Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc

Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 10/7/2012

Just because winter is approaching doesn't mean you have to put off home projects. In fact, while some projects are better done during the summer, there are a select few that are best done while the weather is taking a turn for the chilly. Here's a few ideas to help get you started. Caulking your windows and doors - Fall provides you with a unique opportunity to find the drafty spots in your home, and rectify them before a harsh winter hits. Caulk adheres to surfaces best around 45 to 50 degrees, and with the temperature falling to the 40's and 50's in the fall, you'll find yourself being about to feel out which rooms are drafty and need some attention. Properly caulked windows and doors will save you a boatload in utility costs, not to mention the obvious benefit of keeping your house comfortable in what is sure to be a tough winter. Evaluating your attic insulation - Now would also be a good time to check up on your insulation, and consider whether or not it would be in your best interests to replace your existing insulation. †Improperly insulated attics can wreak havoc on your utility bills, and unfortunately, many homeowners are unaware of the kind of insulation at work in their attics.†Energystar's website†has a comprehensive guide for what kind of insulation your home should have, as well as a brief guide explaining the classifications of insulation, and why certain kinds are preferred over others depending on the climate you happen to find yourself in. Guarding against fall pests - Due to decaying vegetation and falling temperatures, some insect populations experience a population explosion during fall weather. †After this population boom, and the temperatures drop, these insects will do anything they can to find shelter, including wiggling right into your home. †Luckily, by practicing fall lawn maintenance regularly, you can avoid the brunt of this onslaught. †Bugs LOVE dead leaves. †It serves as not only a food source for them, but due to the decay of vegetation raiding the ground temperature, it also serves as a shelter from the colder temperatures. †By staying vigilant and keeping your yard free of debris, it will also keep your home from being overrun with pests. Pave your driveway - Because repaving your driveway is one of those projects that is notoriously put off time and time-again, this is just a friendly reminder to consider this project before the cold weather prevents you from doing so. †A fresh, smooth driveway will make snow removal much easier in the dead of winter, not to mention the aesthetic appeal it can convey. †If this is one of those home projects that you were planning on doing this year, just keep in mind; time is running out.

Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 5/13/2012

It is great to have a room renovation every once in a while but painting and changing the look of a room can be costly and time consuming. Here are three quick and simple ways to change the look of your room without busting the budget.

  1. Window Treatments are one of the quickest, simplest and most affordable ways to change the whole look and feel of a room. If you prefer to take the focus away from the windows, choose neutral colors, and a simple style. If you would like to create a dramatic look and emphasize the view, choose more color or a bolder style in the window treatments. A layered look with sheers or a top treatment will also do the trick.
  2. Lighting can definitely add color. A simple solution would be to add colored bulbs to some of your light fixtures. Incandescent lighting can also add more warmth, and accent lighting can highlight an area of the room. Transform a roomís mood with dimmers, uplights, and sheer textile lampshades. Wall sconces, floor lamps and even candles can also change the look of a room.
  3. Artwork can change the look without busting the budget. Artwork can be from a local gallery, childrenís drawings or just what you already have hanging around the house. Choose pieces that showcase intense colors but also work well with the existing pieces in your room. Try moving your current artwork around. Photos, vases, and other collectibles can give new life to a room. Group them in sets of three or five for an instant eye-catching display.
The possibilities are endless. You can infuse a lot of color into any room without once having to pry open a paint can or spend a fortune. Have fun!  

Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 4/22/2012

We think of the spring and fall as home clean up time but taking advantage of the warmer weather and time off from work makes summer the perfect time to do a home maintenance checkup. Get Ready for Cooler Weather Do an Energy Audit Take a walk around your home and take an inventory of gaps and cracks. Plugging leaks can save you 20% on heating and cooling bills. Look for gaps under switch plates. If you find gaps install foam inserts. Make sure to turn off the electricity at the circuit box before doing this. Donít forget to check where windows meet walls, walls meet floors and pipes and wires enter the home. Plug all gaps with caulk. Other places to find leaks are fireplace dampers, mail slots, air conditioners, attic doors, baseboards and the weather stripping surrounding doors. Look for daylight, feel for drafts and listen for rattles; all clues to escaping heat. Now look outside the house. Look for gaps or damage where pipes, vents or wiring enter. Also check siding for gaps or damage, pay attention to corners where the material joins and where it meets other materials, like chimneys, windows or the foundation. Save Money on Heat and Hot Water Save on heating costs next winter by insulating the hot-water pipes in the basement or crawl space. Insulating pipes is easy; all you need to do is snap foam jackets (called sleeves) around the pipes. Make sure you know the pipeís diameter to get the correct fit. Get the Outside in Tip-Top Shape Pretty the Patio There is nothing more uninviting than dirty patio furniture. Mix up a bucketful of soapy bleach solution to keep your patio furniture squeaky clean. Mix 2/3 cup trisodium phosphate (TSP), 1/3 cup laundry soap powder, a quart of bleach and three quarts of warm water. Use a rag and soft-bristle brush to remove embedded dirt on synthetic coverings, metal and wood furniture. Rinse thoroughly and let dry. Donít destroy the deck Donít let your pretty deck flowers rot your wood deck. Make drainage room in your potted plants by setting pots on pot ďfeetĒ. For a frugal solution; just prop bricks under the pots. Look out for tree trouble Trees that hang over your roof, rub against gutters or dropping loads of leaves and sticks onto the roof should be pruned. Overhanging branches can provide a ladder for rats and squirrels, and diseased or damaged trees may fall on your home in a storm. Fix the fence Look for damage along the fence line. Mow the grass next to the fence low so you can get good visibility. Keep your fence in tip-top shape by make prompt repairs. Check fence posts for signs of rot (poke soft spots in the wood for crumbling or decay). Remove and replace the damaged areas. Keep fences painted or stained to protect the wood. If dogs or other animals are tunneling under the fence attach a 2-foot-wide apron of wire mesh around the inside perimeter of the fence.