The Castle Of Konopiste

Are you going on a tour around Prague for the holidays? Or perhaps you have gone on a kosher cruise on the Danube and now want to spend time around the Czech capital and see what it has to offer.One of the places you might want to go to is the Konopiste Chateau.Konopiste is a chateau near the town of Benesov in the Central Bohemian Region, 40 kilometres southeast of Prague. It lies about 2 kilometres west of Benesov. Today it is known as the main and last residence of Archduke Franz Ferdinand d’Este, the successor to the throne of Austro-Hungary, and his Czech wife Zofia Chotková. His assassination in Sarajevo lead to the start of the First World War.The area is now protected as a National Cultural Monument of the Czech Republic. It is owned by the Czech state (administrated by the National Heritage Institute) and is accessible to the public. It is one of the most visited chateaus in the country.Konopiste is an important noble castle that was converted into a chateau. It occupies a hill above Zamecky Pond close to Benesov, near Prague. The first mention of Konopiste dates back to 1318, when its owners were brothers Benes and Dobes from the Benesovic family. It is believed that the Gothic castle was founded at the end of the 13th century, around the year 1294.

Its founder was probably the bishop Tobias of Benesov, the counselor of King Wenceslas II. He was a prominent and influential political personality of the period after the death of King Premysl Otakar II. The Benesovic family held Konopiste only until 1327, when they were replaced by the Sternberks, a noble family that ruled until 1590.The Sternberks, successors of Benesovice, belonged to the leading Catholic families of the country. Petr of Sternberk, Lord at Konopiste and Ceský Sternberk, fought with the Hussites for his entire life, until his death in 1420 at the Battle of Vysehrad. Zdenek Konopiský of Sternberk, who held Konopiste from 1440, was a well-known character.The followers of Jirí z Podebrad became the main personality of the rebellious Jednota Zelenohorská that plotted against the king. When the king decided to break the military power of the Catholic nobility by force, he started an offensive against the followers of Matthew Corvinus in April 1467.It was part of the siege of the most important fortifications of the Jednota zelenohorská- who were gradually captured one by one. Konopiste resisted the longest time. The 18-months long siege is a rarity in the history of Czech medieval warfare. However, the castle was not captured by force; its defenders surrendered for lack of food in December 1468. Zdenek Kostka of Postupice was the commander of siege. The descendants of Zdenek of Sternberk later rebuilt it in 1479. Since then they have kept the castle continuously until 1590.In 1602, the provincial court asked for a commission to sell a manor, on which more than 86,000 piles of the Meissen Groshen were spent. On October 18, 1603, Dorota Hodejovska of Harasov bought the Konopiste estate for 110,000 piles of the Meissen Groshen.In 1887 Franz Ferdinand d’Este, since 1896 the successor of the imperial throne of Asutro-Hungary, bought the chateau with the entire estate into his possession. Franz Ferdinand started major reconstruction and works on the entire real estate. He brought the water supply and electricity to the chateau. A hydraulic passenger elevator was installed, one of the first ones in the world, around the year 1890, as well as many other features.

Following his assassination in Sarajevo in 1914 – which effectively led to World War I – the Habsburg property was confiscated under the special law of 1921 by the Czechoslovak State. Subsequently, it was partly made available to the public. During WWII, Konopiste was confiscated by the Nazis, and the main headquarters of SS for the Protectorate was established there. These units were part of the tank division SS-Totenkopf.After the liberation in 1945, Konopiste was again made available to the public. The castle has survived to the present day in the form it was given to it during the last reconstruction by the Archduke Franz Ferdinand d’Este. The interior equipment remained the same as the times when the successor of the throne with his family lived here. Visiting the chateau as well as its premises is one of the most interesting activities that you can do if you have a free day to spend around Prague or you might also want to spend your time on a kosher cruise on the Danube.

What to Know When Selling a House As an Open Listing Or As a Sole Agency Listing

When you decide on selling a house through a real estate agent you will be faced with the decision to list your house with several real estate agents, this is called an ‘open listing’ or you could list your house as a ‘sole agency’ or ‘exclusive’ listing. The decision you make about which option you’ll choose will have quite a large impact on the entire sales and marketing program when selling a house.

In this article we’ll explain what is involved with listing a house as an open listing as well as a sole agency listing and we’ll explain the pros and cons of selling a house using both methods. The method you choose could affect the final selling price of your house and the time that your house is on the market for, this is why it is essential that you firstly have the right information in order to make a decision and then assess which method will work best for your house and your personal situation.

Selling a House as an Open Listing:
An open listing gets its name from the fact that when you list your house for sale as an open listing you ‘open’ the listing up to multiple real estate agents from multiple real estate agencies to allow them to represent your house as the sales agent. With an open listing you’re not tied into using only one real estate agent for a set period of time as you would under a sole agency listing.

Each real estate agent will have their own database or contact list of buyers that are looking for specific types of houses and if your house matches the requirements of one of their existing prospects, it could result in a sale. It’s only natural that the more agents that know about your house, the more number of homebuyers that could be inspecting your house. However, open listings will never get the full attention or service from the agents as it would if your house was listed as an exclusive-agency listing.

One important tip here: With an open listing all the agents will want to put up a for sale sign in front of your house so that they can increase their chance of receiving sales enquiries off the sign. Never have more than two For Sale signs (from different agencies) in front of your house. If you have any more than two signs out the front of your property it could appear to be a ‘distressed’ property (one sign is ideal). A ‘distressed’ property is one where the vendor is in desperate need to sell. This could be because the house has been on the market for so long, the price could be too high or there could be something wrong with the property or the area in which it’s situated. Having too many agent signs out the front of your house could make it appear to be a property in distress and this could affect your end selling price and even the buyers first impressions when they drive past your house.

Listing your house as an open listing may also result in having to spend less money in advertising. This is due to the fact that there are a lot of agents that may have buyers already interested in the type of house your offering as well as the fact that you might spread some ads over several different agents over several weeks.

If you do have an open listing and intend to begin an advertising campaign to sell the house, it’s important that you have one ‘lead’ agent for your advertising. Do not place an ad one week with one agency, then run an ad the next week with another agency.

If you place ads with more than one agent it could appear that the house is in distress and that you’re advertising with anyone who will take on your house to sell. Also, buyers will call several different agents about houses advertised and if your house is advertised with several agents you will be wasting your money.

Open listings will generally suit properties that are low to mid priced for the area in which they’re situated. This is due to the fact that more expensive houses or more unique houses attract a more discerning buyer, or to put it more simply, a more targeted buyer. And therefore mid-priced to expensive houses are better suited to sole agency listings.

An open listing can work in your favour especially in a boom property market when houses are selling quickly as we’ve seen in the recent property boom in Australia around 2002-2004. When there are few houses for sale, this forces agents to focus more attention on selling what is available and therefore will increase buyer activity on your house. In quieter times, you may need more specialist attention and more targeted advertising in order to attract the right buyer, this is where a sole agency listing applies…

Selling a House as a Sole Agency Listing (a.k.a Exclusive Agency Listing):
With a sole agency or exclusive listing, you have one agent/agency representing your house for sale. Sole agency listings work especially well with mid range to expensive houses due to the fact that the higher the selling price, the less people there are that will be able to afford the house. As a result you’ll need a more targeted advertising program as well as more personalised attention that a sole agent can provide.

Real estate agents will almost always emphasize a sole agency listing to homeowners selling a house as the agent gains exclusive rights to market and sell the house which promotes their name and their agency name, the agent receives a higher commission and they have less competition from other agents.

If other agents have buyers that want to buy your house they cannot approach you with their buyer in an attempt to sell the house. Other agents need to make contact with your sole agent and ask if they will do a ‘conjunction’ on the sale. A conjunction on the sale of a house is where one real estate agent shares the sales commission with another agent at a predetermined percentage, usually 50/50.

With a sole agency listing you’ll have a dedicated advertising program that will be set out from the moment you decide on which agent you choose to represent your house. The agent might start out saying we’ll advertise the house in this way and at this price for three weeks running then we’ll assess the type of buyers we’re attracting and make changes if necessary. Using different headlines, copy and pricing in your ads will attract different buyers.

For example, if a house has a particularly large backyard, you would be best to market the house as a family house provided the rest of the house suited a family ie. Quiet area, spacious house, adequately fenced, away from main roads etc. If the house requires very little maintenance and is near a CBD, you would be better off promoting the house to single people or young couples. You know your house and suburb better than anybody and will be the best person to make this type of decision.

Your advertising will generally promote your open house on a Saturday and this is where you’ll attract the majority of buyers. Open houses can attract good numbers of buyers through your house and this increased activity can do wonders for buyer interest. If you’re having an open house make sure you hide any valuables from sight and put them in a safe, secure place that no one would look for them.

As there is no definite answer on whether you should sell your house as an open or sole agency listing please use the above purely for information purposes to make sure you weigh up your options and decide on the method that best suits you personally, your house and the area where the house is situated.