The Norton Group, Inc.



Posted by The Norton Group, Inc. on 11/11/2018

When youíre showing your home, you need to stage the home properly to impress buyers. Buyers need to be able to get an idea of what it would be like to live in the home. No matter what your own lifestyle is, or what problems you have had in the home, there are certain things that you probably donít want to share with anyone who could be a potential buyer on a walk through. 


Any Kind Of Taxidermy


Although you may enjoy hunting and taxidermy, there are few things that creep out potential buyers more than seeing animals that were formerly alive hanging on your wall. Itís been shown that taxidermy often gives buyers a sense of dread and can creep them out. Yes, that bear rug may be comfy and quite the accomplishment, but not everyone will share the same sentiment as you. Be sure to get all of these animal displays out of your home when youíre getting ready to sell it and show the property.


Personal Collections That May Be A Bit On The Strange Side


Itís really cool if you want to collect dolls, clowns, or have some kind of a celebrity shrine in your home. Itís cool for you, that is. Keep these items to yourself, especially when the home is going to be shown. Any room that could be considered too full of any one kind of item should be redecorated slightly before a home showing. 


Weapons


Weapons are on the same spectrum as taxidermy. Many people may have differing opinions with you on the subject and it could creep some buyers out. If you have any kinds of guns or knives displayed in your home, you should put them away for showings. These items can make buyers feel very uncomfortable and leave them turned off by your home.       



Political Items


If you like to get political, know that many people who are potentially going to buy your home probably donít share your views or interests. Keep any politically charged signs and organizational symbols out of view for the showing of your home. Buyers may not be able to relate, and in turn, end up being turned off by your home.     


Bug Traps Or Mouse Traps


We all have experienced bugs or mice in our homes at one time or another. When the house goes up for sale, you donít want to advertise this by keeping any kinds of traps in view of buyers. People will get creeped out easily by the thought that pests have infested the home at some point. Although the home inspection will probably note that there was some type of a pest problem in the home, you donít want to lose potential buyers because a mouse trap was in view.




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Posted by The Norton Group, Inc. on 11/4/2018

The factor that has the most impact on your home search is your finances. Youíll need to save a significant amount of money. Itís not easy to save when you have continuous monthly bills and responsibilities. Read on for tips on how to get your finances under control in order to save the amount of money it takes to buy a home.  


Do A Budget  



Once you have decided to buy a home, the first thing you should do is take a good look at your finances. A budget is critical when you buy a house because it tells you how much youíll have to spend on your mortgage. Doing this ahead of time will allow you to maximize your income and make adjustments ahead of time as needed. Donít forget that even though youíre buying a home, you still need some savings in addition to all of your other monthly expenses. Your budget should be outlined as follows:


  • Necessities
  • Monthly utility spending 
  • Insurance bills
  • Entertainment expenses
  • Grocery spending


Basically, you want to write down how much money is coming in and where all of the money is going. Thatís a budget in a nutshell. See where you can cut back. What youíre left with is the amount you can save each month. You may want to do this on a percentage basis rather than a flat dollar amount. 


Get A Separate Account


The most straightforward things to do when you start saving for a home is to put all of your money for your house fund into a separate account. This way you can automatically transfer money in, and youíll be less likely to spend any of the money if you donít see it.


Sacrifice The Small Things


Can you take some hand me downs for your kids? Maybe you can start packing a lunch for work instead of buying lunch. Can you cut the cord on cable? It may be hard to sacrifice small luxuries, but these expenses can add up. If you cut these out of your budget, youíll have a little more wiggle room to save for a home purchase. Youíll be surprised how much money you can save just by doing little things. Your morning latte is probably around $5. You could save at least $25 per week by merely making coffee at home! Thatís a saving of over 1,200 per year!   


While saving for a home can seem overwhelming, if you take it in small chunks, youíll be see the results of your efforts rather quickly. 





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Posted by The Norton Group, Inc. on 10/28/2018

If youíre in the market to buy a home, you want to find the perfect place for you and your family. In a sellerís market, the competition can be fierce. As a buyer, you may be under the impression that you need to make the highest offer in order to secure the home of your dreams. The problem is, you may never know what price other people have offered for the same home.


Know Your Budget


First, you should know what kind of a budget you have to work with to buy a home. You probably have done an online search to see whatís out there and what price range the homes you like fall into. Youíll want to go beyond the online search and actually see some of your favorite houses in person because pictures can be deceiving. 


Next, youíll want to do is speak with a lender. This can help you before you even hit the ground running on your home search. A lender can pre-qualify you then work you through the process of pre-approval. This will give you a definitive number to work with when searching for a home. With this number, youíll know how much you can offer comfortably when you find that house you fall in love with.


Make A List Of Priorities


Finding the ďperfectĒ house usually requires that you make a few compromises along the way. Itís very unlikely that youíll find one house that gives you everything you want in one place without a bit of imagination. Jot down all of the things about a home that are the most important to you. These items could include:


  • The neighborhood
  • Big backyard
  • Open floor plan
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Hardwood floors
  • The size of the rooms
  • Style of the house
  • Granite countertops


Whatever is important to you should be on the list. Next, go through the list and see what can be compromised on. There are probably a few luxuries on the list that you could stand to give up in lieu of something else.  


The Offer


Once you find that home you know that you absolutely want to live in, youíre going to want to make an offer. Let your realtor know immediately that youíre interested in the home and they can get to work. Your realtor can help you to make an offer thatís reasonable based on the asking price and your budget. Your offer doesnít have to be thousands of dollars over the asking price for you to win the bid. There are a couple of strategies that can help you to land the right home even if youíre not stretching your budget to the max.


Showing Youíre Serious


Taking steps like being pre-approved and having all of your finances in order can help to give you the upper hand in the house hunt. Sellers donít want to deal with a buyer who is ultimately going to have issues where the deal will fall through.


The Offer Letter


Writing a letter along with your offer is a great personal touch to help you land the home of your dreams. If a seller knows that the home they have lived in and loved will go to another owner who is going to appreciate and take the same great care of the home, they will be more likely to go with you as a buyer. First, tell the seller a bit about yourself and why you love the home so much. Compliment the landscaping. Tell the seller just how much your kids are going to appreciate living in the home. Donít be afraid to get too personal when it comes to writing an offer letter to the sellers. They will appreciate honesty and a candid approach in the sometimes all too serious matter of buying a home.





Posted by The Norton Group, Inc. on 10/21/2018

If your budget allows for it, hiring a good housekeeper is well worth the money. If you're like most professional couples, you probably already feel "maxed out" after you've put in 40 to 60 hours at your jobs . When you add parenting responsibilities into the mix, there's not too much time and energy left for cleaning the house! While certain basic house cleaning tasks are unavoidable on a daily basis, it's a relief to know that a paid house cleaner will be coming in to do a thorough job soon.

Finding a reliable housekeeper with whom you feel comfortable can be a bit of a challenge, but if you can get referrals from family, friends, and others you know, then your search should put you on the right track.

The Selection Process

Since the main reason you're hiring a cleaning person is to make your life easier, the last thing you want to deal with is dependability problems or substandard work. That's why it's important to get referrals from people you know and trust. It often pays to interview more than one prospective cleaning person because you want to find someone who is the best match for your budget and needs. When you have two or three prospects to choose from, you'll be in a better position to choose the one with the best attitude, top references, and the most agreeable personality.

Unless a cleaning person was referred to you by someone you know well, it's a good idea to request references and contact a couple of them before making any final decisions. Calling at least two of their current customers (or past bosses) should give you some helpful insights into their work habits, punctuality, and willingness to follow directions.

Although most customers will probably try to be complimentary, if you ask the right questions and look for "red flags" in their answers, you'll be surprised at what you can learn. While it may be too blunt to ask if their cleaning person is honest, a lot can be inferred from their responses to other questions. For example, if a housekeeper has been working for the same customer for several years and cleans their house while the costumer is at their office or other place of employment, then there's a good chance the cleaner does excellent (or at least satisfactory) work and can be trusted. One direct question that generally needs to be asked when talking with references is "Would you personally recommend this person?" Asking how their housekeeper responds to special requests, suggestions, or constructive criticism may also provide revealing answers.

When getting a quote from a cleaning person or house cleaning service, it's useful to get an itemized list of what chores or services would be covered in the price. There are two advantages to this. First of all, you'll be able to compare "apples to apples". Secondly, you'll be able to gauge your expectations to what was initially promised and agreed to. While there may be other issues to consider, like possible background checks and insurance coverages they carry, once you've found a house cleaner you like and trust, you've cleared the biggest hurdle in your search!





Posted by The Norton Group, Inc. on 10/14/2018

Buying a home is a big change. New surroundings, new town and sometimes even a new state. And these things take time to get used to.

But thereís one thing you want to adjust to as quickly as possible - your new budget.

You already know that with a move comes lots of expenses and fees. However, there are a lot of long-term changes you might not realize to take into consideration until they show up in your mailbox.

One is your mortgage payment over the years. Okay, I know you know that your mortgage payment has changed. But what you should consider is how to plan to make that payment each and every month. Sometimes life happens and we donít have a great month and sometimes we have a string of not so good months. Itís best to come up with a plan now to prepare yourself if anything should happen

Itís recommended to keep three months worth of living expenses saved and put to the side for emergencies. Perhaps you already have money set aside and need to increase this amount to reflect your new lifestyle. And if you donít have any set-aside, itís wise to start a savings plan now. Even if you are only able to put aside a small amount each month, your total will grow over time as you stick to the plan.

Home insurance, property taxes, and homeowner association fees/dues. If this is your first time owning a home these will all be new expenses for you and ones you donít want to catch you by surprise. And if itís not they are certain expenses you will need to account for. Be sure to add these to your budgeting software of choice ASAP.

Seasonal budget changes. Throughout the seasons you may find significant changes to your expenses. If you have moved to a larger home you will probably find you have higher utility bills, especially in those months where you need to run the furnace or A.C. However, there are also yard maintenance costs to take into consideration. Does your new home have a pool, lots of landscaping or a snowy climate? Ease upfront costs by estimating expenses and create an account to put money aside each month to spread these costs throughout the year.

Another account to consider building up throughout the year is for emergency repairs and renovation projects. Replacing appliances, a roof, porch or pool lining are not expenses we typically expect and can easily shell out for. At least, not without some planning ahead of time. Setting up an account to add money to each month for these specific costs can help ease your mind and feel on top of things.




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