Category Archives: Throwback Thursday

New York and the Beautiful People


It’s often said that the people of New York are uncaring, thoughtless and so many inaccurate things. Thought I would tell you a story about some hard working people who went the extra mile for someone they didn’t even know.

On November 13, 2016, I was scheduled to leave Brooklyn for Albany when I discovered that I did not have my cell Phone. It seemed I must have left it in the nail salon on Saturday evening.  It was early morning Sunday, and I had to leave for an appointment in Albany at 3 pm, so I left.  I was miserable but, on my way to Albany, one of the ladies I was traveling with said that I could transfer my calls to her phone. I did, but it was not easy in that we both got lots of calls, but we managed.  Sunday evening my sister called me and said that she had called my cell phone, and someone answered, and told her to try to reach me because I left my phone at the nail shop.  I felt better because now I knew where my phone was and I would retrieve it on my return on Monday.  On Monday, I arrived back in Brooklyn in time to go to the nail shop to find that my phone was there and that the owner had gone to great lengths to find me. She told me that she looked me up on the web, tried calling my office and found no one. She seemed happy that I was back, and she was able to return the phone, but was also very security conscious and asked me for ID.

That move alone makes that nail shop my favorite and I want to thank them. The shop is the Vip Nails & Spa 269 Kingston Ave.

Harriet’s Go-Green Advice


eco-friendly-06There is so much talk of global warming, too much waste and unbridled energy consumption. We all want to do something, right?

It starts right at home and it needs to continue. We are offering you ways to Go Green to Save Green.

Budgets are strained and families find themselves struggling but all the while want to teach their children how to conserve and preserve. Start by doing these small and inexpensive changes around your home and lifestyle.

  •         Use cloth napkins and eliminate 40+ rolls of paper towels
  • Switch to cloth diapers, do you know it can take 200 years to decompose depending on the manufacturer
  • Collect rainwater and use it to water gardens and indoor plants
  • Lower the temperature of your hot water heater
  • Hang your clothes on an outdoor line to air dry, you can then tumble on a short air only cycle for wrinkle removal
  • Wash laundry in cold water instead of hot
  • Fix leaky faucets, easy DIY project that saves money and conserves water (your landlord will appreciate it too) Install low-flow replacements available everywhere.
  • Stop unsolicited mail. Junk mail can pile quickly both in the home and in the landfill. Be sure to destroy your name and address.
  • Turn your computer completely off at night
  • Unplug all those phone and iPod chargers, they do use energy as long as they are plugged in the outlet
  • Walk or ride your bike when available
  • Drive the speed limit
  • Turn off the lights when you leave a room
  • Buy inexpensive reusable drinking bottles instead of plastic bottles of water. We throw away 50 billion water bottles each year (shame)
  • Opt to take your own cloth bag to the grocers and eliminate plastic bag waste. They take forever to decompose.
  • Make a compost bin, less than $20 and easy to make
  • Change filters regularly & clean duct system
  • Insulate, insulate, insulate
  • Use sustainable materials for new floors such as bamboo
  • Your next appliance purchase should be energy efficient. Read up
  • Install programmable thermostats
  • My biggest Go Green is to do a home energy audit. You can lose massive mounts of heat or air conditioning around doors, windows, light switches, in the attic and in the basement. Well worth every dime now and later.
  • Plant trees for shade around your home and they add beauty

Harriet Robertson
We all know there is so much more we could be doing that we could make a very long list. Of course we can’t do it all at once but try just one thing and then another until it becomes a habit to be greener.

Recycle my friends, recycle!

Path to Financial Freedom, Hedgerow maze leading to a dollar symbol

Income Property Can Be Important To a Better Retirement

1598 union stFor those lacking the necessary means to retire in the traditional sense, income property can be a major bridge to a more comfortable retirement.  Because real estate is an inefficient market, it’s possible to find exceptional bargains with very high returns on your investment. This article describes how much you can expect to invest and earn, how to choose a location for your rental property, and how to avoid some problems that might cause trouble if you’re not careful.

How Much Do You Need?
If you plan to finance your property with a mortgage, then you need to take action long before you get ready to retire. Mortgage lending guidelines routinely require applicants to be employed and have at least two years in the same occupation. Lenders also need a large down payment, are as high as 30% or more, if you aren’t occupying the property.

If you’re without the funds to make such a large down payment, consider using your IRA funds. Purchasing the property with funds from a Roth IRA, where you’ve already paid taxes, which means all your earnings and equity will grow tax-free forever. All capital growth and income from rental receipts will grow inside your IRA tax-free. Don’t overlook marketing expenses and periods of vacancy and tenant change-over. Tax considerations will also play into what you can afford.

Depreciation reduces your commercial property value each year, for fair wear and tear, and lowers your tax bill each year you claim it. However, it reduces your present tax basis, and means you might have to pay more tax when you sell. Another of the benefits associated with rental property is the ability to claim a depreciation deduction on your federal income tax returns.

First and foremost, discuss the financials of your plans with a CPA, a real estate attorney, and an insurance agent. Know how much everything will cost.

Choosing a  Location
Purchasing the least expensive property won’t help you realize a return on your investment if you can’t find and keep renters.  It’s essential to take a good look around the neighborhood and purchase a property that reflects the area’s current demographic. Research the history of the area and know whether prices are appreciating, maintaining, or depreciating.

What Will You Earn?
You want to realize at least 8% from the capital invested in the rental, net of all expenses,” says John Graves, managing principal of an independent RIA, editor of the “Retirement Journal” and author of “The 7% Solution: You CAN Afford a Comfortable Retirement.” Expenses include the mortgage, taxes, insurance, maintenance, a 10% property management fee and a 10% vacancy allowance.

If you invest $100,000 in the property, you want to be earning a net income of $8,000 a year, he says. The reasoning behind the 8% is that it compensates you for the risk and lack of liquidity of your investment. If you or your spouse can work on the property by doing repairs and maintenance and/or managing the property, those costs will decline, he says.

Foresee Potential Problems
Investment property owners could run into a number of challenges, including renters who don’t pay, severe maintenance costs and trouble finding tenants.

Many municipalities impose drastic inspections and fees on landlords who want to turn owner-occupied properties into rentals.  Aspiring landlords should assess their temperament before getting into property ownership.

Selecting the best tenants is key
The best advice I can offer to income property owners is to complete an in-depth tenant screening as possible.

The Bottom Line
Owning income-producing property can be a practical resource for providing retirement income and even leave a legacy to your beneficiaries.
Please call me if you’re interested in improving your retirement through real estate holdings.

#tbt Before There Was Air Conditioning

thermometer heatOhh, it is so hot. Summer is a scorcher this year. Can you imagine not having any air conditioning. Brutal, I say, brutal. This is a great read from  7 Ways Homes Kept Cool Before Air Conditioning. Beautiful detailed pictures are awesome to look at too.

The modern air conditioner was invented only in the 1920s, and it didn’t become a common home feature until the latter half of the 20th century.  But, while some of us might wonder how our grandparents survived hot and steamy summers, the fact is those older homes had a few tricks up their sleeves. They were designed and built with features to help them stay cool without AC.

Mary Wheeler Schap is a registered architect who designs and restores historic buildings to their former glory in Cincinnati, Ohio. She offered this expert insight into the features that made older homes livable in the heat.

1.  Airflow

In northern states, it was common to create a “stack effect” by opening windows in the basement and top floor. This generated a cool breeze through the house. Further south, before AC many homes were built on blocks, allowing breezes to flow underneath and help keep them cool all summer long.

Please, turn on the a/c and read on! Click Here


BrooklynnyBPO Shares Throwback Thursday

1934 Ge Monitor Top/2014 GE French Door 

BrooklynnyBPO Shares Throwback Thursday

BrooklynnyBPO shares Throwback Thursday – Remember when the only way a Real Estate Agent could be reached when they were out of the office was the….. pager? I remember mine well. Super happy we have cell phones now. Modern technology, you gotta love it!