We have the absolute worst neighbours you could ever imagine on one side (I challenge anyone who may think otherwise), so when they put a “For Sale” sign on their lawn my husband and I did the dance of joy.  We were excited watching them pack up the trampoline, jungle gym, swimming pool, sandbox and other outdoor toys.  We waved goodbye to the oversized carved grizzly bear and wolf that were loaded on a flatbed (with a crane, no less).  We had to stop ourselves from asking if we could help them pack.

Unfortunately our happiness was short lived.  You see, the “For Sale” sign was a for sale by owner (FSBO) and was put up LAST September.  Yes, almost a full year later they are still there.  They have advertised only on Kijiji and have received no offers on their home.  I don’t think many people have even been around to view it.  Also, in my opinion, it is way overpriced for the style and condition of the house and they won’t consider reducing the price.

This got me thinking about how effective low fee real estate companies are at selling your house in a timely manner.

Welist.com and comfree.com have basic packages that start at $249 and $299.95 respectively for six months.  They both give lawn signs and feature sheets and list your house on their own websites and magazines.  An evaluation and documents package are also available at this price.  Other than this, the homeowners do the viewings, find their own buyer and handle the sales themselves.

A new offering by both companies is MLS service.  Since only licensed realtors can list on the MLS they work with Online Realty Brokerage.  The increased fee of $649 to $999 gives sales assistance from a real estate professional.

HomeAtEase.ca is a bit different in that it not only offers a $395 flat fee but also a 1% full service MLS plan.

I know that many people who sell their homes balk at the high real estate commissions they have to pay.  After all, it is a fair chunk of the selling price and usually seems to be for not much effort on the part of the realtor.  However, how comfortable are most people with doing their own active negotiating and selling?  Not to mention completing the documents correctly.

85% of people buy from MLS listings, so how efficient are the websites and magazines that the low cost companies use?  Most of these people like to use a realtor to help them give a fair offer to purchase as well as check out any irregularities in the home.  It’s a confident person who can negotiate on his or her own behalf.

Realtors are not going to show a property to their prospective buyers if they aren’t going to receive their own regular commission.  How easy is it to negotiate a commission with a buying agent?  Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of going with the inexpensive plan?

All of the houses I see for sale with welist and comfree signs seem to be on the market for quite some time.  Often when they then switch to an actual Real Estate company, the house sells within a month or so.

Do you think it’s better to use a realtor when buying or selling a property or would you rather keep the commission and negotiate for yourself?

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