Are real estate agents ripping you off? -

Are real estate agents ripping you off?

High fees. Hidden data. It’s the realtor racket.

The Realtor Racket

Photographs by Deddeda

From the moment Robert Peden chose to sell his Victoria home, he was adamant not one penny would go to a full-service real estate agent. Instead, Peden is doing what a small but growing number of Canadian homeowners have opted to do—handle the sale on his own. “I’m not prepared to pay full-service real estate commissions because they’re totally out of whack,” he says. “No realtor is worth that kind of money.”

Tough words. But Peden isn’t just any aggrieved home seller. Thirty years ago he worked as a real estate agent himself. And he’s disturbed by what he’s seen happen over that time. Then, as now, commissions amounted to about five to seven per cent of a home’s sale price. But because the typical 1970s house sold at a fraction of today’s eye-popping levels, real estate commissions were around $2,500. Today, with Peden’s home worth an estimated $460,000, the commissions might easily hit $25,000. Even after factoring in inflation, realtor’s fees have exploded in size, and it’s left him wondering: what exactly do real estate agents do now that they didn’t 30 years ago to warrant such a staggering increase in pay? “The problem with realtors today is they’re more order takers than salesmen,” he says. “Honest to God, I think a used car salesman works harder at selling a car and earns a fifth of what these people make.”

When it comes to Canada’s other favourite pastime, real estate, griping about realtors is right up there with gossiping about house prices at cocktail parties and picking out marble countertops. But in recent weeks, the backlash against real estate commissions has taken on a more urgent tone. The Canadian Competition Bureau has set its sights on the way realtors have, for decades, operated and charged for their services, and in February it filed charges with the Competition Tribunal claiming realtors are engaged in anti-competitive behaviour. The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has fought back, labelling the accusations “fundamentally misconceived.” But however the battle plays out, don’t expect realtors to give up the outdated and expensive system for buying and selling homes without a fight. Critics call it a monopoly, and it’s made many in the industry very well off.

The crux of the competition bureau’s argument is simple, even if the process of untang­ling the alleged real estate monopoly is not. The dispute revolves around the control real estate boards exert over the multiple listing service, or MLS, the vast national storehouse of available properties. The system is owned and operated by CREA, and by some estimates 90 per cent of all home sales go through the MLS system, a stripped-down version of which is available to prospective home buyers on the Web. As it stands, only registered agents can list homes on the service, and because of that iron lock, the bureau says sellers are forced to pay for services they don’t need. The agency says the rules have also prevented agents from offering alternative pricing options to consumers based on lower levels of service.

CREA has attempted to head off a court battle with the bureau. Last month, its members voted to tweak some of its rules. Under the new terms, sellers can pay agents a flat fee of a few hundred dollars to list their homes on MLS, without having to hire the agent for the entire sale process. The group also modified rules that blocked sellers from posting their phone numbers alongside their listings. The new measures haven’t satisfied the competition watchdog, though, which is reportedly concerned that local real estate boards have also been granted powers to enact their own sets of regulations down the road. The worry is local boards could erect new roadblocks to competition from discount real estate brokers, and the bureau would then have to go after each board separately.

While the competition bureau has had an eye on the industry for decades, the current dispute stems in large part from the efforts of one man, Lawrence Dale, a Toronto real estate lawyer. Eight years ago, Dale and his cousin, Stephen Moranis, whose mother was the first female president of the Toronto Real Estate Board, launched Realtysellers after seeing the business potential for a discount brokerage. The idea was to allow clients to choose from a menu of different à la carte services, including flat-fee listings on MLS. “I saw the opportunity to be the Charles Schwab of the industry,” says Dale, who previously headed the company that bought the Toronto Blue Jays’ SkyDome stadium (now Rogers Centre) in 1999, and is the former owner of Toronto’s Chestnut Park Real Estate.

While Dale says he expected to encounter resistance from the industry, he claims he was not prepared for the all-out battle that followed. He is currently suing CREA and the Toronto Real Estate Board for implementing new rules that ultimately forced Realtysellers out of business in 2006 by requiring an agent who lists a home on MLS to remain the agent of the seller throughout the entire process. He says his case finally attracted the attention of the competition bureau, which argued in its application to the tribunal that the restrictions placed on the use of MLS “have virtually eliminated suppliers of fee-for-service real estate brokerage services in Canada.” For its part CREA said in court filings Realtysellers suspended operations because of impending disciplinary proceedings by the Real Estate Council of Ontario.

CREA declined to make anyone available to be interviewed, citing its ongoing legal battle. But the primary defence put forth by realtors who don’t want others gaining access to the rich store of data in the MLS system is: we built it, it’s ours. The database was established nearly half a century ago, and over the years the realtors’ association has spent tens of millions maintaining it.

The Realtor Racket

Photographs by Deddeda

The glaring problem with that argument is realtors paid for the MLS system with commissions the bureau now alleges were kept artificially high through realtors’ control of that very system. What’s more, there’s nothing proprietary about the raw data contained within the MLS, which is made up of information about homes that sellers themselves own.

One might have expected the real estate industry to suffer the same upheaval travel agencies have over the last decade. With the Internet making it easier to gather and disseminate airline and hotel information, sites like Expedia have made it fast and easy to book travel online, driving down the cost of travel for consumers. Many travel agents have closed shop. But the real estate industry has shielded itself from advances in technology. Over the last 10 years the number of agents represented by CREA has jumped from 66,000 to nearly 100,000.

Carolyne Lederer is an agent in Burlington, Ont., just west of Toronto, who has been selling homes for nearly 30 years. She says the industry has a poor track record when it comes to educating the public about the sale process and how agents earn their commissions. “In order to move from start to finish, there’s a long, drawn-out process that goes on behind the scenes,” she says, adding that agents’ experience and knowledge of the market can make all the difference for buyers and sellers alike. “You don’t pay me for what I do, you pay me for what I know.” In fact, she has taken the unusual step of writing lengthy explanations about the business on her agency’s website, including one article titled, “Commissions (or where does all the money go?),” in which she goes into detail—often excruciatingly—about realtor expenses. They include, according to Lederer, everything from the cost of owning a car and camera to “printer ink and toner cartridges, often by the case.” Needless to say, such explanations do little to convince critics the hefty commissions are deserved. After all, much of the supposed expertise realtors claim to offer clients comes from their stranglehold on market data.

In the U.S., the question over whether MLS amounts to a monopoly has already been debated, and the answer was yes. In 2005 the Department of Justice filed an anti-trust lawsuit against the National Association of Realtors. The case was settled three years later when the NAR changed its rules to no longer discriminate against discount brokers who use a flat-fee model. The battle still rages, though. Unlike Canada, America’s MLS systems are regional and run by local boards. Several states have imposed legislation to make it difficult for discount brokers to operate. Despite those hurdles, several alternative listing sites have sprung up, such as and online broker One look at the wealth of data available on Redfin hints at where the Canadian market could eventually head. Among the features are historical sales data, analysis of recent transactions by neighbourhood, property tax information, and charts of local housing markets broken down by listing price and final sales price.

Before buyers and sellers get too excited about all the money they’ll save on lower commissions, take a closer look at the U.S. experience. Despite the rapid growth of alternative listing sites and discount brokers, rates have yet to budge. In 2005 the median commission in America was five per cent, according to DOJ data. By last year, that rate had actually inched up to 5.3 per cent. And that’s something Canadian realtors should keep in mind as they wage war against the competition bureau. Just because people have the choice of bypassing a full-service broker to go it alone while still enjoying the benefits of an MLS listing, when it comes to making a $500,000 decision, many will still be willing to pay for quality service. It’s just that under the existing scenario, consumers are denied that choice.


Are real estate agents ripping you off?

  1. I personally agree that the market should open up and the competiton should increase , this way we can perform better and the best agents will actually earn even more commision based on the services they provide

    • the market couldn't be more open. There are 3000 Realtors in Edmonton alone….each of them gives you the opportunity to negotiate commissions. If you don't like one rate, call someone else. You'll find someone who will charge a fee you can be happy with. Or, sell on your own, kajiji, facebook, comfree, the list is endless.

    • This is a clear case of realtors wanting to keep the benefits of MLS to themselves.When the market was hot , houses sold themselves and realtors did very very little to earn even a fraction of the commission. As the market cools, they may actually have to learn to sell a house not just list it, More people have to stand up to their realtor in these tougher market times and demand more from them at a lower commission and then maybe a trend may begin. It's to easy in most provinces to become an agent and only work part time at it and that shows in the majority of realtors income levels. Only a few are really good at it. The only problem with Kiji and Craigs list for selling real estate is the scam artists out there that only want you to cough up an account number that they can supposedly transfer the deposit into.. and bingo no more money in your account. If some safeguards were in place for that it is a much more viewed site. Agents that say we pay for their advice have very big egos.. your advise is listed 1000 times over on the internet ..for FREE

  2. If the MLS is owned and paid for by the CREA, I don't see why they should let non members post to the site. There are lots of other choices for independent sellers to advertise their house. (local papers, Craigslist, Kijiji, etc.). If I want to start a blog, I can't demand space on the Macleans site just because it gets more hits than I would get by hosting my own site.

    • True – Realtors pay dues to be a part of this association, so it would be unfair to let others in on the system as free-riders.

    • This is true, but only to a point. If Mclean's garnered 90% of all news paper traffic in Canada, and the only way to advertise on it were to pay an enormous fee to an advertising agent, then the comparison would be valid.

      As it is, if you want to sell your house, realistically the only way to do so is to put it on MLS. If I can't put it on MLS myself, and the real estate boards won't do it for me for a reasonable price, then they're using their monopoly to gouge consumers. Which is illegal.

      Frankly, I don't think anyone would even have an issue with this if commissions were reasonable. But, frankly, more than 10% to sell my house is going to cost me at least $30,000 in Calgary. That's six months income for the average Canadian. Can you really tell me, with a straight face, that you are worth six months of my income? Seriously?

      • There are lots of agents in Calgary that will sell your house for less than 10%.

      • I don't think you fully understand how the commission system works. The agent does not get all of the $30,000.00 in commission. It is split between the two agents, then the broker gets a piece, the agent has dues to pay,
        education to pay for, expenses incurred listing the house, (and taking potential buyers out to see homes). In some cases, agents will have buyers out searching for a home for months which costs time, gas, and other expenses that come out of the agents' pocket. If the buyer doesn't end up buying a home, guess how much the agent earns? NOTHING!! And he/she is left with bills they still have to pay. By the time this whole process is complete some agents are literally making minimum wage.

        • My wife was in real estate for 5 years; I understand exactly how 'the commission system works.'

          I'm not sure where you are from but in Calgary brokers do not receive a commission unless the business is generated by the brokerage. The agent pays dues (kind of like franchise fees) to the brokerage to work out of the brokerage and use its name. Yes, both agents split the commission, but that's still $15,000 (average) for what amounts to throwing it up on MLS and doing some negotiation.

          As for the minimum wage tear jerk:

          Yes, agents who are poor salespersons, or incapable of generating clients, will not make money. That's how it works with commission; if you suck at your job, you won't make money.

          On the other hand, if you look at the ALIS wage info for agents it looks like the average wage for an agent is over $80,000. Unfortunately for 2009 they decided to lump sales people and real estate agents together, the last time I looked at the ALIS chart it had agents averaging higher than dentists. Which means that for every agent that makes minimum wage, there's another that's making well over $150,000. Not too shabby for taking some pictures and going to MLS (which, for the bigger agents, an assistant does anyway).

          • OMG! We work our tails off and you know it. Being a part time receptionist doesn’t mean your wife “worked in real estate”. BTW in 2009 Agents were starving with the economy and lack of sales and having to pay fees. I am shocked to read this from you of all people. There are huge expenses, massive liability and brutal hours that Realtors dedicate to their clients.

          • D,

            This was written several years ago, and written in the context of the article. I don’t remember writing it, but it reads like it was written by a person feeling frustrated with their own shit. And, it’s on a discussion board. Hyperbole is inherent to this form of communication.

            That being said, I apologize if it offended you. The comments about realtors not working hard or being committed would not have been meant to include you. Nor are they an accurate reflection of the value that I placed or place on the work that you do.

            I don’t begrudge you your income. I know that you work hard for it, and I understand that people deserve to be paid for their experience in addition to the effort that they put into a job and other related expenses. I understand that realtors are self-employed people who require a drive that is not inherent to most people.

            Good sales, as a rule, requires a unique type of individual that is difficult to find. In all professions there will be good ones and there will be bad ones; there will be honest ones, and there will be scummy ones. I’m sure all of your clients would say that they feel that you have done right by them, and have gone above and beyond for them.

            I appreciate everything that you have done for us. And I hope that some stupid words written on the internet don’t damage a friendship that I and my wife value very much.

            In any event, I have deleted the comments, and am deeply sorry for any hurt they have caused.

          • D,

            The comments were written several years ago, and written in the context of the article. I don’t remember writing them, but they reads like they were written by a person feeling frustrated with their own shit. And, it’s on a discussion board. Hyperbole is inherent to that form of communication.

            That being said, I apologize if they offended you. The comments about realtors not working hard or being committed would not have been meant to include you. Nor are they an accurate reflection of the value that I placed or place on the work that you do.

            I don’t begrudge you your income. I know that you work hard for it, and I understand that people deserve to be paid for their experience in addition to the effort that they put into a job and other related expenses. I understand that realtors are self-employed people who require a drive that is not inherent to most people.

            Good sales, as a rule, requires a unique type of individual that is difficult to find. In all professions there will be good ones and there will be bad ones; there will be honest ones, and there will be scummy ones. I’m sure all of your clients would say that they feel that you have done right by them, and have gone above and beyond for them.

            I appreciate everything that you have done for us. And I hope that some stupid words written on the internet don’t damage a friendship that I and my wife value very much.

            In any event, I have deleted the comments, and am deeply sorry for any hurt they have caused.

          • And, apparently, if you delete old posts on here they come back, just with your name taken off.

  3. In my experience, most realtors are unintelligent, inarticulate people that basically fell into the business of selling houses because they weren't qualified to do anything else. There are exceptions of course, but all you have to do is watch an episode of "Flip this House" or something similar to realize what a good realtor actually does to sell a house.

    • @Jim: I am a lawyer that sells real estate. Within our office of approximately 50, we have another lawyer that also sells, 3 with business degrees with Honours, and another 4 with University degrees. One thing we all have in common: we're all under 40. The reality is that the business is becoming more and more professional by the year, and that attracts us to the profession. Part-timers are being discouraged by the increased fees and required continuing education, and every year our local board kicks out another 5 vagrants that I wouldn't trust further than I can throw. I will agree with you that difference in quality within our industry is vast; but that's why the top 7% of agents make 93% of the money — the cream rises to the top. We are deal facilitators; those of us that truly understand the business will run circles around someone's attempt to sell their house privately. It's a sweet science and I love it.

    • Congratulations…you have a TV. You must be an expert.

      • You obviously didn't understand my comment. My family and I have used agents to buy or sell 6 houses in the last 10 years, and none of them put remotely as much effort into it as the successful folks who have their own TV shows. Matlock here is right, and backed up my assertion with statistics. If 7% of agents sell 93% of the home value, the other 93% of agents are a bunch of scrubs. To me, 93% certainly qualifies as "most".

  4. Can anyone explain to me if everyone hates paying the commissions why do 95% of consumers use an agent ?

    There seems to be some disconnect between what people say and what they do ? Can anyone explain.

    • People are fearful of trying new things. Case in point: Some time ago, my cousin wanted to try to sell their home but her husband (a timid soul) discouraged her. Within one week of the Realtor's posting a sign on their lawn, a neighbour bought their house.

      That is an explanation of why many consumers use an agent!

      • Guess why? The neighbour saw a realtor sign and realized they had better get serious and make an offer before they lost out!

    • We, the consumers, are brainwashed. Realtors use scare tactics to make it appear that they work some "magic" to sell a house and that we aren't privy to their magical ways.

      • Are there really still people out there who don't know, that everything worthwhile is owned by the Mafia? Just ask old Gordie; but I doubt that he would tell the trues. Probably won't even give you an answer.

        • Some people don't know there are other options.
          It isn't that you are getting 10% less if you sell yourself, it is the fact that many years ago there were no bidding wars. Often the " other bids" that make you raise your bid are fake just so you will go higher above the asking price. makeing the agent more money.

    • The trick is to be the listing agent, then you take half off the top, give some advice to the seller.. load in MLS.. hang the shingle, and sit back for a fat paycheck.. Buyers agent.. they have some work to do, carting buyers around to get one to actually buy, so they can make their commission. Hook a motivated buyer, and the outcome is assured. Percentaged based commissions.. yep.. they are a racket, especially when you move up market ! What is fair value for a sale … work done to get a sale / post to MLS / alternative ? That is something no one discusses. Agents / brokers.. little more than middlemen.. with a nice fat monoply, with very handsome dividends. Of course they'll fight this tooth an nail.

  5. They don't have a choice. If you sell by owner you are likely to have to sell your house for 10% less than if you sold with an agent, so why not let them do it for you?

    Now, why are you going to lose 10%? Well there are numerous reasons for that, but one of the biggest reasons is the MLS exclusivity. A good Realtor will be able to sell it faster and get you more than market value, but how often do you get good Realtors? Most of them are worse than scummy, used car salesmen.

    Usually the only things Realtors do are list it on MLS, manage showings (usually the buying Realtor does the actual showing, and often a third party like Call To View is paid to take calls), perform the negotiations, and passes the paperwork. I don't think that that would really be worth a pay cheque in excess of $30,000 were it not for MLS.

  6. It has gotten way out of whack in my opinion. If I have to sell anything in the future I will not use an agent. I will try Comfree first!!

  7. The problem I have with commissions is that they don't correlate well to the effort it takes to sell a property in recent markets. I've sold places a couple of times in the past several years, and they sold over asking with multiple offers after a couple of days of showings. I realize that a fast sale may offset several other prolonged sales for a realtor, but that's the realtor's problem, not mine. Maybe sellers need to be able to turn the tables on the realtors and take bids for the opportunity to sell a particular property.

    When it comes time to buy, the exclusive access realtors have to MLS listings for the first few days of new listings means that you need to have a realtor to have any chance of buying a property in a seller's market. That's often the only compelling reason to retain an agent.

    • " Maybe sellers need to be able to turn the tables on the realtors and take bids for the opportunity to sell a particular property."

      YOU CAN!!!

      • No, not really. You have some flexibility with respect to the agent you hire to list your property. If you're willing to work at it, you may be able to negotiate a lower commission than the going rate. What you can't do much about is the commission paid to the buyer's agent. Agents have an interesting way of avoiding properties that don't pay the standard commission, and also shunning listings by agencies that specialize in low commissions or flat fees. It's understandable, they're protecting their food chain, but I don't like it.

    • all commission is negotiable….there is not a fixed rate. Markets find a natural balance, in Texas 6% is common, in Alberta, about 5% is common, …whatever the market will bear is what the common rate will be. You can use kajiji, craigs list, Face Book, the list is endless. For Realtors, there is 2% Realty,, and several others who are discounters.

      If you don't understand the value of a Realtor….don't use one.

  8. One thing that people should know is that real estate is a very litigious career. The benefits of hiring a real estate agent that is good protects you from being sued. I know a $30,000 comission sounds like a lot but if you make one mistake in the paperwork it can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars in the future with another $50,000 or more in legal bills. That makes a $30,000 comission sound pretty good. Just think of all the lawsuits that would arise with all the skipped paperwork that the average person would miss and not properly check. All the open loopholes that could be left open that could keep your kids from ever going to college or put you into a life of slavery to pay of a lawsuit. Thats why they make the big bucks. Thats also why the crappy agents get sued and don't last.

    • Baloney, they have insurance to protect against such lawsuits and most sales and purchases go through a lawyer at some point who handles the paper work.

      On top of it all the lawyer fees are passed on the the buyer and seller above and beyond the commission.

      • And who do you think pays that insurance to protect against lawsuits? The agent does!!

    • Now really! What nonsense. When selling your own house, after an agreement has been reached both the seller and the buyer take their copy to a real estate lawyer of their choice. This comment is just another example of underhanded scare tactics.

      • Agreed, Hell even the Lawyers fee's do not add up to anywhere as close to the fee's the Realtor is asking for.
        and in the end its the lawyer who is protecting your ass! my neighbors sold their homes within days without a realtor, why in gods name would I throw away $30,000

    • You possess the mental skills of a realtor. Your claim that the success and failure of real estate agents depends on his/her ability to properly fill out the paper work is pure bunk. There is no such statistical correlation. Real estate agents, in general, are on nodding terms with the english language and do not have the brains to enter the profession fields of law and medicine. However, these people want to be paid better than the average lawyer. Get a real job half-wit.

      • Just wanted to reply to you and let you know I already make more than a doctor or lawyer so don't hate me because I've figured out how not to waste my time. My father was a smart business man who told me you will never be rich by going to school and working for someone at a company. You need to own that company. I have more free time than most people and I have people to run my business. If you want to call me a half wit then go ahead. Im just amazed at how you think you have it figured out.

        Best Regards

    • Reese the Paper work is always done by the lawyer. Agents don't even do the paper work. The lawyer makes sure all the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed. So really there is a slim chance that the transaction will be messed up. In fact, no mortgage company will release any funds until the lawyers have done the paper work for the transaction. The lawyers make the least amount of money on the sale of the home and yet the agents walks away with the most in their pocket. Really think about it? So forget this lawsuit and your kids not making it to college nonsense. I've sold two house private and the first one sold with in 12 days of putting up a sign on my lawn. The lawyer handled all the paper work for the transaction. I saved myself almost 20k in commission. Think about that the next time you see a commercial on T.V stating how you can't sell your home without an agent. Bullshit!

    • That is what the lawyer is for. If worried about this pay the lawyer $300 to read the sale and purchase contract. This is total nonsense and is nothing more that fear mongerring.

  9. Good realtors are worth it.

    Mine have actually steered me away (gently, I'll admit) from a couple of properties I was considering, and once even with the deposit in hand said, "It's the weekend, take another day or two to think about it. I can always just shred this cheque." Sure enough, that's what she ended up doing once I looked into more of the neighborhood stats. I've gotten advice on ways to perhaps get my reno's done for cheaper, and help and advice on what a property might take to prepare for rental.

    Like any contractor, do your homework on your realtor as well. It's paid off for me, and I don't begrudge a cent of the fees.

    • Extremely well said. The best agents will always try to steer you in the right direction; my team focuses heavily on income property sales in South Western Ontario, and as fellow investors we find ourselves battling our own clients NOT to buy a specific place we don't like as much as we encourage others. You're telling me we're not worth the commissions, while ensuring you make the best investment choices possible???

      • My seller who posted to MacLean's Magazine discussion here (Bowman), is a happy seller like you, Rhys. I was able to get him FORTY THOUSAND dollars more than three other agents said they could sell his property for (and I didn't know he had interviewed other agents). And he choose to pay a premium commission on the transaction, from the variables Carolyne Realty Corp offered to him. It's all negotiable. It is all the seller's choice that he feels most comfortable with. Is end price and/or net price tied to how much commission is paid? Sometimes, perhaps it is, because it is all about the how the agent presents the property to his colleagues and to the public. A house has to be sold a minimum of three times. First to the listing agent, by the seller; next, by the listing agent to his colleagues; next, to the buyer. Then everyone wins.

  10. This has been way too long iun coming to the surface. There is no way that an agent is worth 5-6 % of sales value for what they do. I agree that a flat $5,000 fee would be more in alignment and actually would stimulate house sales!

    • @Bob: that would bankrupt the industry and put a huge dent into your property value increases as the more talented agents move to more profitable sales sectors. In other words, you'd all be worth less.

      • This comment actually made me laugh out loud. What a joke.

  11. My brother is in real estate and it's no longer about selling a property as much as it is about getting people to list with you.

    Once they get the listing it becomes strictly a matter of using MLS to post on the selling side and match on the buying side. If the house doesn't sell in two weeks then it's price to high and they lower the price. That's it….nothing else is done (barring some help on the paperwork). Now why should they get $25,000 for a few days work? Who else does?

    None of them actually search outside of MLS either on the buying side which is what makes MLS such a monopoly…you can list on your own but other than people who drive by your property or may catch you on some Web site your are way less likely to sell unless it's on MLS.

    I have personally witness the Real Estate Board crush realtors who tried to step outside MLS.

    So maybe individual realtors aren't so bad but as an industry it's pure BS.

    • I'm sure your brother is touched by your support.

    • my Dad started in Real Estate late in life to change things up and found out that the local Board rules with an Iron fist, if you step out of line….SMACK! ….oh you think you can sell that multimillion dollar complex with so and so involved to take the lions share of the commission…..SMACK! the deal dies all of a sudden, it has noting to do with salesmanship just who do you know and the leg work you put in making friends with the board.

      in the end he realized that for all the hard work he put in he would have been better working a different 9-5 job.

    • @Choked: you say it's "no longer about selling a property", but then go into the traditional "list, reduce, reduce, sell" model which is an old school technique only used by old school real estate agents.

      If you seriously think our industry is about making $25,000 for 3 days of work — that's so off it's laughable! (sarcasm here) You know, once I bag that huge commission for 3 days of work, then for the other 4 days of the week I ride a unicorn around chasing rainbows, and singing songs about the good life around the campfire on the beach. Then Rodney Dangerfield and I go do some triple lundies of the high diving board, and all us Realtors dance on top of cars to happy tunes. It's the good life being a Realtor, all easy street let me tell you!

      The reality is our business is highly competitive, do or die, and only the best get paid. And by "the best", these are the most competent, professional and hard working deal facilitators in Canada. You don't have good agents, you don't have property value increases, and you don't have massive quality of life increases for the entire population. It's time every hater of the industry gives their head a shake, we ALL benefit.

      • Where can we bow down to you oh great realtor?

    • My Dad's a Pilot, so I know how to fly…..My Uncles a Surgeon, so I know how to opperate on a human.

      I've never understood this train of thought.

      My dad Has been a Realtor since 1972, but I didn't have a clue about the business until I got licensed in 2004.

      • Thanks, Mark…
        Like anything in life, what looks really easy and overpaid work is actually quite a different animal when you jump in and try to do it for yourself. I've had my real estate licence here in one of the country's hottest real estate markets since last year and have had half a dozen listings and have even sold a few but I'm still in a negative cash flow situation – in other words: I'm not even close to the break-even point in my real estate career.
        Several of my fellow REALTORs have quit the business since I've started but with 1800 of us, you wouldn't notice with all of the new ones coming every day. The market is hot, mostly because everyone wants to move here, not because of the machinations of my industry. And though I see houses selling for much more than asking prices all around me, I have yet to participate in the "free-for-all" going on around me.
        I've had to take a part-time job to support my "filthy habit" and it pays more than real estate, thankfully. In my limited experience; most of the sales, especially in the upper end of the market are handled by a very small percentage of the agents in my local area… most of the rest of us are living hand to mouth. I don't think I'm very different from most of my peers, I'm just not embarassed to admit the cruel reality of this supposedly lucrative profession.

    • Then your brother is the problem!

  12. Real estate commissions add to the price of a house, everytime it is sold. But do they add to the value?

  13. Realtors are now and always have been known for their sleaze. We have sold 2 homes ourselves. 1 condominium apt. and 1 house. It may have taken us two months longer but we sold both the condo and the house for a minimal amount more than the same size apt. and house on the same street.

    • That is a very ignorant and sweeping comment – there are good and bad (sleezy) representatives in any kind of business in the world – my sister and a good friend are agents who work themselves to death for their clients – do you really think that agents just put on a nice suit, jump in their Mercedes and rip the client off? The thousands of dollars it costs to take the unbelievably hard courses to get your license, not to mention the many thousands of fees to the realtor, continuing courses, signs, cards, computer cots, the time consumption of having to 'stage' houses so poorly decorated that they aren't fit to be photographed for MLS – having to be not only sales representatives – but psychologists, decorators, inspectors, babysitters, private 'limo' drivers for clients, financial advisors and lawyers – there is instability in a commission only job but they would never let it show – they are PROFESSIONALS – they have to wear many, many hats and if the average 'Joe' like you thinks they can handle all the paperwork and complications that come with the many legal transactions, not to mention the hours and hours put in by these agents to find the perfect home – whether they sell it or not – then they are sadlly mistaken. Perhaps Marlene if you have a law degree under your belt – or an MBA you should go right ahead and sell your own home – but as a potential buyer – if I see a 'private sale' sign – I'd steer clear of it! There is a reason more people leave it to the professionals.

      • Well said!

    • Hi Marlene. I bet if we met, you wouldn't walk away thinking that I was "sleazy". Most of my colleagues are people I'm proud to be associated with. There are 3000 Realtors on the Edmonton Board….so I can guarantee a few of them are sleazy….but I can also guarantee those ones don't do any repeat business.

      I respect your right to sell on your own, and wish you continued success of the same.

      I would ask you to consider the following: 87% of my business is either Repeat, or from Client Referrals.

      This means that my clients like, trust, and respect me enough to keep coming back…and to bring their friends. They wouldn't do that if they thought I was over-paid, sleazy, or crooked in any way.

      Mark Meincke

      Proud Father

  14. Agent may spend a few dollars on advertising but actually very little on your particular listing. Completing the sale form is very straight forward and the seller can easily do that. You can even pay for a house inspection…..again under $500.

    The real protection for both homeowner and buyer is the lawyer and he gets paid $600 to $1000. Far far less than the realtor. MLS listing is a great selling tool but of little real value. People will drive around a neighbourhood for properties which I believe is your best tool versus MLS. That's how the commissions become inflated

    Are they ripping sellers off ….no question. Should commissions fall…..absolutely.

    • House inspections are usually paid for by the buyer, no?

      • All commissions are negotiable…if you don't see the value, don't pay. Either sell on your own, or decide what you think the service is worth, and negotiate that price.

        I can pull teeth too, no…I'm not a dentist, but they are expensive. I have some propper Dentists Plyers, all I have to do is pull….right? Seems simple enough.

        • But Dentists are not neally as expensive as real estate agents. The problem with real estate agents is they are ungodly expensive. $23,000 to sell my house, that's too much, our agent used the line on us that if we negotiated down the commissions no other agent would show our house to their clients, scare tactics. Unfortunately it worked on us and most other sellers.

          • Keith. I'm a realtor and while the vendor may be charged $23,000 it rarely if ever goes entirely to the listing agent. Usually that will be split with the buying agent who brought the purchasers. The brokerage for each agent then takes a chunk, along with the government etc. etc.
            My monthly costs (fee's insurance etc.) are over $1,500 per month. I've taken listings and spent close to $1,000 on them simply to have the vendor change their mind and take it off the market. I never see any of that money back.
            Some deals do go very quickly and easily I'll admit. Others you can work your butt off for nothing. I've had to clean a clients toilet before the start of an open house and I've cleaned a clients entire kitchen before the buyers took possession of their home – they left a mess. There's more to the game than meets the eye.
            My son-in-law told me the other day that he's thinking of getting into the business and it concerned me. He like most people don't realize how expensive it is to get into and stay in this business. It's rewarding and I love it but it's hard work.

      • Yes, you are correct. Inspections are almost always paid for by the buyer.

        Also, Realtors do not charge the buyers for their services.

        • Well indirectly the buyer is paying for the realty fees, because they are paying more for the purchase price which inturn the seller pays the real estate agent from!

        • We must be careful not to mislead the public . . . and it is statements like yours that do, sadly.
          Where did you get THAT information? In order to complete your thought process, you need, at the very least, to address Buyer Agency contracts (do you know that?), wherein if the buyer elects to buy a FSBO or any property for that matter, it could be (not always is so) that the buyer will end up paying the REALTOR's (company's) commission. No agent is in control of the billing process at any company. And, in keeping with the Buyer's contract with his agent, the Buyer WILL be required to pay the company, either in full or in part, according to that contract. The company “owns” that Buyer contract. It is just like a listing contract; nothing more, nothing less. Read the consumer education "Articles" at

  15. Why is it that anyoe who takes a 2 month realtor course is entitled to a $25,000 commission for showing buyers where the bathroom is, while a person who struggles though 7 years of universtiy to earn a law degree, and ensures the real estate deal is finalized and sound, is only entitled to $600?

    Where is the equity in that?

    • Where is this 2 month course being offered….not in British Columbia. Course is taken thru UBC School of Business and it sure isn't a 2 month course!!

    • Since you seem to be an expert on salaries I was wondering why a hockey player makes more than a heart surgeon. The next time all you cry babies want to buy a home pleeeeeease do not look on mls or call a workhaholic realtor. Good luck with that.

      • Because pro athletes have an extremely unique talent that only one in a hundred thousand possess, and millions want to watch. You knew that already but you were just trying to be funny, right?

    • I LOVE this argument. I Doctor friend of mine makes the same argument. The answer is simple…..we don't have Jobs, we have businesses. We don't get paid by the hour, we get paid by the result. If we don't provide the result, we don't get paid. If a Lawyer doent' provide the result…he still gets paid.

      Last I checked the NAR stats, Realtors make about 40K a year on average. Though, some….a fraction of a percent make more than a mill a year.

      IF you are not a business owner,… won't understand.

      Any scalable business has unlimited earning potential.

      • ALIS shows agents averaging $80,000 per year.

    • Why do uneducated rig workers make more than doctors? They are willing to do what not many others are willing to do.
      Realtors are self employed, so if you need the safety of having a cheque every two weeks, good for you, but some people are entrepenuers who would like to make a better than average lifestyle, by going out and working hard for it!
      Does it really matter if they make more than you do? Lawyers make great money, but really they work about 10 mintues on real estate purchases, their assistants do the rest! Really!!

  16. One question. If selling privately how do you know what to ask and if buying privately how do you know what you should pay ?

  17. The internet is a wonderful thing!, attending open houses for 6 months prior to selling, looking at municipality assessments in comparisson to what recent properties have sold for.
    Realtors are no gurantee to posting the right price. Ask three realtors to submit bids to list your house, almost guranteed that all three of them will have different prices to list at.
    Do your due dilligence. Its an easy thing that takes no skill that does not merit a $25,000 commission

  18. If you live in a market where your property requires very little marketing and will sell quickly, it is a colossal waste of money to use a realtor. My parents sold 2 houses in a matter of a few days with very little legal knowledge other than the basics. Were they lucky? Perhaps, but I've heard stories of people trying to sell a house only to find that the title was bad. Both their realtor and their lawyer totally missed during their so-called "due diligence".

    In a property we recently purchased, both the vendors realtor and our realtor basically did nothing to earn their commissions. We found the property, contacted the vendors realtor, met with the vendors and their realtor once and then with our realtor once to write up an offer. This was worth 5% of the sale price? Nice "work" if you can get it!

    MLS has become a monopoly allowing realtors to charge outrageous commissions for doing next to nothing.

    • Selling in a few days is great, but with a good comparison analysis from a real estate agent, the right selling price might have been higher – enough to cover the real estate commission. I'm always amused when someone tells me how wonderful it was that they were able to close a house sale in 3 days…

    • "MLS has become a monopoly allowing realtors to charge outrageous commissions for doing next to nothing."

      This really is a simplistic generalization. MLS is an information sharing system for member realtors. I don't believe there is anything preventing Open-Democracy or anyone else from assembling their own data sharing system in competition with MLS. To imply that anyone can charge outrageous commissions for doing next to nothing in a free market, capitalist society like ours is downright naive. Granted, the occasional trouble free deal falls into the lap of a realtor but, by and large, getting a deal from listing to closing is hard work which requires a great deal of patience and knowledge. Most consumers really do not know the half of it.

      • Are you a realtor? When the heavy work on any real estate deal I've done comes up, the realtor has always disappeared and the lawyers have taken over. In fact, in all cases, the realtor has deliberately recused themselves from further involvement.

  19. So… without Realtors …. no…. no Open Houses by salespeople…. now what do we do… or should we just expect Realtors to do everything for nothing.? Maybe all of the un-employed salespeople can get those lucrative Government jobs that pay 1/2 million dollars.

  20. "from start to finish, there's a long, drawn-out process that goes on behind the scenes" WHAT A CROCK OF ENTITLEMENT! Overhaul of this industry is long overdue, it is completely monopolistic and is charging higher and higher outrageous fees based on a percentage system, not based on how hard they actually work. I sold a house myself 2 years ago. Got the forms off the internet. Put up a sign. Posted an ad on all the free classified sites. Faxed the completed agreement to my lawyer and advised the purchaser to do same. All it cost me was a for sale sign. So folks, stop using MLS, leave that to the gougers and look around…there are many nice houses for sale that are not listed on MLS. Even with the so called concessions, I cannot believe that I would have to pay someone hundreds of dollars to take a picture and fill in a web form to post it on MLS. In future, I would never engage a real estate agent without attempting to sell the property myself. The internet levels the playing field!

    • I can pull teeth too, no…I'm not a dentist, but they are expensive. I have some propper Dentists Plyers, all I have to do is pull….right? Seems simple enough.

      • Are you seriously comparing yourself to a dentist? A two year real estate diploma is the same as eight years of University (and medical sciences at that!)?

        The worst part is that any good agent can actually make as much as a dentist.

  21. Yes they rip you off. As a builder I was using agents to sell my homes. I decided to try it on my own. Yes it takes a few more weeks to sell, but I save 18k in commissions. 18k is pretty good income for me for a few weeks "work". I tried to negotiate with them for a reduced rate. Forget it. Brokers are the ones that make huge money on others backs. The system is broken, older agents are brainwashed, and I won't use them anymore. Legal recourse? Please spare me the crap. The contracts protect the agent and broker, not the sellers.

    • You should contact a realtor lawyer to see who is protected. I think you will find that you are way off base

    • Wow, are you misinformed. I'm the exclusive Realtor for 3 builders, they're happy because of the results I produce.

      Listing contracts of over-the-top constructed to protect the seller. Don't take my word for it, ask a Real Estate Lawyer.

      If you were not able to negotiate a rate you were happy with , either work on your negotiation skills, or try a different Realtor.

      call 2% Realty, or, or…..about 50 other brokerages that are all discounters. I give great rates to volume clients….but only to volume clients.

  22. If the public is willing to subscribe to annual and monthly fees and insurance required by a licensed realtor, then I say let them have access to all the mls data. But also, let them be accountable and sued for any wrong doing, misrepresentation or false statements. Not all realtors or brokers are crooks. A referral from a friend, family member or colleague may keep you on a more profitable and pleasurable journey in your next real estate transaction.

  23. I sold my condo a while ago… I knew exactly what the going rate was from watching the listings in my building over the past few years. What the hell did I need a realtor for?

    Bottom line is that I put it up on Comfree, marked the price down a couple thousand (I still came out way ahead compared to if I had to pay a realtor commission), and sold it in a couple of weeks. Easy peasy.

    In the future, I would happily pay a realtor – but only a flat rate, maybe a thousand bucks to print up some nice flyers, to show the house a few times or whatever. Paying $25,000, though? Hahaha….don't make me laugh.

  24. Nobody is forced to use a realtor so quit bitching!!! Sell the house yourself thru whatever advertising means or web site you want. If you want to use the MLS system than buck up and pay for it. You are not entitled to use someone elses website!

    • Finally someone with something worthy to say. Thanks Brian!

    • There's a need for another sophisticated data bank system similar to MLS, like a registered craigslist of properties for sale . Then the real competition begins.

  25. is a great site & tool for buyers and sellers. It has a pretty big share of the market in the prairies so far. For a small flat fee a representative from Comfree comes to your home, takes pictures, supplies a sign for your lawn, gives you a sales contract, does a descriptive write-up of your home for the website (usually 3-4 paragraphs – much longer than what you see on MLS) and then you're on your own. It's not scary – the lawyers and banks do about 98% of the work, you just have to make sure that you get the signed sales contract to your lawyer. (Both parties must still both have their own lawyer.) It's foolproof. (I have sold a home this way.)

  26. We listed our house with Sherwood Park, Alberta's 'top' real estate agent at the price he suggested. We did not see or hear from him for 3 weeks at which point he called and said we needed to lower the price. Again he was invisible and silent for another 3 weeks. When we said he was doing a poor job at both marketing and keeping in contact and we wanted to end the contract, the realtor said,"fine" but that we would have to pay him his full commission to get rid of him. Our house sat on the market for the full period of the listing. In the meantime we enlisted a "beginner" realtor who did new photography (the "top" realtor was still using winter photographs in August!), and got the listing ready to begin as soon as the first listing expired. This realtor had an offer within two days and all was complete within one week of her taking over the listing. Will I ever list again – never with an experienced realtor with Canada's largest agency. I will look for a hungry newcomer to the industry or sell myself. The real estate industry is corrupt and needs an overhaul.

    • Most of the big agents have teams of other agents that work for them. You may meet the big guy to sign the listing contract, but everything else is done by their lackeys, or worse, assistants. Its all about marketing.

      Much better to get a referral from someone who has used an agent.

  27. You can advertise your home yourself. Place ads online. Check out It's a great, practically fool proof service. As far as pricing your home, do you seriously not know what homes in your neighborhood are worth??? If not, it's free for anyone to browse MLS and search through listings that are similar to your own. Lawyers and banks do 98% of the work, not realtors. I have sold homes myself. It's easy. Just be willing to give some people a tour of your home and be honest with them. The biggest roadblock to selling your home will be if that is an accepted practice in your area. Comfree is very common in the prairies so no one is suspicious of it there, but I currently live in Vancouver and no one has heard of it so people still think that you HAVE to have a realtor because that is what realtor's have convinced everyone of.

  28. Perhaps the so called corruption in the Real Estate industry if it is real is our canary in the mine….of our culture–our world

    Why do some hockey , baseball players, singer songwriters, actors walk away with millions and get to have the Order of Canada….while others excell in careers that make meaningful difference in lives and get the handshake at 65 hopeing they will be able to meet their needs.

    Why does the head of the OAG get over a million while his workers are fighting for a basic contract.
    Why do some Dr.'s make so much?
    Why do videos of some TTC workers blacken that industry when some staff at Emergency Depts get to be rude, uncaring, intimidating and powerful when we are vulnerable…

    We have lost our moral compass.

    We are working with a Real Estate agent right now that is busting her buns for us…..she is worth every penny…..and thats without even an offer over two months……we see her work and we trust her….perhaps thats the key…..relationship….

    Who knows any more what is fact and what is allusion….

    • Clearly you do not know what is illusion…

  29. All the comments, falsely indicate that the Agent gets 5 or 6%. First of all,since the Co-operating Brokerage's Agents with Buyers splits half the fee in 90% of all transactions, that 5 1/2 to 6% is cut in half. Then the Listing Agent's Brokerage gets their split, leaving the Agent after all expenses of 1 to 1-1/4%. Thus, it pays a Seller to use an Agent with access to the MLS, where most Canadian Buyers find their homes!!!. There is lots of opportunities available to Sell a home yourself, but statistically 80% of Sellers ultimately utilize an Agent.!

  30. Our franchisees have been offering a "fee for services" business model in Canada very successfully for several years, despite the unfriendly (and in my opinion anti-competitive) attitude of CREA. Our offices offer a low flat fee for full service – not just an "entry only into the MLS” program. The fee is typically around $3000 and paid only if the house sells. No upfront fees. Sellers are also offered the option of adding inclusion in the MLS to the marketing of the home for an additional fee – typically 2.5 to 3%, and this additional fee is paid only if the house sells by an MLS agent. In response to our success (and complaints by unhappy agents) CREA has implemented under their code of ethics advertising rules that make it very difficult to promote our low fee programs. The effect of the rules is that it is practically impossible for us to advertise our low fees. How could that possible benefit consumers? Lyle Martin VP ASSIST2SELL CORP.

  31. you are sadly misinformed about the courses – more importantly – no – they're not saving lives – but neither are investment bankers who make millions a year – or factory workers who stand on an assembly line (horrible job to be sure but…) – they make as much as a dentist or doctor – do some research on OREA about the '2 month course' – things have changed and you would not believe the intensity of the required courses. Showing where the bathroom is? You watch too much HGTV sir – it is not an 'acting' gig.

  32. It seems to me that there are two related issues. First is the amount of commission the brokerage/agent is paid. As a result people would like to find ways to pay for selling a house. While there are poor agents there are many good ones. However the rapid rise in house prices means that regardless of ability commissions have risen equally quickly. While it is true that a good agent does much more than list the property on MLS, the amount of work necessary to do the transaction hasn't changed substantially in the last few years. As the work hasn't increased why should the commission? One way of dealing with the problem would be to put a cap on the amount of commission paid. That would have two effects. It would limit the cost of selling a property. It would also make getting listing very expensive properties no more attractive for agents than less expensive ones.

  33. The knowledge many (not all!) realtors have, and their negotiating skills, can be very helpful for a home buyer or seller. But all the skills in the world are not worth the exorbitant fees they charge. I cannot justify paying out more than a whole year of my after tax, hard earned income for someone to put their sign on my home and do a bit of paperwork! Especially when the sale is effected within mere days! I am willing to do my homework to find out what my home is work in the current market, price and advertise it accordingly, show it, and fill out the paperwork.
    Both buyer and seller have their own legal representation, and the buyer is encouraged to have a home inspection, so even though realtors tend to instill the fear of "deals gone wrong" in the hearts of their clients, the huge majority of these deals are successful. I wonder if the statistics of failed deals is any higher with realtors than without? If I wanted to pay a middle man to act on my behalf, a fee more in line with what the lawyer or inspector charges should be the norm!

    • It is funny when people complain about how fast their home sold and they had to pay full commissions – what a rip off, youre so unfortunate that your home sold withing a few weeks.
      If a home sits on the market for 3 to 4 months you should pay full commission but not if it sells immediately right? – the Realtor didnt work hard to market the home, have open houses, negotiate at all hours, etc…
      Look, sometimes a home sells fast, sometimes it doesnt. What people dont realize is that a Realtor can spend months with a client and then make no money – thats 0 dollars. Realtors dont get paid a wage, only commission.
      I agree that becoming a realtor is not a difficult endeavor and should take more education. But Realtors pay so much in fees and to even get their license. People only see the fact that some money can be made, you are just as "greedy" to not want to pay what is the industry norm and has been for some time as the Realtors who collect the commission so "unlawfully".

  34. DID YOU KNOW that if an offer comes in with ANY changes to the original contract ie: not the FULL asking price or DATE of take-over, technically it breaks the contract and at that point you can cut the commission to help make up the difference in price.

  35. Two years ago I sold my home to a partner who was also co signer on the mortgage. Because I live in another city, a friend who was a real estate agent offered to draw up the paper work and deliver to the lawyer. I agreed to pay for the service but the friend/real estate agent claimed 6%, $8,000. I thought maybe $1,000 would be fair. I took her to small claims court, the house was not listed on mls and I thought I had a good chance of retrieving some of my money back. She had a lawyer and I didn't, I lost. I think agents are vultures and would sell their own and say anything to close it, and still sleep at night.

    • Read the contract next time.

    • You didn't lose because she had a lawyer, you lost because you signed a paper agreeing on the value, otherwise you wouldn't have lost the case.

      Read the contract next time (2x)

  36. Homeowners are actually robbed by the mortgage lenders. Given that, the mortgagees hard earned money should not go to an agent who has quadrupled his rate through inflation of the market in such a short span of time. The new huge sums of money earned as an agent today can be compared to dentistry or being an m.d. If the home is worth more than 500,000 k, then the commissions should be dropped a percentage if over 1 million maybe another cut is in order. The larger well kept expensive homes are actually easier to sell to and the clientele pretty exacting. The work does not get harder it is basically the same. I suggest in a sellers market the owner shall ask for a rate within his means, to at least get psychological justification and comfort to lessen the anxiety over the whole transaction.

  37. And they wonder why we call them dirt pimps?

  38. Here in the Toronto area I used a flat fee mls company and it cost me $1995. They have a lower cost option as well and they did everything any other agent would do. I sold two houses through them and would highly recommend him.

  39. Signed a 6 month listing with a realtor to sell my house for $850,000. Commission would be 2 1/2% to my realtor and 2 1/2% to the purchaser's realtor. After 4 months no offers, but many many house showings. I decided the realtor wasn't selling but instead was acting as a tour guide, in spite of the sales "ammunition" that I had provided, having been in sales for 30 years. So one fine sunny warm spring Sunday I purposely placed myself out on the front lawn doing spring gardening near the realtor's "For Sale" sign . A couple stopped their car and asked if they could see the house. I showed it to them, very carefully promoting its features, and they decided to buy it. We agreed on a price of $800,000. Out of this I was to pay my realtor 2 12% or $20,000. The buyer had no realtor and at no time in the past had he ever had one, so I was not required to pay the other 2 1/2%. Next day I called my realtor and announced my success. She was furious and I received a long lecture in her offices that afternoon prior to the signing meeting with the purchaser. At the conclusion of her lecture she telephoned every realtor she could think of to find one who would admit to having shown any house to my buyer so that I would have to pay the purchaser's realtor's 2 1/2% fee through her. She was unable to find any. When she finally determined that the purchaser would not be represented by a realtor she then refused to handle the deal for the $20,000, stating that it would require her to do too much work. Thinking quickly I offered to raise the commission to 3% (another $4,000), and she accepted. The purchaser arrived. She grilled him mercilessly trying to determine that he had a realtor. He finally said that if she insisted then he would contact his good friend, a realtor in the nearby city, and she would of course then miss out on the extra commission and I would have to pay his friend $20,000, which he told her he certainly did not want me to have to do. In conclusion, I agree that the current realtor commission rate is excessive in view of current house prices.

    • Many real estate boards require buyers to sign contracts that state that they will continue doing business with one realtor regardless of whether or not they find a house on their own. If an agent gets caught helping these people they can face fines, etc. Given that your agent's focus was on making sure that they had no prior realtor, I'd suspect that this is the case in your region.

      Also, 2.5% and 2.5%?!? In Calgary its usually 6% and 3.5%. You guys are lucky.

  40. What's the equivalent to comfree in Ontario? I want it!!!

    • check , but there are always lots of FSBO companies out there. just google it, you'll see.

  41. Does anyone know a site which is comparable to comfree for Ontario?

  42. I've never been enamoured of realtors but when we sold our condo the agent told us to ask $75k more than we thought it was worth.We sold it in a week for only $5k less than his asking price.His fee was 3%,so we thought it very worthwhile using him.

  43. Yes, they are. In relationship to their education and skill set, real estate agents are overpaid. Something is terribly wrong when an airline pilot earns $30k for one year and an agent make the same amount for transferring ownership of a house. Nowadays, the internet allows the public to scan and retrieve information required for making informed initial decisions on the purchase/sale of houses. The system needs to be fixed and competition opened up in this much guarded industry.

  44. In response to Thom's comment on how do you know what to ask for or pay for. I recently sold my condo privatley and used and got a home evaulation which included the price of 3 previous condos that had sold in my place. This gave me an idea of how much my place was worth. I sold my place because it was in a good building and its very popular and therefore I may have not needed the added bonus of putting the place officially on the market to make it more competitive. I do believe with some research on your own you can save a lot of money and sucessfully sell a place.

  45. By all means, I've never bashed them. Just don't think you're being supported by professionals, you are on your own, but they have a great FSBO package.

    My only problem with Comfree is that they are not regulated….thus they promote mis-information without being held in check. This is dangerous for the public.

  46. If people knew the costs of being a realtor they might understand why realtors get paid what they do. For a good realtor to advertise and promote the product, get new buyers to contact them, pay fees to their offices for support staff, pay for the creation and updating of the mls system, pay for errors and ommisssions insurance and pay for up to date equipment for todays industry, (computers, printers, websites, digital cameras, cell phones, etc), the costs usually run a minimun of $5000.00 every month whether you make any money or not. Lets not forget this is a job with no quarantee of income, no pension, (unless you manage to create one yourself), reguired remittance of GST &/ or HST), CPP, ( no company portion is paid) and savIing and remitting income tax, fees to Real estate boards, paying for required professional education and updating of education (which is mandatory in most provinces). By the time all is said and done realtors receive about 15 to 18% of the total commission.

  47. Realtors are huge contributors to their local communities, with both their time & money. RE/MAX Canada has given over 13 million dollars to CHILDRENS MIRACLE NETWORK, Royal Lepage supports their SHELTER FOUNDATION, (for womens shelters) and many of the other companies have their own social support networks they contribute to. Realtors sit on boards of volunteer organizations country wide as well. There is no restriction in British Columbia if someone wants to list at a different commission rate, or offer a different fee shedule. What is required is the the public is protected, and must be represented,(unfortunately they are unscrupulous people who will take advantage) and that the information provided is accurate. Historically the marketplace has used the law of supply and demand to solve that issue, you can't afford to stay in the business with the costs involved. Yes there are some bad apples in the bunch, but I doubt there is an industry in the world that does not have them. Can you say "Ponzi scheme?"

  48. For a realtor to be on call 24 hours a day, be "on" all the time, the stress of being responsible for the most significant financial investment most people make in their lifetime…..the commissions charged are really not high. Everyone talks about the costs of housing being higher and commissions staying the same. But all of the other costs have increased exponentially. You can't be a realtor without a good car, gas is higher in price, advertising costs have increased, ccomputers & etc were not a part of the industry 25 years ago. When markets get soft a realtors job just gets harder & more stressful. Houses can sell quickly and the negotiations go smoothly, but not always! Most good realtors work an average 80 hour week!

  49. Realtors are the most overpaid group on the planet.

    They monopolize the only viable means to sell a house, via the MLS, and reap the biggest bonuses out of our absurd housing bubble prices.

    Time to open up MLS, and drop the outrageous fees realtors charge.

  50. My neighbor on one side sold 3 weeks ago, my neighbor a few doors down from that has had 3 offers on his place in the last week, and the dunce agent I'm stuck with until summer has delivered no offers, and plenty of whining about it being a "tough market" blah blah blah. MLS=Anti-Trust

  51. Sounds like the owners of (commission free) are the main contributors to this forum. How can it be FREE when you have to pay a FEE? Do lawyers negotiate on your behalf..for free… remember – nothing in this world is FREE… you get what you pay for.

  52. I feel like the exception here. My real estate agent has been with my family (and friends of the family) for decades, and is pretty well a fixture in my old neighbourhood. Well respected, to say the *very* least.

  53. My parents worked as realtors in the seventies. They worked hard, paid for advertising in the newspapers, and sales were often hard to come by. They spent their own money in order to give a client's home market exposure etc. NOW, with the internet, realtors have to do what? Most people have searched things out via the internet, and need a realtors to give them a key, let them into the house and sign papers. My parents worked very hard for their money, but times have changed. The payback for realtors is outrageous. Most in my town don't advertise at all, they just sit back and let the internet work its magic.
    In the past decade my husband and I have paid out almost $100,000 in real estate commissions. We are fed up!

    • and they had to walk to school uphill, both ways, in the snow, etc…

      Times have changed – deal with it.

    • Realtors still pay to advertise in newspapers, magazines and for the MLS (no, it's not free just because it's internet). People need realtors to give them the key and let people inside the house so that it is protected against thieves or just some curious neighbour, and sign papers so that you don't have your business go bad and to have your best interests proctected.

      You respect your parents work in the seventies, right? The way the business works has changed but the profession still deserves respect.

    • GOOGLE has provided me with more information than any real estate agent has, Schools, City plans, community events & websites etc. Where an agent pretty much has zero liability, don't get me started on how my agent did me a favor by giving me $500 towards a central vacuum that was in the listing but missed by both him, & the selling agent only on my "final" inspection before possession did I notice it. Neither of took accountability for this small oversight I can't imagine what would have happened with a larger oversight.

      I just wish Google would let us post houses for sale & provide us with the "legal" documents hey maybe even advertise it putting MLS out of business with their maps & search we can get everything any real estate agent can & more.
      What do we get for $25K in fees on a $500K house that the internet can't give me? Clients ready to buy Yea right

  54. This is where people are really getting Ripped-Off. Double-triple overtime. Pensions. Perks, Benefits. All Paid 100% by the taxpayer.

    Public Sector workers who should be earning $80,000 earning $300,000 in salary alone.

    Meanwhile self-employed individuals pay for all of this out of their their own pocket.

  55. It would be useful if you were to have read my articles on what a seller needs to know, what a buyer needs to know, representation and what it means (to you and to others), and several of the other consumer education articles I have written. You can email me – the address is on the site
    (system here will not accept the url lines)

    You can access all the articles (and I think the information may answer many of your questions) at – but specifically, perhaps read: "Commissioning an Agent"

    (see part 2 follows:)

    Carolyne L
    Carolyne Realty Corp.
    A licenced/registered REALTOR(r)
    Proudly putting my name to my work for 29 years.
    Serving Burlington and Brampton areas

  56. No, you can try to negotiate the commission with the realtor, you can't just cut it.

    So your strategy is to make the realtor work his butt off for you and at the last minute you try to screw him? Nice.

    • There are certain circumstances that qualify …. for sure…ALL Commission IS negotiable…just like the price, extras' etc…. with your terminology you sound like a used car salesman…. 'who mentioned screwing'?… also you don't even need a High School diploma to become an Agent….

  57. In the last five years I know of 5 acquaintances who have jumped into the real estate rush, cashing in on the fast money that the industry might provide. All were self-employed and understood clearly that this license would grant them a much more lucrative income, abandoning their previous professions and not looking back. More evidence that this industry is overpaid and guarded.

  58. SOLD for full price in only 3 weeks. TWO OFFERS. Highest price any seller has received on MLS listing in this subdivision.

    You would think that all real estate agents would have your best interest at heart. Well that is not always the case.
    Now enter Carolyne. She is the ultimate professional.

    Communication is her No.1 priority. We never once had to call to find out how the showing went or the open house. Within minutes of people leaving we had all the information.

    We knew about every house in our area that were alike or for sale just the way it should be, but not always is.

    Carolyne becomes your partner in this campaign. She is honest, fair, trustworthy, and a very genuine person. With Carolyne you work with the real deal, not an assistant or coworker or stand in, you get the name that is on the sign and that name is……… Carolyne REALTY CORP. …….. We now consider her a friend and highly recommend her. .. Ken and Trish Bowman Burlington Ontario.

  59. Well put and I thank you for putting it better than I can… now I have to get back to the work of being a REALTOR.

  60. I recently bought a weekend home, as a buyer I didn't pay the realtor commission (not directly anyway) but the realtor has been worth his weight in gold – contacting the security company, inspectors, chimney sweeper, wood delivery, handman, and keeping my keys in his office so he can run up to the house and let them in. Not all realtors are bad. That said, if I were selling a home I might be inclined to bypass the realtor – the lawyer handling the transaction does most of the work and takes the liability, I'd put my money there.

  61. I need to become an agent.

  62. I have sold many homes over the years without benefit of RE salesmen.

    what I have done is get a balnk agreement for sale from Coles or any other stationary store and use that . it may cost a few dollars.?

    When I fill out the offer to purchase and sell ? I take aas large a deposit as I can get .

    and the I put in the clause ” this offer is subject to and condiytional on the buyers lawyer and ythe vendors lawyer approval.

    This puts the onus on the lawyers to make sure all is ok?
    They finally have to earn their fees

    I have never in 50 years of buying and selling homes had a deal go bad .

  63. As a professional working in the real estate industry in Ontario.

    I'm deeply offended by the sensational headline of this article. I know there are agents who work below the radar. Many of them get caught and suffer the consequences. I have no problem with For Sale By Owners. I have no problem with letting them list their property for a fee on the MLS system. I do have a problem with the legal issues that might arise from going in that direction. We work under the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act and no one is discussing changes to the Act thus opening of the MLS system.

    I see my job as "keeping everyone out of trouble" when working with Buyers, Sellers, Home Inspectors, etc.. If Sellers don't want my help I'm OK with that.

    • The only reason your offended is if the system changes you will lose all those "fat commissions" and have to settle for a more realistic income like the rest of us Canadians. As to the legal issues, that is what lawyers are for and they charge a whole lot less than realtors!

      • Robert, I sense you really have an issue with Realtors.

        Laywers don't charge a lot less than realtors. If you multiply their hourly rate by the hours an average Realtor spend with a client, you'll see you're getting a bargain, specially considering the business hours and the risk involved (of not completing the sale X if you do any work you get paid).

        Have a camomile tea, everything will be ok.

        • Do not compare a Lawyer rate with a Realtor rate. To be a Lawyer you need to go through minimum of 8 years of university after high school. On another side a high school drop out can be Realtor by getting a license in few months time. Think about that while you are having a camomile tea.

    • "As a professional…"

      Please tell me what your professional designation is?

  64. You can stop your whining about what it costs to be a realtor, I had costs back in the 70's that may not have been all the fancy gadgets you have today but the cost of doing business is the cost of doing business! The point about this story is the out-of-control commissions charged today because the MLS system is a monoply and yes 90% or more of the public have no clue about selling a house or do not want to be bothered for whatever reason so they are forced by the Real Estate industry to pay the highly inflated commissions to sell their home! It is that simple! It is not rocket science! The sooner our gutless government commission comes down hard the better off we will be. Also, if the system opened up we would not need the 100,000 salespeople CREA claims and could get by quite nicely in Canada with half the amount of 50,000 commission salespeople and probably even a lower amount.

    • You can stop your whining about how much a realtor costs, Robert. Sell your home yourself and you will not have to pay realtors a cent.

      And think about it, if it's such easy money like you say, why not start doing that for others too! Think about it, start selling homes. It's better than the lotto!

  65. I work in the industry (no, not as an agent). Do Realtors make money? Only if they're good. There are several in my office who make less than me in a clerical position. A good Realtor is on the clock 24/7, which has to come with some increased income. Would you take a job where you could be called any day of the week at any time if you were only going to make 50k year? There are alternatives available to your 'traditional' brokerage – you get what you pay for. The information in the MLS is watched by CREA to ensure accuracy. Do you really want anyone to be able to post information on there? What do you think that'll do for the reliability of the information on there? There's nothing stopping anyone else from starting their own website for listings. In fact, as this article pointed out, there are some already. If I own a site, who are you to say what I can put on there?

    • Or only it they can get you to sign buyers agreement without your knolwlege!!! CROOKS

  66. All the Realtors commenting here are confirmning what I already think of them

  67. As a Realtor, I feel there is a poverty of knowledge as to how the MLS system works and how it is funded. The average agent in the GTA spends about $10-25k between board fees, Provincial and National Dues, Brokerage fees. Only a quarter to a third of properties on MLS sell. The agent can spend $hundreds up front on floor plans, virtual tours, photos, preinspects and staging consults and never actually sell the home. The systems must be populated and managed. None of the service staff at the brokerage or boards are volunteers. The agents fund the systems that help create a predictable, efficient environment which maintains the value and liquidity of property. If you are unsure about the value of the Realtor's services, according to a recent NAR study, the average for sale by owner yielded 15.4 % less than a Realtor represented sale. So using a Realtor is a good idea. And there are many options when chosing one. Every industry should be transparent and offer the consumer choices. I believe these choices already exist in the current marketplace.

  68. We recently bought a house in Victoria. We looked at this particular house during the three months that it was listed at various prices (including the current price) through a realtor on the MLS site. I was surprised to see no mention of this fact in the Macleans article.

    • For your information, since you seem to know it all. MacLeans only approached me after the house was listed on the "Property Sold" website and after the Realtor and Realtors in Victoria had wasted 31/2 months of my time overpricing my house in the beginning (as I relied on them to tell me where to list it) and my wife and I made the decision very quickly to lower the price several times to better reflect the market conditions via our"own research". We gave them every opportunity to market the house and they simply produced no viable offers worth considering. The price it is at now, thanks to ourselves, is where the current market is and the activity on the "Property Sold" site has produced over 1100 views to date and numerous showings by myself and even some Realtors. If you bought a house then I suppose the price is a lot lower than mine and you should never have been looking at mine if you could not afford it!

      • Ok so let's see. The article says that "From the moment Robert Peden chose to sell his Victoria home, he was adamant not one penny would go to a full-service real estate agent." but now you're saying that it was listed with a realtor for 31/2 months. You also say that they "produced no viable offers worth considering", meaning that they did bring offers. But at the same time, you say they were overpricing it, but the person above saw it while listed in the MLS for the same price you currently have it at.

        No need to attack the user above because of his/her post. If s/he bought something else it's because s/he found something better. Now don't be a sour grape just because yours didn't get sold yet.

  69. First of all. I was in the business at the beginning of the 70's. The price of houses in this Victoria Gorge suburb at the time was around $12,000 to $15,000. By 1975 houses had escalated to over $50,000 because of an incompetant NDP Pinko government which brought in the Land Freeze Act which escalated prices. Now a 5% commission (Exclusive Listing) on the $15,000 house would be $750 split between a listing and selling salesman, at 7% (MLS) would be $1,050 with same split. Now at $50,000 at 5% = $2,500 with same split and 7% = $3,500 same split. The average salary back then was approx. $10,500 to $12,000. You see where I am going with this. Get your bloody facts right before you shoot off under a non-de-plum! As to commission on mine, 7% on first $100,000 3% on balance on the monopolistic MLS sytem = $17,800. No realtor is worth that for what they do. PERIOD!

    • Ok, so the article stated it was 30 years ago when you were in the business, which is why I referred to 1980 data. Apparently it was closer to 40 years ago. But since you have now stated the actual numbers and time frame, it appears that the NDP might have done realtors and home owners a favour by increasing property values, thus increasing the commissions. You actually support my data by your own admission, and even more so. If average salary's were that much lower, then a $2500 commission looked pretty good (I know, split = $1250). Now if you could average more than one house a month, you were still ahead of the average. 2 houses per month and you were a king!

      All that aside, property values on average have shot up over 25% on the west coast alone. This what a free market society provides. Sure, we may not be happy with having to pay certain fees, but who are you to dictate how much any occupation should earn? The free enterprise system is alive and well in real estate (otherwise you wouldn't be asking $460k for your house). What if someone told you could only ask a certain amount for your property? I'm sure you would have something to say about that.

      It is your choice entirely if you want to use a real estate service, however bashing them is not going to help you in the long run.

      The MLS database is not ours to confiscate or control. This is data that has been collected and managed by the CREA organization. I would suggest that the other internet FSBO's are also collecting data as well. I support your choice to use these other services. I also support the realtor's right to negotiate fee's as to what the market forces allow. It can be feast or famine based on the market. Right now it is feast.

  70. Just like any other profession, there are those who are good at their job and there are those who are bad. All of these are our own personal opinions on the profession and those who make a living, or at least try to make a living doing it. The average Realtor makes roughly $35,000/year, and there are the select few who actually succeed and thrive in their line of work. A good Realtor is worth every dollar of his fee and you also have to acknowledge the fact that although you may not want to pay for a Realtors fee when selling, you are all more than willing to employ the services of a Realtor when you are buying, as you don't have to pay a fee when purchasing. The fee is split two ways and if you sell and purchase your home on your own, then all the power to you, otherwise, I don't see any dramatic changes coming.

  71. If you want to list your own house, go for it. Use any website you can (, mylisting,craig'slist, ect) but don't underestimate what realtors do. A good comparable is using a notary/lawyer to make a will or using a "do-it-yourself" kit. You get what you pay for.
    Realtors are like any profession in life, notary, carsalesman, doctor- there are good ones and bad, and you can't paint them with the same brush.
    Anyone who buys a house without a Realtor's service is a complete fool, as it's free to use a realtor to buy. So at the very least, sell your own house and then use a realtor for free!

    And for those of you who think that realtors make too much, ask to see their yearly or monthly statment of adjustment. For the average realtor it costs over $1,000 a month just to be in practice with license and insurance fees, and that bill rolls in whether they get a sale or not.
    Give it a try yourself and you will be eating your words. :)
    Cheers and happy homes to you all.

  72. continued from previous post……..It is no wonder why 90% of sellers use the services of a Realtor: Because they actually want to. If you don't see the value in using a Realtor, then don't. Until a new form of business sweeps the real estate world upside down, business will likely carry on as it always has. If you don't like the fees a Realtor charges then don't use one, if you think Realtors make too much money then become one yourself and find the sad reality that the industry is not as profitable as you might think.

  73. To Jodi, et al – I replied to another poster elsewhere, and repost here in part . . . Likewise, many of us are scratching our heads in dismay when we read posts by colleagues who say Buyers “never” have to pay commission (it's all over the net on their web sites); to him/her, I say, please speak for yourself, and not for the industry as a whole. In such discussion, it is that agent who is not up to speed with how the business works in the field, today. (continued…)

  74. If the Buyer agent chooses not to charge his/her Buyer a commission, then of course he/she has the right work for free. No one tells us what to charge to either the Buyer or to the Seller. If the agent is relying on being paid the co-op fee, and said fee happens to be one-dollar, and that co-op fee is acknowledged as being “whatever is posted on the MLS,” then that is EXACTLY what he/she will be paid by the listing company, and that agent will find himself needing to collect from his Buyer or deciding to work for free. No one is told how much to charge his or her clients. All fees are completely negotiable. As I have stated elsewhere previously, the corporations themselves are also at liberty to set their own fee structure within their own company. The public absolutely has choices.

  75. I have been living a nightmare since selling my home 15 months ago, and being steered into buying a new home that was not finished. After signing an agreement that the home would be ready by a fixed date, the builder reneged and as far as I can tell, is not completing his project. He will not give me my money back and the realtor says he can do nothing about it. It would have been nice to know that builders do not have to be bound by any dates that they say a home will be completed. I am sure a competent realtor could have told me that. Now he is laughing with the $13,000 commission he got from selling my home and I am stuck with thousands in legal fees trying to recoup my downpayment. There is no where to turn.

  76. I have worked in the real estate and mortgage business for 35 years. Currently in the mortgage brokerage business for the past 15 years I will no longer work with realtors due to the damage I have seen them do to clients by dishonest means. They may encounter costs to run their business but what small business owner doesn't. Realtors seem to be the only ones to use these costs as an excuse for their outrageous fees. If the typical purchaser or seller of real estate actully knew the knowledge and experience the majority of realtors have they would run the other way.

    Ethics seems to have flown out of the window for this group.

    Only a top skilled surgeon makes the money these people do for the actual time put in to sell a property.

    Agents should make a flat fee for their services and that fee should reflect the actual work that goes into selling a property and the experience and education of the agents.

  77. What is that Robert Peden guy gripping about ! 5% commission is still 5% whether it's the 1970's or today. Just because housing prices are ridiculously high doesn't mean realtors commissions should have to change. Costs that realtors incur have all increased as well. The 5% commission is split so an agent really only gets 2.5%. Tihnk about this:
    A house sells for $200,000. There's a listing agent and selling agent.
    5% commission is $10,000. $5000 for each agent.
    Now say the house doesn't sell for 4 weeks. Say there's 2 open houses held. Advertising for the open houses, etc, etc. Driving expenses to show the home to perspective clients.

    The agent ends up pocketing somewhere around $3000 after all of their out of pocket expenses for a month worth of work.

    Doesn't really seem unreasonable now does it?!?!

    The ones to harrass and complain about is MPAC and CMHC. The land transfer taxes, and the CMHC taxes are the biggest rip offs when selling/buying a home.

    • Since you hide behind a non-de-plume I presume you are in the real estate industry. This article is simply about the outrageous fees and the monopoly that this industry has over the public. Much like the government agencies you refer to that constantly rip us off in the name of taxation to run the country. There is a better way to make both the industry more responsible and the public more accountable for costs to buy and sell their homes. But it starts by changing 50+ year old rules and allowing 50% of the industry to move on to other occupations so that the really professional ones left make a very decent living and the public pays a fair dollar for services that they contract for. A very simple solution but everyone still wants to fight for their piece of the sandbox!

      • No, i am not in the real estate industry. I just take an interest in the real estate market, and think that people do have a choice to sell by themself or to use the service of real estate agents. The price of everything has gone up, but that's just the way things are. For those that want to deal with the hassle of selling their house on their own, then good luck to you. I'd rather have my evenings and weekends free and not be on call 24/7. I think that the goverment needs to give up thier outrageous charges before you expect hard working indiviuals to take a cut in pay or commission.

  78. There are two critical issues in this discussion. First, despite Carolyne Lederer's comments, there are many instances of real estate agents not delivering value to their clients. And, it is all about providing value. Most of us would agree that if we receive value, we are willing to pay.

    Next, there is the issue of the real estate pricing system based on a percentage of the property's selling price. The real estate industry needs to offer a reasonable explanation as to why their prices are five times higher for million dollar home versus. It is the fluctuation to the costs of selling a home that puzzle many.

    Our world is being transformed, much of it due to the advances and pervasiveness of technology. Someone tried to sell a town on eBay, for example. Despite this, the real estate industry has the opportunity to remain relevant, but they need to reinvent themselves and offer good value for a reasonable price.

  79. There are two critical issues in this discussion. First, despite Carolyne Lederer's comments, there are many instances of real estate agents not delivering value to their clients. And, it is all about providing value. Most of us would agree that if we receive value, we are willing to pay.

    Next, there is the issue of the real estate pricing system based on a percentage of the property's selling price. The real estate industry needs to offer a reasonable explanation as to why their prices are five times higher for million dollar home versus a $200,000 home.

    Our world is being transformed, much of it due to the advances and pervasiveness of technology. Someone tried to sell a town on eBay, for example. Despite this, the real estate industry has the opportunity to remain relevant, but they need to reinvent themselves and offer good value for a reasonable price.

  80. Excellent comment Bill. I hope others take some time to read this.

  81. To Wolf's comment:
    Exactly – Header is Inflammatory. So sad and so wrong.

    In a book I recently read, authored by a reporter who was debating in her head as to how, exactly, she could best present the topic she was addressing that day, these words, below, appear:

    "Journalist's Code of Ethics," she wrote, "instructed:" [and her italics in following quote]
    "Seek Truth and Report It. Seek Truth. Report It. And Minimize Harm." [sic] ~ American reporter, Frankie Bard, writing in 1941, and quoted by author Sarah Blake, Washington, DC, writing in 2010.

    Question: Do journalists today subscribe to this code of ethics? ~

  82. when we sold our first house the agent we had also expected to be the one to help us with our next house. When we used another agent to purchase our next house he took it out on our sale. He also "forgot" to hand in the papers for the sellers insurance, so when we had a problem we were without the protection he promised us. I think not all are crooked but the one we had sure was. Lesson don't sign in for the 3 month contract for showing your house or you will get stuck.

  83. I support this article, this puts away the really greedy agents and enhance the real agents in the market which is good for the efficiency of the trade, plus i think we should encourage apprenticeship like other trades for this business too. Getting licence should not enough to serve.also sellers should be open to choose all services openly and without border or limitations.
    This is free country = if seller like to pay based on services they get they should be allowed accordingly..

  84. Living in Van and seeing first hand how ridiculous the housing market can get, I'm glad to see articles like this one. When my wife and I wanted to buy our first place, w met an agent, Susan Ninow of Prudential, to see if she would work for us. She said she would be our agent if we agreed to sign a contract paying her $10,000 for her services. I'm not kidding. Plus she was going to collect the commission nornally given by the seller! In her defense she said she usually only deals with selling so this was her insurance incase we took a long time to buy. Well we didn't use her thats for sure but after that I realized this industry is sleazy and probably has a lot of Susan Ninows in it. Too bad. It seems wrong that a place to live and raise a family or just feel safe and comfortable in has turned into an industry all about the money.

  85. It's very simple people- if it's a good market= Sell your own house. Nobody is begging you to do otherwise. Congratulations if you do!
    If you are buying, use a realtor, it's free generally, and if you choose not to, then go ahead, buy at your own risk.
    If you are willing to pay $15,000+ a year in fees to be a realtor, then I encourage you to try. It's not a slam dunk. Only 1 out of 4 make it in the field over 2 years, and that 's a UBC stat.
    Sorry people, it takes intelligence, time and a certain type of person whom is willing to be on call 24/7 for the public.
    Realtors work hard, and most don't make it.
    It's true that the average Realtor makes less then $40,000 a year. So if they make one sale a month at $10,000, keep in mind, they may not make another until 6 months down the road.
    Are you able to do that? Pay $1,000+ a month and gamble on paying your bills?

    • Samantha….your point is moot!!…..The only issue of significance is how much money comes out of the seller's pocket.I'm not interested in where this mysterious 5% goes towards &/or how much an agent makes.The lawyers do all the work.I've sold 4 homes on my own already.It's almost too simple….Welcome to the 21st century!!

  86. There are very high standards morally and ethically for Realtors. So if you feel you weren't treated fairly by a Real Estate professional, then report them to the CREA. It will only weed out the bad ones.
    It's not a 2 month course, and realtors have to take courses all year long to maintain their licenses. Most realtors have their sub-mortgage brokers' license also, if licensed before 2006.

  87. Bottom line is that selling a house isn't rocket science. In fact the you don't even need an agent. Agents will always have you believe that what they do is something extraordinary. The paper work an agent does isn't much. In fact its the lawyer who does the paper work. In fact lenders/Mortgage companies will not release any funds for a transaction unless all the i's are dotted and t's are crossed. I sold two homes private. 12 days after putting a sign on my lawn it was sold. The 2nd person to view it bought it. The lawyers did the transaction and I saved myself almost 18k in commission. I had 3 agents come by and evaluate the home and I also looked at the houses that sold with in the last 12 months and based the asking price on that. 18k in commission to walk a few buyers through my home and filling out an offer sheet isn't worth I don't think so. Agents are NOT worth the commission they charge.


    • From Robert P.L. Peden. Just so our ardent readers do not get the wrong impression of my comment above. Initially we did attempt to list the property because back last November/09 we could not get away to do it ourselves because of commitments made. We first gave the listing to a so called friend whose office proceeded to screw it up because of lack of a full service commission. I fired them 2 weeks later as all they did was waste my time. The second one had 1 Open House and then generally wasted 3 1/2 months of our time. I fired her and undertook the sale myself and produced a sale to close quickly to a couple who truly appreciate what they have purchased. To them I wish them the same happiness in the home that I enjoyed for so many years.

  89. Buyers don't pay commision right. WRONG!

    Buyers pay both the buyers agents commission and the sellers agents commission.

    Let's say a house sells for $400,000 with $20,000 in realtor fees. What just happened? The buyer paid $380,000 to the seller for the house, paid $10,000 to his agent, and paid $10,000 to the sellers agent. The bottom line is that 3 parties got paid, and only won paid out money. The buyers is the ONLY one paying money in the transaction.

    The sooner buyers start to realize less, and stop falling the for the realtor lies of saying "as a buyer you don't pay anything to use an agent" the sooner buyers will stop using agents.

    The sooner buyers stop using agents. Anyone can go look at houses on your own, you don't need an agent to show you where the bathroom is. Your lawyer does the paperwork for you.

    Take the above example, and instead the buyers pays $390,000 without any agents involved. The seller nest $10k more, the buyers save $10k. Win-win situation. Stop using agents, they are glorified middle men. You only need a lawyer.

  90. If an agent tells a buyers "Yes, I can show you houses, I will charge you $10,000". So the buyer says "no thanks, I will look on my own."

    Instead, the agent says "Yes, I can show you houses, it won't cost you anything." So the buyer says "OK."

    So now the seller has to pay the buyer's agent, but in reality the buyer is paying his own agent because the seller has to add it to his price in order to get his net price.

    So buyers flock to agents because the thinks it's free. Then they pay an inflated price.

  91. We NEED an Independent Watch Dog…NOT "RECO" how can an Industry Investigate itself? I was the victim of an Ethics Violation (many) where an Agent I have NEVER met, Slandered me and my Home to potential Purchasers. Told Total LIES. They drove straight to my Home. Horrified over what they told me they later delivered me a Signed Witness Statement as the Harassment and Slander went on and on… RECO would not even give me a HEARING after this Man Stigmatized my Listing. I could go on and on as I have had more BAD encounters than good… I was a Full time agent from 1983-1997 we NEED a NEW way to do business with Ethical people at least! Oh and while negotiating the commission asking for a HALF a percentage cut…ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE….I held the deal together while the Selling agent contacted the Purchasers and demanded more money to cover HIS commission!!!!!!!!!

  92. Without a doubt the opportunity exists for real estate agents to provide a service, and then overcharge for it. But this opportunity exists in any profession: it's called doing a bad job.

  93. when times get tough, the tough get crooked, right?!

  94. We had a very bad experience with a Realtor and would not recommend that people have one to sell or buy a house through one. They are crooks as far as I am concern. If you also have one and he or she recommends a house inspector be leery. Buying our house should of been exciting thing, it was a nightmare and we are still trying to fix the problems with the house.We are into thousands and thousands of dollars trying to fix things that were covered up or promised it would be fixed.

    Use lots of caution especially if your a first time home buyer, they are a lot of scammers as Real Estate Agents out there.

  95. Thats just the reason why I droped out of realestate course.THEY have a double standard,policy.And no protection for the clients they serve.It's all a scam the whole industry of realestate is a cash grab,and an attemp too drive the price of homes up.Hear all kinds of stories about real estate deals or scams,and buyers getting screwed.

  96. I found a good website that looks at all the parties prospectives on real estate and how much it should cost. It comes down to what the consumer is willing to pay for what services. The site kinda says, why go FSBO when an agent can service your home sale or buy themselves….worth a look. Company is called Sundaybell.

  97. Here’s a question. I am selling a home in Victoria by myself and had a potential buyer contact me directly from mu ad on the web. They asked if there would be another open house. I said yes and they said that they would come by and have a look. An hour later a realtor called asking if I was realtor “friendly”. I have been asked this before and I have a REAL problem with this statement. First of all his CLIENT found my ad not him. So…the question is……..How much should this Realtor be paid by myself to help me sell my home. I continue to hear 3% of the first $100,000.00 and 1.5% of the balance (PLUS) HST of course. I find this completely out of line. On a $500,000.00 that is $9000.00 plus hst which totals $10,080.00. This is and has been done this way for many years and now that homes are well above what they were 20 years ago the real estate industry has chosen to simply except the fact that they are making WAY more money than they used to. It would appear now that the industry is in flux trying to fight the trend to not pay so much.
    The main concern I have is that if I had told this realtor that I was not “friendly“ then his client would be told that the homeowner would not deal with him for his “COMMISSION“. and therefore would not be willing to show them the home.
    I`m sorry but just how is this serving his clients needs again. I am considering a flat fee paid by myself to him or her of $5000.00. I happen to have a home that will sell to the right owner and has been well received on the open houses we have had. So…………..what to do eh.

  98. Larry:
    A realitor came to us to buy our house for a client.Who pay,s the commisson to him,us or them.

  99. Expenses incurred by Real Estate agents are written off. Yes the knowlege that a Realtor has can be very helpful and important but nurse has a far larger knowledge base ( I have been both) and the income potential for both is on opposite ends of the stick. Is a Realtor on call 24/7? Yes, but that was known before they went into the proffession. Are the fees justified? 20 years ago, before computers, maybe. Today-no. Sell it yourself? maybe. I am now with a “brokerage discount” Don’t believe the crap about you get what you pay for. I, personally can provide lots of glowing reviews. LOOK AROUND, there are other options. Do your research. Forking out $20000 to somebody to sell your house is crazy.

  100. I think there is a real conflict of interest among Realtors. We had one incident where our Realtor said he had an an offer on our house, which turned out to be from another Realtor’s husband, who is a developer – the ‘other’ Realtor was an associate working out of the same office! They played games and low-balled us, AND, she wouldn’t even lower her commission even though it was her husband interested in the property. We cancelled the listing and walked. We will NEVER use a Realtor again. This happened in Sidney, BC.

  101. wow – great convo and tips in here!
    i just used and sold my condo NO COMMISSION! :D :D :D
    They gave me a COMPLETE MLS and listing!! and bingo!

  102. Quite possibly one of the worst written articles I have had the displeasure of reading in a long time. To say that a 5% commission in the 1970’s is cheap compared to a 5% commission today is frankly hilarious. The average price for a new car in 1975 was $4,250.00! Gas was 44 cents a gallon! A $2500.00 commission was a huge pile of money!
    The fella who is annoyed at full service realtors was in fact a realtor himself – don’t you think he could sell a house without much difficulty????

  103. The only Realtors that deserve a commission are the ones hustling to find a property for buyers. THe ones that get the listing, pound a sign in the ground and wait for someone to sell it, are the scum of this earth. Worst yet, the ones that cause the overbidding to drive prices up are self serving scum. I hate the Association because the they make you pay for MLS (the only good thing) by forcing a monopoly of high commission sales people on us. That’s now changed because it’s been forced upon them, not because they wanted the change.

    • “Even though I like to agree with you about the REALTORS that hustle to sell a property deserve the commission for doing their work” It sounds more like you either had bad experience with a real estate agent or a FSBO. Come over to and I will show you how I can sell your home while hustling “as you call it” to get it SOLD!

  104. Stay AWAY from Daniel Samodol (Dan Samodol). He is the worst real estate agent you will find in the Oakville, Burlington, Misisissauga area. He has no character as a person or as a real estate agent. He is dishonest and slime.


    I rented my house to him, trusting that he would be a good tenant, because he as an agent would have respect for the property. He needed a short term rent while his new house was ready. After FIVE MONTHS, I received back the house in a disgusting mess. They didn’t clean the house once, they damaged walls, the ceiling, short circuited pot lights, ruined the sliding glass doors. I can’t understand how a real estate agent who should no better would behave in this manner.

    When approached about the damage, he chose to ignore all contact, and finally admitted to the damage but that he would not pay anything, that it was my problem. He then ran away and blocked me out. He is scum.

    What kind of service can you expect from Dan Samodol, a man who would behave with such little professionalism, who is rude, disrespectful, and who treats somebody else’s property like garbage.

    Whatever you do SELECT ANOTHER real estate agent. DO NOT USE Dan Samodol!