Selling Your Home

Frequently Asked Questions

There are many important questions to consider when listing your property on the market:

What are the important considerations for selling my property?


For most people, their house is their biggest asset, and not something they buy and sell every day. Selling a house takes preparation, organization, and professional marketing, and we expand on these and other considerations in this section.

How will the market affect my sale?

How much you sell your house for, and how quickly you sell, depends on local market conditions:
  • Buyer's market – More homes on the market than buyers. Lots of competition from other sellers. Prices drop. Houses take longer to sell.
  • Seller's market – Lots of buyers. Not that many houses for sale. Prices increase. Homes sell quickly (just the market you want).
  • Balanced market – Sellers accept reasonable offers. Homes sell within an acceptable time period. Prices are generally stable.
How can I prepare my property for listing?

Look at your home with the eyes of a potential buyer. What's your first impression? What needs to be cleaned, painted, repaired, or tossed out to make your house as attractive as possible?

A small investment in repairs, decoration, and organization can add thousands of dollars to your property value.

What makes a good Realtor?

Good Realtors will save you time and money. They know your community, what buyers want in a home, how to negotiate the best price, and how to close the deal.

KAREN BIFFI will:
  • Recommend a competitive price for your home
  • Develop a marketing strategy to bring in as many potential buyers as possible
  • Take care of all the details (so you don't have to)
  • Advise you about your rights, options, and obligations
  • Negotiate to get you the best price and the best terms
What renovations will give me the greatest return when selling my property?

The top three renovations that get you the most money* are:
  • Bathrooms (75 to 100% return)
  • Kitchens (75 to 100% return)
  • Interior and exterior painting (50 to 100% return)
*Appraisal Institute of Canada's 2004 Home Renovation Survey

Other renovations and their average rate of return (the value they add compared to what they cost) include:
  • Replacing roof shingles (50 to 80%)
  • Replacing the furnace and heating system (50 to 80%)
  • Renovating the basement (50 to 75%)
  • Adding a recreation room (50 to 75%)
  • Installing a fire place (50 to 75%)
  • Up-grading floors (50 to 75%)
  • Building a garage (50 to 75%)
  • Replacing windows and doors (50 to 75%)
  • Building a deck (50 to 75%)
  • Installing central air conditioning (25 to 75%)
How important is the exterior look of my property?

First impressions really do count. If the impact of your curb appeal is strong, people will want to see what is inside.
  • Cut the lawn.
  • Cut and trim the shrubs.
  • Remove dead tree limbs and other yard debris.
  • Brighten up the garden with fresh shrubs and flowers.
  • Get rid of the clutter. Put away toys and gardening equipment.
  • Touch up peeling paint on doors, siding, and trim.
  • Repair and paint the fence.
  • Fix damaged roof shingles and flashing.
  • Clean windows, replace broken panes, and fix torn screens.
  • Clean gutters and downspouts.
  • Wash the driveway and sidewalk. Patch cracks or holes.
  • Clean up the garage and shed.
  • Have the gas grill ready for use.
  • Make sure outside lights and doorbells work.
How should I prepare to sell my home?

An attractive, well-maintained home sells quicker and for a higher price. When you prepare your home for sale, take a critical look at the exterior and interior of your property.

What should I do to the interior of my property, before I list it for sale?

Every room should look as spacious, bright, and warm as possible.
  • Wash walls, ceilings, and trim. Consider painting with light, neutral colours. Repair cracks.
  • Tighten loose knobs, towel racks, switch plates, and outlet covers.
  • Fix tight doors and windows, squeaky floorboards, and loose stair banisters.
  • Clean and repair caulking around tubs and sinks. Fix leaky faucets; remove water stains.
  • Clean and organize the basement and attic. (This is a good opportunity to throw out all the bits and pieces you don't want to move.)
  • Organize closets. Get rid of the clutter. Limit the number of items stored overhead or on the floor.
  • Clean out kitchen cabinets, and remove clutter from countertops.
  • Clean drapes, blinds, and curtains. Shampoo carpets, and wax floors.
  • Now's a good time to spray for bugs.
  • Arrange furniture to make rooms appear as spacious as possible.
  • Remove any items you're taking with you, such as chandeliers and mirrors.
How is the market value of my property determined?

The market sets the price. Your Realtor will help you set a realistic price to match market conditions. Your Realtor can give you a comparative market analysis based on similar homes in your area. It will show current listings, recent sales, and expired listings (a good thing to check because these houses are usually either overpriced or poorly marketed).

Karen Biffi will help you develop a competitive price based on:
  • Location
  • Size
  • Style
  • Condition
  • Community amenities
  • Financing options
  • Market conditions (Is it a buyer's or a seller's market?)
Remember: The market determines price. Avoid the urge to price your home based on considerations that do not affect its market value. For example, the following do not affect the market value for your property:
  • How much you need to purchase your next home
  • How much you paid
  • How much you spent on improvements
  • The value of a similar home in a different community
  • The cost to build the same home today
  • Your personal attachment to your home (Yes, it's your house and you're proud of it, but this makes no difference to potential buyers.)
Why is listing my property at market value so important?

A realistic competitive price means:
  • Your property will sell faster. People don't bother looking at over-priced homes.
  • Your home doesn't lose its "marketability."
  • Offers are higher when a property is closer to market value.
  • A well-priced property can generate competing offers.
  • Realtors will be more willing to present your property to buyers (and be more enthusiastic when they do so).
How should I prepare for showings and open houses?

Your house should be ready to show at all times. Make sure it is kept clean and clutter-free. And, those last minute touches before someone comes to look at your home can make all the difference:
  • Turn on all the lights, even during the daytime, including outside entrance, closet, basement, and attic lights. Open all the drapes and blinds.
  • Turn off the television, stereo, and radio (easy listening music is OK).
  • On cold days, light a fire. If not in season, make sure the fireplace is clean.
  • Put pets in a fenced yard. Better still, ask friends to look after them. Some people may be allergic, others may be afraid of animals. Clear any pet odours.
  • Clean the kitchen and bathrooms. Leave windows and mirrors sparkling.
  • Set out fresh flowers, hang decorative hand towels in the bathroom, and place an attractive tablecloth on the dining room table.
  • If possible, leave! Some buyers are uncomfortable when the owner is in the house. In their hurry to get away, they may miss important features, or fail to ask important questions. If you must remain, be courteous, but try not to make conversation. The buyer's Realtor knows what the buyer is looking for. He or she can discuss features and answer questions.
What is involved with the signing of a listing agreement?

The listing agreement is a contract between you and your Realtor's brokerage company. It will:
  • Provide a framework for subsequent forms and negotiations
  • Clearly spell out the rights and obligations of all parties, the length of the agreement, and the compensation
  • Set the listing price, and accurately describe the property (including lot size, building size, style and materials, floor areas, heating/cooling systems, room sizes, and descriptions)
  • Detail what is, and what is not, included in the sale (As a general rule, fixtures are included; chattels, things which are movable, are not. If necessary, list what stays and what goes under inclusions or exclusions.)
  • Provide information about annual property taxes, and note any easements, rights of way, liens, or charges against the property
The agreement binds both parties to its terms and conditions. You and the listing Realtor sign the listing agreement and each of you receives a copy.

You may also be asked for:

  • Plan of survey or location certificate – A survey of your property showing the lot size, location of buildings, and any encroachments from neighbouring properties. Some jurisdictions need this to complete the sale of your home. Your lawyer may recommend a survey, especially if significant changes have been made to your property.
  • Property tax receipts – Most listing agreements include information about current annual property tax assessments.
  • Mortgage verification – Details about your mortgage provided by a mortgage lender upon your authorization.
  • Deed or title search – A legal description of your property, and proof that you own it.
  • Other documentation – Annual heating bills, water and sewage costs, electricity bills, and recent expenditures on home improvements. Many provinces also require a signed property condition disclosure statement.
Why is it important to select KAREN BIFFI as your realtor?

You are going to be working very closely with your Karen. You need to be confident that you are working with someone who understands what you want, knows the real estate market, and can give you the advice and guidance you need.

How will you market my property for sale?

KAREN BIFFI will develop a detailed marketing plan that will give your property the maximum exposure and attention it deserves.

When you list with KAREN BIFFI, she will:
  • always know what actions are being taken to sell your home
  • receive regular progress updates
  • be kept informed of changing market conditions
  • be kept up-to-date on sales of other homes in the area
How does KAREN BIFFI help me manage my offers?

A buyer interested in purchasing your property will make an offer and, as an act of good faith, put down a deposit.

KAREN BIFFI communicates the offer, sometimes known as an Offer to Purchase (a legal document specifying the offers terms and conditions) to you or your representative. The offer states how much the buyer is willing to pay and details the conditions.

The offer can be firm or conditional.

Firm Offer to Purchase: Usually preferable to the seller, because it means that the buyer will purchase the home without any conditions. If the offer is accepted, the house is sold.

Conditional Offer to Purchase: Means the buyer has placed one or more conditions on the purchase, such as subject to home inspection, subject to financing, or subject to the sale of buyer's existing home. The home is not sold until all the conditions have been met. The seller can accept the offer, reject the offer, or make a counter offer.

Acceptance: The seller agrees to all the terms and conditions exactly as set forth in the Offer to Purchase.

Rejection: The seller does not agree with any of the terms and conditions set forth in the Offer to Purchase.

Counter offer: The seller agrees with some of the terms and conditions of the offer, but not all of them. The seller then makes a counter offer. The counter offer may change the price, the closing date, or add or delete conditions. When the buyer receives the counter offer, he or she can accept the new terms and conditions or reject them.

A signed offer is a binding contract. Make sure you understand and agree to all of the terms before you sign. You may want to have a lawyer review the offer first.

What is involved with closing the sale?

On or before closing day, lawyers for the seller and the buyer will set up a trust account for the money coming from the sale. This money will be used to pay off any mortgages you owe on the property, after which you receive the balance.

Your lawyer should also ensure that you receive compensation for pre-paid expenses, such as property taxes, electrical or gas bills, or, if applicable, heating oil left in your tank.

You will give the property deed or transfer documents, mortgage details, and keys to your lawyer. Your lawyer will register the mortgage discharge and transfer the deed at closing.

You will also pay the listing brokerage company their compensation (your lawyer can arrange the payment from the proceeds of the sale).

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Tell me about the home you are looking to sell:


Thinking of selling? You've come to the right place. As your Realtor, I can help you sell your property faster and easier, getting you full value for your investment.

Testimonial

"I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the work of Karen Biffi on our recent home purchase and sale transactions. When my husband and I unexpectedly found our “dream home”, we did not think it would be possible to finance the purchase while holding two other properties and while in the midst of a kitchen renovation on one of them. With five competing offers on the dream home, Karen skillfully negotiated a successful purchase for us that evening, with our offer price and conditions intact just hours after receiving our frantic call. We were shocked, amazed and thrilled. We knew the challenge was not yet over, however. Karen calmly led us through the process of getting our next place on the market, attracted competing offers and achieved our list price and desired dates. All through the most stressful two weeks of our lives, Karen maintained her calm professionalism and her smile. She actually made the whole process exciting and fun for us! Needless to say, we would highly recommend Karen’s services to anyone and everyone in the market. She is highly competent and a great pleasure to deal with.

Amanda Hobson, client

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Karen Biffi Keller Williams Realty VanCentral 
3995 Fraser St. Vancouver BC V5V 4E5 

Mobile: 604-787-9652 Phone: 604-262-1581 Email: