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WHY DO TRADITIONS MATTER?  

I’m dusting off a blog that I wrote a few years  back… because it inspired me again.

I was thinking about how important TRADITIONS are – old and new – and also about WHY we create traditions…

Me? – I think it’s because it feels comfortable. Traditions are like comfy sweaters. They just feel cozy and right. Traditions also help us keep great MEMORIES alive.

I love pulling out my Christmas recipe book. It always reminds me of Phil’s mom, who passed away 8 years ago. This recipe book is full of some of her favourite treats to make at Christmas and I think of her every time I’m making “Marshmallow Marvys” and other family favourites at Christmas. All these traditions remind me of when we moved far away from family and our home … and our first Christmas here.

It didn’t feel right. Our first Christmas here was different then we had always had, and I didn’t know what we were going to do.

My mom was the person who helped remind me …”CREATE your OWN Traditions” she said. Start NEW ones. So we did and here is a copy of that blog that I shared ….

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Yes – it does happen….People move during the Holidays…We did. Phil and I landed here just before the holiday season – complete with 2 young kids along with a dog and a cat in tow.

 

Imagine- your typical Christmas preparations along with ALL the “over the top “ planning that occurs…shopping, wrapping, shopping, baking, shopping, visiting, eating, shopping, entertaining, school plays and concerts, more shopping, more cooking and then more eating. And then add MOVING to a new home into that equation and ….Holy Reindeer!!

Talk about a recipe for stress…. BUT, ONLY IF YOU LET IT. Talking from experience , We Poiriers were New to Strathmore during the Holidays (years ago now)

 

There were soooo many things to consider but we KNEW ONE THING

We wanted our kids experience to be THE PRIORITY…. Because, let’s face it- Christmas is for FAMILY and especially the KIDS. We had no other family here when we moved and we were in a new province So the One thing we DID know …. a WHITE Christmas was going to be a first for us….cool.

 

We all sat down and made a list of NEW traditions …It was a PERFECT time to create NEW memories with NEW traditions.We all got to pick one new tradition each and all these years later, each tradition is honoured – from “More than Ice creme” for Christmas Eve Dinner (they were the only restaurant open that first year, and our waitress still remembers us each year), to skating outdoors on Christmas Day (only 2 Christmas’ we’ve had no ice to Skate on but hiking in +15c sunny weather is a great substitute.)

Another important item that first year was an EARLY letter to Santa letting him know that we had moved, complete with Directions on how to get to our new house… it was all good. Santa found us and we started our traditions …Strathmore was our NEW HOME

Traditions during the Holiday season are TREASURED memories, whether you are NEW to your town or have always lived there, keep traditions. Or start a new one.

First written 2008

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Another update.

Nowadays, our TRADITIONS have changed again. Phil and I are now empty nesters, so once again, we have created NEW traditions.

Spending time in Kelowna and Lethbridge over the holidays, sharing those old recipes with Jayden, his wife Taylor and Brayln too. AND sharing in their new TRADITIONS in their HOMES

 

HOME + TRADITIONS….that is what makes the HOLIDAY season SPECIAL ….

What are your special traditions? TREASURE them, share them or if its’ been awhile dust them off and experience TRADITIONS with your loved ones this year

 

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The REPs Group want to wish everyone a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season

Merry Christmas ALL!!

Hayley, Carey, Christa, Michelle E, Michaela, Kim, Michelle L and Michelle N … the REPS

 

Scott McGillivray’s Top 5 Renos For Return On Investment

How can you increase property value? It’s the eternal question being asked by homeowners, real estate investors and renovators. While the answer may seem simple enough, the wrong upgrades can actually decrease the value of your home.

According to television host, celebrity contractor and real estate investor Scott McGillivray, “It’s doing the right renovations that provide value to the people.”

Whether you’re buying a fixer-upper home, are renovating an existing house to suit your needs, or you’re planning to sell and want to get the biggest return on your investment, here are some tips to increase property value.

Scott McGillivray’s Top 5 Renos for ROI

Don’t discount the value (or rather, the potential value!) of your flooring. Pull up your dingy carpets, and particularly in older homes, you’re quite likely to find a treasure buried beneath! Oftentimes, hardwood floors will have been covered up for years, and could be in great condition. Refinishing those floors could be all it takes to update the look – and boost the value – of your home.

For a quick, easy and inexpensive home update, swap out the fixtures throughout your home. Every room has them, which means every room has… well, room for improvement! Replace damaged, worn-out or mis-matched door knobs, cabinet pulls, faucets and fixtures, to give your home a more modern edge.

Scott says paint is a simple and quick value-add to your home. “Use colour to enhance spaces and make changes. Change the way a space feels,” he says. For example, if you have a small, dark kitchen, consider repainting the walls and re-finishing cabinet in lighter, fresher hues to create the illusion of a larger space. Lighter, cooler colours make walls recede, so this is a great trick for any small room.

Believe it or not, adding a bathroom in an unconventional space is a growing trend that Scott is no stranger to himself. “What we’ve done a lot of times is under a staircase, we’ll add a powder room or a two-piece bathroom. You will add a lot of value.” If you’re short on space (or budget!) and adding a bathroom isn’t in the plan, renovate an existing bathroom. What’s trending? According to Scott, frameless walk-in showers make a big splash (pun intended!).

Number one on Scott’s list of ways to increase property value is (drum roll please…) renovate the kitchen. There are many areas to consider, and they all come at a cost. Scott says to tackle the task, start at the top and work your way down.

  • Lighting Will you have pot lights, perhaps pendants or a chandelier?
  • Seating “Most families today are spending time eating in the kitchen.”
  • Flooring “We do a lot of hardwood in our kitchens,” says Scott. “Engineered hardwood performs best in these spaces.”
  • Appliances “Most people are preparing spaces for 36 inch refrigerators.”
  • Countertops “The most popular in demand is quartz.”

And the most popular layout when it comes to the kitchens is…open concept.

Take a good look at your home and see what you can do to improve property value. Once you do, you may never want to leave!

This article was originally published by Toronto Home Shows.

4 Reasons Staging Your Home Makes a Difference

We’ve been told not to judge a book by its cover, but first impressions usually impact our decision-making, whether we care to admit it or not.

Therefore, a well-staged home typically has a better chance of selling at a higher price than one that hasn’t been staged.

We reached out to our RE/MAX Influencers—a panel consisting of RE/MAX Sales Associates from throughout Canada—to discover why sellers shouldn’t have “stage fright” when it comes to selling their home.

Faster sale, higher price

Our Influencers agreed that effective staging will help sellers get the deal done quicker, for a higher price.

“I guarantee sellers that, while I don’t know the exact amount they will receive as a result of staging, I know they will get more than their money back and they will sell their home in a shorter period of time than they would without staging,” said one RE/MAX Influencer.

A buyer can tap into his/her imagination when a home is shown in its best light. When potential buyers can see themselves living in your home, they will be motivated to make a reasonable offer.

The ‘Wow’ factor

Simply put: Homes look their best when they are staged.

Staged homes are also depersonalized, which is important because buyers don’t want to feel like they’re purchasing somebody else’s home. They want it to feel as though it’s theirs.

Stagers understand how to professionally present homes to appeal to the emotions of the broader spectrum of prospective purchasers. Photographs of a staged home are also more likely to garner increased interest online.

Visualization

When potential buyers walk into a home, they’re thinking beyond what their eyes are showing them. They’re visualizing themselves living in the space. Is the home an ideal place for their children to grow up? Does the house have what they need to enjoy retirement?

Personal clutter can often hinder these visions, which is not ideal for the seller. A professional stager will take an objective look at the property and make sure prospective purchasers will be able to see themselves in the space.

A positive first impression

First impressions are incredibly important. On many occasions, buyers will form their opinions by the time they’ve taken a few steps into your home. A bad smell, a crooked frame or a bit of dirt on the floor can be the difference between whether or not you get an offer.

Great books deserve stunning covers; great homes deserve to be staged.

Fall Selling Time

Canada has 4 seasons. We embrace the change of the weather as we gently (or not so gently) move from hot Summer weather into the crispness of Fall

We pull on our favourite sweaters, cuddle on the couch with Pumpkin Spice Lattes and start to plan fall activities like kids hockey and ringette, Boy Scouts or Guides. All the stuff that Fall is made of….. BUT how many of us plan the Fall Home Selling season?

As a REPs Group Realtor®, I have conversations with people all the time asking if FALL is a good time to list their home …and we say YES

Many buyers are out looking for homes now before the snow is here to stay, so a savvy seller takes advantage of the potential opportunity

Yes, selling in the Fall is a little different then in Springtime or summer …. but it has its advantages, if you plan.

I have gathered some of my favourite Fall Selling Secrets ….here are my top 5

1. Clean up the yard…your whole yard . Get the rake out, prune the trees a bit, cut the grass one last time and put the garden to bed for the winter.
In summer, the brightness and fullness of the summer plants really add cheer to a yard. But In Fall, we don’t have that luxury
(though the green grass and evergreen trees, and the beautiful changing leaves do look so good right now) .

A yard that is super TIDY and trimmed shows your property at its BEST in Fall.
And If weather permits, maybe keep your lawn chairs out staged by the firepit, with a bundle of wood. This gives the buyer an idea of coziness. A fire in the evening of a cool fall night is truly relaxing.
Small details like water hoses and garden tools stored away neatly for the season, give the buyer an impression that you CARE about your home.

2. Next, Pull our your yard broom or power washer and get to work. The littlest of creatures need to be swept away. Have you ever walked around the exterior of your house and noticed all the little spider webs and dirty marks? Sweep or wash them away. And get the exterior windows washed up one last time too. Dirty windows are a large turn off for buyers.

3. Now that the yard and exterior are organized and neatly trimmed up, add some Fall colour …just a bit goes a long way. I love to add a large potted Mum or 2 at the front step.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many home owners will put a fall wreath on their door (bargain hunt at the dollar store or discount stores) If the budget is tight or you are crafty, go for a walk on forest trail, bring your snippers and cut yourself some foliage. Then grab a large pot (discard from summer possibly) and create a display for the front door or back deck.

As we move into October, I love to see a pile of Gourds in a basket or several pumpkins
Little sprinkles of fall colour add the brightness that you might be missing. When you are listed for sale, always consider BOTH the front and backyard in your plans.
Another little tip-Repeating a small display on the back deck reminds the buyer of the fond first IMPRESSION they had as they walked up your front steps.
It’s kind of like the Bow on a gift or the “icing on the cake” Finishing details make ALL the difference.

 

4. The outside is ready, lets move indoors.
The furnace and fireplace have probably not been turned on for months, so it’s time to get them cleaned and serviced before you need to turn them on. It’s a good maintenance tip for everyone, but especially for sellers. Be prepared.
With an accepted offer, typically there is a home inspection. The inspector will take note of when the furnace was serviced last and a buyer will feel confident in seeing that the seller has maintained key items.
If you have Central AC, maybe put the cover on it and tuck it in for winter.

5. Ahhhhhh, the smell of Fall baking- can you beat it?
Apple pie, Banana bread, cinnamon cookies …..Fall flavours are so inviting. The comfort of smelling fall baking is simply magic!
Having a plate of cookies out on the counter on a fall day makes buyers feel right at home

If you need some ideas about what I’ve mentioned here, please reach out to one of the REPs Group. We love to share ideas.

Back To School

Well, another summer has flown by!  Time for all the students to head back to school!

For the parents sending their children off to kindergarten, it can be a very stressful yet exciting time!  Kids are anxious; most of them have already met their teachers in the spring and are ready to get going.  Spend a little time with the little ones explaining what their day will look like.  For them the 1/2 day at school can feel like a lifetime at the beginning of the year but after a week or so they will settle in nicely.

For the grade ones attending a full day of school it can be exhausting – try not to overschedule these little ones until they get settled in.  Kids are so busy these days with sport and extra curricular activities that their school work can certainly suffer especially if they are exhausted.

As the students get older they understand the routine and expectations of school life, but getting them ready can certainly be tough.  They have so much going on in their daily lives with school, activities and that wonderful technology which seems to have taken over our lives.

Schools and teachers are an important and integral part of your children’s lives.  They will influence their daily routine and leaning structure so they really need your support.  In this day of hustle and bustle and over scheduling school routines can suffer.

Take the time to understand what support your school may need, whether its volunteering for hot lunch day, helping reading programs in the elementary school or spending time on fieldtrips and outings.

Don’t forget to set up bussing if your young ones need transportation.

Bring on the school year!  Before you know it will be Halloween and then Christmas.  Enjoy every minute with your little ones, before you know it they are taller than you, borrowing the car and waving good-bye before they head off to their own lives.  Let’s enjoy, love and support them while we can.

Michelle Eldjarnson
The REPs Group

Change Is In The Air…

Spring is typically a time of change. A time of rebirth and growth. 

Today, I look out at all of the blossoms bursting out on my trees and I’m amazed how every spring, life quickly appears and becomes green and fresh and new again… alive !!! The REPs have gone through some changes this spring too but I’ll come back to that and share later .

Firstly, I’d like to talk about something that is near and dear to us at the REPs Group and is truly a passion for all the REPs — we probably don’t share this enough but we are proud to say that there are nine GREAT people working at the REPs Group.
We have 5 realtors and 4 very very busy assistants helping us out. Each one of us comes to work every morning with a passion in our hearts to make today a great day for all of our clients. It is what we do and it is absolutely what we love.

I should also share that there’s one very important reason why we love it so much
WE LIVE HERE! We live in your communities …we own houses and businesses in our communities. Our kids go to school here. We attend community events and sports, and we also belong to volunteer groups here. The REPs Group love to get out and see friends, family and new acquaintances, or go grab a meal at our favourite restaurant.

And of course-we shop here.

YES – we REPs STILL LIVE in your community…. we haven’t gone anywhere.

And because we have such a vested interest in our communities, it helps us to be better Professional Realtors. We want to be the BEST we can be for our clients.

Your confidence in us helping you to make what is typically the largest decision and investment in your life is Paramount to the REPs.

…so WE WORK HERE!

The REPs want to see our communities succeed and we strive to know the markets that we work in. We study the statistics, we talk with local experts, we chat with moms on the playground and we meet with politicians and decision makers regularly. The REPs belong to several boards and we attend Chamber of Commerce meetings regularly and oh, yes …we LISTEN.

So it is True – the REPs STILL WORK here… we haven’t gone anywhere and it’s business as usual.

The REPs motto is “Guiding you home… we are Reliable – Responsive – Respectful”

We call it “The 3Rs “ …our foundation and guiding principles. Every day, with every client and with every decision we REPs make we are guided by our principles.

And with that said…

The REPs Group recently made the decision to join RE/MAX First – one of the largest real estate brokerages in the area. This tactical move will allow us to continue to be the BEST thing for our clients. It will help us to flourish and to grow but PLEASE don’t get it wrong… the REPs haven’t gone anywhere.

We STILL WORK here and I say it again proudly…its BUSINESS AS USUAL …so lets have a coffee or better yet, give us a wave at the grocery store next time we bump into you.

 

Strathmore Event Listings

May 12 – Bark in the Park

May 31 – Downtown Night Market

June 2-16 – Let’s Get Rec’d (REc and Parks Month)

June 3-9 – Alberta Senior’s Week

June 16 – Get to Know Your Neighbour Festival

June 21 – Downtown Night Market

June 23 – Tri-Smore Triathlon

June 24 – Rock n’ Ride: Skate for Change 2018

July 1 – Canada Day Festival

July 26 -Downtown Night Market

August 3-6 – Strathmore Stampede

August 4 – Stampede Parade

August 25 – Tri-Diva Triathlon – Women Only

August 30 – Downtown Night Market

September 8 – Teddy Bear Picnic

September 27 – Downtown Night Market

September 28-30 – Alberta Culture Day

September 29 – Fall Frenzy Festival

October 25 – Downtown Night Market

October 27 – Great Pumpkin Hunt

November 1 – Pumpkins in the Park

November 11 – Remembrance Day Ceremony

November 23 – Spirit of Christmas Downtown Night Market

November 24 – Santa Claus Parade

November 24 – Light Up the Night

November 25 – Skating with Santa

December 31 – Family New Year’s Eve Party

*Events and Event dates are Subject to Change*

No Place Like Home

Home…there’s just no place like it.

As I lay here on my mattress which is sloppily laid out on the floor in my empty rental home, it really has me longing for my forever home. My family and I have been in between homes, patiently awaiting for our new house to be ready come May 1st.

It’s been a whirlwind of the last few months, and a pain in the butt if I must admit! We temporarily have been living in a little townhouse in Strathmore and are now having to move to a smaller condo while we wait out the last month for our house to be ready. We’ve luckily been able to move most of our possessions to our forever home, however we just can’t live there quite yet! I’ve decided to take the easy way out and have made the executive decision on behalf of my family, that we are bringing the bare necessities with us while we camp out on our mattresses on the floor and eat off of paper plates for the next month in the little 2 bedroom condo. (My room will be the living room!)

Of course all of this has me missing the feeling of being home. My head has been filled with all sorts of ideas about what I’m going to do to our new home to make it personalized and ours. I already have colours chosen to paint the walls, the decor all planned out, where I’m going to sit and sip my coffee to watch the morning news, what new furniture I want to buy, and so on. Thinking about all of these things has me so excited, that I can hardly wait another month to not live out of a suitcase.

So what makes your house a home? For me there’s a few important things. Number one, of course, is the people in it. My family. There’s nothing better than the chaos of my kids… the sound of mini stick hockey balls hitting the wall with a few new drywall holes for me to patch, or a fresh colour stain on the table from my daughters latest art project. While these things drive me absolutely mad sometimes, this is what makes our house a home.

Secondly, I have to have a home that is mine. It’s personalized with my style, the walls are freshly painted, my favourite blanket knitted by my grandma is laid out on the couch, there’s shoes in every single closest (because I have a serious problem!), my favourite candle is burning, there’s fresh flowers on the table, and the colour teal is everywhere to be found because it’s my favourite!

Lastly, the third most important thing to me for that feeling of being “home”, is having a yard. This is a luxury I have so been missing the last 6 months. I didn’t think of it as a big deal at first, as my family likes to be outside playing hockey at the rink, riding bikes on Strathmore’s awesome paths, or we are usually away from home travelling all over Alberta for hockey and ringette. There’s nothing I love more than being able to step outside of my kitchen door onto the deck to sit and enjoy the peacefulness of the outdoors, and to watch the kids play on their trampoline in the backyard.

It’s going to be a long next month, and if I’m totally honest, I’m dreading the idea of not being able to set down roots for another month.  But, I’m trying to have a positive outlook and view it as an adventure, or a camp out for the kids. How often can you just live like a fresh out of high school student? Paper plates, empty apartment, Kraft dinner stocked up in the pantry, take out dinner way too often. I’m sure it will be a great memory for us, and we can laugh about it while we sit around the table to eat dinner at our forever home.

Written by Katelyn Haffner of The Reps Group.

 

Hello Spring

We are so happy you are finally arriving! So much hope for spring in so many areas of our life! Rural communities are welcoming spring arrivals on their farms, suburban residents are reconnecting with their neighbours after a very long hibernation! Kids winter sports are winding down and play offs are on and then April will bring them spring sports. Easter is on its way! Hope is everywhere! Embrace it, enjoy it and make it your own!

For many people spring is the time to start to look for a new place to live and get their present home ready for the spring market! There are also many ways to refresh your home and start your spring cleaning. All the little nicks and scrapes and stains you do not see any more become very obvious when you get ready to market your home. Let us help you get ready! We can guide you through all the facets of getting your home ready including a walk through to point out and suggest where you can improve and what is working before you list your home. Then enjoy our comprehensive marketing program to help sell your home in the least amount of time for the most amount of money with as little stress as possible!

We take a personal approach to every one of our clients individual needs and know that you are all different and can not be put into cookie cutter molds, you all have different needs and so does your home. Do not be afraid to do some research on your own. Find out what the latest trends in fabric and paint colour might be and add a pop of colour to your rooms. Go to a couple of show homes and see what the latest trends are. Do not be afraid to buy new furniture that you want to have for your new home to update the one that you are selling. Fresh flowers are always a beautiful addition and with the longer daylight hours, open up those window coverings and let the sun shine in!

Purge those unused and unwanted and dated items! There are so many for sale sites with followings waiting to buy your stuff, and so many charitable organizations that could use your used items to help the people right in your own neighbourhood.

So bring it on Spring! We are ready to greet you and welcome you into our homes and lives!

Michelle Eldjarnson
The REPs Group
RE/MAX Realty Horizon

Organizing a Closet

Oh boy!!! Thinking about our closets can put the fear and panic into people. It’s a common “little secret” that most of us just shut the closet door and ignore the mess- and I am guilty too!
So, it’s my turn. I am going to clean my closets in my house.

And the realtor in me knows that keeping closets organized and maintained truly helps when you decide to sell.
Hmmmm- but, where do I start? , it’s kinda overwhelming. I am told by experts that what can seem like a huge job, organizing my closets, is actually incredibly therapeutic … no, really!
Well, it’s time to find if this is true. It is a great time of year to tackle this project. The colder weather keeps us inside more, so an indoor project is perfect.
Here are my lessons learned
… here’s one big tip- start with one closet. Don’t look beyond one closet.
Professional organizers tell us that we get overwhelmed if we think about the whole project. Break it down into manageable tasks

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