My Nova Scotian Home

I'm Loving Living & Working in Canada's Ocean Playground. Busy wife, Veteran, mom, proud military spouse and REALTOR® at Sutton Group Professional Realty, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Maybe it’s time to dust off this thing..

Thinking of taking this thing out, spit shining it and taking it for a whirl. Who’s with me?

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Cat Hoarders

Back before my surgery in April we decided to grant my youngest son’s long time wish of having a cat.

I’d always for the most part been OK with the idea of getting a cat but my husband was dead set against it.  We’d had fur-babies before and they all lived their lives and died and I believe hubby enjoyed having some freedom of movement without having to worry about what to do with the animals.  Nevertheless, our son (Ben) would occasionally ask just to test the waters, pretty much knowing it was futile. One evening in early April he jokenly brought it up again and my husband agreed on the condition that he finally clean up his pigsty of a room and that being that Ben was now 18 he take responsibility for total daily care of the cat. Ben spent a week and cleaned his room from top to bottom.  The floor or the top of his dresser hadn’t been seen for years so it was quite a task.  In the end, I couldn’t have done a better job myself. 

We set out to make the rounds of the SPCA and pet stores.  Here in Halifax & Dartmouth our pet stores foster pets on behalf of the SPCA which is a no-kill shelter.  We went to many stores and the SPCA itself and while they had cats Ben didn’t see any that he wanted right off the bat.   

I suggested driving to a nearby suburb and taking a look there as there were two pet stores. 
At the second store, this is what we found:

I saw them first and I knew before Ben even saw them that they’d be coming home with us.  He’d mentioned once he’d love to have a siamese cat.  I’d told him not to get his hopes up on that because siamese cats weren’t typically found at the SPCA.  The catch here was that there was a sign on the cage that because these cats grew up together they were bonded to each other and had to stay together.  Apparently siamese cats bond for life.   I didn’t think my husband would go for it and gently tried to discourage my son from falling for these cats because there was no way that his dad would agree to two.   Hubby had been watching the cats from the other side of the cage and motioned us over and pointed to a little metal sign attached to the side:

Now with my being a Realtor and belonging to NSAR..having this sign on the cage of two siamese cats was like it was meant to be. Hubby shrugged and said that “they’d keep each other company” and off he went to fill in the adoption paperwork for them both while my son and I stayed at the cage wondering what the heck just happened.   My son was over the moon.  Taking pictures and texting everyone pictures of his new cats even before we left the store!  His brother, who was at university, was on the phone to him within seconds asking him how he got their father to agree to not just one cat, but two!

So, we rescued two cats from the SPCA.  We learned as we were adopting them that they were part of an animal abuse case that was in the news a couple of weeks earlier.  3 people that lived in the house they were from were arrested for animal abuse/cat hoarding.   In the tiny home they came from, the SPCA removed 127 cats.  This a video of the seizure.  If you look closely at 1:33-35 mark you can see both of our siamese cats on the bed.  

The conditions they came from break our hearts. When we got them home they were nearly wild.  They hid for days, ran whenever they saw or heard us.  We gave them the run of the house and eventually came to the conclusion that it wasn’t working.  So we rounded them up with blankets and confined them to one bedroom of the house, my son’s.  We put their beds, litter box and food in there along with some toys.  Several times a day each of us would take turns going in the room and just sitting there.  We’d blocked off all the places they could hide except for their beds.  So eventually they got used to us.  We still have a long ways to go, but this is their forever home.  The SPCA checks in with us from time to time to see how it’s going.  Apparently a few of the other cats that were adopted were returned because of their wildness.  People want cuddly cats but aren’t willing to take the time to show them that they are safe and loved.  Our cat now have the whole house to explore.  We can pet them and play with them now and they don’t run away from us.  I don’t know if they’ll ever be cuddly lap cats but they’ve come a very long ways and they’re learning.  And so are we.

Recovering and Feeling Great!

I’ve been more than a little lax in writing.    Which is pretty much normal for me!

I hadn’t been feeling well for a while.  Mostly abdominal pain and a few other assorted things.  I finally went to the doctor in early March and after blood testing and ultrasounds discovered a 5 inch “mass” of some sort on my right ovary.   Specialist believed it to be what is called an endometrioma which is a benign tumor or cyst on the ovary caused by a condition called endometriosis which I have a history of.    Long story short, I had surgery to have it removed two weeks ago and was diagnosed with stage IV endometriosis.

I feel good.  Great even!  I haven’t felt this good in a very long time.  I’m still slightly sore from surgery but it seems sore in a good way, like there will be a payoff at the end of it.  And I’m definitely feeling a difference now that the cyst  is gone.  I don’t feel it when I move, bend to put on my socks, etc.  This is a good thing.

There was one medication that was prescribed for me to start taking that I am reluctant to start. It’s called Visanne and it fairly newly available here in Canada to treat pain and adhesions associated with Stage IV endometriosis.   Reviews online are largely encouraging but there is one side effect that is nagging at me.  It has an increased risk of blood clots and cardiovascular problems.  I just had surgery and they are telling me I’m at a high risk for blood clots right now, so I don’t want to compound it.  It’s also a mental thing because when my father had his quad bypass back in 2002 it was two weeks later that he developed a clot that caused a stroke.  So I have this voice in my head that is telling me to wait two weeks and then it will be safe.  It’s probably unreasonable, but there you have it.

I’ve been a bit pampered over the past two weeks.  My sisters (I have 4) had a lovely “Get Well Soon” flower arrangement delivered to me!  Isn’t it pretty?  Such a nice surprise!

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Shortly before my hospitalization, my hubby picked up a beautiful Get Well Soon basket that my Beta Sigma Phi sorority sisters put together to make my recovery a bit more “fun”.  It’s filled with my favourite snacks, teas and lots of magazines to read while I’m supposed to be “taking it easy” *snort*.

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There are some nice bath and skin products (which I’m so looking forward to being able to use when I’m cleared to take baths again!) and chocolate and wine.  Seriously…how can a girl go wrong when she has gossip magazines, chocolate AND wine???  Wine,  people.   I’ll be getting better pretty quick  just so I can have some.  These sorority gals know all.

Last but not least, and very touching,  the doorbell rang a couple of nights after my surgery and it was one of my sorority sisters at the door with not one, but three(!) hot entrée dinners large enough to feed all four of us for 3 nights!  Honey Curry Chicken with Rice, Tortellini with tomato sauce and garlic bread, and BBQ chicken with mashed potatoes.  Now, my hubby can cook probably as well as I can and the boys are passable cooks so we would have managed with me out of commission…but it was so very nice to not have to worry about it in between medications and soreness and all the other activities going on around here.    I’m so blessed and thankful for my family, sisters and sorority sisters.

I went back to work for a couple of hours at a time this past week.  It felt good.    And I even tried my hand at driving yesterday and handled that OK, which is good considering real estate involves a lot of driving at times.

I feel great and looking forward to getting back on the saddle!

Home Sweet Home

Well, I’m home.   Missing a few body parts but the rest of me feels good.

They opened me up and took off a large endometrioma (type of cyst) off of my right ovary.  Apparently as soon as they touched it, it ruptured.  Good thing I was already under the knife when that happened instead of walking around town somewhere or driving clients around to houses.

So they took all that out and ended up taking my right ovary and tube as well.   And since my appendix was stuck to my ovary they ended up taking my appendix out too.  Another organ I don’t have to worry about.   They also had to call in another specialist mid surgery and repair one of my ureters as the mass had wrapped itself around it.

I was diagnosed with Stage IV endometriosis.  Apparently there are adhesions all over my abdomen and some they cleaned up and some they couldn’t.   I’d hoped they’d do a hysterectomy to get rid of the endometriosis reoccuring however my uterus was apparently stuck to my bowel and my bladder so it was safer to leave it in and consider drug therapy to deal with the pain and adhesions caused by the endometriosis.  Some drug called Visanne.  My pharmacist hadn’t even heard of it when I went in to get the prescription filled so he has to order it in.   It will mimic a menopause (slow down and stop my periods perhaps) without actually putting me into menopause, which is good.  I guess I’ll take it until I go into natural menopause and then stop, as menopause will put a natural end to the endometriosis.  So I’m 46 now, so maybe I take it for a few years and then stop.

Hope it works.  I’m so done with the pain every day.

So I’m home, got here a couple hours ago.  Long enough to piss my hubby off by starting in on some housework while I’m supposed to be taking it easy.  For 6 weeks!!  Not bloodly likely can I sit back and let myself be waited on for 6 weeks.  Anyway, I set him off because I picked up a dishrag and started wiping down the counters.  Or maybe it was emptying the dishwasher. Anyway, I promptly found myself manhandled into bed with a plate of lunch, a stack of magazines and my laptop.

Maybe I can get used to this.

Donna Laprade Earns CNE® Designation

Donna Laprade Receives New “Certified Negotiation Expert (CNE®)” Designation

Professional negotiation skills are a must for all real estate agents helping home buyers and sellers, especially in the current market

Donna Laprade has been awarded the Certified Negotiation Expert (CNE®) designation by the Real Estate Negotiation Institute (RENI). The CNE® is earned by real estate professionals after successfully completing formal negotiation training from the Real Estate Negotiation Institute. Agents who receive this certification are among the top agents in the country in negotiation skills.

With professional negotiation skills, agents are able to help clients obtain better results in the sale or purchase of their home. CNE® agents have a higher skill level which enables them to 1) communicate more effectively to uncover desired information, 2) help clients understand their options, 3) work collaboratively with others, and 4) resolve deadlocks. CNE® agents have a thorough understanding of how to negotiate effectively to help achieve their client’s goals.

The Real Estate Negotiation Institute is the leading negotiation training and coaching company in the real estate industry. Tom Hayman, the CEO and Co-Founder of the Real Estate Negotiation Institute, is a professional negotiator with 35+ years of negotiation experience, including 25 years with The Procter and Gamble Company (Fortune 50 company). Hayman asserts “Any Buyer or Seller who hires a CNE® agent can feel confident they have one of the best trained negotiators in real estate. They should achieve superior results and have better resolution of all issues when represented by a CNE® agent.”

“Not only was I excited about the opportunity to gain new negotiation skills and sharpen the ones that I already have,  I felt that it was in my clients’ best interests for me to have the negotiation training necessary to ensure that when I am representing them in one of the biggest transactions of their lives they are getting the best possible outcome. It’s a WIN-WIN and I’m proud to be able to offer this higher skill level to my clients in the future.”

Donna has been working in the real estate industry for 23 years, and as a REALTOR® for 12 years with People Realty Advantage in the Halifax Regional Municipality.

For more information visit http://www.theRENI.com or contact Donna at donna@donnalaprade.com or at (902) 225-3848.

Some Pretty Cool Man Cave Ideas

The “Man Cave”.  Besides a garage it is the one feature about a house that men get excited about during home searches. They lust after them.   Its the one room in the house that women will never truly “get”.  It’s generally accepted that the males have the ultimate say over it’s contents, what gets hung on the walls, etc without any interference from women.  

A “Man Cave” is a room in the house, where a man can get away from the pressures of daily life. It is his personal refuge full of his favorite things.  Man Caves come in all shapes, sizes and themes but one thing they all have in common is testosterone.

The “Man Cave” is no longer an elusive dream. According to a recent survey by Servicemagic.com, 40% of homeowners say that their home already has a man cave of some sort.  It can be anything from a man’s home office to a full out themed rec room for hanging out with the guys.

So what goes into the typical Man Cave?
Flat screen TV (75%)
Recliner (69%)
Stereo (68%)
Refrigerator (67%)
DVD player (67%)
Computer (65%)
Bar (64%)

As you can see nearly all man caves are alike when it comes to what is in them, TV’s, Surround Sounds, Refrigerators and bars.  So how can you set your Man Cave apart from the rest?  The theme.  Below are 10 man cave themes I’ve came across, hopefully these themes will give you some inspiration.

10 Man Cave Themes…well 11 if I want to do this properly. 

#10

This man cave is home to a serious golf fan. The cave features a putting green, two flat screen televisions, golf club storage, and plenty of PGA related memorabilia. There is also a rollup garage door entry way, and full wall poster of a gorgeous costal golf course. This man cave looks like a comfortable place to hang out, watch a game and practice your putting skills. Good thing it’s a man cave ’cause I’d have a wayward ball through one of those flatscreens before you could blink.

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Instead of creating your typical game room, the owner of this home wanted something that could display wild game. To keep things cool and lit properly, the house has 39 Crestron control interfaces—35 of which are wall-mounted. The media room features a 116-inch screen, a VX-2000d CW DLP projector, a loudspeaker system and Halcro processing and amplification.
#8.  Notice the wood beam detail on the ceiling.  By Contrast, various racks and stuffed critter trophies are a bit of a redneck bonus!
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If you are into pool, and have enough room available in your man cave, considering adding a pool table and custom entertainment center. We had a pool table in the rec room of the house I grew up in and it was always a fun way to pass the time.

#7

If you are a musician, you can try a slightly different take on the man cave. The back corner of this basement was completely sound proofed so the cave owner can jam as loud as he wants without disturbing the rest of his family.  I’d love to know if this actually works.

#6

Dual red-felt game tables are the center attraction in Vegas-themed cave. A granite bar, slot machine and leather furniture complete the setting. It’s just missing the showgirls… and the gangstas.

#5

You’ll likely need a little extra space for this idea. But if you enjoy basketball and want to shoot some hoops during commercial breaks, consider installing a basketball hoop and some hard wood floors.

#4

If you dig motorcycles you may want to convert your man cave or garage into this unique design. I’m not a motorcycle fan but I could hang out here, even though I’m not a dude.

#3

Do you want to give your basement the feel of an old-world brewery. Check out these walls and archway. Chuck a couple of oak barrels and a keg or two in there and you’re all set.

#2

The bat cave! This man cave might be out of most enthusiasts budget, but its worth looking at anyway. Even if you don’t have the money this guy had to sink in to it, you can still draw inspiration.  I don’t know… I know I’m the wrong gender but this just seems claustrophobic to me.

#1

Death Star themed man cave… what more needs to be said?  My boys would have loved something like this…ah well boys, maybe in your own homes one day.

And because this is Canada afterall…

#11

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What would this post be without a few ideas for hockey themed man caves?  I love the ice rink floor and hockey puck ottomans (should it be called an ottoman in a man cave or a stool?) of the first example.  The second themed man cave comes complete with hockey net inspired seating, flat screen jumbotron viewer and a zamboni beer fridge.  Is that cool or what?

What do you think of these man cave ideas? Let me know in the comments below, and give me any ideas you have.

Christmas 2013

Let’s dust off this thing….

I’ve spent the last few months thinking about my career and in which direction I want to go to get to the goals I’ve set for 2014.  I’ve come to a point in my career where change is inevitable in order to take the next step.  Believe me, they aren’t kidding when they say that the first step is the hardest.  There have been a lot of questions, a lot of discussions and stress…. and I’m finally ready to move forward even though it will be difficult after 15 years of ‘status quo’.  Big changes coming in the next little while for me.  I’m excited.  Very excited.  And more than a little nervous.   Stay tuned…

Christmas has come and gone for another year.  Wow, how 2013 flew by!   I know they say time goes by faster when you get older but this is ridiculous.

I got more into the Christmas spirit this year than in recent years which was wonderful!  I got a little bit of baking done, and I actually enjoyed Christmas shopping this year which is a pleasant change.  I think it’s because I ordered most of the “bigger things” online and had them delivered instead of traipsing around a mall.   Because we all know (as my niece says) that during the Christmas season they may call it a mall and it looks all innocent and “mall-ish” from the outside but inside??  Well, inside it’s a scene straight out of the Hunger Games arena.  Not many people I know have the patience for that, myself included.

Picked up my oldest son from university after his last final exam on the 13th.   It was nice to have the boy home.  I was able to get the tree up and the house decorated a bit before he came home, which was nice.  I love sitting in the mornings (and evenings, but mornings especially) sipping a coffee and waking up to the glow of the Christmas tree lights.

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This year, for some reason we have this straggler of a tomato plant that just won’t die.  We’ve moved it inside and it has taken up residence in our living room in front of the window.  I jokingly decided to hang a few ornaments on it as well.

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This year we bundled up all the presents and headed to Shelburne to spend the holidays with the folks.   We didn’t get to stay until New Years like we usually do as our youngest had a volunteer shift at Hope for Wildlife over the holidays.

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Blurry picture of my parents’ Christmas tree!  And Santa hadn’t even arrived yet!

My sister’s boyfriend arrived one evening with a gift of lobster!  Yum!  We spent a while the next day shelling all the lobster to use the meat in lobster sandwiches/rolls.  Oh gosh they were good!

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The parental units shelling lobsters. We filled that plastic bowl with lobster meat.  It was enough to feed us lunches the whole time we were down there.  🙂

So Santa arrived and spoiled us all.    Hubby and I decided to treat each other to an upgrade on our TV.   A 60 inch 3D, smart TV by Sharp.   We ordered it as part of the Boxing Day sales online and can’t wait for it to arrive. 10244680_2

The one that we have now is about a dozen years old, and while it works just fine, it’s huge and cumbersome. Not to mention, when the boys get gaming on the XBox or have friends over, we lose our TV for the duration.  Most times that’s fine…sometimes it’s a bit inconvenient.  So, this house has 5 bedrooms and only 3 people living in it regularly.  We are going to move the big TV to one of the downstairs bedrooms and convert it into a gaming room/hangout for the boys.  Best of all, no more sharing the TV.  Score!

So, this is a bit of a weird gift… but my oldest has always been fascinated with swords, since he was little…a toddler really.  He never really grew out of it.  Lately, especially since he’s become a fan of Anime, he has started buying his own swords.  So for Christmas,  we got him one that he’s been wanting.

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It’s not super sharp, although it does have an edge to it.  Certainly no toy.   This one came with a nice gift case and display stand.  He was really happy with it.   Really, it was so much easier when they were kids and we could buy them Lego!

My youngest wanted a few video games (of course!)  and a watch that “you could see the gears working”.  This was my biggest challenge.  Most of the skeleton watches like that are waaayyyy out of my price range for anything approaching decent quality.  I finally settled on this:

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It’s a Swatch Irony Body and Soul.   Beautiful.  Reasonably priced.   No Swatch stores east of Toronto.  No online ordering  on the Swatch Canada website.   Grrrr… Anyway… I managed to find one for a great price with an American company and had them ship it up to me. With taxes, exchange and duty, it was still cheaper than what I could have bought it for on Amazon.ca.  My son LOVES it.  It’s such a great looking watch.

Although…as much as he loves his watch… it was this quirky gift from his Aunt that stole the show on Christmas morning….

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The hat is just about as goofy as the kid wearing it!

That’s all the news from me!  Like I said, lots of changes coming up soon, can’t wait to share it all with you!

Take care everyone!  See you in 2014!

Fried

Up before the sun again this morning.  This is turning into a habit!  Usually, I rather like it but this time it’s just because I can’t shut my brain down.  I know that sounds silly.

 

Had probably the toughest real estate closing of my 12 year career yesterday.   A week ago I met with my Buyers at the house and we identified some pretty major deficiencies still outstanding.  With a week until close and with assurances from the listing agent for the Seller that everything was being taken care of, my Buyers eagerly counted down the days until they could get the keys and move in.  Rightly so.  This is how it works when all the major players are actually checked in.

 

Well, It was apparent during our pre-close inspection Thursday evening that the builder had run into difficulties as every single outstanding deficiency was still outstanding and not complete.  It had been inspected for occupancy and was not given an occupancy permit.  This resulted in calls to my Buyers lawyer for guidance on what to do. We decided to send a list of deficiencies to the lawyer and to the listing agent that night and in the morning, close as scheduled and request a sizable holdback ($15,000).  The upgrades tacked on to the purchase price (over and above list price) alone that weren’t done totalled about $9,000.  Then there were many other little and not so little things that weren’t done that we added the extra money for.

 

Things went South pretty quickly yesterday.  Not only did the Builder not complete the house according to the terms of the contract, his lawyer felt a holdback of only a couple of thousand dollars was more appropriate.  Keep in mind that my Buyers paid over and above the list price of the house for agreed upon upgrades ( appliances,  electric heat pump, etc) that were not done, not to mention the other basic construction deficiences.  To say that my Buyers should only request a couple of thousand dollars to be held back to ensure the completion of these items by the builder was ridiculous.  My Buyers’ lawyer and the Builder’s lawyer went back and forth all day and finally settled on a more appropriate holdback amount.  My Buyers got the keys to their house at 4 PM after keeping their moving van on the side of the road all day at a pretty hefty hourly charge.  After a few tears, too much headache.   They had no place to go back to as the new Buyer of their condo was in the process of moving in.

 I was so glad that certain things were written into the contract along with quoted dollar amounts and that months ago I asked the listing agent to change the listing cut to reflect the updates and price with updates, it made our case with the deficiencies much stronger.   I had to step back and let the lawyer do his thing.  My Buyers were in good hands but I don’t like that I had to turn them over and then step back and watch this unfold from a distance and not interfere.  I’d warned them the night before that according to their lawyer this is what I had to do.  But warning them and then actually having them go through it are two different things.  All I could do is sit on the sidelines, make myself available for comments or questions and return each and every text or phone call as promptly as possible.

  I hated it.   And I felt helpless.   And I felt so bad for my Buyers that they were going through this.  And I felt betrayed by the Builder and the listing agent.  And then I just felt mad.   Lots of things were not disclosed to me that should have been, both concerning the status of the listing agents themselves and concerning the deficiencies and the situation in general.  Had certain things been disclosed weeks ago my Buyers would have had more options, such as extending the closing dates of both this house and of their condo, or even walking away and finding a new home.  This mess on closing day could have been avoided with proper disclosure.  I feel that they took away my clients right to choose and that just does not sit well with me.

 So I was on pins and needles most of the day yesterday and then in the evening and through most of the night I’ve been replaying everything in my head.  I can’t shut it down.  I’m mentally tired and just need today to chill out and regroup and figure out what I can do in the future, if anything, to ensure this never happens to another one of my Buyers.  I am so thankful to their Lawyer and his paralegal,  and to my broker for all their guidance and help.

 I will not name names but I will do my best to avoid working with this Builder and these two agents in the future. And that upsets me as well….we as Realtors have to battle negative public perception all the time.  No wonder the public feels as they do.  I am discouraged.   And yet it makes me all the more determined to just do the best job that I can for my clients and protect them the best that I can and just be there for them as much as I can.

And you can help too… it’s so important, as consumers, to speak up through and to the proper channels when things aren’t right.  Feedback is how we improve, grow and fix what’s wrong.  On the other hand, when you encounter a product, service or professional that blew your socks off (or even just did a great job) let others know.  Word of mouth testimonials from friends and family carry so much more weight than any other form of advertising or marketing out there.

Ramblings, Saturday October 12, 2013

Ah…an early morning and a steaming hot cup of coffee.  Pure joy.  I actually slept in a bit this morning, if you count getting up at 7 sleeping in.   So I’ve been rambling around the house for a bit, got some laundry on, coffee made…watched the sun come up.  And now the bluejays are fighting each other at the feeder outside my window.

I’ve played around a bit more with that new database/customer relationship manager program that I downloaded.  It’s called RealtyJuggler.  I currently use Top Producer with my team but I needed to get a program of my own and I wanted to compare the features of both before I made up my mind.   Top Producer has more bells and whistles.  To be honest it has so many that it’s a bit overwhelming and I just don’t need them all.  It’s also not as user friendly.  Putting in reminders for a client’s birthday, anniversary, house purchase anniversary and other special dates is rocket science compared to how easy it is to do on RealtyJuggler.   However, RealtyJuggler has two major drawbacks for me.  It just doesn’t look as good.  I know that sounds odd…but when I sign in to Top Producer the page I land on is a dashboard that shows all my important business at a glance.

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As you can see (or maybe not) by the screenshots I land on a dashboard page that shows my “to-do’s” for the day, my listings, my closings, and my prospects and a contact list all on the main page.

By contrast when I sign into RealtyJuggler, I see this:

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So, I can get to the information but it’s buried a bit in comparison to Top Producer.   I know, it’s a little thing but it is a bit of a time saver to have it all there laid out for you at a glance.

The other major advantage Top Producer has over RealtyJuggler for me is the ability to input my income and expenses and have it print out reports.  I use that a lot at income tax time and for calculating my quarterly HST payments.   To be fair, I haven’t played around with that function in RealtyJuggler but at first glance it does not seem as comprehensive as Top Producer does in what it can do tracking income and expenses.   So the jury is out on that right now.

However,  RealtyJuggler is so much more user-friendly.  Entering clients and contacts and their information is a breeze compared to Top Producer.  I can enter showings on listings and have the program automatically send Thank you emails to the showing agents with a form to complete and submit online requesting feedback.

I think what it comes down to for me will be the money right now.  Top Producer is approx $500 a year.  RealtyJuggler is $99 a year.  I just have to decide whether having all my info at a glance and financial reporting is worth the extra $400 a year.  Or I may take the time to seek out an alternative financial program and learn that.  No biggie.

A small group of REALTORS from my office got together last week and went over things in our own personal businesses that we’d like to improve on or have been procrastinating on or need to do.  It’s just a little “support” group, for lack of a better name, designed to encourage each other and bounce ideas off of each other and to hold each other accountable.  My thing that I wanted to get done before the next meeting was to get my client database provider figured out so I’m well on the way for that.   In fact that was pretty much the goal for all of us, so it will be interesting to see how the other agents did with deciding what program they want to use.   There is one agent, a woman long-established in the real estate industry, who  has all of her clients on index cards in a little box.  And that has worked perfectly fine for her.  I think it’s just about getting your own system down and sticking with it, be it recipe cards in a box or a big brand name software program with all the bells and whistles.

On the home front, today my 17 year old son, Ben, starts his first day volunteering with Hope for Wildlife.  He’s so excited and I’m excited for him.  I dropped him off this morning bright and early.  I hope he has a great time and takes some pictures of the critters.

Matthew came home from university yesterday for the Thanksgiving weekend and we took him out to dinner last night.  It’s good to have him home again.  I’m lucky he chose to go to university so close to home that I can see him so often.

After dinner we went to do a bit of grocery shopping.   I needed the fixin’s for Thanksgiving dinner so we arrived home with a turkey and pies and the works.  I’ve invited one of my sisters over for dinner but I don’t know if she’ll be coming, she’s so busy at work…which for her is a good thing.     Regardless, I’m looking forward to the day and the dinner and spending time at home with the family.

 

Saturday October 5, 2013

Another early morning.  I’d love to be able to sleep in.  However, as long as I’m up I’m trying to make better use of my time and channel some of it towards back-end stuff with my real estate business.  Unfortunately this morning all I’ve been able to muster up so far is a hot pot of coffee and a little bit of Facebook time.   I did acquire a new contact manager program yesterday though that I want to play around with a bit more.  It is called Realty Juggler.  Up until now I’ve used Top Producer but have been looking around at other options.  If any of my readers have had experience with either, comment and let me know your thoughts.

Wow, is it ever getting crisp outside in the morning.  As nice as the weather has been for this time of year, Fall is definitely in the air.  It seems like a week ago I was wondering when the leaves on the maples on my property would start to shine their reds and oranges…and I looked out yesterday and there they were, like they’d changed overnight.  Now, we both know that’s not how it happens but there you have it.

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There are still the odd strangler of the flower variety (aka Weed) left but I imagine they will soon be giving up the ghost as well.

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We have this bird feeder that is suctioned to the outside of our living room window.  We fill it daily and our regular visitors seem to be of the Blue Jay variety.  They aren’t neat eaters, putting it mildly.  They’ll sit at the feeder and take big swipes at the pile of seed looking for “the one” good enough to eat.  They seem to think it’s a game to shove the rest of the seeds out onto the ground.  It’s frustrating as we never intended to feed the Blue Jay population but they seem to have bullied all the rest of the birds away.  Not sure what to do about that.    The one perk of the Blue Jay’s bad table manners is that we seem to have attracted a few pheasants who are more than happy to help themselves to the table scraps.

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I think it’s funny that he keeps looking up at the living room window to see if he’s being watched when all the while I’m downstairs at one of the basement windows snapping away.

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We have a few flocks of pheasants around the neighbourhood.  They make the rounds, probably other neighbours are feeding them as well.  We’ve seen many babies.  This year there seemed to be a bumper crop and we thought for sure most of them were female however over the past couple of weeks the males have been starting to show their colours.  I think they are gorgeous.

On the family front, I was able to see Matt a couple of times this week which was nice.  I’ll take it.   I’m glad he chose to go to university in Halifax instead of further away.  It’s looking likely that Ben is leaning towards Saint Mary’s next year as well, but it’s early yet and time will tell.  The universities are just starting their open houses and Ben is showing more of an interest in his future schooling so I’m hoping he will want to attend a few of the open houses.

Speaking of Ben, he is going to start volunteering with Hope for Wildlife.  For my readers outside of the Halifax area, Hope for Wildlife is a wildlife rescue center in Seaforth just outside of the City.  They take in sick, orphaned or injured wildlife of all types and nurse them back to health and otherwise care for them until they are well enough to be released.  If it sounds familiar to you, yes they are the same Hope for Wildlife featured on the TV series.  Anyway, he applied as a volunteer for credit in his high school Leadership course.  He finally got a call back earlier this week from them and he is to go in next week to start training and to take a bit of a tour.  They think that since he’s a high school student that they probably won’t train him on the animal care but I think he’ll be happy just being there and being able to see the animals, even if he is just cleaning up or helping with tours and birthday parties.  He has such a soft spot for animals and critters.  He pretends to be all gruff but he’s a pretty caring guy.  I thought that he’d make a great nurse or a vet but those don’t seem to be career options that interest him.  Maybe having this exposure to wild animals at Hope for Wildlife will light that spark I see inside of him.

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