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Chalet partly owned by DuProprio co-founder listed with broker

Chalet partly owned by DuProprio co-founder listed with broker

Nicolas Bouchard, owner of DuProprio.com, an Internet portal that helps people  sell homes without a real estate agent.
 

Nicolas Bouchard, owner of DuProprio.com, an Internet portal that helps people sell homes without a real estate agent.

Photograph by: Francis Vachon , Montreal Gazette

MONTREAL - A renovated Laurentian chalet – partly owned by a founder of a major Canadian for-sale-by-owner network – is about to be sold by a real- estate broker charging a five-per-cent commission.

Nicolas Bouchard, a co-founder of DuProprio – which operates as ComFree outside Quebec – is a shareholder in a numbered company selling the four-bedroom home on Robert St., in touristy St. Sauveur, Multiple Listing Service data and provincial financial records show.

A neighbouring 10,000- square-foot site owned by the same company is also for sale.

Listing broker Marc-André Pilon said he has received a promise to purchase the house, which was listed for $329,000 on Realtor.ca, Quebec-based Centris.ca, along with DuProprio.com. However, the chalet with “panoramic views of the town and ski hills,” is no longer listed on the popular for-sale-by-owner site.

A DuProprio spokesperson said Bouchard is one of 26 shareholders who own the chalet. The other owners decided to use a broker, in addition to DuProprio, because none of them lived close enough to the chalet to organize visits and open houses.“Mr. Bouchard evidently opposed this decision, but he had no power to reverse it.”

According to Quebec’s business registry, the company has three board members and three shareholders, including Bouchard.

The proposed sale of the house, with conditions, comes at a time when traditional real-estate brokers are facing increased competition from for-sale-by-owner sites like Power Corp.-backed DuProprio.

Last summer, DuProprio/ComFree claimed 100,000 sales nationally, luring customers with commission-free sales, even as cases were published of multimillion-dollar New York properties being sold without a broker. And in December, a Quebec Court Judge sided with DuProprio, arguing that the service wasn’t performing brokers’ functions without a licence.

Brokers have challenged Quebec City-based DuProprio’s sales figures, with the Greater Montreal Real Estate Board arguing 15 per cent of homes published on the for-sale-by-owner site are also listed on the MLS.

In the rest of Canada, for-sale-by-owner sites offer clients the ability to list their homes for a fee on realtor.ca. But that option is not easily available to Quebec homeowners because of the province’s stricter real-estate laws; brokers face professional sanctions if they don’t verify the accuracy of all listings.

Earlier this month, the board questioned the credibility of a DuProprio publicity campaign featuring Quebec decorator to the stars Marie-Christine Lavoie, preparing to sell her suburban Quebec City home with the service. That’s because Lavoie and her husband, former Habs defencemen Mathieu Dandenault, used brokers to rent out the couple’s Old Montreal home and previously list their Laurentian house.

“It’s like you are promoting IGA but then you go shopping at Métro,” Patrick Juanéda, president of the real-estate board’s board of directors told The Gazette.

Last summer, Colby Sambrotto, founder and former chief operating officer of ForSalebyOwner.com, paid a six-per-cent commission to a broker to sell his New York City apartment, after he failed to sell it himself, the Wall Street Journal reported.

alampert@montrealgazette.com