The Norton Group, Inc.



Posted by The Norton Group, Inc. on 12/20/2015

Who wouldn't like to pay off the mortgage early? Getting rid of mortgage debt will allow you the security and the psychological benefit of owning your home free and clear. There are lots of ways to accomplish these goals. Here are some suggestions on ways to get rid of your mortgage debt. Compare the options and do what works best for you. 1. Add more money to your monthly payment. This will help pay down the principal balance shortening the length of your loan. When you pay more on your principal is gets lower, and the lower your principal gets, the more every payment from then on is applied to principal, as less goes to cover interest expense. 2. Refinance. Refinance your mortgage to 10, 15 or 20 years. Your payments will be higher on a 15-year loan, but often the rate is lower and the loan is paid off much quicker. If you are afraid to take out a 15- year loan take out a 30-year loan, but make payments as if you had a 15-year loan. 3. Make biweekly payments. Most banks have a biweekly payment plan. Since there are 52 weeks in the year if you pay half your regular mortgage payment every other week, you'll have made 26 half-payments, or 13 payments. There are options when it comes to owning your home free and clear. Just decide which one works for you and be on your way to being mortgage free.





Posted by The Norton Group, Inc. on 8/16/2015

Kitchens sell houses. So having a great looking kitchen is important if you are thinking of putting your home on the market or maybe you just need a fresh new look. Cabinets are one of the biggest expenses in a kitchen remodel but with a little elbow grease and creativity, you can update your kitchen cabinets without going through the hassle of an entire remodel. Here are some tips on how to make your kitchen look like new with a cabinet facelift. Give the wood a Good Cleaning You will be surprised what a good scrubbing can do. Heat, water, grease and food residue all take a serious toll on your cabinets.

  • If you choose to remove the doors, label or number them so you'll put them back in the right place.
  • Make sure to test any kind of cleaner before using it on the entire cabinet. Cleaners with large amounts of alcohol may cause the wood to dry and crack.
  • Clean and Update the Hardware Hardware gets greasy and grimy so make sure to clean those too.
  • Soak the hardware in a soapy-water solution for 30 minutes.
  • Scrub lightly with a soft brush and rinse.
  • Let dry and apply the proper polish.
  • You may decide instead to replace the hardware. In choosing the finish for your hardware, think about what style will look best in your home. Add Some Detail Add some detail to drab cabinets with moulding. Applying a contrasting finish or color is a quick and inexpensive way to change the look of your cabinets. Stripping and Refinishing If after cleaning your cabinets still need some help, you may decide to refinish or paint them
  • Make sure to remove all the cabinet doors and number them.
  • Liquid strippers work best, but be sure to use the gel or semi-paste types.
  • Place doors on a vertical surface. The finish won't drip as much.
  • Let the stripping agent do the work and start with an inconspicuous area.
  • Patch any conspicuous holes, scratches and nicks with wood filler. When dry, sand lightly to smooth out the patch. Before painting, sand lightly and prime.
  • Before painting remember that the wood expands and contracts with the seasons, which will cause the paint bead to separate and expose unpainted wood. So with a little hard work you can have a whole new look to your kitchen in no time.





  • Posted by The Norton Group, Inc. on 12/8/2013

    Are you considering a large-scale home remodel?  Whether you are looking for a project intended to increase your home's value, or you're splurging on a pleasure project for your family, many of you will be turning to contractors to carry out the work that needs to be done.  However, not all contractors are equal.  It is important for you to outline your priorities for the project.  You'll want a reliable contractor that can perform satisfactory work for a reasonable price.  Here's a few tips to help get you started. 1. - Find yourself an insured and licensed contractor.  Don't just pull a number from the classifieds and run with it without doing some proper homework.  Licensing ensures that the contractor in question is qualified to do the work being discussed.  To find out if your prospective contractor is licensed, contact your state license board and check up on them. Insurance is another matter.  Insurance protects the workers the contractor will be employing, and your home from accidents resulting in damages.  Ask your contractor to provide you with proof of insurance.  If they can't provide this, then move on to a new contractor. 2. - Referrals and reviews - Before you strike out on your own, ask your friends and family if they have anyone that they'd recommend.  Many times, the best contractors are found word-of-mouth.  Every contractor on the planet wants his clients to think that he's the best for the job, but results speak for themselves.  Again, make sure any referrals are licensed and insured.  You don't want to take the chance of incurring additional damages to your property due to negligence and accidents.  If no referrals can be found, then check online for reviews of local contractors.  Most reputable contractors will have solid online reviews that are easily accessible.  Contractors that operate their own websites are a plus. 3. - There's no such thing as a stupid question.  If your contractor acts annoyed with you for asking too many questions, then you should probably consider someone else for the job.  Questions to consider asking are - How long have you been in business? - How much will this project cost in total? - Have you performed this type of work before? - What is the protocol if the project goes over-budget? If you don't like the answers given, then continue looking for a contractor you feel comfortable with. 4. - Don't pay too much up front.  Paying up to a third of the total estimate up front isn't unheard of.  This initial payment will more than likely be used to hire employees and buy supplies.  However, be wary of giving the contractor any more money until after your project is finished.  Also, don't be afraid to get a rundown of how that initial payment will be spent.  Be thorough if you want to be.  The contractor should be able to give you a pretty good picture of the project in terms of cost and time. 5. - Get a contract - No matter the size of the project being undertaken, a contract should always be written up.  This will ensure a legally-binding agreement between you and the contractor exists in the event of the unforeseen.  Without a contract, there is no way to hold the contractor accountable in the event he performs an unsatisfactory job.  And trust me...Any hassles you may incur in securing a contract is nothing compared to going to court without one in the event something goes awry.  A proper contract should include the following information.

    • When the project will start and end
    • How and when you or the contractor is in default of the contract
    • How any disputes will be rectified
    • What happens if there is a delay due to weather, available materials, and so on.




    Categories: Money Saving Tips  


    Posted by The Norton Group, Inc. on 11/25/2012

    Is clutter taking over your life? There is a way to take your life back from the piles of junk collecting in your home and it doesn't involve all of your things ending up in the landfill. Here are just a few smart and frugal ideas for repurposing old stuff...   For Decorating Use old hardware from dresser drawers to hang curtains. Use junk CDs and DVDs as drink coasters. For Organizing Use oatmeal containers and coffee tins to store flour, sugar and mixes. Use old doorknobs to make a coat rack. For Outside Use egg cartons, old jars, tins and yogurt cartons to make functional seed starters. Use old wooden ladders as part of your landscaping, allowing ivy and other vine plants to climb them. Use CDs to scare birds away from your berry garden. Hang CDs from a tree near your berry bushes. The shiny, moving objects will frighten birds, keeping them away from your sun-ripened berries. Use Cooking Spray as an ice repellent. Spray both sides of a plastic or metal shovel with cooking spray and the ice will slide right off. Repurposing items is easy if you start by changing the way you look at things. Next time you think something is trash, stop and think “how can I repurpose this?”





    Posted by The Norton Group, Inc. on 5/13/2012

    Did you know the average family spends over $1600 a year on utility bills alone?   Here are some simple steps you can take to not only save energy but also put some money back in your pocket.

      Put your thermostat to work
    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recommends setting your air conditioner at 74 degrees and your furnace at 68 degrees. Investing in a programmable thermostat is a good idea. Set the thermostat to be warmer or colder when you are not home. Reduce the difference in temperature between the inside and the outside of the home to help save energy and money.
      Invest in energy-efficient appliances
    You may notice now that washers, dryers, refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, air conditioners, and computers now come with Energy Star labels which mean they are energy efficient.  Energy Star appliances will save you money over older appliances.
      Unplug
    Computers, stereos, toasters, and other appliances draw energy even when they are turned off. A large LCD or plasma TV consumes about 400 watts of energy when in use and 4 watts when not in use.  Using a surge protector will help reduce energy costs. Plug your appliances into a surge protector and turn off the protector when appliances are not in use.
      Seal it up
    A well-insulated house is a way to save money on heat and cooling costs. First, start by adding insulation to the attic floor. Next, make sure to fill in any holes in exterior walls especially where pipes come in and around windows and doors. Lastly, wrap hot water pipes with insulation.
      Slow the flow
    Install low-flow fixtures to conserve water on your shower, faucets and toilets. Also remember to repair leaky faucets and toilets and turn off the water when brushing your teeth and scrubbing dishes.