For sale by owner

When deciding how to sell your home, you should carefully evaluate the pros and cons of hiring a realtor.

While most sellers hire an agent to do the hard work, some homeowners sell their real estate themselves.

For Sale By Owner (FSBO) sellers may save money, but to succeed, you need a keen knowledge of real estate sales.

There are numerous reasons why homeowners decide to sell their homes themselves. Some enjoy the feeling of being in charge of everything that happens with their home, but most sellers just want to save the commission. 

Sellers can avoid using a realtor, but they need to work hard for their money. Statistics say that only seven per cent of FSBOs actually sell, with the other 93 per cent eventually hiring a professional. 

In order for you to be part of this seven per cent, here are some pointers that will help you to become a successful FSBO seller:

  • Do not skimp on the preparation of the house. Your home will have to compete with other homes listed by agents who take the time to educate their sellers the right way to prepare their homes for showings. 
  • There are many online articles that can help you educate yourself on this important component of home selling. 
  • Learn all the paperwork used by realtors. To write an enforceable contract of purchase and sale is not easy. If you choose to sell your home yourself, you will need to engage the services of a legal professional in order to ensure you have a valid contract. 
  • Too many FSBO sellers forget this vital point and end up in a very disappointing position at the end of the transaction when they find out their contract is unenforceable, or they have missed some very key points. 
  • Exposure is key, as the more exposure your home gets, the more buyers you attract and the more chance you have of selling. You must get familiar with all the many online and offline advertising and marketing tools that can help you promote your home to the most people.
  • High-quality photos and videos are very important. You may want to familiarize yourself with the sites that you can use to make a video presentation of your house. A picture speaks a thousand words and a video speaks a million.
  •  Work on your negotiation skills and be ready to refuse some offers. If you choose to co-operate with realtors, which only makes sense if that realtor has a buyer for your home, remember that realtors are professional negotiators.
  • You will need to be ready to represent yourself in a manner that will allow you to come to a win-win arrangement and not be taken advantage of. That buyer's agent is working for the buyer and not for you. 

In summary, you may find that it is wise to hire a professional realtor to help you sell a home. 

Often the amount a person saves selling FSBO is far less than what they lose from poor negotiating or extensive legal bills fixing mistakes. 

Unless you have the above points mastered, it may cost you less to hire a professional to do all the work. 

House-selling secrets

How to sell a house that didn't sell the first time

If your house has just expired from the market, you are probably bombarded with realtors calling you, looking for their next listing.

But before you give your realtor an extension or choose a new one, step back and examine the six key points to ensure you sell your house the next time. 

You need to spend time researching ways to get back on track by examining the previous strategy your Okanagan realtor was using and why it failed.

When you analyse your past relationship, you will probably discover that one of these following four important components in selling your home was lacking: 

Teamwork: Were you and your listing agent working together to make the sale of your home a reality? 

When discussing what you want to achieve in selling your house, did your agent provide a concrete marketing plan to get the job done?

If the objectives were not realistic, did the listing agent let you know the problems at hand or did they just take your listing for granted? 

An open line of communication is imperative in getting your home sold. If you saw your agent once and then did not talk to them again for the duration of your listing – time to find a new agent. 

Marketing your home for more reach:  Often, the only mistake made when hiring the first realtor is they had no marketing plan. If your home is not exposed to the market properly, it is tough to find a buyer. 

When interviewing agents, examine their marketing plan and reach. Ask them to show you how and where exactly your property will be marketed.  Ask for customer testimonials to be sure others have been happy with their service and results.

The condition of your home: Would you consider the condition of your house excellent?  

Are there things you could do to make your home more desirable the next time it is for sale? If your house looks like a dream house for someone else, it has a far better chance of selling for a better price than homes that offer potential. 

When buyers come in to check your house, are they satisfied with what they see or they are probably calculating the amount of money they’ll need to fix the house? If so, your price will need to be adjusted accordingly. 

Price: Is the price of your house working for you or against you? If the price works for you, and the marketing plan was effective, then a suitable buyer should have materialized within the listing period. I

f it works against you (too expensive), many potential buyers will ignore your home.

The right price can be determined by so many factors such as:

  • Market conditions – What is happening in the economy in your city?
  • Competition and the number of houses within your price range
  • The condition of your home, and
  • Market timing – Some months are better for selling certain homes than others.

Any real-estate professional you interview should be able to help you with all the above. If they cannot, move on. 

For more information on the best way to sell your Okanagan home the first time (or the second, or the third), contact the Salt Fowler Team at RE/MAX Vernon and Just Add Salt!

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!



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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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