Canadians Require a Real Estate 101

New ComFree poll reveals Canadians' misconceptions around real estate sales

TORONTO, Sept. 20, 2011 /CNW/ - Canadians could be keeping a lot more of their hard-earned dollars in their wallets, if only we knew how little it can cost us to sell a home. According to a recent survey commissioned by ComFree, the country's largest commission free/Private Sale real estate network, nearly half (46 per cent) of Canadians wrongly believe that realtor fees are lower than five per cent of the value of the home. Many respondents are also unsure about whether or not tax is paid on these fees - with 45 per cent indicating they didn't know the answer to this question.

"It's clear that there is a real need to educate Canadians on the basic components of real estate purchases, as well as the options available in terms of private sales versus selling with a realtor," said Patrick Sullivan, general manager and vice-president of ComFree. "The do-it-yourself model doesn't stop with home improvement - it also applies to home sales, it just requires a little knowledge. ComFree is a good example - we offer what homeowners need to sell their home commission-free and save thousands of dollars."

Barriers to Private Sale


For many home owners, there remain several key roadblocks in the decision making process about whether to sell privately or work with an agent. Respondents listed the following as their top three:

  • The visibility of the listing to potential buyers - 57 per cent
  • The time commitment involved - 55 per cent
  • Concern over making a legal error - 52 per cent

And while time commitment was one of the top deterrents mentioned by Canadians, the survey shows that an almost identical time investment (overall average was 29.7 hours) is required regardless of whether a home is being sold by the owner or with a realtor.

"The legal process is the same with or without a realtor," said Sullivan. "Either way, it's important to hire a lawyer who specializes in real estate to review an offer, conduct a title search and finalize the deal."

The Mystique of the Realtor


The poll showed that nearly half of respondents (48 per cent) incorrectly stated that a realtor is required to list one's home on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and a further 13 per cent indicated that they weren't sure. In fact, ComFree can obtain a listing, through our brokerage partners, on MLS for any Canadian looking to sell their home privately. 

Canadians also overestimate the services that are included in realtor fees. One in five of the respondents polled incorrectly stated that at least one of the following would also be included:

  • Home inspection to determine any necessary home repairs (21 per cent)
  • Setting up mortgage insurance where necessary (19 per cent)
  • Financing & pre-approval of a mortgage (16 per cent)

And while the majority of respondents indicated that they had previously worked with a realtor vs. selling privately (79 per cent and 19 per cent respectively), a greater proportion of home owners said they would be likely to sell privately in the future (28 per cent).

Likelihood to sell privately in the future is significantly higher in Atlantic Canada and Quebec compared to other provinces:

  • Atlantic provinces - 48 per cent
  • QC - 39 per cent
  • MB/SK - 32 per cent
  • AB - 29 per cent
  • BC - 22 per cent
  • ON - 21 per cent

"Realtors with their high commissions, like TV dinners and eight-tracks, are relics best left in the past," said Sullivan.  "Today, anyone can sell their home on their own as long as they are willing to invest a few hours of their time and look for the legal and marketing expertise."

About the Research

The Harris/Decima study was conducted via teleVox, the company's national telephone omnibus survey, with a representative sample of 1,004 Canadians between August 25th and August 29th 2011. It has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

About ComFree

ComFree offers Canadian homeowners a professional, honest and innovative service to assist them through the sale of their property, so they can do it in a smart, effective and profitable way.

Since its initial launch in 1997, more than 100,000 homes have been sold through ComFree's network, saving Canadians $1.5 billion in commissions.

Today, ComFree.com lists more than 14,000 properties for sale, and the website receives more than 3 million visits monthly. With offices in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan the ComFree network employs more than 220 people across Canada.

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SOURCE ComFree

For further information:

To arrange an interview or for more information, contact:

Vanessa Ciccone or Amy Greenshields 
Environics Communications
vciccone@environicspr.com or agreenshields@environicspr.com
416-920-9000

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