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Moving with Our Household Pets

Moving can be very stressful for your entire family, but can be especially overwhelming for your pets.

We humans have an entire world outside of our homes but for our pets (be it dogs, cats, reptiles, birds etc) our homes, and we humans, are their ENITRE world. Moving them from one place to another can be stressful and in some cases health compromising for your pet. Then can get lost in the shuffle or worst case scenario end up sick.

There are some steps to make the transition a bit easier for them:

Prior to moving day, make sure your pets are fitted with collars and ID tags with your name and current cell-phone number

An excellent option is to kennel them if one is available during your move, a pet vacation may be the answer.

A crate is an excellent alternative. Make sure it`s large or small enough with plenty of circulation.

It`s hard to move without the doors wide open providing the perfect escape. Crates and cages give your pets a feeling of security and safety. Make sure some of their favorite things are in there.

In extreme cases with very anxious pets, a trip to the vet for something to take the edge off may be in order.

Watch for signs of dehydration and ensure water is fresh and accessible during the transition.

Upset tummies can be treated with a bit of mashed pumpkin mixed in with food and a touch of lemon in the water. But always check with your vet first.

At the new house get an area ready for your pet and fill it with familiar things such as blankets, toys and food and water dishes. Let them explore the new place slowly and a little at a time so as not to overwhelm them too much and before you know it they will start to settle in. For dogs, ensure you accompany them outside for the first few bathroom breaks and help them explore their new environment.

Remember extra love and attention will be required for both your human and non- human family members during our move.

What Does It Mean to be Best in Business?

When I think about a business that is the best in their service or industry, I think of excellent customer service. As a consumer, I think we have adjusted as a population to accept the service we receive at any given time simply because there may not be an alternative for that service. As a result, businesses come to adjust their practices in accordance with a lower expectation of good quality customer service.

What does it mean to have excellent customer service? In my view, excellent customer service involves effective communication between the service provider and the client, an overwhelming willingness to solve any issues that may arise, and being easily accessible to the consumer.

In our society today, we are finding more businesses straying from excellent service practices and making moves towards quantity over quality. The idea being, how much product can we pump out to the public with the emphasis being on sales and profit, instead of taking the time to make service-consumer relationships? Especially in larger markets, we are seeing these practices detract from experiencing a positive consumer experience.

However, that being said, the Best in Business, whether they are the only one that provides the service or not, will always go above and beyond the bare minimum of what is required. An idea comes to mind for me when I recommend a business or service to anyone, it is based on the fact my experience with them personally has EXCEEDED my expectations.

For example: When you call a business to request information, book an appointment, or make an order, is the person on the other end of the line cheerful and treats you, the potential customer, as though you are the most important call of the day or do they sound annoyed by the fact you did call? When you went to the grocery store, did someone offer to help you find what you are looking for? Or when you went to the bank, were you politely greeted and helped in a timely manner? This is often the first point of contact to the public for many businesses, was your experience one you will remember, or was it one that affected your mood, negatively, for the rest of the day?

Often, what I look for is how I am treated as a consumer and I will remember that business in the future. The beauty of shopping local or in small market areas, such as towns and hamlets, service providers will often know your name, perhaps what you might regularly purchase, and make an effort to get to know their consumers better. This type of customer service will have a longer lasting effect on the consumer, even in downturns in the economy.

If you enjoy these types of services, make sure you recognize the businesses that shine in these aspects of the positive consumer experience.

I Can Renovate My Home, Myself…Right?

So you’ve decided to renovate your home. You’re excited and nervous, but confident as you’ve done your due diligence and have tons of information, pulled permits, and have quotes from contractors. Some of them seem reasonable, and others were ridiculous, not to mention some of the contractors were as colourful as their quotes. Sound familiar?

Well, here is the skinny on home renovations from a Realtor’s perspective. If you’re considering a renovation, you owe it to yourself and your home to protect your home’s equity. After all, you don’t want to put in all that money on the renovations just to have it be a complete waste of your time, money and efforts. Homes that have DIY renovations completed, tend to be very obvious, as they lack quality and sell for less. I’ve yet to hear a buyer say, “Oh, I can fix this.” I always hear, “This all has to be torn out and redone” or “What were they thinking?” Then, I generally will hear, “I wonder what else wasn’t done well, maybe the plumbing and electrical are bad too, or worse, who knows…let’s just move onto the next house, please.”

Bottom line, if you’re not able to complete the renovations like the pros, go ahead and hire them. You will not only come out with more equity in your home, but you will sell your home easily when you’re done with it. Buyers will instead say, “WOW, these sellers really took care and did great quality renovations here.”

So, how do know if your DIY is good enough? Go and visit some show homes in your area. They will give you a good idea of everything, from what’s expected in quality of workmanship, to what’s current in décor.

And don’t forget, your Realtor can recommend great contractors in your area. Your Realtor can also give you a good idea of your home’s current and post renovation values. Ask your Realtor if the renovations you’re planning to do are going to give you the return you anticipate. Your Realtor is your ‘go-to’ for all your home needs and is always ready to help.

Volunteering and Real Estate

You might ask…What does Real Estate and Volunteering have to do with each other? and I’ll get to that a little later.

First, let me acknowledge and THANK the amazing Town of Strathmore and the surrounding communities, as well.  There are several reasons why this area makes me proud to be a resident…and the active volunteerism is one BIG reason.

Recently, I was wowed again, 3 times, no less.

The Ladies that own and publish the Newsy Neighbour Magazine, created an idea early this year “Meet Your Downtown Neighbour Festival”.  After several months of planning and working with hundreds of people, coordinating this event, Downtown Strathmore businesses opened their doors to the first, and hopefully annual downtown OPENHOUSE and “Meet Your Downtown Neighbour Festival”.

WHAT A HIT!  There were vendors showing off their products, face painting, a dunk booth (thank you Donna Bissett for being the fearless volunteer, getting dunked over and over and over).  There was a bouncy castle, food, food, food, live music, free popcorn, ice cream, burgers, balloon animals, run-a-mile-in-her-shoes race (thank you to the Standard One Stop Shoe Store), mural painting, RE/MAX tent, cookie decorating, beer gardens, wishing tree, nutty professor, and so much more.  This event would have never happened, if Newsy hadn’t rallied the Volunteers, Business Owners and the Town of Strathmore.  I know that we RE/MAX REPS had a great time giving out free popcorn and seeing all the town folk.  A fun and successful day was had by all.

Another team of Volunteers that we REPs would like to recognize is the Strathmore Lions.  A dedicated group of individuals who quietly go about volunteering for big and small events all over our area.  This group has been going strong for over 75 years in Strathmore but never looks for recognition in all the hard work they do.  If you asked a Lion why they volunteer, you’d get several different answers.  Mostly it’s because they are just good citizens who see a job that needs to be done and step up, donating their time.  And all the money they raise, goes back into the community too.

The third and wildly deserving group of volunteers are ALL the people that stepped up and made Strathmore SHINE for the Seniors Games in July.  It started with a core of people who planted the idea that Strathmore could play Host to this event.  Thousands of hours in committee meetings, planning, raising money, organizing athletes and volunteers…all with an end result of having a Premier Sporting event in our community.  A HUGE round of applause must go out to every single volunteer.  When you see someone who was a volunteer, shake their hand and thank them.  It brought us together as a community, pulling out the “red carpet” for our guests, the athletes.

There are hundreds people in this area that volunteer for several different organizations.  We all have reasons why we pick the ones we do.

Which brings me back as to how Volunteering and Real Estate relate to each other.  The Real Estate REPs all volunteer for several different events and organizations every year.  We are out on the road during Triathlons, or handing out free popcorn to town folk at festivals and also donating time and prizes to organizations.  It is hard work, the weather isn’t always your friend; but we love it!  What a great way to get to know our communities and the people who live in them. As Realtors, we are ambassadors.  We are inviting new people to live here and by volunteering our time, we can truly say that we know that we have a great community.  The REPs have experienced first-hand how the community thrives through our amazing Volunteers. Bravo to all the Volunteers!!!  You donate your time, energy and money, not expecting any recognition but we REPs, wanted to say THANK YOU.

Summer Selling …Guiding You Over the Steps

Selling your home in the Summer is a PRIME time to SELL..and if you have an outdoor living space, summer is the perfect time to promote it in Alberta.

Outdoor living spaces includes decks, porches, patios, 3-Season rooms and gardens.

They are an extension of your home and are fast becoming an “in demand” area for Buyers because these areas create added value, and  more space for a family to gather as well as a great way to enjoy the summer months.

The KEY to creating your outdoor living space is to create a cozy area to relax.

Consider outdoor furniture, like comfy chaise chairs, love seats, pillows, coffee tables, fireplaces, and lounging  areas.

 

 

 

Outdoor kitchens are also a great addition to your area.

I’ve been shopping lately for some outdoor furnishings and our local retailers have some great choices; and, I’m happy to report that there are lots of budget-friendly ideas.

I chose neutral furniture with bright throw pillows, to add a pop of summer colour.

We then picked some solar lights to add dimension and ambiance, and put them in our garden, as well as hanging them from a Pergola.

 

Selling your HOME in summer has some similar rules to selling anytime of the year…and getting your outdoor space ready for listing is key.

Here are some suggestions to consider:

  • Add comfortable-looking, inviting outdoor furniture.
  • Is your stereo system hooked up to outdoor speakers? If so, be sure to point this out. Play music (softly) outdoors during an open house.
  • Have a BBQ?  Make sure it’s clean and prominently displayed.
  • Landscape..plant flowers, pull weeds, thin out any scraggly trees and bushes, and make sure the grass is freshly mowed.
  • Consider low-maintenance lawn alternatives. Ground covers can be an easy way to make your lawn more attractive. They’re low-maintenance as well, which many busy professionals today will appreciate.
  • You might also consider adding a deck or patio to your backyard if you don’t have one. It’s an investment, to be sure, but one that often pays for itself and then some.

 

Properties these days take longer to sell, and an outdoor living space is an asset.  Consider it an extension of your home. The nicer it looks, the better the interior of your home will look — and with luck, the easier your job of selling will be…..

Let us know your thoughts.

We are …The  Remax Real Estate REPs …Guiding You Over The Steps

Not intended to solicit clients currently under contract with a REALTOR®.

What Can I Do to Support MY Local Community?

For those of you that travel to the United States, you will know that there is a large advertising campaign there to buy ‘Made in the USA’ products. Canada, slowly, is following suit. But I would like to take that large and very important idea and break it down to a local level. I can only speak from my own career, and that is as a Real Estate Agent.

If industries, such as oil and gas, are working, then so am I. If I am working, then I purchase gas, clothing, shoes (and a huge welcome to the two new shoe stores…Sole Discretion and the Standard Shoe Shop).

I bank here, pay taxes here, I buy my groceries here, pharmacy items, utilize the local gyms, use local services such as photography, painters, interior designers, plumbers, electricians, contractors, accountant and bookkeeping, landscapers, dentists, doctors, etc. I advertise locally, I donate time and money to many local organizations, when I eat out with clients or family, I am supporting local delis, bakeries and restaurants. My signs and frames are done locally, when I need gift cards, for one thing or another, they are from local businesses. My mechanic and locksmith (who have saved me many times) are here, along with insurance, and registry. I try very hard to utilize companies that I know are locally owned.

I have only touched on a few ways of shopping local. That is just me! I am one person shopping for my family and I shop (as much as possible) locally.

I have come across, more than a few times, the idea that if I list my home for sale with a Calgary Realtor, I will get more exposure. This is a myth. All of our local Realtors who are living, working, spending their money and contributing their time in the local community, are members of CREB, the Calgary Real Estate Board. All things being equal, (all members of the Calgary Real Estate Board), the real advantage, then, is keeping your dollars and mine, in our town.

If you have any questions on listing your home or buying a home, please contact The Real Estate REPs!

Not intended to solicit clients currently under contract with a REALTOR®.

Enjoying our Pathways and Other Outdoor Activities

As I sit here writing this article, the birds are out and singing a happy tune. Spring is definitely in the air.

This idea made me reflect on outdoor activities and how many of us will be venturing outside now, shaking off the dust from being indoors most of winter and enjoying the fresh air.

It’s a great opportunity to go for a walk or maybe a run and soon the bikes will be on the pathways as well. Strathmore has many beautiful neighbourhoods (we are pretty lucky) and these neighbourhoods are all interconnected by a series of pathways that link our town.

Did you know that we have over 20 km of pathways? And guess what else we have? An app! It’s called Smore Paths and it was designed by SAY (Strathmore Assembly of Youth). It is very user friendly and gives you great details on 15 different pathways around town. Go to www.smorepaths.ca or to the Apple App Store to find the app and add it to your mobile devices. I am a runner and I’ve come to know our path system very well over the 17+ years that I’ve lived here. At first, I had to be a little creative to run “off the roadway” but over time, the path system has gotten better and better.

Now, while I’m tracking my progress or planning on meeting a fellow runner, I can name the paths that we plan to use.

There are many reasons to enjoy the great outdoors here and another one is Disc Golf. The Disc Golf Course weaves its way around various parks and playgrounds in Strathmore. What is Disc Golf? It is a game where you throw a disc (like a frisbee) and try to land it into a net. It’s a lot of fun and you can get some great exercise and enjoy the spring weather at the same time.

The maps are available at the town office or online at  www.strathmorediscgolf.com

We have to thank the Strathmore Assembly of Youth for pursuing this great idea and making it a reality.

My plan is to take advantage of this game when my family comes to town for Easter Dinner. I am organizing a Disc Golf Tournament with prizes – it’s going to be so fun!

What I love best about the pathways and DiscGolf is that they are all literally right outside of our front doors…. Our Communities in Strathmore are excellent for families trying to create ways to enjoy outdoor fun. Go explore!

The RE/MAX REPs are determined to learn as much about our neighbourhoods and community as we can. When we list a home in a neighbourhood, we like to be able to share the added value that each area has, like parks and playgrounds, churches and more.

The REPs also work with Buyers. Knowing that we have such diverse outdoor experiences in our communities is great knowledge to pass along to these Buyers. It helps Buyers fall in love with Strathmore… And why not, we have a great town!

Happy Spring ….See you on the pathways!

Understanding Foreclosures – How We Can Help

We want to talk to you about an uncomfortable topic. With the economic downturn in Alberta’s economy, there are individuals out there who prey upon consumers facing foreclosure.

What is foreclosure, you ask? Foreclosure is the legal step, that a lender takes, to recover arrears and principal on a mortgage loan that is in default. The most common default under a mortgage is the non-payment of regular mortgage payments. Legally, the foreclosure process can be started after only one missed payment. Other types of default include, allowing damage to the property, failing to make tax payments, failing to insure the property, failing to make condo fee payments, etc.

Foreclosure fraudsters, as I call them, are unlicensed real estate agents, unlicensed mortgage brokers, and unlicensed property management companies that say they can help you stop the foreclosure. We see all kinds of gimmicks posted out there to the public consumer, in hopes that a desperate home owner will call. For example, we’ve seen one just now online, so innocent sounding, “Stop Foreclosure Now…We pay cash today for your home”. It sounds pretty enticing, doesn’t it?

The important question to ALWAYS ask is, “are you a licensed mortgage broker, licensed real estate agent, or licensed property management company in Alberta”? These fraudsters are not licensed to deal in real estate sales, mortgages, or property management. They are not governed by any laws and you end up giving them money and owing even more after all is said and done. Licensed real estate agents, mortgage brokers, and property management companies are licensed and governed by The Real Estate Council of Alberta, that follows a strict code of ethics and regulations, to ensure the consumer’s best interests are first priority.

The bottom line is, if you find yourself in a situation where you’re facing foreclosure, you should always phone your lender right away, even before you miss that first payment. They will generally be able to work with you and figure something out. If that is not the case your 2nd call should be to a licensed real estate agent for advice.

If you have any questions or are facing foreclosure, we would be happy to give you good advice..we can help. You can reach The Real Estate REPs Group with RE/MAX Realty Horizon at 587-316-2000 or reps.remax@gmail.com

Making Your Bed

Hi all… I’m sitting in the Loreck Showhome today and felt inspired to create a new blog post affectionately called “Staging your Home 101”. Today’s topic is ….making your bed.

The inspiration came while I was making my bed this morning with help from my hubby -Phil.
It’s funny- some of us were raised to make our beds the moment our feet hit the floor in the morning and then some of us were never encouraged to make our beds at all. I was raised to make my bed every day in the morning when I got up. A routine that I easily continued into adulthood. Great studies have shown that having routines in the morning like making your bed are very good for our health.

1. It LOWERS your Stress
The theory is that a decluttered space, clears your mind. And a “made bed”, is less clutter.

2. An ACCOMPLISHMENT

Wow- what a terrific way to start your day by giving yourself the feeling of sense of accomplishment -make your bed. And then… Pat yourself on the back!

3. AVOID Embarrassment

Let’s face it….for most of us it’s a little dark secret that we keep, not making our beds in the morning.
But your friend comes and visit you for a cuppa coffee and then they need to use the washroom. They walk past your bedroom and see that your bed is unmade.
So, don’t fib to me right now… at least a little bit of you would be embarrassed by that scenario.

4. A POSITIVE Mind when you go to bed

Look at what you get reminded of one more time at night. When you’re tucking in to bed at night, you’re reminded that you gave yourself a goal of making your bed and you achieved that goal first thing that morning.

5. Other GREAT Habits

When you have figured out how to successfully create and maintain one good habit, it’s natural that others will follow.

Bedmaking

My first recommendation is to use your favourite bedding to help form and maintain this great habit.
If you don’t have favourite bedding, do yourself a favour and go buy some….. and you don’t have to spend a lot of money. Discount stores are great place to shop.

Now take that freshly washed fitted sheet and put it onto the mattress. The flat sheet comes next and is optional but if you use one, put it over top of the fitted sheet and tuck it into the bottom end of the mattress nice,neat and tight (where your feet go)

Throw the duvet (that big blanket thing) over top of all of this and spread it out to cover the whole top of the bed with edges draping over. I like to then go back to the top of the bed and pull the flat sheet and the duvet cover back in half and flatten it out. This will expose some of the fitted sheet and is a perfect place to add all of your pillows.

Place your night pillows ( the ones you use every night ) closest to the headboard. Next cover these pillows with 2-3 decorator euro shams (A sham is a pillow cover covering a pillow… we also call them Pillow cases)

The next layer to add in front of Euro shams are two regular sized shams. And can then finish off by adding a cute little decorator pillow, and sometimes for fun -add it in a coordinating pop of colour…..easy peasy!