Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc



Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 7/14/2014

Who doesn't want to save money these days? The cost of home insurance has been on the rise but that doesn't mean you have to always keep paying more. Take the time to examine your policy and see if there are some ways to save some money. Here are some suggestions on how to look for ways to gets the best rates possible:

  • Shop around. Get at least three quotes.
  • If you can afford it out some money in the bank and instead raise your deductible. The higher your deductible, the less premium you'll have to pay.
  • Combine your policies. Some insurance companies will reduce your premium up to 15 percent if you have at least two policies (home and auto for example) with their company.
  • Look for discounts. Some insurance companies offer discounts for installing smoke detectors, burglar alarms and dead-bolt locks. Ask about what types of discounts the company offers some insurers even offer discounts for a sprinkler system and a fire and burglar alarm that rings at the police, fire or other monitoring stations.
  • Be a loyal customer. Many companies offer discounts for longer-term customers. Compare prices against other companies once in a while.
  • Review your policy and the value of your possessions often.
 





Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 7/7/2014

It is summer and for many that means it is time for a little rest and relaxation. Summer is prime time for a vacation. Today's economy doesn't always allow for long trips away from home but with a little creativity you can have an at-home getaway that is just as fun and cost-conscious. Here are some tips for planning a staycation: Plan You will need to plan and budget for your staycation just like any other vacation. Take the time to research events, activities and places to visit. Make a list of activities, make any reservations, purchase tickets and plan for any advance activities. Take a Vacation Just because you are close to home doesn't mean you are not on vacation.  Don't use your time off to do work, chores or errands remember you are on vacation.  Make sure to look at the places you visit like a tourist. View your city like a visitor, take photos, visit local attractions, museums, new restaurants, people watch and take in the architecture. Stay Overnight To make it feel more like you are on vacation you may decide to check in to a hotel for a night or two. Try booking a weeknight for a less expensive rate. Finding a hotel room that works within your budget may be just the thing to give your staycation that extra special feel.





Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 5/12/2014

Who doesn't like to save money? A penny saved is a penny earned and there are some quick and easy do-it-yourself tips that you can do around your home to help the savings add up. 1. Did you know a shorter dryer hose will make your dryer run more efficiently? You could save up to $25 a year by just trimming the dryer hose. Make sure to trim the hose length just long enough to pull the dryer a few feet out from the wall. 2. Keep the closet doors closed. Not only does it make your room look neater it will also keep you from heating or cooling more square footage. You could save up to $50 a year by just closing the closet doors. 3. Check the water heater and make sure it is set to 120 degrees.  You may have to wait a few minutes for the shower to heat up but you could also save up to $30 or more per year on gas, oil, electricity, or propane. 4. Replace all your light bulbs with energy-efficient halogen bulbs, rather than incandescents. Just by doing this you could save a whopping $20 per fixture on electricity over three years. 5. Chim chiminey, chim chim cher-ee! Get your chimney swept in the summer. Having your chimney done in the off-season will save you money by getting an off-season price. You could save approximately $50 per flue. Just doing these simple tips can save you hundreds of dollars a year.  





Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 4/28/2014

Making daily choices to help conserve water is a win win. Reducing the amount of water used in your home will help protect our world's natural resource and save you money at the same time. Best of all, most of the ways to save are either free or very inexpensive, and will save you hundreds of dollars every year. Here are some water saving tips that are friendly to both your wallet and the environment: Turn off the faucets. Don't run the water while you are shaving, shampooing your hair, washing dishes, or brushing your teeth. Did you know turning off the water while brushing your teeth can save you over 25 gallons of water every month? Fill up the sink when doing the dishes. Put soap on one side and rinse water on the other side of the sink or use a plastic rinse bin. This will save you gallons of water every time you clean. If you use a dishwasher, always run full loads. Don’t do laundry unless you have to. Always run a full load in the washing machine. You can also reuse towels to save on filing up the laundry basket. Don't use the toilet as a wastebasket. Every time you flush a bug, tissue or trash down the toilet you waste five to seven gallons of water. Bring your car to the car wash. Commercial car washes often use recycled water. Cover pools, spas, and hot tubs when not in use. This will help prevent evaporation of water. If you must water your lawn make sure to do it early in the day so you don't lose water to evaporation. Mulch your plants. Placing mulch around your plants will help keep them retain moisture. Water conservation will have you saving money on your utility bill and also prevents water pollution in nearby lakes, rivers and local watersheds.    





Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 4/7/2014

Paying off your mortgage early and having no bills sounds like a no brainer. The answer however is not so simple. The answer really is; it depends. First you need to ask yourself a few questions. 1. Have you capitalized your employer’s match to your retirement savings? If the answer is no and you are not contributing the maximum than you are throwing away free money. You may want to consider putting your money here before paying down your mortgage. 2. Do you have other debt other than your mortgage? Pay off high interest credit card debit first. It makes no sense to pay off a lower interest loan and carry high interest debt. 3. Do you have an emergency fund? Experts suggest at least a three month supply of living expenses. Some even go as much as twenty four months of living expenses after the turn in the economy and job market. It makes more sense to have money set aside for a sudden loss of income before you pay off your mortgage. 4. Do you owe more than your house is worth? If you are upside down you are more susceptible to foreclosure. Ask yourself how much how much you enjoy living there. Would you be willing to buy it again for more than it is worth now? 5. Do you have life, health and disability insurance? If you are the main source of income in your household what would happen if you were no longer able to make the payments? Putting safety nets in place first is a wise idea. 6. Do you believe you can get better return investing elsewhere? Paying off your mortgage is an investment decision. Ask how does paying off my mortgage stack up with other investment options? 7. Are you thinking of retiring and want to live with the worry of a payment? The thought of living on a fixed income can be scary. Paying off your mortgage may give you peace of mind. There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It really comes down to what is most important to you. Sometimes, the answer is not based just on dollars and sense and more on what works for you, your life, your family situation and just plain old personal preference.