Jewish World Review Oct. 13, 2000 / 14 Tishrei, 5761
Maybe your prices are too low
DEAR BRUCE: I have owned and operated a custom cabinet shop since 1986. I have a problem managing my money. Although the business is good, we find ourselves with cash-flow problems because of the nature of the business. My accountant doesn't offer much help. What do you think? -- B.T., via e-mail
DEAR B.T.: I would have to know a great deal more about your enterprise. You say that you have cash-flow problems and then say business is good. I have to believe that perhaps you are not charging enough for your services. Cash-flow difficulties generally are a function of undercharging, under-collecting or over-spending. Yes, there are times when the pipeline takes a while to deliver the money, but that's another circumstance, and I doubt if that's the situation here.
I would look at my pricing very critically if I were you. You do have to stay competitive, but unless you can stay profitable, no matter how much business you are doing, you are just spinning your wheels.
DEAR BRUCE: We own a condo in Myrtle Beach. There is a ditch separating us from the golf course. Last year, the water from the hurricane widened the ditch to the point that it has put the condo in jeopardy. The ditch must be filled or a bulkhead built to the tune of $100,000. No one seems to be accountable. We are told that it is our responsibility, but we only own our side of the ditch.
The water from the whole complex drains through this ditch, which was originally dug by the owners of the golf course, and there is a wetland involved. We have an attorney/engineer, but they have been working on this problem since April, and we are smack-dab in the middle of hurricane season. Do you have any advice for us poor condo owners? -- B.J. New York, N.Y.
DEAR B.J.: Your final line covers it. You have an attorney/engineer in the trenches, and they're the ones that you will have to depend upon. It seems to me that since the golf course built this ditch, that is where the responsibility lies. It may very well be that at such time as a court orders them to live up to their responsibilities, nothing is going to happen.
In the meantime you may have to take some emergency measures to keep your side of the ditch from further eroding. I suspect that this matter will be in litigation for some period of time, and everybody is going to play "duck" for obvious reasons.
DEAR BRUCE: I would like to sell a neighbor a few feet of my property so that he may widen his driveway. I do still have a mortgage on the property. How can I determine the fair value of this, and what will be involved? -- L.W., Lexington, Ky.
DEAR L.W.: There is a whole bunch involved. First of all, in determining the value, you will have to have an appraisal from a decent appraiser in your area. Secondly, you will have to get permission from the planning board in order to be able to subdivide off these few feet. Thirdly, you must be certain that if you subdivide you still have enough property remaining to meet all side, rear and front yard requirements for the building ordinance (otherwise you will have a non-conforming lot, which seriously diminishes its value).
You must also receive permission from your mortgage company, or the whole project dies. By all means, have a planner and an attorney take care of this matter for you. All of the expenses should be borne by your neighbor, since he is the beneficiary of your
Send your questions to JWR contributor Bruce Williams by clicking here. (Questions of general interest will be answered in future columns. Owing to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.) Interested in buying or selling a house? Let Bruce Williams' "House Smart" be your guide. (Sales of the book help fund JWR).
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