Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc



Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 12/29/2019

Image by Photographee.eu from Shutterstock

Having a beautiful home is wonderful, but having a beautiful home with an elegant and functional kitchen is fantastic. Updated kitchen décor and finishes are an on-trend way to create a warm gathering place for friends and family. A real wood countertop is a top option for perfecting the natural kitchen décor motif.

Wooden Countertop Styles

There are distinctive styles of wooden countertop materials available, and each serves a different purpose and esthetic.

  • Butcher Block Countertops: For countertop that allows you to slice and cut directly on the surface, the butcher block is your best choice. The wood is two to three inches thick of alternating species and can withstand damage from chopping and dicing with proper care. Available in various wood mixtures as end-grain and edge-grain, its hardness and color options make it easier to choose the one that fits into your kitchen theme.

  • Reclaimed Wood Countertops: For people who appreciate the rustic look, a repurposed wood countertop is a great option. Currently among the trending countertops, reclaimed wood is relatively simple to find and source locally. Most reclaimed wood countertops come from recycled or discarded wood.

  • Live Edge Wood Countertops: Made from planed but not trimmed raw wood, a live edge countertop retains the original shape of the tree. The unique thing about this countertop is its rustic and uncommon look; it curves inward in some areas and rounds out in others, giving your kitchen or bar area a beautiful and unique look. 

  • Solid Wood Countertops: The solid wood countertop option works well with all kitchen designs, creating a timeless and traditional look for your kitchen. Thick planks of mahogany, walnut, knotty alder, or other hardwoods waterproofed with acrylic polyurethane come in flat, dull, satin, and semi-gloss finishes for an elegant addition to your countertops.

Your Choice of Wood

Ensure that the design, grain, and finish of the wooden countertop you choose is appropriate for its purpose. Hardwood like maple, teak, oak, chestnut, and mahogany make great countertop material, especially if you intend to chop and slice directly on the counter surface. For a more sustainable option, bamboo, while not technically wood, is an attractive and durable choice. 

Your kitchen countertop has a significant impact on the look and feel of your room. For best results, consult with or hire a professional contractor who is knowledgeable about the installation process for these unique surfaces.




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Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 12/22/2019

When we’re trying to find a new home and planning for the changes that will come with moving, it can seem daunting to also have to think about how you’re going to sell your old home.

Everyone has their own unique situation that they’ll have to account for when selling. Some people choose to buy a new home and move in before selling their old home. For others, this isn’t always possible and they have to rent or stay with family while they wait to close on their new house.

Regardless of your circumstances, there are a few things you can do to make the process of selling your home easier. In today’s post, we’ll teach you how to do just that.

1. Make a timeline

Undoubtedly, you’re going to have a lot going on in your life when selling your home. To keep yourself on track, work with your real estate agent to establish a timeline for accomplishing everything you need to do.

This will help you avoid feeling rushed when it comes to completing the tasks on your list. Whether that includes cleaning, packing, preparing documents, or popping the champagne bottle after your sale, it always pays to have a schedule.

To make this process even easier, be sure that you and your spouse/family are working on the same schedule so that everyone is on the same page.

2. Pack and store

When you’re showing your home to potential buyers, you don’t want it to be cluttered with your personal belongings. Furthermore, all of those belongings will soon have to be packed and transported anyway.

To save yourself time and to increase the appeal of your home while it’s on the market, pack up your items by room and store them until you’re ready to move.

You can do this by renting a storage unit or just packing things neatly in your basement until you can move.

3. Make minor repairs now

Before ever putting your home on the market, it’s a good idea to do a thorough walkthrough of the home to check for small issues that you either haven’t noticed or have been putting off.

When a potential buyer visits your home, you can be sure that they’ll be looking for signs that the how was well-maintained. This is your chance to prove that you’ve been staying on top of things around the house.

Making these repairs in advance if selling your home will relieve some of the workload and stress you’ll be feeling once you get closer to selling.

4. Be available

This last step can be the hardest, especially if you and your spouse work full-time and have children with obligations like sports.

Your real estate agent will do most of the work for you when it comes to showing and preparing the home. However, it’s vital that you’re available to respond quickly at key times. This means answering any questions your agent has for you, gathering paperwork when it’s needed, and discussing offers when they’re made.


If you can pull of these four steps, you’ll be in good shape to sell your home quickly, ensuring a smooth sale and transition for you and your family. 





Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 12/15/2019

After a home seller accepts your offer on a home, the next step usually involves a home inspection.

At this point, you'll hire a home inspector who will walk through the home you'd like to buy and offer expert insights into the residence's strengths and weaknesses. Then, you'll be able to assess potential issues with a home and determine whether to move forward with a home purchase.

A home inspection can be stressful, particularly for a first-time homebuyer. Lucky for you, we're here to help you take the guesswork out of home inspections.

Ultimately, there are many questions to consider after a home inspection is completed, including:

1. What did the home inspection reveal?

A home inspection offers unparalleled insights into a residence. It enables you to look beyond a house's surface and find out whether major repairs will be required both now and in the future.

Hiring an experienced home inspector is paramount for homebuyers. With an experienced home inspector at your disposal, you'll be better equipped than others to identify "hidden" problems within a house.

Also, don't forget to review a home inspection report closely. With this information at your disposal, you'll be able to understand whether a residence meets your expectations.

Be sure to consider the long-term value of a property as well. Remember, a home that you plan to purchase should be able to serve you well for years to come. But if you encounter myriad home issues during a property inspection, you may want to consider rescinding your offer on a residence and restarting your search for the ideal house.

2. Are there major home issues?

As a homebuyer, it is important to be able to identify the differences between major and minor home issues.

For example, if there are tiny cracks and chips in the paint on a kitchen's walls, these issues are minor. In fact, you may be able to repair such issues quickly and effortlessly.

On the other hand, an old, inefficient furnace can cause major headaches. Without a properly functioning furnace, you may struggle to heat your home in winter. Meanwhile, it may cost several thousand dollars to replace this furnace.

If you encounter problems with a residence during a home inspection, consider the costs associated with these issues. By doing so, you'll be able to determine how much you may need to spend to correct such problems and can proceed with a home purchase accordingly.

3. What should I do next?

An informed homebuyer will be equipped with the knowledge and insights needed to make a great decision.

Consider the problems that were discovered during a home inspection. If you can fix home issues without having to commit substantial time and resources to complete various home maintenance projects, you may want to consider moving forward with a home purchase.

If you encounter major home issues, you can always ask a home seller to perform home repairs. Or, you may want to remove your offer on a home altogether.

Working with a real estate agent is ideal, especially for homebuyers who want help with home seller negotiations. With assistance from a real estate agent, you should have no trouble determining how to proceed after a home inspection.




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Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 12/8/2019

Photo by ProgrammingIBC via Pixabay

One of the most important things you can do before you list your home for sale is to stage it. Home staging refers to arranging the home’s furnishings and decor so it looks as good as possible. In other words, you use the decor and furnishings to make the home look like a showroom, so buyers walk in and feel instantly at home. This can help your house sell more quickly and for a better price. If you’re interested in starting the home staging process, here’s how to do it.

1. Tackle the Clutter

Clutter is the enemy of a fast home sale. It makes a home look crowded and unkempt. Purge and clean until your home looks as empty as possible. This may mean sending some items to storage while the home’s on the market, but the more you can get out of the house, the better.

2. Arrange the Furniture Well

Next, change the arrangement of your furniture. Often you will need to remove some pieces to make the home look larger.

In the living areas, pull couches, chairs and tables away from walls to allow them to float in the room. This actually makes the room look larger and inviting. Use an area rug to create a chatting area.

In bedrooms, make sure there is plenty of space on the floor showing. Get rid of a nightstand or dresser if you need to temporarily, so the home looks larger.

3. De-Personalize the Home

As you go through your home to stage it, look for things that are highly personal to your family. Family pictures, children’s artwork, or an heirloom item that has meaning to you, but does not add to the home’s look, can all be removed. You want the home to look and feel like a perfectly staged model home, not your personal, comfortable space.

4. Keep it Neutral

If you need to paint a room or add a piece of decor, make it as neutral as possible. Again, this will help buyers feel at home, no matter what their personal tastes may be. Bright colors are best avoided when staging a home.

5. Clean and Repair

Cleaning your home as you stage it is unlike any other cleaning you have done. You need to clean it as deeply as you can so that it shines from top to bottom. This shows that you take care of your home, and makes buyers feel more confident that they won’t be purchasing a lemon. In addition, patch and repair anything you find, including holes and scratches in the paint.

Staging a home is a bit time consuming, but the rewards are worth the effort. About half of all buyers’ agents report that home staging changes how a buyer views a home. You want the buyer to have a positive experience in your home, so stage it well!




Tags: open house   Home staging   Basics  
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Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 12/1/2019

Moving to a new home can definitely be labor intensive, but there are plenty of ways to make it easier and less stressful. Creating a priority list of things to do before the moving truck arrives can help ensure that you won't forget important details.

If you've chosen a service-oriented moving company, they should provide you with information -- possibly even a checklist -- on how to efficiently work with them and prepare.

Having the movers do the actual packing for you is often an option, but not everyone feels comfortable turning over that task to people they don't know. If you decide that it's worth it to pay the extra fee, you can always prepack and take with you any personal, fragile, or valuable items you don't want to entrust to others.

Moving companies are in a competitive business and are usually willing to negotiate the price of their services. By getting cost estimates from three different movers, you can often save hundreds of dollars and choose the company that provides the best value and customer service. Reading online reviews, checking Better Business Bureau ratings, asking a lot of questions, and taking notes are a few of the methods you can use to make an informed decision. Once you've done your research and picked a reputable moving company to transport your belongings, you've cleared one of the biggest hurdles. Packing, of course, can also be a rather immense part of the process. Here are a few tips to help make it a bit easier.

Downsizing helps: Depending on your age, the size of your family, and how long you've lived in your current home, you may want to "lighten your load" as much as possible! Transporting things you no longer use or need can make moving more tiring, complicated, and expensive. Taking the time to have a garage sale, contact the Salvation Army for a truck pickup, or even find a cost-effective junk removal service to haul away your unwanted stuff can simplify your moving experience.

Boxes and packing materials: Although there's a good possibility of being able to negotiate some wardrobe boxes and other supplies into your service contract, more boxes, heavy-duty tape, and packing material will be needed! Inquiring at your local supermarket about any surplus boxes is one way to save money on supplies. However, if the boxes they give you are flimsy or damaged, the monetary savings may not be worth the hassle of having them split open in transit. Overpacking boxes with heavy objects can also result in that same problem -- not to mention the probability of muscle strains and back injuries! Clearly labeling boxes and avoiding using nondescript categories, such as "miscellaneous," is yet another way to reduce the potential stress and frustration of moving all your belongings to a new home.