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How to Make a Smooth Transition to a New School

One of most significant challenges of moving when you have kids is transitioning part of a new school. In Ontario, schools are tied to addresses that requires a change in schools. And while it is stressful, the transition process should not keep you back from buying a home in new neighbourhood or a new district. As a matter of fact, you and your kids may end up liking their new school better- just like my kids did when we made the big move from Toronto to Kitchener back in 2014.

Here are some tips on how to choose a new school, get your children ready for the transition and create a smooth experience for the whole family.

CHOOSING YOUR NEW SCHOOL

For most parents, researching schools is a big part of the home buying process. You can search school catchment area on the WRDSB website (http://www.bpwe.stswr.ca) where you will find school information, which school your child will attend and transportation eligibility.

While it is true that in the Waterloo Region, your home school is tied to your address, it doesn’t necessarily make that school your only choice. You can choose to place your kids in the Waterloo Region District School Board, Waterloo Catholic School Board, Montessori or Private School.

When you have your new address, take some time to visit both main school boards and if you are considering private school, research the options available nearby. When it comes to private schools and Montessori options, prices vary wildly, so it’s worth looking at various schools to see which ones best fit your needs and budget.

NEW SCHOOL ROUTINES

VISIT THE SCHOOL IN ADVANCE

If possible, arrange to have your kids visit the school well in advance of the move day. Having a sense of what to expect can help relieve some anxiety and can give you the opportunity to talk through the things that are making them most nervous.

PRACTICE THE ROUTE TO SCHOOL

Will your kids be walking with you or someone else? Riding their bike? Taking transit? Being dropped off by car? No matter how they get there, you all need to know all the little details.

BUSSING

If your child qualifies for bussing, make sure the bus company has set up your route number and pick up/drop off times. Make sure you set up an e-mail notification with the bus company when they’ll be delays and cancellations.

PREPARING YOUR CHILD FOR THEIR FIRST DAY

When you are new to a neighbourhood, it can be tough to walk into a new school when you don’t know anyone. Luckily, many schools have Facebook pages or groups for their parent council. Join the group and introduce yourself.

You may be able to find a family that lives nearby whose child would be willing to show your kids around over the first few days.

PREPARING YOURSELF FOR THEIR FIRST DAY

FIND OUT HOW THE SCHOOL COMMUNICATES WITH THE PARENTS

Some schools use email newsletters, Twitter or Facebook or other apps. Others just have announcements in the school and rely on kids and word of mouth at the schoolyard. Find out how your teacher, your school and your parent council gets the word out to parents. Getting it all sorted out right away helps you get used to new routines more quickly.

GET THE SCHOOL CALENDAR

Try to find the weekly, monthly and annual calendar for your child. The weekly calendar will help you figure out when to send gym clothes, instruments etc., and also if any tests or quizzes happen regularly.

The monthly calendar will let you know of upcoming spirit days, pizza lunches and evening events like movie nights and concerts.

The yearly calendar will give you a birds-eye view of important days, the big events like winter and spring concerts and any other mainstay school traditions.

ROLL WITH IT

A transition to a new school can be tough. There will be good days and bad days and meltdowns will come out of nowhere. Just hang in there and things will get easier in time.

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5 Steps to Make Your Home More Attractive

STEP 1: STAGE YOUR HOME TO SHOW ITS FULL POTENTIAL

Home staging is one of the most important steps when deciding to list your home for sale.

The art of home staging has a lot to do with space. You want to remove clutter and arrange furniture in a way that maximizes usable space within the house. This gives the impression that the home is larger than it actually is. Have you ever walked through a home with minimal furniture and been amazed at how much space it had? But when you fill up that same house with over-sized furniture, knickknacks and other forms of clutter, it suddenly feels cramped.

As you stage your house, you should pay close attention to the “flow” of each room. People should never bump into a dresser when walking into the bedroom. They should never have to sidestep around an over-sized dining room table. Doors should be able to swing open completely, without hitting furniture or other obstacles. It’s hard to live in such a home, even if you’re used to it.

When you’re done staging, you may be surprised at how large your house seems all of a sudden. This is a common reaction among homeowners. And it’s a positive reaction among potential buyers. You never want buyers to feel like the home is cramped or crowded.

STEP 2: DRAW BUYERS WITH HIGH QUALITY LISTING PHOTOS

Real estate photographers know how to capture your house in the best lighting and take the photo from just the right angle to show off the best features. While many homeowners take pictures of corners and tight bathrooms, photographers know how to capture the entire bathroom in just one shot—without getting a piece of them in the mirror.

Making your home listing look like a curated Instagram feed may not seem like it’s worth it, but when a potential buyer is looking, interior and exterior photos make all the difference. They’ll be able to picture themselves living in the house before even walking through it.

STEP 3: PRICE IT RIGHT

You can look at recent sales for comparable nearby homes to get an idea of your property’s market value. Your real estate agent has access to a database of recent “comps” with this information and can give you an estimate of a reasonable price. You’ll also want to know how long these homes were on the market, and whether sellers had to reduce their initial prices in order to sell.

When you want top dollar, it’s smart to have the right price the day your home goes on the market. When you offer your home at its true market value, you’re giving yourself the best chance to get a good offer in a reasonable amount of time.

STEP 4: PREPARE YOUR HOME FOR SHOWINGS

Sellers should be aware that same-day and even last-minute requests for showings are common, so sellers with a “24 hours’ notice to show” stipulation often cut themselves out of a good chunk of the buying market.

Once a house gets tagged difficult to show by agents, you won’t receive as many calls to show it. If sellers choose to make showings difficult, that it will cut down on showings—and fewer showings equals fewer potential buyers.

STEP 5: USING A MARKETING PLAN THAT WORKS

  • Professional Photography and Virtual Tours
  • Full Color Print and Digital Ads
  • Explosive Digital Marketing
  • Social Media Mass Exposure
  • Display your home to our sales staff and other agents prior to listing for the most exposure
  • Immediately upon listing, market and display your home to hundreds of websites and buyer prospects