Property Guys cuts out the middle man

Murray Martin lost $12,000 on the sale of his Ontario home. The house sold within two days of being on the market — but Martin still had to…

Murray Martin lost $12,000 on the sale of his Ontario home.

The house sold within two days of being on the market — but Martin still had to pay the Realtor’s fees.

“In two days, that guy made 12 grand off me,” he said.

“And I could have shown the people my house better than any real estate person because I lived in it.”

Recently Martin decided to sell his home in Whitehorse and move outside of town.

This time, the realtor’s fees were going to be more than $17,000.

“To me a real estate person is somebody that’s in between, who I don’t think I really need,” said Martin.

“Not for $17,000 anyway.”

Driving home one night, Martin noticed a large sign in front of a local home with the words “private sale.”

The sign belonged to Property Guys, the website that allows homeowners to sell their home privately.

“That cost me $700, they put up beautiful signs all around directing people to come to your house and put a great big huge sign on your front yard,” said Martin.

“And they call me a couple times a week to see how things are going.”

Martin’s home is among the 23 Yukon homes now listed on the Property Guys website.

Many realtors use a similar strategy, the multiple listing services online, to sell homes, said Martin.

“(The Property Guys’) website, to me, is actually far better than the multiple listing website,” said Martin.

“Not only that, they have an audio program on it. Buyers can see my house and have an audio tour of it.”

Six of these 23 homes have already been sold, said Pat Shaw, who recently bought the Yukon Property Guys franchise.

“Some are selling within days, and others have been up since last fall.”

In April, Shaw bought the franchise from the previous owner who had to leave the territory.

“I thought, wow, that sounds like a lot of fun, that’s something I could do during my spare time,” said Shaw.

“Plus it’s a great idea. It’s different and it just makes common sense.”

These days, up to 80 per cent of people looking to buy homes are searching on the internet, according to the Property Guys website.

Most of his customers have been ecstatic about the process, said Shaw.

“There’s been a few cases where I put the sign on the lawn and they’re receiving offers two days later.”

The idea works well because negotiations are done between the buyer and the seller, instead of a third party, said Shaw.

“It’s kind of awkward going through a realtor when you want to find specific information about the house,” he said.

“If you want to bargain or talk about price, isn’t it best to deal directly with the person selling it?”

The major difference between the service offered by realtors and Property Guys is that realtors can advise on what price you should sell your home.

“But you’re going to be researching and you’re going to have a pretty good idea what houses are going for in your area,” said Shaw.

“So, what is there that’s left for a realtor to do?”

Property Guys doesn’t work off of commission or depend on whether you sell your house.

Prices start at $349 for the self-service package where clients list themselves, put their own pictures on the website and receive a property guys sign.

“The idea behind this is it’s for private sale — people who want to sell their house on their own,” said Shaw.

“But that’s pretty intimidating. It’s your biggest investment and you’re going to sell it off on the internet.

“Some people are OK with that, some people aren’t.”

Shaw tries to reassure people about the ease of the process, tell them how it works, and provides them with all the necessary paperwork for the sale of their home.

“I tell them what to expect, how to take an offer, how to prepare for open houses, anything you can think of,” he said.

“I’ve been trained to answer all the questions about selling your own house, which is really quite simple and that’s the myth behind this.

“It doesn’t take a lot.”

For more money, users of the service can receive more help from Shaw, more signs and photos as well as other perks.

The $1,499 Elite Package includes unlimited photos, a 360-degree photo tour and the option to not pay until sale.

Martin’s home has been on the market for two weeks now.

“I’ve had calls from New Brunswick and all across Canada,” he said.

“We’ve turned down a number of offers that are conditional on selling their home first because we can’t do that.

“We want an outright sale.”

Martin is confident that he’ll find that buyer and, this time, because he’s eliminated the realtor middleman, he’ll end up with a lot more change in his pocket.