Placeholder Content Image

Real estate agent's embarrassing email mix-up

<p>A Melbourne real estate agent has sparked fury online after mistakenly sending a tenant an email intended for his landlord. </p> <p>The email was posted on Reddit, and the property manager can be seen complaining about the tenant's "high maintenance" nature before suggesting that they hike up his rent. </p> <p>"Out of all the properties I manage, he has the most maintenance requests and occupies the most of my (and therefore your) time," his email read. </p> <p>The agent claimed that the tenant called every day for two weeks to try and get his aircon fixed, saying "the receptions (sic) are sick of him."</p> <p>"In order to play this smooth I think you should offer to renew the lease but with an exorbitant increase (I'm thinking go from $500 to $950) and attribute it to the current rental market," the agent continued. </p> <p>"I don't think we'd get this much if we re-listed but we'd certainly get a bit of a boost not to mention the peace of mind of having a better tenant." </p> <p>Redditors were furious at the agents tactics, with the current housing crisis, and many backed the tenant. </p> <p>"If it's during a very hot or very cold period of days the premises could very well be uninhabitable without aircon," one wrote. </p> <p>In Victoria, rental laws make urgent repairs actionable immediately, whereas anything non urgent, needs to be completed within two weeks of a written request. </p> <p>His aircon not working was potentially an urgent request as as Victorian law requires minimum standards of heating. </p> <p>"Oh, that's straight to NCAT (in NSW). I would destroy these people,'" another furious person added. </p> <p>Others called the agent out for being "lazy" for not handling the tenants complaint properly. </p> <p>"The tenant didn't have a required service working and absolutely held us accountable. What a pest," wrote one person. </p> <p><em>Image: Reddit/ Shutterstock</em></p> <p> </p>

Legal

Placeholder Content Image

Travel agent arrested after allegedly selling fraudulent bookings

<p>A Sydney travel agent accused of taking the money of dozens of customers has been arrested by police. </p> <p>Footage obtained by A Current Affair showed the moment police finally caught Zahra Rachid, who is accused of ripping of customers and leaving them hundreds of thousands of dollars out of pocket. </p> <p>Officers in Sydney's south established Strike Force Bail to investigate reports of a travel agent that had allegedly failed to honour customer bookings. </p> <p>Rachid, who ran Travel World Sydney, allegedly cancelled bookings made by customers without their knowledge, and did not issue any refunds, pocketing the money for herself. </p> <p>NSW Fair Trading received complaints about Travel World Sydney totalling more than $230,000.</p> <p>Nicole Vris, claims she used Rachid as a travel agent to book a trip to Greece for herself and 34 family members. </p> <p>She thought that her dream family holiday was booked, but when she checked her flights with the airline, they had no record of her booking. </p> <p>"It's very hard to round everyone up to go on a holiday at the same time, it's so hard," Vris told <em>A Current Affair</em>. </p> <p>"Zahra has ruined that dream for many people."</p> <p>Her family has allegedly been left about $160,000 out of pocket.</p> <p>She has since paid for new flights to Greece, going with only a handful of family members who are able to afford to pay for the trip twice. </p> <p>"Your face value matters in life ... and she's definitely lost that," Vris said.</p> <p>"This was going to happen and she needs to be held accountable for her actions."</p> <p>Rachid is facing 16 fraud charges and is due in court in July. </p> <p>"I think everybody having their funds returned to them would be great and I think by Zahra being put away it might just shake her foundations a little bit," Vris said.</p> <p><em>Images: A Current Affair</em></p>

Legal

Placeholder Content Image

Outrage after renters confronted with cleaning “scoring system”

<p dir="ltr">An Australian real estate agent has come under fire for their “demoralising” scoring system for tenants during routine inspections. </p> <p dir="ltr">One fired up renter said they were shocked to receive a scorecard from the agent after they complied with an inspection, and shared their feedback on Reddit. </p> <p dir="ltr">The scorecard rated the tenant’s efforts cleaning the property in 17 different rooms and areas, marking them on cleanliness, and if the areas were damaged or required maintenance. </p> <p dir="ltr">The renter was then also given an overall rating out of five stars, based on the upkeep of their rental home. </p> <p dir="ltr">The Reddit user showed that they received just three and half stars, despite being marked down in only one area due to a light globe not working.</p> <p dir="ltr">In their post, the tenant said they had made every effort to clean the home, adding that the rating was “demoralising”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I’ve been renting a long time, and my deep cleaning routine is based around inspections,” they explained.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I go all out - every room in my little 3x2 villa is given a spring clean, every surface is washed including walls, doors, lights, windows, carpets etc.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“Had my latest inspection a few weeks ago and just received the report. Despite the agent commenting once again that she never sees houses as clean as mine, and taking 112 (!) photos of every single thing that shows how great the condition of the house is - having one light globe not working is so terrible that I’m scored three and a half out of five.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The renter went on to say that they had only recently discovered that the broken light globe was the real estate’s responsibility to replace, and does not warrant such a severe marking down in their “score”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The globe in question is a downlight fitting. We have so many downlights that I don’t even use this particular one,” they continued.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I can’t replace the globe itself, I need to get into the roof to replace the whole unit. Thanks to people here I’ve learned this isn’t even my responsibility to fix!”</p> <p dir="ltr">The renter’s post sparked a huge outrage online, with many up in arms over the current state of the rental market and unrealistic expectations of estate agents. </p> <p dir="ltr">One person said, “I fully believe that the average renter keeps a home to a higher standard than an owner, and it seems deliberately demoralising that someone could be marked down for having a light out.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Another added, “This is ridiculously petty, and more importantly, totally irrelevant to the purpose of a periodic inspection. Which is to identify whether any maintenance is needed.”</p> <p dir="ltr">A third person took their anger out on the entire system, summing it up by writing, “I sort of wonder what little lightbulb clicks in your mind and you wake up one day and ask yourself, ‘How can I be a massive c*** who offers no value to society? I know! I will get into real estate.’”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images / Reddit</em></p>

Real Estate

Placeholder Content Image

Real estate agent fired over "disgusting" comments about renters

<p>A young real estate agent in Sydney's south has been fired after making "vicious" comments online about renters, and bragging about "inflating the market". </p> <p>Abhnit Kumar from Ray White Macarthur Group in Campbelltown shared an advertisement of a property for sale to his professional Facebook page, with the seemingly innocent post gaining attention for its caption. </p> <p>The post read, "The market doesn't dictate your home's price, the agent does. If you're thinking about selling don't leave money on the table, give me a call &amp; let's discuss strategy."</p> <p>The comment was quickly deciphered by his online followers, with one person asking if the market doesn't contribute to a property's price, then "why are you artificially inflating house prices during a period of high inflation?".</p> <p>The 23-year-old real estate agent responded by asking "wouldn't you like to maximise on the profits you can make" when "selling your biggest asset".</p> <p>"Unless you wouldn't then feel free to contact me as I have a buyer for your place," Mr Kumar wrote.</p> <p>The follower quickly hit back, saying "that's not what your post said". "You said you inflate prices, so that the market is overpriced. Your words, not mine ...".</p> <p>The disgruntled commenter added that they would keep "well away" form Mr Kumar and his agency for his future housing needs. </p> <p>The agent fired back, writing, "Hey buddy you clearly must be a renter. Please stay away from my agency as we would not like to deal with people like you."</p> <p>Mr Kumar's last comment, which was quickly deleted, was met with a wave of scrutiny online, prompting one of his followers to screenshot the exchange and send it to Mr Kumar's employer. </p> <p>The individual who contacted Mr Kumar's place of work branded his behaviour "disgusting" and asked the company to confirm whether his comments reflected its morals, forcing the company to speak out.</p> <p>"We pride ourselves on customer service. We respect and value each and every one of our tenants," Ray White Macarthur Group wrote in a statement on Monday, addressing the outrage.</p> <p>"The views of Abhnit Kumar do not align with the values of our group," it continued. "As a result, we've made the business decision to suspend his employment immediately while we conduct an internal investigation."</p> <p>The backlash spilt over into the post's comment section, with one person slamming the "predatory behaviour" of real estate agents as "vicious", while another shared how "shocked" they were by the agent's comments in the face of Australia's ongoing housing crisis. </p> <p><em>Image credits: TikTok / Ray White</em></p>

Real Estate

Placeholder Content Image

Chilling new theory into death of Aussie real estate agent in Bali

<p>The family of Charlie Bradley have shared an emotional plea for answers, asking anyone with information on Charlie's final hours to come forward. </p> <p>The 28-year-old real estate agent <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/news/news/aussie-real-estate-agent-found-dead-in-bali-street" target="_blank" rel="noopener">tragically died</a> in Bali, after being found unresponsive outside a hospital in north Kuta, several hours after leaving a club on April 16th.</p> <p>Charlie's family are asking for anyone with information on his whereabouts between the hours of leaving the club and being found at the hospital to come forward, as they try to piece together what caused his untimely death.</p> <p>Charlie's sister Beth Bradley has told <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11994795/Charlie-Bradley-Bali-death-sinister-new-theory-emerges-hunt-continues-man-filmed-him.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Daily Mail Australia</em></a> that she suspects her brother may have been a victim of methanol poisoning, after being assured by his friends that no drugs were taken.</p> <p>"Charlie doesn't drink beer - he sticks to spirits," she said.</p> <p>"There's a lot of methanol poisoning in Bali. It seems that a lot of the bars pump their alcohol with ethanol themselves to save them money in terms of producing it."</p> <p>"The body can't hack that much which can end up with you having hallucinations, not being able to walk, shaking and multiple other symptoms."</p> <p>Ms Bradley said she had "wracked her brain a million times over" in a search for answers for what happened to her brother and believes this was the most plausible. </p> <p>"Every time I've Googled people dying in Bali it seems to be a very similar situation and it seems to be happening more as of late," she said.  </p> <p>While Beth stressed that this was just a theory, she believed methanol poisoning could explain an unusual phone call she received from a doctor who treated her brother at Siloam Hospital in Kuta.</p> <p>"The doctor told me that a man had brought Charlie into the hospital and that he showed him a video of Charlie standing, looking confused and shouting," she said.</p> <p>"He then fell to the ground and was rolling around. He stood up, fell again and banged his head on the floor - five times. By the time he received Charlie at the hospital, Charlie had passed away."</p> <p>The family now face an agonising wait to repatriate Charlie's body for a post mortem examination in Australia to determine his cause of death. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook</em></p>

News

Placeholder Content Image

Aussie real estate agent found dead in Bali street

<p> An Australian real estate agent who was found dead in the middle of a Bali street is being remembered as a “mate to so many”.</p> <p>Charlie James Bradley, 28, was found dead outside a hospital in north Kuta after leaving a club on April 16.</p> <p>The 28-year-old had flown from Sydney to attend a music festival at the holiday hotspot with a friend.</p> <p>His heartbroken sister confirmed the news of his death on social media.</p> <p>“This shocking news has rocked our family entirely, Charlie was loved by so many,” she wrote.</p> <p>“Let this be a reminder to you all that life is too short, and hug those closest to you tightly.”</p> <p>Mr Bradley worked for real estate firms such as Belle and McGrath and specialised in selling homes in Newcastle.</p> <p>Originally a UK citizen, Mr Bradley migrated from Coventry to Sydney in 2013.</p> <p>He posted a photo of himself in front of the Harbour Bridge alongside the caption, “Beats Coventry I reckon."</p> <p>Mr Bradley’s family, who live in Adelaide, are working with UK authorities to bring his body back to Australia.</p> <p>Indonesian police said they have launched an investigation into the death and have spoken to two witnesses.</p> <p>Friends and family took to social media with tributes for Mr Bradley.</p> <p>Beverley Page shared that he was cherished by loved ones.</p> <p>“He had the biggest heart and personality,” she wrote.</p> <p>“Everyone who had the fortune of meeting him loved him.</p> <p>“His contagious smile, good looks and charm were only a few of his many qualities and he will be terribly missed by so many.”</p> <p><em>Image credit: Facebook</em></p>

News

Placeholder Content Image

Online travel giant uses AI chatbot as travel adviser

<p dir="ltr">Online travel giant Expedia has collaborated with the controversial artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT in place of a travel adviser.</p> <p dir="ltr">Those planning a trip will be able to chat to the bot through the Expedia app.</p> <p dir="ltr">Although it won’t book flights or accommodation like a person can, it can be helpful in answering various travel-related questions. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Travel planning just got easier in the <a href="https://twitter.com/Expedia?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Expedia</a> app, thanks to the iOS beta launch of a new experience powered by <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ChatGPT?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ChatGPT</a>. See how Expedia members can start an open-ended conversation to get inspired for their next trip: <a href="https://t.co/qpMiaYxi9d">https://t.co/qpMiaYxi9d</a> <a href="https://t.co/ddDzUgCigc">pic.twitter.com/ddDzUgCigc</a></p> <p>— Expedia Group (@ExpediaGroup) <a href="https://twitter.com/ExpediaGroup/status/1643240991342592000?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 4, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <p dir="ltr"> These questions include information on things such as weather inquiries, public transport advice, the cheapest time to travel and what you should pack.</p> <p dir="ltr">It is advanced software and can provide detailed options and explanations for holidaymakers.</p> <p dir="ltr">To give an example, <a href="http://news.com.au/">news.com.au</a> asked “what to pack to visit Auckland, New Zealand” and the chatbot suggested eight things to pack and why, even advising comfortable shoes for exploring as “Auckland is a walkable city”. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Remember to pack light and only bring what you need to avoid excess baggage fees and make your trip more comfortable,” the bot said.</p> <p dir="ltr">When asked how to best see the Great Barrier Reef, ChatGPT provided four options to suit different preferences, for example, if you’re happy to get wet and what your budget might look like.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It’s important to choose a reputable tour operator that follows sustainable tourism practices to help protect the reef,” it continued.</p> <p dir="ltr">OpenAI launched ChatGPT in December 2022 and it has received a lot of praise as well as serious criticism. The criticisms are mainly concerns about safety and accuracy. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty/Twitter</em></p>

International Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Real estate agent divides internet with “sweet gesture” to hopeful homeowner

<p dir="ltr">A real estate agent has divided the internet after sending a hopeful homeowner a scratchie ticket along with a rejection letter. </p> <p dir="ltr">The anonymous wannabe buyer shared a photo of the letter they received from their agent with the scratchie card alongside it on Reddit, explaining how they had missed out on their dream home. </p> <p dir="ltr">The letter begins in capital letters, reading “Really sorry you missed out”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I wanted to personally thank you for your interest in my recent listing and say how sorry we are that you missed out.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“I know how keen you were to make it yours, and as much as we love our work, there are parts that are difficult.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“Telling someone the bad news that they have missed out on a property they are very keen on, is certainly the worst part of our role.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“I wish we had more properties like this one for those who have missed out on this home.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“I enclose a scratchie to try and soften the disappointment.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“The agent said they hoped the wannabe homeowner would win some cash so ‘next time you can extend your offer just that little bit more’.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The $1 scratch card gave the unsuccessful applicant the chance to win $100,000 in a game of Tic Tac Toad. </p> <p dir="ltr">The gesture prompted a mixed response from commenters, with most readers calling out the agent for being “condescending”. </p> <p dir="ltr">One comment read, “Might just be poorly worded, but this comes across very condescending and patronising. ‘Lol sorry you’re too poor. Maybe if you win some money we’ll be able to take it from you.’”</p> <p dir="ltr">Another pointed out the agent’s potential grovelling to the buyer, saying “Absolutely no real estate agent is sending anything like this to mere tenants.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Another frustrated renter wrote, “Great! Now if I could get a scratchie with every unsuccessful rental application, I wouldn’t need to rent.”</p> <p dir="ltr">A few commenters praised the real estate agent’s actions, believing they had good intentions by including the scratchie. </p> <p dir="ltr">One person wrote, “They didn’t have to give anything but still did. The wording could’ve been better but still, something for nothing.”</p> <p dir="ltr">One other person was shocked by the support for the agent in the comments of the post, putting it blatantly, “They said ‘so next time you can extend your offer just that little bit more’.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“Their intention is clear. They’re saying to offer more money. I genuinely am surprised by the comments on this post thinking this is a nice gesture and not blatant manipulation.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Reddit</em></p>

Real Estate

Placeholder Content Image

Cruise secrets only travel agents know

<p><span>It takes a lot of time and planning to find a cruise that will suit your needs and meet your expectations.</span></p> <p><span>Even after you’ve booked your cruise, there are still plenty of extra choices for you to decide on.</span></p> <p><span>What kind of dining experience do you want? What shore excursions are you interested in?</span></p> <p><span>That’s why it can be helpful to get a cruise agent to help you organise your holiday and to lend their expertise.</span></p> <p><span>Product director and joint owner of cruise and tour specialist Bunnik Tours, Marion Bunnik, says cruise agents should get to know their clients before making recommendations.</span></p> <p><span>“I would never just reach for a brochure. You don’t want an order taker, you want a consultant who will do their best to meet your expectations,” she said.</span></p> <p><span>“Of course we need to know who is going, how many, whether it is a family cruise — that sort of thing. But most importantly, we need to know your interests. What you like to do, where you want to go, what excites you.”</span></p> <p><span>Jean Summers, director of sales at Clean Cruising, also believes an understanding of the client is paramount to planning a trip to suit you.</span></p> <p><span>“My big question is always, ‘Why are you cruising?’” said Jean.</span></p> <p><span>“I want to know what sort of hotels and service levels you are used to. I ask about previous holiday experiences, both good and bad. But everything comes back to the ‘Why?’ Is there a significant birthday, do you want time in the sun, lots of ship-time? What do you want to do on shore?”</span></p> <p><span>Marion explained that commonly clients end up booking a trip far different to what they originally intended.</span></p> <p><span>“People may have a particular cruise line or ship in mind,” said Marion.</span></p> <p><span>“But if they are open to alternatives, the choice of ship may depend on where they want to go and what they want on board. For example, Royal Caribbean is a good choice if you have children while couples might prefer Holland America Line, Celebrity or Silversea Cruises. It often comes down to their budget as some lines are more expensive than others.”</span></p> <p><span>Whether your cruise agent helps you plan an ocean or river cruise, Jean stressed how important it is to make sure you have travel insurance.</span></p> <p><span>“Travel insurance should be at the very top of people’s checklist and organised before they pay for anything else,” she said.</span></p> <p><span>“Research is crucial — you absolutely must know what you are covered for. Cruise agents should know which policies are suitable.”</span></p> <p><span>Do you use a travel agent when you book a holiday? Share your experience in the comments below.</span></p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

Selecting plants for spring

<p>Any green thumb knows spring means one thing: planting, planting and more planting. Spring is a time of regeneration and renewal so gardening at this time of the year means you’ll enjoy the first burst of vibrant hues and fragrant scents from blossoming flowers. To get you started on a stunning garden, here is a list of the best flowers to plant in spring to ensure your garden is thriving come summer.</p> <p><em><strong>Lilacs</strong></em></p> <p>Famed for their sweet fragrance, lilacs bloom from spring to early summer. They come in all shapes and sizes as well as a variety of colours ranging from white, pale yellow, pink, mauve and purple.</p> <p>Growing condition: Full sun or light shade and well-drained, sandy and gravelly soil.</p> <p><em><strong>Tulips</strong></em></p> <p>The bloom of tulips never fails to delight especially since they come in every imaginable colours (except true blue). Tulips are perfect for any type of garden setting from the more formal to the casual.</p> <p>Growing condition: Full sun and well-drained soil. </p> <p><em><strong>Hyacinths</strong></em></p> <p>Hyacinths cluster together in bright shades of pink, red and purple making it a great flower to brighten up your garden.</p> <p>Growing condition: Full sun or part shade and well-drained soil.</p> <p><em><strong>Azaleas</strong></em></p> <p>The burst of colour Azaleas bring make them one of the most popular and best flowering shrubs in Australia. They look great planted en masse and provide a beautiful feature for a spring garden.</p> <p>Growing conditions: Part shade and moist but well-drained acidic soil</p> <p><em><strong>Daffodils</strong></em></p> <p>The sunny disposition of daffodils will not only brighten your mood, but your garden. There are many varieties and their sweet scent will keep you outside in the garden all throughout spring.  </p> <p>Growing condition: Full sun or part shade, well-drained soil.</p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p> <p> </p> <p> </p>

Home Hints & Tips

Placeholder Content Image

Dream home turns into nightmare for scam victims

<p dir="ltr">A Queensland couple who thought they had snapped up the home of their dreams have been left devastated after they lost almost $40,000 to a “cunning” email scammer instead.</p> <p dir="ltr">When Mitch Wilson and Penny Davies received an email from what appeared to be their real estate agent’s email address, they believed they were following their agent’s advice to then transfer the deposit for their house into a bank account.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It plays over and over in my head all of the time,” Ms Davies said.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-05a6e801-7fff-356a-70ce-9f266630bf3e">“We got an email from the real estate agent we had been dealing with, from their email account, saying in light of the contract please pay money to this account,” Mr Wilson told <em>9News</em>.</span></p> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/08/receipts.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>The couple lost nearly $40,000 after receiving the fraudulent email (left), realising their costly mistake while messaging the actual real estate agent (right). Images: 9News </em></p> <p dir="ltr">After transferring the $39,000 sum, they thought nothing of it until the agent contacted them several days later asking where the funds were.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We went back and forth, we exchanged screenshots and emails from their side and ours, and what was obvious is the money didn’t go where it was supposed to go which was their account,” Mr Wilson said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“(It) ended up in some fraudster‘s account and then offshore to a crypto account.”</p> <p dir="ltr">But, the couple aren’t the only victims of this kind of scam, which police refer to as an email compromise scam. The scammers infiltrate an email account and use it to send emails to victims - making it difficult to identify that they are being scammed.</p> <p dir="ltr">Constance Hall, a mummy blogger, told <em>news.com.au</em> she felt “stupid” after losing thousands of dollars to the scam after she transferred money via a link sent from the real estate agency that managed the rental property she believed she was paying a deposit for.</p> <p dir="ltr">When she contacted the bank, she was told that the chance of recovering the funds was minimal as she had authorised the transaction, and that she should report it to the police.</p> <p dir="ltr">In the end, only $7.57 was recovered.</p> <p dir="ltr">“To have it all stolen in an instant … felt unbelievably unfair,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Ian Wells, of Queensland Police’s Cyber Crime Group, told <em>9News</em>: “These people with these skills, they‘re very cunning, they’re very calculated.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Police are advising home buyers to contact the business before paying invoices online to confirm bank account numbers, as the hackers change the bank accounts in invoices sent by business owners before forwarding the altered invoices to unsuspecting customers.</p> <p dir="ltr">Victims are also urged to contact their bank as soon as possible to report the fraudulent transaction.</p> <p dir="ltr">As for businesses impacted by the scams, the Australian Cyber Security Centre advises that they report the incident at <a href="https://www.cyber.gov.au/acsc/report" target="_blank" rel="noopener">https://www.cyber.gov.au/acsc/report</a>, alert other employees and clients, and report the breach to their email service provider. </p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-a0fb48aa-7fff-5878-84fe-9679bf14ac48"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: 9News</em></p>

Real Estate

Placeholder Content Image

"It's blown up in our face": Estate agent's festive suggestion could NOT have gone worse

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A real estate agent has been the subject of intense backlash, after asking his tenants whether they wished to buy their landlords a pricey Christmas gift.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Michael Kanik of Brisbane’s Kanik and Co sent a letter to renters with the offer to send Christmas hampers to their landlords on their behalf.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Prices started at $50 for a basic White Wine Grazing Box and peaked at $115 for the All Things Golden hamper. Alternatives included a $55 Festive Sweets, $70 Self Care and $99 Foodies Hamper.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7846338/brisbane-landlord-christmas-present-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/c92bb31d954c4c4e85a8f12cdea4e451" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Reddit</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In a screenshot of the email, shared on </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.reddit.com/r/brisbane/comments/rej48y/local_real_estate_encouraging_rental_tenants_to/" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Reddit</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, the agency wrote: “This year has been particularly difficult for both our tenants and property owners alike and we understand some tenants would like to thank their property owners for everything in 2021.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Our team are happy to facilitate the purchasing of a gift and have it delivered to the property owner with a handwritten note to say thank you, directly from you.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The agent said tenants who wished to take part would be issued an invoice which would need to be paid within seven days.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The letter </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.pedestrian.tv/news/real-estate-renter-landlord-christmas-gift/" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">sparked</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> a furious reaction online, especially as one-third of Australians relying on a national scheme reducing the costs of rental properties live in Queensland, as reported by </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://thewest.com.au/news/housing-advocates-warn-queensland-will-be-crunched-by-support-scheme-expiration-c-4167432" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The West Australian</span></a></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One Twitter user who shared the screenshot on the platform wrote: “This agency is in Logan, where the average weekly rent has increased by 30 per cent in the last 5 years and the vacancy rate is 1 per cent”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Both tenants and landlords shared their disapproval of the gesture.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none"> <p dir="ltr">Capitalism finally flowering into full-blown feudalism.</p> — Ancient Spoonbill (@AncientSpoonbil) <a href="https://twitter.com/AncientSpoonbil/status/1470177074379833347?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 12, 2021</a></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“As a property owner who reduced rent and upgraded the internet connection at the property during COVID lockdown, I say WTF??” one user shared.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“As another who did similar (instigated a rent-free period of three months and then reduced the rent going forward on the next lease), I just cannot get my head around this agent’s gift collection. If I was the LL [landlord] I’d be taking my property elsewhere for management,” another commented.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Right!?<br /><br />I initially read it as the RE Agent giving *owners* a choice of hampers to gift to their *tenants*. I thought, oh that’s nice.<br /><br />When I realised it was backwards my mind blew 🤯</p> — Damon O’Hara (@hara_damon) <a href="https://twitter.com/hara_damon/status/1470527004772499459?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 13, 2021</a></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Oh god real estate agents really are something else. Like do they not realise we actually like them LESS than we like our landlords?” a third said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“This is outrageous- it should be the other way around, thanking their loyal customers,” another added.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none"> <p dir="ltr">Thank you me lord and lady for allowing me to work the farm fields with me plough and beast. Please accept a bushel as a sign of my gratitude</p> — righteous_bot (@BotRighteous) <a href="https://twitter.com/BotRighteous/status/1470214503564337154?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 13, 2021</a></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">On Monday, Mr Kanik admitted that he had made a mistake in sending the email out. However he insisted that he also sent a letter to landlords with the same offer directed to their tenants.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It was done with the best of intentions but it’s blown up in our face,” he told </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10303311/Michael-Kanik-Queensland-real-estate-agent-asks-tenants-buy-landlords-Christmas-hampers.html" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Daily Mail Australia</span></a></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">. “We thought it would be a nice gesture.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It’s quite disheartening. We’ve already had quite a few calls about it today.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We sent out that blanket email saying if you want to participate, but there’s no obligation at all. We were just purely trying to do a nice thing.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He added: “In hindsight, it was probably a mistake to send it to the tenants, but owners sending tenants a hamper is definitely a good thing.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“All our landlords that come back to us are happy to do so. But some tenants have taken it the wrong way.”</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Getty Images</span></em></p>

Real Estate

Placeholder Content Image

Can selective breeding of ‘super kelp’ save our cold water reefs from hotter seas?

<p>Australia’s vital kelp forests are disappearing in many areas as our waters warm and our climate changes.</p> <p>While we wait for rapid action to slash carbon emissions – including the United Nations climate talks now underway in Glasgow – we urgently need to buy time for these vital ecosystems.</p> <p>How? By ‘future-proofing’ our kelp forests to be more resilient and adaptable to changing ocean conditions. Our recent trials have shown selectively bred kelp with higher heat tolerance can be successfully replanted and used in restoration.</p> <p>This matters because these large seaweed species are the foundation of Australia’s <a href="https://theconversation.com/australias-other-reef-is-worth-more-than-10-billion-a-year-but-have-you-heard-of-it-45600">Great Southern Reef</a>, a vast but little-known <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-19/great-southern-reef-needs-more-attention-scientists-say/12227998">temperate reef system</a> and a global hotspot of biodiversity.</p> <p>The reef’s kelp forests run along 8000 km of Australia’s southern coastline, from Geraldton in Western Australia to the Queensland border with New South Wales. These underwater forests support coastal food-webs and fisheries. Think of the famous mass-spawning of Australian Giant Cuttlefish off Whyalla, the rock lobster and abalone fisheries, or our iconic weedy and leafy seadragons.</p> <p>Unfortunately, these seas are hotspots in the literal sense, with the nation’s southeast and southwest waters <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11160-013-9326-6">warming several times faster than the global average </a>and suffering from some of the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-much-do-marine-heatwaves-cost-the-economic-losses-amount-to-billions-and-billions-of-dollars-170008">worst marine heatwaves recorded</a>.</p> <p>These increasing temperatures and other climate change impacts are devastating our kelp, including shrinking forests and permanent losses of golden kelp (<em>Ecklonia radiata</em>) on the <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-08-22/tropical-fish-sea-urchins/100396162">east</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/a-marine-heatwave-has-wiped-out-a-swathe-of-was-undersea-kelp-forest-62042">west coasts</a>, and <a href="https://www.imas.utas.edu.au/news/news-items/satellite-images-track-decline-of-tasmanias-giant-kelp-forests">staggering declines</a> of the now-endangered giant kelp (<em>Macrocystis pyrifera</em>) forests in Tasmania.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/429669/original/file-20211102-27-9dqafn.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/429669/original/file-20211102-27-9dqafn.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="Golden kelp forest" /></a> <span class="caption"></span>We need novel measures to buy time for climate action</p> <p>Australian researchers are leading the way to try to find ways of future-proofing our critical ocean ecosystems, such as kelp forests and <a href="https://theconversation.com/meet-the-super-corals-that-can-handle-acid-heat-and-suffocation-122637">coral reefs</a>. In part, that’s because climate change is hitting our ecosystems early and hard.</p> <p>Climate change is moving much faster than kelp species can adapt. In turn, that threatens all the species that rely on these forests, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3810891/">including us</a>.</p> <p>If climate change wasn’t happening, we could try to halt or reverse the losses of kelp forests by using traditional restoration methods. But in a world getting hotter and hotter, that is futile in many cases. Even if we slash carbon emissions soon, decades more warming are <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/09/climate/climate-change-report-ipcc-un.html">already locked in</a>.</p> <p>If we want to keep these forests of the sea alive, we must now consider cutting-edge methods to help kelp survive current and future ocean conditions while governments pursue the urgent goal of reducing emissions.</p> <h2>How to future proof an underwater forest</h2> <p>Together and separately, we’ve been exploring techniques to speed up the natural rate of evolution to boost kelp resilience. Along with other researchers, we’ve put several techniques to the test in the real world, with promising results. Others remain hypothetical.</p> <p>At present, there are <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2020.00237/full">several broad approaches</a> to future-proofing restoration work. These include:</p> <ul> <li> <p><strong>Genetic rescue</strong> focuses on enhancing the genetic diversity of genetically compromised populations to boost their potential to adapt to future conditions. This involves planting and restoring a mix of kelp from <a href="https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1365-2664.13707">disconnected populations</a> of the same species. Improved genetic diversity can boost the ability of these forests to respond to change. We expect this approach to be especially useful in areas where climate change poses a limited threat at present.</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>Assisted gene flow</strong> strategies introduce naturally adapted or tolerant kelp individuals into threatened populations to increase their ability to survive specific threats, like hotter seas. This could help kelp forests in areas affected by climate change now or in the near future. In these situations, the genetic rescue technique could be counterproductive if the new genetic diversity introduced isn’t able to cope with the heat.</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>Selective breeding</strong> is a well-known agricultural technique, and can be used to identify the best kelp to use in these cases. In short, we try to identify kelp with naturally higher tolerance, and then use these as the basis for restoration efforts. These can be transplanted into ailing kelp forests. <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-13/kelp-forests-off-tasmania-regrowing-a-year-since-project-began/100532756">Trials are presently underway</a> in Tasmania using giant kelp. Early results are exciting, with the largest ‘super kelp’ growing over 12 metres high a year after being planted.</p> </li> </ul> <p>In the future, we may have to explore more cutting-edge strategies to deal with the changing conditions. These include:</p> <ul> <li> <p><strong>Genetic manipulation.</strong> This technique extends what is possible with selective breeding by directly manipulating genes to enhance the traits or characteristics that might further boost kelp’s ability to thrive in hotter waters.</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>Assisted expansion</strong> is when species with little chance of survival are relocated to better but novel locations, assuming these exist. This technique could also see new species of kelp being planted to replace existing species, guided by the need to protect the forest ecosystem as a whole, rather than save specific species.</p> </li> </ul> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/429674/original/file-20211102-13-1o4uuod.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/429674/original/file-20211102-13-1o4uuod.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="Scientist experimenting on kelp" /></a></p> <h2>Are these approaches ethical?</h2> <p>Each of these techniques – tested or untested – pose challenging ethical questions. That’s because we are not undertaking traditional conservation, where we work to restore a historic kelp ecosystem. Instead, we are modifying these ecosystems in the hope they can better cope with conditions at the extremes of their current survival limits.</p> <p>That means we must move carefully, weighing potential downsides like genetic pollution and maladaptation (accidental poor adaptation to other stressors) against the probability of further kelp forest destruction from doing nothing.</p> <p>Such future-proofing interventions could be well suited to areas already hit hard by severe kelp forest losses, those that will be threatened in the near future, or where kelp losses would be particularly damaging environmentally, socially, or economically.</p> <p>What is certain is that communities that live and rely on our southern coasts must now talk about what they value from kelp forests, and how they want them to look and function into the future.</p> <p>Our view is that traditional approaches focused on recreating previous ecosystems are likely to be increasingly challenging, given the rate and scale of ongoing disruption in our oceans.</p> <p>It is crucial that we do not restore nostalgically for ocean conditions which are quickly changing, but instead, work to ensure the long-term survival of these spectacular underwater forests while we wait for rapid action to reduce carbon emissions.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/170271/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/cayne-layton-104355">Cayne Layton</a>, Postdoctoral fellow and lecturer, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-tasmania-888">University of Tasmania</a></em> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/melinda-coleman-1285592">Melinda Coleman</a>, Principal Research Scientist</span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/can-selective-breeding-of-super-kelp-save-our-cold-water-reefs-from-hotter-seas-170271">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies</em></p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

How to prepare your house for sale during lockdown

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Yo-yo lockdowns aren’t exactly conducive to selling a house. It’s not an essential service, which puts your selling plans on hold for weeks (or months). But the snap and extended lockdowns across Australia don’t have to pause your plans. A lot of work goes into selling a house – the auction or private sale is just the end of a long journey. Because properties are selling faster (and higher) than ever, the pre-appraisal steps become even more critical.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 312.5px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7843770/unnamed.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/2c43f2e110e2463da576b1d51537368e" /></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lockdowns offer a window of time to work through all the essential steps of selling your home (for well above your asking price). Spread out these tasks across the week and you’ll have a big project to keep you occupied through the lockdowns. Once everything reopens, you’ll be ready to sell your house, in the most popular selling season: spring. </span></p> <p><strong>Declutter, deep clean &amp; DIY </strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While it’s tempting to jump straight into the property report and appraisals, there are some other things you can turn your attention to today. Have you started decluttering your house? Deep cleaning and cosmetic fix ups? Booking in tradespeople for maintenance and touch-ups when lockdown is over? </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While it’s confronting, start with your biggest, most time-consuming tasks. Go through all your belongings and decide what you’ll pack, throw out, and donate. Start with one room at a time. Declutter and clean, then move onto the next. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This’ll give you a psychological ‘win’ tick on your moving to-do list. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"></span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 312.5px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7843769/unnamed-1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/8ec105e51cf243d1be2812c73354927b" /></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Decide what DIY tasks and touch-ups you feel comfortable with. Some ideas include paintwork, tidying up the garden, furniture makeovers, installing shelves, retiling the bathroom, replacing tapware and handles, hanging new curtains, paving the garden, tiling a kitchen splashback, and repainting fences and floorboards. Buy products online that’ll help with your DIY tasks. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There will undoubtedly be tasks that are best left to the professionals, so make a list of tradespeople to handle the rest. Reach out to them first to slot into their busy work scheduling. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The idea is to get your house to a point where you can move swiftly once the lockdowns end </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">and</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> leverage the spring selling season. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"></span></p> <p><strong>Map out your selling plan </strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Get clear on all the steps you need to take from here. Talk to a financial advisor, as well as your family. While you might not be able to move the needle yet, it’s important to get your head across all the steps ahead.  </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"></span></p> <p><strong>Find out what your property is worth </strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Now, for the exciting part, the </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.agentselect.com.au/your-free-property-report/oversixty/?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=how_to_prepare_for_sale_article" target="_blank">property report and appraisals</a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. Use Agent Select’s free, independent service to help you find the top two or three real estate agents and negotiate the most desirable terms to sell your house. </span></p> <p><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.agentselect.com.au/your-free-property-report/oversixty/?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=how_to_prepare_for_sale_article" target="_blank"><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7843768/unnamed-2.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/5a32298d22dc4af09d160aeb9286df15" /></a></p> <p><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.agentselect.com.au/your-free-property-report/oversixty/?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=how_to_prepare_for_sale_article" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Click here</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> or the link above to find the value of your property</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It’s a targeted algorithm that does all the research for you, without inundating you with hundreds of calls from agents, like other comparison websites do. Make an informed, empowered decision with Agent Select on your side of the fence. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Agent Select rebalances the power disparity, giving you all the resources you need to sell your home above the asking price, in the most enjoyable, stress-free way. Educate yourself about real estate agent </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.agentselect.com.au/agent-fees-commissions/?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=how_to_prepare_for_sale_article" target="_blank">fees and commissions</a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and use the </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.agentselect.com.au/property-selling-calculator/?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=how_to_prepare_for_sale_article" target="_blank">house selling calculator</a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to see what you can expect for the sale. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"> </span></p> <p><strong>Where to next? </strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Once you learn about the value of your house, you can realistically explore your lifestyle options. Are you ready for a change of scenery or suburb? Is it time to downsize or try a new style of living? These are important questions to ponder, especially while you have the time during lockdown. This isn’t just about selling your house. It’s an opportunity to enter an exciting new chapter of life. Let yourself imagine. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"></span></p> <p><strong>Partner with a team who can handle all the steps in your downsizing journey, contact <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.homesuite.com.au/?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=how_to_prepare_for_sale_article" target="_blank">Homesuite</a>. To find the top three real estate agents for you, visit <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.agentselect.com.au/?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=how_to_prepare_for_sale_article" target="_blank">Agent Select</a>. </strong><span style="font-weight: 400;"></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lockdown just got super productive for you. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"></span></p> <p><em><strong>This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.agentselect.com.au/?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=how_to_prepare_for_sale_article" target="_blank">Agent Select</a>.</strong></em></p>

Real Estate

Placeholder Content Image

The top 3 myths about real estate agents

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mention real estate agents and many people immediately think about the negative stereotypes. But, while the antics of a few bad eggs hog the headlines, the reality is that the majority of real estate agents aren’t like that at all: they’re professionals who work hard to further their clients’ - the sellers’ - best interests. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Here are the top three myths about agents debunked. </span></p> <p><strong>Myth 1: You don’t need to use a real estate agent</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It’s true, you could sell your property yourself.  But is it really worth taking the risk?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Real estate agents are property industry professionals. Their job is to act in your - the vendor’s - best interests, and get you the best possible price at sale or auction. That means they need to be experts in your local market as well as in negotiating. So using a good local real estate should add to the sale price of your home.In fact, far from helping you save, not using an agent can lose you money by sending the wrong messages to buyers. Many buyers will expect a bargain because you’ll be saving on the agent’s fee. Others won’t even offer because they’ll feel uncomfortable or uncertain negotiating directly with a seller. That’s if they find your property at all, given many non-agent sales are badly publicised. In other words, saving a few thousand dollars on agents fees may cost you far more in the overall sale price of your property and therefore leave you worse off overall. </span></p> <p><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.agentselect.com.au/?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=rea_myth_august21" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Click here to find out the best Local Agent for your property</span></a></p> <p><strong>Myth 2: Paying less commission to an agent means the seller makes more money </strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you convince an agent to discount their fees that doesn’t always mean you’ll end up making more on the sale price of your home. Instead, you have to consider the whole package and what you’re actually paying for. Will a lower fee get you the same marketing, publicity and exposure? And, if it does, is the incentive there for the agent to put in the hard work to get the best price?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">An agent’s commission is typically calculated as a percentage of the sale price. But there’s no one true standard commission. Commissions vary depending on the price and type of property and the area you’re selling in. Many agents are open to an incentive structure or staggered fee, which means there’s a clear advantage to both you and the agent, for them to get you top dollar. As a seller, negotiating a commission fee with your chosen agent is also one of the best ways to test out their sales and negotiation skills, which should be finely tuned.</span></p> <p><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.agentselect.com.au/property-selling-calculator/?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=rea_myth_august21" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Click here to find out the Agents Fees &amp; Commissions</span></a></p> <p><strong>Myth 3: You can’t trust real estate agents</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It’s important to remember that a real estate agent is employed by a seller, so their duty is to always act in the seller’s - or vendor’s - best interests. They’re also regulated by State and Territory legislation and closely monitored by their relevant Office of Fair Trading. A handful of agents give the industry a bad reputation based on stories about trickery at auctions, gazumping, withholding information about a property, or receiving kickbacks. However these activities are less common than you’d imagine. They’re also illegal and against the codes of conduct set down by the Real Estate Institute of Australia. For instance, any rebates or commissions paid to an agent must be disclosed in the Agency Agreement and the client should be notified. Otherwise, an agent can lose their licence, be forced to pay heavy fines and, in the most extreme cases, even face jail. While some agents may have a reputation of saying anything to get a sale, in the main the industry is made up of professionals, who will work hard to sell your home ethically, fairly, and for the best price. After all, bringing in more work depends on having a solid reputation.</span></p> <p><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.agentselect.com.au/free-property-appraisal/?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=rea_myth_august21" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Click here to get a FREE Property Appraisal</span></a></p> <p><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.agentselect.com.au/" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Agent Select</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> is a free and independent service that helps consumers select the best performing real estate agent, and negotiate the best terms to sell their property, anywhere in Australia. Agent Select’s three step process provides you with a property report, compares sales proposals from three local agents in a customised Agent Comparison Report, and gives you complete freedom to appoint your chosen agent to sell your property with confidence. Find out more at </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.agentselect.com.au/" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">AgentSelect.com.au</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> or call 1300 040 463. </span></em></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with Agent Select. Read the <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.agentselect.com.au/selling-tips/the-top-3-myths-about-real-estate-agents/" target="_blank">original article</a>.</span></em></p>

Real Estate

Placeholder Content Image

Real estate agent forced to apologise for offensive, sexist post

<p>A blog post on an Australian real estate website targeting single women buying properties has gone viral for all the wrong reasons.</p> <p>The article titled "Buying as a single lady" was published on Bathurst Real Estate's website and was quickly removed after backlash on social media claimed the post was "sexist" and "misogynistic".</p> <p>The piece started off on a positive note, empowering women who are planning on purchasing a property: “You’re a single lady and you’re content not (to) have a ring on your finger”. But it then took a sharp turn that angered many people online.</p> <p>“You may prefer the emotional and financial back-up of a spouse,” the post reads.</p> <p>The article continues to suggest single women can "go wild when buying" as they are "responsible only for themselves".</p> <p>It also says women “are well known for reasoning with their hearts, not their heads - and many of us love to nest.”</p> <p>Women are then issued a warning, saying property buying can quickly go south “especially if there is no man beside you to offer logic to the situation”.</p> <p>The real estate agency swiftly removed the post from their website and apologised on Facebook.</p> <p>“This is so misogynistic it’s almost comical,” one woman who reposted the article on Facebook wrote.</p> <p>“Thanks so much for this super helpful blog post Bathurst Real Estate! I can’t wait for your next post on ‘Buying as a Single man’, Oh wait...</p> <p>“Next time I go to purchase anything I’ll be sure to bring a man with me to both pay for it and also offer logic, because as you said, women are well known for not using their head and I guess none of us have any money of our own!” the bemused woman continued.</p> <p>“This is the most offensive piece of s**t I have ever read,” another person wrote.</p> <p>“Holy s**t it had never occurred to me that buying a property would represent a big proportion of my hard work and savings! I thought it would be like buying a new eyebrow pencil or baking a cake!” another woman wrote sarcastically.</p> <p>“Does this mean that me and my partner aren’t able to buy a house because we are both women and don’t know how to use our heads?” a user asked.</p> <p>Men also seemed to be equally offended by the article.</p> <p>“I think they need a new password… surely this has got to be a hack from a sacked staff member,” one man suggested.</p> <p>Bathurst Real Estate claimed the post was written by a female from a content marketing agency who was outsourced to create content.</p> <p>The real estate agent apologised for any offence that was caused, claiming the article had gone live without their knowledge and they removed it as soon as they were aware of it.</p>

Real Estate

Placeholder Content Image

James Bond is more than a (sexist) secret agent. He is a fertility god, a Dionysus of the modern era

<p>James Bond is more than a (sexist) secret agent. He is a fertility god, a Dionysus of the modern era</p> <p>“History isn’t kind to people who play God,” quips James Bond to supervillain Safin in the trailer for No Time to Die.</p> <p>The film’s release has been delayed yet again, to April 2021. It will mark Daniel Craig’s swansong as 007 and speculation continues as to who will be the next Bond. Will it be Idris Elba, Tom Hardy or perhaps a woman?</p> <p>Bond has long been criticised for his sexist attitudes, with even Judi Dench’s M in GoldenEye (1995) dubbing him a “sexist, misogynist dinosaur” . But what if we view him through the prism of Greek mythology? Is Bond, in fact, a contemporary incarnation of Dionysus, the god of wine, pleasure and fertility?</p> <p>In Greek mythology, the gods punish mortals for the sin of hubris. In our pop-culture pantheon, Bond is a deity.</p> <p>Dionysus travelled throughout the ancient world, sometimes by boat in the Aegean islands, sometimes in a winged chariot. Bond also circumnavigates the globe, equally at home on yachts or in helicopters. But his chariot of choice is an Aston Martin.</p> <p>Its logo? A pair of wings.</p> <p><strong>Secrets of wine – and martinis</strong><br />Wherever Dionysus went he initiated his followers in the secrets of wine-making. Wherever Bond goes he initiates the mixologist in the secrets of making the perfect Vesper martini.</p> <p>In Ian Fleming’s Diamonds are Forever (1956), Bond tells the bartender to combine three measures of Gordon’s gin, one of vodka and half a measure of Kina Lillet with a thick slice of lemon peel and poured into a deep champagne goblet. In Casino Royale (2006), he adds the martini must be shaken “until it’s ice cold.”</p> <p>Unlike mortals, Bond’s prodigious consumption of alcohol does him no harm, indeed he is hailed as “the best shot in the Secret Service.”</p> <p>In a study of the novels published in the British Medical Journal in 2013, researchers estimated Bond consumed an average of 92 units of alcohol per week with a maximum daily intake peaking at 49.8 units.</p> <p>There were days when Bond abstained – 12.5 out of a total 87.5 days – but mostly because he was being held prisoner.</p> <p><strong>Weapons of disguise</strong><br />Dionysus carries a thyrsus: a sacred pinecone-tipped staff wreathed in vines. The thyrus is a phallic symbol, sometimes displayed with a kantharos wine cup, denoting female sexuality.</p> <p>The union of the two created a powerful representation of fertility and rebirth. Dionysus also turned his thyrsus into a dangerous weapon by secreting an iron tip in its point.</p> <p>As a secret agent, Bond conceals his Walther PPK pistol in a hidden holster, but one of his most lethal weapons is disguised as a cigarette – a potent symbol of sexual union in cinema, where smoking a cigarette signifies the completion of copulation.</p> <p>In You Only Live Twice (1967) the villain makes the fatal mistake of allowing Bond “one last fag.” It turns out to be tipped with a rocket-propelled bullet, proving that cigarettes aren’t just lethal for smokers.</p> <p><strong>Gods of possession</strong><br />Dionysus was deeply attractive to his female followers, Maenads, who would drink themselves into a frenzy to be possessed by the god. Likewise, Bond is pursued by a bevy of beautiful women – Pussy Galore, Plenty O’Toole and Honey Rider – panting to be possessed.</p> <p>As with the Maenads, devotion to Bond comes with its perils. In Live and Let Die (1973), Bond girl, Solitaire loses her psychic powers after a close encounter of the passionate kind with Bond and becomes a target for heroin baron, Dr Kananga.</p> <p>In Goldfinger (1964), Jill Masterton is punished by the eponymous villain for betraying him to Bond, dying of skin suffocation when he covers her in gold paint.</p> <p>This puts a new spin on the Midas myth in which Dionysus granted the king’s wish to be blessed with the golden touch, only to discover that it is a curse making it impossible to eat or even embrace his daughter without turning her into metal.</p> <p><strong>Ecstasy and death</strong><br />In ancient Greece, the number seven was sacred and composed of the number three (the heavenly male) and the number four (the heavenly female). Bond’s number in the secret service – Agent 007 – is thus the perfect number to represent a modern-day fertility god.</p> <p>Like Dionysus who is depicted in a number of forms which range from an older, bearded god to a long-haired youth, Bond has appeared in a variety of guises from the debonair David Niven to the strapping Daniel Craig.</p> <p>Yet regardless of his age and physique, Bond’s dual Dionysian nature brings either divine ecstasy in bed, or brutal death to his foes.</p> <p>Dionysus almost dies before he is born but his father Zeus saves him. Later he returns from the dead after he is dismembered by the Titans.</p> <p>Bond says, “You only live twice: once when you are born and once when you look death in the face.”</p> <p>Like Dionysus, Bond is resurrected in Skyfall (2012) after he is accidentally shot by Moneypenny. The bullet penetrates his body causing him to fall off a train and into a waterfall where he sinks to the bottom. But Bond is immortal. He returns to save another day.</p> <p>When it finally reaches cinemas, No Time to Die will be the last hurrah for Craig, but gods do not die. Bond will live on.</p> <p><em>Written by Nicole Lenoir-Jourdan. This article first appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/james-bond-is-more-than-a-sexist-secret-agent-he-is-a-fertility-god-a-dionysus-of-the-modern-era-131040">The Conversation</a>.</em></p>

Movies

Placeholder Content Image

4 things you're doing to your home that real estate agents wouldn't

<p>Every day, real estate agents come upon cringe-worthy things homeowners have done to their homes. Leopard-print fabric wallpaper in the bedroom – yep. DIY electrical repairs – shockingly true. Sure, it’s your castle, and you can decorate or DIY to your heart’s content, as well as skip certain projects you just don’t think are important. But there are some smart reasons why real estate agents wouldn’t do the following things to their own homes.</p> <p><strong>1. Ignoring kerb appeal</strong></p> <p>You worked for months on the interior of your home, and now that it’s Instagram-worthy, you’re too tired and uninspired to care about the shabby lawn and cracked walkway. Shake off the sawdust and swap out your tool belt for some gardening tools. “It pays to hire a professional to get some advice to ‘stage’ your yard, too,” says real estate broker Kelly Parks. “A bonus is that while you live there, you will also love it.”</p> <p><strong>2. Planting trees too close to the house</strong></p> <p>Leafy trees, flowering bushes and colourful perennials instantly add a welcoming and homey touch to that all-important kerb appeal, but if you plant trees too close to the house, you might regret it down the road. Trees with long root systems can uproot the ground and your budget, and large limbs can fall on the roof or damage siding. “Roots over time can damage underground plumbing, foundation and driveways,” explains realtor Maya Madison. “It may look nice at first, but when you go to sell it in a few years, those roots will cause very expensive damage.”</p> <p><strong>3. Over-customising</strong></p> <p>A house is transformed into a home-sweet-home when you add personal touches, but if you’re thinking about selling your house down the road, you might want to rethink going all-in with your favourite motif. Broker Melanie Everett loves animal prints, but she’s not going to wallpaper her house with it. “I opted to buy some beautiful pillows instead,” she says. “Plus, I can take these with me to my next home, and I don’t have to worry about overwhelming a potential buyer.”</p> <p><strong>4. Hiring non-licenced contractors</strong></p> <p>It’s probably not a big deal to DIY a loose floorboard or hire your cousin to install a ceiling fan, but when it comes to the major housing components like plumbing and electrical, you should hire licensed, bonded contractors and possibly get permits. “This is very important because real estate agents know the value of being able to say that a licensed contractor or expert did the work,” says Parks. “This gives a potential buyer peace of mind, knowing that things are right, and the same is true when they go to sell the house later.”</p> <p><em>Source: </em><a href="https://www.rd.com/home/things-real-estate-agents-wouldnt-do/"><em>RD.com</em></a></p> <p><em>Written by Lisa Marie Conklin. This article first appeared in <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/diy-tips/13-things-youre-doing-to-your-home-that-real-estate-agents-wouldnt">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V">here’s our best subscription offer.</a></em></p>

Home & Garden

Placeholder Content Image

Rental crisis in Tasmania results in agents pitching “pet bonds” as temporary solution

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As the rental market in Hobart is incredibly tight, landlords don’t need a reason to exclude pet-owners from their rentals.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, it’s something that the state’s peak real estate body is looking to tackle.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One of the ideas being suggested is a pet bond.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">What’s the landlord’s main concern about letting pets into their rentals?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"Wholly and solely the damage to the property," Mark Berry from the Real Estate Institute of Tasmania (REIT) says to </span><a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-05-07/pet-bond-could-it-help-renters-tasmania/10893690"><span style="font-weight: 400;">ABC Life.</span></a></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">And, he said, it wasn't always easy to predict which animals could pose the biggest threat.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"If we are talking about a budgie, the potential damage is next to nil," he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"With a goldfish, you have opened yourself up to somebody with, say, a 1,000-litre fish tank in the lounge room.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"If that were to crack, all of a sudden the landlord has 1,000L flowing through the lounge room."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to the tenants Union of Tasmania, a tenant with a pet isn’t always a liability.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"There is no evidence to suggest tenants with pets are worse tenants," TUT solicitor Ben Barlt said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"The evidence shows that tenants with pets are more likely to stay in their existing property for longer, so there's actually financial incentive for more landlords to accept tenants with pets."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mr Berry said real estate agents agreed.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"I think actually tenants with pets have the potential to be better tenants, because they are already showing a responsibility," he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A pet bond is looking to be the answer.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A pet bond is an amount you pay above your normal rental bond to keep a pet. At the time of writing, Western Australia is the only state where a landlord can legally ask for a pet bond.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mr Bartl said some prospective renters in Hobart were so desperate that they were offering pet bonds voluntarily.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"Desperate times call for desperate measures," he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"If it is a choice between a pet bond or no pets, then the Tenants Union would support a pet bond as it may alleviate the situation for some tenants caught between putting a roof over their head and keeping their pet."</span></p>

Family & Pets

Placeholder Content Image

3 reasons to trust a travel agent when booking a cruise

<p>Cruising with a travel agent may not have been who you were thinking of turning to when you decided you wanted to book a holiday.</p> <p>Afterall, there are many options already available at the touch of a finger. Online directories, websites and information pages are just some of the many options available when you want to book a holiday.</p> <p>However, there is a level of expertise and passion for finding what is best for a prospective traveller that you just can’t find anywhere else.</p> <p>Here is why travel agents make booking a cruise that much better.</p> <p><strong>1. They know more than you do </strong></p> <p>If you’re not a regular cruiser, there are a number of things you may not know about booking a holiday or ways to make it the best one possible.</p> <p>A good travel adviser is extremely important when booking a holiday, as they can match your interests with the right cruise to make sure you have the best options possible.</p> <p><strong>2. They’re on the ball</strong></p> <p>New itineraries, deals and bargains are usually released to travel agents first.</p> <p>Those looking for a good cruise steal that works for them and their needs are better off opting for one of their local travel agents who have the most up-to-date information.</p> <p><strong>3. They organise <em>everything </em></strong></p> <p>Once your cruise is booked, your travel agent has access to some of the best extras as well. A travel agent is able to look after you from start to finish -whether that is flights, pre ad post-accommodation packages and even visas.</p> <p>Will you use a travel agent when booking your next high seas getaway? Let us know in the comments below.</p>

Cruising

Our Partners