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Why buy a condo?

Nowadays, you will find both condos and houses offered for sale in most urban areas, and the big question asked by many potential homebuyers is: 'Should I buy a condo or a house?’

Many people love living in a condo. Today, we share some of the biggest benefits:

1. Flexibility in Terms of Travel

People nowadays are more mobile than ever. Business trips, holidays, time spent abroad - these are all positive reasons that add up to the condo life. With a condo, you can leave your place unattended for extended periods by simply locking the door while off enjoying your nomad life.

2. No Yard to Mow

One of the biggest struggles for many busy homeowners is finding the time to mow the grass. When purchasing a condo, you generally don't have to do this - as your condominium association collects money for the maintenance of the yard shared by the group of homeowners.

3. A More Cost-Effective Option

In most cases, buying a condo is less expensive than buying a house. Obviously, this depends on the size of the house and the condo, but in general, the property values plus the cost of living in a condo is a more affordable option. 

4. A Sense of Community

Many homeowners living in a condo praise the way of living, and the sharing of space with their neighbourhood. Condo owners are placed in a closer proximity than many suburban homeowners, who live in houses with big yards separating them from neighbours. There is a real sense of community in a condo that can, for example, help in cases of emergency.

5. The Style of Urban Living

Last, but not least, is the style of urban living. What we mean by this is simply the fact that condos are meant for urban living. Saving you the space, costs and definitely some of the most common struggles with being a house owner, a condo will make sure to treat you to your utmost satisfaction by offering various alternatives to the house way of living, and, most of all, by accenting the future style of living and sharing.

As with everything in life, there are also cons to buying a condo, such as the sharing issues, and association fees. But cost-effectiveness, location, and sense of urban community are just a few of the strong advantages to living in a condo.

For more information on purchasing condos or houses in the Okanagan, please contact the Salt Fowler Team at 250-549-7258 or visit our website at www.SaltFowler.com.  


First-time buyer?

As newcomers to the real estate game, most first-time buyers do not know how real estate works. Here are a few important points to help:

First, as a buyer you usually do not pay commission. Whether you are a first-timer or not, the realtor® is free to you. 

Why? Because the seller is technically responsible for paying the commission out of the proceeds of the sale. This is very important when you possibly only have limited funds to make the 5% downpayment required, as well as your various closing costs such as legal fees, home inspections, and so on.

It is a good idea to call a realtor to arrange an interview. If you are not happy with what this person or team can provide to you, call another. You are not obligated to someone just because you meet them once. If you are happy with their service, and feel they are the right person/team for the job, then hire them to work for you.

Secondly, it is important to have a realtor work on your behalf. He or she can advise you on recent sales in the area, and therefore lead you toward the true value of the home you wish to purchase - no sense in overpaying. Realtors have access to the prices of the listings in the area that have sold, and will prepare a current market analysis of the value of the home to ensure you get a great buy on the home that you want.

Once you are a client, professional realtors also negotiate offers on your behalf*. It's important to have an impartial third party doing your negotiating. As professionals, they will work to get you the very best deal, and can ‘read’ the other party to ensure that the offer is negotiated in your best interest*. Again, talk to your realtor to see what they can do for you. Ask them about their negotiating history. It's important to hire a top-notch negotiator when you are making what may be the largest investment of your life.

Another benefit to using a professional realtor: They have all the contacts you need for as stress-free a transaction as possible. For example, he or she will write a binding contract or purchase and sale,  arrange for a home inspection for you once you choose an inspector, arrange for all the necessary documentation to go to your financial institution, recommend lawyers/notaries for conveyancing, and much, much more.

The reality is, a professional realtor saves you time and money. So why not hook up with one today?

*assuming no Limited Dual Agency

For more information, go to www.VernonFirstTimers.com and arrange to hire your realtor today. 

Call the Salt Fowler Team to talk to a buyer specialist today at 250.549.7258 or email [email protected]


Stop paying rent!

You’re a renter.  That means that your walls are probably white, your carpet is probably beige.  If you’re lucky, your kitchen appliances work all the time.  If not, you have a constant hassle with your landlord about them.  You live with the unseen residue, stale smells and damage of previous renters.  You may have neighbours a wall away on both sides of you, upstairs and downstairs, inhibiting your sense of privacy.  You can’t have a big party that runs past 10 PM.  You can’t play your music as loud as you’d like.  You rent a storage unit for the stuff other people keep in their garage.  Every month, you pay your landlord and he gets the tax benefits of owning the place you pay for. 

And home ownership seems like an unattainable dream.

 But it isn’t. 

There are many options open to first-time home buyers.  Take the following steps, and you may be a homeowner, too.


Step 1:  Find a Realtor®.  You need a Realtor® who is interested in you, understands that you are new to the process and who is well-connected within the community.  Your Realtor® is a key player in the process of turning you into a homeowner. 


Step 2:  Find a lender.  You need a lender with experience helping first-time home buyers who has integrity and a wide range of loan products available.  If you don’t know a good lender, ask your Realtor®, who has a lot of experience with lenders and probably has several that he/she would refer you to confidently.


Step 3:  Meet with your lender.  Your lender should be able to advise you on the following possibilities:

  1. Government sponsored first-time homebuyer programs that may assist you with a down payment;
  2. Other down payment assistance programs;
  3. Options for increasing your ability to save toward a down payment;
  4. The amount of mortgage you could currently qualify for; and
  5. Credit repair options if necessary.


Step 4:  Make a Plan. After meeting with your lender, you will have a plan and a timetable for obtaining mortgage financing, which could be immediately.


Step 5: Meet with your Realtor®.  Discuss a plan of attack and begin searching for your first home!


Owning a home is a financial investment that pays back in security, in freedom (haven’t you always wanted to paint your bedroom black?), and in the satisfaction that you’ve become a homeowner!


For more information on becoming a First Time Home Buyer, please see our detailed information at www.VernonFirstTimers.com


Cold, hard facts: Part 3

As mentioned in Parts 1 and 2, if you currently have your home on the market or are considering doing so, you will want to take heed of the preceding 10 truths as well the final five in this article – all of the cold, hard facts about selling your Okanagan home.


1.  You will need to cooperate when it comes time for the sale of your home. If you try to have everything your way in every offer, it will never work out. Do not fight the new owner over every little thing. We are looking for a win-win negotiation and you can only achieve that through a little give and take. It will go a long way and make for a smooth closing and sale.

2.  It is important to remember than when the possession date and time is set, that is your move out date. Trying to renegotiate those dates a week or less prior to completion of the transaction may results in great disappointment to you. Legally you must be packed and out before this date, and always leave a clean home for the buyers to move into. No one wants to move into someone else’s dirt, nor should they have to.

3.  Be sure that your real estate salesperson is pre-screening buyers before showing your home. This will save everyone a lot of headaches and a ton of your time that you don’t need to spend cleaning. If they cannot afford your asking price, then they should not be viewing your home.

4.  Realtor.ca alone will not sell your home. And if it does, certainly not for the most amount of money. If a website alone could sell your home, then 100% of the homes would be selling. However in the North Okanagan in most any given month, no more than 10% of the inventory sells. Enough said.

5.  Cooperation is king. Your Realtor® needs to cooperate with other Realtors® to sell your home for the most amount of money in the least amount of time. It’s those other Realtors® who are working with the majority of the buyers out there. Choose a representative who other salespeople want to work with – not someone who is an Island. Remember that Realtors® are commission based salespeople who you, and your representative, need to motivate, financially or otherwise, to bring their buyers to your home. Please refer back to point #4.


Do not gamble with the sale of your home. Take the time to read these truths about selling your home and take them to heart. If you follow them, you will have a more pleasant experience and may even sell your home faster than expected.

For more information, please contact the Salt Fowler Team at RE/MAX Vernon at 250-549-SALT (7258).

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 presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.

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