A tale of two private sales

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As more companies dealing in private sales enter the market, homeowners are being tempted by the low-cost offering. But what do brokers – whose clients are interested in private sales – need to know?

Selling a home is relatively easy, so why not embrace the new offerings. That is the view of Nathan Dautovich, a representative from Property Guys, which helps home owners privately list and sell their homes.

“There’s definitely a little bit of work for home sellers,” he told MortgageBrokerNews.ca’s sister publication, Canadian Real Estate Wealth.. “It’s about four to six hours a week. Other than that, we set it up in a way that we maximize the exposure. Our clients have access to the data and to lawyers.

“They have to do the showings, but aside from that, there’s not much time sacrifice.”

Dautovich says that Property Guys helps its clients in any way it can: listing the property on MLS and on the company’s website, they provide signs and an online marketing campaign.

“We do all the same things as a traditional Realtor, plus quite a bit more,” he said.

Most of the sales of which he is a part don’t have an agent involved at all, he added. “Every buyer has the internet and is looking for properties every day. So they’re more willing to set up a sale with the seller privately.”

However, Janette Graf-King, a Realtor with Re/Max, told CREW that companies that facilitate private sales are not as user-friendly – or as cost effective – as they seem.


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  • Larry Frondall on 2014-06-18 11:37:31 AM

    I understand that sellers want to save money and they think that they can negotiate and navigate the sale themselves. However, no one seems to think of Security when they sell without a Realtor. When you open the door of your home to a potential buyer, what do you as the seller know about that person? Are they simply casing the joint for a robbery the minute you leave the place? Are they checking you or your family out for an Assault at a later time? I know the odds of this are low, however, we have had this happen in Calgary and we have had a Realtor slain a few years ago in a property that was listed for sale. When I had my real estate license, I would interview all buyers for almost two hours, getting their ID and checking them out before I would put them in my car to even look at properties. When you sell yourself, you don't have that luxury. Again, I know the odds are low that this might happen, but who wants to risk that?

  • Clayton Carby on 2014-06-18 12:00:32 PM

    This is a very informative article, however you never answered the question in the first paragraph. "But what do brokers – whose clients are interested in private sales – need to know?"

  • Julie Cooper on 2014-06-18 12:00:54 PM

    Larry! I was just thinking the same thing. As popularity rises in FSBOs, criminals will also start targeting more, in my opinion.

  • Larry Frondall on 2014-06-18 12:32:21 PM

    Clayton, I didn't answer the question as I don't condone the practice of Private Sales.
    Lenders get nervous as there is more potential for fraud. I guess as a broker what you should look for is to ensure that your buyer is not paying more than market value for the property and the only way you can guide them is to insist on an appraisal from a reputable appraiser. If your buyer is buying through a private sale, then the buyer needs to assume the role of the Realtor and that would include doing some leg work in checking out comparable properties and getting a feel for the neighborhood, checking out the community and the community services, I would also suggest that they pull a copy of the Title and having that reviewed. Unfortunately, most buyers will have no clue what they are looking for on a title, but a Realtor and a lender will. Are there encroachments, caveats, etc. that need to be reviewed? Are the people selling the house actually the owners? You would not believe how many times that comes up! I am just touching the surface here, there could be so many potential pitfalls and the average buyer is not prepared to deal with them or understand them. It is always best to deal with a Professional. You wouldn't prepare your own legal work or do your own dental work, why would you risk the largest investment of your lifetime to non-professionals?

  • kay on 2014-06-18 1:29:36 PM

    Not quite sure why there was a comment made about the liability issue..Private sellers deal directly with a lawyer who is responsible for that...the realtor is NOT a Lawyer!!!!

  • Mike on 2014-06-19 9:55:21 AM

    Umm, I have bought and sold privately, and my lawyer handled the negotiations and paperwork. All i did was open my door to let potential buyers in to see it. My lawyer handled everything else, and his fee was under $1000 incl HST. So parts of this article, and responses, are pure industry propaganda. Real estate agents are part of the disappearing "printing press" world - soon to be obsolete.

  • Chris on 2014-06-19 12:40:24 PM

    Good luck trying to seek any recourse benefits from a lawyer handling a real estate transaction. Lawyers will make no representation or warranties towards the property and it's condition, they are handling contract and conveyance only in the sale. Realtors carry E & O insurance and are liable for any negligent misrepresentations made for example; square footages, age and condition of relevant inclusions, room sizes, oil tanks, easements and right aways. Good luck trying to re-capture any losses from a seller selling privately as well. The money saved does not equal the potential of the more money earned by skilled negotiations and marketing. I would like to know how many properties sold by owner sell in multiple offer situations??

  • kay on 2014-06-19 4:58:29 PM

    I have been in private sale for 6 years and have helped hundreds of clients save thousands of dollars...Why have NONE of my clients ever had a problem????? Because it simply works!!

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