Mary's Blog

March 1 2019

My Montreal Adventure 


I have a 16 year old son… just turned… so I wanted to do something to honour this special birthday.  He’s been studying French in immersion since kindergarten, so I thought it would be nice for us to visit Montreal together!  

There was a catch.  We would do ALL of the things Montreal can offer in a week in winter, but on one of the days, he had to speak French to everyone we encountered, order our food, and organize our directions and travel plans that day, all while I did not say a thing.  I have baby french.  Actually, it is worse than baby French.  One thing we quickly learned was that the way he has learned the language in Winnipeg is a totally different accent, and spoken much slower!   

We also realized that as soon as a server or someone heard us speak english to each other, they would switch to speaking english to us, so we dealt with that by whispering.

Sadly, we did not get photos of the two of us together, but my son was able to explore and capture the beautiful architecture with his new camera.   We visited McGill University, where he practiced with their soccer team, ate poutine at the famous La Banquise.  

The NHL Jets happened to be in town, so we expected a slaughter from “us” against the Canadiens’, brought our signs to show our support, wore our jerseys, etc. It was the other way around, if you recall the game on February 7th.  That was a sad day, but we still enjoyed ourselves. 

On one of the days, we visited Notre Dame Basilica. I think it may have been the most beautiful place I’ve ever visited.  I was in complete awe of the craftsmanship and care taken to build this structure. You must visit.  

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 Museum of Modern Art.

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Other places we visited:  Mile End, Le Plateau, Old Montreal, Downtown, Old Port, and so many amazing restaurants. 

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For a cultural experience,  I observed a dance show at Place des Arts and was completely entranced by the technicality and beauty of the work by dancers from Agora de la Danse.   

Every place I visit has me curious about the region's real estate.  I learned about the market there, which is currently experiencing a strong sellers market, and their prices for a residential average home is approximately $100,000 more than our average here. Same rings true for purchasing a condo!  Winnipeg is still one of Canada’s most affordable city’s to live in, but it surprises me how affordable a place like Montreal is when you compare with our other major city centres across the centre. 

My son conquered the all french speaking day, and we didn’t get lost once.  I can’t wait to go back.  Next time I will visit in summer. 

All photos were taken by my teen. 


February 21 2019

Luxury Home Selling - An Art Form

Find an agent who can sell your luxury home like it’s an ART form.  


With so many uncontrollable factors at play, selling a luxury property can be more of an art form than a science. That being said, there are a handful of steps I will take to make sure your high-end home gets the star treatment. I will utilize selling techniques that will put your soon-to-be-profitable property on the top of luxury buyers’ lust lists.


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1. I will pick the right Audience:

Since luxury homes come with high price tags, there’s a very specific portion of the population who can pursue them. Creating a predictive psychological profile of your potential high-end buyer will help you hone in on their wants, needs and dreams. You’re not casting a wide net, but  looking for a specific audience for marketing—if you build it, they will come.


2. Story Telling: 

Sure, you’re selling incredible features and design elements, but what else is going to motivate a purchaser? We will look at the lifestyle your home will offer a buyer, such as proximity to an excellent Pilates studio, protected parklands and top-notch schools. I love stories, and I want to tell yours.


How?


3. Time to Focus In:

When deciding which areas of your home to focus our marketing, the two most important rooms are the master bedroom and the kitchen. In the kitchen, we will  call out the high-end appliances it has, such as a Viking stove or Bosch dishwasher.  The buyer for your home will look for brands. In the bedroom, it’s all about the special features, such as a walk-in closet and spa-like ensuite.


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4. Price is Right: 

Setting the right price on a luxury property is extremely important — and difficult. There are fewer comparable homes to reference and they tend to be custom-built with features that aren’t necessarily for everyone. Make the price too high and it will sit on the market, only to force you to pop it up again later at a lower asking price (never a good look). We will view similar properties that have sold quickly in the area that will help set an ideal range.


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5. Is your agent a People Person?

Marketing, showing and selling a luxury property takes a lot more finesse than an average home—the stakes are higher. Look for a real estate agent who’s well versed in the language of luxury, and who understands the power of professional presentation. Make sure they’re tech-savvy as well—social media has become a massive tool for getting a listing in front of the right eyes.  I will meet with you to fully understand the beauty of your home, and then let me do the story telling with my team of marketing experts.  


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February 12 2019

2019 Market Forecast

By Todd Lewys

If you were to use one word to describe Manitoba’s real estate market in 2018, it would be turbulent.

With home buyers rocked by a trio of factors, the market slowed down, leading to lower-than-predicted sales performance in several key areas, said WinnipegREALTORS® MLS Market Analyst, Peter Squire.

“Of all the different factors that affected the market — rising interest rates, impact fees and of course, the federal government’s stress test — the stress test had the greatest impact. However, although 2018 sales figures were down, they were still ahead of the 10-year average.”

Still, while they were far from disastrous, 2018 figures were somewhat sobering: home sales were down 4.7 per cent from 2017, while condo prices dropped by 2.4 per cent.  

Meanwhile, total MLS dollar volume dropped by four per cent. 

However, as Squire noted, sales figures were still ahead of the 10-year average. 

Total MLS dollar volume was $3,774,372, 462 in 2018, as compared to $3,921,016,014 in 2017 — not a huge drop.

And while last year’s home sales went down to 9,287 from 9,741 in 2017 — condominium prices also dropped by $5,771 — home prices increased to $321,945 in 2018, an increase of $6,229 over 2017.

The upshot of all of this is that the province’s real estate market remained steady despite being challenged on multiple fronts.

Squire said that while those challenging factors are still present, home buyers look to be adjusting — something that’s been suggested by solid home sales in January.

At the same time, the commercial market is also performing well across the board. 

Like the residential market, it’s benefitting from the province’s steady, diversified economy, which is being bolstered by steady immigration and strong employment.

Consequently, Squire is cautiously optimistic about 2019.

“My forecast is for home sales to go up zero to three per cent, home prices to increase by zero to two per cent, condo prices to decrease by two to zero percent — and for total MLS® dollar volume to increase by zero to two per cent,” he said. “A good start in January isn’t necessarily a predictor for how things will go during the rest of the year, but I believe 2019 will be a better year than 2018.”

He added that — as in the past — Manitoba’s real estate market will remain steady to due to several enduring factors.

“The economy is stable, population growth is steady, Winnipeg’s metropolitan region is growing, and housing remains affordable,” said Squire. “Those factors should continue to offset external factors like NAFTA, (rising) interest rates and the mortgage stress test.”

That said, keynote speaker Benjamin Tal — Deputy Chief Economist with CIBC World Markets Inc. — noted that external forces such as economic uncertainty in Europe (BREXIT), China’s bid for technological and economic dominance, a potential U.S. — China trade war — and decisions made by The Fed and the Bank of Canada on interest rates — are going to make for interesting times.

And then there’s the vexing mortgage stress test to contend with, like it or not.

“Winnipeg doesn’t need such harsh medicine,” said Tal. “Certain markets should be left alone, and Winnipeg is one of them.” 

He suggested that the federal government take a less rigid approach to administering the stress test, a move that would make it more reasonable.

“Why does it need to be 200 basis points? They should make it more flexible and adjustable so it can be applied better to different markets. Damage to the country has been significant, so they need to look at making the stress test more flexible.”

Despite all the turbulence surrounding real estate transactions, those in the market for a home in Winnipeg and surrounding areas should be encouraged.

With a good supply of homes and affordable home prices, there’s a home for everyone — now, and well into the foreseeable future.

Thanks to a strong economy, resilient, hard-working Manitobans — and the ongoing efforts of dedicated REALTORS® — Manitoba’s real estate market figures to remain the shining star among markets in Canada.​

 

January 21 2019 

Clean Your House - Change Your Life

Something I often see clients struggle with is the mass amounts of STUFF that is in their house.  I have literally seen STUFF paralyze individuals from moving on to a different life.  STUFF stopping a person from moving to a new city where family resides, a cheaper place, inhibiting a will or wish to travel… C’mon, get rid of the STUFF!  Eons ago I had a different blog format than I do now (just started one back up again!  I love to share with you).  I feel the entry below applies to the present as well as it did then, so I won’t reinvent the wheel on this story.  I am a firm believer that personal items can have as much damage on our soul as do hanging onto past resentments, relationships that no longer work, or ideas that just have to go.  Since I wrote this entry, I’ve become familiar with the #konmari method for tidying up.  Marie Kondo, a lovely woman from Japan has written extensively on this topic, author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.”  She is currently starring in her own Netflix series, helping families to literally CHANGE THEIR LIVES by learning to “tidy up”.  My method below almost feels similar… check out the series to find out how.  Hint: it has to do with only keeping what brings you JOY. 

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Original Entry (written in spring): It’s that time again.  The addition of sunlight, longer days, and warmer weather brings a healthy burst of energy that inspires us to create positive changes in our lives.   We take time to reflect on the changes we wanted to implement over the winter months and now we have the strength to do them.  Time to execute.  Questions we may ask ourselves:  What do I really need right now?  What do I have that I want to keep, let go of, and what do I want to allow room for to grow in my present life?  This may include financial matters, personal matters, friends, healthy choices, and STUFF!  Stuff, we all have a lot of stuff.  Too much!  

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I recently underwent an excellent process in my own household that I want to share with you in a hope that it may inspire you to do the same.  With the lengthy winter months beginning to bog me down, I came to the conclusion that it was time to make some serious alterations in my own home.  I am a true believer that where we hang our hat, what we do there, and who we love there, will spread success into the rest of who we are.  So, I began to ask the questions above.  After much introspection, I ventured forward, starting with a box.  One box of things.  My goal was a large one.  Can I downsize everything I own into exactly HALF of what it is now?  Huge task!  One large box came out, with an empty box of half its size.  After a brief hesitation, I began to fill the teeny box with what I loved, and everything else went into either a give-away, throw-away, or sell pile.  If I can’t fit it into my life right now at this moment, I don’t want it to clutter what I enjoy now.  If I didn’t have a place for it to be worn, displayed, shared, or kept sacred, it went.  One box led to another, one room led to another room.  With each part of the cleansing process, inspiration grew to what I want to have in the future, and that fun has already begun.   There have been many trips to places that need what I had; church, friends, and a neighbour or two.  

What have I gained from all this?  I gained a newfound burst of energy, renewed growth, and a clarity of purpose that is beyond compare.  Clarity in the areas of business, personal, and family.  So I challenge YOU, to ask yourself:

What do I really need to operate in my life?

What can I let go of?

What can I share?

Who can I help?

What do I want in the future, and where do I need to make room for that growth?

With spring underway, you may be thinking of making your house into more of a home, or getting ready to sell, and if that is the case, you WILL need to do this.  It will not only make you feel lighter and happier, but it will add value to your most valuable asset.   Your home. 


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De-clutter your home.  De-clutter your life.

Note: I still do this as a practise.  I might do one area of the house, my desk, or pick a category like clothing.  I always feel amazing afterward!  Send me a message about your own tidying up process.  I love to hear about it! 

 Happy cleaning!

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 Places you can donate your gently used items to (these are my personal recommendations):

·      Big Brothers and Big Sisters Association – 204.943.5437 - Clothing and Household Items 

·      Things – Royal Winnipeg Ballet – 204.284.7331 - Antiques, Collectibles, Home Furnishings, China, Jewelry, Silver, Artwork, Lamps

·      Villa Rosa (convalescence home for young or unwed mothers to learn about parenthood and finish their education) – 204 786-5741 - Fabric, Car Seats, Exercise Balls

·      Children’s Hospital  - Books (This link will show you drop-off points!)

·      Clothes Closet – 204 284-9311 – Suits, Jackets, Pants, Skirts, Blouses, Tops, Shoes, Boots, Coats, Accessories, Jewelry, Scarves, Purses, Belts. Plus-sized clothing is always in high demand.

·      Winnipeg Pet Rescue – 204.832.7387 - Canadian Tire Money, Cat Litter Scoops, Air Freshener, Brooms & Dust Pans, Cat & Dog Toys, Soap, Blankets and Towels, Other Pet Items… 

·      Into the Music – 204.287.8279 - LP’s, CDs, Cassettes

·      Hands of Hope – 204.261.8607 - Furniture, Household Goods

·      Habitat ReStore – 204.233.5160 - Link has a list of acceptable/unacceptable donations

·      Mennonite Central Committee – 204.694.3669 - THRIFT STORE BEST SELLERS = Leather furniture, Anything mid-century modern, Oak Dining Sets 

·      Into the Music – 204.287.8279 - They pay cash for quality used LPs, CDs, Music DVDs, Music books, Cassette tapes, Music Memorabilia·     

·      Winnipeg Humane Society – 204.982.2021 - LONG list of things they need! Check out their website! Can Even Donate Your Car!  

·      Winnipeg Public Library – 204.986.6841- Books, DVDs, Video Games, CDs

·      C.R. Bears and Co arogasky@shaw.ca – 204.269.9089 - Fur Coats (to be made into teddy bears!)

·      Centre Flavie-Laurent – 204.231.9513 - Mattresses, Box springs, Bedframes, Bedding, Dressers, Cribs & Baby Accessories, Kitchen Tables & Chairs, Sofas & living Room Chairs, Dishes & Cutlery, Pots & Pans, Washers, Dryers, Freezers, Stoves, Books 

·      Arts Junktion – 204.942.5865 - Art supplies, Leather, Beads, Jewelry, Board games, Trophies, Magnets (HUGE list of things to donate on website!)

·      The Salvation Army – 204.953.1500 - Accessories, Antiques, Clothing, Computers, Electronics, Furniture, Housewares, Media & Books, Seasonal Items, Textiles, Toys

·      Teen Challenge – 1-800.632.6095 - Donate your Car! (working or not, tax receipt provided)

·      Goodwill – 204.943.6435 - Books, Clothes, Furniture, Appliances, Linens, Household Items, Sporting Goods, Toys

·      Oyate Tipi Cumini Yape – 204.589.2265 - Household Items (All listed on website & free pickup!)

·      International Hope Canada – 204.774.1102 - Medical Equipment & Supplies 

  



December 22 2018

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December 12 2018

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When I was creating my “fun to-do” list, I hadn’t realized how many events happen in November. My list is a combination of events that are yet to occur, but hurry, many are ending soon!

 

1. One of my favourite holiday movies created into a Radio Play! I saw this on the weekend.  So good.  It’s a special story. RMTC Presents: “It’s a Wonderful Life” (Runs Until Dec. 15)

 

Okay.. a few of the next events happen on the same night, so you will have to pick and choose! 

 

2. A Christmas Event that typically sells out! JP Hoe Hoe Hoe (Dec.14) 

 

3. I’m a bit of a groupie for this children’s performer.  The Dirty Catfish Brass Band is also making an appearance, so bring your dancing shoes! Al Simmons (Dec.14)

 

4. There is nothing like the sound of an all Boys’ Choir.  My son was a member of this choir for one year. It was lovely.  Winnipeg Boys Choir (Dec. 14)

 

5. I have an affinity for surprising moments, and coming across the most beautiful lights during this time of year. If you don’t want to limit those times to random occurrences, take a drive to Lindenwoods to view this wonderful light contest! Linden Woods Lights Contest (Dec. 18)

 

6. As a former dancer, I will tell you that the RWB’s Nutcracker is a must see.  If you haven’t been to a full length ballet, it is the perfect one to start with.  It has something in the show for everyone; young and old, but especially the youthful at heart. Royal Winnipeg Ballet Nutcracker (Dec. 19-29)

 

7. Staycation?  Santa is visiting the Fairmont Guests! Santa Suite at the Fairmont (Nov. 25-Dec. 23)

 

8. Get your tickets soon!  The winter break for students will be a busy time, so you might want to visit before or after! I have been once before. Adorable! CanadInns Winter Wonderland (Nov.30-Jan.5)

 

9. See how holiday lights, trees and decorations have changed from the 1880s to today, and learn about the history of electrical development in our province.  This will be interesting! All That Glows: Then and Now (Nov. 14-Jan.3) 

 

10. View famous Winnipeg light displays, residential and business, on a tour bus this holiday.  You will have a chance to see a few of the previous events I listed all in one night! Christmas Lights Tour of Winnipeg (Dec. 12, 17, & 19)


The kick-off for me is the Santa Clause Parade, which I attended last month.  RE/MAX has a float… this is me “driving” the semi, pulling said float.  On the right is, well… you know who that is. 


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Mary Pidlaski
Mary Pidlaski
Associate
RE/MAX Executives Realty