Daily Archives: January 16, 2015
I don’t believe I’ve ever met Greenwich Time’s real estate flack Maggie Gordon, but I’m sure she’s a very nice lady. As a reporter, well, she’s a very nice lady. Her latest effort to flog real estate and its associated businesses concerns staging, and she goes at it with her usual flair, citing wildly improbable statistics and quoting, straight-faced and without question, professional stages attesting to their results. Here’s a taste:
According to the Real Estate Staging Association, homes that are professionally staged spend 73 percent less time on the market and typically sell for more money than properties that haven’t been staged, thanks in large part to the fact that they appeal to buyers as “move-in ready” properties.
“Ninety percent of people out there can’t visualize themselves living within an empty space,” [Julia Nix, a Greenwich-based interior staging and design consultant] said earlier this week.
So my job as a stager is to create an atmosphere that evokes a lifestyle that is desirable.”
Of course, that comes at an added cost for the seller, which can be a turn-off for many. While there is no hard number that sellers can expect to pencil in for a staging budget, since the process depends on the size of the home, number of rooms that need to be staged and length of time the home will be on the market, Nix said a good rule of thumb is stagers try to keep the cost down to somewhere between 0.5 percent and 1 percent of the home’s value.
“If you ended up investing $20,000 in staging your home, the likelihood is you would get $100,000 more in the sale price as a result,” Nix said. “So if you had a million-dollar home, and you decide to invest $10,000 — that’s 1 percent — to stage your house, you might get $50,000 more from a buyer. That’s the way you have to look at it.
“How many investments do we have that guarantee you to get double your money back? Banks are offering 1 percent, right? And investments, you’re lucky if you get 5 to 8 percent,” she said. So people are expecting certain returns on their money. And if they would be happy with 5 to 8 percent returns on their investment, then staging offers significantly greater value for an invested dollar. And the minute you decide to sell your home, it stops being your home. It starts being an asset.”
There’s certainly nothing wrong with vacuuming the Cheetos from the Lazy-Boy cushions, or locking drunk Uncle Charlie in the basement when buyers are coming over, and even, dare I say it, removing the collection of Disneyworld souvenir statuettes from the tops of all your shelves, but paying tens of thousands of dollars to a stager? If you have nothing better to do with your money, go ahead, but don’t count on Maggy Gordon’s estimates of return on your “investment”.
A lorry driver has been jailed for seven years for killing his friend who asked him to test out his new ‘bulletproof’ vest – with a shotgun.
Ian Catley, 40, and close friend Philip Harper were in a farmer’s field near Melbourn, Cambridgeshire, when he fired at his chest from less than 20ft away and killed him almost instantly.
A court heard today that Mr Harper had visited a military surplus store the previous day and was ‘very keen’ to test the effectiveness of his new kit.
Well, now he knows.
The latest claim from NASA that 2014 was “the hottest year on record” is debunked by scientists. A real scientific hypothesis shouldn’t have to be supported by patently false claims blaming earthquakes, snowstorms and wild fires on the phenomenon, nor use phony graphs, or suppress opposing opinions and scientific papers, nor call for the execution of those who dispute the theory, yet all of these, and more, have happened during this craze.
There may be some truth to the global warming thesis; who knows? But the tactics being employed by its advocates make it look increasingly dubious.
Alex Malarkey, a young boy who coauthored a book with his father first published in 2010 about going to heaven and returning to earth, wrote an open letter to Christian publishers retracting his story.
In 2004, Malarkey and his father, who is a Christian therapist, were in a bad car accident that left the 6-year-old boy paralyzed and in a coma.
According to the book’s Amazon page: “When Alex awoke from a coma two months later, he had an incredible story to share. Of events at the accident scene and in the hospital while he was unconscious. Of the angels who took him through the gates of Heaven itself. And, most amazing of all … of meeting and talking with Jesus.”
The letter that Alex, who is now 16, wrote to publishers said he made the whole thing up: “I said I went to heaven because I thought it would get me attention. When I made the claims that I did, I had never read the Bible. People have profited from lies, and continue to. They should read the Bible, which is enough.”
The country’s in the hands of morons.
While 83 per cent of Brits gulp down a glass of juice at least once a week, experts are so concerned about the dangers — some labelling it ‘as bad as Coca-Cola’ in terms of sugar content — that there are calls to ban juice from being one of our ‘five a day’ (drinking 150ml of unsweetened juice qualifies as one of your daily total).
Our addiction to juice is being held partly responsible for weight gain, the spread of type 2 diabetes, and even dental problems.
What’s more, health advisers argue that so much damage is done to the goodness in fruit when you extract the juice or turn it into a smoothie in a blender, it’s far better to just eat the original apple, banana or orange. ‘The mechanism of consuming a whole piece of fruit is undoubtedly better for you on every level; weight loss, fibre absorption and nutrients,’ says nutritionist Jackie Lynch.
[Juicers] work by extracting every drop of liquid from, say, an orange or apple and leaving much of the pith, peel, core and pips behind. But it’s these parts of the fruit that contain the fibre which is so vital for our digestive systems.
Fibre helps promote beneficial bacteria in the gut — vital for preventing constipation and reducing the risk of bowel cancer. It’s also thought to play a major part in keeping our immune systems healthy as well as preventing conditions like inflammatory bowel disease, bowel cancer and autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis.
You can also incur additional problems, explains Jackie Lynch. Constipation can lead to piles or hernia from the effort of straining and — ironically — diarrhoea because liquid can bypass the hard matter stuck in the bowel.
… Yet despite the huge amount of sugar and calories in a 250ml glass of fruit juice, most people still think of fruit juice as a diet drink. Indeed, juice fasts — where you consume nothing but juices, be they fruit or vegetable, for up to two weeks — are currently all the rage.
But these regimes can work against your plans to lose weight: whereas normal food stays in the stomach for hours while it’s broken down, keeping us feeling full, juices pass through quickly — they are already in a broken down form and are instantly absorbed.
‘When you eat fruit and vegetables, saliva starts to break them down and they pass through the digestive process,’ says Jackie Lynch. ‘If you simply decant five pieces into your stomach in liquid form, you are by-passing this necessary and complex process.
‘First, you won’t activate the satiety mechanism, which is released by the action of enzymes produced by saliva as you chew the food and helps the body recognise that it’s full, so you may end up eating more.
‘Second, you are actually burning fewer calories because your body isn’t using any energy to break down the food. This means that calories from the natural sugars in the juice aren’t offset by those usually used in digestion. Chewing, absorbing and processing food burns up to 200 calories a day in what is called the thermic effect. By consuming juice, you’re basically losing the opportunity to burn up to 200 calories.’
Even dentists are worried about this latest health trend. They’re seeing more cases of acid erosion — the softening and loss of tooth enamel caused by the acid in soft drinks — than ever before. As enamel is the material that protects teeth, softening it can lead to decay, fillings and crumbling molars.
‘Juice from fruits has a high acid content and can damage the enamel of your teeth in exactly the same way that a fizzy drink does,’ says Dr Uchenna Okoye, of London Smiling dental practice. ‘If you’re going to drink juices, always use a straw. Never brush your teeth straight after drinking, as the teeth are weakened by the exposure to acid.’
So, if you’re trying to decide where to get your must-have juicer, whether it’s a cheap blender or one costing more than £1,000, you might want to think again and save your money. Certainly don’t even think about going on a juice fast.
FWIW’s efforts to reach the proprietress of Cos Cob’s juice bar Green & Tonic were fruitless: “she’s in the bathroom”, a staff member said. “Been there all morning, and we don’t know when she’s coming out.”