Assessment 2012

Posted by TonyHawkins | General Knowledge,Real Estate | Sunday 24 June 2012 4:12 pm

The topic of assessment has come into conversation with two of my clients.

When the municipality (county, city) renders an assessment of real property, the purpose is to calculate how much tax is levied upon the real estate for the benefit of the public good.  The benefit may be new curbs, a new sewer system, sidewalks, etc.  When the municipality renders an assessment inconsistent with best practices, you as the Owner of the property have not only the right, but dare I say an obligation, to pinpoint the inaccuracy and have it corrected.

Contact me for further information or statistical data to support your opposition.


Assessment: an official valuation of real property for tax purposes performed by the local municipality.

Appraisal: an opinion of value used to determine a property’s worth.  This estimate of value is usually good for 24 hrs. contingent on various issues.


Posted by TonyHawkins | General Knowledge,Real Estate | Monday 12 July 2010 11:41 am

Moving is the Great Equalizer. When Lori and I decided to move to North Carolina, I had the characteristic yard sale.   Advertised start time was 7 a.m. Probing buyers were at the door by 6 a.m. At six I was still fixing breakfast for my helpers. Moving from Raleigh to Chapel Hill-heck-that was to be a breeze. The NY to NC move reduced our square footage. This second move, in as many years, decreased our square footage again. As the title of the book states, the best laid plans of mice and men.
I miscalculated the stuff we had to move. I knew it was a lot, but the number of boxes and the stuff in storage threw me. It took not only a moving van, but two rented van trips, and more car trips than I want to remember. However, the lessons learned are invaluable. The most important lesson was a reminder. Purge your belongings at least twice a year.
The move to Chapel Hill and the subsequent settling in has proven that hording is not beneficial to one’s being or fiscal health. Sharing or giving articles away that have not been used in a two year frame are best contributed to another’s enjoyment. Purging is a difficult lesson to learn. Especially for this pack-rat, but the end-results are beneficial.
Another lesson learned from this move – Don’t do anything half-way. If you are going to hire movers, let them do the moving. Don’t share the workload. Heck, if you are going to do it yourself, then do it yourself-all the way. I’ve had clients facilitate their moves in both manners. The ones, like me, who try to reduce cost, shoulder the burden of cost, in both time and money, usually paying out more in the long-term!
Owning a home is great. As an owner, you get to purchase stuff to decorate, enhance and beautify the home. So many individuals have stuff in their possession that Feng Shui has become a very popular method of decorating. The real decoration in the home is the love, caring and relationship-building that exists with the people who live there. Or the person who lives there, and the friends who visit helping to create an environment that is conducive to being called home.
Moving from point A to point B can be a healthy and eye-opening experience. Just make sure you plan your move. Include all the various aspects of the same.
For more information on moving, call or e-mail me.

Managing Personal Assets

Posted by TonyHawkins | General Knowledge,Real Estate | Thursday 10 June 2010 3:44 pm

Real estate, to include personal and real estate property holdings, is an integral part of an individual’s personal assets portfolio. It should be managed, at a minimum, on a quarterly basis. I would suggest every three months setting aside a particular time to review, organize, and address your personal holdings.
Include looking at and reading your current bank statements, mortgage payments, credit card bills, auto loans, student loans, and whatever else is important to your financial health. Make a decision to stay the course, refinance, or make that call to your banker, accountant, or me, your Realtor, to ask questions or make changes in your tasks. Being aware and keeping abreast of your personal business is worth the time and effort that you extend in managing your affairs.
At the beginning of the year, may I suggest your management begins with reviewing and or writing your will. Not to be morbid, but death is a part of Life and we don’t know when the LORD is going to call us home. Therefore let’s make sure that our personal belongings are placed in the living hands of those who will care for the material things we have generated over the years.
A few years ago a relative of mine expired intestate (without a will). It is not an easy task to manage the affairs of another, even a family member, without the knowledge of where documents exist, or where bank statements are, let alone what bank was used, etc. As Paul writes, “let us be prepared in season and out.”
As the year carries on you will be pleased that your affairs, your real and personal property, are managed as you deem fit.

Know Your Home as a Business

Posted by TonyHawkins | General Knowledge,Real Estate | Thursday 3 June 2010 3:43 pm

It’s becoming more apparent that owning a home, renting an apartment, using credit cards, driving a car-which is leased or owned, having stocks, contributing to a retirement plan-whatever, it all comes down to management of personal funds.  Scheduling a weekly review of debt payments, changes, account balances, will help you determine what preventive maintenance is required for the personal & family business.  Consumers must be aggressive in their managing of their personal budget.  Once under control-in other words, you know what you have, where it is and how it’s working for you, you may want to devote every other week to the budget meeting.  The CRA’s (credit reporting agencies) make it their business to know your business; as do your financial institution, your credit card companies, your creditors, and any other entity that has a stake in your financial behavior.  Please make sure you know your own business.

Avoiding Weather Related Insurance Claims

Posted by | General Knowledge,Real Estate | Saturday 8 May 2010 8:49 pm

In the Fall, while watching the birds and squirrels prepare for the coming winter one can assume from their activity if we may be in for some serious weather.  If that’s the case, we need to prep also.  During autumn we have a chance to clear dead limbs, clean up yard debris, and generally get our shelters ready for the coming winter months.  Although the Carolina Hurricanes pro hockey team have a home in Cary, their ‘icing’ problems are a lot different than the ones we can face during adverse weather conditions.
If icing occurs on our trees, and limbs break and fall; or the wind moves powerfully through our neighborhood causing trees to fall on either their property or ours creates an issue.  Avoiding the issue before it happens is best.  Complicating the situation is the unfortunate matter that insurance companies have recently adopted outrageously bad attitudes toward their customers of “You file a legitimate claim; we raise your rate or cancel your policy.”   If you have a large claim, unless you can pay it yourself, you really have no alternative but to file a claim and hope your insurance company is ethical and won’t raise your rate or cancel you.  An insurance company might “subrogate” and sue the neighbor if there is evidence of the neighbor’s negligence, such as failure to remove a diseased tree, which was leaning toward your property before a storm or adverse weather event.  In either case, being prepared can help eliminate potential problems.

e-Buying of Property

Posted by | Articles,Buyers,General Knowledge,Real Estate | Saturday 8 May 2010 8:39 pm

From the Hawk’s Cry January 2001

It is quite fitting to share news and my view, of the continuing explosion of e-business in this new millennium. In particular, the electronic transfer of information in the Real Estate market.
The e-transfer of real property information is becoming quite popular. It is commonplace for purveyors of homes to do their ‘shopping’ on the Internet. Prior to entering the business as a Realtor, my wife and I explored the possibilities of finding a home on the Internet. The Internet can assist the purchaser(s) in viewing the house with a diagramed ‘virtual’ tour. The tour can visually help buyers in the decision making process.
Depending on the web-surfers’ criteria, the Internet can assist potential buyers in examining the possibilities of owning a home with two, three, or four bedrooms; understanding how the floor plan does or does not meet their needs and how to possibly plan to decorate the living room. This scenario is provided visually with the overall set-up of the house’s virtual tour.
What the Internet cannot do is help the buyer ‘feel’ the house. Is the house well constructed? Are there enough windows? Is the fireplace too small? Is the hallway really that small-it appeared larger on the virtual tour? I didn’t know the neighbor’s dog yelped all night! I thought my SUV could fit in the garage! The virtual tour went round & round, I couldn’t tell there was only one window in the master bedroom!
The Internet also cannot tell you the local market’s rate at that time. Nor can it replace the expertise of a Realtor who is familiar with the particular market that is being investigated and the neighborhood. This market knowledge provides additional guidance for the buyer(s). A virtual tour is a 360-degree picture that prevents the potential buyer from sensing the property other than visually. Stevie Wonder probably wouldn’t buy a house on the net & neither should you.
After working with Internet savvy clients this previous year, whom I had the pleasure of assisting to purchase homes, I’m finding it more difficult to say, sign an offer after viewing the virtual tour. I have spoken with other Realtors who have contacted and contracted clients on the net. I would greatly encourage my clients to touch/feel, see, hear ‘taste’, the property prior to purchasing.
E-commerce is quickly changing the pace of the business community. However, it is still the human touch that enlivens the statement-a house is not a home, until it’s lived in. If you, your family or friends are exploring the possibility of using the Internet to investigate home-ownership, either as a first time buyer, or a buyer who’s moving up or downsizing living space as the case may be, show up and the see the subject property in real-time! Case the joint. Cruise the neighborhood. Where’s the grocery store? Where’s the school? Where’s the firehouse? Who are the neighbors?
As a savvy consumer, use the Internet to your advantage and not to your disadvantage. See the place first on the Internet. But before you make an offer to purchase, see the place first-hand. And when you make the offer to purchase, use a Realtor such as Tony Hawkins, ABR, your intelligent choice.