Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc



Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 7/30/2017

Buying a home may seem like a smart financial move. However, it may not always be the right time or the right move for you. While buying a home is a great investment, you may not be ready to buy a home of your own. The following questions should help you to determine whether or not you are fully ready to buy a house in the near future.


How Much Money Do You Make? How Much Have You Saved?


buying a home is a significant expense. First, you’ll need quite a large sum of money for a downpayment and closing costs on the home. Second, to get approved for a mortgage, the lender will look at every part of your finances from your income to your assets. Once the home is purchased, you’ll also need quite a bit of capital for expenses including insurance, taxes, HOA fees, emergency funds, utilities, and furniture. You don’t want to buy a home only to be overwhelmed with costs. You want enough of a financial cushion to enable you to furnish your home, decorate your home, and not have a completely empty bank account. That’s why you should make sure that you do make enough money to buy a home.



How Much Debt Do You Have?


If you have established that your income is enough to buy a home, the next thing that you need to establish is that your debt isn’t too high. Before you enter into the adventure of homeownership, you’ll need to make sure that your bills are under control. These expenses include things like car loans, student loans, and credit card bills. Your lender will put your debt into consideration as a part of your entire financial picture. Your debt (including your proposed mortgage payment) should be less than around 36% of your gross income. Before you take the leap into buying a home, you’ll need to make sure that your debt is under control. If you need to take a step back and pay your bills down before you start house hunting, you should as it will make buying a home easier for you.


Are You Seasoned At Your Job?


In order to secure a mortgage for a home, you’ll need to show that you have been at the same job for a certain period of time. Your average income will probably be calculated based on how long you have been at the company and your job history. You should be able to explain any income gaps, changes in positions or companies. Otherwise, you’ll appear to be an unstable person to lend to. Lenders want to know that you’ll have a steady, stable income.


How Is Your Credit?


In order to secure a mortgage, you’ll need to have a good credit score. Check on your credit report when you begin thinking about buying a home. If your credit is on the low side, you’ll want to work on bringing that score up. 


     




Tags: Buying a home   finances  
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Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 7/23/2017

Stylish, comfortable furniture brings out so much of your house's personality. Great furniture also shows off your own unique personality. With the right furniture, benefits continue to multiply. The right furniture can last years. It also serves multiple purposes.

Furniture options are growing but so are furniture prices

A chic sofa bed works as an entertaining and a sleeping piece. Because of its functionality, it's also a natural space saver. The same goes for coffee tables that are designed with pull out storage drawers. Fortunately, brick and mortar as well as online furniture retailers are offering more furniture options.

What a lot of furniture retailers aren't doing is lowering the cost of furniture. On the less expensive end, it can cost several hundred dollars to furnish one room in a house. For those with pricier taste, it's easy to spend several thousand dollars to furnish and decorate a single room.

Inexpensive ways to furnish your home

Just because furniture is expensive, that doesn't mean that you can't design the interior of your home the way you want. Looking to save money? Check out these inexpensive ways to furnish your home:

  • Let relatives and friends know that you are open to accepting furniture to design your first house with. For example, you could remove a used living room set from a cousin's house for free and use the furniture in your home.
  • Thrift stores are other great places where you can get inexpensive furniture. Charities operate some thrift stores. These stores carry affordable furniture and clothes. You can also find home decorations like silk bouquets, lamps and artwork at thrift stores.
  • Visiting flea markets is similar to stopping by thrift stores, except there's generally a lot more space and items for sale at flea markets. Although you could find a new home decoration at a flea market,you'll generally walk away with a used item. But, that doesn't mean that the furniture that you find at a flea market isn't sturdy, reliable and attractive.
  • Online auctions is another of the inexpensive ways to furnish your first home. The aim is to furnish your first home. You can always upgrade your furniture later, after your income increases and you pay down your mortgage debt.
  • Another way that you could lower the cost of furnishing your first home is to buy furniture on a payment plan. Just make sure that you pay the furniture off before you have to start making interest payments, as interest on furniture payment plans can be hefty.

Openness leads to big savings when it comes to furnishing your home

Buy basic furniture to avoid going into debt after you buy a house. For example, you could make a sofa, kitchen table and chairs and a bed your basic furniture. Get the style, colors and size you want. Pay off your basic furniture before you add more furniture to your house.

As a first time homeowner, also stay open to other furniture options. This includes not turning your parents down should they offer to let you have their furniture,especially if your parents are determined to upgrade their housing. Remember, you may have plenty of opportunities to buy the posh furniture that you've wanted in a few years.




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Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 7/16/2017

Humans today live a lifestyle more fast-paced than ever before. We're constantly keeping track of work, bills, emails, friends on social media... the list goes on. With all of these social and work responsibilities it's sometimes hard to unwind at the end of the day and fall asleep on time at night. Americans have some of the poorest sleeping habits on earth. One in three have what could be considered "mild insomnia." While sleeping patterns vary between cultures, one thing is certain: getting enough quality sleep is vital to living a long and healthy life. Here are some changes you can make in the bedroom that will help you get more quality shut-eye.

Beds are for sleeping

Are you the type who stays in bed watching TV, eating, reading on your phone or laptop. If so, you might be losing sleep because of it. It's important to train your body to know that when you're in bed with the lights off it's time to sleep. Read in your kitchen or on the sofa at night rather than in the bedroom if you're the type who has to be busy up until bedtime.

Clean your room

If your bedroom is messy, cluttered, or uncomfortable in any way it might be affecting your sleep. Clean things up to make it a more spacious, cozy environment. Once you've cleaned, don't stop there. Try adjusting the lighting and colors in your room as well. Studies have shown that the colors in our environment affect our mood. You don't want bold, stimulating colors in a place devoted to sleep. To make lighting adjustments, keep your shades or curtains open at night so natural light wakes you up in the morning. This is a good practice for your circadian rhythm (our 24-hour sleep cycle that helps us wake up and fall asleep naturally). If you do use lights in your room at night, use a soft, yellow light. Blue light, liek that emitted from most LEDs, is higher on the UV spectrum and tricks your body into thinking it's daytime.

No phones in bed

Just like the LED lights mentioned above, your phone, laptop, and tablets all emit light that can keep you up. When darkness falls your brain begins producing melatonin (a chemical than makes you fall asleep). Staring into these screens inhibits that production, keeping you up later. You may feel that you're "just not tired," which is perfectly true. But it's because you're stopping your body from telling you it's time for bed. Some alternatives to looking at your phone would be to read or knit in bed while you wait to feel sleepy. Then you can just put them down and drift off to sleep. Helpful bedtime tips:
  • At night, set your phone's brightness to very low and if you have an iPhone use the "night shift" mode that turns your phone's light from blue to yellow
  • Listen to calming, ambient music on your iPod that will take your mind off distracting thoughts
  • Listen to an app or podcast designed to help you sleep
  • If you can't sleep after an hour or so, try getting up for a bit or having a protein-filled snack. Then try going back to bed
     




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 7/9/2017

If you are thinking of buying your first home, you’re thinking of making the single biggest purchase of your entire lifetime. Real estate is complex. From getting finances in order to understanding the entire process to securing the home you love, there’s so much that you’ll need to know when it comes to buying your first home. 


What Is A Down Payment?


A down payment is a one-time cash payment that you’ll provide at the closing table when you buy a home. How much your down payment is will have an effect on how much your monthly mortgage payment will be. It will also affect your initial home equity value. 


Should You Keep Renting?


First, you’ll need to think of a savings goal and a timeline. The general rule is that if you own a home for at least 5 years, you have gotten your “money’s worth” out of the closing costs and the fees you paid at the time you purchased your home. If you don’t think you’ll stay in a home for at least 5 years before making another move, you may want to consider renting until you know where you want to settle. 


What Can You Afford? 


You’ll need to calculate just how much home you can afford. Look at potential monthly mortgage payments plus taxes, fees, insurance, utilities and other monthly expenses that you have.


In dual-income households, it’s nice if the living expenses can be covered just by one person’s paycheck. Once you have an idea of your budget, you can price out homes that will meet your needs and be in your price range. 


Why You Should Save More


The best practice in buying a home is to put 20% down on the house. With this sizable down payment, it will be easier to get approved for a mortgage. You’ll also avoid needing PMI (private mortgage insurance.) This is an additional cost for people who put down less than a 20% down payment. This can cost you a lot of money each month, so it’s best to save as much as you can for that initial down payment. 


Don’t be discouraged. You can still buy a home with a lower percentage of a down payment, but you’ll have to pay for the PMI and include the additional expense in your budget. The Federal Housing Administration has many different options available that allow you to put a smaller down payment on a home, so do your homework.  


How To Save 

           

Once you get an idea of about how much you’ll spend on your home, you need to take action and start saving. There are many ways that you can save automatically without even thinking about it. You can choose a fixed amount or percentage of your paycheck and save it automatically into the house fund. Save as much as you can so you’ll be able to make your home purchase more quickly. You may even want to consider putting your money into a money market account for a higher return on your savings once you reach a certain goal. 


Don’t Forget To Save Your Bonuses


Whether you have received a gift or a sizable Christmas bonus, make sure that you put that money away towards your home purchase. Every little bit helps. While we may have an inclination to want to spend the money on more immediate things, you’ll be happy that you saved your money when you head to purchase your house! 


Use Your IRA


The IRS allows a tax benefit for first time home buyers. You can take out up to $10,000 out of your IRA or Roth IRA for a first time home purchase. Your Roth IRA account must be at least 5 years old in order for you to do this. Distributions from this account are tax-free, but you’ll need to pay tax if you withdraw form a traditional IRA. You should discuss any withdrawals that you do make with your financial advisor and your tax advisor. This could be an opportunity for you to build your wealth in a new way, so make an informed decision. 


Happy saving and happy house hunting!





Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 7/2/2017

When you have allergies, there’s nothing worse than being around your triggers. Most people with allergies know exactly what causes symptoms for them. If you know what the best and worst types of flowers are for people with allergies, you’ll have a better idea of what you can plant in your garden. 


Worst Flowers For Allergies


Unfortunately, most plants in the daisy family aren’t very good for people with allergies. Flowers in this family include asters, dahlias, daisies, Gerber daisies, chamomile, chrysanthemums, and sunflowers. Not every breed of every type of flower falls into the “bad for your nose” category. There are some hybrids available that aren’t as harsh for people with allergies. Most of these can even be pollen-free. Look for plants that are listed as “hypoallergenic.” These hold that title because they either have no pollen, or the pollen is just too heavy to be carried by the wind.


Goldenrod And Ragweed


You have probably heard a lot about ragweed getting a bad reputation since its pollen is carried by the wind. Goldenrod may not be as bad, yet it often is categorized in the same way. These plants are great to attract bees and other pollinating insects, but they’re terrible if you’re an allergy sufferer. 


Baby’s Breath


This type of flower is often seen in floral arrangements and bouquets. Although the flowers are small, they can bring on a large amount of pollen. The double flowered variety is a hybrid and is a better choice for allergy sufferers. This allows the tiny flower to have a lower level of pollen.        


Better Choices For Allergy Sufferers


The good news is that there are many different types of flowers that won’t cause you grief. Many of the “safe” plants are those that are used for foliage. These would include Hosta, cactus, and dusty millers. 


More choices for allergy sufferers who want color: 


  • Azaleas
  •  Begonias
  • Bougainville
  • Clematis
  • Columbine
  • Geranium
  • Hydrangea
  • Hibiscus
  • Iris
  • Lily
  • Orchid
  • Pansy
  • Roses
  • Zinnia  


You can keep beautiful plants throughout your home and garden even when you suffer from the worst allergies. You don’t need to sacrifice color in the process. Keep in mind that you want to avoid flowers with extremely potent scents. Even with the absence of pollen, allergies can still be aggravated by these smells. The sap from these flowers may even cause mild to moderate skin irritation, so it’s best to stay away from these varieties of flowers. 


Tree Pollen


Tree pollen generally needs to be carried via the wind from male trees to female tree flowers. So, it‘s important to find the right types of trees to plant in your yard as well when you have allergies. You want the pollen to land in the right flowers in order to pollinate, not in your nose.




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