you can either become a Realtor or you can become a Realtor. Yes, you read that right.

I’ll make no judgments on the value of the organization, except to say that sitting through the most boring training ever nets you a tiny R pin. Nothing says "I’m a success" better than a pin with an R on it…right next to your name tag.

“Referral Statusâ€

Referral Status means that you’ve quit the day-to-day grind of trying to sell/buy houses. You become inactive, but now if you point someone who is looking to buy or sell a house to your real estate company, you get a percentage of the commission.

All you have to do is pick up the phone, tell the company their name and telephone number and where they’re looking. The irony? NOW it’s payday. I know people who made more n referrals than I did as a real estate agent, many times over. Of course, there’s a fee to be in the program, but you didn’t think that was free, did you? And to stay in “referral status†you need to take ongoing training.

Closing

This is just my story. Don’t let it change your mind if you want to enter the world of residential real estate. Heck, I had a former real estate agent tell me what a horrible idea it was and I still went forward with my stupid plan.

I’m sure it’s completely different in YOUR area though, and they’re telling you the truth...
 
whoa! what a great read.... one of my friends want to become a realtor and this would be a great story for him...
 
Very good story, I became a Realtor because of the earning potential, was it worth it yes! It took lots of hard work, people being rude to me, cold calling, kissing ass etc. In the first 2 years I made only 30K, now however you can add an extra zero. I have gotten lots of contacts, mostly investors from over seas.

It can be a rewarding career, but for most it not.
 
Comfree have just become a brokerage in Ontario. I believe that means you'll use their services just like any other realtor. This also means that your MLS listing with now be on Treb instead of in Ottawa. This will likely result in significantly more traffic for comfree clients in the GTA.
I'm not sure of all the details at this point, but I believe the changes are immediate.

http://comfree.com/commonsense
 

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