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cj1

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  1. I never received my formal hearing notice last year and by the time I checked online, I had missed it. I was stuck with an absurdly high valuation of $454/sqft on an undersized lot. You'd think they'd quit but this year they want $490/sqft. I'd like to bypass the hearing and go straight to the lawsuit but HCAD counts on that costing too much money. Anyone interested in a class action?
  2. I just got mine and it's a full $60K more than the best of two real estate appraisals I had done ten months ago, the other would make it $80K more. Of course, that value is supposed to be the Jan 1st value, but that would be even worse, meaning my house shot up astronomically in just 7 months if hcad is to be believed. I can't help but think they are running the prices up while they can for a possible if not inevitable decline next year if oil prices stay low. Admittedly, this is anecdotal but I know from at least two friends who live in other parts of the city they have HCAD market values exceeding what the real market is doing. I won't claim to be a professional, but my perception watching har for Heights homes in the general category of mine is that stuff isn't moving this spring, certainly not like the last few years, but in a lot of cases not even the 4-6 weeks it should in a normal market. The only odd thing I’ve seen so far is few sellers seem willing to come off their original price.
  3. I thought the police could detain you for up to 48 hours without arrest while they are reasonably investigating a crime, if they believe you are involved or have information. He seemed to match the description of a white guy burning down houses in the early morning. IANAL though, so correct me if I am wrong.
  4. Has anyone run into trouble lately with lendor ordered appraisals coming in below the expected value ? Most of you know the market is crazy right now, with some properties becoming the subject of bidding wars hours after their initial listing and going for significantly more than their asking price. I am concerned that appraisals may not be keeping up given how fast the market is moving, and that in turn may making buying and selling harder. For the record, I am attempting to sell in Shady Acres and move to the Heights.I have a contract on a new (to me) house in the initial closing stages and am waiting for it to get further along before I put my current house up for sale. Obviously, I can get hit with this on both transactions. cj1
  5. I first heard that rumour eight years ago. At the time, the suggestion was that they were looking into the property now known as The Restaurant Depot. Oviously it didn't happen. I still can't wrap my head around why they moved to 18th in the frist place, given that the old 11th St location was about the same size and more centrally located. It's obviouss they want to do something as they were the loser in the bid for the Walmart property but I would guess they want something more central for a new location as the remainder of the greater heights and the Washinton avenue/Rice Military areas are also underserved. God knows we have enough Krogers now.
  6. I am not sure of the best way for you to create a drain outlet, but having done this project before and I can share a few things from my experience. I ran into a problem because I didn't bother calculating in advance how much dirt I would displace. Instead, I went with the idea that it didn't look like much. Well, it was. For one, I made an early mistake of not carrying the dirt far enough away from the dig so that it didn't get in the way later on, particularly on the sides of my house where my property is narrow. Second, when all 90 feet off drain pipe was done and covered I still had about 3 cubic yards of dirt and rock left which I had to pay to get hauled away. Third, dealing with all that dirt, I did a lot of damage to the rest of my yard while hauling it around. The lawn recovered but it looked ugly for a long while. The hardest part of the dig was going under the sidewalk, not so much because I had to dig sideways but rather because there was a sub-layer of rock had been put in beneath it. The remainder of the run was easier, but not without a lot of hitches caused by roots or large, deeply embedded stones. Once I had a level channel run deep enough to contain the pipe, I went back and shaved dirt down along the run to get the water to run off, using a trickle from a garden hose at the head and watching where the water pooled. It's worked great over the 5 years since I did it; However, I still have nightmares about this project. I swore to myself several times while working on it that I would break all my fingers and toes before I would try something like it again. Friends abandoned me. I paid day laborers lots and lots of money and they abandoned me. The rains began to fall. Covered head to toe in mud, each day would seem to end with even more work than when it began. Dirt was everywhere. Undoing it was impossible. The point of no return happened quickly after the first turn of the shovel. I had to keep going. I could not stop. Of course, it did finally end but not before I thought about digging a slightly bigger hole and covering myself. Well, OK, not really but you get my point. I hope you plan better than I did.
  7. So do you mean plywood is bad too, since it's also "pressed wood" ? I think what you mean to say is anything built with OSB board is low quality and that a rather common and misguided statement. Certified OSB is comparable in every way to structural plywood and stronger on some points, none the least of which is that it's far more environmentally friendly because there is less wood waste and it can be made from faster growing wood sources. If you're argument is that older houses have much more structural integrity on average than new houses, I wouldn't disagree with you because back in the day, they could be built relatively cheaply from strong, old-growth woods like oak, cedar and cherry. Obviously, that's not practical for all the housing going up today unless you're willing sacrifice the precious few forests we have left. I doubt you are so perhaps it's time to give this bunk a rest.
  8. I agree that it is rude, but it's also equally as rude for someone to park in front of your house when they have space in front of theirs, especially if you take care of the right--of-way and they don't.. Someone else said "who cares, it's only a strip of grass" but it's actually quite large in some places and left untended detracts from the value of all the houses around. Aside from that, it seems the nicer you keep it the more other people want to park there, kind of like the way birds always poop on the shiny, clean cars first.
  9. I see quite a few residents here in The Heights using landscaping stones as makeshift curbstones along the street side(s) of their property to block others from pulling off or parking. Most of these are place in public right-of-way. What is everyone’s general take on this ? I can see reasons why some people would want to do this and why others would hate it. IANAL, but I recall seeing in either the city or state code a law which makes upkeep of the right-of-way the responsibility of the adjacent property. If someone is doing that, I can see they would want to keep it nice which is hard to do if it’s used as a parking lot. Construction workers are the worst offenders, but there is always one or two who will park in front of someone else’s property instead of their own on a regular basis. On the other hand, there are legitimate times when it has to be used, like when large gathering in the neighborhood and it is the only place available. I also see that makeshift curbstones would create a liability risk, again though not a lawyer talking. What if someone has an accident and hits one? I would assume you could be sued no matter how inconsequential a role it played in the accident.
  10. I was wondering if anyone had any information about what type of company "National Residential Nominee Services" is and what they do, or even a website. They are listed as the owner of record on HCAD for a house near me and the house recently sold according to the HAR website. A search of Google turns numerous hits on sales transactions all over the country, but no real information about the company itself. I know the house was initially being sold through a relocation service as part of the former owner's job change and I doubt it was a forclosure. What has me curious is that the sale seemed to happen overnight without the usual "sold" notice and close period. Now that it's no longer listed on HAR, there have been a steady stream of different people in and out to look at the house, kind of like it's still for sale or rent. If that is indeed the case, I want to find out what type of terms the house is being sold or rented under.
  11. Thanks for all the suggestions but at this point I am stumped as to what is the cause and that's why I was hoping to find someone I could hire to help. The "spot" was at the bottom of a hill on my lawn that began to thin out and now it's encroaching up hill at a fairly rapid pace and is now several square feet. There was little associated browning so I assumed that adding more lawn soil would help since the topsoil is prone to run-off during rain storms. I put down a couple of bags of Scott's lawn soil. That didn't help so I tried some fungicide after I began to see what I though was browning. That didn't work either. I keep the lawn watered but try not to overdo it. In this heat without rain, I give it a half-hour with a sprinkler twice a week, once in the cooler weather. Sometimes it still looks dry and it well could be as this part of the lawn receives direct sun most of the day. I will look again to see If I can find any kind of bug infestation after your suggestions but if anyone can recommend a service or lawn guy too, I would much appreciate it. CJ
  12. Hi, I live in the heights and I have a problem. My lawn is dying and nothing I am doing can seem to save it. I've used landscapers from "The Leader" before but so far, none have had any real idea of what to do fix lawns, only cut them. Anyone know of someone who works in the Heigths and who is good a troubleshooting lawn and grass problems and helping to fix them ? CJ
  13. This is not a recommendation per say, but you should check out The Leader weekly as it contains a number of advertisments from mostly local handymen/repair/installation/landscaping services. I've personally used Rivas Roofing and Gutters to install gutters on my house. They gave me a fair price and I've been very happy with their work for the last three years. I believe they offer other services as well and it may be worth giving them a call. I've also used a garden service found through The Leader as well. You can always look for the repeat advertisers and check them out at the Better Business Bureau website. If they've done a signifigant amount of work, they will invariably have complaints. If the majority of those are solved satisfactorily, I would consider hiring them. Just my two cents.
  14. I love Shady Acres and my home here, but there are a few issues I would like to see addressed. One is littering. Improvements could be made using awareness campaigns on the proper way to dispose of refuse, more city-maintained waste cans at key locations, more careful collection practices on the part of the sanitation department, and more stringent rules on how builders must maintain building sites. A second issue is closing all the culverts and converting them to proper storm drains. I realize this goes hand in hand with a plan to control flooding, but we are missing a great opportunity now to require the builders to do it on each property where they build, thereby saving tax dollars down the road. At the very least, something should be done to prevent builders from converting rolling culverts into trenches with precipitous gaps. It's easy for a jogger or biker to get seriously hurt if they have to get out of the road quickly and fail to see them. A third issue is that we need a decent area grocery store. HEB Pantry is to small as is Kroger at 20th. Kroger at 11th is still on the small size but it would be ok if they didn't have so many other problems, like inventory mismanagement, broken freezers, rotten produce, poor customer service, filthy parking lot, putrid odors, and an employee smoking area outside the front door. I've complained to corporate many times. I was told a 50,000 sq ft expansion/repair project was planned this year, but I've seen no sign of it yet. Perhaps we could make some collective appeal to both companies to consider other store options for our area. On the subject of a dog park, I would love to see one north of I-10 inside the loop, and Shady Acres would be all that much better but where could it go ? I personally would like a dog park more along the lines of Danny Jackson (West Park) than Ervan Chew Park or God forbid, Discovery Green's dog run. I think we need to consider that it would be better to work for a park nearby than necessarily in Shady Acres. Memorial, Eleanor Tinsley or even White Oak Bayou parks certainly have enough space and could be considered close. Of course, Tinsley already has an unofficial dog park of sorts.
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