Party time!

As I get older, it is easier to find more reason to host a party. Now, I am not talking your cheesy house party you throw when your parents are on vacation… I mean the kind of party MTV would air on an episode of ‘My Super Sweet Sixteen‘. As an avid party planner, the joys of deciding on a theme, organization, decoration and execution are always on my mind when a special event is brought up. Whether it be a birthday, holiday season, or an achievement. If the interest for a party is there, my creative brain is rolling through ideas.

Photo by Pineapple Supply Co. from Pexels

First thing I recommend is to pick a theme! (And yes, there should always be a theme). Whether it be Tiki on a birthday, or Gatsby on New Years Eve; having a theme gets guests excited to attend. This also helps with future planning for decorations and organization. This way, creating photo walls, picking music, and allowing guests to dress accordingly will be more fun and a more unique event!

After your theme has been chosen, it is now officially party planning time! After you make a list of the guests, you can start working on your invitation! It is easiest to make it online, or create one from scratch to take a photo of, and send it out! With the theme in mind, Pinterest is full of ideas for all themed party ideas, including the invitation!

Photo Via Personal Library

Like the invitations above, making sure all the information is clear. Time, day, location, and any tips for the guests upon arrival! Using bold fonts, colour to fit the theme, and stickers! This will keep the theme in everyones mind, and help remind people of the details for the party! (Using Avery for invitation creation is the most efficient!)

We have our theme and the invitation has been sent out! It is now time to pick a location! Keeping in mind the weather, amount of guests, and activities you will be doing! If it is a sunny day, try hosting a backyard BBQ! Picking a location before decoration shopping is very important because it will help with where you will hang certain items, and where to put food and tables! Again, using Pinterest is an easy way to find ideas to fit your theme.

To find the basics supplies like streamers, poster paper, paint, etc. I like to look in WalMart and the Dollar Store. Cheaper prices, with just as good product. For the ‘real deal’ products, specifically theme based, I go to Party City. At Party City they have every colour imaginable. Any theme you are thinking, they will have costumes, cups, plates, napkins, piñata’s, etc! The price is higher than other stores, but you get exactly what you’re looking for! A good example from a Tiki party I hosted; many people upon arriving aren’t sure how ‘all out’ others will be, so they dress down. At my Tiki party, I made sure there were enough lei’s for everyone. That way, they felt included in the theme, without having to wear anything specific.

Photo by bruce mars from Pexels

Based on your guests and the time of the party, make a grocery list! No one will be expecting a buffet, but having party favourites like chips & dip, veggie/fruit trays, and candy will be an added bonus. It is always a hit, no matter how simple it may be. I recommend using nice trays that go along with your party theme, to add to the experience. Picking paper plates and napkins that fit in, and choosing a quick & easy cocktail to make for your guests to try. I like to put mine in an infuser drink dispenser. Picking a simple drink with few ingredients will be completely unexpected but will make guests feel welcomed and excited to attend future events.

Lastly, it is music time! This is something people will often look past or forget, but for themed parties it is such a bonus add-on that brings the mood up! Having a party specific playlist with crowd hits, and theme fitting songs is easy, quick, and you can do this during down time. Remembering, not to make it too obscure. People still want to hear their favourite hit songs. Simply googling songs to help you, and making a repetitive playlist on your music app!

Photo Via Personal Library

It is officially party set up time! Everything has been purchased, and you are ready for decorating! I hope my party planning tips help you for your next exciting event! Good luck! Were these tips helpful for an event you’re planning? I would also love to hear more tips that you have for my own future planning!

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Something About Me

My name is Junzhuo Li. Four years ago, I moved from Beijing to New York State and spent my college time at the State University of New York. This summer, I moved to Toronto to start my first job after graduation. In fact, I used to study Finance at college, but when I started a new job, I found that social media is very powerful, so I come to this course and hope to learn something new.

I love animals, I have one yellow Labrador Retriever and one cat . They have spent a lot of hard and happy times with me, I love them so much.

For The Love Of Home Décor

Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels

Home decorating has always been a love and passion of mine ever since I can remember. I have an eye for re-creating and re-vamping blank spaces into something beautiful, authentic and homey, all while staying under a realistic and affordable budget. My appetite for design definitely stems from my mother, who use to countlessly play HGTV’s Fixer Upper with Joanna and Chip Gaines over and over again, talking about how she would re-do a space, or make it her own, and that is where my love for home décor began. Not only is decorating fun, exciting and challenging at times, it is also a creative outlet and expression of who I am, and what my overall taste, vibe and feel is. Now that you have a feel and understanding as to what my blog entails, an introduction is most definitely in order.

For those of you who are new to my blog, my name is Kira Alexandra; I prefer to go by the name Kay which is what my friends and family call me. I am 29 years of age, and live with my boyfriend Brenden, and our two beautiful dogs, Finley and Rosie, in Uxbridge Ontario. Currently, I work from home managing an Instagram page and the communicative aspect of my families’ upcoming rental vacation property in Exuma, Bahamas, as well as am in school for my social media certificate, and finishing my Bachelor’s Degree at Ryerson University for Child and Youth Care. I like to take on more than I can handle at times because I thrive off of pressure and deadlines. I have a passion for home décor, as I’m sure you already know from this blog, animals, and writing. I am an open book, so feel free to ask any questions that you may have, and I will be happy to answer them in the comments section.

This photo is me and my two pups, Finley and Rosie

Now, back to the importance of my blog, For The Love Of Home Décor. This blog is a reflection of who I am, my passion for home décor and design, and my love and inspiration for all things home décor. I find myself constantly re-arranging spaces in my home in my head, and how I can change up what I already have in the space to make it different, as it draws out my creative side, and allows me to be inventive and artistic. 

Home Décor is an avenue I hope to explore further as I finish up my schooling, as I would eventually like to make a career out of this. I would love to know if any of you have a passion for home décor like myself, and what your favourite styles are. Be sure to comment in the comments section and subscribe to my blog if you would like to read more! 

My Community, My Health

Inspiring change and sharing ideas to make places healthier to live, work and play in KFL&A

Photo by Marcelo Cidrack on Unsplash

Kingston, Frontenac, and Lennox & Addington (KFL&A) Public Health is a key part of the health system.  Our goal is to promote and protect the health of the more than 190,000 residents of the KFL&A area. Public Health staff (i.e., doctors, nurses, health inspectors, dietitians, and many more) work in a variety of places from schools, workplaces to immunization clinics; with families and newborns to support their needs; they inspect restaurants, swimming pools, tattoo shops, hair and nail salons, and spas. In addition, staff work along side politicians and decision makers to create bylaws and policies that lead to healthier communities.

My Community, My Health will capture honest, unbiased, and science-based advice from staff at KFL&A Public Health. Their stories will appeal to KFL&A residents of various ages and stages of life, educators, employers, municipal leaders, and many more that want to learn about the latest news in public health to inspire change and sharing of ideas to make healthier communities that give everyone the opportunity to thrive and live life to the fullest. 

Stories will feature information on healthy communities that have been planned and built well to support the physical, mental and social health of its residents. Some health topics will include: access to healthy foods (e.g., community gardens, food policy); physical activity and safe places to commute by walking and cycling; preventing injuries and promoting public safety; sun safety and access to shade; and environmental health (e.g., clean water, fluoridated community water supply, etc.).

Please subscribe to learn more about public health and healthy communities in KFL&A. We hope you enjoy My Community, My Health blog. For more information on any of the blog topics, visit the agency’s website at

I need a backyard fence – where do I start?

  • What is the main purpose of the fence?
  • Is it for your children?
  • Is it for protection, privacy, beauty?
  • How long do you plan on living where you are now?
  • Is it for a swimming pool or hot tub?
  • Do you simply want to keep your dog in the yard?
  • Is it simply to define a boundary between you and your neighbours?
  • Does my neighbourhood have by-law restrictions?

These are only a few of the many questions you may have before making a final decision.


In a time where fencing material comes in several forms, sizes and price points, there are bound to be questions about it. Frequently asked questions about fences, fencing material and the processes involved in the fence design and construction are answered here by the experts at Ideal Fence. PVC/Vinyl, wood, iron, chain link fencing, what to consider, how to hire a professional at Ideal Fence.

pvc - vinyl (3)

Dark Brown PVC w/topper

aluminum fence - commercial gate

Elegant residential gate

aluminum fence - cedar (8)

Cedar horizontal boards

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be exploring different blogging techniques in an effort to improve the brand of our fence installation company. I’ll be including pictures of product, buying tips, pitfalls to avoid, and other information related to the industry of residential fencing. I look forward to receiving feedback and answering questions.

They’re at the P.O.S.T., They’re Off; The Horse Race of Social Media Strategy

Horse running down track ridden by jockey. On left arm of jockey is the thumb up Facebook symbol. The jockey is wearing a white outfit with a green helmet.

Its Facebook by a nose! edited

Password is: DASMSCOM0012


Get On The Saddle

The imperative for success demands an alliterative handle of patience and persistence. This blog lends its support to the interactive nature of comments and observation, as well as input and continual updates from this site. Therein lies the participation and questions from the well experienced to the green tinted novice. Its never too late to take brilliant advice, nor to pour over the basics for a reiteration of the wisdom that may have escaped our minds. Giddy-up Social Media is there to help.

It is a horse race. Its about practice and breaking old habits, then using newer ideas being all aware of any imminent changes. Just don’t use the whip. It is a strategy of input and support used to garner this brand to use the essential ingredient through recurrent accomplishment named encouragement. Here we will encourage pride and achievement to dwarf ego and boast. Support those frustrated and curate individual solutions.  Easier said than done? Giddy up!


Brownh horse with white patch on forehead in pen in a stable. Horse is looking straight at camera with head over a rail.

Can I help you?










Stable Personalities

Let us introduce the our comments arena otherwise known as the stable. The generous nature of our commenters shall not go unread. We shall corral them into communities and utilize their nature, categorically, which shall go beyond the communities established in more traditional websites and blogs. Giddy-up creates a relationship between a problem, the answer, and the contributor. Dedicated contributors are approached often to ask to volunteer for online workshops and as forum moderators at Giddy-up and help us in the stable. Well, not using brooms nor shovels. More to help us smooth the race track for others, and look for newer trends, we call hay.

Two large hay bales appear on hay cut field. Smaller bales appear randomly. The bales appear as a typical straw colour of yellowish, brownish hue. Blue sky in background littered with grey and white cloud cover.

Rolling Along.



Making Hay

A major task assigned to those participating in social media realms is to keep an eye on newer methods, innovative brands and progressive social media strategy to maintain our lead on the learning curve. Here we make hay to stay ahead and innovate where possible. Continuing assessment of our analytics is crucial to existing strategy and optimum effectiveness yet any tweak or newer product may fill that niche we require.

The Making Hay category will, of course, be a primary section of our subscription newsletter. The call to action to integrate the nuances researched, found or discovered will be foremost for our community to test and reflect their respective use. Social media are always endeavouring to upgrade the use and application of what already exists. Examples of video length has gone a long way to assist clients and users disseminate information, and allows spectators and views to better “chunk” the materials available in the learning process. I may prefer to pitch “bales” (sic) of related information to facilitate the education of others.

white horse with braided mane and red bow next to its ear ties to reign. Floral arrangement appears on horse's back just ahead of saddle. Campanion horse appears next to horse. Some people in background. Snow appears to be falling.

Thank you. Thank you.


Once Around the Paddock

For the prized stallions, mares, yearlings, geldings and everything above and beyond, the Paddock will be the stage for the best suggestions and/or research for the week. The flourishing of splendid and dazzling ideas and nuances will be highlighted that adds to our repertoire for salient features that makes everyone’s social media life easier.

Again, this focal point of voluntary research and participation adds to a core value of Giddy-up; encouragement. Such recognition of our clients and participants adds to the nature of our brand and our motivation. Passing on such core beliefs and the inherent values within, collectively we can only generate an aura of congeniality and support as well as some enthusiasm to see others succeed in getting around in the digital world.

The Paddock lends itself to the credibility of peers and offsets some of the discouraging overly competitive values  that can discourage such dynamism. Bringing others into this digital realm is paramount in reducing arising generational gaps that may occur with the advent of such technology. We’ve established a program to draw the generations together in a companion program in a peer to peer setting, with one peer in a given educational mode.


Two horses, one a campanion pony or a friend of the other horse, a racing thoroughbred horse. The racing horse has a red and white number one displayed under his saddle draping the side of the horse. That jockey is dressed in blue with a blue helmet. The companion horse rider wears a black baseball cap and an orange short sleeved shirt.

Hey Pal.




Companion Pony

Companion ponies are the best of pals with thoroughbred racing horses and are used to bring calm into a pre-race environment. Often, one will see this in a televised horse race where there are particularly big stakes and purses at hand. Money, that is, not necessarily an over the shoulder accessory. In the same manner and disposition the Companion Pony program puts a knowledgeable social media practitioner together with, in this case, older student to learn the crags, rocky ledges and summits of this mountainous knowledge of the digital world.

Such a “buddy up” program of similar ilk transpired in 2010 at the Peel Region Public Library system in Ontario. Seniors were coupled with high school students to learn some of the basics of computers and the internet. Weekly meetings were arranged in local libraries for periods of two hours and the students guided and taught seniors the machinations and intricacies of the computer world, and made the internet relevant to their lives.

The library system deemed it as successful, but as an observer the participating students were a bit quick, unclear on some definitions and procedures, and a bit inaudible for the group of seniors with whom they were engaged. As an observer, any appropriate training of the students as trainers, could have drastically reduced training barriers for a more effective learning environment. Nonetheless, all participants walked away with solid information and newer interpersonal perspectives.

The Companion Pony Program (CPP) seeks to bring a similar model together with less of a generational gap, and more of a patient and persistent approach. Consequently, the communication dynamics with the older participants program can contribute to the lexicon and vestiges of the digital world to which one’s family can relate.

The CPP is not restricted to just the generational mode, but can be applied as a tutoring system where any instructor-learner combination can apply. It is a different vernacular and the informational and linguistic function itself, is appreciative at any level. Herein lies the means to go beyond the traditional marketing strategy juxtaposed to the social media strategy as learners can identify newer levels of the flexibility of social media marketing.


Horse and jockey riding horse ahead of the post gate on race track. Jockey in green attire with black helmet.

A little ahead of themselves at the post.



The (Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities and Strengths) SWOT model is an exceptionally traditional way to determine one’s market for one’s product. Moreso, can be used at a variety of levels including definition of one’s organization through an organizational review. SWOT is a brilliant approach to many marketing strategy, however the POST ( People Objectives Strategies Technoligies) method assists in directly creating a social media strategy and has a focus on that technology that creates outcomes. Finding excellent niche markets, between major markets, and market segments will assist newer participants at Giddy-up Social Media to find a market by themselves, perhaps, but helps in working at a genuine level that will encourage their abilties and learning process through their involvement with social media.


Patrick Meagher is an online student at Algonquin College. Currently, he is enrolled in the Developing a Social Media Strategy course.


I can’t get WordPress to cooperate with themes. I can’t get WordPress to do the work instructed by handouts, nor it’s own HELP section. It does not produce the categories nor the sections attributed in any of the help, tutorials, nor handouts.



Let’s alll get involved.

See what students can produce.

Starting Over—A Different Path & A New Vision For The Future

The following blog details how I ended up reinventing and building myself from the ground up. I’m sharing only part of my story as it relates to my career path and a little bit about how my personal life got derailed and took my job with it. This blog is also about the realization that I could turn my love of travel into a work style that would allow me to enjoy life in a whole new way—one that I had never imagined before. Admittedly, life is so much more complicated than the following few paragraphs can relate, but I certainly hope you do at least. 😉

Who am I you may ask? Well, my name is Cheryl Redick and I enjoy making a difference by delivering solid results in all aspects of graphic design, marketing and office administration. The world of graphic design and marketing is always advancing and developing exciting new ways of communication. I enjoy applying my design/marketing communication skills to my knowledge of customer service, which also engages my skills in office administration.

Dream Big & Make It Happen 2018

After leaving my fiancé, our house, my garden and the design job I loved I found myself in, what can only be described as, no man’s land. My future was uncertain. I was doing temporary administrative jobs just to get by because the design job I had (when I was living with my fiancé) wasn’t giving me enough hours/money to make it on my own. Basically, I lost everything that I loved and brought me joy. The vision I had for my future and the security of my retirement was now uncertain and I had to start a new life, a new dream.  What came next was planning the rest of my honeymoon. The trip gained more detail and as I made decisions, about the places I would go and the places I would stay, it started to seem like less of a honeymoon and more like my own personal adventure. Europe is where I went to think about my new life and what it might look like moving forward.

It was a sunny day in August when the plane I sat in carried me across ‘the pond’ and landed in Dublin, Ireland. While in Ireland I went to a World Heritage Site called the Brú Na Bóinne and communed with 5,000-year-old fairies. It was here when the rest of the tour group continued on around the corner and I stood there by myself that I felt the presence of the people that walked there thousands of years before me and I saw a glimmer of the magic from the fairy mounds—as the locals referred to them. I felt something bigger than myself and I knew I would be okay. I picked a sprig of clover, pressed it between two cards in my wallet and turned the corner to rejoin the group of fellow tourists.

Bru Na Boinne, Ireland
Cheryl Redick 2017

My trip then took me to Germany and into the Swiss Alps of Switzerland, where I rode a type of zip-line called ‘The First Glider’ backwards up a mountain. I was terrified, screaming and swearing all the while feeling sorry for the people beside me listening to my cries. But, more importantly, as scared as I was I did it and on the way back down the mountain, hurtling at a record (80 km/hr) with the strong wind in my face, I laughed with joy. My trip ended in London, England where I was knocked back to reality because when I recalled the first time I’d been to London, England in my late 20’s and on my honeymoon with my now ex-husband—the parallels could not be ignored. The fact that I should have been there with my second husband on our honeymoon started to settle in, but instead (20 years later) I was alone, with no job or career to speak of, no money and no home with all my belongings packed away in a storage locker back in my hometown where my reality awaited me upon my return. Not exactly where/how my 28-year-old self, envisioned I’d be in life by middle age.

Swiss Alps, SwitzerlandCheryl Redick 2017

More than a year has passed and I’m still trying to ‘make it happen’ but as Elton John once said: “I’m still standing”. More importantly, I’ve had a chance to take stock and accept my reality and come up with a new plan, a different plan. I now have a new dream because ever since my Europe trip I have been hit by the travel bug and I’ve decided to incorporate my love of travel with my career. I’ve taken another look at self-employment and made that my new mission. I already have two clients and presumably, a third is coming aboard. The third client is good news of course, but it comes from the disappointment of not getting my ‘dream job’ working as a virtual real estate assistant (to clarify a virtual assistant means working from home). Instead, they offered me design/marketing piece work as it becomes available. This holds much promise and I plan on filling the spaces in between driving for Uber Eats. Uber Eats may not be remote work, but I’m still my own boss and eventually, I plan to have all my days filled working remotely doing interesting tasks from transcription to graphic design (including social media) and everything in between. The future holds much promise…

Has anyone else reinvented themselves? I’d love to hear your stories and I welcome any advice you may have as it relates to my new journey.

Cheryl Redick Blog Signature

My son just moved out and took me with him

Thrilled and devastated at the same time.

I’m thrilled because my son, who I had when I was 21 years old, was accepted into Waterloo University. He’s chosen to live at college so at the beginning of September we packed all his things and moved him into his tiny little dorm on campus.

When I say we, I mean I folded and fretted and packed way too much and agonized over what he wasn’t bringing with him.

His father moved him. I didn’t get to go for another two weeks. This was the agreed upon time that we had all decided was a safe margin for me to visit. And I admit fully that the both of them were right. I was definitely at risk of doing one of three things:

  1. Yelling at someone about their incompetence and therefor humiliating my 18 year old son in front of his new potential friends.
  2. Getting frustrated about something and making a big scene, and perhaps throwing something out a window and therefor humiliating my 18 year old son in front of his new potential friends
  3. Cry hysterically and beg him to come home, therefor humiliating my 18 year old son in front of his new potential friends.

Yes, one or all of these was an absolute certainty. I admit my fuse is short, and lit 12 months of the year. And truthfully I wasn’t sure how I was going to react when the time finally came. I’d never sent a child to college before. I’d never had one move out. I’d never been away from him for more than 5 days in his entire life, and even then he was with family.  We were young when we had him and I grew up while I was raising him, so we kind of became adults together in a lot of respects.

So I let his dad move him. I packed, I shopped, and ok, I cried a little, but he still wouldn’t cave and let me hold hands like we used to in the car when he was a toddler.

I’m thrilled, I’m proud. I am so happy that I’ve raised a smart, confident, driven man who is ready to be out on his own and take his place in the world. That’s my job. That’s always been my job. And he’s been a success on every level.

But I also feel like half of my personality went with him. There’s a strange empty space there that I can’t quite describe. It’s not good, it’s not bad, but it’s ultra-weird to be sure. It feels like I’m only half the person I was two months ago. Everyone tells me it will pass, but I’m not so sure.

Until then, I DO get to visit now, and I got to bring him all that stuff he insisted he didn’t need and then texted me for later. He keeps me updated on his classes and he’s making friends and loving his life. So although I’m a bit adrift, I am happy for him and hopeful that if I’m needed he will call.

But he still won’t hold hands.

How uncooperative concierges can cost you money when selling your condo

How uncooperative concierges can cost you money when selling your condo

The real estate market in Toronto is already tough to navigate and you want to protect every dollar. You’ve staged, you’ve got great photos, you have an amazing agent who is going to get you the best price possible for your move. And THEN… you come up against your concierge desk.

This is a topic that has been driving me INSANE for several years, and I’ve hesitated making waves because… well… making waves doesn’t make friends.
But today, I’ve decided that enough is enough. I am a professional who works hard and wants to do the best job I can for my clients. So why does it seem like condo buildings all over the city are trying their hardest to screw their own owners when they are trying to sell? The first rule in real estate is “Location Location Location”. The second rule is “if people can’t see it, they won’t buy it!”
With condo and management fees constantly on the rise, and ownership in Toronto becoming more and more expensive, you’d think your service would be constantly improving, but that fact is that it’s often the complete opposite. Condo management companies and their policies seem, instead, to be doing everything they can to complicate and frustrate listings and not for any particular reason that I can see. The end result is that YOU, the owners, are losing money when you sell.
Here’s how your condo is buggering up your listing and costing you BIG bucks.
To put it plainly, they are totally turning buyers off from your building. Think that it’s a hot market and you don’t have to worry? Whether it’s $1000 or $100,000, money is money. And you could have gotten more if your concierge desk wasn’t so committed to being difficult, and that’s the plain truth. Think it doesn’t matter? Take $100 out of your wallet right now, light it on fire, and throw it into the street. No? Because that’s crazy? That’s a measly hundred bucks and we’re talking about hundreds of thousands here.
Buyers go out on their home search excited, happy and hopeful. They are literally ASKING for the right place to come up so that they can throw their money at it. Talk about the fish jumping right into your boat and hitting themselves over the head. The faster you get an offer, the more money you will get for your home.
And then they come to your building and everything turns sour.
More showings equals more possibilities for a good solid sale, not to mention multiple offers in this city. If you restrict showings, you will get less traffic and therefor less offers, which results in less money. It’s kind of elementary. And making buyers and their agents feel welcome makes buyers feel like they are “home” and we all know that emotional attachment and a feeling of belonging is key when deciding where to live. There’s no faster way to tell a buyer to get stuffed than to have the concierge desk show you how much they don’t care if you live there.
1) The parking struggle: Time and again I see buyers and their agents getting frustrated when they can’t easily find access to some parking for their visit to the building. Showings in condos are usually quick. Each unit will get about 10 minutes of the buyer’s time, and they typically schedule several in the same location all at once, as long as they are similar in price point and size. I myself have just given up and driven away from properties because we just couldn’t manage to get in the parking lot! Most of the time I find that I drive away from properties that offer no parking at all for guests/realtors or there’s just no one managing that little damned buzzer and we have been idling at the underground door like morons for 10 minutes before we give up and move on. REALITY CHECK : This immediately tells buyers that they will have difficulty having guests. You want to make someone NOT want to live in your building? Tell them they won’t be having anyone over… EVER, because the concierge desk won’t let them in to park.
2) Deliveries are not welcome : With the rise of the mother-of-all delivery companies, Amazon, and other popular home delivery options like grocery and laundry service, the concierge is often expected to accept packages and deliveries on the behalf of the residents. More and more I am seeing concierge desks informing people that they will no longer be accepting packages for owners. It’s not that their reasoning isn’t sound. The boxes are big and bulky. They pile up. The concierge isn’t there to be a mail man. I get it. BUT… It’s a reality of our time that many of us, and more every day, are looking to convenience services to help make hectic urban lifestyles a little easier, and we NEED to be able to get deliveries to our homes! Full stop. I need to be able to order a pizza and have it be decently hot when it comes to me. I need to be able to get my urgently needed phone cords because my dog chewed up my last one and now my cell is dead. I want to be able to send a gift to my sister for my niece’s birthday because we live too far away to get together.
REALITY CHECK : When concierge desks refuse packages, or make a policy against receiving them for residents, you are negating a lot of the convenience that is the main impetus for buying a condo in the first place! With a purchase price of $600,000, I could live a worry free lifestyle in a condo and take advantage of all the convenient opportunities available in Toronto, OR I could buy myself a house in the burbs. Ok, so I might have to commute to work, but to be honest, going 5km in the city by car is like going 35km in the suburbs. Either way, you’re spending an hour behind the wheel or on the streetcar. If you can’t simplify the rest, then you might as well get a place with a yard, a grocery store around the corner, a pharmacy in the plaza by your drycleaner, and be able to get your goddamned Amazon packages without getting any shit about it from some snarky desk clerk who acts like your mail is an inconvenience in your own home. When I encounter buildings that are difficult with packages, I automatically know that it will be a completely unsuitable place for anyone under the age of 50, which is the largest buyer demographic in Toronto. Congratulations, you’ve just given a kiss off to 70% of the people who would consider buying your home.
3) No Open Houses – Seriously? Come on. The entire purpose of the concierge desk is to sign in all guests. Whether they are at the building for an open house from 2-4 on a Sunday or visiting Mom for Sunday dinner, is it really that hard or that much of an inconvenience to sign them in? Or ask them to leave their ID with you at the desk until they return? Obviously we take security seriously, but in my 13 years as a realtor I’ve never had ANYTHING go missing at an open house, nor any kind of security issue. Not only does the concierge sign people in, but agents also do so within the unit. It would be easy enough for the concierge desk to request that realtors keep a list of their visitors from open house and turn over a copy when the event is over for their files. Anything goes missing or gets set on fire? Easy. You look at the lists, and find that one dude that checked in to the desk, but didn’t register at the open house. That’s your guy. A little bit of common sense please. Still feel like it’s not enough? Ask sellers and their realtors to have a second person on hand for open houses to greet visitors in the lobby and escort them to the unit personally. I highly doubt that lady with the baby strapped to the front of her is going to ninja kick you and run screaming down the hall to use the indoor pool instead of poking her head in to the open house she came to see.
REALITY CHECK : Open Houses bring traffic. They not only help that listing, but the other listings in the building. It’s not often that a buyer walks into an open house, declares it PERFECT and throws cash in the realtor’s face right away, but it DOES mean that they are interested in the building and the price point and again… more showings = more offers = more money. This is literally the simplest mathematical equation since 2 + 4 = 4.
4) They refuse to allow lockboxes or to handle keys for showings. This is almost completely common place right now and there’s really no better way to throw a buyer the middle finger than to refuse to even provide assistance when they are looking at a unit as a potential home.
Ideally, concierges holding keys and keeping a log of who picks it up and when they put it back is the most efficient, safest and most pleasant way to show a condo. I love it when I go to a building and there is a friendly concierge behind the counter. I provide them with my business card, licence and ID and the suite numbers I am scheduled to see, and they have me sign for said keys. I show units, and then return said keys to the desk. I can show 10 units in an hour like this, and keeps stress to a minimum. These showings are inevitably the most successful ones and leave the best impressions with buyers. Alternately, a great arrangement is to allow lockboxes to be placed in the stairwell closest to the unit where a key can easily be accessed by the agent and efficiently returned before moving on to their next showing.
Hell, I’ll also take a nice little lockbox room where there are rows of lockboxes, preferably arranged numerically, and with suite numbers on the back. (I’ve only seen one building do this in all my years in the industry. I wanted to write them love letters and sing them songs) But a building like that is like a freaking unicorn in Toronto right now. Instead, we find ourselves lurking around behind a building in the dark and the snow trying to find some lockbox on a railing somewhere that’s inevitably frozen shut because it’s too damned cold in the city in the winter. And here’s the thing. We’re seeing several units IN A CONDO so I assure you both myself and my buyer are wearing comfortable, easy to remove shoes, and are not prepared in any way to scale snow mountains or wade through 2 feet of slush and salt. Now we all just have two soakers and we’re in a bad mood before we even walk in the door. Once, I stepped up onto a snowbank to reach a lockbox and one of my legs sunk right through to the top of my thigh. Just one, mind you. The other was out of the snow with no way of giving me any leverage at all. It took my client and both his young sons to literally haul me out of the hole by my arms. Don’t worry though. I DID eventually manage to get that shoe back.
I also hate being directed to a lockbox room by a surly concierge that’s conveniently located right next to the garbage room so that I can enjoy the stench of refuse while I hold my breath and desperately try to find the right lockbox in the jumble before I black out.
And my personal favourite… I call this the “Underground Lockbox Adventure”, where the building will only allow lockboxes to be affixed to a rail or a fence deep in the bowels of the underground parking garage, as far as possible away from any sort of civilization or decent lighting. Here is where we can find literally HUNDREDS of lockboxes. Random. Unlabelled. Indistinguishable from the others and then proceed to spend upwards of AN HOUR just finding one box that works for the code you have. I wish I were exaggerating.
The one I hate the WORST is a complex at Yonge & Eglinton that shares 3 buildings in one underground parking garage. There is literally no organization to this mess at all. The last time I showed a unit in this building, my clients killed one phone battery and half of another holding the light for me while I tried codes, in the unheated garage on the 3rd level for over an hour, where hundreds of lockboxes are attached to a fence in no order at all. Bonus points because when we finally found the key we were looking for and went back to the door from whence we had come, we found it locked tight behind us! And of course, there’s no cell service when you’re 18 feet x 3 floors underground. Alas, there was also no button to buzz the concierge to beg admittance, and we were forced to walk the length of the parking garage to the other end, where we then jumped up and down in front of the electric door in an attempt to activate the sensor for 10 minutes or so before a resident opened it from the outside on their way home, and we bolted like scared rabbits out on to the street a block away and then hauled ass back to the main entrance in the rain for our showing. My buyers were appalled. They were grossed out. They were adamant that they couldn’t possibly invest their money in a building that made selling so deliberately difficult. That was a year an a half ago and I have patently refused to show units in that complex ever since and made sure to let my buyers know what a complete clusterf*&k that place is. Without fail, I’ve shown this picture and every one of them has been in immediate agreement that this wasn’t the place for them.
Combine this with often snarky, self-important or outright rude attendants and elitist behaviour from the person that greets you, and you have a perfect recipe for a lower sale price. They might as well just put up a big sign that says “We don’t want you, so go pound sand”
Your concierge desk is the face of your building. Your first line of defence. Your first impression. If your condo corp doesn’t care if the impression they are making is a good one, you might be living in the wrong place. And if they are too important and busy to do something as simple as get people to sign-in, well then they clearly aren’t up to the job of managing your condo building at all, are they?