It Takes a Queen

The Wall Street JournalHalf Farthing 1843 on October 6th carried a review by Judith Flanders of the book “Behind the Throne” by Adrian Tinniswood.
The review contained a fairly detailed report on the royal employees/servants. Queen Elizabeth for example has 1,200 people looking after her and her households.
Medals are given for long service in lieu of what are known to be extremely poor salaries. The royal households of previous centuries did little better. Under Queen Victoria, reforms to a chaotic private Buckingham Palace lowered the wages of the maids by almost two-thirds, to as low as £12 a year, while leaving unchanged the salary of the queen’s hereditary grand falconer (a position held by an aristocrat) at £1,200 per annum. Never mind that the she had no falcons, nor any intention of ever acquiring them.
At this point I have to express a personal interest in this story. My great grandmother worked in Queen Victoria’s Windsor Castle laundry. I suspect that the wages were less than a £1 a month and I can understand why it was not a long term career path nor a stepping stone on to greater things.
With such arbitrary penny pinching it is no wonder the Royals feared the revolutions which swept Europe and the United States in the late eighteenth century.
And perhaps the wonder is how the Royal Family managed to survive and prosper to the present day with such attitudes.

Des Res with Mod Cons

In 1967 Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe produced an inventory of life-changing events known as the Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS) which, surprisingly, ranked the act of moving home as the 28th most stressful life change. I am surprised at the ranking and can only presume that time has moved on and that moving home has moved up the scale.
My professional life is realty and last June there were 90,553 of us in North Carolina, so there is great pressure to get everything right when one’s own home goes on sale.
All of which is a roundabout way of blogging that our house at 5316 Coronado Dr., Raleigh 27609 is on the market at $620,000.
The house is a real gem and is in move in condition. We have been very caring of the property and have meticulously updated it as necessary. The upgrades include the kitchen, the appliances, the kitchen cabinetry and porcelain tiles in the kitchen and bathrooms. There are walk-in showers (one double with a frameless enclosure). All full bathrooms have luxury showerheads. There is beautiful hardwood flooring throughout,
Other features include:
Dual zoned HVAC system,
freshly painted exterior,
attached garage,
detached wired storage building and a
well landscaped, fenced yard,
paver patio.
The house shows well and the photographs if anything understate its attractiveness.
In short it is a des.res. with updtd mod cons, twenty minutes from the airport and downtown.
It’s well worth a look and full details are can be found by clicking 0n 5316 Coronado Dr 180215. The photographs can be seen on https://raleigh.weichert.com/74909934/
Please feel free to call or email me with any queries.
Better still, please buy the house from us or refer it to your friends who might find it just the home they are looking for.

Property Designer Trends

My clients and customers know that I have little time for real estate decorating fads imposed willy-nilly on peoples’ houses without regard to the unique selling points of the property to be sold. Of course, houses and apartments need to be clean, uncluttered and welcoming. But are you selling into a lifestyle or are you selling a commodity where it needs to stand out on a value for money basis?
This weekend my reading included an article in the London Sunday Times espousing the philosophy of Ellie Rees, creative director of Brickworks, an estate agency based in north London. Her views on property decoration include “You need to think about the demographic of the person who’s likely to buy your property, and make it as appealing as possible to them. It’s not about being neutral. It’s about being quite bold and stylish, but knowing what that style should be. How grown-up? How family? How couply?”
Photography is key to getting buyers to book viewings.
“It’s that ‘property porn’ thing we have become so culturally obsessed with. Great photos mean more people click on the property on the internet, which means you’ll get more viewings and, hopefully, the best possible selling price.”
The full article can be found on https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/before-and-after-home-staging-an-insiders-guide-to-selling-your-property-tgxmgkfcr
At Weichert I have access to professionals who have their feet planted firmly on the ground. I can put you in touch with decorators and photographers whatever the real estate need.

Winterizing the Home

With winter here, it’s never too late to start thinking of ways to keep the home toasty all season long. As the temperature drops below freezing, here is a short list of things you can do to protect your home from the winter’s chill and stop your energy bills from ballooning beyond your budget.
Is it Drafty in Here?
“Improving your home’s insulation and sealing air leaks are the fastest and most cost-effective ways to reduce energy waste and make the most of your energy dollars,” according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
One of the easiest things you can do to prevent air leaks is to place a draft snake at the base of your doors. You can buy one premade or make your own by simply rolling up a towel. Wrapping your windows is also an effective way to stop leaks. All it takes is some heavy-duty clear plastic, which you can buy at your local home improvement store, and a hair dryer.
Is your Furnace in Shape?
While it doesn’t have to run a marathon, it’s important that your heating system is in shape for the long haul of winter. Schedule a tune-up before the temperatures drop and replace your filter once a month.
While you’re thinking furnace, think AC as well. Shut off the air conditioning water valve to prevent excess water from collecting in the equipment.
What about the plumbing?
If you live in a cold climate, your plumbing could be at risk to freeze and thaw (perhaps more than once) during the winter, which can cause pipes to burst.
Weatherproofing your plumbing is always a good idea. To do so, turn off the water supply to outdoor spigots, sprinkler systems, swamp coolers and AC units then drain them. If your AC or swamp cooler has components outside, make sure to cover them.
Have a pleasant winter
This advice comes from 2-10 HBW which offers the industry’s most comprehensive coverage for homeowners.

Procrastination – the Thief of Time?

Recently the Harvard Business Review published an article by Chris Bailey on Research Based Strategies for Overcoming Procrastination. The premise of such articles is that procrastination is a bad idea. Whereas there is often a very good case to be made for not making decisions until an appropriate time.
Quite often the answer to many difficult situations which seem to require immediate action is to “Stand and Wait”. The problem might go away. The situation might change. The immediate answer might not be available but may appear after a night’s sleep. As always one should make haste slowly.
Innovation expert Daniel Burrus suggests that to get more done in less time, we should slow down. It may sound counter-intuitive, but doing so allows us to identify issues before they become problems, avoid tunnel vision, and embrace the bigger picture. Attention to the immediate moment can blind us to almost everything else.

Every Child’s Right

I am always coming across relatively small charities which make a big impact for what they do. I once contributed to a clothing bank for street youth who had been arrested for being idle and who were destined to receive harsher sentences compared to those who seemed respectably turned out.
I experienced a similar epiphany last week when the Diaper Bank of NC came to my attention.
There is a serious shortage of diapers and other personal sanitary items among the poor in North Carolina. Diapers can cost as much as $100 a month per child and are not covered by SNAP (also known as food stamps) or the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children – better known as the WIC Program).
A recent study in The Journal of Pediatrics found that women in need of diapers reported more difficulty with stress management, depression, and coping with trauma—which negatively affects their child’s health.
Another study conducted by Feeding America, called In Short Supply: American Families Struggle to Secure Everyday Essentials, found that 48% of families who cannot afford basic household necessities delay changing a child’s diaper to make their diaper supply last longer.
All across North Carolina, there are stories of families who are struggling to provide diapers for their children to keep them dry, clean, and healthy. It is not just infants who are affected. Tears come to the eyes when you hear of young girls who cannot afford personal sanitary items and so stay away from school rather than be shamed.
The Diaper Bank of NC is a 501c3 organization. No goods or services are exchanged for donations, which are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

What does $2.3million look like?

MoneyThe reports of the $2.3 million missing cash from the Wake County Register of Deeds office raise as many questions as answers. $2.3 million over nine years is an average of $21,000 a month which for some people could be yearly earnings.
Reports tell us the who, what and the how.
We do not know the why or where the money has gone.
As a former Bank Chief Inspector I would always look for motivation in gambling, drugs and extra marital dalliances. Where has all the money gone? It can’t all have gone on riotous lifestyles? Has it gone to family, colleagues or financing elections? It can’t all have been frittered away, can it?
For more details please see Charlotte Observer of August 28th