Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc



Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 3/25/2018

One of the most difficult decisions to make when refinishing a room is how much of a current trend to inspire your choices. Jumping in with two feet can be fun and certainly create a wow factor. However, trends can also quickly become outdated and if youíve invested a lot of time and money into a particular one you will also have to spend a lot of time and money to change it.

Luckily, this isnít an all or nothing situation. So whether your current obsession is mid-century modern or shabby chic you can satisfy your style preference without making a top to bottom change in a few months or years.

To start, keep bigger items like the wall color, flooring, and furniture neutral in both style and color. What I mean by this is to choose furniture that is inspired by or similar, but simpler, to a more trendy piece. And neutral doesnít have to mean beige. Blacks, grays, blues, browns, whites, and creams with just a hint of the desired hue are perfect multitaskers that transcend both trends and time.

For example, if you want pink for a blush-toned creme or for green a sage infused blue. If youíre craving color black and white create the perfect canvas for colorful accessories to really pop and make a statement. Navy and charcoal are neutral but underutilized colors that allow you to give a little push style boundaries.

Bring in those pops of color with accents. Wall art, decor, throw pillows, curtains and bedding are perfect ways to do just that. Incorporate your favorite new colors and patterns throughout the room for a consistent look and not as if you haphazardly placed pieces as an afterthought.

The best part of using these details to infuse your trend of choice is that they enable you to go as bold or subtle as you like. Curtains or a comforter in a bright color or a bold print capture the eye immediately. Throw pillows and wall art, on the other hand, make for a room filled with personality.

Itís always fun to incorporate trends when we are decorating. It gives the room your unique brand of personality and brings the space to life. Cleverly choosing your larger items to remain understated to allow your trendy pieces take the spotlight is the perfect way to join in while also staying flexible if you tire of it or want to change things up down the road.

Youíll also be making a more budget-friendly project by choosing neutral tones for your investment pieces. They will be able to carry over decades to come while transcending, for the most part, the many trends it is sure to outlive.     




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Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 3/18/2018

Decorating a home is no simple task. You have to consider the architectural style of the house,  how to best use the space to avoid clutter, and to give the home a sense of cohesion and continuity across the rooms.

Professional interior decorators attend school and earn degrees and certificates that help them make these difficult decisions. After all, things like furniture and appliances are expensive items--you donít want to spend a lot of money on items only to decide later that they donít go well together.

If you donít have plans on hiring or becoming an interior decorator, there are a few simple rules you can follow to make sure your home has its own tasteful appearance and atmosphere.

Whether youíre buying your first home, redecorating your current home, or staging a home you hope to sell, these tips will help you create a look that will leave an impression on anyone who steps foot inside.

Space and negative space

In art, negative space is a space on the canvas intentionally left blank. For home design, negative space is an important aspect of decorating any room. Negative space in a home means a part of the room or wall that is left open, free of furniture, decorations, or clutter.

In practice, negative space serves two important functions. First, it creates a spacious atmosphere. Cluttered rooms typically have a negative effect on us, particularly over long periods of time. Rooms with negative space also tend to be let in more light, which improves the overall spaciousness of the room.

The second function of negative space is to draw attention to certain features of a room. On a wooded hilltop, you wonít notice just one tree. But on a hill with only one tree, it becomes easier to focus and appreciate that single tree. This rule also applies to the interior of your home. To showcase a piece of furniture or a painting on the wall, youíll want to surround it with some negative space.

Balance and symmetry

Two concepts that hold true in different types of design are the usefulness of balance and symmetry, and understanding when itís okay to break the rules (make a room asymmetrical).

Having symmetry around your dining room table is usually a good idea. You want the same number of chairs on each side and you want the chairs to match. However, when choosing living room furniture, asymmetrical design can come in handy when pairing a couch with two armchairs.

What does it mean to balance a room? Take a look around your kitchen and living room. Are there some items that are much taller than others? Are some items crowded into one corner? It may become habit to simply place items wherever they fit, but sometimes itís a better option to rearrange furniture to create vertical and horizontal balance.

Create a color palette

The colors of your home are of utmost importance when it comes to creating a good design. One good way to prepare for color issues is to create color palettes for your home--one for each room, and one master palette. Doing this will help you choose furniture, paint, and decorations that will not only look good in each room, but will flow as you walk through the house.





Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 3/11/2018

Whether youíre a new homeowner or have owned your home for a few years, thereís always much to learn when it comes to understanding mortgages. Depending on your financial status and your long-term plans, it may make sense to either make larger payments or to refinance your home loan.

Today, weíll tackle some of those difficult ďwhat if?Ē questions, helping you decide when to refinance, when to keep your payments stable, and when you might want to increase your monthly mortgage payments.

What are the benefits of refinancing?

Weíve all heard about the benefits of refinancing when under financial stress. For things like student loans and credit card debt, refinancing is often a debtorís only choice. However, with home loans, the allure of refinancing may not always be a good fit for you.

If your plan is to refinance to get lower mortgage payments each month, you should first question if it will be worth it on the long run, which might amount to you paying more in interest. To avoid paying more in interest, refinance after youíve accomplished important financial milestones, such as increasing your credit score which makes you a lower risk client to banks.  

When does it make sense to pay more?

The benefits of paying off your mortgage in a shorter period of time are obvious. It means less time making payments, and less money spent on interest.  

However, depending on your mortgage, you might be better off investing your savings in something that will give you a larger return. Investments in a retirement fund, for example, are likely to pay off to a larger degree in the long term. To do the math, simply calculate the savings you would earn on by cutting your mortgage interest and weigh that against projected gains in retirement funds.

None of us can predict the future. Stocks rise and fall, people get laid off from their job due to fluctuations in the economy, and so on. These factors make it difficult to determine whether you should invest. So we encourage you to do your homework when it comes to investments so that you have the best chance of succeeding.  

Changing lenders

Your relationship with your lender will likely be a long one, so you want to make sure itís one youíre comfortable with and that they are giving you reasonable rates. Now that youíre secure and living in your you have time to shop around for the best rates.

Be sure to ask lenders for good faith estimates and compare applicable fees. Ask friends and neighbors about their experience with lenders and read online reviews to get a better idea of what type of customer experience can expect.




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Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 3/4/2018

Whether you're environmentally conscious or just want to save a few dollars on your utility bills, there are simple ways to do both. One of the first steps to conserving electricity and water is to become more aware of when and how you're using it.

A major challenge for many parents is to get their kids to turn off lights, appliances, and water faucets when they're not using them. With persistence, you can hopefully get them to understand the importance of saving money, controlling costs, and conserving resources.

Dependable Old Appliances Are a Mixed Blessing

Toilets and household appliances can last much longer than their expected life span, but after a certain point, you're getting diminishing returns. If your toilets are more than 25 years old, for example, you're wasting gallons of water with every flush. Inefficient toilets from just a couple generations ago use as much as six gallons of water every time they're flushed. According the Environmental Protection Agency, recent advances in toilet design are now enabling families to use only 1.28 gallons of water per flush while still getting superior performance. In dollars and cents, families that replace old, obsolete toilets with Watersense-certified models can save more than $110 a year (and nearly 13,000 gallons of water). The EPA says utilities may even offer rebates and vouchers that can lower the price of a WaterSense labeled toilet. (As a side note, toilet use in homes accounts for nearly 30 percent of an average family's indoor water consumption.)

If your washing machine was manufactured before 2003, it's another source of wasted water and energy. The newer Energy Star-certified clothes washers can save about $45 a year in utility bills, based on typical usage patterns. They use about 25% less energy and 45% less water than the old, standard models. The EPA also says that if you have a dishwasher made before 1994, it wastes approximately 10 gallons of water per cycle. By switching to an energy-efficient model, an annual savings of $35 a year can be realized by the average family.

There's actually a wide range of Energy Star-certified products available that can save you money on utility costs and help conserve water and electricity. In addition to washers, dryers, and dishwashers, other energy-efficient appliances include dehumidifiers, refrigerators, freezers, air purifiers, water heaters, heating and cooling equipment, computers, televisions, pool pumps, and much more. Energy efficiency -- or a lack, thereof -- is one factor to consider when deciding whether to repair or replace old appliances, HVAC systems, or plumbing fixtures in your home.

Not only will you save money when your home is operating efficiently, but you'll enjoy the satisfaction that comes with minimizing waste and making the most of natural resources.





Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 2/25/2018

In real estate, cash is power. Itís not exactly the amount of money that you have been approved for by a lender. This type of ďcashĒ is what you can pull directly from your account to buy a property on demand. It can be difficult to compete with cash buyers especially in tight real estate markets. Below, youíll find some tips to help you match up against any cash offers that you may be competing with when you buy a home. 


Make Your Offer Look Attractive As Possible


First, you should always have a pre-approval letter from your lender. This lets sellers know that youíre a qualified buyer. You should also get your lender or realtor (or both) to provide some financial information about you along with your offer. This helps to add to the case that youíre a dependable buyer.


Let Things Move Quickly 



If you allow your lender to send an appraiser to the property as quickly as possible, this will give you an advantage in the home buying process. You want to reduce the amount of time that it will take to close on the house. That means you should consider cutting down on both the appraisal and contingency time. You could even consider waiving any contingencies if you feel comfortable. 


To speed up the process, even more, you should pre-order an appraisal in advance. You can do this before your offer has even been written. It can be difficult to arrange this, especially with larger scale lenders, but itís always worth a try. Once the offer is written, the lender can relay to the seller that an appraisal has already been scheduled.


Youíll also want to get the inspection done fairly quickly. You only have a short window of time to get the inspection done. The quicker you get this done, the more serious of a buyer you appear to be. You should have the inspector who youíll use ready before you even put an offer in on a home in order to expedite this part of the process. Usually, inspectors donít take terribly long to schedule appointments knowing that their clients have short windows to get inspections done.  


Make A Strong Offer


Making a good offer could mean paying extra for a home you love in order to compete with cash offers. Spending more money helps to win. Hereís why: Sellers almost always will give a cash buyer a bit more of a discount since theyíll be getting all of the funds up front. If you love the house and plan to live in it for years to come, the extra money you spend will be well worth it.         


Write An Offer Letter


An offer letter adds a bit of a personal touch to the number you put down as a buyer. Here, you can tell the seller who you are and why you love the home. It can be emotional to sell a property, but a seller will feel more comfortable knowing that the home is going to someone who will appreciate it.

  






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