MONCTON, Sept. 24 /CNW/ - Ken LeBlanc, CEO of PropertyGuys.com, is used to making dramatic predictions. He's currently in a upbeat mood, forecasting a decline in the number of Canadian real estate agents by 20-30%, a loss of up to 20 000 jobs over the next few years. Far from gloomy, Ken LeBlanc's unsettling vision is delivered from eyes that shine with optimism. And why shouldn't they? PropertyGuys.com is the envy of the Canadian franchise industry, and a growing thorn in the side of more than a few disgruntled real estate agents countrywide. PropertyGuys.com is prospering while gloomy agents sit sad-faced on the sidelines, watching their game slip away. PropertyGuys.com is, in essence, taking money from the agents and giving it back to home owners.
Their mantra sounds so simple because it is so simple. The company is founded on the belief that home sellers don't always get value from signing up with traditional agents. Whopping commissions of $5000 to $30 000, averaging 5 to 7% of the home value, do not always reflect the worth of the service. Beyond that, PropertyGuys.com knows that most Canadians can do it themselves. Certainly the 'For Sale By Owner' (FSBO) crowd know this but they struggle with invisibility. Home sellers need marketing help but they don't necessarily need someone to show prospective buyers around their house as they're more than qualified to do that. Enter PropertyGuys.com and their franchisees. Fuelled with a supercharged, state-of-the-art web site, they flow an audience of buyers to their clients.
More than just web savvy, they guide private home sellers through their process with cutting edge marketing tools and award winning packaging (have you seen the round signs??). They won the Canadian Franchise Association's Award of Excellence this year, the first Atlantic Canadian company to do so. They are leaders in a field of one and they are growing rapidly.
So why the massive job loss prediction within the real estate sector? Ken LeBlanc says that it's twofold. First, the free-flying days of 'stick a sign in the ground and it's sold' are vanishing. The new reality of a more balanced market is seeing agents squeezed out from their arguably bloated ranks. Commissions, though grossly generous, are spread too thinly across many hungry mouths. A recent UBC study found that Vancouver house prices could be overpriced by as much as 10%, remove the commission and that brings prices down toward a more natural state which could result in boosting sales. Secondly there's the groundswell in public support and acceptance of the PropertyGuys.com concept. "Whether you live in Victoria or Charlottetown - our franchisees report that most folks aren't overly excited to give up their hard earned equity to an agent regardless of their smooth talk", says LeBlanc.
On the subject of commission - the company estimates that Vancouverites paid over 1 billion dollars in real estate commission last year alone. The industry calls this "economic spin-off" while they call it "near robbery". "That's a crazy amount of money - that tells us that this is a region that will really benefit from our program," says LeBlanc, adding "we hope to meet with entrepreneurs willing to take us up on this opportunity." The company predicts that the private sale segment of the Canadian market will continue to grow, accounting for 50% of residential sales within the next few years. That's double from where it stands today and if accomplished would steer nearly 20 Billion dollars back in the hands of home sellers.
PropertyGuys.com has re-engineered the transactional element of real estate sales, dissecting the component parts and placing them in the hands of specialists. They do the marketing, the eminently qualified home owner shows the property, and the lawyer (yes, the same lawyer that gets involved in old-fashioned real estate transactions) does what he/she always does...protects the home seller.
The PropertyGuys.com partners and franchisees are confident that they are the face of today and tomorrow. LeBlanc and his team make no apologies for poking holes in the balloons of traditional real estate or telling them that they're still in the 20th century. The banter between traditional agents and PropertyGuys.com will likely continue for a very long time. Ken LeBlanc, not afraid of humility, knows there will always be a place for great real estate agents. Some people simply don't want to sell their own house and PropertyGuys.com acknowledges this fact. Ultimately it's the consumer who decides where the market goes and, by all accounts, it appears that an industry facelift is already underway.
PropertyGuys.com is unlike any ordinary real estate company. In fact, we're not agents or brokers. That's because from day one, we knew we could be something different - something much better. Simply put, we use the power of the internet combined with our experts on the ground in your community to provide a safe and practical way for buyers and sellers to connect while avoiding the high cost of commission. Instead of commission, we charge an affordable marketing fee (as low as $349 and collect absolutely no commission when your property actually sells. You keep the money. That's the PropertyGuys.com way. That's fair right?