Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc



Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 10/19/2015

Ever feel like things pile up in your home? Maybe on the kitchen table or counter, your dresser, or nightstand? Well a little organization can turn your home from full of clutter to nice and neat without having to throw everything away. Here are a few things to keep in mind when improving the organization of your home.

  1. Everything needs a place - if every item in your home has a place to be stored, you are less likely to just drop it anywhere. If an item shouldn't be sitting on your counter top, then it should have a home.
  2. Maximize your storage space - If you feel like you are lacking storage space, think again. A closet with no shelves can't store as much, and those spaces you aren't using, like under your bed, can be transformed into storage places too. Setting up the places that you have to store items so they can be fully used is key to making sure everything can be stored.
  3. Label - If you can find where something goes, you are more likely to put it there. Having boxes stacked into a closet, and not knowing what's in there, doesn't help you organize. But having storage containers, shelves, drawers, etc that are labeled for easy finding does.
  4. Shelves and containers - Having the right assortment of storage is key. Not everything is stored well on a shelf and the same goes for in a container. Make sure you have a variety of what you need; everything from small to large containers, baskets, drawers, shelves and hooks. You want to make sure that where you are putting something can be easily found and accessed.
  5. Get into the routine - Old habits die hard so when you first organize you might find you still leave things hanging around. Getting into the new habit of putting things away can take time but an easy way to start is to set aside 10-15 minutes at the end of each day to put everything where it belongs. Before you know it, you will be doing it throughout the day!
Regardless of whether you go all out on organization, or just do a little, you will find that with a couple of changes you can enjoy your space much more. And without all the clutter that has been left behind!  





Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 4/20/2015

As an individual's taste changes, there often comes the need to make some adjustments to the environment in which they live. Making changes to the home is typically where one starts. Home renovation projects can range from a complete overhaul, to changing out dated decor and appliances, to simply repairing or replacing furnishings and accessories. The most important factor in fixing up your home is that the end result reflects your personal taste and style. Another reason for renovating a home is for the purpose of expansion. Additional rooms may become necessary when children are born, or relatives move in. The decision to add a tenant to your home will also results in the need for renovation and expansion. The correct balance of living space and occupants is key in maintaining a happy home. A home can also be renovated to increase its value. Homeowners often decide to fix up their house when they are preparing to sell. Home improvements typically increase the value of the property, as well as improve its general appearance. Prospective buyers are attracted to houses in excellent shape as opposed to those in need of repairs. Government assistance programs can also assist individuals in need, such as the elderly and disabled with renovating their homes. Taking on projects that improve the living condition of the home as well as raising their standard of living. Renovations to an older home may include the replacement of a heating system, upgrading a bathroom and installing safety accessories, or simply applying fire resistant paint or wall paper. Their main focus being placed on providing a safe living environment. The following factors should be considered prior to starting a renovation project: Budget The home owner must first decide how much they can afford for home improvements, then base the extent of the renovation accordingly. Setting a strict budget will help guide the choice of materials to be used, and determine whether the job will need to be done by the homeowner or a professional can be hired. Materials The choice of materials, equipment and accessories to be used for home improvement projects is very important. Substandard materials should not be used. This is where the advice or services of professionals comes in handy. It is also advised that a professional accompanies the home owner when purchasing the materials to ensure their taste is also taken into consideration. Government Policy There could be a local authority directive on materials, paints and structure restricting how homes in a particular areas should be renovated. Thus, the owners have no choice but to follow the government’s directives. Skills For projects that are not very big and where the owner has the required skills, time, tools and equipment, they can go ahead and do it themselves. However, when the renovation project is large, requiring multiple skills, the services of licensed professionals is mandatory. Always be careful with who you hire, do your research to ensure they will provide the services you need at a competitive price.  





Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 9/29/2014

If you’re going to be putting your house on the market, you want it to be in the best condition possible for when prospective buyers come and look at it. A little sprucing up can add a lot of curb appeal and increase the chances of selling your home as soon as possible. Make Over Kitchen Cabinets An older, out of date kitchen can be given a face lift with the addition of some paint and new cabinet doors. The doors on the kitchen cabinets can make or break the way a kitchen looks. If you don’t have the funds to buy new cabinet doors, consider painting the cabinets. Avoid any type of wild paint, sticking instead to solid colors or the tried and true basic white. Add interesting touches like removing one cabinet door and paint the inside of the cabinet and shelves a different color. You can keep it open, or add a glass door. Adding some new knobs and handles will improve the look even more. You can go basic, or get really fancy with some high-end hardware, depending on the style of your home. Give the Entrance a Makeover Brighten the entrance to your home by painting the door. Choose an accent color from the rest of the front of the house. Add brand new hardware for a totally new, finished look. Place potted plants on either side of the door, or if you have wide steps, place them on the steps. Paint railings with fresh paint, being sure to scrape off the old paint first. Place solar lights along your walkway to add even more brightness. Replacing your mail box will also add character and instant curb appeal to your home. Be sure your house number can be seen from the road by placing large numbers on both your mail box and the house. Organize Closets People, especially women, always take closet space into consideration when looking for a house to buy. Purchase closet organizers and have them installed, or install them yourself. Then organize those closets and get rid of everything you don’t actually use. This will make your closets seem much larger and add so much more storage space by utilizing empty spaces in the closets. Alternately, if you have two closets in one bedroom, take the doors off one closet and turn that one into an office. There are “office in a closet” kits that come with shelves, and a deeper shelf to use as a desk. Add a desk chair, a computer and place a few books on the shelves and it looks like you have a home office, virtually creating a whole new room within a room.    





Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 9/8/2014

Want to update your bathroom with a huge remodeling project? With a few simple updates you can change your old outdated bathroom to something more eye appealing. And the best part is you can do it all yourself with little to no cost! Replacing a toilet seat This is so simple and takes no time at all. If your toilet works just fine, but your toilet seat is outdated or worn out, a quick swap can really improve things. Start by removing the old seat by using a deep well socket to unscrew the bolt. A little WD-40 can help to loosen things up if needed. Line up the new toilet seat and bolt into place. And you are done! Replace your shower head Having a great shower head can make taking a shower a whole new experience. Find one that fits what you have been dreaming of, whether it's one that creates a waterfall effect, or one with a hand held shower head. Typically replacing your shower head is as easy as unscrewing the old one and screwing on the new one! And for added benefit, pick one that saves on water. Update your hardware Updating your towel holders, soap dishes and toilet paper holder can really add a whole new look to a bathroom. Outdated hardware can make your bathroom look like it's from the 1970s so pick new hardware that is modern and fits the overall look of the bathroom. Replacing hooks and towel holders is an easy DIY project as long as you know how. Many of these don't have exposed screws, but they do have a tiny screw underneath each side that needs to be removed in order to lift off the wall mount. Get new towels And this includes bath mats, shower curtains and window curtains. Updating all these things can change the color scheme all together. Just make sure if you aren't going to repaint that you pick colors and patterns that compliment the existing wall color. Bathrooms look best in neutral colors, or lighter shades of blues, greens and yellows.  





Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 6/30/2014

If you are looking to increase the living space in your home, the answer might just be right under your feet. Remodeling your basement has the potential of uniquely transforming the look of your home. Although this has a unique set of challenges, with proper planning, it can be achieved. Here are some tips on how to remodel your basement into a functional living space. Make a Family Room The basement is a great place for casual social activities, a perfect spot where the entire family can get together and relax with a board game or a big screen television. Make it inviting and alluring, just like any other room in the home. Some new furniture, a great sound system and excellent lightening would be a great way to start. Include a Bath and Bedroom Adding a bedroom and a bath makes the basement an ideal suite for guests. The dimensions should be determined by who will use it. For a double bed, you will need a minimum of 125 square feet, for twin beds, 150 square feet will serve your needs. When adding a bedroom, be certain there is an emergency exit that leads directly outside.  A professional will need to be consulted in regards to adding a bathroom as specific regulations will apply. Add a Kitchen With a mini kitchen in the basement, entertainment gets easier. This would require access to hot and cold water, electrical outlets, exhaust vents, a small dish washer, under counter refrigerator and anything else that would allow for more comfortable living. Design a Safe and Attractive Staircase In most homes, there is a staircase leading to the basement. When remodeling, take the opportunity to improve the look of this entryway to your new living space. If it is not properly positioned, consider moving it to a better location. Consult with a designer or an architect for guidance on redesigning your stairway. Add Windows Adding windows is great for basements, but this task is better left to the professionals. If this is properly done, it will improve the ventilation, add light, and make it very comfortable. Adding windows may require digging a window well. A retaining wall made of masonry, limestone blocks, or treated landscape timbers should be added to the well. If properly done, it could also serve as an emergency exit. Finish the Walls. The walls of the foundation are usually made of poured concrete and reinforcement materials. Cover the walls with materials of your choice. Plywood, paneling or any material that would make the area more inviting.  For example, covering the walls in the living area with sheets of maple-veneer would add an arts and crafts feel to the room. There are many options and trained professionals that can help you achieve the look you want. Finish The Ceilings Basically, there are three options available to you when remodeling the basement ceilings, leave the pipes and duct work exposed, conceal it with a dry panel or hide everything with a suspended or drop ceiling. Choose Comfortable Flooring In most cases, basement floors are made of concrete, unless plywood sub-flooring has been installed. Concrete works with most floor finish choices like tile, carpet, vinyl and paint. For below grade installation, solid wood flooring is not recommended as it shrinks and expands causing gaps.   However, engineered wood flooring is recommended as it shrinks less.