Watch for red flags

Big red flags to look for when buying a new home

As the prime house-hunting season nears, future homeowners should know the drawbacks that may arise from buying a home that is not carefully inspected prior to purchase.

Buying a home is a big, financial commitment and 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.

  • Rotted Wood — Wood rots over time, especially when it’s exposed to moisture. Luckily, the Okanagan isn’t overly moist or humid, 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.
  • Inadequate Ventilation — This is crucial, and can be the cause of issue No.1. You should make sure the attic, crawl space/basement and bathrooms are properly ventilated.
  • Maintenance Of Appliances — If appliances are included, 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. 
  • 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 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. 
  • Inadequate Drainage — Water intrusion in the basement is often caused by poor drainage, which you should have 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. 
  • 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. 
  • Environmental Hazards — 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. If those are found, you will need to call the guys in the Hazmat suits.  

Remember, when buying a home, 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 Salt Fowler Team at RE/MAX Vernon and “Just Add Salt!”




Pizzazz pointers

Home-staging tips to spruce up the exterior of your home

When putting your Okanagan home up for sale, you have to sell it to a prospective buyer three times.

  • Once online
  • The second time when they drive by 
  • The third time when they come inside to take a look at what they will be purchasing

If what they see outside is not encouraging, they will probably keep moving.

Research has shown that the overall return on investment for landscaping is only seven per cent, so you definitely don’t want to go crazy. However, staging your home the right way, both in and out, is a sure way to sell your home in less time for more money.  

Here are five tips for staging the exterior of your home that will not break the bank and will give a substantial return on Investment when selling your home.  

  • Lawn:
  • This is a simple fix. If you water, cut and regularly trim your lawn, use a fertilizer, utilize a weed-control program, your lawn will look nice and green. Watering your lawn while it is for sale is imperative.  
  • If your lawn is not in good condition, you can totally re-sod the area. If you lay the sod yourself, and pick up the sod from the turf farm, the cost isn’t as huge as you might think. It's totally worth it.
  • Doors and Lighting:
  • Your main entry should be attractive and appealing. Try a new coat of paint on the door, with a modern, in-style colour. Make sure you choose the colour that goes well with the rest of your home.
  • Add a pot of flowers for colour or, during the winter, use an urn with greenery.
  • If your door and lighting are old and in need of urgent repair, do so or completely replace them.
  • Add a bistro table and a few chairs if you have space on your porch. New or used, the price is justified for the return.  
  • Gardens:
  • Make sure a prospective buyer sees a well-kept, low maintenance property. Clean up all the weeds, trim your flowers and add coloured mulch.
  •  If your garden is scanty or non-existent, make sure the flowers, shrubs or trees that you add to the garden give it a professional and a well-cultured look.
  • Driveway:
  • Your driveway is one thing a buyer can see from the main house. You don’t want potential buyers to be turned off with an ugly access. A nice concrete sealer or a blacktop slurry will help make older driveways sparkle.  
  • If the driveway is gravel, consider paving. If this is not in the budget, a well-placed load of nice, new gravel can make all the difference for showing purposes.  
  •  Decks and patios:
  • If you have a deck or patio that is looking a little under the weather, ensure you power wash and stain it. Adding flower pots around the deck or patio will make it more attractive and hide any minor imperfections.  
  • If your deck and patio are in poor repair, repair or replace them. Any home inspector will alert a buyer to an unsafe or faulty deck. If you have nothing occupying the space in your backyard, create an outdoor space for entertainment purposes. Buyers are attracted to fun, well-utilized spaces.  

For more information on how to prepare your home for showing, both inside and out, contact your Okanagan real estate experts, the Salt Fowler Team at RE/MAX Vernon at [email protected] or 250-549-7258, and Just Add Salt!



House, with pool

The pros and cons of a swimming pool home

In the Okanagan Valley, many of us love the idea of owning a home with a swimming pool. 

Swimming pools are a luxury for some people, for others they feel like a common necessity. Relaxing with our kids in those long Okanagan summer days, and drinking and dining beside the water during lazy summer nights - but is it an investment that pays off?

If you've been thinking about buying a home with a swimming pool, here are the things you should know:

The Pros

It’s fun! 

It’s a great way to get a daily dose of exercise for you and your children.

It’s perfect for relaxing, and ideal for spending weekends under the summer sun. It can keep your children where you can supervise them, rather than out and about.

It’s great for birthdays, parties, and other fun and special events.

It may help you sell your property to a buyer who wants a swimming pool.  

The Cons

It can be dangerous with children around, or, for that matter, anybody who doesn’t know how to swim. Every swimming pool needs proper safety fencing and door locks installed. Make sure you are prepared to pay for these added items, plus appropriate insurance.

Be aware that if you install a pool, chances are very good that you will never increase the market price of your home enough to include what you spent on the pool unless you own the home for a very long time.

Pools require constant maintenance, care, and filtration. It’s not a “set it and forget it solution” – it’s a part time job, like most luxury items.

The ongoing maintenance is costly, and you must be prepared for the added cost of running a pool. The chemicals, heating, and water bill alone are well into thousands per year.  

If you add a pool to your home, be aware that it will be a long time before you get your investment back, if ever. If you buy a home with a pool already installed, you must realize that when you sell, there is a limited market for your home. In both scenarios, you will have a huge ongoing maintenance bill.  

Some buyers want to buy homes with pools, but a larger number won’t touch them. Resale wise, they aren’t a great investment, but enjoyment wise – they are the best.

So, if you are up to investing in a swimming pool for your home, or buying a home with a swimming pool, make sure the enjoyment will outweigh the costs.  

Either way, here’s wishing you happy and pleasant summer days ahead!

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Waterfront? Where?

Buying waterfront property in Vernon?

Which lake? Okanagan, Kalamalka or Swan?

The Okanagan Valley is one of the most beautiful valleys anywhere, and a real source of pride here in British Columbia. 

The beauty mainly comes from the pearls of the Okanagan, as they are commonly known: lakes Kalamalka, Okanagan, and Swan.

For many new buyers, the struggle to choose between these lakes is very real. All three are surrounded by amazing beauty,  offer a peaceful and tranquil lifestyle, and create part of the best landscape in the country.

Most people cannot buy three properties, one on each lake, so one must make a well-informed decision of which lake is best for them.  

Swan Lake
This lake is a breeding, nesting, and migration haven for ducks, waterfowl, mash birds and more - combining flora and fauna, but is also a habitat for many reptiles and small mammals. As this lake is calm and relatively shallow, water sports such as water skiing and dragon boat racing in the summer are common, with ice fishing a popular sport in the winter.  

Okanagan Lake
Properties on Okanagan Lake deliver a special ambient which is nature-inspired but also well-connected to the bordering cities - Vernon in the north, Penticton in the south and Kelowna in the center. Less crowded with boats in the summertime due to its sheer length, Okanagan Lake is the best choice for someone who wants to be able to boat for 90 miles straight, with the opportunity to visit these neighbouring cities.  

Kalamalka Lake
Buying on Kalamalka Lake means living on one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Being one of Vernon’s most visited tourist destinations, Kalamalka Lake mixes soft blues and green colours in an incredibly pleasing environment. It is the most popular and stunning of all the lakes, and therefore the most crowded on those hot summer days. 

Which one to choose?

In the final analysis, all three lakes combine a true real estate lake paradise in the North Okanagan. Choosing the right lake is based on your daily activities as well as your chosen or required price range. Homes on Kalamalka Lake are generally the most expensive, with homes on Swan being the least. 

Ultimately, living by a lake will sharpen the senses of every waterfront enthusiast. Choosing the right one is the hard part.

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More Just Add Salt! articles

About the Author

Lisa Salt is a Vernon born Realtor® who, along with her husband Gord Fowler from Calgary, lead one of the most successful and dynamic real estate teams in the North Okanagan. 

An international clay target shooting champion, Lisa brought the attributes of hard work and diligent focus to the real estate industry to create the success she and her team have today. 

To experience the local knowledge and expertise that only someone born and raised in the Okanagan can offer, call Lisa today and 'Just Add Salt'.

Website link:   http://www.saltfowler.com

Contact e-mail address:  [email protected]


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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