My landlords (and friends) are selling the house that we live in. They are doing a private sale, so everything needs to be done by them including the listing and showings. They were away this weekend, so I found myself doing two showings for the house.
Showing a house is a strange business. It is like job interviewing. You suddenly have to brag about how great everything is (or you are) and try to work in all these details on this wonderful life you lead in the house. How you’re sorry to leave it. How you wish life wasn’t forcing this difficult decision to sell and move. My eyes always see details, so I struggle not to acknowledge scratches or dings or dents or crooked items, my personal failings, etc.
This place is the perfect house for new home owners that want move in ready, or someone who is looking to downsize to perhaps put some of their savings into RRSPs. Is it perfect? No, of course not, but it is an updated home with 6 acres and 2 car garage. Just out-of-town for privacy but close enough to still be close.
Private sales used to be that old crotchety neighbour you that collects broken down cars in his front yard. Years ago, he headed down to Home Hardware and purchased a”For Sale by Owner” plastic sign. It hangs weathered outside barely readable beside the “Beware of Dog” and certainly uncalled. And you’d tell funny stories about Old Man Birmingham and his house for sale.
Now private sales are booming. And why? Because if you are selling a $300,000 house in Canada, the usual commission rate is 6% (3% for buying realtor, 3% for selling realtor). That is $18,000 commission out of your pocket. Oh, and with the HST, it is $20, 340. That is about 4-6 months take home income for the average person. (Granted, if you shop around, you can probably find a cheaper commission.) And even when you hire a realtor, you have to do the improvements, declutter, organization, and the constant cleaning yourself.
To sell a home privately – and you use a service – it costs as little as $500. So, with some effort, that is potentially $19,000 in your pocket. Holy Moly. That’s a new car. That’s 2 dream vacations. That is 6 months earlier you can retire. That’s a lot of buckwheat. And you can choose to then drop the price of your home for a quicker sale because you have some margin.
I am not going to argue against the value of real estate agents as I have worked with several that were exceptionally helpful. And I think there are certain times they really can help. Say, if you are moving to a large centre and need someone to help direct the area you want to live in. If you don’t have time to do the showings, etc yourself or you are selling a $1.4M cottage in another city. Obviously you need people to help you with this.
June 2nd, 2012 Extra-Ordinary: Pinching my arm extremely tightly in the closet door during a showing and carrying on without even taking a pause. (SoB!!) With any luck, it will develop into an abscess and can film it for YouTube.