Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc



Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 6/30/2014

If you are looking to increase the living space in your home, the answer might just be right under your feet. Remodeling your basement has the potential of uniquely transforming the look of your home. Although this has a unique set of challenges, with proper planning, it can be achieved. Here are some tips on how to remodel your basement into a functional living space. Make a Family Room The basement is a great place for casual social activities, a perfect spot where the entire family can get together and relax with a board game or a big screen television. Make it inviting and alluring, just like any other room in the home. Some new furniture, a great sound system and excellent lightening would be a great way to start. Include a Bath and Bedroom Adding a bedroom and a bath makes the basement an ideal suite for guests. The dimensions should be determined by who will use it. For a double bed, you will need a minimum of 125 square feet, for twin beds, 150 square feet will serve your needs. When adding a bedroom, be certain there is an emergency exit that leads directly outside.  A professional will need to be consulted in regards to adding a bathroom as specific regulations will apply. Add a Kitchen With a mini kitchen in the basement, entertainment gets easier. This would require access to hot and cold water, electrical outlets, exhaust vents, a small dish washer, under counter refrigerator and anything else that would allow for more comfortable living. Design a Safe and Attractive Staircase In most homes, there is a staircase leading to the basement. When remodeling, take the opportunity to improve the look of this entryway to your new living space. If it is not properly positioned, consider moving it to a better location. Consult with a designer or an architect for guidance on redesigning your stairway. Add Windows Adding windows is great for basements, but this task is better left to the professionals. If this is properly done, it will improve the ventilation, add light, and make it very comfortable. Adding windows may require digging a window well. A retaining wall made of masonry, limestone blocks, or treated landscape timbers should be added to the well. If properly done, it could also serve as an emergency exit. Finish the Walls. The walls of the foundation are usually made of poured concrete and reinforcement materials. Cover the walls with materials of your choice. Plywood, paneling or any material that would make the area more inviting.  For example, covering the walls in the living area with sheets of maple-veneer would add an arts and crafts feel to the room. There are many options and trained professionals that can help you achieve the look you want. Finish The Ceilings Basically, there are three options available to you when remodeling the basement ceilings, leave the pipes and duct work exposed, conceal it with a dry panel or hide everything with a suspended or drop ceiling. Choose Comfortable Flooring In most cases, basement floors are made of concrete, unless plywood sub-flooring has been installed. Concrete works with most floor finish choices like tile, carpet, vinyl and paint. For below grade installation, solid wood flooring is not recommended as it shrinks and expands causing gaps.   However, engineered wood flooring is recommended as it shrinks less.  





Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 10/6/2013

Whether it be simply the preference of the homeowner, or an attempt at increasing home value, hardwood flooring is increasing in popularity.  Hardwood floors can add a touch of class to a smaller home, and make larger homes really show off their square footage in a way that carpeting cannot compete with. If you are considering outfitting your home with hardwoods, style and durability will be your two biggest categories to explore, after cost.  Some hardwood options, while stylish, lack the durability of others, and care would need to be taken in order to not wear out your new home addition prematurely.  Below, I'll list some of the more popular varieties of hardwood flooring options. Wide-Plank - Wide-plank flooring is quickly becoming one of the more popular options for people looking to add a touch of class to a room or home, without sacrificing their floor's durability.  This style of flooring gives you a wide variety of wood options and styles to choose from, but woods with complex grains are the preferred way to go.  Wider planks allow the natural beauty of woods like Hickory and Tigerwood a chance to shine. Reclaimed Pine - This eco-friendly option is also a popular favorite.  Perfect for homes that already possess a rustic flare, reclaimed pine flooring can add a touch of historical class to any home.  And because one of the primary sources of reclaimed pine flooring are historical buildings, this is an environmentally-friendly alternative to some of the more extravagant hardwood varieties, like Brazilian hardwoods, or teak.  Reclaimed pine is just one of many varieties of reclaimed wood, so shop around a little.  Almost all reclaimed hardwood options will add a touch of mature class to a home. Eucalyptus and Ebonized Hardwood - These varieties are extremely dark and elegant.  Best paired with contemporary homes. If you are partial to white furniture and decor, this variety will serve to complement your design style immensely. Red Oak - This variety of flooring is gaining a reputation for it's ability to successfully coordinate with any design style, as well as it's durability.  Red Oak is a fantastic choice for homes with children, as the durability of the wood will prevent most scuffs and dents that a high-traffic family would normally dish out on a less-resilient wood variety.  The lighter, warmer colors of the wood also serve to heighten the brightness and color of a room, which may be preferred in houses that don't get a lot of natural light. Brazilian Cherry - This variety is the classic "mosaic hardwood".  The natural variation in color from plank to plank is an eye-catching addition to any home, while the affordability factor is also an appeal.





Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 8/18/2013

Buying a home is still one of the best ways to build wealth. If you are looking to add value to your home without breaking the bank there are many projects that will increase your home's value for less than $1,000. One thousand dollars can go a long way when it comes to home improvement projects. If you think and plan smart your profit should outweigh your investment. Here are a few projects that will give you the most bang for your buck. 1. Organize Your Home Declutter your home by organizing closets, cabinets and pantries. Add bookshelves for more storage. Maximize space in the kids’ rooms by installing platform or bunk beds. A neat and organized home is easier to live in and shows better to potential buyers. 2. Make an Entrance Simply updating and replacing your entry door will spruce up your curb appeal. Not only will the new door look great it can also help save money.  Adding a steel door will save on energy. Most of the new steel doors are made to look like wood. A new door will cost approximately $400. 3. Install a Programmable Thermostat. Another way to save money is to switch from a manual to a programmable thermostat. Prices vary greatly on these thermostats but don't expect to pay more than a few hundred dollars for a high end model.  A programmable thermostat can save you $180 a year in energy costs. 4. Update your Cabinets Cabinet hardware makes a huge difference on how new your kitchen looks. Simply update the cabinet hardware by installing new knobs and pulls in more modern metals and looks. Most large hardware store have a large selection of hardware you can usually buy a 10-pack for approximately $20. 5. No more Bathroom Blues Bathrooms can be one of the most expensive updates in a home. You can give a bathroom a quick facelift by replacing old tile. Vinyl tiles are inexpensive and easy to install or with ceramic tile can cost as little as $3 per square foot for material and installation.





Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 5/5/2013

After numerous years of living in your home, you will soon become bored of the same decorations and furnishings, or at least stop appreciating them. This in turn can create a dull environment to live in, which is the last thing you want in your home. By following these tips in how to spruce up your house, you can ensure that your home always looks vibrant and welcoming. Sprucing up your home does not have to cost a lot of money, as you will find that there are many bargains available when it comes to finding decorative items. In fact, one way to get these bargains is by shopping online, as many reputable home decoration stores have great offers available. The first thing to keep in mind as you begin creating that new look in your home is that you should always work towards a theme. In fact, this is one of the most important tips in how to spruce up your house, because without the right type of theme, you will find that your decorations can look very noisy to the eye. The best way to begin sprucing up your home is by focusing on one room at a time, and as you finish that room, you can then gradually move onto the next room. By taking this approach, you will be able to focus on that theme, and you will also not feel overwhelmed in the process. Lastly, keep in mind that it is necessary to get the input of your family, because this will ensure that everyone is happy with the overall new look of your home.