Why The Tax Freeze Must End

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


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

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.



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.

Can I start a Bee Hive in Columbus, GA?

I love local Honey in my green tea, on my toast, and on my Saturday morning pancakes. None of my neighbors are beekeepers or apiarist, so I purchase my honey from different vendors at Market Days in Downtown Columbus, GA.

As backyard farms and urban gardens have taken root in neighborhoods, so have bee hives. I just read a great article from Urban Farm Online.

Step 1: research local beekeeping regulations and ordinances

Clients ask us about “current & future” property use every month and often times our zoning ordinance requires a variance request. As long as the request is reasonable and adjacent property owners agree to the proposed or existing use, then a variance will be accepted by the county.

The following zoning in Muscogee County, GA currently permits apiculture:

  • RE10 rural property with 1 house per 10 acres
  • RE5 1 house per 5 acres
  • RE1 1 house per 1 acre

What is my property currently zoned? Click here to view Muscogee County, GA tax parcel map.

foster honey smiths station ALRemember, ordinances are expected to be amended from time to time as residential and commercial growth patterns fluctuate. Remember, “Fences make good neighbors.” But beekeepers give their neighbors free honey.

Join the Chattahoocheebeekeepers Club.

Four Free Home Buying Resources

After years of saving, planning and researching, you’re finally ready to take the next step and purchase a home.

From years of experience, we at Waddell Realty know the importance of research and arming yourself with as much information as possible about the purchasing process.

You’ve heard the saying that knowledge is power. And while that’s still the case, we’ll add to this saying as it pertains to real estate and say that accurate knowledge is power.

We’ve compiled four of the best free resources that will make your home buying experience simpler, more efficient, and help guide you along the journey of finding a home you will love living in.



Realtor.com, Redfin, and Zillow are websites that allow you to search available home listings for free. Each site boasts hundreds of thousands of for sale homes, with the ability to narrow down your search based on your specific needs like zip code, price, and square feet.

Whether you use Realtor.com, Redfin, and Zillow is your personal preference. Its important to identify a general area of where you want to look for a home, and determine the average cost of those homes.

The three resources also come in the form of smartphone apps, making them easy to access when you’re on the go. Realtor.com has the most accurate information, as their data directly feeds from REALTORS. It’s our source choice.

  1. AroundMe

A home buying resource is only as good as your ability to access it wherever you are. This makes smartphone apps an essential part of your search.

Have you ever fallen in love with a home, and wondered what kind of bars, coffee shops, restaurants, or grocery stores are around the area?

AroundMe, available for both iOS and Android, is an app that lists businesses and other attractions either near your current location, or wherever you choose. This can come in handy to determine if a home fits your lifestyle.


Online mortgage calculators are a quick and easy way to see if your dream home fits within your budget.

There’s a bevy of online mortgage calculators that’ll do the trick – from Bankrate to Guaranty Mortgage to Mortgage Calculator. Punch in information like home value, the loan amount and terms, and interest rate to get a ballpark determination on your mortgage.


Realtytimes.com is a fantastic resource for buyers and sellers to keep up with the real estate times. From news bites to advice from professional real estate agents, the site is a one-stop shop for your housing news.

Their market outlooks come in handy in determining when to purchase to a home. This website can literally save you money.

Do you use or have questions about an app or website not listed here? If so, I love to hear from you.

Which Real Estate Network Closed $321 Billion in Sales in 2014?

Coldwell Banker finished 3rd, RE/MAX finished 2nd, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World finished 1st!! Not familiar with this network? Waddell Realty is a proud member, as are the other #1 independent firms around the globe.

Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (Leading RE) believes in the power of independence. As the world’s largest network of market-leading real estate brands, we require standards of excellence that extend beyond sales marks. Our member companies span 50 countries and are vetted for performance, and a continued commitment to quality customer experience.  Our firms are recognized for their expertise, and superior knowledge of both local and global markets.

Why have agents with Independent/Boutique Firms out sold agents with franchise brands? Their Broker/Owners are committed to excellence and can quickly adapt to changing markets. Since the Housing Crash, we’ve focused on helping our agents build businesses that is controlled by them, not current economic conditions. Waddell Realty is a Local and Global Real Estate Firm.

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