Friday, 28 March 2008

Real estate lies with short legs - Bratislava apartments for sale

There is a Slovak saying "A lie has short legs" - meaning it will not get away very far. I find it so hard to understand why lying is endemic among the real estate agents here in Bratislava. There are just so many misleading adverts for properties on sale. Over the last few years I have looked at hundreds if not thousands of real estate listings, especially apartment listings in Bratislava, I have dug around looking at the same apartments on offer from various real estate agents and here is a brief list of how they usually mislead:

1. Apartment size - it is very common to list square metres including areas that definitely do not belong. Most usually the cellar will be included, often balconies, too. It is pretty common for the agent him- or herself not to know if the metres cited include cellars. In my book saying that a 73 sq.m. apartment is 84 sq.m. because of a cellar located four floors below is a blatant lie.

2. Floor - advertising often omits to state clearly than an apartment is on the ground floor, it simply does not mention floor at all. This is just misleading.

3. Location - for apartments near and even far from the Old Town, the agents check Old Town as location to make people searching for Old Town Apartments look at their offerings.

The frustrating thing is that you will eventually find the truth out and inevitably lose faith in the agent. Why do so many of them take this short-sighted view?

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Two ways to date a beauty queen - or three brunettes

Rich men date beauty queens more often than average, I would assume based on my cursory reading of the Slovak tabloid press.

Perhaps it is my naivete but I had always assumed it is because beauty queens are after rich men more often than average women and of course, succeed in befriending rich men more than average.

Today I realised there is a whole another mechanism at work: rich men make the women they date into beauty queens. A Slovak journalist/blogger claims he found out in advance (Slovak blog post) that No. 12 - Sandra Manakova would win the Slovak 2008 Miss Universe (ahead of two other brunettes including my favourite, 2nd Vicemiss Lenka Hindicka).

The blogger and journalist for a leading tabloid tells an entertaining story of how he reported on a regional round of a beauty contest by the same former Miss Czechoslovakia Sylvia Lakatosova where the jury was handed down the 'correct' result at the end with the three winners being either the daughters of influential businessman or girlfriends of contest sponsors.

He also claims that objectively there were more attractive blonds in the final 12 of the Miss Universe Slovak Republic deserving of being in the top 3. Of course, letting three brunettes win a beauty pageant in a nation that believes pure Slovaks are tall blondes is political - many commentators are up in arms.