RE/MAX Hallmark Emerson Group Realty Ltd., Brokerage
Independently owned & operated


We’ve climbed the property ladder many times, optimizing our journey to take advantage of life’s opportunities.
Here’s our story.


Julie and Mike have lived through several life stages in recent years and through it all, they say, was the support of Matt and Madalin.

“Our story is the continuity of going through different life events and how great it’s been to have a source to rely on who understands us and knows our history and has been really accommodating to what our goals are,” says Julie.

The biggest change for this couple, who met later in life, was making the decision to combine their two households into one. But there were also renovations – what to renovate and what not to – a rental property, selling, and transitioning Mike’s mother into a retirement home.

Together for 10 years, Julie and Mike each owned their own home in the same neighbourhood when they decided it was time to move in together five years ago. But whose home to move into, if either, and what to do with the other one?

“We looked at both our properties and tried to figure out, should we move into one, should we sell both, should we renovate one – there’s a lot you can do with two properties,” says Julie, who is a writer and editor. “The Emersons were really great at helping us work through the financial side of things, like the opportunities and costs, the alternatives.”

They decided to move into Julie’s home because she was more tied into her neighbourhood, explains Mike, who is a consultant. Taking advantage of having the two homes, they temporarily relocated to Mike’s home while renovations were done to Julie’s, and Matt and Madalin offered guidance on the types of renovations that are worth doing if you’re staying versus selling.

“There were a lot of things being considered that they helped us with,” says Julie.

Mike had been thinking about renting his home once they were ready to move into Julie’s renovated space and, again, Matt offered guidance, advising them on the ins and outs of being a landlord and renting and how you go about finding good-quality tenants.

But first, there were more renovations to do, this time to Mike’s home, to attract those good-quality tenants. Using the full suite of services the Emersons offer, Matt drew on both his construction background and his extensive knowledge of the market to recommend the renos to undertake. Then he “managed the whole sprucing up,” turning to his network of partners, says Mike. When the home was ready, the Emersons took care of advertising the home, qualifying prospects and presented Mike with three quality tenants to choose from. 

Eventually, Mike grew tired of being a landlord and decided to sell his home. “It was a natural” to choose the Emersons to represent them, including undertaking another round of renovations to prepare the home before selling it in 2015.

In the case of Mike’s mother, Matt and Madalin “just took care of the whole thing,” says Mike. The Emersons recommended against renovations this time, advising it was better to sell the home as is. They managed the disbursement of all of the leftover furniture that Mike’s mother did not need in her retirement residence and, of course, they took care of the sale.

“That’s just part of the service that they offer,” says Mike, who has known the Emersons for years. “And this is the way Matt sells himself – he provides an end-to-end service. There’s a lot of agents out there who just want a sale and don’t really want to put anything more into it and I think that’s one of the things that distinguishes Matt & Madalin is that they will put a lot more into it and they’ll take the personal interest.

“He’s got a whole network of people that he partners with, so he just taps into those services and it’s a win-win for everybody. Matt just made it easy.”

Julie and Mike’s advice to others who may find themselves in a similar situation? “Step back a bit and look at all the options,” says Julie. Doing so with the help of Matt and Madalin helped them to avoid making a purely emotional decision.

“It was complemented with some really good knowledge of what was going on in our specific market in our neighbourhood. And that was great to have.”

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There are many life stages that prompt us to reconsider our living arrangements and wonder whether it’s time to make a change. One of the biggest, and often most difficult, is the one an increasing number of baby boomers face: Is it time to let go of the family home, perhaps relocating to another community outside the GTA?

Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t – it really depends on whether you’re looking forward to what comes next and are ready to transition to a new lifestyle. And if you’re not sure, that’s the perfect time to consult with us.

Yes, we’re real estate agents, which means we help you to buy and sell homes. But, ultimately, we’re more concerned with helping you make the decision that’s right for you. And that could mean staying right where you are. There can be a lot of unknowns when you contemplate moving, and the satisfaction for us comes in helping you talk through the process to determine your next step.

Should I stay or should I go?

You’re at a crossroads. You’ve been in your family home for a long time, but the kids are gone and you can start to see a new and potentially exciting phase on the horizon. Or maybe your circumstances have changed, either for better or for worse. Does that mean you should downsize or right-size? That depends on whether you’re really ready to make a change.

Why it’s hard to go

The biggest reason empty nesters will avoid making a decision to transition is because change is uncomfortable. You’ve been in your home a long time, it’s comfortable, it’s what you know. And changing that brings with it many unknowns. Will you be happy in a new home or will you just miss your old one? Will you like a new community? What will the future hold for you in terms of health, family needs and your personal desires?

And the choices can be overwhelming. Figuring out where to start and what you might want can seem daunting, as can the thought of the whole process of preparing for a sale, hunting for a new home, coordinating both and the disruption it all brings.

Why it’s hard to stay

While you may be comfortable in your family home, once the kids have gone you no longer need all that space. And the idea of new opportunities can be exciting. A family home can be a necessary and safe anchor when your family is growing. But letting it go afterwards can be like lifting a weight that gives you the freedom – financially, emotionally and mentally – to make new choices.

What are the options?

The first thing to determine is whether you should “move or improve”. Sometimes the best option is to stay put. Moving carries with it the costs of disposition and acquisition, costs that could instead be invested into renovations so that you can enjoy your home the way you want longer. In this case, it becomes a question of do you like your neighbourhood and your neighbours?

But not everyone wants to renovate. If you decide you do want to move, then the question becomes where? You could relocate in the city, but maybe this is your chance to get away from urban congestion and find more relaxed living, where you can have access to the hobbies you like, such as golf or boating or even hobby farming.

You may want to become a snowbird, living here during the warmer months and following the sun in winter. You could have a home base here and enjoy rental experiences around the world. Maybe you want waterfront living, or the freedom to volunteer locally or abroad whenever you want. Or maybe you’re still transitioning to retirement and want to tele-commute or work from any home base.

There are many choices. What’s best for you depends on what’s important to you in your situation. Helping you navigate those choices and make the best decision for today is what’s key for us.

Exploring the options

So, how do you know whether you’re making the right choice? Well, how about a test drive?

Maybe you think the Golden Horseshoe or Prince Edward County might be right for you – still close enough to family that you can regularly see the grandkids, but far enough away from the big city to escape the congestion. Or perhaps the natural beauty of the Muskokas or Kawarthas is calling you. Or maybe you want to consider relocating as far away as Vancouver or Halifax.

Why not try before you buy? You could rent for a time in the area, or simply try a bed and breakfast stay to start. While you’re there, check out some of the community events, meet some locals, shop and dine in local stores and restaurants and get a feel for the lifestyle.

And, if you like what you see, we can connect you with a trusted real estate professional from among our extensive network to help you begin to explore the area real estate.

All of these things can help to make the transition easier. And by connecting with us at the beginning of the process, you can be assured of impartial guidance to first make the right choice for you, and then help you navigate through the process.

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