Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc



Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 7/8/2018

Itís common knowledge that a 20% down payment is key when you buy a home, but is it absolutely necessary? With average home prices continuing to rise, itís hard to actually save up that sizable of an amount of money. Thinking bout the numbers, buying a home may seem impossible. 


Thereís good news: The 20% down requirement is actually a myth. If you put less than 20% down, you can still get a mortgage with most banks. Thereís a reason why you hear that you need to put 20% down to buy a home. If you donít put 20% down, you need to get either private mortgage insurance (PMI) or government insurance from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). These types of mortgage insurance protect the lender if you donít make your payments and the home is foreclosed on. 



Do PMI Payments Go On Forever?


When your loan-to-value ratio reaches 80 percent, youíre able to ask your lender to cancel the insurance. Once the loan-to-value ratio reaches 78 percent, the lender has a requirement to cancel the PMI. This type of insurance can be costly, averaging at least a few hundred dollars a month. 


Alternatives To 20 Percent Down


Look at financing before you find a house. Thereís a few programs that can help you to buy a home without 20% down. Thereís different ways to qualify for these programs, so your best bet is to talk to a lender well before you start your home search.


Government programs through places like the US Department of Agriculture and the Federal Housing Administration help people to buy a home with very little down- anywhere from 0-3.5%. Some of these programs can prove to be costly on the backend, due to extra insurance requirements, but they do provide an alternative path to home ownership.  


Thereís also an option to actually finance the down payment with what's called a subordinate loan. his may make sense for some, however, you are taking out a loan in order to pay for another loan. The process may be counterintuitive for you and your financial situation. 


Different Paths To Homeownership


While thereís many different paths to owning a home, thereís no one right answer. Since everyone chooses different properties and has different financial situations, thereís a way for you. Even if saving up a 20% down payment is seemingly impossible, thereís way to get around it. Start with talking to your bank and other lenders to see what types of programs are available to you and discover what your path to homeownership is.




Tags: pmi   down payment  
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Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 7/1/2018

If you've lived in your home for more than a couple years, chances are you've grown rather attached to it. Whether you're selling your house because your family has outgrown it or your company has transferred you to another location, you're probably attaching a lot of sentimental value to the price tag. Unfortunately, sentimental value does not translate into dollars and cents in today's real estate market.

The emotions of prospective buyers will often play a role in their decision to make on offer on your house, but they're probably not going to pay more than the market value for your property -- unless there's a bidding war situation going on. One of the best ways to determine a fair and reasonable asking price for your home is to have it appraised by an experienced real estate agent. Their appraisal will be based on objective data, such as the selling price of comparable homes in your area. The location and condition of your home will have a bearing on pricing your home effectively, as will the prevailing market conditions and other factors. Although online estimates can sometimes give you a ballpark figure of what your house may be worth, a local appraisal is more accurate

A common misconception among homeowners is that a $10,000 home improvement expenditure should justify a $10,000 increase in the selling price of a home. Although that concept may seem logical, it unfortunately doesn't work that way in the real estate market. An updated kitchen, bathroom, or roof may make your house more appealing to prospective buyers and help it sell faster, but it probably won't have a dollar-for-dollar impact on the price buyers would be willing to pay. Since each selling situation is unique, however, your local real estate agent is the best person to consult regarding a fair asking price for your home.

Avoiding Home Seller Mistakes

In addition to overpricing their home, another mistake home sellers make involves three related activities: decorating, staging, and attempting to create curb appeal. In spite of a homeowner's best intentions, their decorating and home staging ideas may clash with those of the house-buying public. When you attempt to tackle home staging on your own, several things could go wrong.

  • You could either spend too much or too little on making repairs and sprucing up your home's appearance.
  • You could spend your time and money upgrading inconsequential features of your home, while overlooking the real important changes that need to be made.
In either case, you're missing the mark when it comes to maximizing the marketability of your home. That's why it pays to take advantage of the knowledge, expertise, and objectivity of a professional real estate agent. Their recommendations on pricing and home staging will be based on experience, best practices, objective criteria, and current market conditions.





Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 6/24/2018

It goes without saying that buying a home is time-consuming.

 First, thereís the financial planning to determine when youíre ready to buy a home. Then you need to get pre-approved for a mortgage and start looking for homes. After viewing several homes you finally find the perfect home. Then comes the difficult process of making an offer and negotiating the cost of the home. If all goes well, your offer is accepted and you get to enter the lengthy mortgage closing process. However, your work is not yet done. Youíll have to move out of your current residence and into your new home. All of this while juggling your work and social life.

 After all of this, it might seem like the only thing left to do is relax in your new home. While it may be true that you certainly deserve a break, there are some things you should do sooner rather than later when you move into your new home.

 In this article, weíll cover ten things you should do right away once you move into your new home.

1. Home security

Your chief consideration when moving into your new home should be making sure itís safe. The best first step to take is to change all of the locks on your house. In spite of how trustworthy the previous homeowner may have seemed, you can never be 100% sure who had spare keys to their home. Changing locks is quick and inexpensive, especially considering whatís at stake.

Another important step in home security is to put new batteries in and test all smoke detectors, make sure fire extinguishers are up-to-date, and ensure air filters are cleaned.

2. Set up your utilities

One of the first things you have to do when moving into a new home is to call your utility companies and transfer services into your name. Make a list of the services youíll need to set up (electricity, water, garbage removal, internet, home security, heating, etc.). This is also a good time to set up online accounts and autopay for these services. It will save you time each month and make it easier to keep track of your bills if you simplify this process from the get-go.

3. Self-inspection

You should have already had the home inspected by a professional prior to closing on the house. However, things can change in the time that someone moves all of their belongings out of a home and you move all of yours in. Wiring can be damaged, pipes banged, windows cracked, and so on. Do a thorough inspection of your home to check for leaks, broken wires, and fire hazards to be sure that your home is in good condition.

4. Deep clean

It might be tempting to just move your belongings into their new places once you arrive at your new home. However, the best time to clean a room is when itís empty. Before you set up your furniture or fill your cabinets, give them a thorough cleaning.

5. Familiarize yourself with circuit breaker and water valves

When disaster strikes, youíll want to be ready for it. Get to know your circuit box before the first power outage. Store flashlights in easily accessible places and make sure they have fresh batteries. Similarly, familiarize yourself with the main water shutoff valve in case you have a pipe burst. If the former homeowner lived alone and you have a large family, thereís a chance that the sudden surge in power and water usage could reveal issues with plumbing and wiring that the former owner wasnít aware of.





Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 6/17/2018

If you intend to list your house, it may be beneficial to perform home upgrades. That way, you can enhance your residence and increase the likelihood of generating plenty of interest in your house as soon as it becomes available.

Oftentimes, a home's roof will deteriorate over time. And if a home seller is not careful, he or she may be forced to repair or replace a house's roof prior to listing a residence. Because failure to update this home's roof may force a home seller to miss out on opportunities to maximize his or her home sale earnings.

For those who need help upgrading a home's roof, there is no need to worry. Many roofing contractors are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these professionals can help you update a home's roof in no time at all.

Differentiating a top-notch roofing contractor from an ordinary roofing contractor, however, sometimes can be difficult. Lucky for you, we're here to help you streamline the process of hiring the best-available roofing contractor in your city or town to update your house's roof.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you select the ideal roofing contractor.

1. Get Multiple Quotes

There is no shortage of roofing contractors at your disposal. Thus, you should receive quotes from multiple roofing contractors in your area.

Reach out to a variety of local roofing contractors Ė you'll be glad you did. In most instance, roofing contractors will offer free roof evaluations and estimates. Then, you can use the information provided by various roofing contractors to help you make an informed decision.

2. Ask Plenty of Questions

When it comes to selecting a roofing contractor, there is no such thing as a "bad" question. Therefore, you should ask a roofing contractor lots of questions to ensure you can make the best-possible choice.

Remember, roof repairs or updates may prove to be costly. But if you ask a roofing contractor for full details about a roof project, this professional can provide you with the insights you need to maximize the value of your investment.

3. Request Client Referrals

Generally, a roofing contractor can provide client referrals at a moment's notice. These referrals may prove to be exceedingly valuable, as they can help you understand what it's like to work with a roofing contractor before you make your final decision.

If you need extra help finding the right roofing contractor, you may want to reach out to a real estate agent as well. This housing market professional can put you in touch with the top roofing contractors in your city or town, ensuring you can get the home improvement support that you need.

Of course, a real estate agent can provide you with expert guidance throughout the home selling journey too. He or she can help you list your residence, promote it to the right groups of buyers and ensure you can enjoy a quick, profitable home selling experience.

Take the necessary steps to upgrade your home's roof Ė use the aforementioned tips, and you can hire a terrific roofing contractor before you add your residence to the housing market.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 6/10/2018

One recurring problem all parents deal with -- especially on weekends and school breaks -- is keeping their children entertained and engaged. (Sound familiar?)

While you can sometimes take your kids and their friends bowling, to the movies, or roller skating, those type of activities are only short-term fixes. Once you've expended all the possibilities, you're back to square one! The ideal scenario is to be able to fill in some of those gaps with fun, recreational activities at home.

If you have a finished basement or are talking about renovating an unfinished area, then that part of the house can provide the space for a dedicated rec room. The cost of finishing a basement can be expensive -- with estimates ranging from $10,000 to around $35,000. The final cost would depend on factors like the square footage of your basement, contractor pricing, materials used, and whether you're willing or able to do any of the work yourself. For growing families with active children, remodeling a basement or buying a house that already has a finished basement could prove to be a priceless resource for years to come!

Setting Up a Game Room

Outfitting a rec room with items like game tables is an additional expense that could have an impact on your budget. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to keep a lid on those costs. One idea would be to spread out those purchases over a period of time. For example, one year you could buy a billiards table; the next year, you could add a ping-pong table, air hockey game, or a foosball table to the room. Many of these items also make excellent birthday or holiday gifts for the kids, so you can potentially include those purchases in your gift-buying budget. With a little online price comparison, you'll also discover that you don't have to pay top dollar for any of those game tables. It's rarely necessary to get the "deluxe" version of a pool table, air hockey game, or foosball table, and there's a wide range of sizes and prices available -- both online and off. You may also stumble upon opportunities to buy used versions of those popular rec room games, and save a lot of money in the process.

Two inexpensive ways to expand the range of activities available in your recreation room (and keep your kids happy) is to stock up on board games and age-appropriate craft supplies. A television with a DVD player, popular channels, and video games is also sure to provide hours of entertainment on rainy days, school holidays, and unstructured weekends. Finished basements can also be a great place to host children's birthday parties, sleepovers, and club meetings. A TV in the basement can also help maintain family harmony. When the grownups want to watch one program and the kids want to watch something entirely different, you don't have to draw straws or pull rank!