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Comfree or Private Sale?

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1 Comfree or Private Sale? on Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:25 am

grumpy old man

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From the Darkside... Since I can't post there but I have experience in this matter I thought I'd bring it here.

Post by cancelbot on Wed Apr 22, 2009 9:09 am

I am putting my place up for sale. Last time I sold my place, I went through a realtor as I was not living in that city at the time. This time I'd like to do it differently with a view to saving some commission fees.

I was thinking of going through Comfree, but before I do I was wondering if anyone here has had any experience with them? Is it worth it?

I've looked at their website to see what you get for your $699 and it seems pretty enticing, but I am wondering (in classic Winnipeg style) if I couldn't do it just as well myself for less.

I have used Comfree. They provide all the tools needed to help sell the house, plus the internet listing and the magazine. They provide access to legal resources. Signs. Contracts. Advise. They take the pictures and I believe help in writing the ad.

If you have time to show your house this is a good alternative to realtors.

The only issue you'd have to concern yourself with is the selling price. I'd recommend getting a few "free" estimates.

Good luck.


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2 Re: Comfree or Private Sale? on Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:48 am

AGEsAces

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ComFree is certainly a good option...one I'll use when I sell my home.

As far as your "free" estimate goes...don't bother. As a former agent, I can tell you how to do your own, for free, the same way the realtor does it.

1) Go to www.mls.ca and use the "map" feature to find your neighborhood.
2) Zoom on the map to about a 10/15 block radius from your home.
3) Look at the list on the right for all the homes listed and what they sell for.
4) Compare the closest 5 homes to yours (ie. square footage, amenities, etc.)
5) Add up the costs of those homes and average them out.
6) Add about $10-15% to that average (this covers bargaining, agent fees, inflation, etc.)
7) That's your asking price (round to the nearest "$99" mark to make it more appealing.

Agents have a couple of computer programs which do other things, like compile demographics of the area, recent building, school information, etc. Things you can find online for free if you want to search for them...and things ComFree has access to.

The thing to understand about ComFree, is that they ARE real estate agents. They are required to be by law. Whoever runs it is a broker. But they had the brilliant idea of not charging percentages...and instead charging a flat rate...something many realtors in Winnipeg are starting to do to compete.

http://www.photage.ca

3 Re: Comfree or Private Sale? on Wed Apr 22, 2009 2:49 pm

rosencrentz

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Well I tried for my house and struck out- nothing came up.
MLS is probably the best place to list, if you are in a good area, because of the chance to get multiple bids. If you are confident about your house and your area, then you might try a really good sign on your property and an open house. 2 Years ago my neighbour did this and sold the house over the weekend, but there is a lot of traffic going down Wellington Crescent.
I have no idea how he figured out the price, but 2 years ago there was an incredible d
emand for homes in the area.
I know of 1 person who did not want to pay a commission, because she was so "cheap", I think she used com free , had an open house, sold the home right away to a neighbour. 1750 sq ft home near the U of Manitoba, for $175,000 and probably left $75,000 out of her pocket, but she saved $8500 in commissions.
There is very good demand for homes, and interest rates are starting so damn low, 2.49% at one of the credit unions.


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4 Re: Comfree or Private Sale? on Mon May 11, 2009 7:33 pm

anthonyr

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AGEsAces wrote:ComFree is certainly a good option...one I'll use when I sell my home.

As far as your "free" estimate goes...don't bother. As a former agent, I can tell you how to do your own, for free, the same way the realtor does it.

1) Go to www.mls.ca and use the "map" feature to find your neighborhood.
2) Zoom on the map to about a 10/15 block radius from your home.
3) Look at the list on the right for all the homes listed and what they sell for.
4) Compare the closest 5 homes to yours (ie. square footage, amenities, etc.)
5) Add up the costs of those homes and average them out.
6) Add about $10-15% to that average (this covers bargaining, agent fees, inflation, etc.)
7) That's your asking price (round to the nearest "$99" mark to make it more appealing.

Agents have a couple of computer programs which do other things, like compile demographics of the area, recent building, school information, etc. Things you can find online for free if you want to search for them...and things ComFree has access to.

The thing to understand about ComFree, is that they ARE real estate agents. They are required to be by law. Whoever runs it is a broker. But they had the brilliant idea of not charging percentages...and instead charging a flat rate...something many realtors in Winnipeg are starting to do to compete.

Sorry, I just had to add my 2 cents here. First, asking price is different from actual market value which is what your estimate is trying to do to determine your asking price. So it might give you and idea of your asking price, it wont reflect the actual market value which is what you are trying to get. And I don't know where AGEsAces got his #6 from. Please don't listen to that.

And about Comfree, AGEsAces is incorrect about them as well. Comfree is NOT a broker. They are just like a Craigslist. They are just an advertising medium. They do not belong to the WREB or MREA. They are allowed to let you advertise on their site and use their signs but not allowed to consult you about real estate. I think that he got it mixed up.

5 Re: Comfree or Private Sale? on Mon May 11, 2009 9:50 pm

AGEsAces

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anthonyr wrote:Sorry, I just had to add my 2 cents here. First, asking price is different from actual market value which is what your estimate is trying to do to determine your asking price. So it might give you and idea of your asking price, it wont reflect the actual market value which is what you are trying to get. And I don't know where AGEsAces got his #6 from. Please don't listen to that.

And about Comfree, AGEsAces is incorrect about them as well. Comfree is NOT a broker. They are just like a Craigslist. They are just an advertising medium. They do not belong to the WREB or MREA. They are allowed to let you advertise on their site and use their signs but not allowed to consult you about real estate. I think that he got it mixed up.

Most of that is true...typically your asking price is higher than actual market value...though depending on the market type is what the house will bring. In a seller's market (which we just came out of), you ask a little higher than "market value", and will typically bring more.
In a buyer's market (which we are moving into), you ask above market value so you can come down to it when someone offers you a lower offer.
In-between (where we are at now), it's a guessing game...though typically if you know you're in a good area (high demand) you can still treat it like a seller's market.

The #6 is not official...it's a rule of thumb...but what we used in our agency when we were generating estimates and prices for clients. And one most agents won't admit to.

And ComFree is required by law to have a broker in order to advertise real estate sales. Since a company can NOT be a broker, then ComFree has a broker on staff who would be one of their owners with their name on the books.
An example would be Re/Max is not a broker either...they are a listing service. But a Re/Max office must have a broker of record in order to service in the buy/sell of real estate. Re/Max offers their brokers incentives and office services in order to use the Re/Max name...but that same broker could just as easily change his office to Century21 or EXiT.

I just felt it easier to explain that ComFree serves you the same as the other agencies for the most part...other than putting someone 1-on-1 to hold your hand through the process.

http://www.photage.ca

6 Re: Comfree or Private Sale? on Mon May 11, 2009 10:23 pm

anthonyr

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AGEsAces wrote:
anthonyr wrote:Sorry, I just had to add my 2 cents here. First, asking price is different from actual market value which is what your estimate is trying to do to determine your asking price. So it might give you and idea of your asking price, it wont reflect the actual market value which is what you are trying to get. And I don't know where AGEsAces got his #6 from. Please don't listen to that.

And about Comfree, AGEsAces is incorrect about them as well. Comfree is NOT a broker. They are just like a Craigslist. They are just an advertising medium. They do not belong to the WREB or MREA. They are allowed to let you advertise on their site and use their signs but not allowed to consult you about real estate. I think that he got it mixed up.

Most of that is true...typically your asking price is higher than actual market value...though depending on the market type is what the house will bring. In a seller's market (which we just came out of), you ask a little higher than "market value", and will typically bring more.
In a buyer's market (which we are moving into), you ask above market value so you can come down to it when someone offers you a lower offer.
In-between (where we are at now), it's a guessing game...though typically if you know you're in a good area (high demand) you can still treat it like a seller's market.

The #6 is not official...it's a rule of thumb...but what we used in our agency when we were generating estimates and prices for clients. And one most agents won't admit to.

And ComFree is required by law to have a broker in order to advertise real estate sales. Since a company can NOT be a broker, then ComFree has a broker on staff who would be one of their owners with their name on the books.
An example would be Re/Max is not a broker either...they are a listing service. But a Re/Max office must have a broker of record in order to service in the buy/sell of real estate. Re/Max offers their brokers incentives and office services in order to use the Re/Max name...but that same broker could just as easily change his office to Century21 or EXiT.

I just felt it easier to explain that ComFree serves you the same as the other agencies for the most part...other than putting someone 1-on-1 to hold your hand through the process.

I agree with the 1 on 1 thing with Realtors. If you are confident enough with pricing your home properly, the legal stuff, the showings, marketing, less exposure (because Realtors do have the most buyers due to the MLS) then Comfree is a great choice.

But I have to disagree with everything else. In order to sell a house FOR someone, you need to be a broker. But that's not what's happening with comfree. The deal is directly between the buyer and seller and comfree does not represent any of the two parties. They just let them advertise on their site. So they do not need to be a broker. If what you say is true, then by your logic, the Winnipeg Free Press would be brokers as well because they advertise homes for sale by private owners.

Comfree is just an advertising service for private home owners to sell. If you are selling PRIVATELY, which is the case of Comfree, you do not need to be a broker or hire a broker.

How do you calculate inflation for that short time frame when yo usell the house? Commission at most will probably be only 5%, I don't see how you get the other 10%.

To the OP: The good houses are still selling fast. So the overpriced houses are the ones that are still staying on the market long. If you make the mistake of taking those 5 overpriced homes and then adding 10-15% on top of that, you are completely pricing yourself out of the market. You can make the argument that those 5 might not be overpriced and just be new listings. But that brings me back to my original point which is you can't base your home on just how much people are asking for but you need to price your home on what they SOLD for.

7 Re: Comfree or Private Sale? on Mon May 11, 2009 10:38 pm

AGEsAces

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The legal stuff (in Manitoba) is done by lawyers anyway...so that's almost moot. The rest can be taken care of by you or ComFree if you feel up to it.

ComFree claims they "assist in selling the home" not that they "list your home for sale"...which means they need to have a broker. The WFP does not have a home-selling service...they have a home listing service. If you know something about ComFree (ie. work for them) that I'm not aware of, then let me know...but when I was an agent...we had a company called ForSaleByOwner.com that popped up and did basically the same thing...but had to follow the same rules as us.

It was basically a broker who got a brilliant idea to "settle" for the $700 commission (which you see some agents advertising now) vs. the % commission other agents claim.

And TYPICALLY, a home pays 6% commission when dealing with two agents. 3% for the selling agent and 3% for the listing. That's 6%.
The legal fees are typically several hundred (or more) dollars, plus other closing costs, inspections, certifications, and if a title search is done or title insurance is paid, plus mortgage fees (bank fees) are all factored in to maximize the capital return for the seller. Add it all up...and it's about 10% over market value.

My apologies though...yes, you're right...pulling the houses around yours that SOLD is the best method...but not everyone has access to 3-year-old MLS data...so another good indicator is to see what's "selling", ESPECIALLY by looking at the MLS...because SUPPOSEDLY the agents who listed those houses actually know what they are doing...and would NEVER have over-priced the listing Wink.

http://www.photage.ca

8 Re: Comfree or Private Sale? on Mon May 11, 2009 11:19 pm

anthonyr

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AGEsAces wrote:The legal stuff (in Manitoba) is done by lawyers anyway...so that's almost moot. The rest can be taken care of by you or ComFree if you feel up to it.

ComFree claims they "assist in selling the home" not that they "list your home for sale"...which means they need to have a broker. The WFP does not have a home-selling service...they have a home listing service. If you know something about ComFree (ie. work for them) that I'm not aware of, then let me know...but when I was an agent...we had a company called ForSaleByOwner.com that popped up and did basically the same thing...but had to follow the same rules as us.

It was basically a broker who got a brilliant idea to "settle" for the $700 commission (which you see some agents advertising now) vs. the % commission other agents claim.

And TYPICALLY, a home pays 6% commission when dealing with two agents. 3% for the selling agent and 3% for the listing. That's 6%.
The legal fees are typically several hundred (or more) dollars, plus other closing costs, inspections, certifications, and if a title search is done or title insurance is paid, plus mortgage fees (bank fees) are all factored in to maximize the capital return for the seller. Add it all up...and it's about 10% over market value.

My apologies though...yes, you're right...pulling the houses around yours that SOLD is the best method...but not everyone has access to 3-year-old MLS data...so another good indicator is to see what's "selling", ESPECIALLY by looking at the MLS...because SUPPOSEDLY the agents who listed those houses actually know what they are doing...and would NEVER have over-priced the listing Wink.

Most realtors are actually pricing it properly. There are a few that under list so they can create that bidding war. If a property is over priced it's usually because the seller thinks his/her house is worth more than it really is Smile

Honestly, generally I usually see is 4-5%. Only time it ever goes over 5% is when it's under 100k.

I think we're both right AND wrong Smile I wasn't aware they had to be registered as a broker. Guess I wrong about that! They're considered brokers but under the category "Private Sale Agent" But they're not allowed to assist much in the transaction as well: http://www.msc.gov.mb.ca/legal_docs/orders/comfree.html is one for Comfree in Brandon. So the securities commission is more strict on them than us. Seems like they're a broker but they're limited to what they can do.

A list of brokers in Manitoba as of April 2009: http://www.msc.gov.mb.ca/real_estate/registration/reg_brokers.html

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