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Ever wonder what happened to ComFree – Commission Free Realty?

Ever wonder what happened to ComFree – Commission Free Realty?  ComFree began in Edmonton in 2002, founded by Erin & Travis Holowach. Within 3 years of opening ComFree’s doors, ComFree was the largest for sale by owner company in the world.  Travis & Erin saw a huge opportunity in the market to educate homeowners that […]

homeFree

February 13, 2024

Ever wonder what happened to ComFree – Commission Free Realty? 

ComFree began in Edmonton in 2002, founded by Erin & Travis Holowach. Within 3 years of opening ComFree’s doors, ComFree was the largest for sale by owner company in the world. 

Travis & Erin saw a huge opportunity in the market to educate homeowners that selling their own home can be simple & straight forward and the need for a real estate agent wasn’t necessary. Buyers also learned how easy the buying experience could be when they are dealing directly with homeowners as opposed to unnecessary middlemen (agents).

By 2007, ComFree had taken the lions market share, with 1 in 3 homes being listed on ComFree.com. Buyers and sellers alike were ecstatic about the commissions they were saving while successfully navigating their own real estate transaction with the support of the homeFree team.

In 2009, ComFree had the opportunity to become a national brand by merging with a similar for-sale-by-owner company in Quebec (duProprio) and financing by a large, well-know public company in Canada. From this moment forward, ComFree had a bumpy path; its founders Travis & Erin left the business as it due to differences in vision for the company. ComFree was then sold to the Yellowpage Group, followed by Purple Bricks and lastly Desjardin Insurance operating as FairSquare. In 2023, the history of ComFree ended.

What once was the largest private sale company in the world lost its way in the competitive landscape of real estate.  They were a full-service brokerage charging thousands in commission and no longer offering the fully-supported private sale option.

In this timeframe, there was also an industry-changing ruling made by the Canadian Competition Bureau determining that the MLS ® had a monopoly on real estate in Canada, and thereby must now allow mere postings – a mechanism permitting homeowners to post their homes for sale on the MLS ® and REALTOR.ca without being represented by an agent or being tied to any seller’s commissions. The Canadian Real Estate industry has done an amazing job suppressing this ruling from the public eye. Travis and Erin, once again, saw the opportunity to disrupt real estate, much like they did in 2002-2009 by exposing this ruling to the Canadians, and will be the catalyst for Canadians to access the exposure of the MLS® without being forced to pay the commission of a typical real estate brokerage. HomeFree launched in June 2023 to bring back the service offering that was once provided by ComFree, but this time, also adding MLS® exposure. In the spirit of ComFree, homeFree only charges a flat-fee of $997+ gst and that is all the seller is required to pay.

As lawsuits heat up across North America accusing the real estate regulatory bodies of fixing commissions and not allowing MLS® access to everyday consumers, amongst other claims, homeFree is back to meet the demands of the market 

Courtesy of Whatever Else Marketing

 

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The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by CREA and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA.

* Only when the buyer comes direct, otherwise the seller may choose to negotiate a commission with the buyer’s agent.

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