To quote one of my very favorite and famous beloved female comedians, Gilda Radner’s character, Roseannadanna, “It just goes to show you, it’s always something – if it ain’t one thing, it’s another!” I regularly re-quote Roseannadanna’s words to those who contact me about various unavoidable home ownership problems. The quote usually puts a smile on everyone’s face and gives us all peace of mind.
Recently, I received a call from a gentlemen asking for advice of what to do about some abnormal home settlement he has noticed around his home after heavy blasting from a nearby rock quarry.
Another call I received was from a homeowner worried about a state road widening project taking place that will take 25 feet off her front yard. And last but not least, I have recently gotten multiple calls from homeowners worried about their rising property tax rates while living on a fixed income.
What can we do as homeowners to protect our largest investment? The best general advice I can give you is to be patient, be calm, research, treat everyone involved with respect and realize that you are not alone.
The gentleman living near the rock quarry is documenting his damage with before and after photos, timelines, contacting his homeowners’ insurance company, and alerting all local authorities involved of possible blasting being conducting outside of legal limits.
Seeing cracks or settlement in your home is extremely upsetting and should be addressed. Taking the time to take the proper steps to document, finding the cause and then seeking a cure is your best solution. Don’t give up if you run into a wall… keep moving forward to get results.
The homeowner contacted by a government agency alerting her to a proposed highway widening project was told the widening was essential due to her community’s growth. As her community grows, roads and utilities must grow with it and sometimes that growth may end up in her backyard, so to speak.
The thoughts of strangers (government) taking her property by eminent domain are confusing and scary. She has contacted the highway department asking for maps and details of the project. She is now asking for face-to-face meetings with local officials to gather even more information about the project.
In addition, property specialists have been contacted to give her information about her property’s value now and property value after the highway widening project. Thus far, she is taking steps to protect her property rights. No doubt, there will be bumps in the road, but she will get through it.
The mere mention of property tax hikes seems to be on almost every homeowner’s mind these days, especially when on a fixed income. It seems everyone is feeling the crunch from higher inflation, including local governments.
So what can you do about it, or should you do anything about it?
If you feel that your property tax increase seems fair, say nothing. However, if you feel that your property tax increase is out of line with increasing costs, you certainly should research the reasons for the increase and make any objections clear.
You might start by contacting your local elected officials and ask questions about the property tax hike. If your elected officials’ information is not satisfactory, then you have the right to ask for public documents which include budgets, expenses and projected costs.
Look over those documents and see if you can find ways to trim costs or find more effective ways your local government can be ran. Share the documents you receive with other citizens in your community that are also concerned with rising property taxes and see if they, too, have suggestions for streamlining costs.
Next, take your findings to your elected officials and respectfully ask them to consider your suggestions for streamlining. It may take them some time to consider proposed changes to trim the budget (government moves slowly), or you may find that your suggestions may be ignored, but at least you have contributed to finding a solution to a problem.
Being a homeowner brings a lot of responsibility and with that, Gilda’s character Roseannadana’s quote continues to resound in my head over and over again. Home ownership obstacles seem to appear whether we like them or not. How we react can help determine our outcomes and our survival!
Have you had any home ownership obstacles lately? How did you deal with them? What advice would have helped you solve your problems?