Century 21 North East - Norton Group RE



Posted by Century 21 North East - Norton Group RE on 1/15/2017

Many new homeowners are eager to begin renovations on their home to make it fit the beautiful picture they have in their mind. Unfortunately the aesthetic improvements, while important, are often prioritized over important structural and functional repairs that should be made first. The key to making smart financial decisions for renovating your home is to have a good budget and to stick to it. Home improvements are one of the few expenses that people often forget to budget for, alongside car repairs and emergency medical expenses. If done properly, however, a budget will help you prioritize your repairs so you'll spend your time and money wisely. In this article, we'll explain how to budget for home repairs in a way that works for you and your family.

Understanding your money

To budget for home improvements, you first need to budget for other things in your life. Use an app or website like Mint or You Need a Budget to get a better understanding of how you spend your money. For some, budgeting for home improvements may mean cutting back on other spending areas. Fortunately, these apps break down all of your purchases by categories and help you spend less each month.

Ranking your renovations

If you're dying to update the bathroom but the roof needs to be redone, you should call the roofers first. Some home improvements are a ticking time bomb: deteriorating roofs, poor insulation, HVAC issues, water damage, and safety concerns like fire hazards are all problems that need to be addressed first on your budget. Some will save you money, others could save your life, but all of them are more important than adding closet space in your bathroom.

Estimating costs

Do your research when it comes to the the cost of repairs and home improvements. Once you have a ballpark figure, add it into your budgeting app as a new item on your budget. There is a general rule, when budgeting for home repairs, that you should set aside 1% of the cost of your home for maintenance and repairs each year. However, there are many other factors involved in how much it will cost to upkeep your home like the age of the house, the weather in your area, and how well-maintained the home was before you bought it.

Sticking to your budget

Everyone starts with good intentions, but keeping a budget isn't easy. Thankfully, it has been made much more manageable with the help of apps and websites that link right to your bank accounts. To stick to your home repair budget, make sure you sign up for reminders on your spending and progress. If you're keeping a budget the old fashioned way (pen and paper), put reminders on your calendar each month to check if you're spending too much on home repairs. Another key to successful budgeting it to make sure everyone in the house is on the same page. If your significant other plays a role in home repairs, go over your budget together. This will help you keep one another accountable and set priorities that work for everyone.





Posted by Century 21 North East - Norton Group RE on 12/11/2016

 in a supermarketIf you are looking for ways save money, cutting back on grocery expenses is often an easy way to reduce your spending. Here are ten tips to master frugal grocery shopping. A little planning can save you some big bucks over the long term. 1. Make a list. Before you head out to the store, prepare a list of everything you need, making sure you have everything needed for your weekly menu. Before you leave, check to make sure you don't have it in your pantry, fridge or freezer. Stick to that list and don't buy anything else. 2. Plan a menu. Plan a weekly menu for each week. This way you will know exactly what to buy. Be sure to plan a leftovers night. 3. Don't shop hungry. When you're hungry, everything looks good. When you shop hungry you'll end up spending a lot more. Eat first and then you will be able to stick to your list. 4. Set a budget. When you go to the store, know exactly how much you can spend. Then try your best to stick within that limit. Keep a running tally as you shop to ensure that you're within your budget. 5. Create a grocery spreadsheet. Keep your grocery receipts, then enter into a spreadsheet. This will be your price and comparison list. Use it so you know when bulk or sale items are a good deal. 6. Cook and freeze. Plan to cook a big amount of food and freeze it for multiple dinners. A great idea is to use one Sunday and cook a week's (or even a month's) worth of dinners. Plan 5-6 freezable dinners and cook them all at once. 7. Shop for specials. Every store has specials. Be sure to look for them in the newspaper, or when you get to the store. Don't buy things you don't use just because they are on sale; make sure you will use the items. 8. Buy store brands. Brand names are often no better than generic, and you're paying for all the advertising they do to have a brand name. Give the store brand a try, and often you won't notice a difference. 9. No "one-item" trips. They waste gas, and almost inevitably, you buy more than that one item. If you plan ahead, make a weekly menu, and shop with a list, this should drastically reduce the number of trips you make for a small number of items. 10. Stock up. Sale items can be a great deal. If it's an item you normally use, buy a bunch of them.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Century 21 North East - Norton Group RE on 9/28/2014

Buying a home is a very important decision. Before you rush into a home you should consider all the factors. Making sure you end up with the right home involves figuring out exactly what features you need, want and don't want in a home. Before starting your search, you should make a "wish list" to decide which features are absolutely essential, which nice “extras” are if you happen to find them, and which are completely undesirable. The more specific you can be about what you're looking for from the outset, the more effective your home search will be. Also keep in mind, that in the end, every home purchase is a compromise. Create your own personalized "wish list" and when you're finished filling it out; share it with your real estate agent. Become an educated buyer •The web is one of the best ways to search for homes today. With this website, you can receive daily emails with new and updated listings from the towns and price range of your choice. •Search the entire MLS for all homes, condos, land, multi family, commercial properties, and past sold properties at your convenience. •View full listing sheets showing amenities, taxes, lot sizes, beds, baths, rooms, siding, fireplaces, garages, room sizes and much more. •Get property addresses and see where the properties are located on MapQuest. •Check schools and community profiles of your preferred towns. •Save preferred listings in your own file to view anytime. •Calculate approximate mortgage payments for specific properties. Home Inspection Once you have made an offer on a home, you will need to schedule a home inspection, conducted by an independent authorized inspector. It is extremely important to hire a reputable inspector so that you know exactly what you are buying. Do not hesitate to ask friends, family, and co-workers for advice. If you are satisfied with the results of the inspection, then you can proceed with the sale. If the inspector finds problems with the property, you may want to negotiate with the seller to lower the price, or to pay for certain repairs. Appraisal Your lender may require you to get an appraisal of the house you want to buy, to make sure it is worth the money that you are borrowing. You may select your own appraiser, or you may ask your real estate broker to help you with this task. Homeowner's Insurance Lenders require that you have homeowners insurance, to protect both your interests and theirs. Like everything else, be sure to shop around for insurance that fits your needs. Settlement or Closing Finally Make Sure Before you Buy Finally, you are ready for the closing. Be sure to read everything before you sign! You should have both your real estate broker and an attorney present at the closing to ensure that all is in order.





Posted by Century 21 North East - Norton Group RE on 7/22/2012

Buying a house can be one of the most exciting moments of anyone’s life. You have just moved in and now you have a whole new set of tasks. Making your house a home can be a huge job. Here are some tips on how to get your house feeling like a home in no time without breaking the bank.   Space out your purchases Many first-time home buyers are coming into home-ownership without all the things they need to fill their new home. Many new homeowners feel the pressure to buy everything at once. It is important to focus on the most necessary items first. According to a study from the National Association of Home Builders, furnishings represent a substantial investment, with home buyers spending about $5,300 on furnishings during the first year after buying a home. Space out your home furnishing purchases and focus on the most necessary pieces first, such as a bed, living room sofa and dining room table. Windows can also present a problem for new homeowners. Don’t feel pressured to choose window treatments for every window all at once. Make a priority list starting with the areas where privacy is a must and go from there. You will also need to prioritize appliances. You may want to rush out and buy that huge flat screen TV but consider what other appliances need to take priority, such as a refrigerator, stove, or washer/dryer. New Responsibilities A new home comes with new responsibilities. This may be the first time you have to take care of a yard. Don't go crazy, invest in a few key garden tools, such as hedge trimmers, a sprinkler, and a lawn mower. No need to invest big money in expensive landscaping services at first. Just focus on keeping your yard uncluttered and neat. Another new responsibility is home maintenance. There is no landlord to call when an issue arises. You will want to make sure you are equipped to handle minor issues on your own. Many home improvement stores have tool sets you can purchase, but make sure it includes a hammer, screw drivers, pliers, wrenches, a tape measure and a staple gun.




Categories: Help Around the House  


Posted by Century 21 North East - Norton Group RE on 7/1/2012

White distilled vinegar is effective for killing most mold, bacteria and germs due to it's high level of acidity. Vinegar is a weak form of acetic acid that is made from the fermentation of sugars and starches. White vinegar has so many different uses in the home; it is considered the “miracle cleaner”. It is pocketbook friendly, all natural, safe for pets and nontoxic. Why would you use anything else? It is a good idea to purchase two empty spray bottles, keep one full with pure white vinegar and the other with half water and half vinegar. This just makes it easier to dispense and have on hand at all times. A person can work wonders cleaning their home naturally just armed with vinegar and water. There are so many different uses for white vinegar in your home. Here are just a few ideas. Vinegar mixed with water is an excellent cleaner for all kitchen surfaces like counter tops, refrigerators and stove tops. To shine chrome fixtures simply make a paste of 2 tablespoons salt and 1 teaspoon white vinegar. To clean wooden cutting boards simply just wipe with vinegar. Clean refrigerator shelves with a solution of ½ white vinegar and water. Did you know that soaking fruit and vegetables in 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water can remove up to 98% bacteria? Soak fruit and vegetables for at least 10 minutes then rinse to get best results. Vinegar is also useful in the laundry. To decrease lint in laundry add ½ cup straight white vinegar to rinse cycle. To make your bright’s brighter add ½ cup vinegar to the rinse cycle. If you have pets white vinegar is a good solution to have in house. If your dog has the mishap of getting sprayed by a skunk, use dilution of vinegar and water, rub dog’s fur then rinse with warm water. Repeat a couple times. To keep dogs from scratching their ears rub them with a cloth diluted with vinegar and water. Vinegar is so versatile in the home. You do not have to worry about the vinegar smell remaining after you use it because the smell dissipates after it dries. So, for people who believe in living green and healthy, white vinegar is a must have in the pantry closet.