The significant drop of nearly 20% in the volume of real estate transactions and the 10% drop in the median price of properties observed during the third quarter of 2022 confirmed that the real estate overheating phenomenon was well and truly over. A market situation that does not displease Julie Benoît, CEO of the DuProprio brand, which offers a support service to owners who wish to sell their house without doing business with a broker.
Julie Benoît joined the DuProprio Group as the new CEO in June 2021, when the frenzy that had engulfed the real estate market since the start of the pandemic was at its height.
“It was crazy, the trading volumes and the prices. But there, we have seen since the summer that it is going down for everyone. The good news for DuProprio is that with the drop in property prices and the rise in interest rates and the cost of living, the interest of not having to pay a commission increases”, underlines Julie Benoît .
DuProprio is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. In 1997, 21-year-old Nicolas Bouchard, the son of a real estate broker in Lévis, decided to start a business to help people sell their homes without going through a real estate agent so he could save commission fees, which add up to average 5% of the cost of the transaction.
DuProprio was sold in 2008 to Gesca, a former division of Power Corporation, which also owned The Pressbefore being bought in 2015 by the Yellow Pages Group, which sold it to the British company Purplebricks in 2018.
“The Mouvement Desjardins, the largest mortgage lender in Quebec, bought DuProprio in 2020 in order to consolidate its offer in the real estate sector with home insurance and the RénoAssistance group,” explains Julie Benoît.
A widespread practice
The DuProprio Group is active throughout Quebec, where it has a team of 400 people to support home sellers who want to complete their transaction themselves.
Over the past three years, we have been very active, but faced with the marked increase in house prices, there have been many sellers who have gone through a broker, the payment of the commission was not an issue for them.
Julie Benoît, CEO of DuProprio
“As the market tightens and interest rates rise, people will prefer to save the commission. In Montreal, at the average price of $600,000, you still have to pay $30,000 in commission, which is more than $34,000 with taxes. It’s a lot of money,” notes Julie Benoît.
DuProprio is responsible for approximately 15% of home sales on the Quebec market today. Last year, the group participated in the completion of 18,000 transactions and has totaled more than 350,000 since its foundation.
“We are an economical alternative for the sale of a house and we offer a simple formula with three types of packages ranging from $800 to $1,800. With the last formula, we provide sellers with our team of appraisers who will carry out studies of comparables in the sector. We also have notaries who will support our clients throughout the process,” says Julie Benoît.
A graduate in marketing, Julie Benoît has developed a specialty in companies with strong digital transformation. She was general manager of online platforms at Loto-Québec when she was recruited by Desjardins last year.
“I have always had a passion for real estate. I bought several houses, with DuProprio, to renovate them and resell them and start over. I can now combine my personal and professional passions.
“Innovation has always been at the heart of DuProprio’s DNA. It was the first real estate platform, in 2008, to use high resolution photos. In 2009, we created the first mobile application and in 2017, we were the first to offer 3D virtual tours.
During the big months of confinement at the start of the pandemic, 3D virtual tours were the only way to visit a house. We have made several transactions using this feature.
Unfortunately, in 2019, DuProprio dropped its mobile application to keep only its website, something that will be corrected at the beginning of 2023.
“We are developing a new mobile application with the firm Mirego. People love having access to alerts and geolocation on their mobile, this new application will soon be available”, specifies Julie Benoît.
At the same time, DuProprio’s teams of developers are busy setting up new services that will improve support for sellers.
“We are also active in the rental of apartments, where we work mainly with home builders to help them rent their new homes,” adds the CEO of DuProprio.
Will the fall in house prices slow down the enthusiasm of people who were thinking of selling their property?
“Homes are going to stay on the market longer and if sellers are getting less for their home than they were a year ago, they’re still going to make a sizable profit over the price they paid 10 or 20 years ago. years,” observes Julie Benoît.