Cracking Real Estate's Black Box
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Consumers urged to ignore fear-based campaigns and think twice before paying hefty agent fees.

MONCTON, NB - May 8, 2013 /CNW/ -, Canada's largest private sale franchise network and a modern alternative to traditional real estate agents, has launched a national campaign to urge consumers to take a rational look at the hefty fees agents collect.

"The stranglehold that the large brokerage brands have on the market is based on fear and it is a disservice to consumers," says Ken LeBlanc, President and CEO of "Consumers want an alternative to the outrageous fees agents charge but they have been misinformed on their viability. They want a solution that best combines technology and access to expertise."

The campaign urges home sellers to consider instead of being held hostage by agents and their hefty fees.

A series of national consumer surveys conducted by Harris Decima and Angus Reid for revealed an underlying and pervasive sentiment: the majority of respondents polled thought that 5 per cent commission was too expensive a cost when selling their property. The real question is: why do they charge so much, and why do most people still agree to pay it? attributes this to the lack of information provided to the public on the true cost of the specific activities performed by agents - this is what the company refers to as the "real estate agent black box".

"Too often sellers just don't question the money they actually spend on commission the same way they evaluate spending money on other things. If they really examined the price they were going to be paying for the services an agent provides, we think they would probably think twice about using them," says Walter Melanson, Director of Partnerships. "At the crux of the debate is the high cost of agent commission and the negative impact it has on buyers, sellers and the entire market."

In fact, the grip that the largest brokerage brands have on the market has resulted in ongoing intervention by the government's competition watchdog. Despite their actions to help stimulate more competition, traditional agents continue to hold a dominant position within the market. Still, there is a strong desire for a less expensive system: the company's surveys revealed that nearly 3 out of 4 respondents would consider using a flat fee alternative service to save money. believes that the industry maintains their position by using fear and misinformation to dissuade customers from choosing other ways to sell.

"Fear has been the cornerstone of their advertising and promotional messaging for several years," says Ken LeBlanc, President and CEO. "In our view, their tactics only fog the real issue: that most of what an agent does could be delivered more practically and for 10 times less money by using other experts."

Instead of using agents, chooses the services of certified property appraisers like Deb Ridout of LaFontaine Appraisals, who is part of a group of national appraisers that help deliver a unique pricing strategy for their sellers.

"We believe that an appraisal is the best solution for determining the true market value of your home as we have no vested interest in the final sale. This allows for a fair opinion, free of any bias and backed by market knowledge and expertise," explains Ridout.

Another key innovation in the program is how prefers bringing lawyers into the mix to provide sellers practical advice and answers along the way.

"As seasoned real estate lawyers, we have found that by engaging sellers early in the process, it can build their confidence to sell privately," states Ed McGrath of McGrath Boyd.

The company touts that its online platform combined with their new Pro Approach is a better mix of technology and personalized service. In fact, their re-engineering of the traditional model replaces expensive listing agents with more qualified experts. This is sure to stir controversy in the traditional industry. The company is adamant that removing listing agents from the process is long overdue. Instead of agents, their program includes real experts like marketers, innovative real estate brokers, certified appraisers, experienced real estate lawyers and a unique answering and appointment-booking service.

About is Canada's largest and fastest growing private sales franchise network. It has 106 locally-owned franchise locations to assist home buyers in more than 600 communities across Canada. is a proud member of the Canadian Franchise Association. It is a recipient of Canada's top franchise honour, the Award of Excellence, for several years running.

Video with caption: "B-roll: Cracking Real Estate's Black Box Consumers urged to ignore fear.". Video available at:


Media Contact:

Walter Melanson
Director of Partnerships
(506) 860-3433 ext 103

John Stordy
Franchise Sales Manager
(506) 860-3433 ext 110



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