Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc



Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 9/24/2017

Bad housing contractors have a conscience. It's just that they don't behave as if they have a conscience. A big reason for this has to do with the contractors' focus. Instead of putting you, your family and your house first, bad housing contractors focus on how much money they can make after you give them access to your property.

What happens when you're not your housing contractor's top priority

Money is so important to bad housing contractors that these workers publish ads and seek out customers right after a hurricane, tornado or another natural disaster. Instead of seeing the suffering caused by a severe storm, bad housing contractors see opportunity.

To safeguard yourself from bad housing contractors, you have to be alert. And you can't just be alert right after a severe storm, the type of storm that causes millions of dollars of damage in a town over the matter of a few days.

You have to be alert year round and in all situations. Specific safeguards from bad housing contractors starts with a simple search. You can conduct this search online.Simply log into your local licensing department's website.

Confirm that housing contractors you want to work with have an active license. Look to see if there are any complaints against the contractor. Also, check to see if the contractor has had a lapse in her contract.

More safeguards from bad housing contractors

Make sure that housing contractors have a license for the type of work that they will be performing at your house. For example, contractors who you pay to repair or replace plumbing fixtures should have an active plumbing license. Before performing electrical or wiring work, electricians should have an active electrician's license.

Other safeguards from bad housing contractors include:

  • Thoroughly reviewing legal agreements before contractors start working on your property
  • Speaking up on points in legal agreements that you don't feel comfortable adhering to (Don't be intimidated by strong willed housing contractors. Remember that housing contractors are working for you.)
  • Seeking referrals on licensed contractors. Don't rely on the fact that contractors are licensed. Check to see how satisfied customers are with contractors' work.
  • Asking contractors about the process that they follow when preparing to perform work and while they work. Also, find out about the process that housing contractors use to clean up after they finish making renovations or repairs at a property.
  • Putting valuables in a safe place to avoid having the valuables get damaged by paint or other materials or equipment.
  • Ensuring that contractors stick to work schedules so that you don't end up paying more for a job than you had budgeted for.

Safeguards from bad housing contractors come with far reaching effects. Not only do the safeguards protect you from overpaying for repairs or renovations, these safeguards protect you during other business situations. The first step alone teaches you how to review legal documents, experience that you can use in other work negotiations.





Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 9/17/2017

Whether new or old, many homes can have issues that arenít obvious from photos. Many of the most common problems in a home have to do with the plumbing system. Since water can be so damaging, itís especially important to get these issues out in the open prior to sale.

Some sellers might be aware of their plumbing issues, others may have no clue at all. Oftentimes, if a home was previously occupied by only one or two people who didnít entertain many guests, they may not be aware of the strain that a larger family could have on things like the septic system.

In this article, weíll cover some of the most common plumbing issues that a home has and help you identify these issues before you buy a new home.

The small fixes

Letís start with some problems that are common and simple to address. When touring a home or performing an inspection, test all of the homeís faucets. Dripping faucets might not seem like a big issue, but the cost of wasted water can add up on your utility bill.

Leaking pipes are another issue that is seemingly harmless, but can lead to bigger problems that could cost thousands of dollars to repair. Check ceilings, floors, and underneath cabinets for signs of water damage.

Flush the toilets in the house to see if they continue running. Toilets that continue running water is often a simple fix, like replacing the chain or flapper in the tank. However, a leaking toilet could be symptomatic of a bigger problem that could include having to replace the toilet.

Sewer line and septic systems

Ask the owner about the history of the sewer or septic system. Find out if theyíve had problems recently and when the last time they were taken care of. If there is a septic tank or field on the property, look for signs of issues such as the grass having been dug out, water pooling in the yard, or foul smells in the area.

When it comes to septic and sewer issues, always reach out to a professional. They will be able to give you an accurate assessment and estimate of costs.

Inspect the pipes

Spot-checking the pipes in the home will tell you a lot about the state of the plumbing. Pipes that are old, worn, and lacking insulation are signs that plumbing issues could be coming. Rust is a major red flag. The water lines that lead out of the house for lawn faucets should also be wrapped to avoid freezing in the winter months.

Hot water heater

Just like the septic system, youíll want to ask about the history of the homeís hot water heater. If itís over ten years old, you might have to replace it soon after purchase.

You should also consider the size of the hot water heater. Youíll want to be sure it can accommodate your expected water usage. If children are in your future, having a bigger hot water heater might be something you want to plan for to avoid cold showers in the morning.





Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 9/10/2017

Reality is hard to beat when it comes to house selling and relationships. Artists know this well. Years ago, the song "Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing" came out that expounded the advantages of real connections with a romantic partner. Throughout the hit song, being with a romantic partner was shared as being a lot more powerful and rewarding than trying to connect with a partner via memories alone.

Reality encourages honesty and introspection

The same applies with house selling. Although a house is not a person, approaching the house selling process from the perspective of striving to connect a potential buyer to a house takes healthy doses of reality. That alone can help to ensure that realtors and independent home sellers are forthcoming.

A focus to be as real as possible takes the legs out of the aim to do whatever it takes to sell a home. It's impossible to be real and strive to conceal the fact that the roof is leaking. Another thing that will wash away as you focus on being real is the effort to sway home buyers to the point that home buyers give into your verbal or emotional pushes instead of trusting their own instincts or inner guidance.

Try these real home sell approaches

Even though an outgoing and engaging personality helps with nearly any sell, it's not required to sell a house and earn an attractive profit from the sell. You do need tools to make the house sell as real as possible. Tools and approaches that you could use include:

  • Audio tapes of homebuyers talking about specialevents that they enjoyed at their house
  • Videotaped walkthroughs of a house
  • Videos of existing landscaping, including recent upgrades made to the exterior of the house
  • Ability for home buyers to view the interior and exterior of houses using virtual reality headsets
  • Live drives through the neighborhood that houses that are for sale are located in (Drive by schools, restaurants, shopping centers and other facilities.)
  • Links to reviews on apartments and other area residential facilities
  • Website URL of the real estate agency that is representing the home seller
  • Brief bio on the home seller (There's a reason why people pay more for celebrity homes; they feel like they know the celebrity because they know the celebrity's name, what the celebrity does for a living and some of the celebrity's passions.)

Home buyers appreciate real, smart information

Home buyers can tell when realtors and home sellers are being honest with them. That honesty is appreciated even if the house is not perfect. In fact, home buyers might be more open to buying a house if they sense that realtors are being upfront with them.

They might think that realtors have their best interest in mind, not just the best interest of their clients. The fact is that many houses develop repair needs after several years. From flooring to roofing to plumbing, houses generally experience at least one maintenance need after they have been in existence for 10 or more years.

By being honest about recent repairs and maintenance that's been performed on a house,realtors can arm home buyers with smart information, the right information to make a wise home buying decision. Videos, pictures, data analysis and live home walk-thrus help to present smart information. So too do real life stories shared between current homeowners and potential home buyers.




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Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 9/3/2017

Homeowners insurance is necessary, but that doesn't mean you should be forced to pay an exorbitant amount for it. Instead, you can take advantage of the following money-saving tips to lower your monthly homeowners insurance premiums: 1. Bundle Your Homeowners and Auto Insurance. In many cases, you can bundle your homeowners and auto insurance to save money. This will allow you to cut costs and leverage the same insurance company for both your homeowners and auto insurance policies as well. If you already have auto insurance and are looking for home insurance for your new residence, be sure to discuss your plans with your auto insurer. By doing so, you may be able to bundle your homeowners and auto insurance and lower your insurance premiums for years to come. 2. Explore All of the Options at Your Disposal. When it comes to finding homeowners insurance, there are plenty of fish in the sea. Thus, you're sure to discover many great options at your disposal, all of which you should explore before you decide on a homeowners insurance provider. With homeowners insurance, you should try to conduct plenty of research. And remember, the most affordable option may not be the best option based on your homeownership needs. Therefore, homeowners who do their homework will be able to review all of the options at their disposal and make an informed decision about their homeowners insurance. 3. Exclude Land Value from Your Homeowners Insurance Policy. Your homeowners insurance may include the value of your land as well as your residence. In this scenario, you may want to consider removing the land value from your policy. With homeowners insurance, you'll want to ensure that your residence and its contents are fully covered. That way, these items can be replaced if they are damaged. On the other hand, you may not need replacement coverage for your land. Before you exclude land value from your homeowners insurance, however, you'll want to discuss the pros and cons of doing so with an insurance agent. This professional will be able to outline how much money you can save by making this change, along with the short- and long-term ramifications of this decision. 4. Increase Your Deductible. Boosting your homeowners insurance policy's deductible likely will result in a drop in your monthly premium. At the same time, it is important to consider the trade-off that takes place if you make this change to your policy. A higher deductible means that you'll be required to pay more out of pocket if and when a claim is filed. As such, you should weigh the immediate cost savings versus the long-term value of increasing your deductible before you finalize your decision. Homeowners insurance can be tricky to understand, but insurance agents can help you discover the best ways to lower your monthly premiums. Ask your insurance agent for help with your homeowners insurance, and ultimately, you can work with this professional to find solutions to help you save money on your insurance premiums.





Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 8/27/2017

Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life, financially and otherwise. When you buy a home you're deciding on the region you want to live in, where you might want to raise children, and the people you'll live around for likely many years. You're also signing up for all of the responsibilities that come with a home: utility bills, issues and repairs, cleaning the house, maintaining the yard... the list goes on. So, before plunging into a mortgage, check off all the items on this checklist to determine if you're ready for home ownership.

The First Time Home Buyer's Checklist:

  1. I know where I want to live. Determining the location of your home is one of the most important factors that goes into home buying. Most decisions are influenced by your job/career, but things like family, friends and weather are all important things to consider. Aside from knowing where you want to live, you'll also need to know how long you want to stay. As a general rule, if you don't plan on staying in your home for at least 5-8 years it could be cheaper and easier to rent until you find somewhere you'd like to settle in.
  2. I have my finances under control. You don't need to be wealthy to buy a home, but you do need to have a strong understanding of your personal finances. In a spreadsheet, write down your total savings, monthly income and monthly expenses (including groceries, transportation, bills, and loans). Find out what type of mortgage and downpayment you can afford at your income level.
  3. My income is dependable. When you apply for a home loan the bank will look into this for you. But you should also want to make sure you can continue to afford your mortgage payments. How dependable is your job? Are there a lot of job opportunities in your field and in your area? These are all questions that help you determine the stability of your income.
  4. I have a good credit score. Your credit will be a big factor in getting approved for a home loan. Building credit seems complicated but it's based on four main things: paying bills on time, keeping balances relatively low, having a long record of repayment, and not opening several new cards or taking on multiple loans in a short period of time.
  5. I'm pre-approved for a loan. Getting pre-approved isn't mandatory, but it offers many benefits. First, it shows lenders that you are a safe person to loan money to. Second, it will give you insight into what banks think of your finances and will give you an idea of what price range you can safely buy in.
  6. I'm prepared for the responsibilities of owning a home and willing to learn. If you're handy around the house and can fix anything, that's great. What's more important, however, is that you have the time and willingness to learn new skills that will help you become a good homeowner.