7 Ways to Protect Yourself Online

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Working from home offers some serious perks. There’s no morning commute, you get your pets as coworkers and you can even hang around in pajamas all day — as long as you don’t have to be on a video call, of course.

But remote work isn’t perfect. It could actually pose a security risk if you’re not careful.

Do you want to make sure your information is safe while you’re working online? 

Take these seven steps to protect yourself from online security threats.

  1. Set strong passwords or passphrases. It’s nothing new, but it’s worth repeating: Use a random combination of letters, numerals and symbols for each of your electronic devices and any sites that require you to log in. And be sure to make them all unique.
  2. Store your passwords safely. It’s not easy to remember all those passwords, so use a password manager to store and encrypt them. You’ll just need to remember a single master password to access them.
  3. Use two-factor authentication. This important step adds another layer of security, making your accounts and devices harder to hack.
  4. Be wary of suspicious links and emails. Always check who the message came from, and avoid clicking links from anyone you don’t know.
  5. Keep your software up to date. This ensures your programs and devices have the latest security applications in place.
  6. Follow your employer’s security practices. Talk to your company’s IT director if you need more guidance.
  7. Store your files securely. Don’t save sensitive documents to your desktop or in a default folder. Sign up for a secure cloud storage solution to protect your data.

If you’re working remotely, it’s essential to take online security seriously. It could protect you from identity theft, data loss and other major issues.

And if you’re looking for a change of scenery or a new home office, get in touch today. 

Posted on June 9, 2020 at 4:00 pm
Elisabeth Lugar | Category: Uncategorized

Curb Appeal Upgrades That Can Add Value

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As a homeowner, you shouldn’t ignore curb appeal.

Keep it in great condition, and you’ll likely see high property values and serious marketability when it comes time to sell. Let it slide, and the opposite could happen. 

Even if you’re not planning to sell anytime soon, refreshing your home’s exterior can add value or give you a head start if you choose to sell later.

It just takes a little effort and a touch of creativity.

Here are four ways to up your curb appeal:

Plant a garden.

A pop of color goes a long way, so plant a few flowers or a flowering bush in front of your home. Opt for perennials, which can last more than two years.

Upgrade your mailbox.

Forget the standard old mailbox that came with the house. Try a brick model — or revamp your existing one with a fresh coat of paint or a new post.

Make your front porch more inviting.

If you’re looking for an easy project with a big impact, add some charm to your porch. Get some potted or hanging plants, a brand-new welcome mat and a couple of cozy chairs.

Freshen up your door.

Give it a new coat of paint, add some new fixtures and a kickplate, and maybe update your address numbers, too. They might seem like small fixes, but they can make a big difference in your home’s overall appearance.

Curb appeal matters — especially if you’re considering selling your home soon.

Looking for more tips on boosting the value of your home? Get in touch today.

Posted on May 26, 2020 at 4:00 pm
Elisabeth Lugar | Category: Home Features, Selling

5 Gift Ideas for Essential Workers

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It’s easy to focus on what you can’t do while you’re stuck at home these days. But here’s something you can do: Show thanks to the essential workers in your life. 

Health care professionals, grocery store employees, first responders, mail carriers and many others are still going to work every day. They’re risking their health to help our community.

We might not be able to spend time together in person, but we can still be there for our friends and neighbors.

So how can you show your appreciation? Consider sending one of these gifts.

  • Gift Cards: Essential workers might not have as much time to cook for themselves, so give them gift cards to local restaurants or food delivery services.
  • Entertainment: They could probably use an escape now more than ever. Help them take a mental break with a streaming subscription, a book or a preloaded e-reader.
  • Home Essentials: Your favorite frontline workers are also braving the grocery store for the basics. Gift them a healthy stash of hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and other must-haves to save them a trip.
  • Self-Care Items: Everyone deserves a few minutes to relax each day, no matter how busy work might be. Help local essential workers take a load off with soothing soaps, lotions and bath bombs.
  • Thank-You Note: Sometimes the best gifts are the simple ones. You can leave a handwritten thank-you card, send a friendly text message or write a thoughtful email.

Remember: We’re all in this together, and supporting each other is important during these uncertain times. For more ideas on celebrating the amazing people in our community, get in touch today.

Posted on May 12, 2020 at 4:00 pm
Elisabeth Lugar | Category: Uncategorized

How Tech Helps You Buy or Sell a Home

With much of the country mostly staying home, it’s not your typical spring homebuying season. 

You might think social distancing has made it difficult to meet with lenders, view properties and sign paperwork, but fortunately that’s not the case. 

In fact, prospective buyers and sellers continue to move forward with their housing needs and doing so with safety in mind.

While the process may look a little different, modern technology is making it possible and, in some ways, more convenient.

So how does it work?

  • Virtual Open Houses and Showings: Facebook Live, FaceTime and Zoom are all being used to show properties. And many listings include a prerecorded tour of the home.
  • 3D Floor Plans and Interactive Walk-Throughs: Online tools make it easy to create interactive 3D walk-throughs and even allow for decor and furniture placement to give buyers a more lifelike feel of the space.
  • Electronic Signatures and Deed Filings: E-signing technology means there’s no need to meet in person to sign offers, contracts or any other paperwork needed in the process. 
  • Desktop and Drive-By Appraisals: If sellers are hesitant to have an appraiser visit their property in person, desktop and drive-by appraisals are a good alternative. These use city data, prior appraisals and comparable sales information to assess a home’s value. Homeowners can video chat with the appraiser to show them the interior and exterior elements of the property.

The way we buy and sell homes may have changed for now, but it’s still an active and essential market. If you have any questions about making a move, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Posted on April 28, 2020 at 4:00 pm
Elisabeth Lugar | Category: Buying, Selling

How to Create Your Ideal Home Workspace

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Working from home is one of the many challenges Americans are facing during the coronavirus outbreak. And while the arrangement may have its perks — like no commuting or office attire — it also has some serious setbacks.

The biggest one? That’s finding the motivation to stay productive. With kids, pets and that comfortable bed calling your name, it can be hard for even the most diligent of workers to stay on task.

Are you struggling in your efforts to work from home? If so, these workspace tips can help: 

Pick your area. Separate personal time and work time by designating a spot for your work. It could be a desk, a corner of the dining room table or even a surface in a cleared-out closet. Just make sure it’s yours — and that your loved ones know it too.

Keep it tidy. Nothing can slow you down like disorganization. Set yourself up for success with the right folders, shelves and other tools you’ll need to stay productive. You should also make an effort to clean up your space after signing off each day. 

Make yourself comfortable. You might not have a cushy office chair, but do your best to add some comforts. Put a fluffy pillow or warm blanket on the dining room chair you’re using, or grab a footstool from the living room so you can lean back during conference calls. 

Add personal touches. You’ll be spending a lot of time in that spot, so make sure you’re happy there. Use photos or fresh flowers to personalize your space.

Are you looking for more ideas on turning your space into a work-from-home haven? Get in touch today.

Posted on April 14, 2020 at 4:00 pm
Elisabeth Lugar | Category: Interior Design

Special Note Regarding COVID-19

Hello,

Your health and safety are important to me. That’s why I’m reaching out to let you know that we’re doing what we can to provide the best service possible during this time, and that means being here for you.

Please reach out with any questions that you may have, or if I can be helpful in any way.

We will get through this together.

If you want to keep up to date on COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website.

Stay well,

Beth Lugar
Broker l Realtor
NRDS 396526586

Lugar Real Estate Team at CENTURY 21 Scheetz | 4929 E. 96th Street Indianapolis, IN 46240 USA
Elisabeth (317) 995-1128 Jack (317) 448-5585
elugar@c21scheetz.com | http://www.lugarrealestate.com/

Posted on March 24, 2020 at 4:00 pm
Elisabeth Lugar | Category: Uncategorized

Your Spring Home Maintenance Checklist

It’s no secret that springtime can breathe new life into a home. And in many markets, spring is the most popular time to buy or sell. Freshly manicured lawns and immaculate interiors add a certain appeal that may not be there during other seasons. 

A property that’s in excellent condition is sure to catch the eye of a buyer. Even if your home isn’t currently on the market, it’s a good idea to make a habit of regular upkeep. 

Ready to tackle your home maintenance tasks? Here’s your spring to-do list.

Click here for the checklist.

Posted on March 10, 2020 at 4:00 pm
Elisabeth Lugar | Category: Home Maintenance Tips

4 Tips for Decorating a Small Space

Whether it’s a cramped bedroom or an office nook, many homes have a small room that’s difficult to decorate. 

Do you wish you could add more charm without forgoing square footage? Well, just because your space is limited, it doesn’t mean your style has to be. 

Make your tiny area more usable and trendy with these four tips.

1. Create a focal point. Designing without a focal point can make your space look cluttered. Instead, arrange a single, standout feature at the center of the room. Organize a gallery wall with several of your favorite photos or hang one attention-grabbing piece of art. 

2. Take decor to the top. If your home lacks high ceilings, use tall floor lamps and curtains to elongate your walls. You can further give the illusion of height by installing vertical shelves closer to the ceiling instead of at eye level. 

3. Make it bright. Bring in natural light by hanging sheer window curtains. You can also add a mirror to the wall opposite a window to reflect light. 

But if your small space doesn’t have windows, consider these ideas to illuminate it: 

  • Overhead lighting, such as bright bulbs in ceiling fixtures.
  • Diffused lighting, like opaque glass or shaded floor lamps.
  • Task lighting, including desk or reading lights. 

Arrange multiple levels of lighting so your gaze moves to various areas of the space, which can make it feel larger.

4. Add decorative storage. When a room is full of stuff, it tends to feel smaller. Use your walls for storage by installing hooks or racks to give your items a rightful place. 

If you want more space-saving ideas — or if you’re ready to start looking for a larger home — reach out today.

Posted on February 25, 2020 at 7:16 pm
Elisabeth Lugar | Category: Interior Design

Do you want more space when you retire?

When you think of the home you’ll retire in, a new house may come to mind. Or maybe you’re contemplating moving to your favorite vacation spot or somewhere closer to friends and family. 

With so many choices, how will you know what’s best for your lifestyle? 

Here are three questions to consider before making a move for retirement:  

1. Will you relocate? Maybe you have a favorite beach town in mind for your retirement, where you can relax year-round. If so, be sure to account for the price of moving and the costs of your new community. If the cost of living is higher, make sure you have enough money saved to live comfortably.

2. Should you downsize or upgrade? The kids have likely moved out, so you could opt for a smaller house or condo. But a more substantial property may offer additional space for visitors and hobbies. Think about what’s best for your family, then consider sitting down with a financial planner to evaluate your assets to be sure you can afford your options.

3. Is the timing right? If you’re not quite ready to retire but thinking about moving, it may be better to buy property while you still have a steady income. On the other hand, you can take your time looking if you start after you’ve left your job. Either way, explore your options to ensure you’re making the most of your investment and your retirement.

Is retirement in your near future? Are you ready to start looking for a new home? Reach out today to discuss your next steps.

Posted on February 11, 2020 at 7:00 pm
Elisabeth Lugar | Category: Buying, Health & Lifestyle

Annual Home Maintenance Checklist

If you’ve been a homeowner before, you know that just like your vehicle needs regular maintenance like
oil changes to run well—so does your home. It can be easy to ignore or put these things off, but a well-
maintained home will save you money from costly repairs in the long run, and make your home easier to

sell when the time comes.

While this list is comprehensive, it’s not a complete list of all the things your home needs.

Monthly

  •  Change HVAC or furnace filters. If your family is small and pet-free, simply inspect the filter and replace it every 2-3 months.
  •  Clean range hood filters. Mix a degreaser with hot water, let it soak, then rinse it off.
  •  Check water softener. Check the salt level, add some if needed, and read the display to make sure no error codes are displayed. You’ll usually only add salt a few times a year.

 

Biannually

  • Deep clean. Roll up your sleeves and deep clean appliances, windows, lighting, and every crevice and corner. Keeping a clean home and not letting dirt build-up will help keep it polished.
  • Test the pressure relief valve on the water heater. This prevents corrosion—protecting leaks and helping it run efficiently.
  • Replace batteries in smoke/carbon dioxide detectors. Make it a habit to change batteries every time you set the clocks for daylight savings time.
  • Vacuum refrigerator coils. The fridge can account for up to 15 percent of your home’s total power—keep it running efficiently.

 

Annually Organized by Season

Spring – There’s a reason it’s called “Spring Cleaning”

  • Service central air. Do this before it gets hot and you can often get this done at a discounted rate with enough time to spare before it gets sweltering hot.
  • Check gutters and drainage. When April showers start coming down, will the water flow away from your house? Keep gutters clear so the water can flow where it’s supposed to.
  • Test sump pump. You don’t want to wait until you need it to find out it’s not working!
  • Check grout in the bathroom and kitchen. Fix the grout where needed—This will extend the life of tiled surfaces and keep them looking new.
  • Check windows and screens. Clean window wells of fall and winter debris. 

 

Summer – Shift your focus to the outdoors and enjoy the sunshine

  • Clean ducts, sweep the chimney and get heating systems ready. You’ll be turning these on at the first hint of crisp fall weather, so do this now.
  • Check and clean the clothes dryer vent. While running, check the exhaust for the smell of fresh laundry. If the exhaust is marginal, check for blockages. Also, vacuum the lint from the dryer hose.
  • Clean garage. The garage is easy to ignore, get out there while the weather is nice, and check garage door sensors are working while you’re in there.

Fall – prepare for winter during this in-between season

  • Winterize A/C systems. Store window units, and if you have central air, cover the outside unit with a tarp and fasten with bungee cords.
  • Flush and store hoses. Drain the water so it doesn’t freeze.

 

Winter – cozy up and stay warm

  • Break Icicles. As pretty as they look, don’t let them grow—they could fall unexpectedly and hurt someone and can get can cause damage from their weight. When they melt, they can cause water damage to the foundation.
  • Remove showerheads and clean deposits. This will keep your water pressure strong and keep them lasting long.
  • Check the foundation for cracks. Use caulk or silicone to repair any small cracks before the Spring thaw.
Posted on February 2, 2020 at 4:02 pm
Elisabeth Lugar | Category: Home Maintenance Tips