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Over the last year I have helped several families move into this amazing Province and it really got me thinking about why I love this city. Initially, I moved to Winnipeg from North Western Ontario (NOW) to attend the University of Manitoba and play hockey. I was never keen on the idea of living in Winnipeg mostly because it was too close to home and at the age of 18 you feel like you need your own space to grow. However, the city grew on me very quickly and honestly, I can’t imagine living anywhere else, even when it is -40! There are so many things to love about Winnipeg but here are a couple of my favourites!


Best Restaurants in WinnipegThe Food Cultural: I love food. I love cooking. So, the fact that Winnipeg is known for its food culture makes me very happy! Everywhere you go in this city there is a restaurant waiting for you. There is such a variety from Asian, tapas, traditional Indigenous, French, Italian, American, Indian, honestly you name it, you can find it in Winnipeg. I wish I had more time to explore more restaurants. Often times we get stuck in what is easy and comfortable, but I try and make a goal of trying a new restaurant every month in hopes of keeping it interesting! My most recent favourite is Harth Mozza and Wine Bar.


 If you’re wanting to be more hands-on and experiment in your own kitchen, try taking some cooking classes. There are a number of different organizations that offer speciality classes. Something I have always wanted to do but never done. Maybe I’ll make it part of my 2022 goals! If you have any suggestions, please send them my way.


Real Estate: Yes, I realize I might be a little biased on this one, and I’m sure you have heard it before, Winnipeg is one of the most affordable cities in all of Canada. Yes, we aren’t a major hub like Vancouver, Calgary or Toronto, but if you are looking to put down some roots, start a family, start investing or expand your investing portfolio - Winnipeg is an exciting and affordable city to do that in. The average price for a single family detached home in Winnipeg is coming in just under $400,000. While other cities like Calgary or Halifax have much higher average prices for homes of closer to $500,000, and don’t even get me started on Vancouver and Toronto where you would need a much large commitment of $1M plus just to break into the market. Winnipeg has always seemed like a smart and safe investment to me!


The Nature Trails and Parks : As you know by now I grew up in NWO. I spent a lot of time outdoors, camping, fishing, sports, etc. Nature and getting outdoors is something that is very important to me and my family. Winnipeg (and surrounding area) has spectacular parks and trails. Parks like Assiniboine, St Vital Park, La Barriere are popular destinations for my family as well as many fellow Winnipegers! They always have so much going on. You can choose to get caught up in the excitement of the crowds or relax and enjoy the serenity. I also have a couple parks closer to home that I take my dog, Provie, and my son, Gavin, to on a weekly basis. There are so many parks with lovely walking trails, I feel guilty for not exploring them more but honestly there are so many it is sometimes hard to choose!


Fort Whyte Alive is something I haven’t explored enough but it needs to be highlighted. It is 660 acres of green space in the middle of the city. They provide programming, natural settings, and facilities for environmental education, outdoor recreation, and social enterprise. In so doing, FortWhyte promotes awareness and understanding of the natural world and actions leading to sustainable living. They have endless things to do: tours, biking, water sports, snowshoeing, ski trails, skating, fit pits. Honesty, there is no way I could fully explain what Fort Whyte Alive is, you need to explore it for yourself.

 

Culturally Diverse: Winnipeg is one of the most diverse cities in all of Canada. We have a lot of larger industries that attract people with all kinds of backgrounds; manufacturing, aerospace, agribusiness, creative industries, energy and environment, financial industries, information, communications and technology, life sciences, tourism, transportation, distribution and the list goes on. Did you know that there are at least 100 different languages spoken here?  Incredible! Folklorama is a terrific two-week annual festival that explores the multicultural diversity of Manitoba. It allows all of the cultures within our province to showcase their uniqueness during the festival in August. I usually get to 1 or 2 of the pavilions each year and I have never been disappointed!



Realtor working in South WinnipegManitoba Museum: The Manitoba Museum is the province’s largest, not-for-profit centre for heritage and science learning. They pride themselves on the interpretation of Manitoba’s rich and diverse history and do a wonderful job at it. There are also Planetarium shows, and Science Gallery exhibits, which I haven’t visited yet but need to in the near future. The Museum’s collections are based off the heritage of Manitoba and other regions of the world. There are nine interpretive galleries to explore each with their unique qualities and attractions. The Museum is known for its three-dimensional walk-through galleries. One of which is a full-size 17th-century sailing vessel, and the Urban Gallery, which takes you back in time to Winnipeg during the 1920s. Full disclosure, I hadn’t been to the Manitoba Museum in about 10-15 years but I went a couple weeks ago with my 3-year-old son and it was amazing! I thought my son would only be interested in the “big ship” but he was interested in everything. They have done an amazing job renovating and upgrading the facility. We could have spent the entire day in there – the ship alone is pretty spectacular!


The Forks: This one is a classic and I think most people have heard of this meeting place but I need to mention it. The Forks is such a special place. It is located at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers. The area as been transformed over the last 30 years, from Indigenous trading grounds to abandoned railyard and now The Forks. Their goal:


“The Forks shall be developed as a meeting place a special and distinct, all-season gathering and recreational place at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, through a mixed-use approach including recreational, historical and cultural, institutional and supportive commercial uses.”


Everyone should experience The Fork at one time or another in the life, and may I add in every season! The grounds have so much to offer in the spring, summer, fall and my favourite - the winter!


So please join me, in exploring Winnipeg and if you have any other recommendations, please be sure to share in the comments section below!


Top Realtor in Winnipeg Manitoba#AgentAmy


Amy McDermid

Phone: (204) 470-5356
Email: Amy@JenniferQueen.com

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Having a backyard oasis is one of my life goals! My family and I have  been spending  A LOT of time outside! My husband and I are currently trying to transform our backyard into something beautiful so I thought other might be able to benefit from our experiences. Now that the worms are gone we can finally start tackling some of our projects. This year we are planning some big exterior projects; shingles, soffit, fascia, eavestrough, grading, and a garage. In past years we have painted our exterior stucco trim and all, grading, added flower and vegetable gardens! I know our summer is a short season but undertaking the projects little by little you will be able to achieve that beautiful backyard oasis! 


Here are a couple exterior projects to help you add value and enjoy your outdoor space!


PaintJust like the interior of your house, paint can be a great way to spruce up curb appeal without breaking the bank. Keep it neutral and add that splash of colour with flowers, planters or a freshly painted front door! A great tip if you don’t want to spend a bunch of money on exterior paint, visit some paint store and ask about their mis tints. They sell them at a reduced rate and you might just get lucky! My husband and I did this a couple years ago and ended up getting a white mis tint! We were able to tint it any colour we wanted for a ¼ of the price!


Landscaping This is a big one. Landscaping and grading are very important. While a level yard and pretty gardens make your yard aesthetically pleasing, they also serve a very important role in the overall maintenance of your house and foundation – water management. You always want to make sure you have positive grading, which helps direct water away from the foundation. Installing gardens around your foundation helps absorbs excess water and adds extra curb appeal!


Add or Fix Driveway Adding or Fixing a driveway isn’t always the cheapest renovation but it will go a long way. If your home already has a driveway, make sure it is clean and eye appealing. There are companies in Winnipeg that help fix uneven driveways so just because your driveway has a couple cracks and dips in it make sure you researching and look at all your options before you hire a company to tear up the old driveway and add a new one!


Decks and patios Adding a deck or patio area to your backyard is an important step to creating that oasis! Having a deck or patio area is a valuable addition to your home and can act like a second living space during those summer months. It is a great space for entertaining, eating,  playing, relaxing, etc. This is something my husband and I don’t have and I dream about it all the time! Hopefully we can find some room in the budget this fall or next spring.


Top Real Estate Agent in Winnipeg

#AgentAmy


Amy McDermid

Phone: (204) 470-5356
Email: Amy@JenniferQueen.com

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As I approach another anniversary in real estate, I always feel a sense of overwhelm as I look back and reflect on all the good that this career has brought into my life. It has taught me a variety of life lessons. I will try and highlight my favourite nine (for my nine years in this career) for now:


1.There is a solution to every problem

While the solution may not always be immediate or obvious, sometimes you just have to get creative and think outside the box.  This is where difficult transactions or listings not only help us use our more creative side, but to also expand our professional toolbox.


2. Honesty is STILL and will ALWAYS BE the Best Policy!

I think I have highlighted this lesson in each of these annual blogs for the last few years, but every year it rings true for a different reason.  This year, for whatever reason I decided to try and conceal in a lot of my listing presentations the fact that I was pregnant.  Even though this is my third child and pregnancy has never held me back before, I would not mention anything to potential new seller clients.  I thought it would give them the impression that I couldn’t do my job or was incapable of seeing things through to the end.  Well guess what? I went on a huge losing streak in which for every 10 listing appointments I performed, I maybe got 1 listing.  Maybe it was my lack of confidence because I felt I was hiding something, or these sellers couldn’t tell just how pregnant I was (I’m so huge with this third child), and they didn’t feel that they could ask.  Either way, not being honest and upfront about the “elephant in the room” really did hurt my business for several months.  The funny thing is, when I started talking to people openly about being pregnant – which was much further along in my pregnancy and when I was even larger – it turns out they didn’t care.  A simple acknowledgment that I will be having a baby, that the majority of my career I have been pregnant or breastfeeding, and the fact that I have a team behind me in the event I needed them to step in, was all that these sellers needed to hear.  Honesty (and openness) has always been paramount to success in this business.


3. Awards mean nothing

I swear, in sales there is an award for everything.  They give them out like participation medals.  Oftentimes they are used as benchmarks against your competition.  They are often reflective of sales volume, but give very little insight to the quality of a business that one runs. You need to come up with your own metrics to measure what is important to you and your own business.


4. Respond but don’t React

This is an emotional business.  People selling their homes often have emotional ties to their home and all the meaning it has held for them.  As we become close with our clients during the process, we become emotionally invested in the outcome as well.  However, the best agents tend to have an innate ability to keep those emotions under control and de-escalate any situation in an effort to keep things moving forward.


5. You are your Only Competition

I used to find myself looking to my competitors, both locally and in other markets and compare our numbers.  I would track what they had done, what we had done, and see where we stand in the grand scheme of things.  I would spend a lot of time doing this until one day I realized my focus was being lost on my own business.  I realize now, that my competition is only myself.  My daily goal is to just get a little bit better than I was yesterday.  It’s that simple!


6. You either Win or you Learn

There really is no losing, in real estate or in life – unless you quit.  Take each setback, each rejection, each disappointment and try and garner just one small nugget of learning from it.  Use it as an ongoing feedback loop for improvement. We tend to grow more from our setbacks anyway than from our successes.  So embrace them!


7. It Takes all Kinds to Make this World go ‘Round

Every year it would seem, there is one deal that just doesn’t go according to plan – or perhaps a transaction goes exactly according to plan and results in an almost too quick sale.  Whatever the circumstance, I have had to learn to accept that with the volume of people I help, that not everyone is going to like me.  There are people out there that simply, just aren’t my people. This was initially a tough pill to swallow – but I continuously remind myself that it is ultimately just a numbers game.  If 1 person out of every 100 you help doesn’t like you, then you actually aren’t doing too bad.


8. Relationships are Paramount

To have any kind of longevity in this business, you have to form solid relationships with clients and the community in which you work.  These clients will continue to refer you even in the toughest of times, and will trust your advice even in the most difficult of times.  Even in a pandemic!


9. Invest in what you Believe

Logan and I have started building our own real estate portfolio.  It just makes sense.  As our business continued to expand and flourish, we started thinking about our investor clients and how we have watched their wealth grow through the years.  We truly believe there is no better investment than real estate, and are putting our money where our mouth is and investing in rental properties.  If ever we do want to retire, we will already have a nice portfolio of property that allows us to live on passive income.  To anyone out there that finds they spend most of their money on daily expenses, I implore you to start setting some money aside and investing it in assets that will generate income instead. It doesn’t have to be real estate!  The goal is ultimately to live off that passive income. Create a life in which you don’t need to work, but choose to work!


10. BONUS (I couldn't keep it to 9): Managing Expectations is Key

There has never been a more difficult time to sell a house than during the COVID pandemic.  Not because homes weren’t selling.  As it turns out, homes sold quite well and continue to do so.  What was the most difficult in my experience, was managing the expectations for clients – particularly when we were in a position in which we didn’t know what we could possibly expect! I had many sleepless nights mid-March simply wondering what was going to happen – although my clients likely never knew that.  At the end of the day, doing our best and demonstrating measures being taken, preparing people for what we thought could be a slower market, and providing them with the PPE equipment to keep their showings as safe as possible was all that we could do. Our weekly report cards became extra important as they included market statistics, newest recommendations from the Board and Province, and helped to keep our clients in-the-know. We had clients through the pandemic that were open and receptive to our advice, and had positive outcomes as a result.  It truly was the finest compliment I have received in my career. 



Next year represents my 10-year anniversary.  Hard to believe!  It will also represent the dawn of a new era for both Logan and I.  We had always planned to have three children, as we were both one of three children growing up and enjoyed the dynamics of a family of five.  So this will be the first time in my career in which our family will not have a focus on babies, but rather on toddlers and school-aged children.  While we are still a few years away from having three children in school full-time, I realize it is quickly becoming a reality and that we will have even more time to focus on growing our business.  I can’t wait to see what the next few years bring!


Best Real Estate Agent in Winnipeg#AgentJen


Jennifer Queen

Phone: (204) 797-7945
Email: Jennifer@JenniferQueen.com

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Well 2019 was another banner year for the Queen Team! More sales, bigger sales, a larger team, more awards, you get it. But honestly, where did the year go?  As I sit down and look at my calendar from 2019 I see a lot of 14 hour days consisting of team meetings, client appointments, agent mentoring, home inspections, various committees, open houses, etc.  You name it, we did it. We give everyone the funny, the good news, the excitement and the “pretty” on social media. We choose not to post the ugly, because we aren’t expecting people to feel “sorry” for us – it’s part of the job!  There are peaks and valleys in any job and that is what we signed up for! But in truth, the hours can be long, VERY long. There is no “closed” sign for clients – we’re here for them 24/7.


Sometimes we give more to our clients than our own family. We understand that there is a reason and a season, and the simple fact that they chose US, is what keeps our business going.


Milestones for the Queen Team in 2019:

Amy McDermid Top Realtor in Winnipeg#AgentAmy returned from maternity leave! In October, Amy returned to work full time after taking some time off to raise her sweet son, Gavin.  We are so glad to have her back.  She was the first person to ever agree to work with me – the poor soul.  She is a full time licensed realtor that brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her clients and I know that this year will bring great joys and successes for her, both personally and professionally. Her dedication and commitment as a person shines through in all that she does, including now being a working Mom! She’s more than just a colleague and work wife, she’s become a great friend.


Real Estate Agent in Winnipeg#AgentAshton got married to her amazing husband, Mark!  She managed to handle showers, socials, and the planning of her wedding in 2019 and never broke a sweat! In fact, she had her own banner year in real estate and not only hit the sales goal she set for herself, she surpassed it by 25%.  She continues to astound me and I know that 2020 will bring even more good things for her.  She has a great work ethic, a fun and positive attitude, and her clients absolutely adore her for it.




Realtors in Bridgwater Winnipeg#AdminCarrie continues to be a rock for everyone – her team as well as her family. She is often the first in the office and she runs a tight ship. She has three teenagers; her son just graduated high school and is now in University. Her twin daughters just got their learner permits.  Bless her soul! She has a huge heart, whether it be going above and beyond for one of our clients or team members, fostering dogs, driving all hours into the night to get her kids to their extracurriculars, or working longer hours than she is supposed to just to make sure everything around the office gets done.  The Carrie’s of this world are truly a gift and we feel so lucky to have her.


#AgentLogan and I bought our first two rental properties. We’ve helped many investors over the years and watched as their wealth grew.  Finally we got the nerve to take on the endeavour ourselves!  We have hired a property management company that deals directly with the tenants.  So really, it is a steady stream of passive income.  The goal for 2020 is to buy another 1-2 rental properties. I actually thought that buying rentals was going to be more challenging than it has been, but we have a great bank that has worked closely with us.  All we needed was the down payment and proof that the property rents could sustain the monthly expenses, and we were on our way!  The most important factor is finding the right deal so that the numbers make sense. This is something we are quite capable of doing!


REMAX Realtors in WinnipegWe finally updated our pictures in 2020 as well.  It was time.  My headshot was from the day I got my license in 2011.  I had been reluctant to have new pictures taken as I had a couple of children in that time, gained a few (or a lot) of pounds.  With the picture date in mind I set a goal to lose some weight, and lost 50 pounds in 2020 doing a modified Ketogenic diet.  For a long time I knew that carbs were not my friend, but I love cake.  Knowing these pictures were looming got my butt in gear and kept me motivated.  The goal moving forward is to do more regular updates.  We aren’t secret agents after all!


We finally incorporated our real estate business.  I know this sounds like the most boring piece of information, but it is something I’ve been meaning to do for a few years and was a huge undertaking but now a weight off my shoulders. Fellow Realtors, if ever you have questions about incorporating your own business, please feel free to reach out. I can put you in touch with a good tax accountant as well as a corporate lawyer or just talk to you about my experience with it. There are many tax advantages and strategies that can be implemented to multiply your tax savings!  Some of these tax savings have gone to the down payments for our rental properties!


Realtor Family TeamsOn a personal level, #AgentLogan and I discovered we are pregnant.  Yep, you read that right!  We are expecting our third child.  A lot of people commented when we had our son that we now had the “Million Dollar Family”.  But to us, our family didn’t feel quite complete. I looked at my dinner table in the future and couldn't imagine my life without 3 children. We are both one of three children, and we liked the dynamic that having two siblings brought.  Perhaps that, or we secretly love chaos in our lives.  Being outnumbered by children while running a busy real estate practice – sounds completely sane, right?  RIGHT?


For 2020, we dare to push the limits. 

I’ve written a pretty aggressive business/marketing plan for the year and we want to accomplish more than we have in the past.  We will dream big and aim for the stars. There is no goal we can’t attain and no task we can’t complete. We have exciting new things to come, new members joining and, just like always, creative and innovative marketing strategies to WOW our clients. 2020 - Look out!



Top Realtor in Winnipeg Manitoba#AgentJen


Jennifer Queen

Phone: (204) 797-7945
Email: Jennifer@JenniferQueen.com

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