What if you could rent your expensive baby gear?

Stephanie Kaspiris and baby Sienna

Sometime over the course of her pregnancy, Stephanie Kaspiris started thinking about all the stuff. You know – the BABY STUFF: the bassinet, the crib, the stroller, the breast pump, the bouncy chair, and on and on. And, there were questions, such as which products should she actually spend her money on, and did she really need all the things?

The idea of how much space and storage was required felt a little overwhelming. “I’m a huge minimalist and I have a small Toronto house. I don’t have a lot of storage space,” she says.

She also hated the idea of spending piles of money on things she might only use now and again, just for a short while, or maybe not at all. “There were some things I didn’t want to buy without trying out first, and I didn’t know what I’d actually need.“

So, when Stephanie first heard about StorkSupply, a baby product rental company based in Toronto, she couldn’t wait to check it out. Founded by parents, the company’s goal is to help other parents by getting them the quality gear they want – from breast pumps to strollers – for as long as they need it, while saving money.

Stephanie loved the idea of being able to try out a product before making a big purchase. “They cost a lot to buy, but what if I don’t end up using it?,” she worries.

Baby Sienna picks moms arms over the bassinet.

The simple, online rental process is meant to make parents’ lives easier. Stephanie was impressed by the selection of high-end items and excited to find items that she actually wanted to have in her home. “They have really nice stuff,” she says. “Very contemporary and modern looking.”

After clicking the items she wanted, the clean-lined Rockwell bassinet and the modern Leaf Twilight baby seat, and how long she wanted them for (weekly and monthly options), Stephanie picked a delivery time from the flexible schedule. A few weeks before her baby was due, and they brought it right to her door.

“Everything was like new, in perfect condition, and the items came with a package of instructions,” she says. “They even set everything up for me and even took all the boxes away. It was so easy.”

Stephanie and her partner put the bassinet on their main floor. However, at three months old, baby Sienna already has other ideas. “She hates being put down in the bassinet,” Stephanie laughs. “She wants to be held all the time. It’s another reason why I’m so glad I rented it instead of buying one.”

When Stephanie realized Sienna wasn’t having anything to do with the bassinet, she simply called StorkSupply and they came quickly to pick it up. “I love that I didn’t have to store it in case we decide to have another baby.”

Sienna loves to sway in her rental chair.

Sienna does enjoy a swing in the baby seat, however, and it gives Stephanie just enough time hands-off to get a couple of things done. And, now that she knows the chair is a hit, Stephanie is considering continuing the lease or even buying one.

Stephanie is eager to use the service in the future for things like toys and walkers that Sienna will only use for a short time, and for a playpen as a travel crib.

“It’s such a great solution for the storage issue, and also because you don’t know what your baby likes.”

Her only lament? That she hadn’t heard of StorkSupply sooner so she could have tested out baby carriers before buying one.

“I have lots of friends who have babies and I‘ve been recommended this service to everyone,” she laughs. “I’m so glad this company exists!”


5 questions to ask before hiring a real estate professional

So, you’re ready to buy or sell your home, and you want the guidance of a real estate professional to help you with the process. But how do you pick the one that is right for you?

“It’s always a good idea to meet with at least a few different real estate professionals before selecting the one you’d like to work with,” says Joseph Richer, registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario. “You should also consider asking friends or family to recommend someone they’ve recently worked with.”

When you’re ready to meet with a few representatives, consider asking these questions:

  1. What is your experience? Experience is about more than how many years someone has been in business. Take the time to learn about the types of properties they typically work with, which cities or areas they work in, and how many homes they helped buy or sell in the past year.
  2. What is your approach to the buying or selling process? If you’re buying, how will the representative search for suitable properties and what is their approach to negotiations? If you’re selling, how will your home be marketed to help attract prospective buyers? By understanding their approach, you’ll know what to expect and will be able to determine which representative’s philosophy and methods align with your preferences.
  3. What services will be included? Discuss your particular needs and expectations with prospective representatives to ensure they are able to provide the services you expect. For example, when selling, will the representative have professional photos taken of your home? Will they host open houses? What about advertising? Understanding exactly what services will be provided, and later documenting them in your written contract, will help avoid misunderstandings later on.
  4. What are the commissions or fees that I will need to pay? Commissions and fees can vary between brokerages and for the services provided, so be sure to understand what will be provided, and what it will cost. Keep in mind that, as with most things, the cheapest deal is not necessarily the best one.
  5. Do you have references? As with most job interviews, getting in touch with references is an important step before hiring someone. So, speaking with past clients is a great way to learn more. Were past clients pleased with their experience? Was the representative responsive and easy to get in touch with? Would they recommend them to others?

“Buying or selling a home is a major decision, so it’s important to take the time to find the right representative for you,” says Richer.

Use the ‘real estate professional search’ feature to ensure your representative is registered.

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There’s a lot of information out there about market trends and how to get the best price, but you also need to know about your rights and responsibilities as a home buyer or seller.  The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) can help you with that.

When it comes to real estate transactions, the more you know, the better you’re protected. Visit RECO’s website to learn more.

Check out some helpful advice about whether to buy first or sell first as well as the 4 must-do tips before you start the home buying process.