The Ottawa Citizen has published an interesting timeline of allegations that Royal LePage offered “gifts” to federal bureaucrats related to the Canadian Government relocation tender.
Did Royal LePage bribe government bureaucrats?
It is Never to Early to Prepare for a Move
As we begin a new year, if you are planning to move keep in mind that it is never to early to begin the process. The typical moving season begins in the spring and goes through to early fall. Therefore, things will start to pick up sooner than you would expect. If you have plans to move, you should begin to contact your moving professionals here at Starline as soon as possible. Your professionals here at Starline will do everything they can to ensure to meet your time frame. However, the sooner we know of your plans the better we can accommodate you.
It may seem early to begin preparing for your move, but you will be surprised at how quickly it will turn up. There are many benefits to early preparation. Starting early allows you to do your research, evaluate what you want to move, donate or sell some of your things and plan.
Even if you do not have a specific date in mind, as long as you know that you are moving, your Starline professional can come out and take inventory and let you know the estimate. This way you will be prepared and can begin to downsize if necessary.
The earlier you contact your professionals here at Starline, the better position you will be to schedule the date you want during peak moving season.
On the internet, no one knows you’re a mover
Google Business View separates the men from the dogs
There’s an old joke about “on the internet, no one knows you’re a dog”. Well those days may be over. Consumers can now go on the web to see if movers operate out of a doghouse or a warehouse. Google’s new Business View app allows visitors to your website to do a virtual 360 degree walk through of your business location. They can tour the offices, have a look in the warehouse and move up the stairs. This is a very useful application-especially for movers. Established moving companies are now at war with move brokers who operate out of their basement, quote bait and switch prices and take advantage of consumers. Unlike most retail purchases, the relocating customer does not have the opportunity to evaluate a company based on their premises. There is no store to visit, only a website and a voice on the phone. This makes it very difficult for customers to discern between an internet only move broker and a reputable bricks and mortar moving company. The virtual visit, recently introduced by Google can solve this problem for both consumers and moving companies. Have a look at the virtual tour of Starline Overseas in Calgary to see what you can do to differentiate yourself from rogue move marketers.
How will you look compared to a move broker? Pretty favorable I would guess. Google does not have this available in all centers yet but once they do, it’s a great way to introduce and prove the credibility of your moving company to the web surfing public. In Canada, the cost runs about $1000 to have the photos done by a Google-Certified photographer. Rogues and scallywags cannot do their own virtual tour so Google can ensure that movers thus presented are real live, honest to goodness movers. We at Starline have just installed the app and we will report our progress on our blog.
Time for an office clean up?
Moving During the Holidays
Moving during the holidays can be a challenge. However, there are some things you can do to help alleviate some of those challenges. Here are a few tips to help get you through the move.
Plan. As soon as you know you are moving, sit down and have a family meeting and plan. Recognize that your holiday season will be different. Talk about downsizing the holiday season and identify those traditions that are really important to you. Decide as a family which of those traditions must be kept and those that can wait until next year. This is so important to keeping your sanity and making your house marketable.
Selling. If you are selling your home, it is important to consider all of the marketing involved. You need to balance your desire to celebrate the holidays with putting your best foot forward to attract buyers. You can do this if you time your efforts right. Have your photos and virtual tours done prior to putting up your holiday decorations. This is very important for you. You do not want to date your photos with holiday decorations. This could work to your disadvantage in negotiating the sale of your home. If folks immediately notice your holiday decorations in your photos online in February, they may have their own thoughts on how to approach you. Make an effort to make your photos relevant no matter when folks see it.
Take a break. If you are the holiday light guru for the neighborhood, see this as your time off. You may really enjoy decorating the outside of your home and time your lights to music. However, this is not the impression you want to give a buyer coming to look at your home. It will be more of a distraction than an asset. So, consider it time off. If holiday decorations are important to you, put up a quarter of what you normally do. This not only helps to prevent buyers from being distracted with your display but also it helps alleviate your workload. You will have enough packing and organizing to do with your move. Therefore, the less you take out, the less you will have to put away later.
Reduce stress. The holidays can be a stressful time without a move. Therefore, put things in perspective and prioritize what is important and leave the rest until next year. By reducing your workload and expectations, you will be able to alleviate some stress. Use this as an opportunity to take a break from all of those commitments. For example, if you always host the holiday party, this is your chance to be a guest instead of the host. Use these holiday parties as a way to visit with everyone and inform them of your impending move. It will help you consolidate and see most of your friends and family before you move.
Stay positive. This is key. In any big event like a move, things will go according to plan and some things will go awry. Therefore, staying positive will help you tremendously. Focus on the end game and be flexible. Remember this is a temporary situation and it will be over soon.
Best of luck and best wishes for the coming year and your new life in your new place!
Celebrating the Holidays Overseas
Moving overseas is an adventure. It will offer you an opportunity to experience a new way of life and culture. These include holiday celebrations. Therefore, if you are an expat in a country that does not necessarily celebrate your holidays, you can still celebrate them. In fact, it can be a fun experience. When we lived in the UK, our neighbors knew we were Americans and when Halloween came around, I did a reverse trick-or-treat and gave the kids in our neighborhood candy. The next year, they all showed up at our house in ‘fancy dress’ for candy. It was wonderful and memorable experience for both them and us. The same year, we made a Thanksgiving meal with all of the fixings for our neighbors, so that they could experience a Thanksgiving meal. This offered a chance for us to share our culture and traditions with our new friends and neighbors.
Moving abroad is a wonderful opportunity to get know and immerse yourself in a culture different from what you are accustom. However, it also offers an opportunity to share your culture and traditions with your new friends. It begins a symbiotic relationship, which is a wonderful thing. Just keep in mind that in some countries, holidays are just that holidays. Therefore, your town may shut down and you will not have the luxury of shopping for last minute items. Ask your friends and colleagues so that you can be prepared.
Enjoy all of what moving abroad has to offer, which includes celebrating the holidays overseas. You will have memories that last a lifetime.
How to Find a Dentist?
Once you have moved and you have begun your search for medical providers, among those on the list will be dentists. As with looking for a doctor, you will want to begin with your insurance coverage. You want to evaluate your policy to see what dentists are covered in your area. Once you have a list to work off of, start to ask your friends and colleagues for recommendations. Further, you want to see what type of dentist you would like for you and your family. There are dentists, who offer family services and will treat children. There are also pediatric dentists, who specialize in treating children. You will want to itemize what is important to you and your family before you begin to visit with the dentists. You may find that a family practice will be perfect for you and your family. However, after visiting several providers, you may decide that having a pediatric dentist for your child is best.
Again, this may take sometime and due diligence. There are online resources that can help with this search and some are free. Keep in mind that if you are embarking on a foreign assignment, access to dentists may be limited. You want to do some research ahead of time and evaluate your options. You may opt to have your dental work done when you are on a home visit. Even if this is the case, you still want to have made a connection with a local provider in case of an emergency, like a cracked tooth. What is most important is that you and your children feel comfortable with your provider. This is especially important with dentistry. As we all know, one bad experience as a child can have an impact on the way the view dentists in the future.
How to Meet Your Neighbors?
When you first move in, your focus will be on unpacking and getting settled. Amongst the chaos, it is important to fit in some time to get to know your neighbors. Depending on the neighborhood, your neighbors may beat you to it. Simply introducing yourself will go a long way. Getting to know them will enable you to find out if they have interests that are similar to yours, whether or not they have children your age and if they enjoy they neighborhood. Getting an overall feel for the neighbors will give you an opportunity to really begin to settle into your new neighborhood and find friends.
Once you have introduced yourself and have begun to exchange pleasantries, you can begin to get involved. Find out about clubs or activities in your neighborhood that you can begin to take part. Ask around to find out if there is a book, running or gardening club you could join. If not, see if there is an interest and start one. Find out if there are community activities that you can participate. Go to direct sales parties when you are invited or if you have a direct sales business, hold a party and invite your neighbors. If you are a sports enthusiast, invite your neighbors over to watch the game. Hold a casual party cocktail party and invite your neighbors. This will give you a great opportunity to chat and get to know your neighbors socially.
This is where the level of effort you put in will translate into what you will get out. Therefore, make the effort to get to know your neighbors and you will be surprised at how quickly you will begin to meet friends and acquaintances. Your neighbors will appreciate the effort you make. Don’t be discouraged if this takes some time and a few tries before it yields results. Some neighbors are just aloof. If you have made the effort and nothing is reciprocated, just move on. Be persistent and patient. You will find just the right neighbors for you and your family.
5 Tips to Keep in Touch
Keeping in touch with friends and family is essential to making the transition for you and your family. Thanks to technology, it has become increasingly easier to do this. Here are a few ways to keep your family and friends close, while you are away.
Email is a great way for you to keep in contact with friends and family. Depending on the age of your child, you may consider getting them their own email address. However, this may be an option reserved to older children because it will be hard to monitor communications. Most elderly family members have access to email and it offers a no cost way to keep in contact.
Skype is amazing and offers a fantastic way to keep that personal connection to friends and family. The best part about it is that the free basic package works really well and offers another no cost way to keep up with everyone. Keep in mind that both parties must have access to Skype for it to work.
Some mobile phones now offer a Skype-type experience using your mobile phone, like FaceTime for iPhones. It is an excellent way to keep in contact on the go. It is important to note that both parties have to have access to the same application for it to work.
Even in this day an age, getting a personal note can really make someone’s day. Therefore, snail mail offers a great opportunity to keep in touch. Pictures, artwork and hand-written notes are all great ways to keep that personal connection.
Social media sites offer a fantastic way to keep up with friends and family. Depending on the age of your child, this may or may not be an option for them. If your child is younger, you can use your account and keep them engaged as you filter the material for them on your account. If they are older, they could create their own account as long as you continue to monitor and give guidance. At the very least, you should be a friend on their account so that you can monitor their activity on-line. Here are some helpful guidelines offered by the American Academy of Pediatrics. It will help give you, as a parent some ideas on social media exposure to your children.
Keeping that connection to friends and family helps everyone make a successful transition to their new place. Having that connection, prevents a feeling of isolation. Keep in mind that this will be most important when you first move. As you make more friends in your new location, the frequency of connecting with friends and family will lessen but remain important.
Medical Services Abroad
Medical services abroad will be a different experience depending on where you currently live. If you are moving from developed country, you have become accustomed to certain protocols and services for medical treatment. It is important to know that these are not the norm in undeveloped countries. Therefore, you will have to do your research ahead of time to understand what is available and what is accepted practice. It is imperative to understand the sterile nature of their facilities. It may seem like a completely foreign concept to carry your own medical supplies to most patients in developed countries. However, in some countries this will ensure that you will have access to sterile needles. These kits are available for purchase online and should be considered if you are moving to a country that may not have everything available. If you are on a foreign assignment, some companies will provide you with this kit. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) offers guidelines for these kits, which are detailed on their website.
There are companies that offer concierge medical transport services that can help in case of emergency. This may be another option for you. Check with your current medical coverage and see if this is available to you.
Keep in mind that in some countries’ standard of care is quite different. If you are planning a birth of child abroad, definitely take this into consideration. Their protocols may be different than what you may expect from western medicine. If certain things are important to you, like access to an epidural during labor, do your research ahead of time. Check to see if there is access to a doctor, who has been educated in the west or has experience treating western patients.
Dental care is also something to consider. In some countries, it is not as accessible as others. Therefore, you want to find a dentist, who either has been trained in the West and/or has treated western patients. You want to ask him or her what their standard of care is and what treatments they offer.
This is not meant to scare but rather educate. Understanding medical services available to you in your new home country is so important. This will help you prepare yourself and your family. In some countries, this is not a problem, but in others it can be an issue. Preparation is key so that you can take steps to alleviate any risks involved.
Once you know you are moving, you really want to take time to research your new environment. Learning about the weather in your new area will help you prepare. If you are relocating from a dry environment to a humid one or vice versa you will quickly feel the difference. Taking steps to understand will help you acclimate to your new environment. Here are a few things to consider:
If you are moving to a humid environment, it will take its toll on your furniture and food. Therefore, making sure you have some climate control, like a dehumidifier in your new home will help to alleviate these affects. Mold and mildew thrive in humid environments. If you are choosing to purchase a home, you will need to have a thorough home inspection to make sure that there are no problems with mold or mildew in the home. Further, you will have to learn to keep some of your food in the refrigerator that you would not have otherwise. Bread molds quicker and cereal does not stay crispy in humid conditions. Putting them in your refrigerator helps. You will also have to familiarize yourself with a term called heat index. The heat index factors humidity into the temperature to help you understand what it really ‘feels’ like outside. Humidity will also affect your hair and give you more moisture on your skin.
Living in a dry climate does pose some challenges. It will have an impact on your furniture and food as well. Your furniture will dry out easier and will require polishing to retain some moisture. If you leave out food without being sealed or covered, it will harden. Again, climate control, like a humidifier in your new home can help alleviate these affects. A dry climate will take its toll on your skin and hair. You will find that you will have to continually moisturize just keep from drying out.
If you have never lived in the cold, it can be quite an adjustment. Keep in mind that it will take time for your body to acclimate. In the meantime, getting the right gear will make all of the difference. Familiarize yourself with the average temperature highs and lows during the winter months to help you understand what type of gear will help you. Most winter clothing and gear will come with a temperature rating. Use this to help you find what you will need. Remember boots, gloves and hats are a must. Keeping your extremities warm will make all the difference.
If you are moving into the heat, it can take your body time to adjust as well. Extreme heat will take its toll on you and your family until you acclimate. Therefore, you will definitely need an air conditioner in your new place. Further, you will also want to change some of your habits when it gets really hot. For example, you will learn that the best time to enjoy the outdoors is early in the morning and in the evening.
Don’t forget about your pets. Just as you will need time to acclimate, so will your pet. Make sure they are adequately hydrated and kept inside from extreme temperatures. Taking these steps will help you transition successfully into you new environment.