Pretty much every industry in the world has been radically altered by the internet. So why is it that buying a home is still so old fashioned? Real estate agents charge a very high fee to facilitate a fairly straight-forward transaction.

The default commission paid to agents is 5% of the purchase price of your home. So if you sell your home for $350,000, you’re going to pay about $17,500 in realtor fees! That doesn’t include legal fees, land transfer tax, or any other fees.

The buying agent makes about half of that, so they’re getting about $8,000 for bringing a client to you and helping with the paperwork. Your selling agent created an MLS listing, and probably did some kind of extra marketing, whether it’s hiring a photographer, printing postcards, and holding open houses.

For that they’re going to make about $8,000-$10,000. Think about what YOU have to do to make that much money – does this seem reasonable?

Luckily the industry is slowly changing. People are starting to realize that selling your home without an agent isn’t a terrible option – it just requires a bit more work on your part.

Various companies have popped up, all of whom offer different levels of service. started over 10 years ago and currently has over 120 locations across Canada.

Their pitch is pretty straight forward: There are certain things you HAVE to do to sell your home, and some things that are optional. They’ll help you with everything, but you do most of the legwork.

Most importantly, a big part of their service is educating you on the process. Every package they offer includes a consultation where they take you through step-by-step what’s involved in listing and selling your home.

They’ll post the MLS listing, put a sign out on your yard, and take photos for the listing. Optional services include directional signs around the neighbourhood pointing the way to your home, a direct mail campaign to the area, listing on the TREB site, a pricing report of your home from a licensed appraiser, as well as various multimedia options like an audio tour, virtual tour, and a texting service where interested parties can receive info via SMS message on their phone.

What they DON’T do is host your open houses, answer the phone, negotiate, or deal with other agents. This is the part where you’re on your own.

While they offer support by way of answering any questions you have about the above, you’ll organize your own open house (if you want) and you’ll be dealing with prospects directly or with their agent. That means you’ll be negotiating a selling price and selling terms and conditions as well.

This is the part that’s not for everybody, but it’s all a question of how much work is worth almost $20,000 for you? Would you move a bit out of your comfort zone, learn some new things, and take a chance for $20,000? Or do you have an agent who you trust enough to do this for you?

If nothing else, services like make it a lot easier to negotiate with an agent should you decide to use one.