Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc



Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 10/18/2020

Image by Valter Cirillo from Pixabay

In Italy, it's long been a cherished tradition to harvest beans, place the pods over the ground under the autumn sun, then store the sun-dried beans for wintertime. On brisk days, beans would be cooked up with a medley of vegetables and pasta. When the cook tossed dry pasta tossed into the stew, the starch from the beans and pasta would lend themselves to a creamy mix, thickening to form a robust and aromatic winter meal.

Keep the history alive! Make it tonight, or prepare it a few days in advance and let it marinate. Either way, this rustic, casserole-style soup will not disappoint. Here's how to do it like the Italian cooks do.

Step 1: Pronounce It Authentically 

It has to be said. Pasta fazool, as folks say in the northeastern U.S., comes from pasta e fasule — the Neapolitan term. It got a little exaggerated when Dean Martin famously sang about those stars that make you drool Joost like-a pasta fazool. That’s amore!

But if the dish is named pasta e fagioli, it's pronounced PAH-stah eh fah-JOL-eh. The first “i” in fagioli blends into the o that comes after it.

The exact translation? Pasta and beans.

Step 2: Gather the Ingredients

Here's what to lay out on your counter:

  • 1 ½ cup small pasta shells 
  • 2 cups dried Cannellini beans, cooked (or 1 can, with the liquid)
  • 2 Tbsp. cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large, finely chopped onion of your choice
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, with the strings pulled out and discarded
  • 2 cups canned crushed tomatoes or fresh cherry tomatoes
  • ½ tsp. salt and pepper, mixed
  • 1 Tbsp each dried basil and oregano 
  • 1 quart of hot water
  • Step 3. Prepare a Red Sauce

    Make a simple Italian sauce by blending your tomatoes and olive oil, the chopped onion, basil and oregano, salt and pepper.

    Step 4. Make and Cook the Soup

    Heat the olive oil over medium hear in large, nonstick pan. Chop the celery and add it, as well as your chopped garlic clove. When they are about to brown, stir in the red sauce.

    Simmer for 10 minutes.

    Add the quart of hot water.

    Blend the beans in.

    Bring the mix to a boil, and cook for another 10 minutes. 

    Step 5. Bring the Pasta Into the Mix

    Finally, add the dry pasta shells and boil the complete soup, stirring, for a final ten minutes, or until the pasta is just becoming tender. Continual stirring will keep your shells separated.

    Step 6. Serve and Enjoy

    Serve immediately, while it's hot.

    You might wish to garnish your Pasta e Fagioli with fresh Italian parsley, and serve with crusty bread and extra virgin olive oil. Two people can enjoy this meal, and have enough left over to marinate in the fridge and enjoy again the next day. That's amore!




    Tags: Cooking   recipes  
    Categories: Uncategorized  


    Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 10/11/2020

    Image by ErikaWittlieb from Pixabay

    For most people, buying a house is the biggest investment they will make. Unless you are paying cash, the transaction could become complicated. Not that many people can pay cash for a house – and for those that can, it often makes more sense to borrow than to use up cash reserves, especially if interest rates are low. Whether this is your first home purchase or a subsequent home purchase, you might consider going with as much home as you can afford. In some cases, such as when the elderly want to downsize, smaller is better, but in most other cases, larger is better.

    Better Value

    When you do go to sell your home to downsize or because you get a job transfer, you’ll get more money for a larger home. Most people want at least three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Those houses tend to sell easier than homes with fewer bedrooms and bathrooms.

    Growing Family

    If you are newly married, planning on getting married or moving in with your significant other, or if you are older, but plan to have one of your children move in with you, you might want to start with a larger home so that you won’t have to go through the hassle of selling to upgrade. Even if you are single, if you plan on having a family, you might want to buy a larger house now. If you change your mind about the family, you can always sell it later on – and get more for a house that will be easier to sell.

    Entertaining

    When you entertain, you won’t be stuck sleeping on the floor or on the sofa if you have extra bedrooms. Your guests can have the privacy of their own room when you buy a bigger house. The more bedrooms you have, the more people you can have stay over. If you have just one person or family stay over, you might prefer just one extra bedroom, but if there’s a possibility that two friends stay, go for two or more extra bedrooms.

    Single-Use Rooms

    If you have hobbies, the extra rooms are great for decreasing the clutter around your house. A hobby that takes up tons of space is reading. If you’re an avid book collector, line the walls of an extra bedroom with bookcases – from floor to ceiling – to store all of your books. If the room has a good view, build a window seat in the room for a comfortable and quiet reading space.

    And, if you need a home office, you can convert an extra bedroom into an office. You’ll have a quiet space to work, plus you’ll be able to lock up confidential information, whether you use a filing cabinet or install a hidden safe in the room.




    Categories: Uncategorized  


    Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 10/4/2020

    If you add your house to the real estate market but fail to garner buyers' attention, now may be a good time to revamp your home pricing strategy. Otherwise, your home may remain on the housing market for many weeks or months before it finally sells.

    Generally, there are several factors you need to consider to determine if you have priced your residence appropriately. These factors include:

    1. The Current State of the Housing Market

    The demand for houses in your city or town may have far-flung effects on your property selling experience. For example, if there is significant demand for houses in your area, the real estate sector favors sellers. Or, if there is minimal demand for homes in your city or town, the real estate market favors buyers. And if you do not price your house appropriately in a seller's or buyer's market, you may struggle to stir up interest in your home.

    It often helps to price your house based on the current state of the real estate market. By doing so, you can establish an initial asking price for your home that falls in line with buyers' expectations.

    To assess the current state of the housing market, evaluate the prices of recently sold residences in your city or town. You should find out how long these houses were available before they sold, too. Once you have this housing market data in hand, you can determine whether a seller's or buyer's market is in place and price your house accordingly.

    2. Your Home's Age and Condition

    The price you originally paid for your home is unlikely to match your house's current value. Fortunately, if you evaluate your residence's age and condition, you may be better equipped than ever before to set a competitive initial asking price for your home.

    Sometimes, it helps to conduct a home appraisal before you list a residence. An appraisal enables you to receive a property valuation that accounts for your house's age and condition, along with various real estate market factors. Then, you can use this valuation to determine the optimal initial asking price for your house.

    3. Your Home Selling Timeline

    If you are in a hurry to sell your home, you should establish an initial asking price that will grab buyers' attention. On the other hand, if you can afford to be patient during the home selling journey, you should not settle for a subpar offer to purchase your house.

    When it comes to establishing a home selling timeline and determining how to price your residence, hiring a real estate agent may be beneficial. A real estate agent understands what it takes to sell a home, regardless of the current housing market's conditions. As such, he or she will work with you to ensure you can price your home competitively.

    For those who want to streamline the home selling journey, it typically helps to start with a competitive initial asking price for your house. If you consider the aforementioned factors, you can boost the likelihood of pricing your home appropriately from day one of the house selling journey.




    Categories: Uncategorized  


    Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 9/27/2020

    Photo by mentatdgt from Pexels

    The methods for getting started in real estate investing range from strategies that are active to others that are more passive. Many methods fall in between those extremes but all have their own level of associated risk. Here we'll touch on some of the lower risk ways to get started with property investment. 

    1. BRRR

    Buy, Remodel, Rent, Refinance, Repeat is a method that is also known as BRRR. With careful planning and execution, it can be an effective way to start building a portfolio of rental properties without using all your cash. 

    The BRRR method basically involves purchasing a property that needs improvements and is being sold for under its potential value. First, use short-term financing or cash to buy the property. 

    Once you've remodeled, rented it out and otherwise stabilized it as an income generator, you refinance the property using a more conventional mortgage. Doing so could free up most of the original capital for your next purchase. 

    2. Own Then Rent

    This strategy involves choosing a house that works as your home and as an investment rental property in the future. There are numerous advantages to adopting this method. 

    You can improve and remodel the home while it accrues equity. Choosing projects that will return the most return on your investment is crucial. 

    Once you've done so, you can level up to another home. After doing this a few times, you can build up a small real estate portfolio. 

    3. Own and Rent Out

    A home such as a duplex, triplex or fourplex has built-in investment and profit potential. You live in one of the units while renting out the others. This strategy also works if you purchase a home with a guest house, mother-in-law apartment or a basement with a separate entrance. 

    Using this strategy provides you with valuable time to build experience as a landlord or property manager. In this scenario, you'll live in close proximity to your renters which could be an adjustment if you're moving from a single-family residence. 

    4. Live in Then Flip

    This strategy is a variation on the others already listed. Once you purchase a house, move in and start making improvements. Wait a minimum of two years and then sell it for a profit. 

    Be sure to follow the IRS rules regarding profits from home sales. By doing so, you won't be subject to the taxes on that money up to $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for couples who file jointly. 

    This list is by no means an inclusive one. It does, however, provide you with actionable steps you can take to get started as a real estate investor. 





    Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 9/20/2020

    Image by Monster Ztudio from Shutterstock

    It's time to find the perfect place of your own but becoming a property investor has one significant roadblock: a down payment. Itís something that can stop potential home buyers in their tracks.

    While winning the lottery or inheriting a windfall would be fabulous, you donít need those luxuries before you can buy a home. What you do need is a budget that gives you a strategy for saving while still attending to daily expenses. The challenge is that once you create the budget, you must protect it from the temptation to stray from it while you work toward homeownership.

    Here are some proven savings tips AND the budget-busters to avoid along the way:

    Strategies for Saving

    Detached account. While it seems obvious, many people lack even one savings account. If you already have an account, open a separate one specifically for your down payment. Make sure that it is detached from your other accounts. Having a savings account designated specifically for your down payment may get you to think before dipping into it whenever other expenses arise.

    Different bank. You can open an account at the same institution where you have a checking account but doing so makes it easy to move money back into your spending account. Open an account at a credit union or savings bank to which you'd have to make a special trip to remove funds.

    Direct deposit. Have the down payment part of your paycheck deposited directly to your savings account. You'll avoid having immediate access to it. If you don't see it in your checking account, you are less likely to spend it.

    Establish a Budget

    Now that you have established a place to save funds, you need to create a budget to handle your remaining income. Many online programs will help you to create a budget and keep track of your spending. They are often free or low fee to use, and some give you access to a financial planner at a small cost. Here are some to get you started:

    Mint.

    Budget Simple.

    Every Dollar.

    YNAB.

    Budget Busters

    Many people resist living by a budget because it feels too restrictive. The notion that your budget monitors your spending keeps many from reaching even first-level financial goals. Money is a tool to help you get what you truly desire. If you wish to own a home, eliminate these budget-busters that will keep you from getting there:

    Overpriced drinks. If your caffeine habit racks up more than $10 every day, consider cutting that expense in half. If you saved five dollars each day, you could add $1825 to your down payment account by yearís end.

    Eating out. Just like a daily coffee break, restaurants and fast food meals can easily break a budget. Studies show the average American spends over $250 each month eating out. If that sounds like you, eat out half as often and bank another $125 each month. Over 12 months, thatís $1500 more towards your down payment.

    Clothes. Many offices allow casual dress so spending on clothes for work might not be necessary. If you work in an environment that requires professional attire, purchase a few high-quality pieces that you can style in different ways with lower-cost items.

    Expensive vacations. The travel bug bites in every season. Even a cheap flight with a hotel and rental car can result in a fairly large expense. Instead, you may opt for a getaway that is within driving distance while youíre working through your savings plan.

    These budget-busters could add up to $6000 or more annually. That could be enough to qualify for a down payment when using an FHA loan. Add to that a portion of any extra money you receive throughout the months for bonuses, birthdays, holidays, rebates, and tax refunds, and your down payment account can grow significantly in just one year.