Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc



Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 3/4/2012

Maintaining a good credit score is essential for buying a house, a car and even for landing a new job. There are lots of of things that can cause your credit score to plummet, from maxing out a credit card to having a home foreclosed on or declaring bankruptcy. Surprisingly, there are many financial situations that have no bearing on your credit score. According to an article from Time Moneyland and Barry Paperno, consumer affairs manager for MyFICO.com there are five common misconceptions about what harms your score. 1. How much money you make. Paperno says many people are surprised when they find out their salary doesn't directly impact their score. They’ll get a job and expect to see their credit score rise. When it doesn't, they’re disappointed. Of course, the advantage here is that if your income drops, the scoring formula doesn't penalize you. 2. Whether or not you have a job. Being laid off doesn't mean your credit score will go down. Many people who lose their jobs do take a hit to their credit, but this comes from falling behind on payments, not the job loss itself. Even if you’re receiving unemployment benefits, as long as you manage to get your bills paid on time, your score is safe. 3. Whether or not you revolve a balance. Some people think you’re at an advantage if you revolve a balance from month to month, while others believe you can charge all the way to your limit as long as you pay it off. Neither is correct. When it comes to your score, 30% consists of the amounts you owe in relation to your available credit — an equation called your utilization ratio. The lower that figure, the better. A credit score is just a snapshot of what your credit looks like on the day a lender pulls it. If you’ve maxed out a card, even if you intend to pay it off by the due date, that will reflect poorly on your score. Conversely, if you revolve a small balance in relation to your credit limit, you’re not doing yourself any favors by forking over interest to the credit card company, but your score won’t suffer. 4. Whether or not your home is underwater. Making a monthly payment on a house that’s no longer worth as much as the amount of your mortgage definitely stings, but a drop — even a significant one — in the value of your home doesn’t mean that your score will drop, too. Paperno says the FICO scoring formula doesn’t look at the current market value of your home. 5. How much money you have in the bank. Some people think that a big balance in a checking or savings account will make them more attractive to lenders, but in reality, Paperno says your credit score doesn't take your savings into account. If you do have a big balance in a savings account, use some to pay down other debts, since that will help your credit score.





Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 1/29/2012

There are many ways that you can invest in real estate. One way is by purchasing land. This option can be a very lucrative choice, as long as you keep the few important points in mind. The reason why purchasing land could be a viable option is because you get to pick your location, and build a home to your specs. This will allow you to find your own contractors to construct your building for you. By having full control over who you choose and what you pay, it becomes easier for you to save on costs. Keep in mind that while you do have full control over who you choose to build on your property, it also means that there will be more responsibility hanging over your shoulders. For example, you would need to make sure that you have all the right permits to construct your building, and you also have to make sure that you choose the right contractors; otherwise the whole project can turn into a big catastrophe. Therefore, before deciding to purchase a piece of property that is completely void of any buildings, take some time to do some research, as this will save you a lot of headache in the long run. Buying land in a down market can also be a great investment. Land is becoming harder to come by, which is creating a higher demand for land and in turn bringing the price up. Buying land now and holding onto to it could bring some great return. Think about it in 10 years from now there will be a lot less land and your lot could be worth a pot of gold. Invest now and reap the rewards down the road. Think of it like a savings account, you deposit money into a piece of land and watch your money grow!





Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 1/15/2012

Buying a home can be a scary and confusing process. It is easy to get confused by all of the homes, locations, and what is truly important to you when buying a home. First you will want to determine what you can afford. To do that you will want to get preapproved. That means a bank; mortgage broker or credit union will determine how much of loan you qualify for based on your income, debt and credit score. They will give a pre-approval letter stating how much you can afford. Now it is time to pick a real estate professional to help you find the right home, negotiate on your behalf and help you navigate through the process. It is important that you choose an agent that is reputable; you have interviewed to find a good fit and is willing to listen to your needs. Many buyers often confuse their needs with their wants. Making a list of what you actually need and what you want or your wish list is very helpful when looking for a home. Buying a home is typically a process of elimination. Many home buyers often dismiss homes that perfectly fit their needs in search for one that has their wants. This doesn’t mean you can have your wish list, but home buying is more often defined by your budget than wish lists. To help with this process it is typically helpful to make a list of needs and wants.

Examples of NEEDS Examples of WANTS
Reasonable square footage for comfortable living Paint, carpet, counter tops, accessories.
Bedrooms to accommodate your family Pool or Jacuzzi (unless for medical reasons)
Adequate number of bathrooms Wood floors
Eat-in kitchen Bay windows, skylights
Garage or basement for storage needs Entertainment centers,  moldings, decks and patios
Lot size to accommodate children's play area Upgraded lighting fixtures
Adaptation for Handicapped View
Proximity to a specific school
Single floor living for health reasons
Each individual will have a different list of needs and wants. Your own list will help you evaluate homes as you go through the process. Sharing this list with your real estate professional will also help narrow down your search. The goal is to find a house that includes all of your needs and meets as many of your wants as is practical in your budget.





Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 12/25/2011

Buying a home is a very important decision. Before you rush into a home you should consider all the factors. Making sure you end up with the right home involves figuring out exactly what features you need, want and don't want in a home. Before starting your search, you should make a "wish list" to decide which features are absolutely essential, which nice “extras” are if you happen to find them, and which are completely undesirable. The more specific you can be about what you're looking for from the outset, the more effective your home search will be. Also keep in mind, that in the end, every home purchase is a compromise. Create your own personalized "wish list" and when you're finished filling it out; share it with your real estate agent. Become an educated buyer •The web is one of the best ways to search for homes today. With this website, you can receive daily emails with new and updated listings from the towns and price range of your choice. •Search the entire MLS for all homes, condos, land, multi family, commercial properties, and past sold properties at your convenience. •View full listing sheets showing amenities, taxes, lot sizes, beds, baths, rooms, siding, fireplaces, garages, room sizes and much more. •Get property addresses and see where the properties are located on MapQuest. •Check schools and community profiles of your preferred towns. •Save preferred listings in your own file to view anytime. •Calculate approximate mortgage payments for specific properties. Home Inspection Once you have made an offer on a home, you will need to schedule a home inspection, conducted by an independent authorized inspector. It is extremely important to hire a reputable inspector so that you know exactly what you are buying. Do not hesitate to ask friends, family, and co-workers for advice. If you are satisfied with the results of the inspection, then you can proceed with the sale. If the inspector finds problems with the property, you may want to negotiate with the seller to lower the price, or to pay for certain repairs. Appraisal Your lender may require you to get an appraisal of the house you want to buy, to make sure it is worth the money that you are borrowing. You may select your own appraiser, or you may ask your real estate broker to help you with this task. Homeowner's Insurance Lenders require that you have homeowners insurance, to protect both your interests and theirs. Like everything else, be sure to shop around for insurance that fits your needs. Settlement or Closing Finally Make Sure Before you Buy Finally, you are ready for the closing. Be sure to read everything before you sign! You should have both your real estate broker and an attorney present at the closing to ensure that all is in order.