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July 07, 2021

Are full-service realtors on the way out?

Will most of the country’s 100,000 real estate agents soon be replaced by U.S.-style budget operations, in the same way that upstart online brokers muscled their way into the financial industry a decade ago? 

Dis Probably not, but things are certainly heating up in the discounting market.

As technology and deregulation lower the barriers to entry here in Canada, upstarts flat-fee discounters and even general purpose sites like Kijiji have been capturing a bigger piece of the listings pie.

Now, in the hope that they may be able to steal a bit more market share, two of the industry’s biggest discounters are joining forces, the Globe and Mail reports.

Propertyguys, a company that helps people sell their own homes, will merge with flat-fee brokerage Realtysellers Real Estate later this month. 

Although Ontario-based ByTheOwner, now known as ComFree, linked up with four other commission-free real-estate companies last fall, this is the first really significant merger in this space.

Aside from building critical mass to take on traditional brokerages, the deal should also make it easier for those who want to handle their own transactions to get their properties on the Realtor.ca site, which provides the online listings for most of the country’s home sales.

And while such new competitors clearly haven’t been able to cut established players out of the process yet, the traditional agent's role and the accompanying costs may have to change.

Moving your own house isn't like selling a bike but, with the emergence of such a larger-scale discounter, perhaps more people will consider selling their houses on their own.

Do realtors still earn their keep? Are changes like this a further enticement to selling your own home? Have you already done so?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money

* Follow Gordon on Twitter here.



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...