Five Things You Need to Do Before Covid-19 Ends
Effective Sunday, March 22, 2020, New York State closed all non-essential businesses due to Covid-19. The 10-point policy, aka “New York State on PAUSE” executive order seems to be having a positive effect on slowing the virus. However my wife, who is a skydiver, tells me people don’t take off their parachutes in the middle of jumps because the parachute is working. Therefore, I think the after-effects of this emergency will linger for years to come. Here are five things you need to be doing now, before we get back to “normal”.
- You are not dead. You are alive. Congratulations. Social distancing does not mean giving up on your goals. Don’t forget what you wanted from life. Review the goals that you made last year and see what you can still accomplish this year. Smart goals have three things; the what, the when and the how. You may have to adjust your “when” and “how”, but don’t give up on your “what”. If you never made goals last year. Do it now. Write it down and do something about it today.
- Grieve your taxes. If you own a property, call your town assessor and ask them when the application for grieving taxes are due. Grieving taxes is the process for lowering your property taxes if you feel you are being charged too much. In Westchester, applications are due by the third week of June. Everything is online and can be done remotely now. If you have extra time, use it to give yourself a tax break.
- Most landlords are not sending sweetheart letters to their tenants, letting them know they don’t have to pay rent anymore. In fact, tenants are getting letters saying their rent is still due, on time, or else. Therefore its time for some “Sit down and Write it Out” Budgeting. Write down all your income on the top and expenses on the bottom. Expenses go into two categories; fixed expenses are the same every month no matter what (ie. rent, mortgage, Con Ed, Netflix… you know…important stuff), variable expenses change based on consumption (ie. Food, clothing, transportation, etc.). Now here is the key. Call every expense and ask them what they are doing in response to the national emergency. Ask for a forbearance, which means your payments will still be owed, but you don’t have to make them now. Ask if they are willing to forgive part of your debt, if you can pay a part now. Some are. Ask if they will lower their rates? Some will, if you ask. Bottom line… ASK ASK ASK.
- Vote. Per the Governor’s executive order, all New Yorkers can vote by absentee ballot by checking the box for “Temporary illness or physical disability” on the absentee ballot application with no requirement for in-person signature or appearance. Applications for absentee ballots may be made by mail, email, fax or in person. Delivery of absentee ballots to voters and the return of completed absentee ballots still remains the same – via mail or in person. Once you request an absentee ballot, they will mail you one. You will complete it and mail it back. Congrats. You voted.
- Shop for homes now. Are you crazy AskHollingsworth? Shop for a home during a national emergency? YES. When an emergency hits, most people stop shopping for “non essentials” like housing. Demand drops and prices drop with it. Some sellers still HAVE to sell, and if you are in the market to buy, NOW is the time. Realtors are essential businesses and are still selling homes. Realtors are currently not allowed to walk buyers into homes, but they are doing video tours, virtual tours and other creative ways to get their clients their homes. Call your realtor and ask them if you can do the same. 2020 will be, whatever year you decide it will be. Make it a soft landing. If you need assistance… AskHollingsworth.