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Brookhaven’s Town Hall Meeting

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

The new City of Brookhaven’s first Town Hall Meeting will be held on January 24, 2013 at 7:30pm at The Marist School Auditorium. Marist is located at 3790 Ashford Dunwoody Road NE, Brookhaven, GA 30319.

The new City of Brookhaven, GA

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

Brookhaven, Georgia became a new city on December 17, 2012. Immediately, the new city became responsible for Community Development (planning/zoning, permitting, inspections and code inforcement), Public Works (local streets, sidewalks, traffic signals and utility permits), Revenue (business and alcohol licenses) and Communications and Community Engagements. Dekalb County will continue to provide Police, Fire and 911, Water and Sewer, Garbage Collection and Parks. However, in the future, Police and Parks will be handled by the new City of Brookhaven.

There was no office space available in the new city; the temporary offices are located in Dunwoody at 200 Ashford Center North, Suite 150. The City of Brookhaven’s telephone number is 404-637-0500; their hours are 8:30am-5:00pm, Monday through Friday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Budget in Dunwoody

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

The Dunwoody City council will vote on their new budget on October 29; expanding their police force is one of the items on their agenda. It is believed that they will add four officers, or an additional 20% of their current force. This 20% also corresponds with the 20% increase in property crimes since last year; major crimes were reported to have decreased since last year. The Council is also considering giving a four (4%) increase to the city’s employees, mostly police officers and court employees.

 

Atlanta in the Autumn

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012
Atlanta in the Fall

Atlanta in the Fall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Reporter Newspaper reported the best places to find Fall colors in Atlanta:

  • Morgan Falls Overlook Park, Sandy Springs
  • Powers Island unit of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation area, Sandy Springs
  • Murphey Candler Lake, Brookhaven
  • Tanyard Creek Park, Buckhead
  • Dunwoody Nature Center, Dunwoody

With the exception of the Powers Island of the Chattahoochee River National Rec area, all are free! Powers Island will cost you $3.00 for a parking pass. Of course, the real freebie in Atlanta, is outside your front door/neighborhood: take a walk and see how beautiful this city is in the Fall!

 

Atlanta’s Real Estate: are we there yet?

Friday, September 21st, 2012
Nancy Aoneck, Realtor helps me buy a housee

Nancy Aroneck & Company Opens the door to Atlanta Real Estate

Realtors and statisticians all say that when the real estate market has 6 months of “inventory”, we are in a balanced market. If the inventory is above six months, as it has been for the past several years, it is a buyers’ market; below six months, it’s a sellers’ market.

Some people say that Arizona was the epicenter for the real estate crash. In 2011, 60% of Arizona’s real estate transactions were REO’s (REO = Real Estate Owned; ie: properties owned by a bank or investor). In 2012, that number is down to 10%, with a 1.5 month inventory. SIX WEEKS’ inventory??!!! In the past, Atlanta and the east coast followed Arizona, California and the west coast in recent real estate trends; how far are we behind them now?

Although the East coast is not yet at the 6 week-inventory mark, Atlanta is no longer in a buyer’s market. It’s a seller’s market when a seller is priced right and that property is in the right condition . I know this is difficult to understand if you are a buyer and listening to too many talking heads on tv, but with rates below 4%, you are still sitting pretty! What are you waiting for?

 

 

Finding a Realtor in Atlanta

Monday, March 5th, 2012

How does one go about finding a good Realtor in Atlanta? Are you looking for one that is trustworthy and honest or one who knows the real estate market and all of Atlanta’s neighborhoods? Do you want a Realtor that will find you the right house or one who can negotiate on your behalf for your new Atlanta home? Can you combine these attributes and get it all?

The answer to all of the above should be a resounding “Yes”!

Ask your friends who own a home: “how did you find your Realtor”? In a recent study by the National Association of Realtors’ of how buyers/sellers found their agent, over 80% of buyers/sellers say, as they walk away from the closing table, they would use their agent again*. Yet when it comes to actually re-buying or re-selling, less than 10% actually used their previous agent*.

How frequently do you hear from your agent? Does  she keep up with you and your family’s lives? Does she know the market and give you information regarding the Atlanta real estate market’s fluctuations? If not, you could be one of the 70% that forgets your agent’s name and number, when you sell or buy property.

For many of my buyers/sellers, I am on  the 2nd, 3rd and in one case, 4th “generation”, of purchases/sales! My clients refer me to their friends and relatives because I keep in touch and keep my clients in the-know. Does your Atlanta Realtor do that? If not, may I help you with your real estate needs?

* From a National Association of Realtors’ study of buyers/sellers.

The Creation of the City of Brookhaven

Friday, July 15th, 2011

Two weeks ago, on June 29, there was another town hall meeting, regarding the creation of the new city of Brookhaven, GA. This meeting seemed to be conducted by people who did not seem to be in favor of it. Rep. Mike Jacobs did not talk at the second meeting, although State Rep. Elena Parent and several organizers from Dunwoody and Sandy Springs spoke.

The areas being considered for a City of Brookhaven are currently in unicorporated Dekalb. These property owners pay their taxes to the county, in exchange for certain services. The organizers for a push to city-dom, it seems to me, are pushing an agenda of what is in it for them, rather than what is in it for the taxpayers.

To incorporate into a city, the city must provide a minimum of three services. These services cannot be overlapped (ie; one can’t have two police departments).  At the town hall meeting, Jim Grubiak, of the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia said, ‘is the perception the same as the reality?’. Grubiak said that what leads citizens to create a new city is:

  1. Communication (or lack of communication);
  2. Planning and Land Use;
  3. Resource allocation;
  4. Representation: are officials listening?

Are county officials listening to North Dekalb residents/taxpayers? Does the creation of a City of Brookhaven warrant the extra money and bonds that must be raised to substantiate  a new city?

What will the new city of Brookhaven bring to its residents? Some negative considerations to consider are:

  1. The probability of higher taxes *;
  2. Needed government buildings;
  3. Employees, equipment (this could be as small as copiers and as large as police cars).

Dekalb County’s police has Swat & Riot Units, a Detectives Unit, a Gang Unit, Narcotics unit, Vice Unit, two police helicopters: would these services go away with the creation of a Brookhaven police force?

Obviously, the positive considerations are:

  1. Local control, which would mean empowerment and self-control;
  2. Additional representation;
  3. Efficiency and responsiveness;
  4. The opportunity for enhanced services (two examples would be more police and upgraded parks);
  5. Better code enforcement;
  6. More local control over planning and zning decisions.

*Higher taxes? You bet there will be higher taxes! The areas being considered for a City of Brookhaven, are primarily residential, with a small portion of it, commercial businesses. Without taxes for commercial interests, where will the money come from, for government/city buildings, squad cars and equipment, employee salaries, park enhancements and on and on? Can you say higher taxes?

 

Warning: Don’t Clear-Cut Trees in Buckhead!

Saturday, June 4th, 2011
Atlanta's Trees

Buckhead Trees

A Buckhead man has been fined more than $52,000 by the city of Atlanta for trees destroyed on his property. He says he didn’t cut them down.

Evan Hardin, of 680 Mountain Way, said his neighbor removed the trees from his property line while building a house on land adjacent to his property. Together, the two property owners, Hardin and Jayu Momaya, were hit with a combined $93,960 in penalties from the city of Atlanta for removing trees illegally. Momaya, who owns the land at 688 Mountain Way, was charged $41,190. On April 27, the Tree Conservation Commission denied Momaya’s appeal of the fine.
The Tree Conservation Committee will hear his appeal June 15, said Kathy Evans, administrative analyst for the Tree Conservation Commission. “[Momaya] came in and overdeveloped the property,” Hardin said. “The [city] inspector is supposed to have boundaries clearly identified so the contractor can respect those boundaries. In this case, they were ignored. In this case, both the contractor and the city inspector missed that.” Hardin said the arborist fined him because the trees that were destroyed, happened to be on his property.
Said Hardin  “When they (the city) walked the property and evaluated everything, they started giving fines. Even though trespassing was clear and who did it was clear.”  Hardin said he will take legal action against Momaya and the city of Atlanta if his appeal is unsuccessful. Evans said city officials believed initially that the trees were removed from one parcel. “I think originally it was levied at a higher amount and then they realized it crossed property boundaries,” Evans said. “It was broken up into the separate owners of each property. It seemed to be one site when the arborist went out.”
The city granted Momaya a permit to remove “some ” trees on the property. “There were some trees approved for removal for construction purposes. A large number were also removed in excess,” Evans said. She also said there is a fee for cutting down trees, even if it is approved by the arborist. “There’s a recompense fee that applies to tree removal. … If they’re removed illegally, it’s $500 for the first tree and $1,000 per tree thereafter,” Evans said.
Here’s my take on it. Look at my picture of the property. Maybe the cutter got a bit crazy, but why didn’t Mr. Hardin call him or Mr. Momaya on it? I live in Ashford Park, which is in unincorporated Dekalb, and went crazy two years ago, when I saw a neighbor trimming ONE tree. Mr. Hardin has appealed his penalty of $52,770, but where was he when Momaya was cutting down the trees? When I drove by this property to take this picture, I shook my head in disbelief. What were either of them thinking?!!!

Foreclosures in Atlanta

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

There’s a new bill in Congress, The Housing Recovery Act of 2011, or H.R. 1526, which is aiming at getting the backlog of foreclosures sold, by allowing buyers to use retirement funds for purchases.

The new bill aims to clear the growing foreclosured properties’ backlog by allowing buyers to dip without penalty. The bill would amend the IRS tax code, so that qualified individuals could use distributions as a down payment to purchase residences that have been in foreclosure status for one year or more.

Typically, pulling funds out of an IRA, 401k, or similar retirement accounts prematurely would call for early distribution penalties, but Florida Congressman (and real estate agent) Bill Posey is hoping the IRS will waive it for the greater good. US Rep. Posey introduced the bill in the US House last week, and it was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means.

If it is passed, it will come with a few requirements:

  1. The subject property must have been in foreclosure for one or more years;
  2. The retirement funds must be used within 120 days of the close of purchase;
  3. The foreclosed property must be held be the buyer for a minimum of two years to avoid any early distribution penalties. It will not allow investors to “flip” properties.

The bill is aimed at promoting sustainable homeownership, while giving homeowners a tax break. Let’s hope the Congress can move on this!

Atlanta Home for sale: focusing on price, condition or marketing to get it sold

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

It has been said before, but what sells homes are price, condition and to a smaller extent, marketing. That’s why I was so surprised to see this.

I have a ready-to-buy-now client and wanted to show a particular home to them. The listing agent posted only 8 pictures on our mls (we have 26 slots available). The kitchen looked filthy; the sink was filled with dirty dishes and the counters were cluttered with more dirty dishes and junk. The other pictures of the home were not much better. The agent also posted this home as a short-sale.

For the area, which is inside the perimeter near Buckhead and Brookhaven, the home is priced well, but the home’s condition and the agent’s pictorial marketing are both horrendous. I don’t understand why an agent would take a listing if there isn’t going to be any effort on either party to get it sold! So who is at fault: the seller for the poor condition or the agent for allowing the home to show poorly or the agent’s bad internet pictures?