VANCOUVER -- A new do-it-yourself real estate website has launched in Metro Vancouver. It promises to save sellers money on commissions and provide both buyers and sellers all the tools they need to go it alone.

It’s called Bode, a one per cent real estate listing site. It is not for everyone, especially first-time buyers, but if you are savvy, like to take control and learn as you go, it could work for you.

“The millennial demographic is now almost half the real estate market,” said Robert Price, Bode founder. “What we do is give all of our sellers all the tools that they need to sell without representation.”

Price is a former telecom guy who has teamed up with real estate broker Jeff Jackson.

They first launched Bode in Alberta just before the pandemic hit and they say business boomed when everything was forced to go digital.

“And (we) are now expanding across Canada, starting with Vancouver,” said Price. 

Bode gives sellers the tools they need to price, market and list their home on the Bode website and other listing services. It also offers up experts for appraisals, inspections and other services needed to complete the deal.

So how does it differ from low-commission website Redfin, which also charges one per cent to sellers?

We broke it down. If you list your house on Bode, offering a typical buyer’s agent commission and selling it for $1.3 million – with Bode’s take and buyer’s commissions – you would pay about $30,000. It would be $7,000 more if you hired an agent. For that same scenario, you would pay the same amount on Redfin, except Redfin pairs you up with a real estate agent to help guide you through the process.

“The only thing that we’re prohibited from doing is giving advice,” said Jeff Jackson, Bode founder and real estate broker of record.

However, Bode says it also allows buyers to use its site and its tools to purchase any home.

“So now we’re giving the capability to go all the way through the transaction whether you’re the buyer or the seller without the need of an agent,” said Price.

If we use the same $1.3 million home selling to an unrepresented buyer on Bode, the seller’s total commission for the transaction would be $13,000.

If an unrepresented buyer goes to Redfin, the company will charge the seller an additional one per cent. Now having to pay two percent to Redfin, or $26,000, makes Redfin more expensive.

So is it all about the money? 

“That’s an important factor,” said Craig Munn, spokesperson for the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. “It’s great for the consumer to have that choice.”

Munn says younger generations are savvier and they like the uptake on apps and tools. He says it will be interesting to see how the market evolves over time.

Whether or not you chose to DIY, it is important to remember commissions are always negotiable, even the buyer’s agent commission if you decide to use Bode.

Remember a home is one of your largest assets and real estate transactions have many nuances, which is why real estate agents exist in the first place but there is no guarantee of good service. If you choose an agent, you should interview several and take the time to look at their reviews and talk to their references.