Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc



Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 4/21/2014

Year after year, study after study, good market, down market the story is always the same...owning a home is a good investment. Not only does it build wealth but it also provides many psychological benefits too. A survey released earlier this year by the magazine Better Homes and Gardens found that eight in 10 respondents said homeownership is still a good investment and believe owning a home is a smart financial move and a source of pride. Here are some results of the 2,500 people surveyed online:

  • 86% of home owners still feel owning a home is a good investment.
  • 85% feel “owning a home is one of their proudest accomplishments.”
  • 69% of Americans who don’t currently own a home agree with the statement, “No matter what happens in the U.S. housing market, owning a home is still an important goal in my life.”
  • 68% of Americans plan to spend money on their homes in the next six months, with roughly half (49%) expecting to pay up to $1,000.
 




Categories: Buying a Home   Real estate  


Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 3/10/2014

Some people think that bigger is better even when it comes to buying a home. Before you buy the biggest house your budget allows you may want to consider if the size of the home is what will make you a happy homeowner. Besides the size of the home there are many other factors to consider, here are a few things you may want to think about when buying: Your Commute Often times a bigger home is one that has a longer commute. So would you choose a bigger home over a shorter commute? When considering a longer commute most home buyers significantly underestimate the negatives of a long commute like high stress levels, poorer health, and less active social lives.  Swiss economists, Bruno Frey and Alois Stutzer coined what they call “the commuters paradox”. They found that someone with a one-hour commute must earn 40% more money than someone who walks to work to be as satisfied with life. Community Another thing that can affect buyer satisfaction is the quality of a surrounding community Think about the community your home would be in. Is it a subdivision? Do you have to drive to get places? How far away are neighbors or stores? Walkable communities have more active residents, they are better for the environment and help us save money too. Studies have shown residents of a walkable neighborhood on average weigh 6 to 10 pounds less than someone in a car-dependent one. Walkable neighborhoods also give us more opportunities for social interaction. The more neighbors walk around the more involved they are in the community. Ultimately the more community involvement the happier people are.        





Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 2/9/2014

If you have credit trouble it can be difficult to get back on the right track. Poor credit impacts your ability to secure a loan, credit cards, and even a job. Credit ratings are also used by insurers, employers and leasing agencies. So where should you turn for help to repair your credit? There are many credit repair companies and while some are reputable some are not legitimate. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers these signs to tell if the company is legit or not:

  • The company asks for money up front. The Credit Repair Organizations Act forbids repair companies from requiring you to pay fees before they have completed the promised services.
  • The company doesn’t want you to contact the three national credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) yourself.
  • The company encourages you to dispute all the negative information in your credit report, regardless of its accuracy.
  • The company recommends attempting to create a new credit identity and history by applying for an Employer Identification Number to use instead of your Social Security Number.
While a credit repair company may be helpful there are some things you can do yourself to repair your credit.
  • Once every 12 months, check your credit report.  Credit reports are available at www.annualcreditreport.com.
  • If you find errors, dispute incorrect information in your report.
  • Negotiate the removal of outstanding debt. Even without a credit counseling agency, you can contact the collectors of your outstanding debt to negotiate a pay-off settlement.
 





Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 1/5/2014

Getting a mortgage these days can be tough and it is even tougher for small-business owners. Potential self-employed borrowers usually have variability in their income streams. Today, banks are requiring more financial documentation from all buyers, and self-employed borrowers tend to face more scrutiny. Small-business owners may have a smaller income because they are typically knowledgeable about tax deductions and credits. This often reduces the amount of taxable income they have. Reducing the amount of taxable income on your tax returns means to the lender there is less income to qualify for a loan. There are ways self-employed borrowers can increase their chances of getting a home loan, however. Here are a few tips: What is the lenders history? Find out if the lender has a history of working with self-employed borrowers. Self-employed borrowers should focus more on finding a lender that will understand their situation rather than shop the loan rate. There are individual loan officers who will be able to think out of the box or come up with solutions. The lender you choose is key. Consider portfolio lenders. Portfolio lenders have more flexibility in originating loans because they don't have to sell the loan to Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. Portfolio lenders hold their own loans. That makes a big difference in their ability to loan. Another option may to consider credit unions. Many credit unions also keep a good portion of loans on their books. Boost your income. Show you make as much money as possible on your tax return. You might need to amend your tax returns. Some lenders will look at a loan application again if they have sent in amended returns to the government. Sometimes by rethinking deductions and credits on income taxes, a borrower can increase his qualifying income. Of course, with this strategy, the borrower would also face a new tax bill.





Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 8/11/2013

Before you sign the papers to purchase your home, you will want to get one important thing done: a home inspection. This essential task will not only give you insight into the potential problems a home has, it was also give you the ability to renegotiate based on what is found. Knowing what to expect is the first step. A home inspection should include the condition of the roof, attic, walls, ceilings floors, windows and doors, the heating and cooling system, plumbing and electrical systems, the foundation and basement. All these areas of inspection as done only if accessible. For example: if the roof is covered with snow, an inspector will look at what they can, but the snow may obstruct the view. The cost of an inspection can vary depending on your location. Getting a variety of prices from different licensed inspectors can help you find the best deal in the area. While the cost may make you want to skip out on an inspection (with all the money you are spending to by the house, one more cost can feel enormous), not getting one can really hurt your wallet later on. Major structural issues, leaks, and toxins can cost big bucks to fix. A multi page detailed report will be created based on the inspection, including recommendations. This should be reviewed carefully to estimate the amount of work that will be involved in maintaining and/or fixing the house. While that roof the report mentioned isn't leaking today, if the inspector mentioned that it may need to be replaced soon, figure it will. Then of course, there are more immediate areas that may need attention, that you will have to plan on addressing right away. Finally, if there are major issues with the house, you can negotiate this into your offer. All offers should be made contingent on the inspection, so that once the inspection is done, the offer can change. So if that roof is already starting to leak, you can bring down the offer price to be able to put money towards a new roof right away. No matter if you are buying a year old home, or one from 1950, a home inspection is a must when making an offer. Skipping the inspection will only increase the risk of damage to your finances down the road. Better safe than sorry!




Categories: Buying a Home