CONGRATULATIONS ALEX WAMBOLD – SALT FOWLER TEAM SALESPERSON FOR OCTOBER 2017!

The Salt Fowler Team is proud to honour Alex Wambold as their Top Salesperson for the month of October 2017.

Real Estate has always been a passion for Alex and her enthusiasm to help others with a professional attitude has provided her with success.

Lisa, Gord and the rest of the Salt Fowler Team congratulate Alex on his recent accomplishment and wish his more success in his career!  To contact Alex directly, you can email his at alex@saltfowler.com or call 250-308-9472.
Let his help make your Okanagan dreams come true!

 

Monthly Vernon Real Estate Market Update – October 2017

This North Okanagan Real Estate Update covers the areas of:  Vernon, Coldstream, Falkland, Armstrong, Enderby and Lumby.

Updated Stats for Residential Homes in the North Okanagan:

Sell/Inventory Ratio:   

35.81%  (this is how much of what is currently on the market sold last month)

Days to Sell:  

69 (how many days on average it is taking to sell a home)

Avg. Sale Price:  

$482,400 (averages can be skewed by a few really high, or really low $$ sales)

Median Sale Price:  

$432,500 (the exact middle sale price of every residential property sold last month)

Waterfront Home Sales: 

15 waterfront home sold (compared to 32 last year)

North Okanagan overall statistics:

Total Units that were newly LISTED (and active on the market) during each of the past 3 months:

Aug:          385

Sep:          290

Oct:           221

Total Units SOLD (all property types including raw land and commercial) during each of the past 3 months:

Aug:      257

Sep:      214

Oct:       225

Wrap Up:

Sellers:  Total sales for October were down year over year just over 7%.  What is interesting and significant is that residential single family home sales were down nearly 18%.  Sales are still strong for sellers and we believe that most of this decrease in sales in due to a lack of choice for buyers.  Many buyers still can’t find what they want to buy, so they are sitting on the fence.  Many sellers are also taking their homes off the market at this time because they don’t wish to sell and potentially move in the winter.  Our suggestion is – don’t do this!  There are so many buyers out there looking to buy, and taking your home off the market means you will have a zero percent chance of selling.  Not only that, but you have a great chance to sell around the holidays!  Those buyers that are out there looking in the dead of winter – they are serious buyers!  Also, most buyers don’t wish to move in the middle of winter either – you can always negotiate a longer closing to suit everyone.

For more information on ways to maximize your home selling potential in the winter, please see our Castanet article here.  

Waterfront sales are still running at less than half of 2016, which is where we expect to end our year.

Your home may be worth more than you think.  Click here to find out how much more. 

Buyers:  There are still deals out there!  You just need to look harder and have a professional or even better, professionalS, looking on your behalf. Please keep in mind that mortgage rules are changing now as well for those who have over 20% as a downpayment (call us for details) which is going to create some big changes come January 1, 2018 (or sooner).  Once again, if you are worried about these new changes affecting your ability to purchase,  then there is no time like the present to make a purchase, prior to these new regulations coming into play

For more information on the new mortgage rules, please see our Castanet article here.  

We can help get you to the newest listings first, often before other realtors, with our unique Buyer Profile System – explore your opportunities here.  

Please feel free to Contact Us Anytime:  Lisa, Gord, Glenn, Alex, Joanne, Greg, Avrill, Christie and Brodie of the Salt Fowler Team, RE/MAX Vernon – specializing in North Okanagan and Vernon BC Real Estate.

Mortgage Rules Stress Test – More Changes on the Horizon

The only thing constant in the Vernon real estate business is change. And once again – we have a change in the mortgage rules that will affect many real estate buyers.

As of January 1st, 2018, the government has implemented a “stress test” on conventional mortgages. There seems to be some confusion as to what this means, and as to who will be affected.

First of all, it is important to note that this change only affects those home buyers (or people looking to refinance) who wish to purchase/refinance and have a 20 percent or greater downpayment. For example, someone purchasing a $500,000 home and has a $20,000 or greater downpayment. This does not affect buyers that have less than 20% of the purchase price as a downpayment, as those buyers were already required to qualify for the stress test.

This means that anyone with a 20% or greater down payment on a home will be required to qualify for their mortgage based on calculations on the greater of either the 5 year posted rate or 2% higher than their contract rate. Often the posted rates are far more than the rate agreed upon with the financial institution. For example, if you have a pre-approval for a 3% mortgage rate, the regulations will now require you to have the ability to afford to pay your payments on your mortgage as though the rate on your mortgage was 5%.

Another example: The interest payment on a mortgage of $300,000 at 3% with a 25 year amortization would be $1420 per month. At a 5% interest rate, that same mortgage would cost $1745 per month. With these new rules, you would be paying $1420 per month, however you would have to qualify for the mortgage as though it were $1745 per month.

As of January 1, 2018, regardless of how little or how much you have saved as a downpayment, buyers must qualify at the higher stress test rate. We strongly recommend that if you are thinking of buying in the near future, you take this into consideration.

Please note that pre-approvals in place will not protect you from this change.

If you believe these changes may affect you, local mortgage professionals are recommending to action well before Dec 1, 2017 as often lenders implement the new rules early.

In a nutshell, there have been significant changes to the mortgage lending market every year for the past 10 years. We shall see you here again next year, similar time, same place, likely with more changes, whether we like them or not!

For more information on how these changes can affect you, please contact the Salt Fowler Team today for this and other Vernon real estate updates at 250-549-7258 or webinfo@saltfowler.com.

Press Release: Salt Fowler Team Gives Pumpkins and Promises to Children

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Salt Fowler Team Realtors® Give Pumpkins and Promises to Children

Spallumcheen, British Columbia (October 1, 2017) – The Salt Fowler Team RE/MAX Vernon Realtors® had their annual Pumpkin-Fest pumpkin picking and charity lunch at the Pumpkin Patch on St. Annes Road. In addition to providing Tim Horton’s hot chocolate, Helmut’s smokies and hot dogs, and coupons for free pumpkins, the Salt Fowler Team provided hope to children by raising $1233 in matched donations for Children’s Miracle Network through this event.

“This year was the busiest we have seen for our annual event – we were surprised as it was opening day the Pumpkin Patch and we thought we may be a bit early, however it was a huge success! This year we decided to step up and match every donation dollar for dollar, and were very happy with the results.” says Lisa Salt, co-founder of the Salt Fowler Team. The Salt Fowler Team personally prepared and served the 17 dozen smokies, hot dogs and hot chocolate to their past and current clients, as well as other visitors to the Pumpkin Patch on that day, indicative of their commitment to personalized service in business as well as in charity.

Michael King, a many time participant at Pumpkin Fest, says: “The Salt Fowler Team hosted their annual Pumpkin Patch event this past weekend. Like every year, my family and I look forward to it. This is a fantastic way that they get to say thank you to the community, have a chance to catch up and to see how their clients’ families have grown. Thanks to the entire Salt Fowler Team for everything they’ve done and everything that they continue to do!”

The Salt Fowler Team has a history of giving back to their clients and to the community. In the past, they have provided their clients with tickets to the Vernon Vipers hockey games and admission to the Waterslide Park. The Salt Fowler Team Realtors® take care of their clients long after their business transactions have closed. In fact, a portion of each sale is reserved for charity and distributed at the end of the year to Hospice House, the Okanagan Rail Trail and /or to local clients that have fallen on hard times. Salt Fowler Team members exemplify the spirit of giving by filling their personal and business lives with service. This year Buy Low Foods, Tim Horton’s, Helmut’s Sausage Kitchen, KISS FM and Teeter Totter Toys all participated in Pumpkin Fest with contributions to support this annual local event.

Through the Salt Fowler Team’s example of giving back to their clients and the community, their clients are paying it forward by giving to sick and injured children through over $3500 in donations to the Children’s Miracle Network.

The Children’s Miracle Network is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving and improving the lives of children by raising funds for children’s hospitals. Because of RE/MAX’s dedication in helping sick and injured kids over the past 20 years, RE/MAX has become one of just three fundraising sponsors to reach $100 million in total donations to Children’s Miracle Network. Local charitable events, such as the Pumpkin Fest coordinated by the Salt Fowler Team, are integral to the amazing success of Children’s Miracle Network.

The Salt Fowler Team at RE/MAX Vernon is a vibrant, technologically savvy group of realtors who have joined together to revolutionize the real estate business through their advanced online marketing presence, virtual office and environmentally friendly outlook, not to mention great customer appreciation and dedicated charitable giving. To find out more, please visit www.satlfowler.com.

Contact:
Lisa Salt, Co-Founder
lisa@saltfowler.com
(250) 549-SALT (7258)
(800) 667-2040

Inside a Seller’s Market

You hear it everywhere these days – “The market is great!”, “I bet you’re loving this Vernon real estate market” or “It’s a great time for you Realtors!”. From the outside looking in, it does seem like everything is coming up roses. However, from the inside, Realtors often have a far different outlook.

A full fledged, hair-straight-back sellers market can be great- for sellers. However there are two sides to every transaction – a seller side, and a buyer side. The buyers are certainly not enjoying this market, and it is riddled with issues behind the scenes.

There is a significant amount of wasted time in the current market. The general public sees homes selling quickly and think “what an easy sale!”. However there are many, many transactions that don’t make it to fruition. Buyers are feeling they must make extremely quick decisions or risk losing out on a home they want. When decisions are made In a panic, often steps in the real estate process are missed such as making sure a solid financing pre-approval is in place, or the buyer having the opportunity to really and truly ensure he or she even wants that particular house for certain before taking action. Buyer’s remorse is rampant in today’s competitive real estate market and buyers are often looking for innovative ways to walk away from a deal.

In addition, buyers often must attempt offers on 2 or 3 or 5 homes in multiples before being the successful bidder. What appears to be a quick sale for the Seller is an agonizingly slow and stressful process for the buyer.

Further to this, multiple offers have become the norm. Anyone who has ever been in a multiple offer situation with two or more offers, knows how incredibly stressful they are. Buyers, sellers and realtors all feel an incredible amount of anxiety during multiple offers situations as there is always at least one loser and people are going to go away from the bargaining table disappointed. Once again, great for the seller and not ideal for at least one unlucky buyer who has to start the process all over again.

To compound the issue, finding affordable homes is becoming a thing of the past while mortgage rules continue to tighten. Often sellers, buyer and realtors are involved in transactions that fail due to the inability of the buyer to obtain financing due either to recent mortgage rule changes or bankers simply not having the time to verify the buyer’s information for a firm preapproval. More wasted time for all involved.

Seller’s markets can be great for sellers. However from the buyer’s point of view and the Realtor’s points of view, most would agree that a more normal, balanced market is far more desirable.

(as posted on Castanet for September 2017)

Canadian home prices expected to increase by two per cent in 2017 as demand remains high

Other findings in this year’s report:

– High demand and low supply continued to characterize Vancouver and Toronto’s housing markets throughout 2016 as competition from buyers for limited inventory of single-family homes pushed prices higher.

– Calgary and Edmonton’s housing markets remained relatively stable, with moderate declines in the number of sales and average residential sale price as a result of the prolonged recovery of the oil sector over the past two years.

– Home ownership remains a priority for Canadians, with 53 per cent of respondents in a recent RE/MAX survey expressing intent to purchase a home and 47 per cent expressing intent to do so in the next five to 10 years.

7 Easy Bathroom Upgrades for your Home

If you are underwhelmed with your bathroom style, it’s time for a change. Every bathroom deserves remodeling after several years, and it does not have to come with a nifty price tag.

To help make your bathroom look better than ever, we are presenting the 8 most unique and inexpensive upgrade solutions that will make this room “pop”!
7 Best DIY Bathroom Upgrades:

  1. A Vintage Dresser Vanity – Seems like the world is shifting for that retro look we have all seen in the movies. But vintage bathroom vanities are now IN more than ever – which is why recycling your vintage chest in a vintage dresser vanity is always a great idea! With a little effort and refinishing, your bathroom is stylin’!
  2. Replace your Towel Bar – Investing in a nice, modern towel bar is inexpensive and can update your bathroom immediately for a very low cost. They are easy to install yourself, and look great. There are tons of choices right at Home Depot or your local hardware store.
  3. Install a Shower Door – It’s the 21st century, and it’s time to ditch those shower curtains. Shower doors are one of the best upgrades your bathroom can get – while being amazingly practical and preventing any leakage to the floor. A glass shower door will also expand your bathroom space, without blurring it with a dull floral design.
  4. Invest In Smart Storage – Our bathrooms are always in need of a (dry) space, which is why you should consider every space as an opportunity to put drawers or cabinetry up the wall. It’s inexpensive, practical and looks great!
  5. Monochrome or 3D Bathroom Tiles – Monochrome is a recent trend for bathrooms – if you want your bathroom to look royal and elegant, consider a 3D monochrome design.
  6. Media And Music – Hey, it is the era of technology, isn’t it? This means that you can add music and media in your bathroom and entertain yourself during your self-relaxing hours, whether it’s your favorite CD or TV show. A small TV or a Bose Sounklink is a great way to add media without all the fuss or rewiring.
  7. In-Floor Heating – Cold winter mornings demand proper ways to shed the cold quickly. Generally our first contact in the morning is the one with the bathroom floor – and in-floor heat is definitely the thing that can warm your body from the bottom up. If you are replacing your flooring anyway, now is the time to add a heating mat or wiring to warm those toes!

Conclusion

These most recent bathroom remodeling trends are typically your best investment, especially if you are planning to put your Vernon home for sale. They make the most of your current bathroom space, whether it’s for your own purpose, resale, or for the long-term quality of your home, with only a minimum of investment.

For more information on the best ways to add value to your home, please contact the Vernon Realtor experts, the Salt Fowler Team at RE/MAX Vernon at 250-549-7258 and “Just Add Salt”!

Top 5 Signs Your Vernon BC Home for Sale is Overpriced

If you are putting your Vernon BC Home up for Sale, you need to understand that the right pricing for your home is imperative. The most common reason a house doesn’t have a buyer is because the list price is above market value.
When selling your home, it is imperative that you set a realistic price. If you make the mistake of setting an exorbitant price, it is important that you identify this error and change it as quickly as possible.

How does a seller know if their house is too expensive? Here are the top 5 signs that your Vernon home is overpriced.

1. Your Vernon home is priced far higher more than your neighbours

In general, in most neighbourhoods, home values ​​will be relatively consistent. If your home is listed at way more than your neighbours, and they are receiving showings or offers and you are not – you need to get your price more in line with the home down the street.

If your home is a much higher price than your neighbours, it’s entirely possible that your Realtor didn’t do thorough research on your house price. Or, the agent did and you chose a higher list price than recommended. If either of these things happened, you will want to adjust your list price accordingly.

2. You have had few or no showings

Basking in the initial euphoria is a popular emotion that’s very common to sellers. Sellers are satisfied with their home being listed for sale and advertised all over the Internet. Weeks pass, and there are a few or no showings of your house. No second showings. No offers.

Now that excitement turns to fear and frustration. If this sounds familiar, the chances are that your home is too pricey. If your home has been listed for sale for a few weeks and you only had a few showings, you need to adjust the price in hopes of generating some activity.

3. You’ve received no offers

In most Okanagan real estate markets, if a house is priced at market value, a homeowner should get at least one offer within a month. If you have not received an offer for a few months, then it means you need to make the necessary price adjustment.

Certainly, there are types of properties that typically may take a very long time before they receive an offer, but it’s pretty rare. This is usually a Luxury home or a specialty property such as Vernon BC Waterfront.

4. You hired an agent who “bought” your listing

In the Okanagan real estate market, there are hundreds of Realtors. When interviewing potential realtors to sell your home, it is important that you know the kind of questions to ask during the interview.

One of the key questions should relate to the pricing of your home. It is essential that you understand how this Realtor came up with the suggested listing price of your home. If you are interviewing numerous Okanagan or Vernon real estate agents and one of them suggests a price tag that is way more than the others, you need to know concrete facts of how they arrived at that figure.

There are many agents who will “buy a listing” by recommending a price that is higher than the market value. If you made the mistake of being wooed by this tactic and hired an agent who suggested a very high listing price, it’s possible that your house is more expensive than the market expectation.

5. Your Neighbours’ Homes are Selling Faster than Expected, and Yours Is Not

One of the most depressing things for a seller is when homes of other neighborus are selling, and yours hasn’t even received and offer. If you’re selling your home and you’re facing this challenge, then you need to adjust the price of your home.

If you hit the right price on a home the first time, you can expect to sell it in a reasonable period of time.. If you choose to inflate the price of your home, it will either not sell or take a very long time while the market values creep up in your area due to general market conditions.

Selling your home is never easy. It is a grueling process and most people, once they decide to put their Vernon home for sale, want to move on in a reasonable period of time. The only way to do this is to hire a knowledgeable Vernon real estate professional to help you price your home right the first time.

For more information on how to price your home right the first time – call the top Vernon Realtors at Salt Fowler Team at RE/MAX Vernon and “Just Add Salt!”

Top 10 Red Flags To Look For When Purchasing A New Home

As the prime North Okanagan house hunting season comes near, future homeowners should be well informed about all the drawbacks that may arise from buying a home that is not carefully inspected prior to purchase.

The truth is – buying a home is a big financial commitment and therefore it’s crucial to know everything before investing in what is likely your biggest asset. Today, we are listing some of the most common red flags when buying a home.

  1. Rotted Wood – Wood rots over time, especially when it’s exposed to moisture. Luckily, the Okanagan isn’t an overly moist or humid climate, however there are many older homes that could easily have rot. Therefore, inspecting the wood in the kitchen, bathroom, joists and attic, etc. is definitely a must for every future homeowner.
  2. Inadequate Ventilation – This is crucial, and can be the cause of issue #1. Therefore, you should make sure the attic, crawl space/basement and bathrooms are properly ventilated.
  3. Maintenance Of Appliances – If appliances are included in your purchase, a close inspection will help tell that tale of whether they will last for the long or short term. Appliances can be a huge expense if buying new, so you want to know if you should include them in your budget or whether they will last for a while.
  4. Amateur Repairs – Sellers sometimes are inclined to hire their friends and amateur electricians and other ‘repair people’ without extensive knowledge on the subject. This is why house repairs – from electrical to plumbing, should be properly inspected so that they don’t cause more damage in the long-term. Beware of homes with kitchen and bathroom renovations with no permits! They might look great, however if they are not finished properly and professionally, you could be in for a huge future expense.
  5. Inadequate Drainage – Water intrusion in the basement is often caused by poor drainage, which is another thing you should check on your inspection list. Simply extending downspouts and adding more drain rock may fix most drainage issues, however a thorough inspection is needed to ensure there aren’t further, more extensive issues that could cost a fortune.
  6. Heating And Cooling Systems – Simply because they are used seasonally, the heating and cooling systems can be subject to failure, and could be emitting carbon monoxide fumes that are harmful to you and your family. Have them checked by a professional.
  7. Environmental Hazards – Last but not the least are hazards to the environment – such as the dreaded “M” word (i.e. mould). Most moulds are harmless and can easily be removed with soap and water, however a few are extremely dangerous and if those are found, you will need to call the guys in the hazmat suits.

Remember, when buying any Vernon BC Real Estate – you are investing in your future and the future of your family, which is why you should always hire a professional, reputable home inspection company to alert you of any major problems. Whether these problems are past, current or future, they can have major affects on your quality of life and your pocket book.

Protect yourself – hire an inspector.

For more information on hiring a home inspector or purchasing the home of your dream, please contact the Vernon Real Estate experts, top Vernon Realtors, the Salt Fowler Team at RE/MAX Vernon and “Just Add Salt!”

3 Things that Must Align for a Successful Home Sale

In order for a successful sale of any Vernon BC home, there are three key things that must come into alignment. When these 3 things come into balance, the home will sell. When one or more of these things is out of whack, this is when homes sit on the market for extended periods of time. Or they simply never sell.

1. Condition

The first of our three in our list is the condition of the home. If the condition of the home is excellent, houses will generally sell faster and for more money.

2. Exposure

The second critical item is exposure to the marketplace. What we commonly refer to as “marketing”. The more exposure/marketing a home receives, the more exposure it gets to the market, the more inquiries, the more showings and more offers. Sometimes even multiple offers! Houses that get excellent exposure to the Vernon real estate market and beyond will generally sell faster and for more money.

3. Pricing

Yes, you knew it was coming. The price has to be considered “right” as it compares to the market. Who determines the market value? Well … the market! Buyers will determine if a home is priced well or within a reasonable margin of market value and will offer accordingly. Market value is determined based on how badly a seller wants to sell and how badly a buyer wants to buy.

All the above three items are dependent on the other two. If condition goes down, price goes down. If exposure goes up, price goes up. And vice versa for both.

There is one very important thing for Sellers to note: Your Realtor® can only control ONE of these three things. Your Realtor ® controls the exposure of your home to the market. As owner and Seller of your home, you are in charge of the condition and the price. We as Vernon Realtors® can suggest, advise and even recommend a list price – however only you can choose the price for your home. Just as prices in the stock market rise and fall based on supply, demand and other external market conditions, so does the market value of your home. Market value is a moving target and constant analysis and review of list price is imperative for a successful home sale. Only you can choose to adjust the price when necessary.

If your home has not sold, then one or more of the three things above is the issue. First, examine the exposure of your home. If the exposure is excellent, then the blame must fall on condition and/or price. Condition must go up or price must come down. The market is not always kind, however it is never wrong.

For more information on how to accurately price your home for sale, contact your Vernon Real Estate experts, top Vernon BC realtors, the Salt Fowler Team at 250-549-7258 or webinfo@saltfowler.com.