Female Hands Holding Smart Phone Displaying Photo of For Sale Real Estate Sign and House Behind.

Now Is the Time To Buy A Home.  Here is Why and How.

WHY HOMEOWNERSHIP IS THE BEST

If you’ve been on the fence about homeownership, now is the time to take a leap! Don’t let the negative press deter you from one of life’s greatest joys.

Here are some reasons that homeownership is great!

1. Equity

When you pay rent, you never see that money again. It is lining the landlord’s pocket. Yes, buying a home may come with some hefty initial costs (down payment, closing costs, inspections), but you will make that money back over time in equity in your home.

Historically, homes appreciate by about 4 to 6 percent a year. Some areas are still experiencing normal appreciation rates. For the areas that have seen harder times since the recession, experts feel that the housing market will recover. Homeownership is about building long-term wealth. A home bought for $10,000 in 1960 is most likely worth 10 times that in today’s market.

2. Relationships

Renters tend to see their neighbours come and go quickly. Some people sign year leases while others are in the community for much shorter terms. Apartment complexes also tend to have less common shared space for people to meet, greet, and socialize.

Homeowners, however, have yards, walking trails, or community pools and clubhouses where they can get to know each other. Neighbours stay put much longer (at least three to five years if they hope to recoup their closing costs). This means more time to develop relationships. Research has shown that people with healthy relationships have more happiness and less stress.

3. Predictability

Well, if you have a fixed-rate term on your mortgage it’s predictable. Most people buying homes today know that a fixed-rate is the way to go. This means your payment amount is fixed for the life of the term. If your mortgage payment is $500 today, then it will still be $500 a month in 10 years.

This allows for people to budget and make solid financial plans. The sub-prime crisis meant many homeowners with adjustable rate mortgages saw their monthly payments rise and then rise some more.

Homeownership, though, generally comes with a predictable table of expenditures. Even the big purchases are predictable. You know most roofs last just 15 years (or so). You know that each year you’ll need to pay for the gutters to be cleaned, and so on.

4. Ownership

Okay, this is a given. Homeownership means you “own” your home. That comes with some incredible perks, though! You can renovate, update, paint, and decorate to your heart’s desire. You can plant trees, install a pool, expand the patio, or do holiday decorating that would rival the Kranks (if the HOA allows!). The bottom line is this is your home and you can personalize it to your taste. Most renters are stuck with the same beige walls and beige carpet that has been standard apartment decor for 20 years. Now is your chance to let your home speak!

5. Great Deals

It’s a great time to buy. Interest rates are at historic lows. We’re talking 4.0 percent instead of 6.0 or higher. This means big savings for today’s buyers. Home prices have also taken a dip since the recession, which means homes are more affordable than ever. If you have steady income and cash for a down payment, then be sure to talk to your local real estate agent about what homes in your area could be a fit for you.

Homeownership can be a real joy. It’s time to get off the fence and into a home that is right for you!

SHOULD I BUY A CONDO OR HOUSE?

Now Is the Time To Buy A Home.  Here is Why and How.

Now that you have decided to get into the market, you can decide which type of home is best for you.

Real estate purchases are one of the most important investments you will make in your lifetime, therefore, it is critical that you get it right. When purchasing a home, you are purchasing the home and land that it sits on and surrounds it, however, a condo includes only the living space (or the condo unit), and some common areas.

While homes for sale in Vernon, BC have a great location, other factors that you will need to consider are maintenance costs, safety, space issues and more. There are advantages and disadvantages to both housing options and determining which Vernon real estate investment is right for you will take some research and lifestyle consideration on your part. Here are some points to keep in mind:

  • Urban living is becoming popular again and condos usually fit this need, as many are within walking distance to shopping and more. However, many homeowners prefer suburban or country settings.
  • The amenities, such as fitness centers, pools, and more, make condo living an attractive choice for many. When owning your own home, not all these amenities are available to you, and if you want them, you are responsible for them.
  • Condos are typically low maintenance and include indoor and outdoor components that cover landscaping, snow removal, and normal maintenance. With homeownership, all of this falls on your shoulders to take care of.
  • The association fees associated with owning a condo, many times turn homeowners off from the idea of purchasing a condo. And, the shared decision making is often less desirable for many. Today, many homes are part of home associations as well, so there are incurred fees with both types of homes.
  • Privacy is also something you should consider. A condo will not provide you with a ton of privacy, however, a house would give you more.

You are the only one that can answer the question, which is right for me – a house or a condo? It will come down to your lifestyle and what you want to accomplish with your North Okanagan or your Vernon, BC real estate. Do you plan on this purchase being short-term, long-term or just an investment?

Vernon, BC homes for sale are a great investment, no matter which you choose. Take the considerations mentioned above into account when deciding and do your research. As the real estate market continues to grow, so do your choices. Affordable housing is at your fingertips and yours for the choosing.

For more information on opportunities to purchase houses or condos in the Okanagan, please contact Salt Fowler.

YOUR ONLINE SEARCH

4 Kitchen

Starting your home buying search online is a great first step.  However, many potential buyers quickly become overwhelmed looking at an endless supply of properties.  As your premier agent specializing in Vernon’s real estate market, I would like to help you streamline your online home search, so that you can save time and still find your perfect home.

Work within a Budget

One of the biggest mistakes people make when starting an online search is not having any parameters.  The easiest way to streamline your online search is to set a budget.  Go to a few banks and contact some mortgage brokers to see for how much you will be pre-approved.  Use this number as a starting point when looking at homes.  By looking within your price range, you will greatly reduce the number of homes in your search.

Here’s the Deal:

To broaden your search just a bit, try looking at homes just outside of your maximum price range.  You may be able to negotiate with the seller and settle on a price that is within your budget.

Key Features

To further streamline, make a list of the key features that you are looking for in your dream home.  Rank these from most important and non-negotiable to features that you may be willing to compromise on.  Some that you may want to consider when making this list include:

  • Approximate square footage of your home.
  • The number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
  • Walkability score.
  • Proximity to schools, community centres and distance from your work.
  • Crime rate of the area, traffic in the area, any upcoming or ongoing developments.
  • Proximity to shopping centres, grocery stores and other businesses.

When making your list, be sure that you are thorough and have included everything that is important to you.  You do not want to purchase a home only to have buyer’s remorse.

Go with the Pro

Once you have narrowed your online home list down to the properties that are within your budget and have the key features that are important to you, it is time to contact a real estate agent.  The right agent will be able to arrange showings at your select properties and they will also be able to introduce you to other properties that you may have missed or overlooked.

The right real estate agent will prove invaluable when negotiating a final sale price and they will be able to take care of the arduous paperwork that is part of buying a home.

An online home search is a great start in finding your dream home.  If you have any other questions about how to conduct an online home search or would like to see some of the new and exciting properties that are available on Vernon’s real estate market, please contact me today.  I look forward to helping you find your dream home today.

HOW TO MASTER THE VERY IMPORTANT NEGOTIATION

A large number of details usually determine how the home buying process proceeds when searching for Vernon real estate you can invest in. If you are interested in getting more value for money when you buy a home, one of the tools you can rely on is the use of negotiation to get lower prices for the property.

However, the problem with this is that you can’t simply haggle over the price without a strategy. In fact, doing this might end up making you miss out on many great opportunities, since some sellers will flat out refuse to sell the property to you if you use unorthodox negotiation tactics.

To ensure that your technique is more effective, some of the things you might want to do include:

Make Sure you are Pre-approved for a Mortgage

Having a mortgage pre-approval is a sign of commitment. It also means that once you find a house you like, you will be in a better position to conclude the trade faster than usual, and this is something that many sellers are usually looking forward to.

If you are at a point in your life where you think it might be time for you to buy your own home, you should therefore start the process of getting preapproved even if you have not started shopping for the property yet. The fact that this is a process that can take some time means that doing it from early on is a good idea.

Once you show proof of this to any seller you are negotiating with, they are more likely to take you seriously, and would be more willing to sell you the house at a lower rate.

Understand the Home Markets in the Area

Perhaps the most important information you can use to help with the negotiation is a keen understanding of the home markets in the region you are buying the properties from. Most of the time, consulting an agent is the best way to get this information. The fact that they are in the business means that they just have to collect data regarding the properties in the area, and they can then pass this on to you.

This will help with the negotiations in several ways. First, it will tell you whether negotiations are necessary. If the seller is selling the house at a value that is much lower than the expected property prices in that region, negotiating for more is not likely to work and will not even be necessary.

However, if you find that the house is being sold at a significantly higher price than its value in an environment where home prices are going down, you will have a lot of leverage to work with. In such cases, convincing the seller to reduce the price of the home will be easier, since you can use this information as validation for this request.

Find Out How Long the Property has Been on the Market

Having an idea of how long the property has been on the market will also give you an idea of what to expect when you start negotiations. Homes that have been on sale for a very long time usually have sellers who might be getting impatient and might then agree to sell the house at a reasonable price after negotiations. However, if you spot a house that has just been put on sale and which you really like, you might want to minimize your expectations regarding negotiations. The fact that the seller has just put the property on sale means that they are likely to be more patient than most. If you request for a massive reduction on the list price, they might ignore this in anticipation of other customers.

Expect to Compromise

It’s very rare for anyone to start the negotiation process and then end up getting the price that they had been shooting for all along. Most of the time, both the buyer and seller will need to make sacrifices as far as this is concerned. Knowing that this is likely to happen will make it much easier for you to get a better deal on the home.

Try to Find Out Why the Home is Being Put on Sale

Having an idea of why the home is being sold will also hint at the likelihood of a negotiation working. For instance, there are some people who might sell homes in order to make profits compared to when they bought them. In such cases, the sellers tend to be very rigid. However, if she is putting the house on sale on account of an issue such as having to move to a new city for career reasons, they might want to move out fast. In such cases, providing a decent offer when negotiating and expressing full commitment to buying the home might be all you need to get it at a lower price.

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST, THE MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL: USING A REALTOR

A lot has been written about the doom and gloom of the real estate industry as we know it. Many are searching for reasons why you should use agent but should not.  Even with high tech advances and licensing authorities tying our hands behind our backs, real estate is still a “peoples’ business”.

Online retail is becoming more popular but there will always be a place where people can go to touch, feel and smell the merchandise or product. In real estate it is even more important to do that.

The help of a licensed agent is in my opinion critical for a fair and hassle-free transaction.

Here are 15 reasons why you should use a real estate agent:

  • Most accurate and up-to-date market area comparables (sold and active properties).
  • Most up-to-date and accurate evaluation of a home.
  • Ability to “sell the house” to agents who are active in the area so they can bring their buyers.
  • Quick exposure to thousands of agents who each can bring a buyer (better chances of getting a higher price). Quicker sale, higher price.
  • Provide secure, day-long, easy access to the house.
  • Ability to market – spend money up front on cards, letters and newspaper advertising.
  • Extensive social networking marketing.
  • Can lead to “multiple offers” situation resulting in an over asking selling price.
  • Reviewing offers with the seller, analyzing the offer, proper (legal) sign backs without needing a lawyer.
  • Proper and legal handling of deposit monies.
  • Provide buyers a wide variety of homes to visit and transportation to buyers.
  • Third-party (mediator) negotiations make it easier to reach a deal (but still working for your best interest).
  • Assistance with mortgage financing, home inspections and assisting your lawyer until closing.
  • Screening of potential frauds.
  • Does anybody (seller or buyer) really save money when both ends want to save?

To ‘For Sale By Owner’ Sellers:

If you want to sell your house, which is valued at $600,000, and a buyer comes in (no agent) and tells you, “I will pay you $500,000 for your house”, chances are you will say no and be angry about the offer.

If that same buyer came in with an agent, the buyer has probably been pre-qualified (meaning the bank allowed them to buy a property for $600,000). The agent showed them other properties and this one is the best $600,000 property on the market. The Realtor also most likely showed them what other properties are selling for and are listed for (comparables) in that area. It will be easy to sell the house to the same buyer that the private owner most likely kicked out for full market value.

I once approached a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) and tried to convince her to list her house with me. She told me that she sold the house already and was very proud to show me a napkin on which it said: “I will buy your house (with the amount to be paid). Under that it said “ I (the seller) hereby acknowledge receiving $10,000 as deposit for the purchase of the property.”

I asked the seller if she received the $10,000 and she said the buyer gave her $5,000 and told her he will bring in the other $5,000 in two weeks. I don’t know what happened to the deposit but the seller still lives in the same house 15 years later.

What if a buyer is flying in from out of town for two days to buy a house and then flies back to prepare for the move? Is that buyer going to have time to look at your house when they work with an agent who will show them a dozen houses in one day? What if they pass by your house during the day? Is there a lockbox on your house? You could have just missed the highest paying buyer.

When you sell your house and go to buy the next house for yourself, will you go to FSBO homes only or will you ask an agent to show you properties?

To buyers working without an agent:

Will you also “close” the property without a lawyer? You can if you want to, but it doesn’t make sense, does it?

How much will your lawyer charge you to put together a “custom” agreement of purchase and sale and will the lawyer charge you if the negotiations are not successful?

What happens if your home inspector did not catch the fact that the house was previously a grow op and the seller who did not disclose that fact has left the country shortly after closing?

What happens if there is asbestos or UFFI in the house and the home inspector was not asked to do the special inspection for it?

What if you paid too much for the house?

What if an agent has information about a specific property that you can take advantage of, but you are not working with an agent?

For both buyers and sellers:

Yes, there are options today, yes there is technology today. Working with a real estate agent is still the best and safest way.

So now you are all prepared to get out there and get into the market.  Decide whether a condo or house suits you best, be prepared for the negotiation and find the right real estate agent.  Come to us.  We will fulfill all your home needs and dreams.  We look forward to working with you soon.