Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc



Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 10/16/2016

The App Store is saturated with tools for helping you keep track of your budget, spending, income, credit score, and more. However, each app is different, offering varying levels of user-friendliness, security, and helpful features. We've built a list of the most useful apps for keeping track of your finances--from budgeting and paying bills, to learning about investing and credit, these apps have you covered.

Mint

Mint is the juggernaut of budgeting apps. You can securely sync all of your bank accounts, loan accounts (credit card, student loans, etc.) and even income accounts like PayPal. Once you've logged in, Mint does most of the work for you. In fact, just yesterday I got a notification from Mint that I was charged extra for my gym membership. In the app or from the website you can design your own personalized budget that includes things like food, shopping, groceries, gas, etc. When you make a purchase with one of your linked cards, Mint automatically sorts the purchase into the correct category. Aside from budgets, Mint also helps you set up a timeline for paying your debts. It shows you how long it will take at your current monthly payment amount and tells you how much you would save in interest by paying it off faster.

PocketGuard

PocketGuard is like a sleek, minimal version of Mint. However, its main strength, as the name suggests, is security. It boasts several barriers to identity theft and complicated and technical security measures that we won't get into here (we're talking†128-BIT SSL encryption). PocketGuard is also simpler than Mint, both in terms of content and display. Plus, you won't see as many advertisements for credit cards that Mint so slyly sneaks into just about every screen you view.

Home Budget with Sync

The name's a little awkward, we know. But they added that "with Sync" in there for a reason. Home Budget's most redeeming feature is that it allows you to sync up with other budgets in your household (your spouse, roommate, etc.). This makes it much easier for couples who are splitting bills to keep track of their expenses and savings. One piece of advice is to choose what you share wisely. Not everyone wants to share all of their personal finance information with others.

You Need a Budget

You Need a budget, or as its many happy customers call it, YNAB, is a whole lot more than just a way to keep track of your money. It boasts several learning resources that empowers you with financial knowledge. Where other apps just let you plug in numbers, YNAB teaches you what all of those numbers†mean and helps you make more informed decisions with your money. YNAB is created with the intention of reducing your financial stress. It has simple videos, instructables, and more to help you learn the ins and outs of budgeting. Then it helps you build your own budget and stick to†it with many of the same features as Mint or PocketGuard.

Personal Capital

If you're ready for the big leagues of finance and want to start investing and tracking your assets, Personal Capital will help you get there. This app is designed for managing and analyzing assets. The app's main features are broken into categories: cashflow, retirement, investing, and net worth. The outstanding feature here is investing. It simplifies investing, checks up on your investments, and gives you useful tips that will help you get your toes wet in the investment world.




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Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 2/28/2016

Going to college can be a very expensive endeavor as a result of the financial requirements and obligations. †It requires a lot of financing from textbooks, to housing accommodations, transportation and other miscellaneous expenses. †This does not even include the cost of tuition. There are several ways of handling these costs effectively without going broke. Here are a few suggestions to assist in your financial planning. 529 College Plans This is a form of investment that allows parents to set aside some money towards their kidís education, allowing it to appreciate in value tax free. †This implies that when you withdraw from your savings, as long as the funds are used for the purpose of your childís education, you will not be taxed. Irrespective of your income, and other family members can contribute to a 529 account. Coverdell Education Saving Accounts (ESA) This account functions like an IRA. But in this case, it is for education and not retirement. With this form of savings, you can make contributions up to $2000 with post tax dollars and allow the money to grow tax free. When you withdraw, you are not taxed on the money or interest as long as it is used for the purpose of education. IRA and Roth IRA Accounts Basically, these accounts are investment accounts used to save money for college or retirement with no significant taxes. They come as deductible and non deductible accounts. In order to qualify for this type of accounts, your income as well as an existing retirement plan is taken into consideration. With a deductible IRA, tax is deducted from your annual contributions. When you make withdrawals, you will be taxed based on your contributions and earnings. Roth IRA, contributions are not tax deductible and your earnings are also tax free if your withdraws after a five year period are used for an appropriate expenses like college tuition.




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Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 6/24/2012

Buying property can definitely be a very lucrative investment. However, before you decide on buying and selling real estate, you have to have a good understanding of the markets. In other words, if you are looking to buy so that you can sell down the road to make a profit on your real estate, then you are better off achieving this when the housing market is slow, as there is less demand for buying houses, thus forcing sellers to lower their prices. This in turn will allow you to get a home at the lowest price possible, and then being able to sell it at a higher price once the markets begin to move again. Of course, investing in real estate is not only about the current conditions of the housing market. In addition, you also have to look at other factors such as the location the real estate will be in, the condition of the real estate, and the reason why the owner is looking to sell. In the end, buying and selling real estate carries the same risks as any other type of investment, and the only way to avoid these risks is through proper research. More importantly, you will be spending a good amount of money on real estate compared to other types of investments, and so you want to make sure that your money is well spent. By keeping these valuable points in mind, you will be able to find the right property to invest in.





Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 5/27/2012

It is a great time to be a real-estate investor. If you are looking to jump in the investor market low home prices and low interest rates make this a great time. According to Zillow.com. the real-estate market is starting to recover: U.S. houses lost $489 billion in value during the first 11 months of 2009, but that was significantly lower than the $3.6 trillion lost during 2008 and things only continue to look up. While the timing may be right, you will need to have all your ducks in a row. An investment purchase is different than your typical purchase. Consider your options. Have a strategy and know what kind of investor you would like to be. Ask yourself if you want to be a landlord, or are you planning on flipping or restoring and reselling properties. What types of properties are you interested in? There are many choices from land, to apartment buildings, residential housing and other commercial real estate. Partner with experience. Real estate agents experienced in investment property deals know what to look for in a deal. You may also want to consider asking a more experienced real-estate investor for advice. If you plan on becoming a landlord make sure to familiarize yourself with the local laws regarding being a landlord. Location, location, location. If you buy a property with hopes of renting it out, location is key. Homes in high-rent or highly populated areas are ideal; stay away from rural areas where there are fewer people and a small pool of potential renters. Also, look for homes with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms in neighborhoods that have a low crime rate. Also think about potential selling points for your property. If it's near public transportation, shopping malls or other amenities, it will attract renters, as well as potential buyers if you decide to sell later. The more you have to offer, the more likely you are to please potential renters. Have capital lined up. Speak to potential lenders or a financial planner about what you will need for assets and cash flow. You will need to have enough assets to handle the ups and downs that could come with investing. Most experts suggest a fallback of about six months of mortgage payments for landlords. You will need this in case or vacancy or repairs. If you're planning to fix up a home and sell it, you will need reserves to cover the costs to maintain the home while it is on the market. Becoming a real-estate investor is much different than being a residential homebuyer. A buying decision is a business decision not one based on emotions.





Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 5/20/2012

If you are thinking about owning a piece of property to live in while wanting to have an extra section to help pay the bills, then you will find that there is an effective way to do it. Today, many people are considering the idea of buying a multi-family home, because this allows you to have your own space for you and your family while getting extra income from renting the other apartments. Keep in mind that as advantageous as this is, there are a few points that you have to consider. The first thing to keep in mind is becoming a landlord will require some extra work. When repairs are needed, or a tenant does not pay the rent it can cause some unwanted worries. This being said it can also be a great way to start off allowing you to live, in some cases, rent free while getting monthly income to help pay down your mortgage. Another point to remember is that when it comes to renting, is choosing the right tenants, you have to remember that you are in fact running a business, as you will be collecting an income from the home you are renting. Take the time to choose the right tenant, a credit check, otherwise you might find yourself in a situation where you will be losing money if your tenant does not pay up at the end of the month. If you are willing to put in the work, purchasing a multi-family home can be a great way to invest.