Make Your Neighbourhood Everything it Can be

Our neighbourhoods are where we spend a majority of our time and where our kids first learn about the outside world. So, isn’t it important to make them everything they can be?

A lot has been written about improving neighbourhoods – a recent Google search yielded almost 13 million hits – so there’s no shortage of research material. Here are some ways you can change your little part of the world.

Get involved in town/city government

Municipal government meetings aren’t exciting, but these meetings are where you get information and a say on issues and initiatives. Some large cities have begun to stream their city council meetings online (and many others televise the proceedings), so you can keep yourself informed. Staying up on the issues in your community will help steer you to a cause or initiative you can get into.

Clean up

A clean neighbourhood is not just more attractive, it’s generally safer. It becomes a better place for your kids to play and offers others (including potential buyers) a good image of the community. Start with your own backyard (and front yard), then get neighbours together one day a month to clean up public areas. And pick up litter everywhere, not just on your own property.

Attend Community Events

Attending community festivals, block parties and barbeques makes friends of neighbours, and strengthens community bonds. If this isn’t happening, take the initiative yourself and throw a barbeque or party. Others will inevitably follow.

Take time to enjoy your neighbourhood

Visit the local grocery story, coffee shop, farmers’ market and library. Explore your neighbourhood, jog its streets, and encourage your neighbours to do the same by learning from other communities. For example, more than 100 cities across the world have joined the League of Slow Cities, predicated on the idea that savouring your surroundings (just like savouring your food) contributes to a meaningful life.

Good Feng Shui and Lucky Number 8 Can Help Sell Your Home

Everyone probably knows by now what to do to prepare your home for sale: Put aside family photos. Get rid of clutter. Fluff bedding. Leave every surface sparkling. But have you considered feng shui, especially if you are hoping to sell to buyers in the Asian community?

Despite the recent softness in the Canadian real estate market, Asian buyers still play an important role in several Canadian housing markets, most notably in Vancouver, but also in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and Montreal. And, as one real estate agent notes, feng shui figures prominently in many purchase decisions by his Chinese clients.

In the ancient Chinese art of feng shui, feng refers to wind and shui to water. Together, good feng and shui encourages good health and fortune. Feng shui practitioners use certain principles in designing a home to maximize its feng shui, including the use or representation of water; and the inclusion of red and black in d├ęcor and of lighting that energizes.

Here are more suggestions to boost your home’s feng shui:

  • Make sure the front door and pathway are well-maintained.
  • Keep bathroom doors closed and cover kitchen sink drains, as open drains rob the room’s energy.
  • If the back of your sofa is toward the entryway, it will bounce energy out. Turn it around.
  • Raise buyer energy by hanging a wind chime or flag by the front right corner of the home.
  • Finally, if your address includes the number 8, you’re lucky, because so is the number to Chinese buyers.