Should I Buy A Brand New Home?

There really is nothing like moving into a brand new home, one that no one but you has ever lived in. However, There are 5 main factors for buyers to consider when making the decision to purchase a brand new home versus a previously owned home. These 5 factors are listed below:

  1. GST: Previously owned homes are generally not subject to GST (with some exceptions such as working farms, some vacation homes, and homes that have been substantially renovated), whereas new homes are. In the North Okanagan most buyers can count on paying the full 5% GST with no rebate due to home prices being much higher than the allowable price ceiling.
  2. Landscaping: Older homes often have more mature landscaping, although there is no guarantee that landscaping is perfect. On the other hand, most brand new homes include minimal if any landscaping with a purchase. This can be a large expense and one that you want to include in your final calculations when you purchase.
  3. Appliances and Window Coverings: Many pre-owned homes have appliances that can be negotiated into an offer to purchase. Most brand new homes do not include appliance packages or window coverings, adding two more big ticket items to the bottom line that must be accounted for in the final cost tally.
  4. Deficiencies: Older homes may not have brand new innards, however someone has lived in the home prior to you, and has worked out all the kinks. If you have never owned a brand new home, then you may not be prepared for all the post move-in visits by the many trades people coming to fully complete or repair something. It’s a revolving door for your first few months of living in your new home – be prepared!
  5. Construction Zone: Buying an older home in an established area on a quiet, tree lined street is often a pleasant experience, one that you can enjoy immediately. On the other hand, most brand new homes are built in brand new subdivisions. And unless you purchase the last lot in the subdivision, your neighbourhood is going to be under construction for years to come. This means years of trucks and traffic and jackhammers and nail guns until the subdivision is complete.

As you can see, purchasing a brand new home isn’t the least costly, or the hassle/stress free option. However, as mentioned above, if you’re up for it and are prepared for a few costs and inconveniences, new homes in Vernon and anywhere else, are magical.

New Listing Coming Soon!!! 18-3211 Centennial Drive (Aberdeen Heights)!!

Listing Features

3rd floor unit with a view over the city and up to Silver Star
Many recent renovations including most flooring, all paint, most appliances, air conditioning unit, window coverings
2 bedrooms
2 bathrooms
Secured parking under building
2 parking spaces
Nice building
Flat walk to downtown
Small pet allowed: One cat or 14″ to shoulder dog
No age restrictions
Quick possession possible

Price: $299,900

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 or call 250-308-9472.

Let him 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

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

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

Lisa Salt, Co-Founder
(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)

Buying A Property: Tips For The Savvy Home Buyer

For many homeowners, nothing can be more thrilling and exciting than buying a brand new house in which to live for at least several years or who knows, maybe for a lifetime. This is truly an important moment in their lives and obviously, it needs to be handled correctly. If you are looking to buy a property in the near future and you need some advice then here are 7 tips and tricks you need to remember in this case.

Don’t just view only one house

Who says that the first house that a customer views is necessarily the one he has to buy? Luckily, there are plenty of properties in each and every major city in the world and potential buyers should take advantage of this. They should allot sufficient time in order to inspect one, two, three, maybe even ten houses or even more, so that they have better chances of making a great decision. Therefore, all customers should remember to inspect one house every day and they won’t be sorry with their choice later on.

Take pictures of the properties visited

After viewing 15 or even 20 houses, it is obvious that no customer will remember all the details and features each and every property had and all the work was practically in vain. To avoid this, potential buyers are highly encouraged to ask permission for taking photos of the properties visited. Most homeowners will agree to this and as a result, the customer can later on narrow down the list of houses according to his wishes, needs and preferences. In some cases, potential buyers even take video footages which are even more helpful.

Don’t rush

One of the biggest mistakes customers do even when buying a relatively small house is to get rushed. Some of them want to hurry up, so that they don’t lose that property to another client, others simply don’t have enough time for a proper research. This can be a costly mistake, especially if the customer wants to live in that house for a long time and even establish a family and raise kids there. Buying a house is the biggest transaction one ever makes in his life and in this case, nothing can be more important than allotting sufficient time in order to find a great property.

Location always matters

Everyone has heard about this all the times and that is because it is very important. The location of a property isn’t only strictly related to its overall price, but it will also influence the quality of life of the homeowner for many years. Therefore, customers should ask themselves first of all if they want a house in the middle of the city or somewhere at the edge of the city. Similarly, they should do some research and find out what amenities are available around the property. If one has kids, he definitely needs a good school nearby. If one works out often, it is normal to go for a house which is close to a gym. Customers should assess their needs first and then consider the location of their future properties.

Consider the neighborhood

The neighborhood is as important as the amenities around the house. Therefore, customers are strongly encouraged to gather as much information about that particular neighborhood as possible, in order to have more peace of mind later on. For example, a house might be beautiful and it might come at a reasonable price, but what if there is a high crime rate in that region? Similarly, what if the neighbors are noisy, nosy or plain annoying? It is best to think about these aspects before signing a contract and moving with the entire family in the new property.

Undertake a serious home inspection

Especially if the customer has set his eye upon a certain house and he is already thinking about arranging his personal belongings inside, he should have patience and take advantage of one last trick: performing a serious home inspection. A home inspection is done by professionals and it will help the customer find out exactly what types of structural house that property has. For example, insulating problems as well as foundation issues cannot be seen with the naked eye in most cases, but they are very important and they can cause a lot of troubles later on. Additionally, a serious home inspection done by a professional will guarantee that the buyer is paying the correct price for the house in question.

Visit the house during various timings of the day

This is also a great trick. Some properties might not stand out from the crowd at first, but what if the sunset viewed from the balcony is absolutely mesmerizing? Obviously, this is a great advantage and almost all potential buyers will immediately be attracted by this.

Additionally, don’t forget to contact our real estate firm and take advantage of our professional services, if you want the best array of houses for your selection. We can help you find great homes for sale in Vernon, BC and our real estate agents will certainly take into account all your preferences and needs.