Nice sunset view as we pass over London, England, on our way to Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Shkodra, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Hiking the Peaks of the Balkans, June 13-24!

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

I don't like real estate agents

I guess I should clarify that. I don't like the real estate agent profession. Mostly because I think they're unnecessary, and overpaid for what they do. But also because some of them come across like smarmy used car salesmen. 

Unnecessary because selling (or buying) a house is not that difficult. You choose a price that you're happy with, you advertise it, and you show it to people who are interested in buying it. If nobody buys it in three months, then your price was too high to begin with. Look at the market and decide what's reasonable. Don't be greedy.

And overpaid, especially now that the prices have skyrocketed. The average selling price in Canada was $662,000 in the month of July. I simply can't imagine paying out 4% to 6% ($25,000 to $40,000) of that as a cost of selling. Yikes.

I sold our house privately in 2007. I still think that we received a fair price at the time, and so did the buyer. I also sold my mother's condo in 2011 (?) privately after a real estate agent couldn't perform the task in the six months he tried. It was kind of funny because I even said in the advert that real estate agents weren't welcome. The person who bought (at my advertised price) had to pay a 2.5% commission to her agent to get out of her agreement with them even though the agent didn't do anything.

Ever since 2018, selling prices in Canada are publicly available online. The Canadian competition bureau finally decided that it wasn't fair that only real estate people had access to this information, and that it should be publicly available. So it's relatively easy to come up with a realistic selling price.

But Ruth's dad's property is unique. Nothing similar has sold in that area in the last five years. We had to get a certified appraisal done for probate as of the date of his death last November and even they couldn't come up with a figure. The  appraisal simply stated "between $485,000 and $750,00". (Of course all of these dollar figures are Canadian dollars).

That's a pretty wide range!

But it's because it's a unique property. The house was originally built in 1893, and it's a township heritage home. There was a full addition put on in 1984, and the original part of the house was also completely renovated. There is a big heated insulated garage/workshop, a big garden shed, and a smaller tool shed. It's nicely landscaped, and the front porch faces the river.

The front of the house.

The back of the house.

On the down side, while the steel roof is structurally sound, it needs paint and it doesn't look the best. It's too late in the season now to get someone to paint it. Much of the interior of the house is now dated looking and unfortunately he didn't fix things up as they went bad. We have already spent over $50,000 fixing the more serious issues, but there are still some minor things that the new owners will have to look after as they see fit.

I'm going to paint the basement floor and walls, and we have to give the rest of the house a good cleanup, but that's where our physical work there ends. Then I will sell it.

I'll advertise it on all the free online platforms, and I'll pay the minimum to get it listed on the Canada wide MLS service. I'm going to list it for detailed sealed bids over $485,000 with a (yet to be determined) deadline date in September. Highest or any offer not necessarily accepted. If someone is using their own buyer agent, they will have to include the 2.5% buyers fee as necessary.

Nice deal on the base model Coredy Vacuum Cleaner.

And in Canada...


  1. Realtor wasted 3 months of our lives back in 1992 trying to sell our house in Edmonton. We then listed it privately and and as soon as we did that realtors were phoning to list with them. We told them we are not listing with anybody unless they have a signed buyer first. Sold it in a couple of weeks after that, lol

    1. We think if you do it correctly and you don't get greedy, there should be no issue in selling it yourself, you just need to do the homework first and know what you are doing. Congratulations on having sold the your house on your own, especially back then when it was as common to sell your own place.

  2. Do you hire a lawyer to do the paperwork associated with the sale?

    1. Yes. Although, I don't like lawyers

  3. When I saw your title I agreed and thought you might need some education, but reading your blog I see you got it all figured out. I hate them too and think like you do about them. Overpriced for what they do.

    1. Sounds like you and Kevin think a like on this, lol! If you do you homework and don't get greedy there should be no reason why you can't sell your own place. We think the biggest issue is the advertising and the reach that the MLS listing has but now that you can do that list the house yourself without being a realtor is a huge benefit. I guess we will see how it goes over the next couple of weeks. :-)

  4. Good luck with the sale. It's a beautiful home going by your photos and descriptions.
    I got 3 agents to submit for my parent's unit - 2 were great. 1 got the flick straight away. I didn't feel I had the time or energy or knowledge to do it myself. It has taken a fortnight from engaging the agent to going online with the campaign yesterday. He has organised a building and pest inspection that is a good deal for us, and we were very happy with his professional photos.
    He is charging 1.8% and we expect a quick sale at around AUD$600,000.
    I love checking out the history of sales and what properties are worth - internet searches can keep me occupied for ages 😊
    I'm really interested in how you go and following the Canadian process.
    Whilst it's been exhausting at times, it's now exciting to see what happens. We're lucky to be in a good seeking market and in a tourist area.

    1. Thank you Mary, we think that there won't be any trouble getting the house sold quickly but I guess time will tell.

      So glad that things are going well for you with your parents house, at least your real estate agents don't soak you with their commission fees the way they do here. Kevin has now had some experience with selling homes and he is very thorough with his homework so we are pretty confident that we won't have any problem with selling it ourselves. Kevin always enjoys a challenge like this anyways! :-)

      Kevin is also the same, we loves checking out the history of sales in the area as well.

      We will be detailing the sale in the blog as we progress through the different stages of the sale so you will be able to follow along.

      Good luck on the sale of your parents place, let us know when it sells and if you got what you were hoping for. I would expect that house sales there are much like here with it being a sellers market, hopefully it will sell fast for you!

  5. I'm confident you can get it the job done, Kevin. Good luck!

    1. Thanks Tina, I am confident that he can too! :-)


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