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Reconsider Renting - West Columbia, SC

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, November 25, 2014

For as long as I can remember, homeownership has been a home run on the American Dream scorecard.

When I graduated from college, my grandmother gave me two choices: live with her or buy a home. In her mind, to rent meant I was a failure financially.

“When you rent, you get nothing for your money,” Big Mama would lecture.

Since I didn’t have enough money saved for a home, I lived with my grandmother, who had been my guardian since I was 4. I hated that year of ridiculous rules. No shoes under the bed. Don’t turn the television knob to the left, only to the right (this was before remote controls). And Big Mama fretted I would be late for work, so she would wake me at 6 a.m. for a shift that didn’t start until 10 a.m.

After a year of this, I decided I had to move. But I still didn’t have enough money saved to buy a home. So I rented.

Every time I called my grandmother, she would berate me about renting. By the end of my lease, I had saved enough to buy a condo, thanks to a first-time homebuying program. I’ve never rented since.

I tell you this story for two reasons. I understand where my grandmother was coming from. Owning a home was the only way she knew of creating wealth for herself and our family. She didn’t trust investing in the stock market. I joke that the only bond she ever owned was the adhesive for her dentures.

However, in the 2000s, the benefit of homeownership became twisted and too many people were persuaded to pay insane prices and take out unsustainable mortgages in the quest to fulfill the American Dream.

Then the housing crisis smacked people back to common sense.

I’ve never been supportive of stigmatizing renters as financial failures. Although it’s true that homeownership has been the path to prosperity for most American families, it’s not the only path. If you buy a home before you are economically ready, it can drag you down financially. As we saw with the drop in housing prices, you can be left without a home and your savings.

A just-released study by HelloWallet, a company that provides online financial help as an employer-provided benefit, puts the debate of homebuying versus renting in perspective. If the cost of renting is less than that of owning a home and you save well, you can accumulate just as much wealth as homeowners do, the study contends.

“Buying a home is akin to a rite of passage, simply something people do when they can, regardless of their circumstances or market conditions,” Aron Szapiro, a consumer finance expert for HelloWallet, writes.

From 2005 to 2012, all home prices collapsed by 42 percent, Szapiro calculated using Case-Shiller housing data.

So, the question HelloWallet set out to answer was this: Could renters build more net wealth than homebuyers, while taking on much less risk, by forgoing homeownership and investing the yearly savings from renting in a tax-deferred retirement plan?

They could indeed, the study concluded.

“Over half of current homeowners, or over 40 million households, purchased their homes during time periods when average homebuyers would have been better off renting and investing,” Szapiro noted.

Of course, the key is that renters need to have the discipline to invest the savings they get from renting.

HelloWallet listed a number of findings in its study, but two stood out for me:

    Be careful about the bias built into “buy-or-rent” calculators. Many of the free online tools that are supposed to help determine if buying a home is right for you are heavily biased toward homeownership, the report points out. The calculators often compare homeownership to saving in an interest-bearing bank account earning low returns. “Since homes are a risky asset, an alternative investment should also present some risk, such as an investment in a mix of stocks and bonds aimed at building long-term wealth for retirement,” Szapiro says.

    Don’t overestimate the tax advantage of homeownership. An overwhelming majority of homebuyers — 80 percent — listed the federal mortgage deduction and other tax benefits as a reason to buy rather than to rent. Yet more than half of homeowners with mortgages don’t even take the deduction because they don’t itemize their federal tax returns. “We find that federal tax benefits for homeownership go largely to high-income families in high-cost areas, and even for these families, the benefit is fleeting,” Szapiro says.

For me, the take-away from the report is that buying a home is not a no-brainer. It never was. There’s much to consider and the old rules of thumb aren’t always true, including assuming that renting is a detriment to wealth-building.

For more information on renting apartments in West Columbia, SC, contact Abberly Village Apartments.

#HowYouLive
roanoke.com

Lights Before Christmas - West Columbia, SC

Joseph Coupal - Monday, November 24, 2014

If you live in an apartment in West Columbia, SC then you can enjoy Lights Before Christmas from November 21 – December 30 @ 5:00 – 9:00PM (Closed November 27, December 24 and 25). Bring the kids and the camera and see why Lights Before Christmas has continued as a family tradition for more than 25 years!

  • Nearly one million twinkling lights
  • Countless animated images
  • Dazzling Music in Motion Lights Spectacular
  • Nightly visits with Santa (on-site beginning at 6:00PM each night through December 23)
  • Warm memories and holiday cheer around the Jingle Bell Bonfire
  • Hot cocoa, marshmallows and other festive foods available for purchase

While you may spot a few night owls during Lights, most of our residents will be off-exhibit sleeping.

#HowYouLive
More information -riverbanks.org/events/lights-before-christmas.shtml

November Means it is Time for the South Carolina Oyster Festival – Columbia, SC

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Head to the Oyster Festival this weekend if you live in an apartment in West Columbia, SC. It’s cold! That means it’s time for an oyster roast. Huddle around a pile of steaming mollusks with your family and friends this Sunday, Nov. 23, when the South Carolina Oyster Festival returns to the Robert Mills House and Hampton-Preston Mansion. It’s the 19th year for the event, which purports to be the largest oyster roast in South Carolina.

Tickets are $5 in advance and $10 at the gate; children 12 and under get in free. Once you’re in the gate, you can buy buckets of steamed oysters. Bring your own oyster knife — or you can buy one there. It’s a good idea to bring some lawn chairs or blankets, too, so you can settle in to watch some live music.

Beer? Wine? Yeah, there’ll be some of that for sale. And if you’re not into shucking and eating your own oysters, you can buy oyster shooters, fried oysters and oyster gumbo. The festival is at 1615 and 1616 Blanding Street in downtown Columbia and kicks off at 11 a.m. Sunday.

#HowYouLive
free-times.com

Gamecocks and Clemson Tigers Donate Blood This Week! – Columbia, SC

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, November 18, 2014

If you live in an apartment in West Columbia, SC you can help save lives while you support your team this week. Fans of the Carolina Gamecocks and the Clemson Tigers will take their rivalry off the field to help save lives at the 30th annual Carolina-Clemson Blood Drive. Donors will bleed garnet or orange to earn pints for their favorite school before the football teams face off for points.

The blood drive will be held this week through Friday, Nov. 21 on both school campuses. All University of South Carolina and Clemson University students, faculty, staff, alumni, and fans are encouraged to participate.

This Blood Drive is held this week before the Carolina-Clemson football game. During the holiday season, blood donations typically decrease. Over the past 30 years of this drive, the universities have collected about 100,000 pints of blood, potentially saving up to 300,000 lives.

“The Carolina Clemson drive is one of the largest blood drives in the country,” said Ryan Corcoran, Community CEO for the South Carolina Blood Services Region. “The impact of this drive cannot be understated. Thousands of patients will receive a potentially lifesaving gift through the efforts of students and fans.”

All presenting blood donors at the University of South Carolina will receive a commemorative blood drive T-shirt and the chance to enter to win giveaways items from local businesses. Refreshments will be served.

The coveted blood drive trophy will be awarded to the winning team at the game on Nov. 29 at Clemson Memorial Stadium.

Appointments are not necessary; you can just stop by and donate at one of the following locations:

Tuesday, Nov. 18

  • Russell House Ballroom, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Blood mobile at Thomas Cooper Library, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Blood mobile at the Close/Hipp Building (old business school near Capstone dorms), 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Blood mobile in Greek Village, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 19

  • Russell House Ballroom, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Blood mobile at Thomas Cooper Library, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Two blood mobile in Greek Village, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Blood mobile at the Solomon Blatt P.E. Center, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 20

  • Russell House Ballroom, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Blood mobile at Thomas Cooper Library, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Blood mobile at the College of Engineering and Computing, Swearingen Engineering Center, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Blood mobile at the Koger Center for the Arts, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 21

  • Russell House Ballroom, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Blood mobile at Thomas Cooper Library, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Two blood mobiles in Greek Village, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

#HowYouLive
redcrossblood.org

When It’s Best to Rent - West Columbia, SC

Joseph Coupal - Friday, November 14, 2014

When it's best to rent:

  • You may not reap the full benefits of tax write-offs for taxes and mortgage interest. That’s a signal that renting is wise. Median income homeowners realize no federal tax benefit in 75 percent of major cities.
  • You have to look at the local price cycle. Many homebuyers purchase at the top of the market and won’t reap appreciation from the past. More than half of current homeowners, or more than 40 million households, purchased their homes during time periods when average homebuyers would have been better off renting and investing.
  • Don’t overstate the benefits of buying. Many popular, free, online “buy-or-rent” calculators inflate the benefits of home buying. The study shows that calculators provide inaccurate guidance to more than 90 percent of renters considering whether to buy a home by overestimating tax benefits and underestimating the returns an individual can earn by investing.
  • Do the math. Prospective home buyers should calculate their “rent-to-price” ratio, or the ratio of the annual rental costs of a home compared with its purchase price, to determine whether to by a home or rent and invest.
  • What’s Your Bottom Line? If the rent-to-price ratio is 5% or less, people may be better off renting and investing any savings. If the rent-to-price ratio is greater than that, they may be better off buying a house.

If you have a yen to own a home, just keep in mind that ownership also entails property tax and maintenance. In growing areas, taxes are likely to rise to build schools, fire stations, libraries, etc.

Single family homes also need new roofs, furnaces and interior repairs. If you’re unable to set aside 2% annually of the value of your home’s mortgage, you won’t be able to keep up with maintenance.

For more information on renting apartments in West Columbia, SC, contact Abberly Village Apartments.

#HowYouLive

Excerpts – Forbes

Holiday Shopping for Women in Columbia, SC

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, November 12, 2014

If you live in an apartment in West Columbia, SC and you are a woman, you can enjoy a wonderful day on Saturday from 9-1pm at the Wingate by Wyndham.  Enjoy Holiday Shopping at the Holiday Extravaganza and Women's Expo where you can explore more than one dozen local businesses and see live demonstrations! There will also be door prizes and refreshments! A Silent Auction to benefit Jillian's Cure with great prizes will also take place.

Just a few of the participating vendors:

  • MARY KAY
  • PAPARAZZI
  • SHAKLEE
  • ARBONNE
  • THIRTY-ONE
  • RODAN & FIELDS
  • DRAGONFLYS & ROSES
  • INITIALS, INC
  • AUTHOR COULTER ROBERSON
  • ASHAHEALTH
  • AUTHOR CAROLYN NAVA
  • PAMPERED CHEF
  • ERA REALTY
  • A TIME FOR WINES
  • SHERRY MAW, SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETER

#HowYouLive
cwc.chamberofcommerce.me

How to Be a Smarter Renter – West Columbia, SC

Joseph Coupal - Friday, November 07, 2014

Being a renter in apartments in West Columbia, SC offers plenty of freedom that buying does not, but being a renter is not the same as being a smart renter. Once you decide that renting over buying is the right choice for you, it is only the beginning. Renting a place to live, moving and setting up all necessary utilities can be expensive, time consuming and stressful. But thinking ahead can help you save. Here’s how to be sure you get the most for your money.

Budget Wisely

Many financial experts will tell you it’s a good idea to keep your housing costs below 30% of your income. This is a general rule of thumb that isn’t always feasible (hello, New York City) but basically, housing is a fixed cost that you are going to be paying out every month so be sure you are not paying more than you can afford. It’s important to create a reasonable budget by looking at your income after taxes and subtracting your expenses (such as student loan payments, utilities, etc.). What you have left is what you can spend on your apartment, use for savings and for fun stuff. Keep in mind that your apartment costs also include utilities and a security deposit.

Read the Lease & Research Landlords

Just as a landlord looks into your financial and personal background, you should be making sure you are dealing with a trustworthy person or company. Do not sign a lease without having a complete walk-through of the apartment and looking into your landlord or property manager’s background. The next important step is to read and understand your lease. It may seem silly, but many renters feel rushed to sign immediately and do not take the necessary time to ensure the information is exactly what you and your landlord agreed upon verbally. Look for any additional fees or penalties and make sure you get any changes you want made to the lease in writing.

Get Renter’s Insurance

You may think that renting means you can forgo insurance or that you don’t own enough stuff to justify paying the premium. But if anything should happen to your property like flood or theft, you will likely not be covered by your landlord’s insurance. Having renter’s insurance can protect you in the long run, offers peace of mind and is very affordable.

Get Your Deposit Back

Security deposits are a contentious part of renting – they protect the landlords from tenants who may skip rent and also cover any unreasonable wear and tear tenants cause to an apartment. To improve your chances of getting this payment back, be proactive when moving in and out of the property. It’s important to take a video or plenty of pictures before you move in and once you are out so you have proof of the property’s condition. Document any repairs, upgrades or changes made while you live there.

Also, discuss big changes before you make them. If you want to paint the walls, upgrade fixtures or make other improvements, you should always ask beforehand. Otherwise you run the risk of losing your deposit even if you think the changes are making the place better.

#HowYouLive
Credit.com

Chili Cook-Off, Live Music and Lots of Fun in Columbia, SC

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, November 05, 2014

If you live in an apartment in West Columbia, SC it is time for Chili. This Saturday, November 8, is the 28th Annual Chili Cook Off.  This is the chance to watch teams battle it out to see who has the best chili in Columbia!

All proceeds go to Camp Kemo. The Chili Cook-Off, from noon to 7pm,  is FREE!  The chili will be ready at 1pm, so grab your friends and a spoon and start tasting the over 50 unique chili varieties with all the fixins’.  There will be live music and entertainment all day too.

Anyone can sign up to compete in the Chili Cook Off and registration will open soon on this website!  Chilis will be tried by a panel of 10 judges and will be categorized by:

  • Best Overall Chili (1st, 2nd and 3rd Place Awards)
  • Best Vegetarian
  • Best Bar/Restaurant (excluded from Best Overall Chili)
  • Best Texas Style (no beans)
  • Best Non-Traditional (examples – Chicken Chili, Seafood, White Chili, etc.)
  • Overall Best Set-up (all Teams are entered)
  • Silver Spoon Award – Formerly People’s Choice (awarded to team that collects the most money)

Live music lineup:

12:00 - 12:45 – Kenny George Band
1:15 – 2:00 – Dave Britt Band
2:30 – 3:15 – Dr. Roundhouse
3:45 – 4:30 – Bossman
5:00 – 6:30 – Yo’ Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band

#HowYouLive
More information - fivepointscolumbia.com/event/chili-cook-off

Rent All Kinds of Things to Simplify Your Life – West Columbia, SC

Joseph Coupal - Friday, October 31, 2014

"The more you have the more you want" may be a truism, but like most truisms, this simple sentence contains a grain of truth. America has long been known as a consumer society, where we believe we are defined by how much we own and what we are worth in financial terms. Since the economic downturn, people have been learning to tighten their belts and make do with less. Part of that process involves giving up traditional American consumerism and instead of buying more and more consumer goods, renting what they need when they need it. Would that work for you?

What You Can Rent

Nowadays you can temporarily own a huge assortment of material objects. Entertainment-related products have long been at the forefront of the rental market -- just look at the success of Netflix, for example. In recent years, tools to rent have turned into a hot ticket, especially when it comes to costly, infrequently used items such as pressure washers or power augers. Another fast growing rental field is fashion. Designer gowns, elegant tuxedos, or precious jewelry can be had for a single gala event, allowing you to attend in style without blowing your budget on something you'll wear only once.

Toy rental has also become quite successful. Renting a vehicle is nothing new, but now the field has updated to offer such in-demand services as the possibility to lease a car for just a few hours or to hire a bicycle from a roadside stand, dropping it off at another point along your journey.

What You Gain from Renting

Traditionally, folks have rented when it worked out cheaper than buying. Today's reasons are much more varied. Renting, especially locally, tends to be more eco-friendly compared to purchasing. It also frees up space in your home that would otherwise be used for storage. As zero-dimensional living becomes an increasingly greater part of our lives thanks to the Internet, de-cluttering and minimization of material possessions are associated with peace of mind. On a more prosaic level, renting offers you the opportunity to try before you buy. You'll have access to the latest and best models and can select from a huge range of consumer goods.

The same goes for renting apartments in Roanoke, VA. Try the neighborhood, the job, the commute before you buy; or, for an easier lifestyle with no home repairs and the ease of calling the management company.

For more information on apartments in West Columbia, SC, contact Abberly Village Apartments.

#HowYouLive
kfvs12.com

Scary Movies Burn Calories - West Columbia, SC

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Halloween is almost here; this is the ‘unofficial’ start of the holiday season. The upcoming holiday treats are enough to scare you about your waistline. Have no fear; a new study says you can burn off that candy bar just by watching a scary movie!

It sounds too good to be true, and surely your doctor would tell you to get off the couch and get to the gym, but this is a fun way to burn calories too.

According to the new study, if you put yourself through 90 minutes of adrenaline-pumping terror, you can burn as many as 113 calories, the equivalent to a chocolate bar.

So what movie should you be reaching for to help burn the calories?

The 1980 psychological thriller The Shining topped of the list of calorie-burners, with the average viewer using up 184 calories.

The research also revealed films featuring moments designed to make viewers jump in terror are the best calorie-burners, as they cause heart rates to soar.

Jaws took the runner-up spot, with viewers burning on average 161 calories, and The Exorcist came third, with 158 calories.

Get together with your friends in your apartment in West Columbia, SC and lose weight by watching a scary movie!

Calorie Burning Movies

  • The top calorie-burning frightening films were:
  • The Shining: 184 calories
  • Jaws: 161 calories
  • The Exorcist: 158 calories
  • Alien: 152 calories
  • Saw: 133 calories
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street: 118 calories
  • Paranormal Activity: 111 calories
  • The Blair Witch Project: 105 calories
  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: 107 calories

#HowYouLive
WSFA


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