A Money Coach in Canada

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I’d been trudging Yellowknife streets dejectedly knowing the entire rest of the planet is enjoying pumpkin spice lattes EXCEPT US UP HERE when my blogging buddy posted this homemade option. Suddenly, life is lookin’ up. My weekend project:

Pumpkin Spice Syrup for Pumpkin Spice Lattes – Cook Like a Champion.

Photo Credit: Dalboz17

Ever raise an eyebrow over real estate commissions?

In BC, the unofficial-but-standard percentage is 7% on the first $100,000 (ie. $7,000) plus 3.25% on the rest of the home, according to Barry Allen, a founder of ClickRealty.ca

So for your very basic Vancouver condo, priced at, say, $300,000, you’d pay:

$100,000 x 7%                 $7000

+

$200,000 x 3.25%          $6,500

Total Commission:        $13,500

One option is to go the For Sale By Owner route, but that has a few drawbacks.  For one thing, the seller benefits but not the buyer (unless the seller drops the price to factor that in).  For another thing, realtors may not show the home to prospective buyers if the realtor isn’t going to get anything for their effort.

A handful of folks thought they could do better than that.

They formed a new real estate company that takes full advantage of the internet.  By scaling back on old-style marketing (such as adverts on bus stops) and creating an efficient behind-the-scenes database engine, they can provide the same service as most real estate agencies at a lower cost.

And they pass that savings on to the buyer and/or the seller.  Specifically, they return 50% of their commission to their client.

Here’s how it works.

Say I wanted to sell my $300,000 (ish) condo (I don’t for the record!  Never will! But I’m always looking for good, long-term tenants …)  ANYWAY,  say I was looking to sell.

If I list it with ClickRealty.ca, they will provide me all the usual supports – help me price it correctly (the #1 value realtors provide sellers), send a photographer over, recommend a paint job or what have you, and then list it for me.   From then on, the process is essentially the same as traditional agencies (less an open house, unless that’s genuinely in my best interest).

But once it’s sold, they would return 50% of what they, as a seller’s agent , would usually keep.   In my case, that would be $3,375.  They keep the other 50% of the seller’s portion and the buyer’s agent gets their full portion.

Say I wanted to buy a $800,000 home in Strathcona (some day I will).

Click’s site provides a beautiful window (it is very nicely done, including one of the most user-friendly mortgage calculators I’ve seen) to all the same properties as I would see anywhere else.  Barry points out that it’s faster than usual, as they don’t hold back any MLS listings for a realtors-only peek, apparently a common practice.  They would then provide the typical services, such as arranging for me to go check out the place, helping me to compare it to others).

The total commission on this home would be $29,750.  Half goes to the buyer’s agent and half goes to the seller’s agent.  In this case, Click is the buyer’s agent so their portion would be $14,875.   They give me back 50% of their portion, that is, $7,437.50   Hello trip to Restoration Hardware!

Currently, ClickRealty is available in BC’s lower mainland.  It will soon expand to the Calgary and Toronto markets.

I think it’s a bit of a game-changer, assuming it rocks the online space as a core piece of the process (thus enabling their lowered commissions).

Bonus:  Live in the lower mainland?  Tweet a link to this post and cc. [email protected] and on Wed., Sept 7,  there will be a draw for a basket from Liberty Wine Merchants.

Disclosure:  I was invited to do this review but it is not a paid review.  I am always interested in ways for folks to be “frugal” and think this new biz is worth consideration when buying or selling.

Any questions?  Leave them in a comment below and I’ll pass them along to the business owners for response!

Photo credit:  Imuttoo

The Eco and Green-living crowd up here is pretty amazing. Backyard chickens don’t cut it; my LEED-house neighbours have goats. Free-range meat? Pshaw. Folks fish and hunt. How’s *that* for free range.

And then there are my nearly-self-sufficient friends who live on a lake, grow their own vegetables and quinoa, compost their toilet (ewwww, but it works), chop down trees (don’t judge; it’s likely cleaner than your heat source) to heat their home (bear in mind our weather drops to -40C for days on end) and the latest? Bake their bread in this solar-energy contraption. The bread was fabulous, by the way.

I don’t really dare refer to myself as frugal in comparison.

THE SOLAR ENERGY OVEN
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THE GREEN HOUSE (they also have an extensive outdoor garden)
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WHAT SURELY MUST BE THE ONLY LOCALLY GROWN CANTALOUPE
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HAND CUT AND CHOPPED. WHO NEEDS THE GYM?
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EVERY CORNER OF THE HOUSE HAS A RAIN BARREL.
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NOT SURE IF THIS IS USED. OBVIOUSLY NOT DURING MIDNIGHT SUN SEASON.
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INDEED, IT IS!
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I am so not a handy-person.   But it’s a great way to save money (if you do it reasonably well) and in Yellowknife there’s such a shortage of skilled labour that most work costs folks their firstborn (or in my case, a floppy-eared daschund).

So.  I’m getting bold.  I’m getting determined.  And with the help of youtube, I’m learning how to fix things myself.

Take a guess at what my first project was.  Here’s a clue:

How much do you spend on coffees each week? And do you have any tips for being frugal yet still fully indulging in coffees? No *way* is this Norwegian-blooded northerner going to restrain myself from my coffees, so here’s how I’ve learned to indulge fully yet frugally.

Made in Italy

gefüllt mit bestem Kaffee

Fast fertig

There’s the espresso! Now for the milk, frothed, not steamed:

Making Yogurt - 108/365

et voila. The elixir of life:

Pumpkin Spice Latte

PS: If you want to take espresso to the next level, have a chat with Scordo.

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