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Guest Columnist

The "strata-sphere"

With over 29,000 registered strata corporations and over 350,000 strata units in B.C., strata properties are a significant and increasing type of housing.

My name is Julia Krause, I live in Kelowna, and I’m a townhouse owner.  I’ve served on my strata council for about 15 years now, which has been a great learning experience not only as a homeowner, but also as a mortgage broker, which has been my job for just over 20 years. 

Experience has taught me that many buyers who purchase a condo or a townhouse often do so without taking time to read the information about the complex, which is always provided to a buyer by their realtor and/or lawyer.  Of course, every homebuyer gets buried in paperwork during the purchase and mortgage process  and granted, it’s not exactly riveting reading material.  But as you begin to learn more about the complex in which you now OWN… the phrase, “But I didn’t know that!” is not going to help you. 

Rather than ‘buyer beware’, I prefer to say ‘buyer be aware’.  By writing this column, I hope to provide some “I wish I had known that BEFORE I bought!” information for those considering buying a condo or townhouse, but also for those who already own a strata property, and perhaps don’t quite understand how it all works.

Let’s start with the terminology… 

In B.C., condominiums and townhouses are referred as strata properties.  Individual owners have title to their condo or townhouse plus a proportional share of the common property.  The common property belongs to all the owners, and all owners share the cost of maintaining it.

A strata corporation is made up of all the individual homeowners in a particular complex or building.  The B.C. Strata Property Act is the framework under which a strata corporation operates.  A strata corporation is required to make decisions using democratic principles (“majority rules”).  A strata council is a group of homeowners who volunteer their time to ensure that the building or complex is properly maintained, that rules (strata by-laws) are being followed, and that the finances (strata fees) are handled responsibly. 

Living in a strata property is not for everyone, and that’s OK.  We are all unique individuals.  For others though, it can be the perfect living situation.  Here are some important questions to ask yourself when you’re considering buying a condo or townhouse, which will give you an idea of the reality of strata living:

  • Can you live in a complex/community where you do not have total control over your own home?
  • Can you live in a complex/community where decisions are made democratically, and you may not always get your way?
  • Are you willing to be cooperative and help with the running of a complex/community?
  • Are you willing to share the cost of maintaining common areas that are for the use of all owners?

 

In future columns, I’ll get into more details about things like strata fees, by-laws, management companies, etc.

Thanks for reading! 

 

 

A townhouse owner since 1996, Julia Krause has served on her own strata council for 15 years.  There is more to owning and living in a strata property than meets the eye, and Julia’s hope is that the information in her column will help homebuyers make an educated, informed decision.  Also a licensed mortgage broker since 1996, Julia has written articles for industry publications, as well as training courses and educational material for mortgage professionals across Canada.  She has served on the Board of Directors of the Mortgage Brokers Association of B.C. and the Okanagan Mortgage Lenders Association.  If you’re considering purchasing a townhouse or condominium, Julia is the mortgage broker for you.



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Watch your language!

There is a vocabulary around customer service and it is the language of calming, the language of apology and the language of questioning and listening.  You will seldom be able to fix a customer without using this language and if you choose a different language, you might be inflaming rather than resolving a situation.

 

What not to say? 

  • It’s not our Policy.
  • You’re wrong.
  • Did you check to make sure it’s plugged in?

These are not words that will calm an upset customer.  There are much more gentle ways to point out errors.  Take for example the struggle in this phrase: 

  • "I’m a little confused .... our records seem to indicate ... "
  • "You know sometimes the slightest jiggle and things will come unplugged, would you mind checking to ensure it’s got power?"

 

Tonality delivers your words with either nurturing and empathy or blame and ridicule.  Which one builds relationships and which one burns them?  Watch your language!

 

Copyright 2014 Sandler Training and Insight Sales Consulting Inc. All rights reserved.

 

 

An entrepreneur for over 25 years, Lucy owned and operated a successful retail store before joining Sandler Training in 2011.

Lucy is passionate about people, and believes salespeople and frontline service providers are any company's #1 asset. She's an avid believer that supporting those employees with training will return investment to the top and bottom lines. Lucy’s primary roles at Sandler Training are Marketing and Operations. In her Training roles she specializes in helping clients find the right people with hiring and assessment tools and working on their customer service / inside sales issues through the Strategic Customer Care Program. With her extensive retail sales and management experience she also trains the Retail Sales and Customer Care Program. She's often asked to share her sales and professional development expertise with other retailers and has sat on many charitable and business boards such as the Downtown Vernon Association and Vernon Tourism.

 

 



The Yellow Dog Project

There is a simple notion sweeping the globe to aid owners of dogs that, for whatever reason, need to be given space. It has been dubbed the Yellow Dog Project and is symbolized by a piece of yellow ribbon tied to a dog’s leash. It does not mean that the dog is ‘aggressive’. Rather, fearful or reactive dogs will put on a show of aggression in an attempt to scare off something that frightens it, which can include people, and especially children.

For various reasons, some people upon seeing a dog on a leash in public with its owner feel they have the right to pet it without asking permission. Even more disturbing are those that allow their children to rush over to pet a strange dog without permission of its owner. Both of these actions on the part of uneducated people can lead to a bite, even from a normally non-aggressive dog.

I own a reactive dog. Reactive dogs are those you see lunging at the ends of their leashes, growling and snarling at people walking, jogging or riding bikes, or at other dogs. Dogs can become reactive for a myriad of reasons but it is not because they are abused. A truly abused dog will shut down, showing little or no reaction except a tail tucked under its belly and shaking hind legs. A reactive dog is afraid of whatever it is lunging at and is attempting to scare it away since the leash prevents it from fleeing.

I used to walk my dog with a backpack in an attempt to wear off his excess energy. The backpack had a handle on the top of it. However, I found that people who stopped to ask me about the handle would suddenly reach out and lift up my dog upon learning that yes, I did use it to lift my dog into the car. Can you imagine the impact this would have on an already reactive dog? If you can’t, try to imagine how your young child would react if a stranger suddenly lifted them up.

Knowledge of the Yellow Dog Project does not seem to be prevalent in the Okanagan, and those that have heard of it do not truly understand its meaning. It is my hope to educate those people who are misinformed or uninformed. People upon seeing that yellow ribbon on my dog’s leash will understand his issues and give us the space we need. Or if they are willing to participate in his training, ask permission and we can work on his anxiety around people in the proper fashion. I also hope that other people with dogs needing that extra space who were unfamiliar with this simple tool will start using it. People do not understand what issues your dog may have. It is up to you to let them know. And I can’t think of a less expensive way than a bit of yellow ribbon.

For further information, visit the Yellow Dog Project website.

 

Article written by Karen Brandt



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Stop wasting time!

So you’re out of shape and have decided to hire a personal trainer. Have you made the right choice? Is it the right time to tackle such a monumental decision? Will your trainer be gentle, or will he have teeth pulled over thin, cruel lips as he makes you do 100 push-ups, leaving you unable to brush your teeth the next day?

One thing I can tell you for sure is that most of your fears are unfounded. Sure, there are many questions that can be asked and a lot of them are valid. But also ask yourself, are you making excuses? And, are you getting results with what you’re presently doing, or are you spinning your wheels engrossed with the same exercise time and again, while expecting a different outcome?

A lot of people believe working out comes naturally. Just join a gym, plug in an app on your iPhone or pop in the latest P90X DVD and off you go. Results guaranteed because the marketing machine says so.  A funny thing happens along the way though. Someone forgot to include a healthy dose of motivation. And what happens when results fail to show up? Do you get discouraged? DVDs and apps don’t talk about proper nutrition as an aid to fitness. They also fail to instruct about proper exercise form, and as you hurl yourself into your 30th pull-up session in the first week, become a two-hour treadmill hog or lift weights like a possessed lumberjack, you’ll get hurt.   

In trying to achieve a desired result, many end up doing the opposite. In our time-starved society, quick health outcomes are imperative. The right expert advice will get us dramatic results in a compressed period of time. Professional trainers inspire, they emphasize the most efficient workouts in alignment with your goals and objectives, educate in nutritional aspects and prevent injury through correct exercises and form. All of this accelerates your training curve and results, while preventing the trial and errors that waste precious time and kill motivation.

Sure, you might still have reservations before making that call. It might even seem easier to schedule a root canal or hysterectomy, but once in expert hands you’ll understand why so many hire a trainer. Exercise and proper eating demands some work from us, perhaps even some discomfort, but the end result is all positive, and believe me, nothing tastes as good as results.

So instead of arguing that eating cheeseburgers and pastries is more fun and less work, think about walking the miles to your journey’s end while steering clear of a heart attack, dodging that oncoming cancer or missing the freight train known as diabetes. Then go ahead, make that call with confidence!

Sure, you might still have reservations before making that call. It might even seem easier to schedule a root canal or hysterectomy, but once in expert hands you’ll understand why so many hire a trainer. Exercise and proper eating demands some work from us, perhaps even some discomfort, but the end result is all positive, and believe me, nothing tastes as good as results.

So instead of arguing that eating cheeseburgers and pastries is more fun and less work, think about walking the miles to your journey’s end while steering clear of a heart attack, dodging that oncoming cancer or missing the freight train known as diabetes. Then go ahead, make that call with confidence!

 

 

Jorg Mardian is the owner of Three60Fitness in Osoyoos. He is a Certified Fitness Trainer, Registered Nutritional Therapist and Kinesiology Specialist with a passion to help clients achieve quick, safe and manageable lifestyle results.

 



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