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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

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Yoko Ono selling John Lennon's New York home for first time in 50 years

<p>For the first time in 50 years, the house where John Lennon and Yoko Ono lived in New York City has hit the market.</p> <p>The brick, bluestone and terra cotta structure at 496 Broome St. was the first home the pair bought together in New York City before they moved to the Upper West Side of Manhattan. </p> <p>Yoko Ono has held onto the property since she first bought it with the late Beatles member, and has now listed it with her son with JLL Real Estate, for an asking price of $US5.5 million ($8.23m AUD).</p> <p>“The building on Broome St. was sort of like a base for their artistic ventures,” Philip Norman, author of “John Lennon: The Life,” told the <em><a href="https://nypost.com/2024/05/21/real-estate/yoko-ono-lists-former-nyc-home-for-5-5m/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">New York Post</a></em>. “Bank Street was their salon, where people could just walk in.”</p> <p>First built in 1885, the two-storey building has an open-plan format, with a gallery-like ground floor space with 14.4-foot-high ceilings, an open kitchen and a lofted bedroom.</p> <p>On the second floor, there’s a live-work space and a recording studio.</p> <p>“496 Broome St. is both a unique piece of New York history and popular culture and a prime investment opportunity for the right buyer,” said Paul Smadbeck, who holds the listing.</p> <p>“Versatile zoning and its location in one of the city’s most desirable and trendsetting neighbourhoods offers an exciting opportunity to create a one-of-a-kind property.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Mediapunch / JLL Real Estate </em></p>

Real Estate

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Adorable Collie sells for world record-breaking price

<p>A border collie has been sold for a world record-breaking amount at the Ray White Rockhampton Working Dog Sale and Trial.</p> <p>Helen and James Parker paid $40,000 for Liz, a border collie who they describe as the "whole package". </p> <p>The couple, who run a wagyu cattle farm in Monto, Queensland are keen to welcome the pup who will help them muster cattle as part of the day-to-day running of the farm. </p> <p>"We leave in the morning early, they might do three to four hours mustering in the morning, then we get the cattle to the yard and then in the afternoon we'll walk them away," Helen said.</p> <p>"Our mustering round's about a week, so all day for a week, so some big days and it's hot up here in summer so they need to be able to travel and follow us on a horse and big days in hot conditions so we can't do the job without them."</p> <p>Liz, who was raised by Joe Leven, is the second dog the couple have purchased from Joe, and they say the price was worth it. </p> <p>"We weren't planning on breaking records but we're happy to have her," Helen told 2GB's Ben Fordham.</p> <p>"She's the whole package, she's got breeding behind her, she has all herding ability, natural instinct. I just think she's a great asset to our team."</p> <p>Although Liz is an unusual name for a cattle dog, it is actually a tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth.</p> <p>"Joe named them and there's a bit of a story behind how Liz got her name. She was born the year that Queen Elizabeth passed away, so she's really upheld her name, she's the queen," Helen explained.</p> <p>The Rockhampton Working Dog trial and Sale was a success for Joe and Cabra Glebe Working Dogs, who managed to sell another dog, Jenny for $38,000. </p> <p><em>Image: Ray White Working dog sale Facebook</em></p> <p> </p>

Family & Pets

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Best-selling author diagnosed with "aggressive" brain cancer

<p>Best-selling author Sophie Kinsella has shared that she has been fighting "aggressive" brain cancer since the end of 2022. </p> <p>The British writer took to Instagram to reveal she was diagnosed with glioblastoma 18 months ago, and shared why she chose to keep the devatstsing news out of the spotlight. </p> <p>The 54-year-old said she wanted to "make sure my children were able to hear and process the news in privacy and adapt to our new normal" before going public with her diagnosis. </p> <p>"I have been under the care of the excellent team at University College Hospital in London and have had successful surgery and subsequent radiotherapy and chemotherapy, which is still ongoing," she told her followers on Instagram.</p> <p>"At the moment all is stable and I am feeling generally very well, though I get very tired and my memory is even worse than it was before!"</p> <p>Kinsella said she is "so grateful to my family and close friends who have been an incredible support to me, and to the wonderful doctors and nurses who have treated me."</p> <p>She also thanked her readers for their "constant support", adding how the reception of her latest novel <em>The Burnout</em>, released in October 2023, "really buoyed me up during a difficult time."</p> <p>She ended her statement by saying, "To everyone who is suffering from cancer in any form I send love and best wishes, as well as to those who support them."</p> <p>"It can feel very lonely and scary to have a tough diagnosis, and the support and care of those around you means more than words can say."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Caring

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Why a one-cent stamp is set to sell for millions

<p>An extremely rare stamp that was once bought for a measly one cent is set to sell for millions of dollars, breaking records at a US auction house. </p> <p>While to the untrained eye, the blue stamp seems like any old stamp, the 1868 one-cent Z-grill is actually the rarest stamp in America due to its unique history and rarity. </p> <p>On June 14th, the one-cent Z-grill will be put up for sale by Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries, marking the first time the rare stamp has been on auction since 1998. </p> <p>Experts from the New York auction house say it could fetch $6 million to $7.5 million (AUD), which would make it the single most expensive US stamp ever sold.</p> <p>The reason for the extraordinary price comes down to the fact that out of the two known Z-grill stamp copies, the one up for auction is the only copy available for private purchase by collectors, while other historic copy is held at the New York Public Library.</p> <p>The Z-grill is unique due to its signature embossed paper, which was introduced to the US postal service after the Civil War to prevent stamps from being reused. </p> <p>Since 2005, the coveted stamp has belonged to billionaire investor and “bond king” Bill Gross.</p> <p>“It’s considered the trophy of collecting United States stamps,” said Charles Shreve, who has managed and built Gross’ extensive stamp collection for years and serves as director of international auctions at Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries.</p> <p>“There’s only one. If you want to brag, that’s the stamp.”</p> <p>Mr Gross' entire collection is estimated to be worth $22.6 million to $30 million AUD. The top 100 stamps from the collection will be auctioned off on June 14th, while the remaining stamps will be sold on June 15th.</p> <p>“There’s multiple stamps that’ll bring $500,000 or $750,000 (USD) but the (one-cent) Z-grill is the star of the show,” Shreve said.</p> <p>“I just know some people who are lusting for it, and we want to try to get as many people interested in it as possible.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Airline selling international flights for under $400

<p>Looking to jet off to Europe without breaking the bank? Well, now might be your chance! Budget airline Scoot has just unveiled an irresistible March sale, offering one-way flights to various European and other international destinations for less than $400. With more than 60 destinations on offer, travellers from Sydney, Melbourne and Perth are in for a treat.</p> <p>Scoot, known for its affordable fares and quality service, is the low-fare subsidiary of Singapore Airlines. The airline kicked off its one-week sale on Tuesday March 19, much to the delight of eager globetrotters. From Greece to Japan, and from Singapore to Indonesia, there's a plethora of destinations waiting to be explored.</p> <p>Among the highlights of this enticing offer are flights to Singapore starting from a mere $198, Athens from $355, Osaka from $315, and Denpasar from just $189. With such competitive pricing, it's no wonder travellers are scrambling to secure their seats.</p> <p>However, with great deals often come limited availability. While Scoot has not disclosed the exact number of seats up for grabs, travel experts advise acting fast. Graham Turner, from Flight Centre, <a href="https://7news.com.au/news/scoot-launches-march-sale-with-flights-to-europe-from-395-c-14009924" target="_blank" rel="noopener">cautioned 7News</a> that while the deals are fantastic, they're likely to be snapped up quickly. "There won't be a lot," he warned, while stressing the importance of doing thorough research before making a booking.</p> <p>It's essential for travellers to note that the fares advertised are all one-way and do not include additional charges such as taxes, checked baggage, WiFi, in-flight entertainment, food or flight changes. Despite these add-ons, the base fares remain incredibly competitive, making Scoot's March sale an attractive option for those seeking budget-friendly travel options.</p> <p>If you've been dreaming of am international getaway, now is the time to turn those dreams into reality. But don't delay – Scoot's March sale is set to run only until Monday night March 25, giving travellers just a limited window of opportunity to snag these incredible deals.</p> <p>So, whether you're yearning to wander through the historic streets of Athens, indulge in sushi delights in Osaka, or relax on the pristine beaches of Denpasar, Scoot's March sale has something for every traveller's taste and budget. Don't miss out on this chance to explore Europe without breaking the bank!</p> <p><em>Image: Scoot</em></p>

Travel Tips

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Mission: Impossible Sydney mansion sells for eye-watering price

<p>One of Sydney's most iconic properties, known as the Boomerang in Elizabeth Bay, has sold for $80 million. </p> <p>The mansion is featured in the second instalment in the <em>Mission: Impossible</em> franchise, with the 2000 movie starring Tom Cruise being set and filmed in Sydney.</p> <p>It was the first house to officially sell for above $1 million in 1978, before setting another record in 2002 when it fetched $20.7 million.</p> <p>Now, multiple sources have confirmed it has been snapped up by a purchaser, originally from Asia, for four times what it last sold for. </p> <p>The property has long been rated as one of Sydney’s Top 50 homes, and has been in the name of Katrina Fox, the daughter of Melbourne-based billionaire trucking magnate Lindsay Fox, since 2005. </p> <p>The impressive home was put up for sale by Ray White in 2017 with hopes of selling for $60 million and then again with Brad Pillinger of Pillinger for $80 million in 2021 — the last agent to have it listed.</p> <p>Pillinger couldn’t be contacted ahead of publication, but other sources have confirmed the property has sold for the $80m asking price, while speculation from other sources that the result was $105 million have been dismissed.</p> <p>Boomerang sits on 4233 square metres of waterfront land, and features 25 rooms including a private cinema modelled on the State Theatre.</p> <p><em>Image credits: realestate.com.au / Paramount Pictures</em></p>

Real Estate

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Tiny ancient Christmas tree sells for thousands

<p>One of the world's first mass-produced Christmas trees has sold at auction for a whopping 56 times higher than its original purchase price. </p> <p>The tree was first bought in 1920 for just six pence, and was snapped up at the auction in England by an anonymous buyer for £3,400, or $6,433 AUD. </p> <p>The tree was described by the auctioneer as “the humblest Christmas tree in the world”, measuring just 79cm in height, boasting 25 branches, 12 berries and six mini candle holders.</p> <p>The tree sits in a small, red-painted wooden base with a simple decorative emblem.</p> <p>The Christmas tree was first bought by the family of eight-year-old Dorothy Grant in 1920, with Dorothy using it as her tree until she passed away at the age of 101. </p> <p>The tree is believed to have been bought from Woolworths, with Grant decorating the tree as a child with cotton wool to mimic snow, given that baubles were considered a luxury at the time.</p> <p>After Grant's passing in 2014, the charming tree was passed down to her daughter Shirley Hall, who was "parting with the tree now to honour her mother's memory and to ensure it survives as a humble reminder of 1920s life". </p> <p>It was expected to sell for between £60 and £80 (between $110 and $150 AUD) but was bought for the astonishing price of £3,411 when it went under the hammer at Hansons auctioneers on Friday.</p> <p>Charles Hanson, the owner of Hansons and a regular guest on the BBC’s <em>Bargain Hunt</em> said, “This is one of the earliest Christmas trees of its type we have seen. The humblest Christmas tree in the world has a new home and we’re delighted for both buyer and seller … I think it’s down to the power of nostalgia. Dorothy’s story resonated with people.”</p> <p>He added, “As simple as it was, Dorothy loved that tree. It became a staple part of family celebrations for decades. The fact that it brought such joy to Dorothy is humbling in itself. It reminds us that extravagance and excess are not required to capture the spirit of Christmas. For Dorothy it was enough to have a tree."</p> <p>“Some of the first artificial Christmas trees utilised machinery which had been designed to manufacture toilet brushes. The waste-not, want-not generations of old are still teaching us an important lesson about valuing the simple things and not replacing objects just for the sake of it."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Hansons Auctioneers</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Little girl's Anzac artwork sells at auction for $100,000

<p>A moving artwork created by nine-year-old Evie Poolman has sold for a staggering six-figure sum at auction. </p> <p>Young Evie created the artwork of the 'Lone Soldier' just six months after receiving a devastating diagnosis of diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), a deadly type of brain tumour.</p> <p>Evie underwent four brain surgeries and 30 rounds of radiation for her condition but tragically died at the age of nine in June 2021.</p> <p>Now, the artwork - a striking red and orange piece depicting an Anzac standing before a grave at sunset - has been auctioned off by Evie's parents in an attempt to raise money for a cure for the horrible disease. </p> <p>Currently, DIPG has a zero per cent survival rate but despite this, since 2015, less than a million dollars has been dedicated to research in Australia.</p> <p>Evie's parents Chuck and Bridget chose to auction off their late daughter's artwork at the Heels 2 Heal charity lunch in Sydney on Friday, to increase the funding of research into DIPG. </p> <p>The lucky winner, Jo Kinghorn, forked out a staggering $100,000 for the artwork, as she handed over the money "with absolute joy and pleasure".</p> <p>"It was so exciting for me, I've never really experienced anything like that before," Kinghorn, a friend of the Poolman family, told 2GB's Ben Fordham, adding that she hadn't woken up that day expecting to part with so much money.</p> <p>"I'm just so grateful that the painting ended up in my hands."</p> <p>Kinghorn was more than happy to contribute so much money, knowing the funds were going to a good cause. </p> <p>"It's a drop in the ocean as to what is needed, and the government has the ability to properly fund these trials," Kinghorn said of the money spent.</p> <p>"I saw first-hand what this did to a family, and the strength of this family is beyond words. I cannot be more proud. It's just devastating."</p> <p><em>Image credits: 2GB</em></p>

Money & Banking

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"These guys have held on": Why a family turned down $50 million for their home

<p>A Sydney family has repeatedly refused to sell their family home to major developers, despite being offered an eight-figure sum for the property. </p> <p>The Zammit family have lived in their impressive home for several decades and have said time and time again that they have no intentions of selling the house, which is situated on a 20,000 square metre parcel of land in western Sydney. </p> <p>With the massive area of land being smack bang in the centre of a major housing development, some realtors have estimated that the property could fetch a price as high as $50 million.</p> <p>Despite the family saying they would be staying in the home, documents obtained by <a href="https://www.news.com.au/finance/real-estate/selling/sydney-familys-home-goes-from-858k-to-50m-as-major-development-crops-up/news-story/eb0bacc20cdae5cad461ff89797cb71d" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>news.com.au</em></a> have confirmed that the house was up for sale in both 2015 and and 2016. </p> <p>The house was swiftly taken off the market after being initially listed with a price range $858,000 to $945,000.</p> <p>And just a few years later, they are believed to have received offers of between $33 million and $50 million.</p> <p>The massive property boasts a lush green lawn in stark contrast to all the houses around it and also a huge 200 metre driveway.</p> <p>But just metres away are rows and rows of carbon copy grey houses crammed into tight blocks as part of a major development. </p> <p>The high-density neighbouring homes are built right up to the fence of the Zammit's property, and neighbours reportedly don’t want the owners to sell as they like living in a cul-de-sac.</p> <p>It’s estimated that 50 houses could fit on the Zammit's block of land if they followed the same style as other developer homes in the area. </p> <p>A local real estate agent previously praised the Zammit family for staying put, despite the big payouts they have likely been offered.</p> <p>“The fact that most people sold out years and years ago, these guys have held on. All credit to them,” Ray White Quakers Hill agent Taylor Bredin told <em>7News.</em></p> <p>“Depending on how far you push the development plan, you’d be able to push anywhere from 40 to 50 properties on something like this, and when subdivided, a 300 square metre block would get a million dollars.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: 7News</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Princess Di's black sheep jumper sells for 14 times over asking price

<p>Princess Diana's famous "black sheep" jumper has sold at auction for more than $1.1million.   </p> <p>The iconic red and white (and one tiny bit of black, of course!) jumper fetched precisely $1,143,000 at Sotheby's in New York - making it the most expensive piece of clothing owned by the former Princess of Wales to sell at auction, as well as the most expensive jumper to ever be sold at auction. </p> <p>There were a total of 44 bids within the final 15 minutes of a two-week online bidding process for the famous item of clothing - during which the bidding leapt from $190,000 to $1,143,000, which ultimately pushed the sale to a staggering 14 times over the initial asking price of $80,000.  </p> <p>The woollen jumper was worn by Lady Di to a polo match in Windsor in June 1981, just one month before she married the then-Prince Charles. </p> <p>Soon after Diana wore the garment, it was returned to Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne, founders of the label Warm & Wonderful because of a tear at the cuff.</p> <p>It was sent back to the designers along with a note from Buckingham Palace, requesting that the jumper be either repaired or replaced.</p> <p>A new jumper was knitted for Diana, with Osborne believing the original garment had been lost after the replacement was sent to the Princess of Wales, which she wore to another polo match in 1983. </p> <p>However, Osborne later discovered the jumper, which had been preserved underneath an old cotton bedspread, while searching her attic looking for an old pattern. </p> <p>She got in touch with Sotheby's auction house which gave the garment an auction estimate of around $80,000 - $120,000.</p> <p>Speaking to <em>The Telegraph UK</em>, Osborne said, "We didn't think we had any of the original sheep jumpers, because at the time, we were so desperate to complete orders that we never owned one ourselves, so I couldn't believe I'd found the original Diana sheep jumper."</p> <p>"It took a while to sink in. And we're so lucky it's not fallen to pieces."</p> <p>Sotheby's said of the now-iconic design, "The Black Sheep sweater is one of the most iconic pieces worn by Princess Diana to ever come to market."</p> <p>"The cultural impact of this moment from the 1980s is exemplified by the head of Rowing Blazers, Jack Carlson, who in 2020, requested to partner with the original designers and license the sheep design to be reproduced for his own fashion line."</p> <p>"Since stumbling upon the sweater ... we have been reliving the fond memories of Princess Diana appearing on the front pages of every newspaper in 1981, wearing our very own sweater.  </p> <p>"While we are forever indebted to her for the impact this had on our business, our deepest appreciation lies in the knowledge that she shared a unique connection to the black sheep design. We are thrilled that this cherished sweater has now found a new home, carrying with it the enduring legacy of Princess Diana."</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Beauty & Style

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From handing out their own flyers, to sell-out games: how the Matildas won over a nation

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/fiona-crawford-128832">Fiona Crawford</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</a></em></p> <p>As the Matildas prepare for their 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup sudden-death quarter final against France, they have become the hottest sporting property in the country. For example, formerly uninterested major media just days ago <a href="https://sport.optus.com.au/news/womens-world-cup-2023/os61076/matildas-record-shirt-sales-helicopter-fifa-womens-world-cup-2023">hired a helicopter</a> to spy on one of the team’s training sessions.</p> <p>The expensive, paparazzi-style move was designed to gather exclusive footage of the team, particularly of injured Matildas captain Sam Kerr.</p> <p>That conservative media was going to such lengths to gain footage of the team speaks volumes of the starkly different landscape the current Matildas are operating in, and the evolution of a team that’s gone from few resources and relatively anonymity to equal pay and national treasure status.</p> <h2>No longer an afterthought</h2> <p>More people watched the <a href="https://7news.com.au/sport/fifa-womens-world-cup/matildas-set-new-tv-ratings-record-while-sinking-denmark-in-fifa-womens-world-cup-c-11520596">Matildas’ Round of 16 match against Denmark</a> on Channel Seven, the highest rating show of the year to date, than watched the men’s NRL and AFL grand finals last year.</p> <p>Channel Seven is also <a href="https://www.news.com.au/sport/football/channel-7s-extraordinary-matildas-decision-for-world-cup-quarterfinal/news-story/ddd00fa51e40971c940f720be2ad9f0d">delaying Saturday’s news bulletin</a> to broadcast the Matildas’ quarter final, while the AFL will be broadcasting the match in the stadium before the men’s West Coast Eagles versus Fremantle derby.</p> <p>This is all particularly interesting given <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-05-03/fifa-boss-threatens-women-world-cup-blackout/102295974">FIFA had to castigate broadcasters for undervaluing the broadcast rights</a> in the tournament lead-up.</p> <p>What’s more, Matildas jerseys are <a href="https://www.footballaustralia.com.au/news/football-australia-celebrates-landmark-fifa-womens-world-cup-and-record-breaking-success">outselling the Socceroos’ jerseys by two to one</a>. It’s worth remembering they were unavailable to buy until recent years because manufacturers didn’t deem there to be a market for them.</p> <p>More than 1.7 million tickets have been sold, exceeding FIFA’s stretch target of 1.5 million. And the total crowd figure record of 1,353,506 set in 2015 <a href="https://www.reuters.com/sports/soccer/womens-world-cup-attendance-record-exceeded-last-16-2023-08-06">had been surpassed</a> with 12 games to spare.</p> <p>That’s a far cry from the Matildas’ early years, when players had to produce and hand out flyers to try to attract people to watch their games, or phone television stations and beg them to broadcast matches. When the team travelled to the 2003 world cup, not a single journalist turned up to the airport press conference.</p> <p>It’s also quite the contrast from the traditional media coverage approach that relegates women’s sport to an afterthought. A <a href="https://news.usc.edu/183765/womens-sports-tv-news-coverage-sportscenter-online-usc-study">30-year study</a> of women’s sports coverage, published in 2021, determined major media generally adopt a “one and done” approach: a box-ticking exercise, providing a token women’s sports story before a succession of in-depth men’s sports stories.</p> <h2>So, how did we get here?</h2> <p>It was 1988 when the intrepid Matildas ventured out to their inaugural “world cup” – a pilot tournament FIFA only staged after <a href="https://www.france24.com/en/20190626-ellen-wille-mother-women-football-norway-fifa-world-cup-france">concerted pressure</a> from other organising bodies and women footballers themselves.</p> <p>There were some significant changes considered or implemented – ones that would not have been tabled for the men’s game. Matches were truncated from 90 to 80 minutes; there was some patronising discussion of whether women would play with a <a href="https://www.booktopia.com.au/fifa-women-s-world-cup-official-history-fifa/book/9781787393530.html">smaller ball</a>; and with the tournament absent any true FIFA badging, the players had to pay $850 each for the privilege of participating. They pulled that fee together by fundraising through lamington drives, car washes, and casino nights.</p> <p>Still, the Australian team quickly made history by <a href="https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=466728760806708">defeating Brazil</a> in an upset victory in the tournament’s first match, setting the tone for an upwards trajectory.</p> <p>However, the 1995, 1999, and 2003 tournaments were not, by the Matildas’ own standards, considered breakout successes. A harsh red card for Sonia Gegenhuber in the team’s first group-stage match against Denmark in 1995 cruelled the team’s chances from the outset. And 1999 saw <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-07-26/meet-alicia-ferguson-cook-matilda-wwc-record-fastest-red-card/102272428">Alicia Ferguson awarded the fastest red card in history</a> for an ill-timed tackle two minutes into the game against China.</p> <p>The Matildas’ sustained upward course arguably began in 2007. The World Cup that year was the first womens’ tournament for which SBS broadcast all the games. It also became the first time the Matildas <a href="https://www.matildas.com.au/news/day-westfield-matildas-made-history-2007-fifa-womens-world-cup">progressed to the knockout rounds</a>.</p> <p>Although laundry and internet costs weren’t yet covered, that era also marked the beginning of the players receiving (albeit nominal) daily allowances and playing contracts of up to approximately A$10,000. Administrators were able to leverage that 2007 success into the establishment of the W-League (now renamed the A-League Women’s), the domestic semi-professional football league that helped the Matildas become the first Australian team (women’s or men’s) <a href="https://www.matildas.com.au/news/westfield-matildas-win-afc-asian-cup">to win the Asian Cup</a>. It’s also a development pathway for the current Matildas.</p> <p>2011 marked the emergence of the Matildas’ “golden generation”, with then-youthful players Caitlin Foord and Sam Kerr attending their first Women’s World Cup.</p> <p>All the focus has been on Kerr in recent years, but at the time, Foord was tipped to be the player to watch, and was named the tournament’s best young player.</p> <h2>Striking for pay parity</h2> <p>To understand the groundbreaking success the Matildas are now experiencing, we must look at the lonely stand they took across the road from governing body Football Federation Australia’s office in 2015.</p> <p>They were off contract, unpaid, and without medical insurance. Now lapsed, they had been on contracts of around A$22,000 a year: in the ballpark of Australia’s poverty line.</p> <p>So the Matildas went on strike for two months to draw attention to the imperiled nature of their footballing careers, which demanded full-time, elite-athlete commitment and results, but with part-time, amateur pay.</p> <p>The headlines that followed encapsulated the exasperation many felt (and still feel) at the inequity women athletes experience. This included the <a href="https://junkee.com/the-matildas-have-gone-on-strike-because-oh-my-god-can-we-just-pay-them-properly/65061">Junkee headline "</a>The Matildas Have Gone on Strike Because, Oh My God Can We Just Pay Them Properly?"</p> <p>The Matildas achieved <a href="https://www.matildas.com.au/news/historic-cba-close-footballs-gender-pay-gap">pay parity</a> with the Socceroos in 2019, but the groundwork for that achievement was laid with that 2015 strike.</p> <p>The year 2017 also marked an important moment in the team’s evolution. It was when the team <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/sep/12/matildas-break-new-ground-as-fans-scramble-for-tickets-on-resale-market">sold out Penrith Stadium</a> with a then-record crowd of about 17,000.</p> <p>The crowd figure signalled there was an engaged audience and market there – it had just been under-catered for.</p> <p>Fast forward to 2019. Off-pitch distractions imperilled the Matildas’ group-stage world cup results. The team was steered through the tournament by temporarily installed coach Ante Milicic, after incumbent coach Alen Stajcic had been sacked for reasons still not entirely clear.</p> <p>With the rise of European nations that had invested heavily in women’s football, Australian football had stood still. The Matildas’ opening loss against debutantes Italy put the team under pressure. However, the players then produced the “Miracle of Montpellier”, winning 3-2 against superstars Brazil to salvage their tournament – before being bundled out by Norway on penalties in the round of 16.</p> <p>This year, the media’s initial focus was on Kerr’s troublesome calf and then late substitution decisions by coach Tony Gustavsson. Under pressure following a shock loss to minnows Nigeria, the Matildas recorded a resounding 4–0 victory over reigning Olympic champions Canada.</p> <p>Now, in a few pressure-filled hours, Australia’s most successful football team have the potential to make history: to progress to the semi finals for the first time ever.</p> <p>A win would see Matildas’ media coverage and fandom enter uncharted, euphoric territory. But with record crowds, viewership, and merchandise sales, and with several of their players now household names, in many ways the Matildas will already have won before they even set foot on the pitch.<!-- 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;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/211338/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><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/fiona-crawford-128832">Fiona Crawford</a>, Adjunct Lecturer at the Centre for Justice, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>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/from-handing-out-their-own-flyers-to-sell-out-games-how-the-matildas-won-over-a-nation-211338">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Ricky Ponting sells long-time beachside mansion

<p>Cricket star Ricky Ponting and wife Rianna have sold their breathtaking beachside property. The 1920s Brighton trophy home was listed in May and is believed to have sold within the range of the $14.8 million-$16 million price guide.</p> <p>The former Aussie cricket captain, who’s currently trading barbs with Kevin Pietersen after Australia emerged victorious in a <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/ice-in-his-veins-stunning-result-in-first-ashes-test" target="_blank" rel="noopener">stunning first Ashes Test</a>, obtained the sale through Forbes Global’s Mike Gibson in partnership with Andrew Smith of BuyerX.</p> <p>Gibson said it was the second property that his firm had sold in Brighton's golden mile, with another eight-figure sale at 12 Dudley St.</p> <p><em>The Herald Sun</em> understands that the home went for more than $20 million.</p> <p>“It’s very interesting that both properties sold to local families,” Gibson said.</p> <p>“Brighton people love their suburb.”</p> <p>The two top-end sales in the affluent Bayside port were indicative of the market’s strength.</p> <p>“That market is alive and well,” Gibson said.</p> <p>However, he did highlight there would be lesser options for sellers as premier listings dropped away for winter.</p> <p>According to PropTrack records, the Pontings bought the seven-bedroom Brighton home for $9.25 million in 2013.</p> <p>“We’re thrilled with the sale of our house, especially to such a lovely family,” the couple told AFR.</p> <p>“It’s a beautiful family home, and we hope they love living here as much as we do.”</p> <p>The sales comes as the pair purchased a $20 million property in Toorak to be closer to their three children’s sporting activities.</p> <p>What drew the Pontings to the suburb was proximity to friends, including former teammate and longtime Brighton resident the late Shane Warne.</p> <p>Ricky retired from full-time cricket in 2012 and soon after sold the family home in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire and went down to settle in Melbourne’s Bayside area.</p> <p>“Landmark residences like this, especially in such a recognised blue-chip address, have a really broad appeal,” Gibson said of the home when it was listed.</p> <p>“Shandford is already one of Brighton’s landmarks but it could evolve from here to become one of Australia’s true residential trophies.”</p> <p>Although the Ponting’s next home in Toorak is smaller than the grand Shandford, it still covers an expansive 1,900 sqm of land.</p> <p>The dimensions and historic detailing are what makes Ponting’s former Brighton home one of the most significant in the neighbourhood.</p> <p>Beyond the elaborate foyer, it includes formal rooms, a timber-panelled study, a modern kitchen with a butler’s pantry and a mammoth home cinema.</p> <p>Outdoors showcase a full-sized tennis court, pool and private laneway to the beach.</p> <p>The Pontings also own a stunning weekender in Portsea, which they bought in 2019 for $3.52 million.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Getty/Realestate.com.au</em></p>

Real Estate

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Derelict Sydney home sells for millions

<p>A Sydney house dubbed “unliveable” has defied odds as it sold for $3.1 million after two couples submitted proposals prior to auction.</p> <p>The property on Vaughan Place in Redfern East is severely overgrown with plants and basic brick walls inside which appear to be covered in mould and rust.</p> <p>Shannan Whitney from BresicWhitney real estate told<em> 9news.com.au </em>that the couple who bought it were young and already homeowners.</p> <p>He said the vendors were satisfied with the final price of just over $3 million after it was initially listed for $2.5 million.</p> <p>"We were cautious about the conditions," Whitney explained when discussing the initial price guide.</p> <p>"We thought we were very sensible in terms of how the market might respond to an unliveable house, the high-interest rates and the high capital costs to turn it into a liveable existence.”</p> <p>"So yes, we thought that a $3 million-plus outcome was very pleasing all things considered.”</p> <p>He added that a project like this — clearly needing a lot of TLC — is not for the faint-hearted.</p> <p>Domain described the property as a "rare opportunity to build new residence”.</p> <p>It was designed and built in 1985 for prolific Aussie artist Peter Powidge who was at the forefront of Australian pop art in the 60s and 70s.</p> <p>The abandoned home sits across a double 270 sqm block and includes off-street parking.</p> <p><em>Image credit: REA Group</em></p>

Real Estate

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Alan Joyce preparing to sell controversial $20 million mansion

<p>Outgoing Qantas CEO Alan Joyce is saying goodbye to more than his long-time role at the airline as he prepares to sell his controversial harbourside mansion.</p> <p>The veteran airline boss purchased the gorgeous North Shore home for a staggering $19 million in May 2022.</p> <p>Soon after he was forced to launch a fierce defence of his excessive spending habits after Qantas announced a whopping $1.9 billion loss.</p> <p>The airline came under fire for poor customer service, extended wait times for flyers, and drama over lost bags and late flights, amid legal action over its move to lay off workers that lead to Joyce launching the defence of his own record as airline boss.</p> <p>He said he was tired of being forced to justify his professional and personal decisions.</p> <p>“Why is it relevant what I do in my private life? I’m not a public figure. People regard the CEO of Qantas as like a politician and it definitely shouldn’t be. It’s a business figure,’ Joyce told <em>The Australian</em> in 2022.</p> <p>“It’s been well reported over the years how much I get paid, so I do have the money because Qantas went to record profits and had a ­record share price.”</p> <p>According to reports, Joyce is set to sell his short-term blue chip pile in Mosman, overlooking Mosman Bay and move into a generous penthouse in The Rocks.</p> <p>It is understood that Joyce has undertaken some refurbishments on the Mosman home. That paired with the competitive market for prestige homes in Sydney means the home could sell for more than $20 million.</p> <p>The luxe home has been previously owned by former foreign exchange dealer Alison Ethell and her sister, Jane, since 1993 when it cost $1.25 million.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Getty / Realestate.com.au</em></p>

Real Estate

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The soundtrack to selling: why advertising with popular music needs to be pitch perfect

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/morteza-abolhasani-1346513">Morteza Abolhasani</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-open-university-748">The Open University</a></em></p> <p>At some point today, it’s likely that you’ll listen to music. It may be during a commute or school run, while you do some exercise or take some time to relax. Music is all around us – an accessible and popular art form which <a href="https://online.ucpress.edu/mp/article-abstract/22/1/41/62190/Uses-of-Music-in-Everyday-Life?redirectedFrom=fulltext">accompanies our daily lives</a>.</p> <p>Advertisers have long understood the popularity and emotional power of music and used it to sell us things. Much time – and money – is spent on securing the right soundtrack to adverts in a bid to boost sales, such as when Microsoft <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/1999-05-23/sing-a-song-of-selling?leadSource=uverify%20wall">spent a reported US$3 million</a> (£2.4 million) to use The Rolling Stones’ song Start Me Up as part of their advertising campaign for Windows 95.</p> <p>So how do companies choose the right music for their product? And why is it such a valuable ingredient in the mission to make us consume?</p> <p>Research suggests that the specific qualities of music as an art form enhances the science of selling. As one researcher <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mar.4220010303">puts it</a>: “Music […] is the catalyst of advertising. It augments pictures and colours words, and often adds a form of energy available through no other source.”</p> <p>Other <a href="https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-531-18916-1_19">studies have shown</a> how music transports, underlines or amplifies the persuasive message of adverts. Used well, it creates memorable commercials which influence our attitudes to a product or service.</p> <p>Take the visually simple but <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6bGnSEwdKY">compelling advert</a> for Air France, with the soundtrack of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23. It projects grandeur and elegance, in the hope that viewers will associate those qualities with the airline.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/J6bGnSEwdKY?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p><a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1470593117692021">My research</a>, which looked at hundreds of viewer comments about the music used in advertising, suggests it was successful. Air France’s use of a sophisticated piece of classical music created a direct perception of a sophisticated and premium airline.</p> <p>This is supported by other <a href="https://academic.oup.com/edited-volume/38632/chapter-abstract/335307151?redirectedFrom=fulltext">research</a> which suggests that music which matches the main message of an advert has a positive effect on consumer engagement. This alignment, known as “musical congruity”, can result in enhanced attention, a positive emotional response, and improved brand recall, ultimately enhancing the effectiveness of an advert.</p> <h2>Down memory lane</h2> <p>Music is also effective at triggering <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1470593114521451?journalCode=mtqa">feelings of nostalgia</a>. The extent to which music arouses emotional memories – “musical indexicality” – in adverts creates associations with consumers’ past experiences.</p> <p>The music for <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NwBcCUh24I">an advert</a> for Old Navy inspired <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1470593117692021">positive comments</a> based on viewers’ memories. A good choice of music allows businesses to tap into this nostalgia for commercial benefit, and my <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1470593117692021">research suggests</a> that music with autobiographical resonance can be particularly effective.</p> <p>Another example of this is when <a href="https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=pink+moon+vw">Volkswagen used</a> Nick Drake’s <em>Pink Moon</em>.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_-kqUkZnDcM?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>As one viewer commented: “Rarely do I get sentimental with commercials, but this one takes me back to the time when I was dating my wife and when we were first married. We used to take drives like this in the mountains and I remember looking at her beautiful face in the moonlight. The music is perfect. The sentiment is perfect.”</p> <p>(In this case, the 1999 advert also had a big impact on Nick Drake’s popularity, with album sales <a href="https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/nick-drake-pink-moon-song-volkwagen-commercial-182739/">dramatically increasing</a> after the advert’s release. Drake, who died at the age of 26, never saw commercial success in his lifetime.)</p> <h2>Commercial clash</h2> <p>But using music to advertise products doesn’t always work. For one thing, music can infiltrate the mind, repeat itself continuously and become extremely difficult to dislodge.</p> <p>This is why we can’t get some jingles out of our heads for ages. Involuntary and repetitive exposure to a piece of music can quickly reach the point of annoyance.</p> <p>The use of popular music in advertising can also provoke arguments around <a href="https://journals.library.columbia.edu/index.php/currentmusicology/article/view/5206">the tensions</a> between artistic endeavour and commercialism. Some people believe a work of art should not be used for the pursuit of profit.</p> <p>In fact, the findings of my study on viewer comments showed that consumers sometimes passionately oppose the use of music by revered musicians being used in adverts, as they believe that doing this undermines its aesthetic integrity.</p> <p>For example, Nike’s use of the The Beatles’ song <em>Revolution</em> was seen by some as exploiting John Lennon’s lyrics to sell shoes. It made some Nike wearers so angry that they boycotted the brand.</p> <p>One wrote: “This is disgusting. Shame on Nike for exploiting priceless art. I will never buy another Nike shoe again.” Another said: “John didn’t mean change the brand of your trainers!”</p> <p>So advertisers need to be careful. For while the right choice of music can attract customers, boost sales, and inspire brand loyalty, the wrong choice can create something of a backlash. For many people, music is precious, and using it as a marketing tool does not always have harmonious results.<!-- 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;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/203856/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><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/morteza-abolhasani-1346513">Morteza Abolhasani</a>, Lecturer in Marketing, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-open-university-748">The Open University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>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/the-soundtrack-to-selling-why-advertising-with-popular-music-needs-to-be-pitch-perfect-203856">original article</a>.</em></p>

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3 sales tactics rife in the real estate industry, and why they work

<p>Buying a home is likely to be the biggest financial transaction you will ever make, and you’re at a distinct disadvantage. You’re an amateur up against professionals – real estate agents – versed in psychological tricks to get you excited about owning a property and paying more than you planned.</p> <p>These tricks start with comparatively simple things such as making rooms look bigger in adverts by using a wide-angle photography. They extend all the way to the point of sale. </p> <p>None of these tactics necessarily involve outright lying – there are laws against false and misleading conduct. But they are manipulative, exploiting the fact that humans are emotional beings with many “cognitive biases” – a perception of reality that is more emotional ratther than rational.</p> <p>The three most common tactics come down to manipulating your confidence in your own decisions. Close to <a href="https://www.worldscientific.com/doi/abs/10.1142/S0217590816500156">80 studies</a> suggest overconfidence is one of the most significant cognitive biases influencing behaviour in the real estate market.</p> <h2>1. Underquote, entice the bargain hunters</h2> <p>You see a property in your price range that’s everything you want. You call the agent, inspect the property, then prepare for the auction. It sells for $200,000 more. </p> <p>Underquoting involves deliberately advertising a property significantly lower than its likely sales price. While the prevalence of the practice is disputed, with industry representatives saying most agents do the right thing, <a href="https://www.theage.com.au/property/news/new-3-8-million-crackdown-on-underquoting-by-victorian-real-estate-agents-20220914-p5bhzq.html">anecdotal evidence</a>points to underquoting being very common. </p> <p>Underquoting is effective because it attracts more interested buyers and increases the number and intensity of bidding. It exploits two of the most ubiquitous cognitive biases – herd behaviour and irrational exuberance. </p> <p>More interest doesn’t just increase competition. A real estate agent will communicate that interest to us, confirming our desire in the property is justified. </p> <p>This tendency to “follow the herd” and imitate others, as US economist Robert Shiller noted in an influential <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/2117915">1995 paper</a>, is built on the assumption others have information that justifies their actions. </p> <p>This helps explain pretty much every stockmarket bubble since <a href="https://theconversation.com/tulip-mania-the-classic-story-of-a-dutch-financial-bubble-is-mostly-wrong-91413">tulipmania in the 17th century</a>, including the <a href="https://lsecentralbanking.medium.com/how-did-herd-behaviour-contribute-to-the-global-financial-crisis-3b0024a4755e">Global Financial Crisis of 2007-8</a> and <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1544612318303647">speculation on cryptocurrency</a>. We are emotionally swayed by the decisions of others, assuming their decisions are rational, even when they are not. This is fertile ground for our own decisions to be manipulated.</p> <h2>2. Hide reality, inflate expectations</h2> <p>Real estate agents will generally favour auctions to extract the <a href="https://www.domain.com.au/news/selling-at-auction-in-melbourne-earns-vendors-tens-of-thousands-in-extra-cash-1072565/">maximum sales price</a>, for the reasons outlined above and the prospect of <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/220505543_Understanding_auction_fever_A_framework_for_emotional_bidding">auction fever</a> – when carefully decided limits are forgotten in the thrill of the moment. </p> <p>But that’s not always the case. In a soft market with few buyers, agents may instead opt for a private sale, sometimes called a “<a href="https://attwoodmarshall.com.au/the-silent-auction/">silent auction</a>”. The goal here is to cause you to overestimate the degree of competition and thus make a bigger offer.</p> <p>An agent might assist this perception by instead supplying you with information from previous public auctions of similar properties more favourable to their preferred narrative.</p> <p>The value of hiding information also explains why you may come across so many sold listings with <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/property/news/should-you-be-able-to-know-how-much-your-neighbours-sold-their-house-for-20220223-p59z2t.html">labels</a> such as “price not disclosed” or “price withheld.” The reason for this may well be that the property sold for less than hoped.</p> <p>Hiding information the agent doesn’t want you to think about depends principally on exploiting our cognitive bias towards <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/psychology/overconfidence">overconfidence</a> – assuming we are smarter, more knowledgeable or better skilled than we actually are.</p> <p>In lieu of that negative information, you are more likely to focus on the available information – particularly if it suits what you want to believe.</p> <h2>3. Talk up nominal gains</h2> <p>You may have heard the <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/property/news/do-house-prices-really-double-every-10-years-20211203-p59eif.html">old saying</a> that property values double every 10 years. Stressing what a property is likely to be worth in a decade <a href="https://www.realestate.com.au/news/suburbs-you-shouldve-bought-a-home-in-10-years-ago-and-how-much-your-area-has-grown/">based on what it was worth a decade ago</a> can be a powerful motivator to bid more.</p> <p>As Robert Shiller noted in his 2013 book <a href="https://press.princeton.edu/books/paperback/9780691156323/the-subprime-solution">The Subprime Solution</a> (about the property-buying mania that led to the Global Financial Crisis), homes are such significant investments that we tend to recall their prices from the distant past (unlike, say, like a loaf of bread or bottle of milk).</p> <p>This tendency results in an unconscious focus on nominal values rather than <a href="https://www.fool.com/investing/general/2012/04/12/the-illusion-of-housing-as-a-great-investment.aspx">real (inflation-adjusted) values</a>. This cognitive bias is known as the <a href="https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/14635789810212931/full/html">money illusion</a>, a mental miscalculation that may increase your willingness to pay more for the property. </p> <h2>In conclusion…</h2> <p>There’s a case for laws to <a href="https://www.realestate.com.au/news/push-to-end-home-sale-price-confusion-in-victorian-property-industry-review/">increase transparency</a> and the accuracy of information available in the real estate market. </p> <p>But in the meantime, if you’re buying a home, it’s wise to acknowledge your limitations. Do your homework, seek out independent advice and even consider hiring a professional advocate with the knowledge and experience to balance emotional and rational thoughts.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/3-sales-tactics-rife-in-the-real-estate-industry-and-why-they-work-202960" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

Real Estate

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“It tastes like rich”: Hotel sells $32 coffee with gold sprinkles

<p dir="ltr">At the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, you can treat yourself to a cappuccino for a whopping $32AUD, although you’re not <em>really</em> paying for the coffee alone. </p> <p dir="ltr">The cappuccino, which is found at the hotel’s Le Cafe by the Fountain comes with 23-karat gold sprinkled on top and it has been named the Emirates Palace Golden Cappuccino. </p> <p dir="ltr">The pricey cap is not the only item on the menu that is embellished with gold, with the hotel advertising a camel milk vanilla or chocolate ice cream with a 23-karat gold leaf for $29.</p> <p dir="ltr">In the mood for a cold drink? The Emirates Palace has got you covered with their Hawaiian Candy Colada, a mocktail topped with 23-karat gold flakes for $26. </p> <p dir="ltr">Tourists have shared videos on social media, with one showing a barista shaking a can of gold flakes over a row of cappuccinos, much like one would with the average cocoa powder topping. </p> <p dir="ltr">Another video posted by a worker shows her adding gold flakes with a spoon.</p> <p dir="ltr">One TikToker who got to try the luxurious coffee wrote, “The gold cappuccino was 8/10 but the vibes were 100/10.” </p> <p dir="ltr">One user wrote, “It tastes like rich.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Another agreed, writing “It tastes expensive.” </p> <p dir="ltr">A Canadian coffee content creator, Brodie Vissers, better known as The Nomad Barista online reviewed the hotel’s cappuccino on YouTube. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Our drinks have arrived, I’m a little bit nervous. It used to be 24-karat, now they’ve reduced it to 23-karat but it is still gold sprinkled on this coffee,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I don’t even know what to expect from this drink,” he said before trying the luxurious drink. </p> <p dir="ltr">“It’s actually not bad. Of course the foam on the latte is not like a perfect flat white or anything. It’s actually not as sweet as I expected. It’s got a nice balance to it. It’s an interesting drink.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We cannot forget about the dates. Having dates with coffee is a very traditional thing here in the Middle East.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Let’s see how that pairs with the latte. Wow, that is so good. I recommend it if you’re around. It’s a kind of unique opportunity here in (Emirates) Palace. What better place to drink coffee with gold on top.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credit: Instagram </em></p>

Food & Wine

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Real estate’s ‘Biggest Loser’ Michelle Bridges fails to sell home

<p dir="ltr">Fitness entrepreneur Michelle Bridges has failed to sell her $6.5m Kangaloon home, amid plans to go back to Sydney.</p> <p dir="ltr">The former <em>Biggest Loser</em> trainer initially bought the five-bedroom home in 2017 for $2.7m for her family when she outbid chef Luke Mangan.</p> <p dir="ltr">The 4.1 hectare estate was listed last month with initial reports suggesting that the home should be sold for $7m. However, the private price guidance had offered it to buyers for $6.5m</p> <p dir="ltr">Now, The Agency real estate company has revised the price guide back down to $5m, after they failed to secure a buyer for the original price.</p> <p dir="ltr">The property, which is built on a hill offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside, with floor to ceiling windows in the main living room.</p> <p dir="ltr">The main bedroom has an ensuite bathroom and walk-in wardrobe, but the interior is not the only thing that’s worth boasting about.</p> <p dir="ltr">The luxurious estate has an in-ground pool, a tennis court and landscaped gardens which feature established trees and vegetable gardens designed by Michael Bligh.</p> <p dir="ltr">Other features include an outdoor dining area, an entertainment pavilion with a small fire pit, and a separate guest house complete with a loft bedroom and modern bathroom.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Realestate.com.au, Getty</em></p> <p dir="ltr"> </p>

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Unique transportable home to be sold at low-cost

<p>A tiny foldable house is set to sell for less than a quarter of the average Queensland home loan deposit, already attracting 48 bids in an ongoing auction.</p> <p>The 35sqm portable house, popularly known as a donga, was listed for auction “brand new” by a company in Toowoomba.</p> <p>The 19ft by 20ft modified transportable house has seen 48 bids cast, lifting the price to $13,000, with bids rising in $250 increments. Market prices for fully fitted out dongas generally sell for around $20,000, depending on the quality of the fittings required.</p> <p>The owner of the literal ‘pick-up-and-go’ home has no reserve price set for the little container, meaning whenever the highest bid is made, the auction will close. </p> <p>The unique foldable home has an ensuite with a basic shower, toilet, sink and mirror. It also has eight lockable windows, one door and is decked out with timber flooring.</p> <p>There are hot and cold water inlets, two waste outlets, lighting, an exhaust fan vent, gas struts and winches for easy assembly. The container home has an efficiency star rating of 4, with water consumption at 4.5l full flush and 3.1l half flush.</p> <p>“Units are plumbed for the shower but showerhead/mixer needs to be supplied and installed by buyer.”</p> <p>The only issue with this unique little unit is it does not come wired, so the buyer has to arrange for an electrician to supply and install the wiring.</p> <p>The home also has “adjustable feet for easy levelling” and can be folded up and ready to transport.</p> <p><em>Image credit: realestate.com.au</em></p>

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