Selling Your Home

Welcome to BC Island Homes – Your #1 ‘For Sale By Owner’ website serving the,
Discovery Islands,
Gulf Islands,
Sunshine Coast,
and Vancouver Island.

We are proud to be privately owned and located right here on Vancouver Island!

Marketing homes and properties since 1999, BC Island Homes continues to successfully serve the more than 140 communities that make up the beautiful West Coast that we call home.

But don't take our word for it . . .


The people saw the sign and called us. Thank you. This is the third house we’ve sold using you guys. We’re very happy! "

N Valikoski, Courtenay

" We wanted to let you know that our house has just sold. Your site was very successful for us, in fact, so successful that I am continuing to get tons of calls and email each day! Thanks again for your support. "

T Scheider, Black Creek

We did sell privately, and BC Island Homes was helpful in allowing the buyers to see enough to want a showing. We have also had a number of others wanting to make offers, most of which we attribute to BC Island Homes because we have advertised only with you and a lawn sign. We will definitely use you again. "

C & L Hearn, Comox

" We had great success with our listing through BC Island Homes. We had previously listed our house with a Realtor for 3 months without even an offer! Within 2 months we had an offer we accepted (from others) and sold our house without any problem. We even had inquiries and showings from people out of province that liked the look of our house from the BC Island Homes site. It was a really good experience and the service we received with initially posting our house and getting our sign and CD with the forms was fast and efficient. I would recommend this service to anyone! "

K Barzilay, Courtenay

BC Island Homes brought me a buyer within 4 days of listing. It was a case of the right people showing up at the right time. Not that it will happen this way for everyone, but I sold the house to the first couple to view it. I had done a bit of research and the price was fair to both myself and the purchasers, being able to price without figuring in realtors commission. The website for BC Island Homes is gathering more strength with each day. "

J C McKay, Union Bay

Hello, thank you for all your help in selling my home on Urquhart Ave. It sold right away and I had 2 back up offers. I didn't contact you sooner to tell you that it was sold because I was waiting for subjects to be removed. I will recommend your services highly. Thank You again. "

M Morneau, Courtenay

We listed with BC Island Homes after researching several other options. We wanted to try selling our house privately, but felt we needed the most exposure we could get, and BC Island Homes provided that. After listing with them, we sold our home within 2 weeks! The process was so easy and we saved thousands of dollars in realtor fees. I would definitely recommend using BC Island Homes if you are considering selling your home. 

J & R Poirier, Comox, BC

Dear BC Island Homes, please put "SOLD" on our listing! We just signed our papers yesterday, so thank you for your great website. After a lot of research, such as 'Googling' FSBO's and comparing services and user friendliness, we found your site to be one of BEST on the net! We had an amazing amount of inquiries, from Saskatchewan, Alberta, and BC, and will definitely recommend BC Island to anyone thinking of buying or selling their home privately! "

D & K Keld, Courtenay

Just wanted to let you know that the house is now sold. Thank you very much. Actually, it was the first person who responded to the ad. They also sold their home privately, and my sister just sold her place on her own as well. I found it to be a great experience, and I believe the part I liked the most was getting to know the people that are buying my home. I feel comfortable leaving my home in their hands. I was also able to walk them through the gardens and explain what's there, go over some of the quirks of the home, and let them know about the neighbours. We keep in touch by e-mail, and I feel we will remain friends. Thank you. "

H & H, Chemainus

We are pleased to advise you that our home has sold! We had originally listed with a realtor but became dissatisfied with the lack of activity. We made the decision to advertise on BC Island Homes in conjunction with our realtor. Wow! What a difference. Our ad and the lawn signs attracted a lot of attention. There was a lot of drive by traffic. We had to keep replacing the information sheets as we kept running out! Ultimately the property sold through our realtor. But we are convinced that the sale was a result of our ad on BC Island Homes. Thank you so much! "

B & L Gottwald, Black Creek

“ Today, over 84% of consumers looking to purchase real estate start online. ”

Association of Realtors


 “ If your home is for sale, it better be all over the Internet! “  

Homes & Land Publisher


 “ 20 – 30% of real estate sales in Canada are now ‘For Sale By Owner’."       




Who is BC Island Homes? 

BC Island Homes is a 'for sale by owner' website owned and operated by the ORCA Marketing Group Inc., a privately owned company located right here on Vancouver Island. No franchise. No corporate head office in another province. We live, play, and work right here on the West Coast. BC Island Homes has been successfully serving homeowners like you since 1999.

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No Commission – No Contracts 

Our mission is no commission! There are no contracts. Instead, BC Island Homes provides you with a proven successful advertising platform to assist you in selling your home or property. We are not here to stand between you and the buyers. We are not here to control the sale in any way. BC Island Homes is simply here to help you succeed. And your hard earned equity? It is all yours!

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The Key to Our Success 

The key to BC Island Homes’ success? We keep it simple. It’s called the ‘Kiss” principle. We continue to maintain our high search engine rankings. We have proven, professional marketing packages. Our website is uncluttered and easy to navigate for the Seller and the Buyer. Our rates are among the lowest in the industry. And how do we know it’s working? By all the “kisses” we have received in return from our happy satisfied customers who have saved thousands of dollars using BC Island Homes!

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There is no mystery to selling a home or property. You don't need a middle man. You don't need a realtor. You can do this! BC Island Homes has taken home selling to a whole new level. Our website is easy to use and understand, it is fast, and it is informative. Our Home & Properties For Sale property ads are detailed with large photos, and we make it easy for you to sell your home or property.

Selling your property yourself is not as hard as you think. But it does require your time and effort. Not sure what is involved in the home selling process? BC Island Homes has condensed this for you in an easy to read Nine Steps To A Successful Sale. Selling your home or property should be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. With a little preparation on your part, it will be!

Nine Steps To A Successful Sale

Congratulations! You have made the decision to sell your property. There are Nine Steps to a successful sale. These steps won't guarantee a sale but, by following them, you can be confident that you are putting your best foot forward and stacking the odds in your favour over the competition.


Step One     - Depersonalize

Step Two     - Street Appeal

Step Three   - Presentation

Step Four     - Price

Step Five     - Information

Step Six       - Neighbourhood Open House

Step Seven  - Advertise

Step Eight    - Showing The House

Step Nine     - Flexibility


Step One - Depersonalize

Now you must take the next big step and begin to look at your house as an investment, not a home. Once you do this you will be able to look at your house with the necessary critical eye to determine what is required to give you the highest return on your investment. 

  • Depersonalize the house by storing away family photos, mementos, and knickknacks. Some Buyers find it difficult to imagine themselves living in a home when they are faced with your memories.
  • This is also a good time to store your valuables away. Put your jewelry in a safety deposit box. 
  • Rent a storage locker to store your valuable artwork, antiques, and excess furniture.  
  • Remove your personality from the house by changing the decor of the property to neutrals, which can be done inexpensively with a fresh coat of paint on the walls. Think white, beige, grey. You might say boring! But we say SOLD! And that is your goal after all. Neutralizing a space is an effective launch point for Buyers to imagine living in the space themselves by adding their own colour preferences rather than being distracted by yours. And who says neutrals can't be dynamic anyway! If you absolutely must have some colour, you can add hits of it with throw pillows, inexpensive artwork (you can rent artwork for home staging!), towels, a bowl of fruit on the counter, etc.


Step Two - Street Appeal

Street appeal or curb appeal is what will turn “drive by” traffic into serious Buyers. If you can only afford to spend money on one area of your house it should be curb appeal! Whether Buyers are looking online or driving by, they will make a decision on your house based on their first impressions. Make sure you put your best foot forward by keep your landscaping in tip-top shape, trim the trees and shrubbery, plant flowers, and remove all debris and clutter. Some critical areas to consider are,

  • Fresh exterior paint where required.
  • Exterior lighting along driveway, walkway, and entrance.
  • Clean and presentable front entrance.
  • Clean front door in good repair.
  • Sparkling clean windows in good repair.
  • Roof in good condition and moss free.
  • Gutters clean and in good repair.

Even inexpensive things like seasonal flowers planted in your existing landscape for a pop of colour, a focal point by your front door like an attractive chair and or a grouping of potted flowers and plants, as well a new welcome mat can create a positive impact on potential Buyers.

Step Three - Presentation

First impressions really do matter! And you only get a chance to make them once. Now is the time for you to see your property through a Buyer’s eyes. Home buyers are attracted to clean, spacious, and attractive houses.

Get rid of all the clutter and brighten up the rooms. Make sure all clutter is removed from counters, tables, rooms, closets, kitchen cupboards, and even the garage. Put it all in to storage if necessary.

Make sure everything is in good repair, within reason. Weigh the cost of all your improvements versus the potential financial return. All systems and all appliances in good working order are a must if you want to get the top price for your property. Invest in having all the mechanical repairs done that are necessary.

Clean, clean, clean. Scrub your house from top to bottom. Hire a cleaning company if you have to. Don’t neglect an area thinking a Buyer won’t notice. They will. And mentally they will be reducing the price.

Consider having your property professionally home staged to appeal to a wider market. Or research on how to home stage yourself using your existing furniture. Display your pride of ownership and you will potentially realize a quicker sale and a better return.

Step Four - Price 

Competitively pricing your property is one of the most critical aspects for a successful sale. The right asking price will attract Buyers and pay you a maximum return. Setting your price too high could scare Buyers away and / or will make competing properties look like better value. But, you don’t want to price your property too low either and possibly miss out on thousands of dollars. Your goal is to price your property at its true market value. Market value is what people are willing to pay to purchase your home.

The fastest and most accurate way to price your property is to contact your local real estate appraiser. If you would rather do this step yourself, your BC Assessment is a good starting point. But only a starting point. You need to take in to consideration that your assessment is at least one year old if not more by the time you receive it which means the market has changed and you cannot take it at face value. Begin by researching other like properties for sale in your neighbourhood. If you can, find out about properties that have sold in the last six months. Make sure you compare similar properties – style, square footage, number of bedrooms or bathrooms, etc. Be sure to factor in what your closing costs will be.

Without the obligation of an agent’s commission, you have leveraging power in your pricing. You could advertise a more attractive asking price than your competitors and thereby increase your chances for a quick sale. Be sure to set your price just below a whole number. For example, list your property for $199,000 instead of $200,000. This might sound silly to some of you, but it is very effective.


Step Five – Information

Put a binder together with as much information as possible so that it is available for Buyers to peruse when they are viewing your property. Consider including,

  • The feature sheet of your house.
  • Zoning – this is more important for rural properties. Contact your municipal office.
  • Taxes – your most recent property tax statement.
  • Strata fees if they apply.
  • Completed and signed disclosure statement. You can obtain blank forms from your lawyer or notary.
  • Title search. Your lawyer or notary can provide you with one.
  • Property survey.
  • Utility bills (samples of summer and winter bills).
  • Provide as much information as you can on the property structures and systems. For example, how old the roof is, when the furnace was last serviced, etc.
  • Consider having a home inspection completed yourself and add the report to your binder.
  • Remember to sell the neighbourhood as well as your property. Have a sheet that lists the local schools, churches, amenities, and other items that make your neighbourhood so attractive.
  • Obtain some blank Contracts of Purchase and Sale and some blank Purchase and Sale Addendums from your lawyer or notary. 
  • Get a list of common Subjects from your lawyer or notary, including the correct wording to use. Keep them in your binder. You never know when the offer will come and you will want to strike while the iron is hot!


Step Six - Neighbourhood Open House

Realtors usually have open houses for the purpose of obtaining new clients. We do not recommend open houses except for one. A neighbourhood open house! If you like your neighbourhood, chances are your neighbours do too. There is a very good chance that they will recommend your property to family and friends.

Decide on a date and time for an open house. Have friends and / or family help you out during the open house. Remember, you can’t be in every room when showing the property.

Make up a flyer to deliver to your neighbours that includes your name, address, phone number, email, your personal BC Island Homes web address, and the date and the time of the open house.

Make up a one page brochure to hand out to people that come to your open house. Or, if you have a sign package with BC Island Homes, you can use the info sheet as your hand out.

Consider buying some booties from a janitorial supply for your guests to wear or have them remove their shoes. Buy some fresh flowers for the day of the open house. Purchase some balloons for your lawn sign or to attach somewhere by your front door if you have no sign.

The day before your open house – clean, clean, clean. Make sure all your valuables are safely secured out of sight.

The day of your open house – Turn on all the lights in the house and open up the blinds and curtains. Play some quiet, tasteful background music. If it is winter, have the fire going in the fireplace. Have some kind of food or snacks and beverage to offer your guests. Baking something yummy always makes your property smell wonderful. If you are not a baker try some scented candles with a delicate scent. Have a sign in sheet as an extra security precaution and politely obtain everyone’s name and phone number. Let everyone progress through the property at their own pace. Be available to answer questions but allow them space for private discussions. Remember! Your house will sell itself! If there is something special you want Buyers to know about a particular area of your property, consider having index sized cards at eye level to provide a brief description.

Most importantly, have fun!


Step Seven - Advertise

Advertise. Advertise. Advertise.

BC Island Homes is a great place to advertise. But don’t stop there!

BC Island Homes also offers MLS and postings through our broker affiliate, which is a great way to provide you with additional internet exposure.

The neighbourhood open house is another great way to advertise.

Consider advertising in your local newspaper or even a newspaper in Alberta, Ontario, or the Maritimes.

Advertise on neighbourhood bulletin boards, real and virtual.

Remember to always include all your contact information – address, phone number, email, and your personal BC Island Homes web address.

If you keep your viewings to 'By Appointment Only' in your advertising, it will allow you your privacy and also the time to prepare yourself for a showing.


Step Eight - Showing The House

Change your answering machine or voice mail to notify people that you are the owner of the property for sale and ask Buyers to leave a message. Be sure to return all calls promptly.

Be prepared for short notice in viewing requests. Often potential Buyers will call from outside the house after driving by. Pre-qualify any inquiries regarding your property, or you may waste your time on showings that won't lead anywhere. Don’t be shy about asking them to provide a copy of their pre-qualification letter.

No one knows your property better than you. And no one is more qualified to sell your property than you. As such you will be able to answer any questions the potential Buyers may have informatively and in a short period of time. You know what there is to love about your property. Being able to show your property and point out its great features is much more enticing to a potential Buyer than being shown through by someone who doesn't know your property at all. This is where your binder comes in handy!  

Many people that have purchased and sold ‘By Owner’ have found that, without a third party, communication was much more productive. When showing the house, follow much of the same guidelines as are listed in the open house section.


Step Nine - Flexibility

Defining your sale criteria early on will help you create a more satisfying negotiating experience. You will want to decide, in advance, what you are firm on and what you are willing to negotiate. Write everything down so you have it to refer to during negotiations. Remember that this is for your eyes only! It will give you such peace of mind to have the majority of questions determined in advance. And, you can always revisit your sale criteria and make changes. Some of the criteria you will need to consider are,

Price – What is the minimum you are willing to accept?

Closing Date – Consider how long it will take you to finish packing up your property. Do you need to find and purchase a home for yourself? Make sure you allow yourself enough time between the removal of subjects and the closing date.

Realtors – Property owners that sell privately will, in some cases, allow realtors to bring prospective Buyers to view their property. If a realtor contacts you because they have a prospective Buyer, they will request a listing with you if you have not already listed on MLS through BC Island Homes' broker affiliate. You can decide if and how you are willing to work with realtors. You can inform them that you will list only for the period of time it takes them to show the property to the Buyer. A 24 hour period listing is common, with the condition that the Buyer will pay any commission if the sale is successful. Or, some realtors may also offer you a reduced commission rate. You can state on the listing that it is for a specific Buyer.

Threshold Rights - You must also keep in mind what is known in the industry as threshold rights. Say you have a 24 hour written agreement with a realtor and they bring their Buyer through your property. Later on, the same Buyer comes to you and wishes to purchase your property from you directly, thinking they will obtain a better price. Depending on your agreement with the realtor, you may still legally owe commission for the sale. The guideline for threshold rights varies from realtor to realtor, and company to company. Three months after showing the property to the Buyer is quite common. Be sure to add working with a realtor to your sales criteria list and how you will deal with that situation, because you absolutely will be approached. Ensure that any contract you agree on with the realtor is in writing, that it clearly states who is to pay the commission and how much it will be, and that the threshold rights are clearly defined. Keep in mind that, if you decide to utilize our service to list on through our broker affiliate in addition to advertising on BC Island then you, in effect, have an MLS posting. You would then not be required to list with every realtor that wishes to show your property to prospective Buyers. But you would still require a written agreement regarding commission and threshold rights with each realtor.

What Stays / What Goes – Are all appliances included? What about the hot tub? Is there a favourite light fixture you want to take with you? What are you going to do with that pool table?! Go through your entire property front to back and top to bottom. Write it down!

Subjects – Most contracts have a variety of Subjects, some for the benefit of the Buyer, and some for the Seller. Consider including a subject that states that the Contract of Purchase and Sale is satisfactorily reviewed by the Seller’s lawyer and the Buyer’s lawyer. This Subject is for the benefit of the Seller and the Buyer. This allows you both to have the Contract reviewed by your individual lawyers or notaries to ensure that the contract is correctly written and legal, is in your best interests, and is binding. Some other standard Subjects that might appear are Subject to Financing, Subject to Home and/or Building Inspection. Always ensure that each Subject states who benefits – the Buyer or the Seller. Always ensure that each Subject has a removal date. What if the Subject is – Subject to the Buyer selling their property? Decide how you will respond to each subject and add it to your list of criteria.

You are now ready to sell your property.

You are confident because you are as prepared as you can possibly be.

Your property is at its best and shining like a new penny!

 Go Get Them!

 And remember - Have fun and enjoy the experience.

 Happy Home Selling!

The comments contained on this website are for information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice.