Selling the House

There was no way that we were going to be selling the house with a realtor. We had bought our house as a private sale and it had gone beautifully. However – we had previously attempted to purchase a house as a private sale and, well, it had been an utter disaster – nearly leading to fisticuffs and bloodshed and likely prison.

We’d experienced both extremes of a private purchase of a house and now it was time to experience the selling part. A few years ago when house sales were going crazy in the city, a marketing company called had offered people a secure means to market their houses and for buyers to find private houses for sale.

Anyone who has sold a house recently knows that realtor fees are effing outrageous: 6% on the first $100,000, 4% on the second $100,000, and 2% on the rest. So for a $400,000 house the realtor(s) would get a $14,000 pay cheque from the seller! Man, am I in the wrong business.

Our house was nice and we lived in a desirable neighbourhood. It simply made no sense as to why we wouldn’t sell it ourself, even if we were a bit nervous.

Figuring out the SaskHouses website was super simple. Make your write-up, submit 30 pictures, and, bam, done. What’s the cost of this little operation? 300 bucks… So, that’s a difference of $13,700. Not bad. The following morning they come by and stick a sign on the lawn. Then you wait for the calls.

Well, here we go, we thought. We both posted it on our Facebook and asked people to spread the word.

As we listed the house at 9pm on a Monday night, the last coat of paint was literally drying on the freshly built fence after the coop move the day prior (it had been a busy month).

The next morning we got up and checked the ad listing. Overnight it had received 1500 views! People were sharing it all over Facebook and it was getting tons of positive comments. “Dream house” seemed to come up a lot.

Ok, awesome, I thought, now someone buy it!

At 9am, we had our first phone call. The English fellow on the other end asked if the house was still available. Yup, you’re the first caller, I told him. He was relieved and said that he and his wife wanted to look at the house as soon as possible, BUT he had to go in for emergency dental surgery in 15 minutes. “Could we come over right after?”

Wow, these guys are serious!

In the meantime, I had had 5 or 6 other people call in the morning wanting to come see the house. Several of them being realtors calling for clients.

Now this is something I really couldn’t understand. Why is that people feel they “need” a realtor on a private sale? Is it guilt, fear, shame, paranoia or something else? I had to tell the realtor’s, “well, this is a private sale so we won’t be paying any realtor fees. If your clients would like to come look at the house they are welcome to do so, but you will have to discuss with them if they would like to pay you a fee above and beyond a possible purchase price.”

One of the realtor’s had the nerve to tell me that “99% of houses on SaskHouses end up going through a realtor.” He said that we could simply pay them a smaller fee” in order to “help coach their client through the offer process.” Curious, I asked what he considered this smaller fee to be: $5000. I laughed out loud. Well, the form is pretty simple – idiot proof, you might say. It’s a fill-in-the-blanks sheet: write in the offer, write in your conditions, and sign your name here and initial there. That’ll be five grand please.

Dang, I’m so in the wrong business!

Anyways, about two hours later the first couple came to the door. The gentleman’s face was swollen and full of gauze from his emergency surgery. He couldn’t really talk but he was happy that I had waited to show them the house first. I toured them around and explained all of the work we had done. They loved it.

They’d been looking for awhile and had missed out on a house they’d really wanted because they’d been the 2nd people through the door (ironically the house was friends of ours who had recently moved to Vancouver). This time they were 1st and they weren’t going to miss this opportunity. They filled in the fill-in-the-blanks offer sheet.

The house had been for sale for 16 hours.

It was SOLD.