Right Sizing Your Home

It used to be back in our Grandparents or even our Parents generation when you bought a home it was with the idea that it would be your “Forever Home.” That was the GOAL – that this one home would be where a married couple would begin their life, raise a family & eventually retire & become empty nesters with room to host large family Christmas dinners. So the idea of a forever home is steeped with emotion. It all sounds very romantic. But, realistically that is asking a lot of one home… It is difficult to imagine that one home would be practical functionally or financially for all of these different life stages. 

Nowadays with technological advancements and globalization it’s easier for people to move around. There is also a growing movement to a more minimalist lifestyle with less stuff to weigh us down – think Marie Condo. And baby boomers are more likely to spend their Golden Years travelling or relocating entirely than previous generations. 

The current trend in Real Estate is finding the “Perfect Right Now Home.” Finding a home in an area that suits your needs at this point in time but not needing to know that it will still −it the bill in 10 or more years. 

Here are some reasons why your home may no longer suit your needs: 

Divorce – nobody plans for it to happen but a divorce drastically changes your family’s housing needs. 

Family – your kids have moved out or maybe they have just come back? Or maybe you need room for aging parents to live. 

Age – a 2 story home with a large yard was great to accommodate your growing family but now you can no longer handle the stairs or yard maintenance. 

Career Changes – a job loss or change can mean needing to move due to relocation or for financial reasons. 

Lifestyle Changes – what once mattered the most to you like school districts may no longer be applicable to your life. 

Change of Neighbourhood Demographics – your friends have all moved and your neighbourhood seems to be filled with families that look a lot like yours – only 25-30 years ago?? 

Change of Taste – styles change. What you once liked you may not anymore. 

Financial Reasons – maybe you want to free up some money so that you can travel more or to help pay for your children’s education. 

Any of these reasons may lead you to the idea of needing to “Right Size” your home to suit your life. Right sizing is updating your living space based on your current needs. Between the many career, hobby, family and activity changes that we experience it makes sense to −ind the right home for you. Instead of compromising to meet the needs of your current home, rightsizing offers a freeing alternative. 

Questions to ask yourself: 

  1. Do you really use all of the rooms in your home?
  2. Are there rooms that are used more for storage than any other activity?
  3. How many times a year do you use your formal dining room, living room, guest room etc?
  4. Are there routine activities that are uncomfortable or inefficient in your home’s current set up?
  5. Do you feel like you spend more time cleaning & maintaining your home than you do enjoying it?
  6. Does your current neighbourhood offer you the connections & accessibility that you desire?
  7. Do you feel like you are house poor?

It’s important to remember that right sizing does not necessarily equal downsizing. You may discover in this process that you actually need a larger home or maybe just a different configuration. Or you may find that your current home does or can suit your needs with a few changes. 

The most important thing to remember is – a home is where you and your family live at any moment. Once you leave that home it becomes just a house again & the next house you move into becomes your home.

Here are my lessons learned:

… and one ⭐️big HINT: 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 

1. I started with a smaller closet because again- the idea is that I didn’t want to feel overwhelmed or discouraged. 

2. Next, I put 3 medium sized” moving boxes near the closet. I had to make 3 decisions… is the item going in the keep box? the recycle box? or the throw away box? ⭐️HINT: BE RUTHLESS with this process. If you haven’t worn or touched the item in 6-12months, you really need to consider getting it GONE! #mariecondoyourself  

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The Key Story

How did four women get together? And how did they know they were going to be successful?

When you have people that are full of passion and grace who are real about what the struggles and stressors in all aspects of life are, especially Real Estate and family,then you can pretty much make anything happen.

These women are masters of prioritization, scheduling,goal setting,and task distribution.Together with their staff they work competitively while always maintaining the highest level of respect for each other creating a culture that truly allows ALL to flourish!

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Did You Know?? Routines are a good thing…

I’m a routine kind of girl …. I LOVE routines. My day always starts the same way.

I make coffee for Phil and I, take my vitamins, make the bed, then I head into the yoga room for meditation & then I workout … Every day, like clock work this is how I start.

Now, you might ask WHY…. Why is a routine so important and what the heck does it have to do with real estate? … I’ll get there, I promise.

Morning Routines set the day off in the right direction. Experts say it’s not that important what the routine is. What matters is that you HAVE a routine – a plan that you follow every day. Many Studies show that morning routines increase productivity and lower stress levels significantly in people. I can attest to that theory. I WAS that person. Morning routines were for other people ….routines in general seemed too regimented, restrictive, maybe even dull. I thought that I didn’t need routines or lists. That was for other people, not me. Until, one day I missed an important project that was due at school (yep-way back when ) and that project was in a class with my favourite teacher. A person that I respected – a lot…. I was embarrassed and quite horrified when I walked into class and it was my turn to present my project. It was at that moment when I felt I had let my teacher and myself down – that I said never again!!

I bought a note book that day specifically for lists and it became my first day-planner before there actually was such a thing. And what happened was quite amazing …. no more stress about things I had to get done. I knew what the plan was and how it was going to get done. Routines became a part of my life.

Now, jump forward ….to present day and Realtor® life.

Here’s the story…..I get a phone call from a potential client and they share that they are getting transferred with work to another city and they need to be moved and settled within a certain time frame. As realtors, we hear this story often. This is life. And this is where routine steps in to help.

Over the years, it has become critical to have routines when selling a home efficiently. I am proud of what the REPS group have developed over time. We have taken the best of what we have all experienced and learned and then created routines that we share with our sellers all the way through the process. Guidelines and checklists to help our sellers through a very stressful time.

We have an 11 point routine that we share regarding getting ready for a showing and I am happy to share that with you. The REPs group believes that KNOWLEDGE is POWER. And Routine is knowledge. It helps you and gives you power.

Getting Ready for a Showing
– open up window coverings
– store personal items in the bathroom away in a drawer, counters clean.
– all dishes are washed and put away
– dirty laundry in the hamper
– all beds neatly made
– remove animal beds and store them
– take the garbage out with you when you leave
– ensure all personal items and valuables are stored away safely
– turn all lights on
– play soft “elevator” style music
– if time, leave some fresh baked cookies for the showing group to enjoy


We have many many routine checklists that we have created for our clients. Selling a home doesn’t need to be overwhelming, and having a routine is part of the secret sauce. If you’ve developed a routine and embrace lists … Bravo! And if you haven’t figured out a routine but are curious…. it’s never too late. Start with a notebook, and let me know what you think

Hayley Poirier
The REPs Group
RE/MAX First

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

5 Landscaping Trends That Are on the Rise

According to a recent survey conducted by Leger on behalf of RE/MAX, green space is trending as the most in-demand amenity sought by homebuyers, aside from price. While parks are highly sought-after, your yard can also translate to more “green,” when it comes to an offer on your listing. Maximize your little piece of the great outdoors with these five hot landscaping trends.

1. Think Smart, Think Small

Having limited outdoor space is nothing new; especially for city dwellers. How that space is used is pushing the envelope. Multitasking is king when it comes to planning which features to add and where to plant what within limited square footage. For example, a water feature can be integrated into the irrigation system, doubling the function of a single feature.

Analyze the systems and features you can work with in your garden. It will take some consideration and planning to get the most out of your limited space, but it will pay off immensely in the end.

2. Every Season Turns

Think “four seasons” for 2018 when planning your garden. Differentiating textures and bright conifer foliage will look lovely in the springtime, but also brightens up the garden during the winter months. Deciduous shrubs, trees with peeling bark, and evergreens that change colour can help you maximize your garden all year-round.
Choosing the right plants that can withstand Canada’s shifting seasons will be a challenge, so consult a garden expert before investing.

3. Feeling Fenced In

​Fencing is the most common method of enclosing a yard, however creative alternatives to posts and planks are popping up. Consider planting a screening foliage, such as bamboo, between the sidewalk curb and your lawn to offer some privacy. Also, look at incorporating lacy-leaved trees such as dogwoods or Japanese maple — they’re big enough to create a border but won’t overwhelm.

Thinking outside the box to create the feeling of a protected area is what this landscaping trend is about. The drawback to these pretty, yet permeable, barriers is they do little to secure a pet or protect against trespassers.

4. Get Crafty

​Part of the “maker movement”, this landscaping trend moves away from mass-produced products, and returns to roots of authentic craftsmanship. Whether it’s a stone bench or a pergola, finding a professional artisan to handcraft your next garden element is definitely a trend.

This trend is about quality craftsmanship that stands the test of time. This quality craftsmanship does come at a premium, but hiring local artisans is a wonderful way to support the local economy.

5. Go Forth

​Imagine being able to eat your evening meal under the open sky, in your own backyard, surrounded by friends and family. Alfresco dining is so popular these days that having a designated dining area, complete with an outdoor cooking area, has become one of 2018’s landscaping trends.

Different this year is the location of this open-air eating area — it’s no longer close to the kitchen but further afield. Creating a unique space at the back of the yard, far from the lights and bustle of the house is on-trend.

From backyard dining to living walls, these landscaping trends can add value to your home and boost curb appeal. Now that you’re armed with the knowledge of what’s trending in the landscaping world, which one will you dig into?

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.


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.

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.

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