Monday, April 30, 2012

Happy Money Monday! I went to an open house that Austin was holding this past weekend, as I'm seriously contemplating buying a home. It's a daunting endeavor to most people, but after renting in NYC for 10 years, I think I may want to take the plunge. But is owning a home for everyone? Austin explores the pros and cons of Renting Vs. Buying.

Renting VS. Austin the Realtor

As a realtor, I get this question quite often from prospective new buyers, friends and colleagues. Which is better? Is there a right answer? Yes, there is. But the right answer for you may not be the right answer for someone else. Everyone’s situation is different, so there isn’t a general right or wrong answer.

I am an advocate of both. As a home buyer, you have the liberty of making changes to your home as you see fit. In a one family home, you don’t have to deal with upstairs or downstairs neighbors. Then there are the tax benefits. As a renter, you don’t have the hassles of worrying about large repairs needed. The maintenance of the home is the responsibility of the landlord. Renting is usually cheaper than owning in regard to your monthly expenses.

"Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki has an interesting way of viewing home ownership. Traditionally, the American Dream is to own your own home. It’s viewed as the largest investment of your life...your greatest asset. Kiyosaki views this as just the opposite. When you take out a mortgage, this will probably be the largest loan you ever take. Therefore, it’s more of a liability than an asset. Yet, a profit can be made in the right market, so it's not a total loss.

The key is if you are renting and then you purchase a home and your monthly expenses go up without an increase in income, this may be more of a detriment. To take the leap from renting to owning takes planning and a very close look at your finances. You may have a surplus each month that can sustain the increase. Many want to own a home just to say they own a home and will make sacrifices to achieve it. Own for the right reasons and not just to keep up with the Joneses. Proper planning will make the transition much easier. This may include renting a little longer to build up your savings. Buy when YOU are ready, not when others think you are. PLUS do your research!

What are your thoughts?


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Happy Random Thoughts Thursday!

-I've been slammed all day! So sorry for the late post, but better late than never!

- Read this on FB today - "It's better to find someone you want to wake up to rather than looking for someone to sleep with." So true!

- I have someone shadowing me at work today, so not sure if I'll have a chance to chime in much - if at all - or if you all are even around still :-)

- We're doing The Biggest Loser at work, and I'm all in! I gotta get my mind right to BE ON IT! I'll have to watch everything that goes into my mouth, work out fierce and be in the ZONE! Wish me luck!

- I want to go to Mexico. I need a vacation!

- I developed allergies when I turned 30, and some years they show up, other years they don't. Well, they've been showing up lately. Not fun.

- Metta World Peace....I still can't get over that name.

- Does Kobe get the scoring title?

- I love our President...and Jimmy Fallon :-)

- How old should a kid be to have a Facebook account? What say you?

- I have some articles to write and a deadline to meet tomorrow....eeeek!

- Nails are JACKED! A nice spa day would be great!

- Looking forward to the weekend...lots of stuff to do, but plan to rest well.

- For research purposes, what do you all consider to be the sexiest zodiac sign? Other than yours of course :-)

- Is it me, or do people say "super excited" a lot?

- For Serena!



Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Yes, I'm in one of those that's that.

- I call bullshit on fake ass vegetarians. You know...the ones who claim not to eat meat, but will scarf down pizza, potato chips, cookies and anything else that is not healthy for you, but still feel that since they're not eating meat, they're being "more healthy" than you are. Donuts don't have meat in them either, but I'm pretty sure it's not cool to eat them everyday.

- I call bullshit on iPhone users who are angry that Android users can now get the Instagram app. I mean...really? It's just a phone, who cares??!!

- Speaking of Instagram, I call bullshit on folks who get all dolled up, snap a pic of themselves in a mirror SHOWING US that they're taking a pic of themselves, but then caption the flick with something totally self deprecating like "bad hair day" (KNOWING they're fresh out the salon) or "I'm not the cutest girl in the world, but I love me!" Um, if you know that a photo of you isn't flattering, you'd never post it on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or anywhere else. You'd delete it. So why front like the pic you posted is ugly when you know you were feeling yourself when you posted it??? Stop fishing for compliments or for people to validate you. All it really does is show how insecure you really are.

- I call bullshit on people who text you, but when you call them RIGHT BACK, they don't pick up. I know the phone is still in your hand man! Stop playin'. Unless you're in a meeting, there's no reason for this, in which case you probably shouldn't be texting anyway unless it's an emergency...which it usually isn't.

- I call bullshit on sentencing a mother to 5 years in prison for fraudulently enrolling her six-year-old son in the wrong school district just so he could have a better education. Mind you, the woman was homeless at the time she did it, so she had no "real" address anyway. Police said the mother stole $15,686 worth of 'free' educational services from the Norwalk, CT school district. How exactly do you convict someone for "stealing" FREE education? Pure fuckery.

- I call bullshit on People Magazine's "Sexiest Man or Woman Alive" issue. Who exactly are they asking? They're not asking me...whatever.

- I call bullshit on "frenemies." If you're not down with me FOR REAL, keep it moving. Beat it Scram Jones!

- I call bullshit on men and women who constantly complain about how bad of a parent their baby's mamma or child's father is when they KNEW beforehand what a terrible parent they were if they had kids already that they didn't parent responsibly. If you see this chick running around with bad ass kids and she doesn't take care of them, then strap up so you don't have a child with her and have to deal with her crazy ass! Same goes for women - get your ass on the pill if you can't resist the long stroke if you know he's a deadbeat to his other kids. And if you can't or refuse to do that, then don't complain. Deal with it.

- I call bullshit on Shaunie O'Neal. She's a pimp....and full of sh*t.

I think I'm done....what do YOU call bullshit on today?



Monday, April 23, 2012

Happy Money Monday!

How many of you always shop a sale, clip coupons or look for a steal? ME! ME! ME!! If you don't, you could be throwing hundreds of dollars out the window over the course of a year. Today, Austin the Realtor gives us ideas on where to cut corners and how to find deals that will yield you significant savings. So with that, let's go!

Let’s Make a Deal! Austin the Realtor

Hey Folks. Hope you all had a great weekend.

If you did some shopping, I hope you got a great deal. If not, let’s talk about what we can do to better our chances. There are many items that we almost always try to negotiate when purchasing: i.e. a new car. We all know the sticker price is there for show, but the real price comes up when the salesman sees an interested buyer. There are also some items that are negotiable that may surprise you. My motto? “Why not ask, because it can only benefit you. If they say no, you are right where you started if you didn’t ask. You have nothing to lose by asking.” The key is being persuasive!

1. Clothing – Have you ever received a discount because there was a small stain on a shirt that you knew you could get removed? It works. A mis-priced item or an item located on the wrong shelf or rack are also negotiating opportunities. Make sure you watch your items closely when they are being scanned at the register. Don’t be afraid to challenge the price. I recently got $10 off a pair of shoes because it was located over an incorrectly listed price.

2. Cable Service – Cable is expensive, and it is a competitive market. Tell them you are leaving and you are almost guaranteed a few dollars off your monthly bill. Use the line, “Why do you treat new customers better than your existing customers? I want the low price too.” It worked for me!

3. Home Mortgage – This is another competitive market. Have them explain all the fees. Get a detailed breakdown, and then start to go over each one to see what they are willing to waive in order to keep your business, such as underwriting and processing fees.

4. Airline Tickets – There are many deal sites out there. To negotiate, you have to speak to someone live. Try a travel agent. They work on commission and want your business. They may be willing to make a part of something than all of nothing!

5. Parking Fines – After turning red getting the ticket (even though you knew you were wrong), take a deep breath…..and fight it. Even if you are dead wrong, fight it anyway. They will normally offer you a reduced fine just for showing up before you see the judge. You can take your chances with the judge, but once you pass on the reduced fine, you will not get another offer….good luck

Are there any steals or deals you can think of that you want to share so we can add it to the list? These are just a few, but there are many other opportunities - from College Tuition and Credit Card fees to Medical Bills and Hotel Rates. Remember…you have nothing to lose by asking!


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Hola mi gente!

- I'm ready for it be warm EVERY day. I'm talking sandals, flowing dresses, all dat!

- Babysitting a bunch of kids this weekend - oh joy! :-) I'm being sarcastic, but actually looking forward to seeing my nephews and their little friends :-)

- I'm sure I'll need an extra weekend from my "weekend." Kids wear me out.

- Who in the hell left the gate open? Just felt like typing funny to me!

- I'm still sad about Trayvon Martin...and now another boy has been shot in Wisconsin under a similar "law." When will it stop? When will these laws change? It's open season on our young, Black boys...sending prayers out to those who are mourning.

- RIP Dick Clark.

- It was great seeing you last Friday Serena - here's part of the blog fam!

- If you slap someone on tv, you deserve to get sued #basketballwives

- Is it weird that I use a highlighter when balancing my checkbook?

- My boo calls me "Pegsly"...because he thinks I'm a square peg. Is it cool to be nerdy these days? :-)

- Miss Princess is treating me to lunch today - yay! Can't wait!

- I have a chocolate bunny on my desk that I received for Easter...just taunting me.

- Whenever it's a bit warm outside, it's freezing in my office. These damn people!

- Scandal is my new favorite show - on tonight at 10P on ABC!

- Zac Efron has dreamy eyes....The Lucky One was a decent flick.

- Who's going to see Think Like a Man this weekend? I feel like they've been promoting that movie for over a year now.

- Patiently waiting for my raise to kick in...

- Grateful to have gotten a raise again this year! God is good :-)

- Who's copping the new SWV joint? Do you call them albums...or cd's....or what?

- Since everyone's talking about the Tupac hologram....



Monday, April 16, 2012

It's Money Monday, and since I'm writing this blog from work, you can guess that I didn't hit the huge Mega Millions jackpot from a couple weeks ago :-) All of my friends and family told me what they'd do if they won the lottery, but none of them mentioned having a sound financial plan. Good thing we have Austin the Realtor here to give us some insight on what to do if you hit it big. What would YOU do if you hit the jackpot...let's go!

If I Had Million Austin the Realtor

Hey guys and gals! Hope all had a great weekend. I’d like to change gears for a minute and get some insight as to what you would do if you would have hit the Mega Millions or came into a large sum of money. There is a show called “How the Lottery Ruined My Life,” and it talks to past winners who are now broke.

Whether you have millions or a regular paycheck, planning is key. Many went out to buy lavish toys or made bad investments without a good plan.

If you hit it big, what would you do first????

a) Get a hot new ride
b) Take all of your friends to Vegas
c) Hire a Lawyer and Financial Advisor before collecting your winnings

If you chose “a” or “b”, we’ll...see you on the next episode of the above show soon. But if you chose “c”, you are on the right track. Not everyone is savvy when it comes to investing, so it would be prudent to hire a professional to assist with making short and long term goals. Of course you are going to have some fun, but make sure you are not broke when you are done. Your best bet is to set up a financial plan in which you put a portion of the funds to work for you so that you generate income over time.

Financial Tip Example:
$5 million invested in a Microsoft Corp Bond yielding 3.18% will generate $150,000 annually before taxes.

Have any of you ever come into a large sum of money or know someone who hit it big? What would you do if you hit it jackpot???



Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hello Everyone!

- Hopefully I'm posting this before Serena gets on the road for NYC!

- Don't think I'm gonna make it :( maybe she can chime in from her phone :-)

- Can't wait to see you tomorrow Serena at the Mission 2 Mentor fundraiser at LQ's! If you're in the NYC, come support Annamaria and a great cause!

- Having lunch with my cousin today! Can't wait to see her lil belly!

- Zimmerman finally got booked, about damn time.

- Lil Sophia is the most adorable little girl ever! She gives good hugs :-)

- I need cheap Yankees tickets. Good seats tho...good luck with that.

- I miss A Tribe Called Quest.

- Spin class is full tonight...what to do instead!?

- Why are people hating on Baby Blue? Too much time on their hands?

- I want a fabulous red dress!

- I think I have allergies.

- The remote on my car key is dead, so I have to manually lock and unlock my car doors. So strange. The things we get used to...spoiled!

- I feel like The Avengers and Think Like a Man are the only movies coming out this summer - has anyone seen any good trailers for anything else?

- The MJ Cirque de Soleil show was excellent!

- Going to see SWV at SOB's next Tuesday - "I get so weak in the knees..." So in honor of that....this week's double throwback joint!



Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Happy Tuesday!

So, I have a question of the day.

If your man or woman received a "happy ending" after getting a massage, would you consider that cheating?



Thursday, April 5, 2012

Happy Random Thoughts Thursday!

- I can't wait for it to be warm every day...all the time. I wanna wear sandals and flip flops.

- Scandal, the new Shonda Rhimes show on ABC, premiers tonight! Can't wait to see Kerry Washington do her thing!

- Saw this on a friend's Facebook status - "You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough." Love that!

- Now the trick is doing it right :-)

- Yolanda has inspiring FB statuses too :-)

- Serena, your poem was WONDERFUL! Rock that on the mic soon!

- Someone on my FB feed posted a video of his child being born, with a complete shot of his wife's vajayjay. It's beautiful, the miracle of life and all...but I needed a disclaimer before I clicked on it. I didn't need to see all that. I can't "un-see" it now.

- I've been swamped with work this week - can't wait to chill on Saturday.

- Any holiday plans this weekend?

- Happy Birthday Jonathan! He's 9 years old today :-)

- The Mets can't seem to GIVE tickets away these days. Should I go since tickets are so cheap? Go Phillies!

- Are we going to discuss Mary J. Blige singing about chicken for Burger King? I think it's been discussed to death maybe...we can move on.

- I feel like I haven't heard new music in a long time. Any suggestions?

- I want popcorn.

- Going to see Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour by Cirque du Soleil in Philly next Tuesday - can't wait!

- I also saw Oprah at her live taping of Oprah's Life Class with Tony Robbins - I was inspired :-)

- She gave her shoes to someone in the audience. Those might be worth some money :-)

- What to eat for lunch?

- I like bananas, but not anything banana flavored. Unless it's banana bread. Weird.

- Since MJB is catching heat, let's remember why we love her so much...well...some of us anyway.



Tuesday, April 3, 2012

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