Selling Your Home

Creating Curb Appeal

What's curb appeal? It's that certain something about your home that catches the eye of the passer-by and makes them want to take a closer look. If you're selling your home, curb appeal can quickly draw prospective buyers in for the first time. Without it, buyers may pass up on the chance to see inside and will miss what might have been the perfect home for them.

Your REALTOR® can give you numerous tips and suggestions to help you make that first impression really count. Here are a few ideas.

Keep your lawns neatly trimmed and edged. Trim trees and shrubbery to get rid of overhanging branches that might obscure a potentially good view of your home, or pathway leading to the front door. Turn over the soil in your flowerbeds. If there's little color in your front garden, make a splash with a display of inexpensive annuals, flower boxes and wooden tubs. Clay and plastic posts can also be filled with flowers and small shrubs and displayed in the yard or by the front entrance to give the feel of a warm welcome.

Birdhouses and feeders, dried flower wreaths and hanging baskets on the front porch can give your home countryside curb appeal. Keep your porch, driveway and front yard clutter free. Remove garbage bins as soon as possible after pick-up, and avoid any build-up of junk mail.

Repair or replace broken steps or walkways. You might be used to the uneven paving or rickety stairs outside your home, but they could be hazardous to visitors, as well as unsightly. Your home's roof, chimney and exterior should look sound and well-cared for. Freshly painted woodwork is often well worth the time and money invested in it.

A good spruce-up can make a big difference

If painting is unnecessary, your home will still benefit from a good spruce-up. Wash down window frames and clean your windows to make them sparkle. Scrub the front door and polish the house numbers, letterbox, doorknob and knocker. Open blinds, curtains or shutters to give your home an inviting, welcoming look.

These are just a sample of some of the ways you can create curb appeal. Your REALTOR® can give you many other, customized tips to make the most of your home's unique charm. In addition, your REALTOR® can offer an objective view of any repairs and improvements that might be necessary to enhance the likelihood of selling your home. Creating curb appeal may just be the feature that sets your home apart from the rest.

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Ten Good Reasons for Using a REALTOR®

It is unlikely that you can afford to gamble with what has probably been the largest single investment you have made, namely your home. You may be surprised to learn, however, that some people are willing to take that chance.

Selling a home without the help of a REALTOR® is not as easy as it may appear to the uninitiated. Ask yourself the following: Do I know its true market value? Am I aware of the legal "ins and outs"? Can I arrange suitable financing? Can I qualify a potential buyer? Can I negotiate to a successful close? Can I write an enforceable contract?

In today's market, you get what you pay for and if you want the job done right, you use a professional. Today's complex market demands expertise and market resources not available to the average citizen. There are several very compelling reasons why you should enlist the professional services of a REALTOR®. Consider the following:

  1. Chances are your REALTOR® can get you a higher price for your property than if you tried to sell it yourself.
  2. You will likely sell your home a lot faster when you use the services of a REALTOR®.
  3. Listing your home for sale through a REALTOR® on the Victoria Real Estate Board's Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) means you get the widest possible exposure for your home. MLS® is a cooperative marketing system designed to bring sellers and buyers together.
  4. REALTORS® have the skills and resources to market your home effectively.
  5. Your REALTOR® knows your neighbourhood -- they assess market conditions and property values daily.
  6. Your REALTOR® has been educated on the complex laws and regulations in real estate and is trained to put together a legally binding contract.
  7. Negotiating price is an art. Your REALTOR® will negotiate objectively in order to get the best possible price for your home.
  8. REALTORS® are on call and are usually available seven days a week to show your home.
  9. Your REALTOR® is aware of the many options available for financing the sale, and has the latest information on mortgages.
  10. Moving up or down? Your REALTOR® can open the doors to thousands of properties through MLS® and provide you with an up-to-date computerized list of homes suited to your needs, wants and budget.

If you are serious about selling your home, then you should seriously consider using the experts. REALTORS® are real estate marketing specialists. Let them deliver the professional service you deserve.

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Tips on Sprucing Up Your Home

Are you thinking of selling your home in the near future? If so, it's a good idea to look at your home objectively. An attractive, well-kept home generally has a better chance of selling a little faster. Also, the old adage "first impressions are lasting ones" is very true.

It is usually not a good idea to undertake major renovation projects simply to sell your home. There are no guarantees that you will be able to recover all of your costs. Instead, consider what types of minor cosmetic improvements can be made, like general cleaning, painting, floor refinishing and so on. These projects generally do not require a lot of capital and your home can be greatly improved by them. Consult with your REALTOR® to see what types of improvements make the most sense.

Start with the outside

An inviting exterior ensures potential buyers will inspect the interior, so it is important to keep your lawn and hedges trimmed and edged, the flower beds cultivated and your yard clear of clutter and refuse. If you have any loose siding or pavement, it is a good idea to get these items repaired. Make sure any cracked or broken windows are repaired.

You may also want to consider painting the exterior of your home to spruce it up a little. If you have aluminum or vinyl siding or trim that is dirty, hire someone to clean it with a power washer if you can't or don't want to wash it yourself.

The inside story

You can do a lot on the inside of your home as well, without spending a great deal of money. Two primary areas to keep in mind are the kitchen and bathroom. These two rooms are generally of prime interest to potential buyers. Make sure they are clutter-free, bright and spotless. Give your home a thorough cleaning. If you have been cooking, ensure you air the home prior to its showing. Make sure any wood and tile floors look clean and bright.

Home showing checklist

In addition to the information outlined above, here is a brief checklist for you to run over before your house is shown.

Ask your REALTOR® for his or her advice to better prepare you for a showing or open house. By following these relatively simple tips, you will feel proud of your home and potential buyers are sure to appreciate it.

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Working With a REALTOR®

Buying or selling a home is likely one of the largest business deals you will ever make. That's why it's important to carefully select the person who will help you get the most for your money or property -- your REALTOR® -- and to understand the different kinds of relationships you can have with a REALTOR®.

As licensed real estate professionals, REALTORS® subscribe to a high standard of service and a strict code of ethics. REALTORS® work within a legal relationship called agency. The agency relationship exists between you, the principal, and your agent, the company under which the individual REALTOR®, who is representing you, is licensed. The essence of the agency relationship is that the agent has the authority to represent the principal in dealings with others.

To eliminate any confusion, particularly if you are a buyer, it is important to establish from the start the agency relationship that exists between you and the REALTOR® you select. These relationships may include:

Seller's Agent - When a REALTOR® is a seller's agent, he or she must do their best for the seller of the property. The REALTOR® will provide the seller with a fair assessment of the property, prepare a listing agreement, develop a marketing plan and help separate the "lookers" from "buyers." He or she will ensure that only serious offers are made.

Buyer's Agent - When a REALTOR® is a buyer's agent, he or she must do their best for the buyer. A written contract establishing this relationship will explain the services to be provided and spell out if any special fees will be paid. It will also specify what obligations a buyer may have, such as working with the REALTOR® for a specified period of time.

Limited Dual Agent - Occasionally, a REALTOR® will act as the agent for both the buyer and seller. Since the REALTOR® has promised a duty of confidentiality, loyalty and full disclosure to both parties at the same time, it is necessary to limit these duties in this situation if both parties agree. If you find yourself involved in a dual agency relationship, before making or receiving an offer both you and the other party will be asked to consent in writing to this new, limited agency relationship. The REALTOR® will explain fully what kind of information he or she can and cannot disclose to the other party.

No Agency - You may also choose to use the services of a REALTOR® without having any kind of agency relationship. This might occur, for example, when the seller's agent is showing you a property. The REALTOR® you choose to work with in this situation has a legal and ethical duty to provide you with accurate and honest answers to your questions and can assist you in your search for a home. A REALTOR® who is not your agent cannot, however, recommend or suggest a price, negotiate on your behalf, inform you of his or her principal's bottom line or disclose any confidential information about his or her principal.

Understanding your relationship with a REALTOR® is the first step in ensuring your real estate transaction is the best one you can make. The REALTOR® you select should be someone who cares about your needs and has the experience to provide you with sound, effective advice and professional service.

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How to review an Offer

If you have ever sold a home before, you know there is a lot more to an offer to purchase than merely the price the buyer is willing to pay. Other important factors that must be weighed carefully include a suitable closing date, financing, conditions and items which are to be included in the sale. It is a good idea to discuss all of these points with your REALTOR®. Closing Date

The closing date is one of the most important things to consider. Is it going to involve extra cost to you to have to move on a particular date? Are you going to have to store your furniture because of a short closing or face the prospect of carrying two properties for a couple of extra months because of an unusually long closing?


Financing also has a great impact on the offer. For example, if you have to discharge existing debts and mortgages against the property, be sure to verify whether you will have to pay early discharge fees.

In the offer, the buyer may also request that you take back a mortgage. If you are retired and you are trading down to something smaller, you may want to take back a mortgage and enjoy the resulting income. On the other hand, if you are trading up, you may not be interested in this option because you may need the funds for a bigger down payment.


Conditions on financing are generally quite short and, as a seller, you will want to know if the buyers will be able to get the necessary financing before you accept their offer. You may be better off with an offer that is slightly less in price but has fewer restrictive conditions.

Items included in the sale

Buyers may wish to include certain chattels in the sale of your home -- like the antique crystal chandelier in the dining room, or the custom-made bookcase that fits perfectly between the living room windows.

You may, however, have formed an emotional attachment to these items and be somewhat reluctant to include them in the transaction. If there are items you do not want included in the sale, it might be a good idea to remove them from sight before you put your home on the market.

How a REALTOR® helps

Your REALTOR® has used his or her knowledge, training and expertise along with access to the Multiple Listing Service® to help find a possible buyer for your home. He or she will review all offers with you and help you to assess them objectively -- so be prepared to allot an adequate amount of time for this task. It will be up to you to decide whether you want to accept an offer, decline it altogether or make a counter-offer.

Your REALTOR® will gladly offer helpful advice if you have any particular concerns or questions.

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What a Listing Entails

Are you thinking of selling your home? If so, you will need professional help to ensure your home gets maximum exposure and is properly marketed. You will want to enlist the services of a REALTOR® to make sure you achieve your goal.

The listing is the beginning of a selling process that includes a well-thought-out and detailed marketing plan, accessibility to a wide range of potential buyers and commitment to professional service.

Technically speaking, a listing is an authority granted by you to a real estate agent to act as your REALTOR® in offering your property for sale, according to the terms and conditions set out in the listing contract. When you list your home with a real estate agency, you are entering into a binding agreement with that firm, so it is important to choose a company and a REALTOR® with whom you will be satisfied. To find the right firm and individual, ask friends and relatives for recommendations and try interviewing three REALTORS® and ask them about the services that they will offer when they list your home.

What You Can Expect

Your REALTOR® will conduct a thorough inspection of your property and do a comparative market analysis to see what similar homes in the area are selling for. This, along with your individual circumstances, will help you determine a suitable price range for your home. You will also decide how long the listing will be.

Placing your home on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) gives it maximum exposure in today's marketplace because it ensures details about your home are shared with all other REALTORS® in the Victoria area, all of whom are members of the Victoria Real Estate Board.

Your REALTOR® will ask you for information on taxes, surveys, title deed and the mortgage, if any-- all of which is important to potential buyers -- and will tell you about preparing your home for sale, arranging showings and open houses and what's involved in offer presentations.

Scouting for Buyers

Once the listing is complete, your REALTOR® will check his or her contact lists and begin to try and pinpoint and pre-qualify potential buyers for your home. This way, you avoid an endless parade of people coming through your home who are not serious about buying.

If an offer to purchase is made while the listing is in force and you accept it, you will then owe the real estate agency a commission for having used its services. Be aware that that there is usually a holdover clause in listing agreements. This means that a commission is owed to the agent even.

For more information about the listing process, contact a REALTOR®.