City of East Point in Crisis – TAKE ACTION NOW!!!!!


Over the past year I have taken a step back from protesting Mayor Pittman and her voting block for the sake of promoting good news about the City of East Point. Unfortunately, the Mayor has taken actions against home owners and as a REALTOR I have sworn an oath to help protect home owners in my community. Due to this oath, I feel it it urgent that I share the following information with my readers and ask that YOU (yes, you) TAKE ACTION NOW!!!!

Here is the latest update from Council Member Lance Rhodes. CM Rhodes has spent the past 8 years leading the effort for positive change and fiscal responsibility. As you can tell by the message below, Mayor Pittman and her voting block are working to undo 8 years of fiscal responsibility in under 8 weeks!

* * * * * * * * * *

While it is difficult to determine which action of Council over the past few weeks has been the most harmful, this attempt to remove the millage rate from the City Charter certainly ranks among the highest.

Our present council has violated the City Charter in every meeting including conflicts of interest, illegal veto’s upheld by the Mayor’s voting block, dismantling our financial stability (to which the city received an award this past week for the excellent work and presentation of a city budget) passing city ordinance (laws) without due process and now an attempt to remove the first line of defense for citizens in fighting an elected body from unnecessarily raising property taxes.

While many may wonder what has caused this aggressive action from the Mayor, there are three basic reasons that you may find of interest;

1. Mayor Pittman has publicly stated she has the support of her voting block to raise the millage rate from 13.75 mills to 30 mills. It appears the general public is expressing their concerns to this voting block for such an action. In an attempt to have citizens believe this voting block is protecting their interest, they have now presented the idea to completely remove the limit on the property tax. It is their hope citizens will be so relieved that they have reconsidered their support of the Mayor in removing the limit that a 30 mill increase will not seem as aggressive when compared to removing the limit. I for one, will not be deceived. Any change in the Charter is simply not acceptable.

2. Mayor Pittman and her voting block have received a great deal of opposition to their proposal to violate State Law and attempt to pass a tax on non-profit organizations to include churches and other religious institutions. Within the same statement, Mayor Pittman and her block of votes on council have stated their intent to remove the senior citizen property tax freeze. This attempt to change the charter is an act to draw attention from the attack against our senior citizens and religious institutions.

3. Our past City Manager, our present interim City Manager, all of our city financial leaders and every contract professional adviser have agreed the budget as previously passed (to which we received the award) was the only safe course of action to strengthen our financial future. Mayor Pittman and her voting block ignored all of the professional advise and have worked to weaken our budget. This attempt to remove the millage rate limit is a safe guard for their lack of responsible actions regarding our budget. It is likely, barring any miracle in several business locating to East Point, that you and I will pay more as a result of their reckless actions than we would have under the previous budget.

There are so many negative issues with the attempt to remove any restriction and or to raise the limit on the property tax, that it would require several pages to address. However, I have listed six concerns below.

A change in the City Charter requires a much greater action with additional steps to inform the pubic than simply raising the property tax. If their is no limit, the Council can move more quickly and with less public involvement to change the property tax at any given time. This limit on the property tax is a “first line of defense” for the citizens in East Point. Removing this provision will weaken the authority citizens have to hold our elected officials accountable for their budgets. The use of an invisible tax (no property tax limit), is a method used by those in elected office to prepare for re-election. It allows for the increase in taxes with far less public involvement. Given the next election is an at-large election and we are sure to have financial issues with this attack on our financial structure, it is important for present Mayor and Council Members to remove as much discussion about how to correct their irresponsible decisions with our budget as possible. In addition to our sitting Council, this invisible tax would benefit anyone else who will seek election that opposed our previous budget. It will be important for them to have as little negative impact on the failure of our budget as possible. This is why some Council Members who will not be up for re-election to support the installation of this invisible tax by removing the property tax limit. The removal of the property tax limit and or the increase of the property tax allows for a lack of checks and balance for the elected body. This gives far to much control to the Mayor and Council with less protection to the citizen. This action is not the first attempt to remove checks and balances for the Council. In this past meeting, Mayor Pittmans recommendation to require a majority vote of Council in order for any “one” Council Member is receive a legal opinion for the City Attorney also removed checks and balances for the elected body. Mayor Pittman and her voting block will only vote for legal opinions that will support their political agenda. Every illegal action that has violated our City Charter and every ethics violation from the Mayor has been supported by the city legal department. With this latest action from Mayor Pittman and her voting block, the minority Council Members have little opportunity to reveal actions by the majority voting block that are unethical and illegal. The trend with the Mayor and her voting block is to limit the opportunity for citizens to be informed of their actions.

The removal of the property tax limit and or the increase is an act of poor fiscal responsibility. This is similar to having a credit card without a limit, no means to paying the bill and no time limit to pay the bill. Home ownership will be negatively impacted. This is not a time to discourage people from buying homes. Without a limit on the property tax, homeowners will have little opportunity to participate in controlling their cost as it pertains to property tax increases. This will not only have a negative effect on homeowners, but business will also consider better options for relocating to a community that has restraint for increasing property tax. Additionally, the uncertainty of an increase in property tax will be greater with less public involvement. Those who rent will also see an increase in their rent as property owners will pass this cost on to the tenant. There is some leverage for the tenant, however, this will only be a temporary leverage as eventually the rent will increase.

* * * * * * * * * *

TELL THE MAYOR & CITY COUNCIL WHAT YOU THINK! The next East Point City Council Meeting is scheduled for next Monday, February 20, 2011 at 6:30pm.  Everyone is welcome to address Mayor Pittman and City Council during Public Comment. Each speaker is allotted  up to 3 minutes, one additional person may donate their 3 minutes to you for a total of up to 6 minutes per speaker. CM Rhodes has issued the top 10 things YOU (yes, you again) can do to stop Mayor Pittman and her voting block from more than doubling your property taxes AND raising utility rates (which was a topic the Mayor’s voting block campaigned for LOWERING). Since this is a lot of information, your 10 action steps will be presented tomorrow, right here on YourGuyForThat.com.

Thank you in advance for showing your support to defend home ownership in East Point. Your Guy for That, Dustin Drabot will continue to bring you information on this attack against home owners by Mayor Pittman, CM Cook, CM Reed, CM Gothard & CM Martin. I will see you at the City Council Meeting next Monday, February 20th, the more speakers we can gather the better. For additional information please feel free to call me at 404-507-2267.

Advertisements

Quality Appraisals Make All the Difference


It would be a big understatement to say the the residential appraisal business has changed over the last few years.  Rules have been enacted to restrict communication between loan officers, customers, and appraisers.  Loan officers and realtors are, in fact, not even allowed to talk with appraisers directly about a property or its value any longer.  New reporting requirements, with updated codes and explanations, have gone into effect as well.  The goal of all of the changes has been to create appraisals that are more accurate and less influenced by the loan officers and realtors who rely on their conclusions to get a transactions closed.

Although a noble goal, the new regulations have caused many a headache and do not always lead to the most accurate results.  So, what can a real estate professional do to alleviate appraisal problems?  The answer is to work with a lender that has a system in place the insures only the very best appraisers in each county are used on each and every transaction.  Working with such a lender will be critical to a realtor’s success in 2012.

Can you really afford to have your home purchase hang in the hands of a national appraisal firm that looks for the cheapest appraisers who are rarely local?  Fairfield Mortgage, Your Guy for That, Dustin Drabot’s preferred lender, has a very limited list of the best appraisers in each county who are local and know the given area.  They know the factors such as the neighborhoods, schools, surrounding communities, etc. that truly impact a valuation.  Quality people produce quality work and their approved appraisers are the best of the best and produce extremely accurate work.

Effect of Unemployment Drop on Interest Rates


Friday’s Employment data exceeded expectations in nearly every area.  Against a consensus forecast of 135K new jobs, the economy added 243K jobs in January, the most since April 2011!  In addition, revisions to prior months added another 60K jobs.  The Unemployment Rate also dropped from 8.5% to 8.3% (see graph below), which is the LOWEST LEVEL SINCE FEBRUARY OF 2009!  Strong labor market data is great news for the economy, but it increases future inflationary pressures, which is unfavorable for mortgage rates.  As a result, mortgage rates moved a little higher on this news, but the key word is a “little.”  In past years, rates would have really jumped on such news, but rates continue to be resilient and maintain super low levels.

How You Can Get Your Asking Price


When you decide to sell your home, setting your asking price is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. Depending on how a buyer is made aware of your home, price is often the first thing he or she sees, and many homes are discarded by prospective buyers as not being in the appropriate price range before they’re even given a chance of a showing.

Your asking Price is often your home’s “First Impression”, and if you want to realize the most money you can for your home, it’s imperative that you make a good first impression.

This is not as easy as it sounds, and pricing strategy should not be taken lightly. Pricing too high can be as costly to a homeseller as pricing too low.  Taking a look at what homes in your neighborhood have sold for is only a small part of the process, and on it’s own is not nearly enough to help you make the best decision.

A recent study, which compiles 10 years of industry research, has resulted in a new special report entitled “Homesellers: How to Get the Price You Want (and Need)”. This report will help you understand pricing strategy from three different angles. When you price your home to not only sell, but sell for the price you want.

If your interested in selling your home now, please call Your Guy for That, Dustin Drabot at 404-507-2267 for a consultation. If you are considering selling later in the year please review the report “Homesellers: How to Get the Price You Want (and Need)” so you can begin preparing early.

Ask the Inspector: Attic Inspections


What should I expect from an attic inspection?

The attic can be a difficult area of the home to assess, so an inspector has to know exactly what to look out for in this area. Everything from the staircase leading to it to the insulation inside is inspected to make sure there are no major problems.

The sheathing and rafters are examined to make sure they are stable and not rotting. An inspector will also check for the presence of mold or buckling. Proper insulation is extremely important and will be noted. Recommendations can be made on whether it should be replaced or if none is present whether to install it.

Proper ventilation is examined in the attic to make sure moisture is not getting in and air is properly circulated. An inspector will look for proper placement of venting and if fans are wired properly. Also, leaks not detected from an exterior inspection can be detected from the inside when a thorough inspection is performed.

Your Guy for That, Dustin Drabot works closely with Bob McDonough from National Property Inspections,  Bob is capable of performing all these inspections and more to give the right assessment of your attic. You don’t have to wait until it’s time to sell to have your attic inspected, call Dustin today at 404-507-2267 to coordinate an inspection of your attic.

Owning vs. Renting


Did you know that you can now own a home for almost the same amount as you pay in rent? Even better, owning a home has tax and equity benefits that may put money in your pocket! So don’t feel trapped within the walls of a house or apartment that doesn’t feel like yours. Check out the scenario below and see if you too could become a home owner.

Based on a $100,000 loan amount, taxes and insurance included via escrow account. Based on an annual rent increase of 5%. Average tax savings over 30 years is $964*

Years

Rent Payment

Mortgage Payment

Monthly Difference

Yearly Tax Savings

1

$800

$760

+40

$1540

2

$840

$760

+80

$1516

3

$882

$760

+122

$1492

4

$926

$760

+166

$1466

5

$972

$760

+212

$1439

6

$1021

$760

+261

$1410

7

$1072

$760

+312

$1380

Advantages to owning a home include building equity which means money in your pocket. Your mortgage payment can be fixed for the duration of the 30-year mortgage. Best of all, it’s your home and you’re free to redecorate, change the wall colors and updated the landscaping as YOU desire!

Call Your Guy for That, Dustin Drabot, today to learn more about the benefits of owning a home and to get referred to a great lender who can help you get preapproved.

*Please contact your tax consultant for further information. Based on FHA loans with 3.5% down payment, 680 or higher credit score and estimates for taxes and home owners insurance. Subject to change without notification. information provided should not be considered as a commitment to lend. Offer subject to property and credit approval. Program and other restrictions may apply.

FHA Contemplating Reduced Seller Paid Concessions


Recently, FHA released a letter proposing that the maximum allowable seller concessions be reduced from the current 6% limit to something less. FHA is contemplating this change to “better manage risk” as they feel the current level exposes the FHA and borrowers to excess risk by creating an incentive that inflates the appraised value. FHA first mentioned this as a possibility all the way back on July 15, 2010. After bringing up the possibility of such a reduction a full year and a half ago, nothing has been heard from FHA again on the subject, until now. Reducing how much of the buyer’s costs that the seller can pay at closing would be a major blow to the real estate industry. Reducing this limit from 6% to say 3% would require most FHA buyers to bring more money to the table, to the tune of several thousand more $’s. This is money they simply don’t have in many cases. The official proposal will be finalized soon and then there will be a 30 day comment period in which we’ll be able to make lots of noise. Hopefully, our industry lobbyists will show up in a big way and keep this limit from decreasing! I will send you more info on how you can make your feelings known about this once the proposal is officially issued.

In the same announcement, FHA also mentioned they may soon require indemnification for “serious and material” violations of FHA originated loans. This means that any inaccuracy in a loan file could be interpreted as fraud or misrepresentation and cause the lender to have to repurchase the loan. A few of these repurchases could put a small lender out of business. Stated another way, FHA is proposing to make it harder for lenders to make FHA loans. Just what we don’t need right now!