Clifton Verdieu - The Norton Group, Inc.

Posted by Clifton Verdieu on 3/18/2018

Keeping your home secure is a lot like maintaining a healthy lifestyle: If you prioritize it and develop good daily habits, then your chances of staying safe and healthy are vastly improved.

While there's no ironclad security strategy that's absolutely fail-proof -- especially when you factor in the element of human error -- the following security tips will help make your home a safer and more secure place for you and your family.

  1. Awareness is the key. Don't be lulled into a false sense of complacency. Although your sense of well-being depends, in part, on having an inner feeling of safety and security, it's still necessary to lock your doors, be aware of your surroundings, exercise a moderate amount of caution, and follow a few commonsense guidelines. Even if you're fortunate enough to live in a "safe neighborhood", there's still an element of unpredictability that should always be kept in mind. In reality, it's not that unusual for a nice neighborhood to be targeted by burglars. Granted, it doesn't happen very often, but it only takes one incident for your belongings (and peace of mind) to be stolen by intruders. As the old expression goes, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
  2. A barking dog can often be an effective burglar deterrent. Since most dogs have a natural inclination to bark at strangers and intrusive noises, having a dog in the family can be a valuable part of your overall home security program. Any kind of effective alarm system, which can include a barking dog, will instantly make your home a less desirable target for burglars, con artists, and other miscreants.
  3. Flood lights also help deter residential crime. While burglars may not necessarily have a clear-cut plan for breaking into your house, garage, or storage shed, you can be sure they do not want to be noticed, observed, or paid attention to in any way. Motion-activated flood lights or other types of alarms can be especially effective, since these devices trigger an immediate response to an intruder's presence.
  4. Home security systems are worth researching. People come up with a lot of excuses for dismissing the idea of installing a home security system. Some say they can't afford it, while others claim they're hopeless technophobes, and couldn't possibly figure out how to program or operate a security system. At the very least, it's a good idea to educate yourself about the available options, prices, and technical support. Once you've taken the first step, proceeding forward will feel a lot easier and less intimidating.
One thing you don't want to be in the position of doing is "closing the stable door after the horse has bolted." While it would be a step in the wrong direction to put yourself and your family in a constant state of high alert, if you put a few basic safeguards into place, you'll be paving the way for a safer home and a more secure environment.

Posted by Clifton Verdieu on 3/11/2018

When you feel that your living room could use a bit of updating, but you don’t want to break the bank, there’s steps you can take to make your living room look like new without completely renovating the room. Here, we’ll give you some ideas of how you can make big changes to the living room for a small price. Change Up Your Coffee Table Sometimes, simply getting a brand new coffee table is the way to make your room feel new again. Since the coffee table sits in the center of the room, a brand new table will help you to look at your living room with new eyes. Rearrange Artwork and Add New Pieces Keeping all of your artwork on the same spots on the wall actually may make you notice the pieces less. Your eyes become used to seeing the same color patterns day after day. This is when you fail to appreciate the artwork that you have. Simply moving the artwork around in your home can actually give the feeling that you have added a new piece. You can also consider adding one or two new pieces of artwork to help bring your living room back to life. Replace The Rug If the rug in your living room is time-tested and worn, you may want to consider replacing it. Adding a new color to the room by way of a rug can help it to appear brand new. Think about finding a rug that is a completely different style and color than the one that currently graces your living room floor. Throw Some New Pillows Around Throw pillows are seriously one of the easiest and perhaps one of the most impactful changes that you can make in your living room. From sofas to large comfy chairs, adding a couple of throw pillows can help brighten and bring character to your living room. Brighten Up Your Lighting Adding some new lighting or even just switching some lamps around can freshen up your living room. If you have too much or too little lighting, fix the problem by adding or subtracting lamps as needed. Maybe installing some overhead lights in a part of the room would be helpful for a reading corner or other activity area. Mix Up Your Furniture Simply Rearranging your furniture can give a room a whole different look. Move the sofa from one corner of the room to another. Shift tables around. Move chairs from one area of the room to another. All of these small adjustments can add flair to your living room without costing you a thing. Change Up Window Treatments If your living room is lacking window treatments, adding them can have a dramatic effect on the room. Change the color or style of your window treatments as an added bonus to give your living room a new look. As you can see, there’s many cost effective ways to renovate your living room without ever touching a paintbrush or knocking down a wall. These easy solutions will have you on your way to interior design expert status.

Posted by Clifton Verdieu on 3/4/2018

Once you have bought a new house, you may feel lost as to where to start. There’s a long checklist of things that you should do to get yourself established in a new space. Here, you'll find a plan on what to do next. 

Get Recommendations On Local People You Can Work With 

Your realtor is a good place to start in asking who they recommend for many types of workers including plumbers, electricians, contractors, and more. You may even want to talk to your next door neighbors and see who they have used in the past for these types of handy work jobs. Even if you don’t need any kind of work done immediately, it’s a good idea to have some names and numbers on hand for future reference.

Don’t Paint Right Away

Although it seems much more practical to paint an empty house, once you live in your new home for awhile, you’ll get a sense of where the light hits and what colors will complement your furniture. When you pick colors in a rush, you run the risk of choosing shades that you may not love in the long term. Focus on properly lighting your rooms before you even start to paint.

Don’t Forget The Housewarming Party!

If you plan a housewarming party for a date that’s not too far after you move in, it will give you motivation to get things done in the house. The housewarming party is your accountability partner to get you to unpack those boxes and get decorating. Try to plan the party somewhere between one and two months after your planned move-in date. This will give you time to get things done, just not too much time!  

Meet The Neighbors

You should take some time very soon after you move in to meet your new neighbors. They can be a great resource for you as to what happens in your new neighborhood. Find out if any of your new neighbors have dogs that your own dog could meet for a friendly walk. Your new friends will even give you information about a neighborhood watch or important community activities as well.

Safety First

You’ll want to check all of your smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and alarm systems. Be sure that they work. Then, change the batteries in each system to start fresh. You should also equip your house with a fire extinguisher or two. You can never be too prepared for an emergency. 

Next, you should check all of the door and window locks. Replace anything that used a key. You never know who had keys to the home before it was sold.

When you start small in a new home, things will begin to come together slowly but surely just like puzzle pieces.

Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by Clifton Verdieu on 2/25/2018

Money is the root of many people’s stress and anxiety and it’s also the cause of many fights. But it doesn’t have to be for you. You may own a home now, but it doesn’t mean you should stop saving or that saving has to be a difficult undertaking.

Ideally you already have a robust emergency fund—this type of account is suggested by financial experts to have even before paying down ‘good’ debt such as student loans. This account is extremely important as you never know when or if that “rainy day” will come. The suggested amount to have in an emergency fund is six to nine months’ worth of income—and to be on the higher end if you own a home and have children. For instance, if you take home $3,000 a month, you should have $18,000 to $27,000 in your emergency fund. You should also consider whether it’s best to keep these funds in a regular savings account or a money market account.

Now that we’ve covered the importance of an emergency fund,let’s discuss how to keep saving—whether you are saving just to save or saving for a vacation, new car, or that fancy grill you’ve been eyeing.

Automatic deposit from primary income: If you aren’t doing this already then you should be. Automatic deposit is the easiest way to save money. Many places of employment offer this option, and if not your financial institution will. Automatically depositing money into a savings account (separate of the rest of your income) will force you to save. And if your place of employment offers this option then that money will never enter your checking account—out of sight, out of mind. If you must use your financial institution then have the automatic transfer occur on the day you are paid so the money is almost like it was never there for spending. Of course, this will be an adjustment if you are used to living off that money, especially if you just purchased a home. However, you can start small and work your way to a larger amount such as when you receive a raise or have other forms of incoming income.

Automatic transfer from checking to savings: Many financial institutions offer the ability to automatically transfer funds between your checking account and savings account each time you use your debit card. If your bank does not offer this opportunity there are apps for your phone that can easily connect to your online bank accounts and do the work for you. It’s a great way to save a small amount of money each time you swipe your card. And depending on how often you use your debit card, those savings could add up quickly. For example, you spend $25.33 at the grocery store and use your debit card to pay. Your bank (or app) will round that number up to $26.00 and transfer .67 into your account of choice. It’s too easy not to participate!

There are many other ways to be a better saver, but it’s best to start simple and small. Overwhelming yourself with how much you need/want to save and with many ways of saving, might cause the opposite to happen. Remember, you have a house to pay for and all the other expenses that come with it. Be conscious of your financial situation and be diligent with your savings strategy and you’ll be on the road to being a savings master.

Posted by Clifton Verdieu on 2/18/2018

A successful home seller knows exactly what it takes to list a residence and maximize its value, regardless of the current real estate market's conditions. In fact, a successful home seller displays many attributes, such as:

1. Empathy

If a home seller can step into a homebuyer's shoes, he or she may be better equipped than ever before to enjoy a successful home selling experience. Thus, empathy may play a key role in your ability to quickly sell your house and receive the best price for it.

When it comes to analyzing the buyer's perspective, it generally helps to conduct a home inspection. That way, you can receive insights into any underlying home issues and address these problems accordingly.

Furthermore, an empathetic home seller may be more likely than others to conduct a home appraisal. With a home appraisal report in hand, a home seller can use a data-based property valuation to establish a competitive home price.

2. Diligence

A successful home seller will do everything possible to achieve the optimal results throughout the home selling journey. As such, this individual is diligent and allocates the necessary time and resources to learn what it takes to sell a house.

Typically, a successful home seller will work with a real estate agent, and for good reason. A real estate agent can provide expert insights into the housing market and help a seller get his or her residence ready to sell. Then, a real estate agent can offer comprehensive recommendations and tips to ensure a home seller can succeed.

3. Patience

Patience is a virtue that no successful home seller can live without. If a home seller displays patience, he or she may be able to address various home selling challenges with ease.

For example, a patient home seller understands that the housing market frequently fluctuates, and a seller's market today may transform into a buyer's market tomorrow. This seller also may realize that there is no guarantee that his or her house will sell as soon as it becomes available. Yet a patient home seller is prepared to deal with the uncertainty surrounding the real estate market and will remain calm, cool and collected, even in tough times.

Selling a home may prove to be a long, arduous process, particularly for those who are unprepared to deal with potential challenges throughout the home selling journey. Luckily, real estate agents are available who can assist you as the home selling journey moves forward.

A real estate agent can help a home seller list a residence and showcase it to the right groups of buyers. Plus, a real estate agent is happy to help a home seller alleviate stress during the home selling journey and ensure this individual can succeed in any housing market, at any time.

Want to succeed as a home seller? Reach out to a local real estate agent, and you can get the support you need to thrive throughout the home selling journey.

Categories: Uncategorized