July 20, 2007, 2:48 am

Selling my House, Quite an Experience Part1

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Properties
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I recently wrote about my thoughts on the utility of having a real estate agent to sell your property. In order to explain my point, I decided to go a little bit further and compare my own experience to my parent’s journey to sell their own property. Let’s start with my own case:


It was Easter’s Eve, two year ago. My wife and I were driving back home to get ready for a dinner at my parents place. We passed in front a beautiful property with a “For Sale by the Owner” sign. It was one of those “Free Visit Day”. I decided to turn into the driveway and get to the porch. My Wife was a bit hesitant but as I was already out of the vehicle, she decided to follow me. We met with this super nice couple; they let us do the tour and were willing to answer all questions with supporting documents. During the conversation with the owners, we found that that one of them was even working for the same company I work for.


Our feelings were good, the price was right and the owners were nice to talk to. After a small 5 minutes outside, we decided to make an offer. We went back in, negotiate a little bit and sign all paperwork. Obviously, we could not make a definite offer as it was conditional of the sale of our own house. We knew then that we had no time to lose and we better get growing right away. We were late for diner!


On Easter Monday, we were changing furniture around, adding more flowers in front of our property and install the “For Sale by the Owner” sign. We registered our property on three different website and two newspapers. For three weeks, we had 4 visits and several phone calls. We had the same problem over and over again: 2 bedrooms on the second floor are not enough, the house is great, but it is too small. The nice couple were calling us on a weekly basis to see if we were about to sell our property and our anxiety starting to reach its summit.


After a month with no potential buyers, we decided to sign a contract with a real estate agent. We had big fear that we would lose the other property if we waited too long. We also thought it would be much faster with a real estate agent as he probably knows tricks and other methods we ignored. We decided to pick one of the best performers in the region. The week before we contacted him, he had sold 4 properties in our city. We thought it would be smart to go with a real pro. He seemed calmed, confident and straight forward.


What was the result? 4 months of stress, cleaning the house four times a week and the property we made an offer on was sold before we received our very first offer. We sold our property exactly one year after we bought it. We could have made 6K profit on it but in fact we lost about $6,000. We sold the house 10K more than we bought it a year a go, which was an increase of 5,7% of the price value. However, we had to take out 9K of commission, notary fees and the famous Quebec Welcome Tax (extra tax charge by the municipality when you become an owner).


Today, I really feel that I could have sold my house without anybody’s help. It took my agent 4 months while I had previously put the house on the market myself for only a month. We were getting about the same load of visits and he surely didn’t help for negotiating. In fact, every negotiator will tell you that the more third parties involve in the process, the more challenging negotiations will be. I will address what happen with my parents’ case shortly. They decided to sell their house by their own, you will find out how did it go.

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Realtors seem to be a dime a dozen. To me they’ve achieved a bit of an unjustified monopoply by controlling the market the way they do. Most realtors I’ve dealt with just want the house to sell fast, they don’t do much marketing, and certainly are very little help in negotiating. Them getting you an extra $1000 means very little in their pocket so the incentive is wrong.

That said, I have met 2 realtors who were excellent. One did an excellent job of negotiating for me, and the other did an excellent job of marketing the property, which was a tough sell.

by: The Financial Blogger | July 22nd, 2007 (6:26 am)

Hi CR,
I went through your blog and you seem to come from Montreal. Would you mind sharing the 2 Realtors’ name?
Thx !

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[…] my previous post about selling my house, I explained my experience with Realtors of this world and how it got more complicated and longer […]


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