September 24, 2010

Newton NC Event - The Green Room's 'The King and I' opens October 8, 2010

The Green Room Community Theatre's The King and I, will be the first show at the company's new location in the Old Post Office Playhouse, in downtown Newton, NC.
The first showing of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I  is on October 8th 2010 (this is a week later than originally planned, due to construction delays on the new building)
Show Dates for The King and I
October 8, 9, 15, 16, & 22 at 8:00 pm, October 10, 17, & 24 at 3:00 pm, and October 21 & 24 at 7:00 pm
The Box Office opens September 29, 2010 and will be open Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 12:30-5:00pm.  Tickets for the show are $14 for adults, $12 for Seniors and Students, $8 for Youth under 12
For more info, you can call the box office at 828-464-6128 or the Green Room's main line at 828-464-6583
You can also visit the Green Room Community Theatre Website for more info on this show, as well as others in the 2010-2011 season, volunteer to help or find out when the next auditions start if you've got the acting bug.
The Green Room

The Old Post Office Playhouse is Located at:
      10 South Main Avenue, Newton, NC
         Directions via: Google Maps

September 22, 2010

This is Your House. This is Your House After Foreclosure. Any Questions?

Okay, so a bad pun on an old (showing my age, old) commercial, I know.  I was recently contracted by a major lender to photograph their area foreclosures so they might know "what they have."  The pics below just show why lenders should be more proactive in their attempts to do short sales and to get their REO's up to par a lot quicker.
Beware! Not for the faint of heart!

photo 1photo 2photo 3photo 5photo 4photo 6
Of course, this house also came with the following standard items for a REO that has sat for too long:
Chest High Grass - Check!
Heat Pump Gone - Check!
Furnace Gone - Check!
Copper Pipes Gone - Check!

September 20, 2010

Could You Send Me More Information on This Listing, Please

Have you seen this in an email lately?  If you're a real estate agent with any listings at all, I'm sure you have.  It means someone has found your listing and is inquiring about.

I have a good love/hate relationship going with that phrase right now.  Love it because it means that some buyer was interested enough in my listing to contact me about it.  Yay! A potential buyer.  Hate it because it doesn't help me in any way to provide you with the more information that you're asking.

Let me explain.  When we get this email, we know that you, as the buyer, have already seen the property somewhere on the Internet, looked a various photos, and have some information already.  Things like the number of beds, baths, price, etc are usually out there on all the websites.

BUT, we don't know exactly what information you have and most importantly, what information, exactly you are wanting with a simple "we need more info" email.

My usual reply to these emails is to give (re-give?) the standard info, a direct link to my site or link to the property, and a quick, "if you could let me know exactly what additional information you need, I'll be happy to help you.  Thanks"

Since I rarely get a response back, I'm never quite sure if I've just offended you for stating the obvious or if I gave you exactly what you wanted and you didn't like it.

Please understand, I'm not trying to be cute or smart if I've only given you the information that you've already gotten from the Internet.  In fact, I'll be happy to answer all your questions to the best of my ability.  I just need to know exactly what information that you are needing in order for me to give you the specific answers you are wanting.

September 17, 2010

Why It's Important to Know WHERE the Data for a Survey Came

I opened my news reader up this evening to find the headline, 70 Percent Say Buying Now is Good.

Great News, Right?  Agents will be working, people owning new property, the economy rebounding...


Another headline reads, New Survey Finds 76 Percent of Consumers Now Believe Renting to be a Better Option over Homeownership.


Didn't we just read that 70% of the people said now was a good time to buy?  Now, I admit that I don't fully grasp the whole "new math" concept, but 70 + 76 does still equal 146, right?


The first headline is from a survey conducted by Fannie Mae.  The second headline is from a survey conducted by the National Apartment Association.

Do you think either of these might have a vested interest in the opposing outcomes that they got?  The other important factor in deciphering the survey data is finding out how they arrived at their conclusions (btw, that is usually hidden somewhere in the fine print, if at all).

2010 Brett's Ride for Pediatric Cancer Research - Hickory NC Event

The 7th annual Brett's Ride for pediatric cancer research is on October 3th, 2010 and you still have time to register for the event.

The ride begins and ends at the Hickory Foundation YMCA, located at 701 1st St. NW, Hickory, NC

There will be four ride options of 10, 32, 52 and 75 miles plus the Tot Ride held behind the Y.

You can register for the event by visiting Rock n' Road Bicycles (at 2435 N. Center St, Hickory, NC) or by going to the Brett's Ride website

Grab a bike and ride for charity.

September 14, 2010

NC State Photo Exhibit on Display at Newton NC Library

A touring photography exhibition, Celebrate North Carolina: Faces and Places, will be on display at the main branch of the Catawba County Library, located in Newton, NC.

The exhibit is divided between the Eastern and Western parts of the state and each has 30 images of that particular region.

The Western portion of the exhibit will be on display at the Main Library in Newton, NC, starting October 23rd and running through November 13th.

The cost is free and open to the public. The library is open from 9am to 8pm, Monday through Thursday, and 9am to 6pm Friday and Saturday.

The Main Library is located at 115 W C St, Newton, NC 28658

View Larger Map

September 13, 2010

Catawba County 2011 Property Revaluation is Coming

Catawba County, North Carolina has already started the property revaluation process for changes to your home's tax value for the 2011 tax year.  Currently, the county is running on a four year cycle for property revaluations.

Home owners should start receiving notices of their property's new tax value as soon as November of 2010.  Others may not get new values sent to them until early 2011.

As outlined, tax value is determined (supposedly) by the current market value of the property.  It will be interesting to see how the new tax values play out, as the average drop in house values from 4 years ago is about %20 overall.

Deeded doublewides (doublewides on real property and deeded vs. titled) have been hit particularly hard in within the county.  A conservative estimate on those is that they've lost 50% of their value from 4 years ago.

Will the county actually reduce tax values?  If so, will they hike tax rates to cover the short fall that will create?  As property owners we'll have to wait and see.

You can get a copy of the 2011 Catawba County Real Property Revaluation pamphlet (click the link) or for further information, you can visit the 2011 property revaluation
page of the Catawba County Tax Office website.

September 02, 2010

Banks to Allow Local Governments 1st Shot to Buy Foreclosures

A recent MSNBC article (read the article here) states that several major banks, including Bank of America and Wells Fargo, have decided to give local government and nonprofit groups the ability to buy their foreclosures before they are sold to private investors.

One can only assume that they intend to give these entities a first right of refusal on the property even before they are listed to the public, as it's the only way that they can prevent an investor from getting it first.

I can see a whole slew of problems with this idea.  BUT WAIT! IT GETS BETTER!

Congress has already provided the above entities $7 Billion to buy foreclosures in their area, but they are "struggling to spend the federal money because they are often outbid by speculators who are snapping up foreclosures."

Lovely.  The market is moving forward, investors are buying, but since our governments can spend our money fast enough by low-bidding on houses THAT ARE SELLING, the banks are going to help them out by giving the first shot buying.

So why is an investor buying a house such a bad thing, according to our governments?  Well, apparently it's because they "fear" that the investor won't improve the property enough, or might rent it, or might decide to wait until the market improves to sell it.

Forget any facts to support these claims.  Forget the fact that most real estate investors spend alot of $$$ improving foreclosures from the previous condition because they actually intend to make a profit.  Or that rentals aren't necessarily a bad thing or even if an owner does "wait on the market to improve" that the property will still be kept up/maintained, something that clearly doesn't happen with a foreclosure.

Forget all that.  Remember only that our local governments have been given taxpayers money to spend and they MUST find a way to do it!  Free Market be damned!

It's a whole other article on just how long it's going to take a government organization to rehab and resell a property and what it'll actually look like compared to what a real estate investor would do.

September 01, 2010

TIME Magazine Blames Homeownership for EVERYTHING!

A recent article by Time magazine, written by Barbara Kiviat, The Case Against Homeownership, you can read the online version of it here.  basically makes the idea of homeownership the new boogie man of the 21st century.  Oh Yay!

The summary of Ms. Kiviat's report is that the idea of homeownership is the primary cause of the current economic situation, our current housing market situation, the "hollowing out of cities", the forcing of renters into bad neighborhoods, America's overuse of oil/energy, and people's 'inability' to find a job.  After all that, I'm quite sure that she also blames homeownership for JFK's assassination, UFO sightings, and the upcoming 2012 "end of the world."  I'm sure her space was just too limited to include those.

How far from the truth can the media get and still have any creditability?  Well, since this one is a Time cover story, apparently, just as far as the want. 

The primary cause of the housing bust, the economic downturn and current housing market situation was brought on by a severe lack of responsible lending (and with that, a severe lack of responsible borrowing, as well) practices.  Practices which were brought on primarily by GREED from corporate entities, not homeowners.  There is no secret evil homeowners' society planning the social and economic destruction of America, Ms. Kiviat.  At least, I haven't been invited to it yet.

The problem with this article isn't that it attacks homeownership.  Pro-renters, landlord groups, apartment associations, etc have been doing that forever.  The real problem is that it is a truly irresponsibly  written article by a major magazine taking every possible crisis America has faced in the last 100 years or so and blamed homeownership for it ALL.  If it were true, so be it, but truth doesn't seem to be a problem for the writer, as there's only enough of it woven into the fiction to at least try to appear like it's been a well-thought out post.

I do hope that most who read The Case Against Homeownership will actually see it for the mindless drivel that it is, and reading some of the comments it has garnered, many do.

Check it out yourself if you're in the mood for a good laugh or if you simply haven't got enough B.S. in your life already!

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