Sunday, October 4th5.1°C
Just Add Salt!

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

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. 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).

Cold, hard facts: Part 2

As mentioned in Part 1, if you have considered selling your home or already have your home on the real estate market, you will want to pay close attention to the information provided below - the cold, hard truth about selling your Okanagan real estate:


1.  Cash is king! However, while cash may seem great and you can count on the money being in the buyer’s hands with no financing issues, cash offers may not always be the best offer you will receive. Be sure it is the right offer, whether cash or financing. If a buyer has a pre-approval entirely in place with all conditions met and only requires an appraisal, if you are confident in your home’s value then that is also a very minor condition on any contract.

2.  Buyers are simply willing to pay more for well-maintained homes. As mentioned in part 1, spend the time to maintain and repair anything lacking in your home before putting it up for sale. If the buyer has a sense that you cared for the home, they have more confidence to pay you a decent price for your home as they aren’t worried about finding some unforeseen issues in the not too distant future.

3.  Communication is important during the sale process. Make yourself as available as possible to your Realtor for appointments for showings, questions from buyers, and anything else that may come up. You don’t want to leave a potential buyer hanging due to lack of communication.

4.  As mentioned in part 1, you will want to pack the majority of your personal items when selling your home. It is important when your potential buyers view the home that they can envision themselves living there and not spend all their time examining your personal photos and all your “stuff”. If you still have all of your items out in the open, it will be difficult for them to visualize themselves in your space.

5.  Photos and videos can sell your home sight unseen. People are predominantly visual, and having your listing with great photos and a virtual tour/video will help sell it faster. Many potential buyers will skip over listings with no or poor photos. Being able to walk through a home virtually without viewing gives your home a huge advantage.


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


Cold, hard facts

If you have considered selling your home or already have your home on the market, there are five main cold, hard facts you need to know. Selling your home can be a very stressful situation and without some good information, you may make some huge mistakes that could cost you thousands. Below are the truths you need to know, whether you want to know them or not, about selling your home:


1.  It is critical that you and your Realtor understand the local real estate market, especially the local trends in your neighbourhood. If your Realtor doesn’t know the market – find a different Realtor. What inventory is moving? What isn’t? It’s imperative your Realtor be immersed in the market daily to feel which way the market is moving. Part time doesn’t cut it when marketing your largest asset.

2.  Selling a home is very inconvenient. You will need to take time to get the home ready for sale. You will need to pack up your extra and personal items. And you will mostly definitely be interrupted by visiting buyers and their Realtors who often show up late, or worse, not at all and forget to call and cancel. Accept that life as you know it is temporarily over and you will be less stressed in the long run.

3.  A clean, uncluttered home is more attractive to buyers. If you properly stage your home, ultimately you will net more money in your pocket. Spend the necessary time to clean your entire home top to bottom – it has to sparkle - as well as declutter. Remove all unnecessary items. Pack them up, stack the boxes in the garage or spend a few bucks and rent a storage locker temporarily. Buyers want to see the home, not the “stuff” you have in it.

4.  Price it right from the start. Most buyers are looking at new listings as they become available and you want to draw their attention immediately. When you price it right from the beginning you will have buyers knocking down your door, price it too high and you lose your opportunity to attract the most excited buyers. You literally only have one chance to make a great first impression. Once the first 30 days is gone, so is the excitement around your new listing. It’s now old news and your home blends into the background.

5.  An experienced real estate agent is key in the selling process. Be sure that you hire a skilled and trusted Realtor from the start. The company they work for matters. Their website matters. Their connections in the local and the target buyers’ market matters. Global exposure matters. Everything counts!  A true professional will make the process so much easier and more lucrative for you in the long run.


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

Read 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:

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.

Previous Stories

RSS this page.
(Click for RSS instructions.)