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Location, location, location. It’s an age-old piece of advice that is often heard when shopping for a new home. The question, however, is what location is right for you? That is an extremely subjective decision.

I’m often asked about a specific location and how quickly the home will appreciate. The person asking is looking at value and if their purchase is a smart one from a financial point of view. That’s a loaded question. Unless you are an investor and your sole purpose for the purchase is to maximize your investment over the next few years, a better question might be, is this a good investment for your lifestyle. Is this the house and the location where you will be the happiest? And that is why this decision is so subjective.

For example, a young couple with children likely wants a home close to schools, parks and other recreational amenities. More often than not, they want a newer neighbourhood or an area that is being rejuvenated with young families like themselves so their children grow up with friends close by. In addition, the parents are living in an area with people who have common interests and desires. Being conveniently located near public transit is also a high priority, especially for couples relying on one car.

Single buyers or young couples might find a downtown location is ideal, perhaps in a condo or a home that is close to the action – entertainment, restaurants and nightlife. This kind of lifestyle also appeals to some Baby Boomers who are empty nesters but want to recapture those active days of their youth and also want to be within walking distance of fine dining, live performances at the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts and upscale shopping.

And yet, other Boomers want the quieter pace of a lifestyle community, a secluded pocket of exclusive homes or a more idyllic setting close to nature. For these buyers, walking trails and manicured back yard retreats are more important than having amenities close at hand.

The key to finding the right home for you, or finding the right buyer if you are selling, is to work with a Broker who is knowledgeable about the area, who knows the market and can eliminate a lot of guesswork for you. At The Dan Cooper Team, for example, we have a team of multi-disciplined professionals with more than 40 years of combined experience. I alone have more than 20 years of experience in the Oakville market and have had the distinction of being the top Broker in Canada for Royal LePage.

When you work with the best you are assured of getting the best deal and the home that fits your lifestyle.

The arts are an important element in the cultural fabric of a community. Live performances, dance and music feed the minds and souls of its citizens and that is critical for a well-balanced and culturally rich community. One of the most active and influential organizations in our town is the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts.

The Centre has been providing an important stage for local theatre and concerts and professional performances by artists from across Canada and around the world since 1977. The mission of the Centre is to provide Oakville residents with a place to learn about themselves and the world around them through dance, music, storytelling and theatre.

I’m proud to be associated with this wonderful organization by bringing a number of top shows and performances each year through the Dan Cooper Concert Series. The desire by the Dan Cooper Team to provide support for the arts is a testament to our commitment to give back to the community in which we work and live. We are not simply in the business of selling properties and helping buyers find homes. We are an integral part of this terrific community. We are your neighbour, our children go to school here and we shop in the same grocery stores. This is our community and the Dan Cooper Team is proud to play a part in shaping its character and its success.

We are involved in a number of good causes in Oakville, and our support for the Oakville Centre is just one more example of our commitment to help build a better community.
“Corporate sponsors like Dan Cooper help the Oakville Centre meet our mandate of bringing world class artists to Oakville,” says Ronnie Brown, marketing coordinator for the Centre. “When the community can experience various cultures through the performing arts, it provides each individual a chance to grow and learn more about themselves and people around them. Inspiration, creativity and participation go hand in hand for those who enjoy the arts and building abetter community to live in. With the Dan Cooper Concert Series we have been able to present some of the best Canadian artists like Holly Cole, Jann Arden, Colin James, Randy Bachman and international artists like Johnny Winter, RobertCray, Big Bad VooDoo Daddy and Tower of Power. Dan’s support has helped bring families and friends together to share special concert memories that will influence their lives in many ways.”

I invite you to watch for upcoming performances that make up the summer portion of the Dan Cooper Concert Series. Please check the Centre’s website www.oc4pa.ca for an update on these and some of the other terrific concerts that you can enjoy in one of the most intimate theatres in Canada.

Comic Vision Oakville, held on April 22nd at the OE Banquet & Conference Centre, was sold out with 500 attendees showing their support for yet another successful year. This year Comic Vision’s five Canadian comedians were made possible because of the generous support of Dan Cooper, comedian sponsor. Headlining the event was funny man Mike MacDonald, who in addition to his successful and well received live performances all over North America, has appeared on numerous TV shows including “Late Night With David Letterman”, “The Arsenio Hall Show”, and “Just For Laughs” to name a few.

Comic Vision was cofounded by comedian and Oakville resident, Meg Soper, who also performs at the event, and Ann Morrison in 1999, after Ann’s son was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa (RP). RP is a degenerative eye disease that causes progressive vision loss with symptoms appearing during childhood.

All money raised by Comic Vision goes to support vision research through the Foundation Fighting Blindness. Comic Vision would like to extend a special thanks to all the volunteers, sponsors and the community of Oakville and Burlington for making Comic Vision possible year after year.

Due to its great success, Comic Vision is held in a total of five cities across Canada, including Oakville, London, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. To see videos and photos of the event, please visit www.comicvision.ca. For more information about the Foundation Fighting Blindness, please visit www.ffb.ca.

Making the transition to a new home can be one of the most exciting and anticipated moments in a family’s life. Unfortunately, it can also turn out to be one of the most stressful. There are many factors involved in moving, and if each factor is not addressed prior to the move, there is a good chance that problems will arise. This is why it is essential to prepare for your move, even if labeling boxes doesn’t seem like an ideal way to spend a Saturday.

“Preplanning is the number one tip I can give to someone preparing to move – especially if it is a summer move. Too many people leave their arrangements until the last minute and find their options are severely limited,” says Carol Davis, vice president, marketing and corporate communications at Atlas Van Lines Ltd.

To avoid this type of situation, begin selecting a moving company at least five to eight weeks before the move. Be sure not to rely on a quick flip through the yellow pages to choose, instead ask friends, co-workers, your Royal LePage agent or local Royal LePage office for recommendations. Be sure to get written estimates from at least three different carriers. Some movers, such as Atlas will send an agency representative to your home to explain their services and perform a survey of articles to be moved.

Once you have chosen your mover, you should being preparing your belongings for the day the movers arrive. One job you can have complete is packing, which is done with care and detail, can make the move significantly easier. Keep a detailed list of what you are packing and how many boxes you have. Instead of using flimsy grocery store boxes, ensure your items stability by purchasing boxes for a very small fee at a moving company or rental facility. Labelling is a tedious task, but one that will pay dividends when you arrive at your new location with boxes tagged for specific rooms. It is especially important to label boxes containing sheets, towels and food, so you have essentials available your first night.

Upon arriving at your new location, the first thing to do is make sure all your items are with you. If you prepared a list while packing, or hired a company that does an inventory, this is as simple as checking off numbered boxes on your list. In the case that there are missing or damaged articles, claim them with the moving company before they depart, or your may run into problems. Prior to unloading your brown boxes, check that all utilities are turned on. If your utilities are working, you can now begin emptying those boxes you so prudently packed. It is recommended to unpack the kitchen first and use this area as your home base during the unpacking process. After the kitchen, the bathroom should be set up with the essentials before beginning to arrange the bedrooms and living rooms. These are areas that should not be unpacked without a floor plan to avoid unnecessary moving.

When you finally have your new home set to your fancy, take some time to relax and enjoy your surroundings. Then remember how simple a move can be with a bit of pre-planning, just in case you move again.