Hallowe’en Means Community!!

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So what are your kids dressing up as this Hallowe’en? I hear Michael Jackson is popular, as is Harry Potter, Edward & Bella & Jacob, Hannah Montana, Star Trek characters and GI Joe Ninja. My personal favourite would have to be a nod toward Twilight! But it got me to thinking about the origins of Hallowe’en – the costumes, the trick-or-treating, the apple-bobbing, the pumpkin carving etc. Except for the apple-bobbing, I’m doing it all this year – so make sure if you’re in the area, stop by…adults will be treated to my special Hungarian gluvine recipe – a hot mulled, spiced wine.

halloween girls

Hallowe’en is big business (more than $5 billion in the U.S. last year!). So just where did this sense of neighbourhood and community come from? Many of you may already know, but being that this is primarily a Northern England and North American festivity, it was all new to me. It dates back to the ancient Celtic festivals over 2,000 years ago. Their New Year was on November 1 and they celebrated it, the harvest and the end of summer with sacred bonfires, dressing up in animal heads and skins. Then by AD 43 the Romans conquered the territory and for the next 400 years combined 2 festivals on this day – Feralia (Passing of the Dead) and Pomona (Roman goddess of fruit and trees). Her symbol is the apple, explaining that bobbing for apples thing. By the 800’s, Christianity had come and the Pope designated November 1 All Saints’ Day. It was also called All-hallows or All Hallowmas (from English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints!)…and the night before came to be All-Hallows Eve or Hallowe’en. As European immigrants came to America, they brought their customs with them (although in early puritanical New England, celebrating was limited). In the late 1800’s there was a move in America to mold Hallowe’en into a holiday more about community and neighbourly get-togethers than about harvest and ghost stories. Between 1920 and 1950, the centuries old practice of trick-or-treating (going door to door for All Soul’s cakes) was revived by advertisers. (It always comes down to the advertisers, doesn’t it!!) So there it is, in a nutshell. Ohhh, speaking of nutshells, I must say, I LOVE roasted pumpkin seeds. I salvage every last one of them from all 6 pumpkins that I have carved for the day. And as for the pumpkin carving, there is a history to it – but I can’t fit it in this nutshell!! I guess I’ll save that one for next year.

Working as a Real Estate Agent in the North Oakville area and living in the Oak Park neighbourhood, Hallowe’en is a perfect occasion for me to throw my doors open and go to excess in the decorating department (right down to the spotlights!). I love that my real estate clients and my neighbours can drop by for a hot beverage and lots of treats for the little ones. (Speaking of excess, I always over-do it in the treat department – I’ve never gotten that ratio right!). So as I mentioned, if you’re in the ‘hood, I hope I’ll see you on Hallowe’en!


Episode #2 Hits the Airwaves!


The Official Krisztina Blogsite


My second episode of Krisztina’s Real Estate 411 is available for viewing on my YouTube Channel (search ‘North Oakville Agent’ or check the link below). The response to Episode #1 has been overwhelming, so I hope you all enjoy Episode #2: Choosing a Real Estate Agent (Part 2).

There are so many things to consider when you are choosing a Real Estate Agent. We covered the ‘qualities’ in Episode #1 – personality and work ethic. In this episode we cover other considerations – Brokerage Houses, Commission Structures and Area Specialists. Real Estate Broker, Sylvia Perdue reminds us that most real estate salespeople are independent contractors. When they are attached to a Brokerage House, they are then working for themselves, but not by themselves. RE/MAX (my Brokerage House) provides a brand for us to work under as well as listing and selling tools, training courses, networking opportunities and even our own in-house Super Succeed program. (More on that in a future Blog!!) Tamara Vanmeggelen believes a strong Brokerage House attracts strong Agents and a multi-faceted distribution network. I believe in building my name as a brand, and that working with a strong multi-national brand name brokerage such as RE/MAX will help me build my personal brand.

Sylvia also mentions that a good Broker offers their Sales Agents accessibility and one-on-one coaching. As well they are open and answering phones from 9am to 9pm, with limited hours on the weekend. As we interviewed Sylvia, I was reminded how important things like this are to my clients. Sylvia also put the Commission Structure into focus. As she put it, Commission is NOT a Commodity!! It is an incentive for the Agent to sell your home. As a homeseller, you want to attract highly skilled Agents with strong expertise to get the best price. Commissions may be negotiable, but remember, choosing a low commission package doesn’t necessarily translate into a higher net at the end of the day when your home is sold. You should also understand what will be offered for the Commission package in terms of a Marketing Plan, Advertising, Open Houses and feedback structure. Sylvia believes (and I agree) that the Commission structure may dictate how hard the Agent is going to work for you. Tamara put it very succinctly – a good Agent is worth their commission…Full Commission gets you an Agent who is always available, will get traffic through your door, will make practical suggestions on renovations for resale and staging, will be honest on the value of the home, on its weaknesses and strengths, will give you feedback on Open Houses and will follow up on potential buyers. (Thanks Tamara, I couldn’t have said it better myself!!) And one last note from Terry Kuivinen (who has done ‘For Sale By Owner’ on 2 occasions) – selling a home is stressful and a good Agent takes that stress away…it is MONEY WELL SPENT!!

Enjoy this installment of Krisztina’s Real Estate 411, Episode #2: Choosing a Real Estate Agent (Part 2) and watch for Episode #3: Preparing to List Your Home coming on November 1st.

Krisztina’s Real Estate 411 Launches!!


The Official Krisztina Blogsite
My first episode of Krisztina’s Real Estate 411 is now up and running on my YouTube Channel (search ‘North Oakville Agent’ or check the link below). The series is intended to take the viewer through most of the key steps of the home real estate buying and selling process, so naturally we start with Episode #1: Choosing a Real Estate Agent (Part 1).

Buying or selling a home is a big decision and the first step is choosing a Real Estate Agent whose personality, work ethic and experience match your needs. In this episode, we explore the question: “What qualities should you consider when choosing a Real Estate Agent?”. Real Estate Broker, Sylvia Perdue says that ultimately, it is who you are comfortable with. But, she reminds us, the home buying/selling process is an emotional experience, so you want an Agent who is full-time, committed to providing you with all of their experience and who will take the stress off your shoulders. As a Broker, she looks for Agents who are willing to upgrade their selling skills and learn cutting edge technology on an ongoing basis, as well as a great personality fit.

Many of my Clients have also weighed in on the question. Terry Kuivinen looks for an Agent who provides you with information and feedback, keeps in constant contact and presents a strong marketing plan. Joey and Eric Besana want an Agent who really listens to their needs and who fights for their interests. Tamara Vanmeggelen wants an Agent with lots of experience in the area. She wants to have seen the Agents’ signs in the neighbourhood, and more importantly she wants to see that they’ve been sold quickly.

For me, I believe honesty, hard work and being there 100% for my Clients are the three things that contribute most to my success. I have also learned that one of the most important steps in the home selling process is giving feedback to your clients. As many of my clients have stated, they want updates on where we stand with showings and open houses. Who’s interested? What needs to be changed? How is the pricing? Communicate, communicate, communicate!! I think it is also important that I have always been successfully self-employed, therefore I understand small business financials, I understand Return on Investments and I believe in investing back into my business to make it grow. Developing brand recognition is important in any business, so I make sure all my marketing pieces reflect the same professional, recognizable images. I also treat every Client as part of a team, and it is the collaboration of that teamwork that will get the home sold or purchased more quickly. Of course, that is always the best part of the process for me – seeing the Clients’ dreams realized.

I hope you enjoy this first episode of Krisztina’s Real Estate 411. And watch for Episode #2: Choosing a Real Estate Agent (Part 2) coming to YouTube mid-October.