Freeze Facts

Thaw the Freeze

Why should Muscogee County, GA residents vote YES to Thaw the Freeze? Let’s look at some Freeze Facts:

  • Every homeowner who benefits from the Freeze is allowed to keep it.
  • The Freeze is unfair and promotes inequality.
  • The Freeze limits options for seniors on fixed incomes.
  • Retiring the Freeze will create jobs in Columbus.

After nearly 35 years of negative effects it’s clear that our property tax valuation Freeze:

  • Stagnates job growth
  • Discourages families from living inside our county line
  • Strangles our opportunities and success

We can do better! Let’s grow Columbus, GA with a fair tax system that works for us. For more information and facts please visit:

http://thawthefreeze.com  https://www.facebook.com/thawthefreezeColumbus/

What is a Smart Home?

Home Automation

Highlights

  • Smart Home & Home Automation
  • Benefits & Features of a Smart Home
  • Service Providers

Home Automation or Smart Home is the new conversation among Home Owners and Real Estate Agents nationwide. What is a Smart Home? A Smart Home is one that provides its home owners comfort, security, energy efficiency (low operating costs) and convenience at all times, regardless of whether anyone is home, according to SmartHomeUSA. Home Automation refers to the automatic & electronic control of household features, activity & appliances. So if your home has automation control of some features within it, then you are living in a smart home.

Automating your home provides you access to your home’s features, remotely from your phone or tablet. Want to know what is happening at your home while you are away? You can receive notifications via email/text alerts when the following actions occur:

  • Door unlocking or opening
  • Window sensor triggered
  • Motion detected on camera
  • HVAC System not functioning properly

Lower your utility bills by automating your interior/exterior lighting and thermostat settings. Peace of mind has never been more important or more affordable.

Know your family is secure in your home with these features:

  • Doorbell camera
  • Arm/Disarm your alarm remotely
  • Lock/Unlock doors remotely
  • Watch your child come in from school

Several national/global companies offer Home Automation Kits installed by professional technicians for a lump sum or low monthly fee. Read the small print for contract terms, as most providers require a minimum 3 year commitment. Xfinity, a Comcast Company, offers internet, TV, monitoring, and home automation if you are located in their coverage area. Vivint, recently featured in Forbes Magazine, is one of the world’s biggest smart home providers. Bigger isn’t always better though. If you are looking for a locally owned/operated home automation company, contact ACOM. They have offices throughout the state of GA and are based in Columbus, GA.

Home Automation is an important feature buyers consider when searching for a home. If you are considering selling a home, talk to your real estate agent about the steps you need to take to effectively market your home as a Smart Home.

 

What is Diversity?

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The concept of Diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each individual is unique and recognizing our individual differences. Until the 1990’s most of America was disconnected. But when Steve Case launched AOL, America got online and began making connections. Steve’s new book, The Third Wave, is part biography and part glimpse into the future.

3 Waves of the Internet:

  1. First Wave: 1985-1999 Building the internet. Laying the foundation for the online world. (AOL was the connection)
  2. Second Wave: 2000-2015 App economy & mobile revolution. Search, social & e-commerce startups grew on top of the internet. (Google, Facebook, Amazon)

  3. Third Wave: 2016-? Internet of everything. Ubiquitous connectivity allows entrepreneurs to transform major real-world sectors. (who??????)

We are experiencing Tectonic Shifts in our society. The Third Wave is building up speed and will revolutionize major sectors—healthcare, transportation, energy, food, education and the way we live.  Steve Case

What Does it Mean to be Diverse?

Diversity: (Merriam Webster) The quality or state of having many different forms, type, ideas, etc. The state of having people who are different races or who have different cultures in a group or organization.

This is the old definition of diversity. Because of the first 2 waves, we have been collecting massive amounts of data. Amazon recommends items for us to purchase, based on our past purchase/viewing history. LinkedIn suggest professionals to connect with. Online Dating. We can now explore our own unique interests online in literally every category imaginable. And we are now aware of each other’s own unique interests. But does this awareness make us diverse?

You’ll find various versions of this statement in short and long form on many University and College websites:

The concept of Diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each individual is unique and recognizing our individual differences.

Generation Y & Z are the most diverse generations yet. They see everyone as a unique individual and they only want to be accepted & respected. This is what I believe Diversity means today.

Why The Tax Freeze Must End

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I’ve been a property tax payer in Muscogee County since 2004. This is also the year I began my career as a REALTOR. It doesn’t matter how I explain the tax freeze to new clients when they are debating over which county to reside in. They always ask me the same question, “How is this fair?”

IT’S NOT. Here are some facts you might find interesting:

  • 65,000 Homestead Properties in Muscogee County are currently Frozen
  • 29,000 pay less than $100 per year (15,000 of them pay less than $50)
  • 60% of your tax bill goes to the Muscogee County School Board
  • Our School Millage Rate 23.37 is the 3rd Highest in the State
  • GA’s average Millage Rate is 30 mills (school + county)
  • Muscogee County Millage Rate is above 40 mills in some areas
  • Commercial Property Owners tax bill is equivalent to 3 months rent

Suntimes_opinion

If property values remain frozen, then our Millage Rate (property tax rate) can never be reduced. This is an unfair burden to Commercial Property Owners and New Residents. We are sending residents to our surrounding counties. They all may work in Muscogee County, but they don’t live in Muscogee County.

I used this analogy with a group a few weeks ago:

I own a bar. I’ve been giving you and many other locals FREE Drinks for 20+ years. All my new customers pay full price for their drinks. I’m scared to raise prices on new customers because I don’t want to run them off, but it’s difficult to cover my operating expenses and provide quality service with so many FREE Drinkers. I’m close to going out of business.

If you have been drinking for FREE for 20 years, I suggest that is long enough. If you don’t want to pay, then you don’t have to stay.

We need to support Mayor Tomlinson’s plan.

100 Years of Real Estate with 5 Generations

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There have been 3 milestones of American Civilization:

  • Getting Married
  • Owning a home
  • Starting a family

For decades this was a predictable process, because it always followed this order. When the 21st Century arrived these milestones changed. Now American Civilization considers:

  • Getting an iPhone – I’ve owned every version
  • 1st Coffee at Starbucks – mine was at the Auburn University Library
  • Finding an unlimited Mobile Data Plan – I only have one because my account is managed by my company

The Housing Boom in the early 2000’s changed everything. In our current housing market, we are working with 4 generations of consumers. I’m fascinated by how much the world has changed in the last 15 years. We now have the incredible opportunity to work with several generations, because of their purchasing power. This is the first time in 100 years this has happened.

Is your business prepared to serve 4-5 different generations of customers and employees?

Who are they? The Greatest Generation (born before 1924), the Silent Generation (1925-1945), the Baby Boomers (old 1946-1954 young 1955-1964), Generation X (1965-1979) & Generation Y (1980-1995). Their characteristics are defined in these infographics from NAR.

home-buyer-and-seller-the-silent-generation-2015-03-11home-buyer-and-seller-older-boomers-2015-03-11home-buyer-and-seller-younger-boomers-2015-03-11

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When you combine the activity of all the generations actively buying/selling/renting, here’s where we are today.

Home ownership rate fell to 63.4% in the 2nd quarter of 2015, marking the lowest home ownership rate since 1967. Apartment occupancy hit 95.2% a near record high. –US. Census Bureau 2015

Real Estate remains the #1 topic of conversation when speaking with all generations. Everyone needs a place to live and the current housing inventory affects every decision we make.

  • Are my friends/family nearby?
  • How long is the commute to work/school?
  • Safety and walkability
  • Rent vs. Owning
  • What about my pets?

Each generation is more diverse than the previous one. Have you heard of Generation Z (1996-2012)? Here’s what we know about them…..not much except: they are the most diverse generation yet and they will be the most internet savvy.

The first question they ask when visiting your home is “what’s your WIFI password?”

We can’t change the classification of our generations, or the experiences that have affected them. Rarely does the previous generation understand the next. Be Interested, Be Passionate and you will be successful in connecting with all 5 generations.