Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc

Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 8/31/2015

One project that you can do to your home that will make a big difference is to clean the outside. If you have vinyl siding it can look dirty and dull and make your home look dingy. One day spent cleaning the siding will make a big difference. It may seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools it can be an achievable one by almost anyone at any skill level. Here are some tips to get you started: What You Need: Soap Soft Bristle Brush Ladder (as needed) Tools Pressure Washer (optional) Hose with Sprayer 1. Prepare your home by closing all of the windows and doors from the inside. Cover any plants and outdoor furniture that may be damaged by water spray or soap deposits. Also, turn off all of your exterior lights. 2. If you are using a pressure washer fill it according to the manufacturer guidelines and pick a soft spray nozzle. If you will be using a garden hose choose an appropriate nozzle to wet the vinyl siding. 3. Spray the house down to wet it. Always spray at a downward angle to prevent water getting beneath the gaps in the siding. Work in small areas 50-200 sq. ft. in size. 4. Soap down the area with a multi-purpose diluted soap. Use a soft bristled brush to scrub the siding gently to remove dirt. 5. As you scrub the vinyl, spray it off with the hose to rinse away any soap and remaining dirt. 6. Remember to work in small sections. 7. Take a step back and enjoy how clean your house looks.

Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 8/17/2015

When the power goes out a major concern is the freezer full of food. So how do you know if you food is safe and how can you keep it from spoiling? First, do not open the freezer door. A freezer full of food will usually keep about two days if the door is kept shut. It should last about a day if it is half-full. If the freezer is not full, group packages together they will retain the cold more effectively. You can also pack your freezer with dry ice, block ice, or bags of ice in the freezer. Use an appliance thermometer to monitor the temperature of the freezer. Food that retained a temperature of (40 °F), it is safe to refreeze or use. The food may also still be safe to use if ice crystals remain in the food. Discard foods that have been warmer than 40 °F for more than 2 hours.

Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 6/15/2015

You can do just about anything with an app. Like the saying goes; "there's an app for that". If you are a homeowner there are several apps you will want to download to your mobile device. Here are just a few to get you started: Houzz -Design your perfect room with Houzz. Homeowners can create an idea book for their next remodeling project by searching rooms and photos.  The items in the photos have tags with pricing and availability, members can also tag items they have seen in stores and provide additional info. Houzz integrates with Facebook, Flicker, and Twitter to share ideas with friends. ColorSmart by BEHR – See what your room will look like with new paint without even picking up a paintbrush. ColorSmart allows you to take a picture of the room, choose your paint, and then preview what the room would look like in different colors. Photo Measures – No need to figure out if the furniture will fit, with this app, you simply upload a photo of a room, and then write in all its measurements so you never have to remember the exact layout. Now you will always be able to make sure that everything will fit perfectly. Mint.com-Budget your money and control all of your finances on your iPhone. Mint.com will gathers all bank, credit card, and loan statements in one place, letting users see where every penny goes. The app also makes money saving recommendations based on spending habits HomeSavvy – Never forget to do a home maintenance project again. This app gives you a customized home maintenance schedule and alerts you when it’s time to get the project done. It also includes a directory of local businesses with customer ratings for each task that needs completed. What are some of your favorite apps to help you around the house?  

Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 6/1/2015

Every homeowner has to have some fix-it knowledge. In order to get the job done you have to have the right tools. First you will need to assemble a proper home-repair tool kit. This suggested kit should cost approximately $200 and provide you with 90% of all the tools you'll ever need to repair and maintain your home. Here are the top tools you'll need to get started. 1. Toolbox First things first, you'll need something to hold all of your tools. A toolbox will help you organize and quickly find what you are looking for in a pinch. A toolbox doesn't have to be a box at all, it may be a bag and large container as long as all of your tools fit and are easily accessible. 2. Hammer A hammer is the absolute must-have tool. You may choose a steel- or fiberglass-shaft hammer. Make sure to choose one with a smooth (not checkered) head.  You may also want to choose a hammer with a straight or "rip" claw they are more useful for demolition. 3. Screwdrivers (mixed set) Go ahead and buy the set of screwdrivers. You will save money plus you will get all the sizes you need. Your set should have 1/4- and 3/8-inch flat heads and No. 1 and No. 2 Phillips head drivers. Some screwdrivers have magnetic heads; they can come in handy when looking for dropped nails etc. too. 4. Tape measure Buy a good quality tape measure. Buy at least a 16-foot,  3/4-inch-wide model. Also look for one that is easy-locking. 5. Reversible drill with bit set A reversible drill is the only electric tool you need and it is a must. Home centers are full of cordless models but you may want to opt for a corded version, they are less expensive and never run out of battery. Make sure to purchase a 3/8th-inch reversible drill this will be the most useful around your home. 6. Utility knife Often there is nothing that can replace a utility knife. Make sure to purchase plenty of replaceable blades for your utility knife. 7. Handsaw Even if you have a circular saw, you may still find some times when you will be happy to have a handsaw handy. A short handsaw is probably best, look for one with a 12-inch blade it will cut straighter and faster. 8. A level A level is essential for hanging just about anything. Purchase a 9-inch torpedo level. This is easier and more accurate than laser levels. 9. Vise grips: $10 Clamp anything with vise grips. Also known as locking pliers, all you need to do is adjust the screw drive in the handle and clamp it on to anything that needs viselike stabilizing. If you don't have vise grips channel-lock pliers can be a good backup. 10. Safety glasses Better safe than sorry. Effective eye protection is a must in any toolkit.        

Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 5/18/2015

The home office can quickly become the catch-all. How can you keep your home office clean and workable?  Here are few tips to keep your home office in tip top shape and ensure you have ample space for work and storage. 1. Have adequate work space When laying out or reorganizing your home office make sure you have ample space for work and storage. Make a designated space for computer hardware and peripheral equipment, a spot for reference materials, file space and a location for frequently referenced supplies and paper. 2. Create centers Zone your home office into activity areas. Set up a clear workspace, a reference center and a supply center. Having designated spaces for things will help keep your organized. 3. Wrap it up Bundle unsightly wires together to cut down on cord clutter. Use a surge protector to for electronic equipment. 4. Create an immediate action center Create an area that is easily accessible and within your view for items that need immediate action. Establish a permanent filing system for papers you will reference, but not on a regular basis. Follow these simple tips and your office will be organized in no time.