LETTERS – Infuriating Real Estate Market, Strang Bill and Nearly Fatal Mistakes

The infuriating seller’s market

It has been a frustrating year trying to buy a home in Truro, with huge demand and a shortage of available homes after almost two years of frantic buying.

There are some things about this crazy seller’s market that drive me crazy. One is the blind auction. You can bid $30,000 above the asking price and, successful or not, never know what the next lowest bid was.

Agents appear to be conspiring with sellers to drive up bids, using human nature and psychological tactics. I can understand sellers wanting to maximize their return, with perhaps less sympathy for agents after their current big commissions.

The problem is that there are no returns on offers; it’s risky. And the agents call you to tell you that there are many offers and that now (just before the offer deadline) is the time to determine if you want to increase your own offer. And, by the way, the agent informs you that the seller is in a hurry to sell and may well reject your offer if you ask for a home inspection as a condition of purchase.

And don’t ask so many questions about taxes, electricity expenses, etc., or a property declaration form dealing with various construction and zoning issues, etc.

Something wrong with this picture?

To restore some balance between sellers and buyers of homes, and to keep agents honest, we need some changes.

One could be an open tender with published bids and raises of, say, $3,000. And we need home inspections to be a mandatory requirement of all offers to purchase.

Something has to give, and no reform will come from individual agents, it seems. Perhaps the REALTORS® Association or legislation could restore some credibility and professionalism to the sale of homes by REALTORS®.

Larry Simpson, economics

Quick action

I am very impressed with how quickly the Department of Justice and the Nova Scotia Legislature passed legislation on March 24 to protect our health officials in their personal residences.

By taking such quick action, they have shown us that bureaucracy will not stand in the way of what is right, and at the same time they have given our police departments more tools within the law to actually work. .

It’s one thing to protest, but it’s quite another when you threaten and intimidate any citizen, let alone those who actually helped us at such a troubled time in history.

Health officials, healthcare providers and first responders deserve our thanks, not our anger. Kudos to our legislators and shame on all fearmongers!

Cliff WilliamsWindsor

very close call

To anyone who still uses their cell phone while driving, let this be a warning to you. It happened recently at one of the new safety crosswalks with the overhead flashing lights that can be seen a mile away. (The flashing lights indicate that someone is in the crosswalk or has pressed the start button to enter the crosswalk.)

As we approached the crosswalk, the lights started flashing, so I pulled over. There was a father and a little girl waiting to cross; the toddler was wearing one of those safety harnesses with a wrist strap. When the father saw it was safe to cross, they ventured out into the street. They were halfway through the intersection and had just passed me when a fast half-ton truck drove across the crosswalk the other way. At that moment, the father pulled the little girl, by the harness, out of the path of the truck. As the truck passed, I saw that the driver was completely unconscious because he was talking on his cell phone.

So I ask you, cellphone drivers: will it be you who kill a little girl in a crosswalk because you have to talk while driving? Shame on anyone who uses a cell phone while driving.

Alex Leonard, Beaver Bank

Death clichés in obituaries

Subject: John DeMont’s long March 16 column on obituaries, “Finding Enlightenment in Narratives of Mortality.”

Although many of the examples he cited were interesting, enlightening and humorous, I dispute his assessment that “there is real writing in the obituaries today.” Often, modern self-written obituaries are filled with banal drivel, megalomaniacal exaggeration, redundancy and contradiction.

Some examples: “predeceased in death”, “married her husband”, “we are sad to announce the peaceful passing”, “loved his family” (what kind of cad doesn’t?)

I suspect very little editing or oversight is done to obituaries and it is often difficult (and expensive!) to capture a person’s essence in a limited space.

Nevertheless, the tendency to deify the deceased when writing an obituary should be resisted. I once had to praise a centenarian friend in his service. I remember he said every man was a “saint” five minutes after he died. For what it’s worth, I offer the following “style guide” that I have devised over my many years of digitizing obituaries.

Never use these words or phrases:

  • “Party life.” Maybe he was just a boring loudmouth. Instead, just say “he enjoyed a good party.”
  • “Journey of a lifetime.” Just say “he visited Machu Picchu”.
  • “Died of…” Do not medicalize a death with terms like “neuroblastoma, scleroderma”, etc. However, a phrase like “died after a period of declining health” is acceptable.
  • “A man of few words, but when he spoke, people listened.” Just say “silent”.
  • “Too many to mention / to name a few.” Use “several” instead.
  • “Brother from another mother”, “fur babies”, “to the moon and back” – ridiculous and juvenile.
  • “Bereaved by the children.” Unless they are children, use sons and/or daughters.
  • “Awesome, amazing, amazing.” Banal and putative. Instead of saying, “Mary was an ‘amazing’ grandmother,” explain that Mary made quilts for all of her grandchildren.

Avoiding the phrases above will give a clearer and more concise portrait of your loved one.

Tom RossMiddleton

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