The Sell: They sold their house for over $1 million, and they didn’t pay a dime of commission

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Published on: June 30, 2016

The sellers: Bill Whitehead, a 50-year-old construction worker; his 13-year-old daughter, Olivia; and his partner of six years, Tracy Green, a 50-year-old mortgage broker.

The property: A two-and-a-half-storey, three-bedroom Victorian row house near Wellesley and Parliament with a renovated interior and finished basement.

The Sell: Downtown Home (Portrait: Erin Leydon)

The story: Green bought the house in 2003 for $389,000 and gutted it. The value had ballooned since then, and the couple figured it would be wise to cash out soon (lest the unthinkable happen to the Toronto housing market). They were dead set against paying an agent a hefty commission. Instead, they hired ComFree, a no-frills brokerage that provided a listing, lawn signs, a brochure, pricing assistance and help with closing, for a flat fee of $2,000.

The prep: Green and Whitehead gave the interior a fresh coat of paint, then they hosted their own open house, which attracted roughly 80 attendees.

The offers: Less than a week later, a couple bid the asking price. In a typical real estate deal, the buying and selling agents will split a five per cent commission, but there was no selling agent in this case, and the sellers didn’t want to cut into their proceeds. So the buyers agreed to pay an additional $25,000 to partially cover their own agent’s cut. Green and Whitehead plan to rent an apartment in Toronto until Olivia is finished high school. Then they hope to semi-retire in Orillia, where they recently purchased a second home.

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