Apparently there are lots of buyers in the first home market, and not so many sellers, which is leading to competition for houses. In some cases, several offers are received on a property, so the potential buyers are in a competitive bidding situation. In these cases, rather than conducting a silent auction, each buyer is asked to submit an offer, and the seller chooses which offer she or he likes best. In effect, the purchase offer becomes a closed tender.
So what’s a buyer to do?
Kiri Barfoot, of Barfoot and Thompson, said prospective buyers needed to realise there was no room for negotiation after envelopes were sealed and buyers had to put their best offer forward.
Actually, that’s not true. There is more room for negotiation after the envelope is sealed, provided that the vendor chooses you as the people to talk to first.
Buyers need to do something a little more complicated than just putting in their best possible offer. They need to think about who else might be making an offer, and think about what the property is worth, and think about what they can afford, and put in an offer that puts them at the top of the list, so that they will be the person that the seller elects to negotiate with.
We have been in competitive offer situations several times, and each time, we have put in an offer. It’s never a final price. The vendor is still free to negotiate, and in some cases, she or he has elected to do so. A couple of times we were able to come to an agreement, but a couple of times, we walked away, because the vendor wanted more than we thought the property was worth. And at that stage, the vendor went back to the second highest offer.
So exactly why would real estate agents want to advise potential purchasers to make their *best* offer? Well, duh. Because they want to get the best possible price for the property, because then they earn more. Not necessarily a lot more, but once word gets round that they sell properties for outrageous prices, then they get more listings, and then they get more sales and they earn more again.
To be fair to real estate agents, they are supposed to work for the vendors. The people selling properties pay the agents’ fees, not the purchasers. But that should surely tell purchasers that it is not a good idea to take real estate agents’ advice about the best strategy for purchasing.
WTO angers farmers over apple imports
Australian apple growers are angered by reports the World Trade Organisation (WTO) will overturn Australia’s 90-year ban on New Zealand apple imports.
Rotten ruling a threat to apple industry
THE Adelaide Hills apple industry is facing similar devastation to the Riverland’s horticultural downturn, because of a World Trade Organisation decision to allow New Zealand apples into Australia for the first time in nearly a century.
The move is expected to jeopardise the state’s entire $50 million apple and pear industry.
Apple growers yesterday warned the ruling represented both an economic and disease threat.
Australia’s $500 million apple and pear industry yesterday vowed to fight the WTO decision on disease and trade grounds and to launch a major marketing program to convince consumers to buy Australian..
Free trade benefits consumers and the wider economy
THE World Trade Organisation’s decision to overturn an 89-year ban on importing New Zealand apples will naturally unsettle local producers but it is good news for consumers. New Zealand apples were first banned in 1921 after some were found to have fire blight. The WTO has reportedly ruled that the ban breaches international trade rules and was not, as Australia has claimed, necessary to protect local crops from disease.
NZ apples to take bite out of Australian fruit market
New Zealand’s apple growers have reportedly won a major victory in their 90-year battle to sell fruit in Australia, but mindful of Australia’s mastery of delaying tactics, the industry is not expecting benefits any time soon.
WTO win for apple growers reported
NZ apples were first banned from Australia after fireblight was found in Northland, in 1919, probably after infected nursery stock was imported from California.
Australia first banned the import of fruit trees from New Zealand in the early 1920s when the disease spread in this country, and later the import ban was extended to all apple and pears.
Though New Zealand scientists have found fireblight in Australian ornamental plants and shown that the bacterial disease is unlikely to be transmitted on mature, clean fruit, efforts to gain access to the potentially-lucrative Australian market in 1986, 1989, and 1995 were rejected.
Further talks over the restrictions also failed when access was allowed in 2006 with conditions – such as orchard inspections – so strict that exports would not be economically viable.
New Zealand took a complaint to the World Trade Organisation in 2007, on the basis that the proposed constraints were an unacceptable trade barrier. …
Biosecurity Australia said Chinese apples could be imported as long as risks from 18 pests of concern were a “very low level”.
The pests included mites, oriental fruit fly, mealybugs, Japanese apple rust, apple brown rot, European canker, apple scab, apple and sooty blotch and flyspeck complex – but biosecurity officials said they were satisfied China does not have fireblight.
Australia must abide by WTO rules on apples
It seems almost inevitable that Australia will appeal against the WTO’s final report, which is due in mid-year. Such an appeal, while restricted to issues of law covered in the report, would mean another delay.
In the process, however, Australia is besmirching its reputation as a promoter of free trade. At the moment, its trade practices are the subject of 10 complaints from other countries.
New Zealand has no such cases against it. But Australia is not shy of using the WTO disputes process when it feels slighted. It is a complainant in seven cases, and has also registered as a third party in 47 cases, where it believes that it has commercial or legal interests.
Obviously, the Australians are prepared to use the WTO rules when they are in their interests.
We’re moving. Soon. In about 12 days, in fact. Our packers will be in at the end of next week, we will move out to a motel, and they will finish the job and get everything onto a boat by the middle of the next week. We will camp in the motel for a couple of weeks, and then take the children out of school, and head up to my parents’ place for a few weeks, before jumping the ditch. With any luck, our furniture will arrive at more-or-less the same time as we do.
So we are right in the middle of the huge business of cleaning and tidying, organising disconnections, final bills and insurance, doing change of address notifications, getting the house ready for tenants.
Some of our suppliers have been enormously helpful – thank you AMI and Quinovic (Lambton). As for others….
I spent 30 minutes getting shunted around the Telecom and Xtra systems yesterday, just to organise a disconnect, and final bill. That was comparatively simple, but then I wanted something extra. I wanted to keep our e-mail addresses going for a few months. You would have thought that would be simple to arrange.
Not a hope. Telecom sent me on to Xtra. I spent about 20 minutes navigating their voice system, pursued by the ever helpful voice recognition, which it seemed didn’t recognise the word “disconnect” and “forward”. At one stage, I got directed to a help menu, from which there was no exit. So I hung up and tried again. Eventually I got to speak to a real live person, who alas, had a heavy accent, and spoke very, very fast. I had to ask her to slow down, and even then, it was hard going talking to her. But the final straw came when she wanted my Telecom password, in order to deal with something on my Xtra account. “Go back to Telecom,” she said, “and then call us back.”
I got it sorted eventually, I think, via a very helpful person at Telecom, who spoke French as a first language, but was exceedingly fluent in English, so I suspect he may have been Quebecois. But I’m not sure that everything is lined up and ready to go, so in a few days, I will gird my loins, and try again.
But I have had enough of helpless Xtra call centre operatives. Xtra is reducing its costs, by pushing the costs to its customers, in terms of time and emotional energy spent trying to deal with their systems and not-very-helpful call centre staff.
I know it’s not fair to yell at call centre staff – they are just doing their job. But I think that Xtra is relying on that nicety just a little too much. It’s impossible to find anyone to make a complaint to, and impossible to get good service. So I think the time has come to stop being polite, and to get Xtra staff, and Telecom staff, to start wearing some of the cost too.
I am not advocating that you harass hapless Filipinos (is that where the Xtra call centre is?) willy-nilly. But if ever I meet someone who works for Telecom or Xtra, in person, I’m going to talk to them about the problems with their service. If they tell me that it’s not their job, I will smile sweetly, and say that given that this is my only opportunity to talk to a real live person, I’m going to take it, use up their time just as Xtra and Telecom so happily use up my time, and suggest that if they don’t like it, well, they should complain.
Never, ever, move, least of all overseas. Should you see a stressed, busy, middle-aged woman with paint stained hands on Lambton Quay, that will be me. Give me a smile, and tell me to hang in there. I need some TLC today.
As I am finding it hard to post anything of constructive length, I offer you instead this continuing project cataloguing the promise and the reality of fast food.
The link came from Pharyngula.
I’m white, middle-class, educated, I had my children in my thirties, and all that, so I am smack-bang in the demographic of people who might be concerned about food choices. My shopping trolley is usually pretty healthy – wheatmeal or wholegrain bread, trim milk, olive oil spreads, fruit and vegies, plain cereals, baking ingredients rather than processed products.
But on Friday, I sullied my trolley with a bottle of Coke. Caffeine-free, diet Coke, to be precise, but Coca Cola nevertheless. This was because we had very dear friends coming to stay, and while he enjoys a few beers, and a glass or two of wine, she prefers Kahlua and coke. So Friday night, we packed the children off to bed, and stayed up late, talking, laughing, playing 500, and getting trollied. Lots of fun.
The letter from The Coca Cola Company told me about the efforts they are making to people make “the best choices for your family.” So, they don’t advertise to children aged under 12, they are labelling all their packaging to show the sugar content, they are “helping to bust the myths about sweeteners”, and they are committed to offering a choice.
Those last two are interesting.
We’re helping bust the myths about sweeteners
It’s been claimed the sweeteners used in many diet foods and drinks can be linked to adverse health effects. The weight of scientific evidence simply doesn’t support that. All reputable food safety agencies around the world have approved the safety of the sweeteners we use.
I don’t see how busting myths helps parental choice. It might relieve some parental anxieties, but it doesn’t actually increase choices. So in the guise of “helping”, The Coca Cola company is taking the opportunity do a little marketing – “Look, our products are safe!” Further, if they are helping to bust myths, what they are really doing is ensuring there are less barriers to consumers purchasing their products. So this isn’t about helping parents at all.
We’re committed to offering choice
We offer a range of drinks including sugar-free and low energy options to ensure there is something to suit the individual needs of every family member.
Along the bottom of the letter is a line-up of the products they offer, including various diet drinks, fruit juices, and water. Whether or not diet drinks are any better for you is a moot point, and I have already talked about their alternative sweeteners claim. Fruit juice is high in sugar, so offering it as a “choice” doesn’t make much of a difference. As for bottled water – tap water is perfectly potable in New Zealand, so unless you are halfway between Taihape and Turangi on a long car trip, there’s no real need to buy bottled water.
Then there’s the logo at the top of the letter. “The Coca Cola Company – make every drop matter.” Excellent! Either it’s good for you, so every drop matters, adding to your physical presence, or every drop has some sort of spiritual significance. Your life will have more meaning if you drink Coca Cola Company products.
And just to show how healthy Coca Cola Company products are, there’s a photo of some happy, healthy kids running along a beach. Skinny kids. That’s right, folks. Coca Cola Company products help you to stay skinny too.
What I want to know is, where did they find clothes to fit those kids?