Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc



Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 2/18/2018

Radon has no smell, taste, or color. It is a transparent, radioactive gas. Radon is released when the uranium that is contained in the soil and rocks decays over time. The reason that radon is an issue in a home is because it is released through cracks or openings that exist in the foundation. If too much radon is present in the home, the radioactive particles can attach themselves to dust particles, causing people in the home to breathe the harmful substance in.  


What Is A Radon Test?


The radon test is conducted over the course of two days. A testing machine or canisters are placed on the lowest habitable level of a home being tested. This would be either on the first floor or in the finished basement level of the home. The cost of a radon test isnít very much, ranging anywhere from $65 to $125. The radon test is typically part of the home inspection, but sometimes other circumstances warrant a test or re-test. The canisters take a bit more time to produce results than the testing machines do, so confer with your inspector before the test is done.   


The Basics


One thing you should know is that radon is always present. The level of radon fluctuates constantly. The test is conducted over a two day period to get the average level of radon in the home. The Environmental Protection Agency considers levels of radon at or above 4 pCi/L to be unsafe. If this is found to be true, there is a solution, however, as systems that lessen the amount of radon in the home can be installed. These can come with a hefty price tag, costing anywhere from $1,000 and up.   


Radon Levels


Radon levels will vary on a daily basis. They can also vary by season, with weather conditions and with the amount of available ventilation. Structural changes that have been made to the home can also have an effect on the levels of radon in the home. If you are getting ready to sell your home and already have a radon mitigation system installed, you may want to test the levels before you even put your home on the market to know what youíre working with. The system may not be working properly, or the levels may have faced a sharp increase, making it hard for the removal system to keep up. 


 With the proper installation of a radon removal system, the air in your home will be safe to breathe. If you put an offer in on a home and the home inspection finds that there are unsafe levels of radon present, at least youíll know what youíre dealing with. If you decide that the home is not the place for you and your family, even with a removal system, youíll walk away from the deal informed. If youíre a seller, beware that the level of radon in your home could affect the sale. Although radon sounds like a scary thing, itís manageable. Radon tests and removal systems help to keep the levels safe.




Tags: radon   testing for radon  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 2/11/2018

When you think of buying or selling a house, the first thing that comes to mind may not be the legal aspects associated with the process. You may want to reconsider this rather boring part of the process as an important one. Hiring a lawyer can help both buyers and sellers to get through many hurdles that buying a home can present. 


The Contracts


There will be many negotiations and a lot of back and forth throughout the process of buying a home. Everything thatís involved with buying a home needs a contract for it to be legally binding. A real estate attorney will negotiate on your behalf and be sure that the contracts adhere to all state and local laws. The lawyer will also help you to address issues that may affect the future of the property such as botched inspections, liens against the home, and other items that could affect you as the home buyer. 


Title Search


Real estate attorneys will perform what is called a title search. This allows them to see if there are any outstanding liens or judgements against the house. This title search will also make sure that the seller has the right to actually sell the property thatís being sold. An attorney can do all of this much quicker than the average person since they have working relationships with title companies.


Transfer Of Property


If a property is being transferred through a corporation, trust, or partnership, things can get complicated. Itís good to have an attorney who is used to working with these complex situations and understands the legal boundaries within the state or municipality   that the property is in.


If You Choose Not To Have A Real Estate Attorney


Many times, a real estate attorney isnít required to buy a property. It is advisable to have one, however. Without an attorney you increase your chances of problems arising in the future. You run the risk of:


  • Being sued for failure to disclose information
  • An improper property transaction takes place
  • You could miss relevant facts about the property
  • Failing to file the correct documents at both the state an local levels
  • Deeds are not transferred
  • Building permits werenít correctly filed


The Takeaway


Having a real estate lawyer on your side is important due to the complex nature of property transactions. While some states require that an attorney be present throughout your property transaction, many states do not have this stipulation. You are smart to hire a competent real estate attorney to protect your own interests as either a buyer or a seller.





Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 2/4/2018

Thereís a lot of design trends that youíll want to keep up with as a homeowner. What are people doing to their backyards to make them more beautiful? What types of countertops are buyers looking for these days? Some trends are beneficial. However, thereís a lot of trends that can be detrimental to your home. You want your home to be an expression of who you are, however, there are some trends that just arenít attractive to buyers. 


Bright And Bold May Not Be Beautiful 


While that lime green room may look really attractive to you, it probably wonít look as good to anyone else. The best colors for paint inside of your home are the neutral colors. These include beiges, grays and soft whites. The most important thing is to keep your paint color consistent throughout your home. Not that you canít change shades from room to room, but donít make the paint change too drastic.  


No One Really Likes Shiny Things


As much as you may like shiny accessories throughout the home, itís not going to be everyoneís thing. Although people will be decorating your home on their terms once they buy it, itís important to note that busy isnít always better. People need to be able to see past how you have set up your home to see the potential it holds for them.  


An Open Floor Plan Thatís Too Open

You can take the idea of an open floor plan to an extreme. There are certain rooms in the home that just deserve privacy. The bathrooms and the bedrooms need walls surrounding them to give people the space and quiet that they need. If thereís no good way for you to fix this issue, you may want to find some room screens before your open house in order to keep buyers interested.  


Converted Rooms Squash Vision


If you have a third bedroom that you have converted into a home gym, thatís great for you. It may be hard for other people visiting the home to realize what the room could be used for. You may not have to move everything before an open house, but try to keep the room open for possibility.     


Carpeting Kills Buyerís Dreams


Thereís not many more terrifying things to buyers than walking into a home and seeing wall-to-wall carpeting. Their minds race, thinking of the possibilities of how to get beloved hardwood floors into the picture. If thereís floor under your carpet and you know you're going to sell soon, youíd be wise to tear up the carpet and polish up those floors. It will attract more buyers and sell faster because people will know they have that much less work to do once they move in. 


The Takeaway

 The important point here is that when youíre getting ready to show your home, youíll want to take your personality out of the picture. Buyers need to have space to get the vision to see how they can make your former home their own. Reversing a few of the personal upgrades that you have made to your home can help you to make it a more welcoming place for new owners to begin a journey.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 1/28/2018

Bonsai is a Japanese artform that originates from the ancient Chinese practice of potting trees. Although it is an art that has existed for centuries, bonsai neednít be inaccessible to the average person looking for a new household hobby.


To successfully grow and care for a bonsai, all you need are a few tools and a lot of patience. In this article, weíll cover bonsai basics to help you get started in this craft. Keep in mind, however, that there are thousands of resources and communities to help you out along the way.

To buy or to cultivate?

The two most common ways to start a bonsai tree are to buy a pre-cultivated tree online or at a greenhouse, or to cultivate one yourself with seeds or cuttings. Many beginners elect to buy a pre-cultivated tree to decide if they enjoy the hobby before devoting years to cultivating a tree from seed. If you enjoy caring for plants and think youíre up to the challenge, starting from seed or cuttings could be more rewarding.

A third option is to collect a tree from nature that has been stunted by natural conditions. These types of trees are called yamadori and can be difficult to collect because their roots may be in a precarious location. Also keep in mind that it is illegal to remove plants from some parks and forests.

How to shape your tree

Once you obtain a bonsai your work has only just begun. The real challenge of bonsai is caring for and shaping your tree. That means clipping off growth, repotting, watering, moving it indoors and outdoors, and shaping/training its branches to grow a certain way.

Every tree is different and will require different care. An important thing to remember about bonsai is that many of them will need to be brought outside to mimic their natural conditions. Trees survive winters because they have prepared for it through the process of dormancy. By bringing your tree outdoors, it will keep its internal clock on time to prepare for winter. In this way, cold-climate bonsai trees can handle the harsh temperatures and weather that comes with the winter time.

Aside from subjecting it to different temperatures and weather, your bonsai will also need to be pruned and wired. Pruning thick branches that grow high up on your tree will help you maintain the natural look of its larger counterparts out in nature. Similarly, wiring helps you transform your tiny tree to look fully-grown and weathered.

Tree care

Just like other plants, your tree will need water, sunlight, and fertilizer. The amount of each will depend on the type of the tree, so youíll want to do that research before you ever buy, cultivate, or collect a bonsai to make sure you can adequately care for the tree in your area.

Overwatering causes the death of countless bonsai trees. Root rot occurs when soil stays too damp for too long. Roots need air, and damp soil suffocates the roots causing them to rot. When it comes to fertilizer, follow the advice of others of have successfully grown the type of tree you have.




Tags: gardening   houseplants   plants   Trees   bonsai  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 1/21/2018

Behind your doors and windows lies everything you hold dear. Your family, pets, important documents, expensive laptops and televisions, and any number of things rely on the hope that no one will break into your home. In spite of this, many people choose not to take the best safety precautions available, whether it is because they feel safe in their neighborhood or they think they can't afford a security system. As home security technologies advance, homeowners and renters get a growing selection of security systems. Finding†a security system that works with your budget while still keeping you safer†is possible. However, learning about the various systems and choosing one that works best for your needs is the hard part. In this article, we'll cover the basic types of security systems and what they offer so you can make the best decision for your home and family.

Monitored or unmonitored

One way of dividing up security systems is monitored and unmonitored. Monitored systems depend on landline, cellular, or broadband connection to communicate with the security provider who will call your home and alert authorities in case of a break-in. Unmonitored systems, on the other hand, rely only on alarms such as sirens and flashing lights. Monitored systems that are connected via landline have the disadvantage of being cut or by losing connections due to power outages. Cellular-based systems (a.k.a. wireless monitoring)†have the advantage of staying up even if your telephone line is cut.†One disadvantage of monitored systems is that they often come with monitoring fees. The disadvantage of unmonitored systems is that it relies on your neighbors to call the police in case of an emergency. The problem with this is that not all neighbors are going to go see if everything is okay until it's potentially too late.

Contracts and Installation

Depending on whether you rent or own your house and how long you plan to stay in your house, you'll want to read over contracts before signing away. If you plan on moving or are only leasing your apartment, it might be a better option to buy a system outright that you can set up yourself at your next home. Systems that rely on technicians for installs may charge you fees for having to relocate or uninstall your system.

Added features

Home security and home automation are two separate industries that have become one due to similarities in the way they function. Many home security companies now offer automation technologies that allow you to control various items in your home remotely. If you can't remember if you locked your door or if you need to unlock it for a house guest, there's no need to leave work--just hit a button on your smart phone to unlock the door.†Other systems even allow you to answer your doorbell remotely from your smartphone in the same way that you would have a conversation on your phone.†If you are paranoid about checking up on your house, you could go with a system that allows you to view your security cameras live feed right from your phone or computer.   Now that you know the basics of home security systems, go check out some of the top rated providers and compare prices. You'll soon be on your way to making your home an even safer place for you and your family.