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Getting Family Members on the Same Page

Remember the last time you had a family discussion about what to have for dinner? Chances are, there were some disagreements! In fact, it might have been agonizing trying to get everyone to settle on the same dish. Now imagine getting everyone to agree on what type of home to buy!

Obviously, you want family members to be in harmony when looking for a new home. The more everyone is on the same page, the smoother the process will be.

Here are some tips worth trying:

  • Make a list. Have everyone list the top three features they want in a new home. You might find that family members are closer to agreement than you thought. Also, family members will likely not be disappointed if they get two out of the three features they want.
  • Have a family meeting. Set a goal to have a clear profile of the kind of home you want by the end of the meeting. Be prepared for some lively discussion, but also be firm that a decision needs to be made.
  • Be understanding. If a family member insists on a particular feature, ask why. It might be trivial, such as having a shopping mall within walking distance when driving or taking transit is relatively easy. On the other hand, the desired feature might be something truly important and worth considering.
  • Manage expectations. Explain that not everyone will get what they want and that you (or you and your significant other) will do your best to accommodate everyone’s wishes.

There’s no perfect solution. Depending on your family, it might be difficult to make sure everyone is happy with the home you end up buying. However, by using these tips you can ensure that everyone will at least feel they’ve been heard. Then, once you start building memories in your new place, everyone will start to feel like it’s home!

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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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How to Meet Your New Neighbours

Moving into a new home is a lot of work. There’s furniture to move, boxes to unpack, utilities and services to turn on, and on top of all that, you have new neighbors to meet. But even with all the work going on, getting to know your neighbors doesn’t have to be stressful. Here are three easy ways to reach out to your new neighbors.

1. Seize the moment!
The longer you put off meeting your neighbors, the more awkward things will be. Take a break after unloading your moving truck and before unpacking your boxes to introduce yourself.

2. Ask them some questions
When you knock on your neighbor’s door, what do you say? Aside from explaining that you just moved in and wanted to introduce yourself, consider asking a bit about the neighborhood. If you’ve relocated into the area, you can ask about the city or even the state. What nearby comedy clubs or theaters do they recommend? Is there a DMV nearby? What restaurants deliver to your neighborhood?

3. Host a housewarming party
If you’re new to the neighborhood but have ties in the general area, consider hosting a housewarming party. You can invite your friends and family as well as your new neighbors. It will be a great excuse to knock on their door. And when they show up, you can start building new friendships with them.

Before you meet your new neighbors, you have to find your new home. If you or someone you know is looking to make a move, let me know! I can answer questions about the area and help you find your family’s perfect fit!

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Five Things Buyers Hate to See

When you show your home to prospective buyers, there is probably a long list of things you are hoping they’ll notice. For example, you’ll want them to see the beautiful chandelier in the foyer or the spacious backyard and large deck or the kitchen with the island big enough for a whole family to sit down for breakfast.

But what about those things you’re hoping buyer will not notice?

Every home has some features that are less than enticing to the typical buyer. You may not be able to do much about a small kitchen or a home backing onto a noisy main street.

However, there are several things buyers don’t want to see that you can change. Here are five of the most common:

  • Clutter: Closets stuffed full of clothes or rooms crammed with too much furniture are distraction. Clutter of any kind makes buyers feel uneasy and gets in the way of showcasing the wonderful features of your home.
  • Maintenance Issues: Buyers definitely don’t want to see a lot of things that need repairs or replacement, such as dripping faucets, faded or chipped walls or overgrown lawns and shrubbery.
  • Smells: Of course, you can’t see smells, but buyers will notice the lingering aroma of exotic cooking, cigarette smoke and pets. These smells may even limit the amount of time they want to spend exploring the home.
  • Personal Items: Buyers will understand that a family is living in the home they are viewing. However, constant reminders in the form of vacation pictures, trophies or scattered children’s toys can make a buyer feel like an intruder.
  • You: It’s nothing personal, but buyers prefer to view your home without you in it.

Fortunately, all these things can be easily dealt with before you show your home.

Looking for more ideas on selling your home quickly and for the best price? Call me today.