Teresa Estevez took on the task of selling her Mississauga home privately after finding the price of hiring a real estate agent to be more than she’d anticipated.
“I can’t afford to pay an agent right now because of the high commission,” she said. “We invested all of this money into the house. … If I was to get an agent, I would be losing [money].”
She’s not alone.
Property Guys, one of several companies in the GTA that specialize in private home sales, has experienced growing interest in its services. Nathan Donavitch, owner of the Property Guys Toronto Downtown-West franchise, said his business has tripled since 2007.
“We’ve never had a sale not go through because it was a private sale,” Donavitch said.
Selling through Property Guys costs around $1,000 for a basic package that includes signs and an online listing. Extras, like audio tours of the home, are offered for about $100 each.
And it’s up to the homeowner to facilitate open houses and keep track of potential buyers, which are roles usually performed by a realtor.
According to the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB), in Ontario a commission of about five per cent is paid on a sale, which translates into roughly $25,000 on a $500,000 home.
It’s money well spent, TREB president Richard Silver said.
“A lot of the work in selling does focus on the preparation and marketing,” he said. “Not doing so could leave money on the table for the seller, but that is their decision to make.”
That decision, Donavitch said, is an easy one to make for some.
“People are happy when [they] can save $20,000, $30,000, $40,000,” he said.
Despite the increase in homeowners opting to sell privately, the services of TREB’s members continue to be in high demand, Silver said.
“Last year was the second-largest year for the Toronto Real Estate Board,” he said.