July 8th, 2011 - Moncton - based discount property listings firm PropertyGuys.com has signed a deal with a large flat-fee brokerage firm in Ontario, creating a new real estate industry powerhouse that signals a massive shift in the way Canadians can buy and sell homes. The deal is a partnership between PropertyGuys, a website that allows homeowners to sell their homes privately without an agent, and Realtysellers Real Estate Inc., a firm with low commissions and flat rates. It paved the way for a new real estate paradigm in Canada with its aggressive legal battles with the Canadian Real Estate Association.
Lawrence Dale, CEO of Realtysellers, is a Toronto-based lawyer who fought the Association to have flat-fee listings available on the Multiple Listing Service, arguing a ban was uncompetitive and inflated prices for consumers. The Competition Bureau allowed the cheaper listings last year, but only if posted by licensed brokers. The partnership allows PropertyGuys's clients the ability to post on the Multiple Listings Service through Realtysellers, while giving that company access to PropertyGuys' extensive client list.
"It's the real first kind of merger of its sort in the Canadian real estate landscape," said Walter Melanson, managing director of PropertyGuys. "It literally creates one of the largest real estate brokerage (firms) in the country." Melanson said previously his company has had a difficult time handing off clients who wished to do their transactions with a broker. The deal will enhance PropertyGuys offering to customers, allowing clients to pick and choose from a full array of brokerage offerings. A buyer listing with the firm can tailor their level of service from only lawn signs to now a flesh-and-blood real estate agent on the job. But the partnership doesn't mean PropertyGuys is changing its focus on selling houses without an agent, Melanson said.
"PropertyGuys will stay out front and keep disrupting the market," Melanson said. "We're not your grandfather's real estate company and we're not becoming that by partnering with a brokerage." He said he anticipates Canadians will continue to look away from relatively more expensive, traditional real estate brokers to cheaper listings services like PropertyGuys. PropertyGuys expects to deal with 12,500 customers this year, Melanson said, which could place it within the top-five real estate brokerages in the country. RealtySeller's Lawrence Dale's undisclosed investment in PropertyGuys also earns him a seat on the company's board of directors, as well as a minority slice of its shares.