[MONCTON, NB] - Two of Canada's discount realtors are teaming up in a move they say will shake up the industry and bring lower prices to consumers.
Under the agreement, Toronto's Realtysellers Real Estate Inc. will take partial ownership of PropertyGuys.com Inc., based in Moncton, N.B..
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
They say the deal will allow the companies to offer the broadest range of service at reasonable prices.
“This is a real game changer for how the industry will operate from now on and a huge win for consumers,” said Lawrence Dale, president and CEO of Realtysellers, who will sit as a director on the New Brunswick company's board.
The move comes after Canada's Competition Bureau took on the Canadian Real Estate Association last year over rules that it said were anti-competitive and prevented consumer choice.
Dale, an industry agitator who brought the complaint to the competition watchdog, started Realtysellers following CREA's agreement to change its rules to allow a la carte services.
The changes allow a realtor to charge a flat fee for individual services such as posting a listing to CREA's Multiple Listing Service - which is used in about 90 per cent of Canadian real estate deals.
“The Competition Bureau's actions pave the way for PropertyGuys.com and Realtysellers to come together,” Dale said.
“This is the type of deal that consumers want and traditional agents fear.”
The Competition Bureau is now taking on the Toronto Real Estate Board for preventing the creation of password protected sites for clients. It says the board restricts how agents provide information to their customers through the local MLS.
There are some 90,000 realtors in Canada. Traditional realtors typically charge a five per cent commission on the sale of any house, regardless of the level of service they provide.
PropertyGuys.com is an online network that allows homeowners to sell their own homes. It has 106 local franchises across Canada. Realtysellers is a a group of realtors who offer customized services that allow sellers to choose their own level of assistance.
By partnering, they believe “the new partnership has the size, sophistication and financial muscle to fundamentally change how Canadians buy or sell a home.”
The companies will continue to operate under their own brands, but will pool their resources and services for customers.
“Together we can now satisfy the underserved consumer demand for innovation, change and lower fees. This new union will give our current and future customers access to brokerage services that were previously off limits,” said Ken LeBlanc, president and CEO of PropertyGuys.com.
Realtysellers will initially manage and provide the brokerage services for the posting program of PropertyGuys.com, with a plan to integrate into a platform for low cost brokerage and non-brokerage services.