Blog

Buy Nothing

Posted by on Mar 9, 2015 in Amy's Blog | 3 comments

 

Free-642x250

“You need to declutter”.  This is a phrase I say over and over in my profession as a Realtor®.  Not necessarily because my clients are pack rats or hoarders, but simply because we have a very unrealistic view of what a home should look like when being offered for sale.  If you have ever walked through a model home, you know what I’m talking about!  Everything is bright, airy, perfectly decorated and clutter free!  We all know that for many, the perfectly staged home is unrealistic for day to day life, but when selling your home, it is necessary to help you get the most money for your home in the least amount of time.

When I’m meeting with clients and helping them prepare their homes for sale, we talk about staging and how the home should be presented.   The conversation always turns to purging the excess “stuff” which we all seem to accumulate.  So when I caught wind of a new Facebook group in Stittsville called “Buy Nothing Stittsville,” I was intrigued.  My initial thought was this would be a great resource for my clients to get rid of their clutter and make the job of getting their home ready to list that much easier.   I also thought that maybe I could do a little purging myself, as my own basement has become overrun with unused items!  I joined the group and what I have witnessed over the last few months is nothing short of unbelievable.

First, a little background on the group.  The Buy Nothing Project began as an experimental hyper-local gift economy on Bainbridge Island, WA.  A direct quote from the Buy Nothing website states: “We offer people a way to give and receive, share, lend, and express gratitude through a worldwide network of hyper-local gift economies in which the true wealth is the web of connections formed between people who are real-life neighbours.”  Within 18 months of this project starting, there were local groups formed all over the world.  The Stittsville group was started on July 4th, 2014.  By February 2015 the membership had grown to over 1000 people!

But the rapid growth of the group is not what is so impressive.  Remember that my initial thought was that this was just a great place to get rid of junk…and it is…sort of!  But it’s actually much more than that.   What I have experienced is a community of people willing to help each other when needed, generous giving, and people actually getting to know some of their neighbours!  Imagine, in a world where we are consumed with our devices and electronics, people are actually getting to know each other!

What I have found most impressive is the generosity of people. What started out as a place to give away unwanted items has turned into a community of giving.  I have seen posts where people are offering baked goods, meals, even prayers for people going through tough times.  I am not surprised anymore when a member posts that they need help with something and within a matter of minutes, the thread has exploded with 20 offers to help!  People using their skills, talents and time to help others instead of just a monetary donation.  It really is heart warming.

The benefit of getting rid of unused items can’t be overlooked. Items that you wouldn’t think anyone would want, can usually find a home on Buy Nothing and therefore stay out of our landfills.  It’s amazing how the very thing you don’t need, someone else can use!  I have given away all kinds of things that range from a high chair, baby items and a coat with a broken zipper!  All of which someone gladly came to pick up from me.  It’s a nice feeling to know that a neighbour can benefit from what you don’t need.

I asked some of the group members to share their experiences and their responses show that these people have gained much more than some new “items”.  Below are just some of the responses I received, as not surprisingly, the offers to help me with this blog post were overwhelming!

Heather:  “I have not been in the group long. I lived in Stittsville all my life and did not know that there are great people out there.”

Debra: “I sprained my ankle badly & within 5 minutes of posting the request, had 7 offers of the loan of crutches – in 30 minutes they were in my possession! How wonderful is that!”

Cathy: “My favourite posts often start with ‘Odd give’ because it’s usually something that would have been tossed into the local landfill before “Buy Nothing” but now it pretty much gets snapped up right away. I feel a stronger sense of community because of this group.”

Melissa: “This group is amazing. It is filled with people with enormous hearts and has made me realize that I don’t need stuff to be happy. In fact, the more I give away the better I feel about it.”

Cathy: “I really don’t ‘know’ very many people in the BN group (or Stittsville even) and perhaps that is true for many of us on here but the generosity…gifting items that we could probably get compensated for; the compassion…the immediate offers to help those who are in need, even with prayers, and the friendships that have and will surely be developed because of this group is such a blessing. It is heart-warming to see neighbours looking out for the best interest of each other.”

Roxanne: “I’m a mother of 5 kids and 2 grandkids and never felt so part of a community in my life. Since staring this group with Sonia I have met so many amazing neighbours that are like another family to me now. Strangers who have helped my family and I in a million ways. To things for ourselves, for our house, even to collect over 85 pairs of jeans for a jean drive for the homeless that my daughter was doing at school.  To top it off so many go out of their way to deliver and even do pick ups for me and drop off since we don’t have a car.  BNS to me is a second family that I love!”

I hope that you’ll take a minute to check out this group.  It may help you declutter your home but be prepared to receive far more than you give away!  If you’re interested in joining this group, it can be found by searching “Buy Nothing Stittsville” on Facebook.  I will definitely continue to recommend this group to my clients.  But I feel it will be only fair to warn clients that are moving out of this community, that it may just make them change their mind!

“IS THERE ANYTHING WE CANADIANS WON’T DO FOR SOME GOOD SHOPPING?”

Posted by on Oct 18, 2014 in Amy's Blog | 0 comments

 

IMG_6735

 

I am a self-proclaimed expert outlet shopper.  I venture across the border a couple times a year and snag as many off season deals as I can, to stock up for the next season.  My children wear lots of brand name clothing but I can guarantee that I rarely pay more than clearance prices.  So when I heard that Kanata was getting an outlet mall I got a bit excited.  Having the outlets close by would be convenient, although I have to admit that part of the allure of cross border shopping is the weekend away I get with some good friends!  But, I was willing to overlook the one downside of having an outlet mall so close.   On an overcast October morning, I decided to venture to the grand opening of the Tanger Outlet Mall in Ottawa and take in what may soon be my new reality of outlet shopping.

Now I thought that things might get a bit crazy so I did what every expert shopper would do; I brought back up!  My good friend, who just so happens to hate crowds, agreed to be my wingman for this shopping excursion.   Perfect.  Only several thousand people were expected and my shopping partner hates crowds.  But we had a plan:  Get in. Check it out.  Get out.  What could possibly go wrong?

We ventured into the danger zone shortly after 10 am.  As we drove down Huntmar Drive we could see a long line of cars in both directions, with several cars waiting to turn into the parking lot at the Canadian Tire Centre.  My wingman, in her infamous wisdom, checked Facebook and starting reading posts about how crazy the parking lots were and the lack of available parking spots.  We made a game time decision and veered off into the parking lot of the CTC to avoid the Tanger parking lots.   This is where the parking lot overflow landed.  Parking in the CTC lot left us walking a short distance which wasn’t an issue.  However, the route included a section of the overpass bridge at Palladium that does not have a sidewalk.  With cars driving in each direction and lots of people walking, it was definitely a dangerous spot.   I believe later in the day a shuttle was run from the CTC parking lot to the mall.   From the overpass we were able to see that cars were stopped on the westbound Queensway for as far as the eye could see.  I later read that later in the day, the traffic was backed up to the Bayshore exit.  Is there anything we Canadians won’t do for some good shopping?

 

IMG_6733

 

Once we made it through the mayhem of traffic and parking, the shopping experience was actually quite pleasant!  The general areas of the mall are spacious enough that it didn’t feel crowded, despite the fact that there were a lot of people milling around.   There were a few hot spots, like Michael Kors and Coach, that had line ups just to get into the store, but overall the flow in and out of stores was quite fluid.

We managed to check out a few stores and found that when it came to the prices, shoppers appeared to be pleased with the deals they had found.  Most stores had grand opening sales and the mall itself offered 20% as an opening day special.  What remains to be seen is whether or not the savings will extend past the opening days.

What surprised me most about this visit was not the prices or the parking.   Remember how I purposely brought back up?   I did this fearing the worst from the experience.  I was expecting elbows and pushing, line cutting and rude people.   I wondered if I would see people fighting over merchandise or someone yelling at a poor sales associate.  But I didn’t see any of that.  From my perspective, everyone seemed to be in good spirits.  Some lines at the cash register were long but the shoppers were happy to make small talk with each other while they waited.   One lady actually offered to allow my friend to go ahead of her in line after she heard us chatting about being late for an appointment!  So I guess even in the world of grand opening chaos, the Canadian way still prevails.    It was busy and you needed patience, but it was nice to feel that excitement in the air.

I heard of problems later in the day with the debit/credit machines and over flowing bathrooms.   Of course the parking and driving issues also lasted throughout the day and into the evening.  I suspect today will be just as busy as all the people, who didn’t skip work on Friday, will come for their turn at this new shopping experience.   But overall I think Tanger did a great job for their opening day.  I will still try and steal away for my cross border trips, but it’s certainly nice to have something like this so close!  In the end our mission was accomplished.  We got in, we checked it out, and we got out.  We even managed to get a nice pair of boots to prove we had successfully navigated opening day at the new Tanger Outlets!

Richmond, Ontario: Who Wouldn’t Want to Live Here?

Posted by on Aug 12, 2014 in Amy's Blog | 2 comments

 

richmondsign

 

In the past few weeks, I’ve been spending a lot of time in the Village of Richmond.  I’ve had ties to this community for several years as my family lives just outside.  My kids play sports here, we have close friends that live in the heart of Richmond and we are regulars at the annual Richmond Fair.  But it’s just been recently that I’ve started to see it in a new light.

I must first start with talking about Richmond in general.  It’s a small Ottawa suburb that is located just southwest of Stittsville.  It’s a 10-15 minute drive to Kanata, Stittsville or Barrhaven and an easy 30 minute commute downtown.  Like every other suburb, it’s growing with several new developments.  But it also has several historic buildings and a small village feel.  Richmond is the home of St. Philip’s Catholic Church, which is the oldest church in the Catholic Archdiocese of Ottawa.  If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you’ll enjoy the Rideau trail which runs through Richmond.  The trail is used for walking, cycling and skiing.  Both the Catholic and Public School Boards have elementary schools in Richmond.  There is also public High School and a Catholic High School in neighbouring Stittsville.  It really is a self-sustaining community with several shops, grocery store, sports fields, schools, parks and fairly recently, a Tim Horton’s!

But can you say that a group of houses with amenities is really a community?  Or is it more than that?  This is what I’ve found out in the past few weeks.

In July I listed a house on Chanonhouse Drive.  Chanonhouse Dr is a unique street located on the East side of Richmond.  It’s tucked into a well established area of Richmond, right behind South Carleton Secondary School.  But what’s different about this street is that a section of the houses are all very new.  A group of approximately 40 homes that were built in 2009 by Talos Homes.  They are amazingly beautiful homes with spacious lots that give you comfortable room between you and your neighbour!  They are quality built homes on prime real estate.  The perfect marriage for a new home!

I had the pleasure of meeting several neighbours on Chanonhouse Dr on a sunny Friday afternoon in July.  I was going door to door inviting the neighbours to a neighbours open house party that I was hosting.  It was a hot day and I was unsure of how successful my efforts would be as I assumed many residents would be away on vacation given the time of year.  I’m also not a huge fan of going door to door:)  I personally find it very annoying when people bother me during my time at home, so I try to only do this when I have something enticing to offer (like an invite to an exclusive neighbourhood party!).  What happened in the few hours I was out on Chanonhouse Drive was actually quite pleasant.  As  I went door to door,  I met neighbours who invited me to see their back yard gardens that they were so proud of.  I met neighbours who invited me in for a cold drink as they were concerned about me walking around in the heat.  I met neighbours who knew Richmond’s full history and were happy to share it with a stranger.  I was also lucky enough to meet neighbours who told me all about the street and the residents who live there.  The residents are really a cross section of our population.  Some are retried, some are new parents and some are dealing with the fabulous teenage years (always  nice to have some babysitters on your street)!    One neighbour told me that at last count, there’s 54 kids living on the street and two more babies on the way.  Obviously a great place to raise a family.

I think what stands out to me is that every time I drive down the street, I see kids out playing and riding bikes, people gardening and neighbours chatting.  It made me think, who wouldn’t want to live here??

After this pleasant afternoon, I was curious what other residents of Richmond thought of this great community, so I put it out into the world of Facebook and asked some local moms this question: I need to know what you LOVE about living in Richmond. Think about what you would say to someone who is considering moving into this community! These were some of the responses I received:

– Richmond is such a pretty town, so close to nature. It’s a wonderful community for kids to explore and have fun outside. We have friendly, down to earth people who are always willing to help each other out. I cannot imagine raising a family anywhere else:)

– We have lived here for almost 3 years and we love it! It has everything you could want in a small town. Far enough for country living yet close enough to city amenities. Everyone is friendly and welcoming. The schools, parks and events are great!

– I love that if your kid skips school, someone will tell you they saw them;)

– I moved here 14 years ago. I am originally from Montreal and was skeptical at first. Today I can say that I have people I consider family, friends and amazing neighbours. I cherish and live in the comfort and safety and a community that takes care of each other and their is there is always someone there for you if you need.. as it has been said in history it takes a village to raise a child not an individual!

That confirmed it for me.  A community is way more than a group of houses.  It’s the people in those houses that make or break it.  Add amenities, good schools, beautiful scenery and a quality of life that is found in a smaller community and you’ve got a winning combination.  I have to ask the question again, who wouldn’t want to live here??  Clearly Richmond has it all!

My sincere thanks to those neighbours that took the time to chat with me as well as those that responded to my Facebook shout out!  I welcome any other comments below.

If YOU want to live in Richmond or know someone who does, my listing at 46 Chanonhouse Dr is still active.  Please feel free to follow the dedicated Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/46chanonhouse  or check out the listing at www.amyhaggerty/listings!

Perhaps you’ll be the next neighbour to move onto this fabulous street!

 

 

 

 

How Have I Not Eaten at the Wiches Cauldron Until Today?

Posted by on Aug 8, 2014 in Amy's Blog | 0 comments

IMG_3971

 

Earlier today, I was out with my youngest daughter. Having three children, it’s rare to get one on one time, but today just happened to be one of those days. After a busy morning, we were driving home while I racked my brain as to what we should have for lunch. Now if you’re a parent of a napping child, you know how important it is to get them fed quickly and into bed before the “pre-nap” meltdown begins! So as I drove, I thought about the quick lunch solutions, all of which seemed unhealthy and unappealing. Then I thought of the Wiches Cauldron. I had been wanting to try their food for quite some time but just hadn’t managed to get there. Today turned out to be that day.

So the following is my review of this little roadside sandwich shop. If you happen to drive along Carp Road in Stittsville, you will see the Wiches Cauldron truck parked at 1195 Carp Rd. From a distance it seems like just another food truck. But if you are smart enough to stop, you will find a selection of gourmet sandwiches, soups and desserts. Their goal: to provide gourmet, restaurant quality food at food truck prices. I have to say that they delivered!

I ordered the Southwestern Chicken Tortilla Wrap. This tasty wrap is stuffed with grilled chicken, roasted red pepper black bean pesto, monterey jack cheese, diced tomato, red onion, chipotle lime mayonnaise and spring greens. It was delicious! They served the sandwich with a side of broccoli soup (which my daughter refused to share!). The staff were friendly and the food came quickly. In front of the truck there are quaint tables set up for you to enjoy your sinfully delicious sandwich! My daughter checked the whole place out and gave it her seal of approval!

You can check out their website at http://wichescauldron.ca/, but I think it’s better to check them out in person!

 

IMG_6035

 

 

 

 

IMG_7238

 

The only question I have now is how is it possible that I hadn’t tried their food before today? The Wiches Cauldron is truly a Stittsville gem you must try!

 

 

 

Canadian Real Estate Statistics – August 2014

Posted by on Aug 7, 2014 in Amy's Blog | 0 comments

Here are the latest Real Estate Statistics for August 2014.  These statistics are prepared by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

 

 

Pin It on Pinterest