Century 21 North East - Norton Group RE

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.

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Posted by Century 21 North East - Norton Group RE on 1/13/2013

Unlike most other investments, your home can actually make money for you. Using energy efficiency tax credits, making shrewd decisions about home improvement projects, and taking advantage of the work shortage in the building industry can all put cash in your pocket. As ranked by Remodeling magazine, here are some top money-making remodels:

1. Installing a new entry door (steel)
New entry door (steel)
Job cost: $1,218
Value added: $1,243
Cost recouped: 102%
2. Garage door replacement
Garage door replacement
Job cost: $1,291
Value added: $1,083
Cost recouped: 84%
3. Minor kitchen remodel
Minor kitchen remodel
Job cost: $21,695
Value added: $15,790
Cost recouped: 73%
4. Deck addition (wood)
Deck addition (wood)
Job cost: $10,973
Value added: $7,986
Cost recouped: 73%
5. New siding (vinyl)
New siding (vinyl)
Job cost: $11,357
Value added: $8,223
Cost recouped: 72%

Posted by Century 21 North East - Norton Group RE on 8/12/2012

The first step in home buying is getting a mortgage. Many home owners also find themselves in a maze when they start the refinance process. Navigating the mortgage process can be confusing. There is so much to know between rates, types of mortgages and payment schedules. Avoiding making a mistake in the mortgage process can save you a lot of money and headaches. Here is a list of the biggest mortgage mistakes that potential borrowers make. 1. No or Low Down Payment Buying a home with no or a low down payment is not a good idea. A large down payment increases the amount of equity the borrower has in the home. It also reduces the bank’s liability on the home. Research has shown that borrowers that place down a large down payment are much more likely to make their mortgage payments. If they do not they will also lose money. Borrowers who put little to nothing down on their homes find themselves upside down on their mortgage and end up just walking away. They owe more money than the home is worth. The more a borrower owes, the more likely they are to walk away and be subject to credit damaging foreclosure. 2. Adjustable Rate Mortgages or ARMs Adjustable rate mortgages or ARMs sound too good to be true and they can be. The loan starts off with a low interest rate for the first two to five years. This allows the borrower to buy a larger house than they can normally qualify for. After two to five years the low adjustable rate expires and the interest rate resets to a higher market rate. Now the borrowers can no longer make the higher payment not can they refinance to a lower rate because they often do not have the equity in the home to qualify for a refinance. Many borrowers end up with high mortgage payments that are two to three times their original payments. 3. No Documentation Loans No documentation loans or sometimes called “liar loans” were very popular prior to the subprime meltdown. These loans requires little to no documentation. They do not require verification of the borrower's income, assets and/or expenses. Unfortunately borrowers have a tendency to inflate their income so that they can buy a larger house. The problems start once the mortgage payment is due. Because the borrower does not have the income they are unable to make mortgage payments and often end up face bankruptcy and foreclosure. 4. Reverse Mortgages You have seen the commercials and even infomercials devoted to advocating reverse mortgages. A reverse mortgage is a loan available to borrowers age 62 and up. It uses the equity from the borrower’s home. The available equity is paid out in a steady stream of payments or in a lump sum like an annuity. Reverse mortgage have can be dangerous and have many drawbacks. There are many fees associated with reverse mortgages. These includes origination fees, mortgage insurance, title insurance, appraisal fees, attorney fees and many other miscellaneous fees that can quickly eat at the home’s equity. Another drawback; the borrower loses full ownership of their home and the bank now owns the home Avoiding the pitfalls of the mortgage maze will hopefully help you keep in good financial health as a home can be your best investment. .

Posted by Century 21 North East - Norton Group RE on 4/15/2012

The price is going up at the pump.Paying for gas is becoming more and more of a budget buster; Consumer Reports' tests show how to get the best gas mileage The best way to burn less fuel is to buy a car that gets better gas mileage. Consumer Reports tests with a Toyota Camry and other vehicles show there are ways to minimize what you spend at the pump with your current car. Drive at a moderate speed This is the biggest factor. You may have to be a little patient, but driving at 55 mph instead of 65 or 75 will save you money. When we increased the Camry's highway cruising speed from 55 mph to 65, the car's fuel economy dropped from 40 mpg to 35. Speeding up to 75 mph cost the car another 5 mpg. One reason is that aerodynamic drag increases exponentially the faster you drive; it simply takes more fuel to power the car through the air. Drive smoothly Avoid hard acceleration and braking whenever possible. In our tests, frequent bursts of acceleration and braking reduced the Camry's mileage by 2 to 3 mpg. Once up to speed on the highway, maintain a steady pace in top gear. Smooth acceleration, cornering, and braking also extend the life of the engine, transmission, brakes, and tires. Reduce unnecessary drag At highway speeds, more than 50 percent of engine power goes to overcoming aerodynamic drag. So don't carry things on top of your vehicle when you don't have to. Installing a large Thule Cascade 1700 car-top carrier on our Camry dropped its gas mileage from 35 mpg to 29 at 65 mph. Even driving with empty racks on the car reduces its fuel economy. Don't use premium fuel if you don't have to If your car specifies regular fuel, don't buy premium under the mistaken belief that your engine will run better. The only difference you'll see is about 20 cents more per gallon. Most cars are designed to run just fine on regular gasoline. Even many cars for which premium is recommended will run well on regular. We have found that the differences are imperceptible during normal driving. Check your owner's manual to find out if your engine really requires premium or if you can run on other grades. Minimize driving with a cold engine Engines run most efficiently when they're warm. In our city-driving tests, making multiple short trips and starting the engine from cold each time reduced fuel economy by almost 4 mpg. Engines also produce more pollution and wear faster when they're cold. When possible, combine several short trips into one so that the engine stays warm. Keep tires properly inflated The Camry experienced a 1.3 mpg loss in highway fuel economy when the tires were underinflated by 10 psi. More important, underinflated tires compromise handling and braking, and wear faster. And they run much hotter, which can lead to tire failure. Check the pressure of your vehicle's tires at least once a month with a tire gauge. The owner's manual explains how to do it. Buy tires with lower rolling resistance A tire's rolling resistance can add or detract another 1 or 2 mpg. In our tire ratings, look for high-rated tires with low rolling resistance. They generally won't cost more, and replacing a worn tire could save you more than $100 a year in fuel. Avoid idling for long periods Think of it this way: When you're idling, your car is getting zero miles per gallon. When we let a Buick Lucerne, with a V8, idle for 10 minutes while warming up, it burned about an eighth of a gallon of gas. A smaller engine would probably burn less, but idling still adds up over time. As a rule, turn off your engine if you expect to sit for more than about 30 seconds. An engine warms up faster as it's driven anyway.

Tags: Save Money   money   gas  
Categories: Money Saving Tips  

Posted by Century 21 North East - Norton Group RE on 3/18/2012

While most people buy home insurance to protect property from damage, liabilities from accidents on your property are often what drive up your insurance rate. Unforeseen or overlooked risks can drive up premiums or even lead to a rejection. Here are some of the biggest rate-boosters. This article from Bloomberg points out some of the risks you may not even know you have in your home. Risks that raise rates While most people buy home insurance to protect property from damage, liabilities from accidents on your property are often what drive up your insurance rate. "Legal liability can be more costly to home insurers than property damage," says Loretta Worters, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute. "People sue for millions of dollars for minor injuries. Companies are not going to walk away from the business because you have a dog or pool, but they'll charge you more." Unforeseen or overlooked risks can drive up premiums or even lead to a rejection. Here are some of the biggest rate-boosters. Beware of dog According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 4.7 million people a year are bitten by dogs. More than 50% of dog bites occur on the dog owner's property, and they account for one-third of all homeowners-insurance liability claims. Consequently, some insurers don't like aggressive breeds of dogs and may reject clients or charge more if they own pit bulls and Rottweilers. Others will insist on policies that exclude dog-bite coverage. If your dog has a history of violence, expect higher premiums. One potential way to reduce rates: Get Rex some obedience training. Guarding the pool Drowning is the leading cause of fatal injury for children ages 1 to 4. Insurers will cover homes with pools, but often at higher rates and with limited liability on their end. They will want to make sure the pool complies with local regulations and safety standards. "We require fences for homeowners with pools," says Holly Anderson, a State Farm spokeswoman. The CDC estimates that more than half of drowning deaths involving young children could have been prevented by fencing that securely separates the pool from the house and yard. Homeowners can be liable for injuries that occur to strangers who use their pool without their permission. Trampolines Trampolines cause more than 100,000 emergency-room visits a year, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Because the devices have become such a headache, insurers sometimes refuse to cover properties that have them or place specific "trampoline exclusion clauses" in policies to address liability. To get coverage for that liability, you will pay more. The insurer may require you to take safety measures such as covering trampoline springs with padding and placing the trampoline at a distance from trees and buildings. Treehouses According to the National Safety Council, falls account for 26% of all accidental injuries and deaths in the home. Every day, approximately 8,000 children are treated in U.S. emergency rooms for fall-related injuries; that totals nearly 2.8 million children each year. Treehouses can be primary culprits because of their height. Some insurers have treehouse exclusion clauses or reject applicants if they consider a treehouse too high or poorly maintained. Expect to pay more to cover one for any liabilities. Guns Living in a home that contains guns increases the risk of homicide by more than 40%, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. Insurers will generally cover gun owners, with caveats. Whether you have used a weapon in self-defense, with criminal intent or by accident will obviously play a big role in how much liability an insurer will assume. Insurers want to know that guns are properly secured, have safety locks and are kept out of reach of children. Failure to disclose that you have a firearm could lead to an insurer trying to deny your claims in the event of an accident. Big-ticket jewelry "Standard homeowners and renters insurance policies include coverage for personal items such as jewelry and other valuables," Worters says. "However, many policies limit the dollar amount for the theft of valuable personal possessions such as jewelry, furs and precious stones to $1,000 to $2,000." That wouldn't match the cost of most engagement rings today. Covering your most valuable jewelry for theft and loss will increase your home-insurance premiums and require both an appraisal of the property and policy riders detailing both the value and nature of the jewelry you want covered. Home businesses The typical homeowners insurance policy covers a maximum of $2,500 for business equipment in the home, according to the Insurance Information Institute. It usually doesn't cover business-related liability if a customer or supplier is injured on your property. "To cover a home business definitely adds to the premium, due to the increased chance of loss, both from a property and liability point of view," Anderson says. "In many cases, we recommend such a policy through our business lines, which provides much broader coverage than a basic homeowners policy." If you don't notify your insurer of your business's existence and an accident occurs, chances are you won't be covered. Heating fires More than one-third of Americans use wood-burning stoves, fireplaces and other fuel-fired appliances as primary sources of home heat, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Heating fires account for 36% of residential home fires in rural areas every year. Before installing a wood stove or fireplace, notify your insurer. Some insurers may require proof of certification indicating that a stove or fireplace was installed properly. Without that, premiums can increase. Stoves must also comply with local building codes. Failure to notify your insurer of the installation could lead to a voided policy should a fire occur. Sewer backup The nation's 500,000-plus miles of sewer lines are, on average, more than 30 years old. The Civil Engineering Research Foundation reports that the number of backed-up sewers is increasing at a rate of about 3% annually. Unfortunately, sewage backups — just like floods — are not covered by standard homeowners insurance policies, although the damage from one can amount to thousands of dollars. Coverage will increase your premiums. Zip lines Backyard zip lines — cables suspended in midair for people to slide across — have become increasingly popular and can be purchased for as little as $150. These are not the zip lines you find at resorts, but smaller ones that typically run from 100 feet to 400 feet. Injuries from one can be life-threatening if it has been strung high enough from the ground. As with treehouses, insurers look askance at zip lines because of the risk that someone will be injured; they want you to disclose if you have one and may then exclude it from your policy. Exotic pets According to the Captive Wild Animal Protection Coalition, more than 10,000 big cats, 8.8 million reptiles and 3,000 apes are in private hands in the U.S. Whether you have a chimp in your garage or a fondness for tarantulas, chances are that your insurer will want nothing to do with it. Expect exclusions that don't cover the creature in the house and a separate policy to cover potential liabilities. You may be able to buy a separate exotic-pet insurance policy.