Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc



Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 12/22/2014

Home prices are at rock bottom and mortgage rates at all-time lows so you may be considering going from renter to homeowner. If you are planning on staying put for a while the choice makes sense. There are a few things to take into consideration before you make the leap from renter to owner. First, you will need to determine how much you can afford. Consult with a mortgage professional to help you determine what kind of mortgage you qualify for. Just because you pay $1,000 a month in rent, doesn't mean you can handle a $1,000 monthly mortgage payment. There are more costs to owning a home than just the mortgage payment. As a homeowner you will also be responsible for property tax, home insurance, utilities, and repairs. To prepare for those costs plan on adding about 40 percent to your base cost. So, if your mortgage is $1,000, add about $400 a month for a better estimate of costs. Before you make a rash decision see if you really can afford the cost difference. Once you know the cost difference spend a few months depositing the difference between your rent payment and your cost estimate in the bank. In the previous example you would deposit $400 a month into savings. If you've been able to keep up the deposits and pay your other bills, that's a sign you can afford to buy. Now that you have been saving more you have more money to put toward the down payment of your new home. These are just a few tips to get you started. Once you have a better financial picture it will be time to start shopping. That is when the fun begins.





Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 11/3/2014

If you are thinking about making a move some proper planning will go a long way. Moving can cost more than you might think and can be stressful. Keep costs and headaches to a minimum by preparing a plan and get organized early. Here is a checklist of moving tips to help make your relocation go as smoothly as possible: 1. Save and set a budget. Moving expenses can set you back thousands of dollars. There can be unexpected costs like shipping charges, personal travel costs, temporary housing expenses and start-up fees at your new residence. As soon as you know you're going to move try to plan for all of these things and set a budget and start saving. 2. Mover or do it yourself?                                                                                       Decide whether or not you will be hiring a moving company or managing the move on your own. If you are hiring a mover you will need to call for estimates and reservations. If you go it alone you should try to secure some help and proper transportation. 3. Look for Work.                                                                                                                                 If you are moving for a new job it may not be as easy for other family members to find work. Start reviewing the job boards and calling on personal contacts before you go. 4. Research the schools.                                                                                                             Check school schedules and enrollment requirements. Pick up school records or have them sent to the new schools. 5. Protect Your Belongings.                                                                                           In order to ensure your possessions will be covered while in transit or storage during your move you will want to obtain appraisals for high-value items. Make an inventory and take photos of your valuables to have a record if you need to file a claim. Make sure to also contact your homeowners insurance or renters insurance company to ensure your possessions will be covered. 6. Do a car check.                                                                                                                         Take care of auto maintenance and repairs before you make a long trip. Don't forget to notify your auto insurance company of the move. 7. Turn it on and off.                                                                                                               Make sure to notify your utilities of your move and plan disconnect dates. Also make sure to order new utility services for your new address. 8. Change Your Address.                                                                       Fill out an online change-of-address form through the U.S. Postal Service to ensure important mail will be forwarded to your new home. Also, be sure to send your new address to friends and family, your physician, schools, magazine publishers and providers of financial services.  





Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 9/22/2014

Do you have a home buying strategy? Buying a home can be a risky and expensive proposition so you will want to make sure you have a plan.  In order to put a plan in place you will want to ask ask the following questions: How long do I plan to live here? You will need to consider how long you plan to live in your home to determine if it makes financial sense. Consider what changes you might make during that time frame. Will you be starting a family? Will elderly parents need to move in with you? You may need a larger home or need to find a community with better amenities for children, and that will increase the likelihood of you moving. How is the local market? All real estate is local.  Find out all you can about the neighborhoods you're considering. Look at the inventory of homes, how have properties gone up or down in value, and how much homes are selling for compared to the listing price. What is my financial stability? Consider factors like the stability of your job. Will you still be there in five years? What kind of future does your industry have? Does climbing up the career ladder mean you might have to move elsewhere to get ahead? Look at your current debts and income, not your future salary, to determine whether you can afford to buy.





Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 8/25/2014

Could condo living be for you? For many condominium living can be an attractive alternative to a single family home. The price per square foot of a condo is often less than a single family home. Before you make the leap to condo living make sure to do your homework to see if it truly is the best choice for you. Here is a checklist of a few things you may want to consider before signing on the dotted line.

  • Condominiums have monthly maintenance fees.
  • Check with the condominium association to see what the annual increase in the monthly maintenance fee has been for the past few years.
  • What is the percentage of residents are current with their monthly association payments. Look for about ninety-seven percent of the development's residents to be current with their monthly payments.
  • What percentage of the association fees are dedicated to a reserve fund. A good number would be at least 10 percent of the association's annual budget.
  • What are the condition of the condo's roof and major mechanical systems? When were they last replaced or repaired. When the condo requires big upgrades, costly "special assessment" fees are passed on to the homeowners.
Most importantly try and talk to some of the residents. They can be your most valuable resource for learning about the development's pros and cons of the condominium development.





Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 6/16/2014

What is an offer to purchase? It is the written proposal to a seller to purchase real estate. In order for a real estate transaction to be legally enforceable it must be in the form of a written contract. A written proposal will specify all of the terms and conditions of the purchase. After the offer to purchase it drawn up and the buyer signs it, it is usually presented to the seller by their real estate agent. In some cases both agents will present the offer to the seller. If the seller signs as is, it will become a binding sales contract. It is important that the offer to purchase includes items such as: - The address and the legal description of the property - The sale price - The date of the anticipated sale - The amount of earnest money deposit - Contingencies: for example the ability to obtain a mortgage, home inspection, and the opportunity for an attorney to review the contract - How to make adjustments to things such as real estate taxes, rents, and utilities bills - The type of deed to be given - Any access the buyer may have to the property, for example, a final walk through inspection before the sale - A time limit in which the offer will be good for Your real estate professional will be able to help you prepare the best offer for your circumstances.