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Just Add Salt!

Home selling potential in winter

If you are selling your home, you may have heard that selling your home in the winter time is almost impossible, for a variety of reasons. Although it may be a challenge to sell your home in times of typically slower sales, do not get discouraged, it can be done! And done well! There are ways in which you can maximize your home selling potential in the winter.

The key is to present a first impression that will last even after the potential buyers have left, and turn them into active buyers. Even the slightest discomfort will turn those potential buyers away and on to the next house to view. You can avoid these pitfalls by following just a few simple steps:

1.  Sure the weather is less than desirable when there is a foot of snow on the ground, but that does not mean that your potential buyers need to see or feel that when they arrive to view your home. Make sure that your driveway and walkways are clear of any snow, ice, or other obstacles. You want to make sure that your home is accessible and clean looking. In addition, many buyers will not even waste their time getting out of their car if they have to hike through snow, just to get to the door.

2.  When showing your home to potential buyers, keep in mind that they have probably been viewing multiple homes. That involves multiple trips in and out of cars and other homes. It is best to keep your home a little cooler than normal, as your potential buyer may be slightly overheated from all of the traveling around. This will make them feel more comfortable when they arrive at your home and are more likely to take their time looking around and asking questions, than trying to get in and out because they are uncomfortable.

3.  You know that lighting is key when showing your home. It can be critical, as it tends to open up a room and make it seem and feel more appealing and homey. Typically during the winter months, there is less natural light, therefore, you must utilize other lighting to make sure that your rooms stay well lit and still present the welcome home feeling.

4.  It is a given that every person coming to view your home will have some wet boots or shoes. Be sure to provide a specific area for those wet boots and shoes. Keep the area clean and free of water, so people are not stepping in water puddles and other uncomfortable situations. This will show functionality and organization within your home and show that you are thoughtful.

Selling your home in the winter time is not impossible, with a little help from the information above. In fact, you can be very successful in doing so as there are less homes on the market to compete with yours. Also, those buyers who are out looking in the middle of winter are definitely not lookie-loos, you can be guaranteed they are serious buyers!

So go ahead and show your home in the winter time. Show your potential buyers how this oasis from the cold can be theirs!


House or condo: which is right for me?

Are you considering purchasing a home or a condominium in Vernon, BC or the North Okanagan? 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 home owners 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 of 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 home ownership, 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 privacy.

You are the only one that can answer the question, which is right for me - a house or a condo? It really will come down to your lifestyle and what you want to accomplish with your North Okanagan real estate 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 the Salt Fowler Team.

Listing your home in the off season

Many people make the decision to either remove their home from the market during the Fall or delay listing their home during the Fall, usually because they either don't want to move in the winter or feel their home has a lesser chance of selling in the off season.


Here are four benefits that these sellers are missing out on:

1.  Less Competition: Every Fall, market inventory declines significantly. Fewer homes on the market at any given times gives your home a better opportunity to shine in comparison to others currently listed. A glut of inventory can create confusion in the minds of buyers whereas less choice makes decision making quicker and easier for many. Never underestimate the power of "being there" when someone is looking for a hike in your price range. Many homes that otherwise may not sell, sell in the winter, and in some cases, sell for more money.


2. Serious Buyers: Buyers looking to buy real estate during the Fall and Winter are generally the most serious buyers of the entire year. Many have just sold their homes and need to find a new place to live in a specific period of time. Others have been looking all summer, particularly at recreational properties, and have finally come to a decision as to what they wish to buy. These two sets of buyers are ready to put their signatures on the bottom line to buy something. As a seller, this is an excellent time to capture a serious buyer. There will be less showings, however those buyers looking definitely want, or need, to buy.


3. Quality Showings: If your home has a treacherous north facing driveway, the off season may not be a good time to list your home. However, many people decorate their homes to celebrate the Christmas season. If you are one of them, your home shows among its best with its seasonal decorations! Take advantage of the festive season and the opportunity it brings.

On another note - does your home have substandard landscaping? Cracks in the driveway? Snow hides a world of hurt! Maybe this is your exterior's time to shine.


4. Negotiable Possession: I know, I know, I know.... But you don't want to move in the winter. However here is one thing I know - neither do most of the buyers! Name your possession date - most buyers will be happy to comply. And if not, what have you lost? If your home wasn't listed, you wouldn't have had the opportunity to find this buyer in the first place.


If you are serious about selling your home, listing your home or keeping your home listed during the fall or winter months is a great way to capitalize on the above benefits.


For more information on selling your home, contact the Salt Fowler Team at RE/MAX Vernon at 250-549-SALT.


Why hire a full service realtor?

As of late, especially in our local Okanagan market, there has been a large influx of alternate commission real estate salespeople who offer “reduced” commission rates, all the while advertising similar, if not expanded, marketing and services.

This practice is leaving many home sellers perplexed, asking themselves, “Why would I hire a full service Realtor® when I can save so much money by hiring one of these boutique companies?”

Although the Competition Bureau does not allow us to make direct comparisons, what I can do is provide you with a series of questions for you to to ask any real estate salesperson when considering hiring them to market and negotiate on your behalf for your largest asset – your home. The answers to these crucial questions will help you decide whether you will ultimately net more from hiring the services of a full service Realtor ® or whether hiring an alternative commission salesperson is good enough for you.


These questions are as follows:

Question #1: How much more do your listings sell for than the real estate board average?

Hint: This will help you to determine whether this salesperson has verifiable results of success or whether their focus is on reduced margin/quick sales model (eg. The Walmart model. In this case it’s your margin, your equity in your home, at stake).

Question #2: As a high percentage of the sales in the Okanagan are to out of towners, what does your firm do and what do you specifically do you attract that business?

Hint: Having a website is no longer enough, you need worldwide coverage to sell for top dollar.

Question #3: As a high percentage of the sales in the Okanagan are to out of towners, how does your firm attract referrals from out of town Realtors®?

Hint: Realtors in franchise firms across Canada primarily refer to Realtors® in their company networks.

Question #4: If Realtors® make their income primarily on a commission basis, how will offering the Realtors® working with the buyers a reduced selling commission get them excited about showing and bringing an offer on my home?

Hint: Only a small percentage of the total listings sold are sold by the listing agent, therefore Realtor® cooperation is extremely important in getting top dollar for your home.

Question #5: If studies show that 90% of home buyers searched online during their home buying process
 and that 70% of home buyers use video to tour the inside of homes, will you market my home with a professional video?

Hint: Check websites beforehand.


The salesperson’s answers to each of these questions will help you make a more informed decision as to the benefits of hiring a full service Realtor® versus an alternate commission salesperson.

*Source: Digital House Hunt, National Association of Realtors

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.

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