Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc

Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 4/23/2017

Increasing the value of your home doesn't always require a significant amount of money or time. The benefits are far reaching. A lift in the value of your home can shorten the path to selling your current house so that you can move into a better residence. Of course, it will also improve your equity. These steps can increase your home's value without breaking the bank. Paint can do wonders Apply a new layer of paint to each room at your house. Fresh paint is one of the quickest ways to give your house a face lift and increase the value of your home. Consider going with neutral colors, especially if you plan on selling your house soon. Carpet can improve air quality Installing new carpet or pulling up the existing carpet and going with hardwood floors is another way to enhance your entire house. Not only can new carpet lend your house a more modern look, new carpet can also improve your house's air quality by getting rid of contaminants and allergens. Live mold free Check window edges, the bathroom, basement, kitchen and other areas where water collects for mold. Use a brush to scrub away mold. Make sure that you wear rubber gloves. If mold covers an entire wall or other large spot, contact a professional. You don't want mold spores to spread. Safety counts To increase the value of your home, upgrade exterior and interior doors. Another option is to upgrade your door locks. A safe home is attractive to potential buyers. Concerning safety, make sure that windows in your home have safety locks on them and that they are designed to be opened from the inside instead of the outside. Give the kitchen and bathroom a lot of attention Upgrade bathroom and kitchen faucets. Brown, wood cabinets can also add value to your bathroom or kitchen. If you're looking to save even more money on upgrades, consider hanging a decorative mirror over the bathroom sink and installing a shower spigot that has a massage feature. While you're in the bathroom, lay new tile and add caulking to shower or tub edges. Go for great lighting Replace plain ceiling lights with stylish lights that also operate as ceiling fans. Save money on table lights by purchasing unique lamp shades. While you're thinking about lighting, consider upgrading window treatments. For example, you could hang neutral colored blinds. Other options include cellular shades, roller shades, wood shades, drapes and vertical blinds. Get outside Work with your entire family to clean weeds, leaves and litter out of your front and back yards. Plant flowers at the edges of your house. Also, trim hedges and bushes. If your garage and house need to be washed, grab a hose and wash away dirt and stains. Adding new handrails to the front and back porch steps is another way to increase the current value of your home. Your neighborhood also plays a role in the value of your home. Get involved in community and local government events. Report suspicious persons or activities. Get to know your neighbors and encourage the best in each other.

Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 4/16/2017

Garden with stone landscapingA fence is one of the first things people notice when viewing your property. Residential fencing is most commonly used to define properties boundaries, hide an unsightly view, provide privacy, to keep children and pets safe and secure, or to enclose a swimming pool. In addition to fencings aesthetic function, your residential fence helps to provide for the safety of guests, as well as the security of your family. When constructed from attractive, durable materials and installed correctly, a fence enhances and showcases the beauty of the landscape and adds value to the property. A broken down fence in need of repair may serve as a barrier but distracts from the attractiveness of the home and diminishes real estate values. Make sure that the fence installation is both appealing and practical by choosing a design and materials that will best enhance your landscape. When installing a fence along a property line with an adjacent home, it should be visually appealing to both property owners while creating separation and privacy. Other considerations to keep in mind when selecting a residential fence include local ordinances; Home Owner Association covenants and if the fencing material you select will withstand the climate of your area. For homeowners living in a historic district, fencing should comply with the district design standard. A visit to your fencing contractor’s display lot will present a diverse array of choices in fencing materials and styles. Be sure to select an experienced, established and reputable fencing contractor that warranties their work. Types Of Fences The American Fence Association with chapters throughout the United States and Canada is an excellent resource for finding a local experience and reputable fencing contractors. A traditional wood fence is a classic approach to fencing, available in designs ranging from picket, rail, stockade, or privacy styles. Rough-cut Cedar is a popular material that presents a rustic, natural look to your landscape and is resistant to rot and decay. Keep in mind; a wooden fence will require periodic maintenance and painting or staining to retain its attractive appearance. Wood is strong enough for most home installations and will add beauty and visual appeal to your property. Vinyl fencing is attractive, durable and virtually maintenance free. Manufactured with state-of-the-art technology offers a crisp, clean appearance and never requires staining or painting. PVC fences will not chip, fade, rot or peel. For families with children, PVC fences are free of splinters and outlast the majority of other fencing materials. For additional information about the merits and value of vinyl fencing contact the Vinyl Fence Manufacturer's Association. Iron fencing presents a sense of permanence, quality and security. Although an iron fence is initially a bit more expensive than other fencing materials, iron fences will last for the life of your home, require little maintenance and add a feeling of understated elegance to the landscape. When installing an iron fence, your fencing contractor can readily add a custom gate system with remote-controlled panels for easy access, located to offer excellent visibility for a home video surveillance system. Ornamental fencing made of aluminum or steel is maintenance free and available in a wide variety of colors, heights and styles. To enhance the beauty of the ornamental fence, add scrolls, finials and rings for visual appeal and attractiveness. Ornamental fencing is a popular choice for swimming pool enclosures. Remember, to comply with local pool code safety ordinances; a self-closing gate must be installed. For homeowners that want a higher level of security, anti-climb fences are an excellent option that keeps out unwanted persons and pests without losing their aesthetic appearance.

Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 4/9/2017

If you have a list of home contractors that you use and are satisfied with, consider your yourself lucky!

Many homeowners find themselves in the unenviable position of having to blindly search online for reputable contractors, sort their way through dozens of miscellaneous reviews, and then hopefully find a handful of promising candidates to interview.

Even after all that, there's no guarantee you'll be 100% satisfied with your choice!

Although picking a contractor may sometimes feel like a gamble, there are strategies for lowering your risk factor.

A personal recommendation from someone you know and trust is usually the most reliable method of finding the right person for the job. If a relative or friend has had a positive experience with a roofer, bathroom remodeler, or plumber, then there's a good chance, you'll be satisfied with them, too. It's still a good idea to get two or three contractor estimates, but a good starting point is to have at least one recommendation from someone who has your best interest at heart.

Do Online Reviews Help?

Online review sites can also provide helpful information and feedback, but they're not always the "unvarnished truth". In spite of efforts by review sites to discourage biased reviews, some are probably going to slip through. For example: Have you ever read a review that sounded like it was an advertisement for the contractor? Sometimes when the praise sounds just a little too glowing and over the top, you can't help but wonder if those reviews are genuine and unbiased. Although the majority of online reviews are probably legit, the best way to view them is with a healthy dose of skepticism.

When it comes to the occasional scathing review by a disgruntled customer, one has to put it in context and look at "the big picture." There are some customers who are literally impossible to satisfy and will always find something to complain about. However, if a contractor has more than one or two negative reviews online, and they're not offset by a couple dozen positive ones, then that could be a potential red flag. Since you don't know the reviewers personally, and the reviews are often posted anonymously, the credibility factor is much lower than if you got a recommendation from one of your parents, a close friend, a next-door neighbor, a sibling, business associate, or your real estate agent.

The point at which you should be able to separate the "wheat from the chaff" is during your face-to-face meetings. If a contractor gives every you indication of being professional, honest, knowledgeable, experienced, ethical, and customer-service oriented, then they're probably a good prospect for the job. Other factors include the price they quote, their Better Business Bureau rating, and their willingness to provide references, proof of insurance coverage (such as general liability and Workers' Comp, if applicable) and direct answers to all your questions

Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 4/2/2017

Remodeling or home improvements - new flooring, an updated bathroom, a room addition – can add a great deal of satisfaction and enhance your enjoyment of your home. Home is a place to relax, unwind, and feel comfortable, so home improvements that add to your satisfaction of the quality of life in your home are usually worthwhile. While there are many reasons to embark on a home improvement project, the important point is to be sure you are doing it for the right reason for you. Safety Safety in the home should always be a primary concern, before comfort and convenience. If steps are rickety, electrical wiring old or faulty, or the ceiling in danger of falling in, these jobs demand priority.

  • Falls are the major cause of disability or death in the home. Consider adding motion detection lighting on all stairways and repair any damaged flooring or stairways that could cause a person to trip and fall. Replace or repair stairway handrails, making sure they are firmly anchored in a manner that will support the full weight of a person.
  • Accommodate Lifestyle Requirements You may want to make your home accessible for a family member with a disability, or made modifications to adapt the home for easier living as you age. Wider doorways and bathroom changes to accommodate a walker or wheelchair may be required. For advice and possible help with the cost of adapting your home for disabled access, the Housing section listed on the Disability.gov website provides information for planning and carrying out the right kind of home improvement for your specific needs. Return On Investment When planning a remodeling project, be aware that you may or may not get your money when you sell the property. However, that is not the point. If you plan to stay in your home for an extended period of time, it should be a place of comfort that accommodates your needs and that you enjoy. That being said, it is wise to not over-stretch your budget. There is no point soaking in your new bathtub if you are worrying about how you are going to pay for it. If you plan to sell your home in the near future, think carefully before spending money on any home improvement project. While some improvements can help sell your home, it is unrealistic to expect to recoup your costs through a higher sales price. Market statistics indicate that few home improvement projects give homeowners a 100 percent or more return against the cost of the project. However, improvements may greatly affect your ability to sell the property, particularly if you have enhanced curb appeal.

Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 3/26/2017

Most of us toss things into the trash without considering where it goes after. The fact that items end up in rivers, water supplies, the ocean, and landfills escapes us because throwing something into the trash is such a seemingly simple act. However, many common items throughout your home are considered household hazardous waste. The EPA defines household hazardous waste as products that can "catch fire, react, or explode under certain circumstances, or that are corrosive or toxic." The EPA, state and local government regulate the use, storage, and disposal of such materials. Improper disposal includes pouring them into the ground or down a drain, as well as throwing them out with the garbage. Learning which products you need to dispose of properly will help you and the environment. Read on to learn which products you might not realize shouldn't be thrown out with the trash, and how to properly dispose of those items.

Where do I dispose of __________?

  • Batteries  Anything in your home that is battery-powered is considered household hazardous waste. Batteries contain strong, corrosive acids that can harm us and the environment alike. There are many different types of batteries and disposal methods vary accordingly. Contact your local hazardous waste disposal site or bring small alkaline batteries to a recycling center than some stores have.
  • CFL light bulbs CFLs contain mercury and are therefore considered household hazardous waste. You can bring them to your local hazardous waste disposal site or bring them to a store that recycles CFL bulbs, such as The Home Depot. Just call first to make sure your local store participates.
  • Medication, needles, and lancets Many medications can be disposed of in the trash. However, prescriptions should be brought to a take-back facility. Check with your local law enforcement for a time and place to bring expired or unused medications. For sharps like needles and lancets, put them in a sharps container and ask your doctor about local disposal areas.
  • Pesticides and herbicides These chemicals can be dangerous to local plant and wildlife. They can also be flammable and should be disposed of at your local hazardous waste disposal site.
  • Ink cartridges Many stores will collect your used up ink cartridges and give you a discount on your next purchase. Other companies offer rebates for mailing in empty cartridges. Try your local Staples first.
  • Automotive liquids Fuel, oil, antifreeze, and other automotive liquids are all considered hazardous. Many auto parts stores accept used oil and other automotive liquids, or you can bring these items to your hazardous waste disposal site.
  • Household cleaners  Cleaning supplies like ammonia and drain cleaner contain harsh chemicals that may be considered hazardous in your area. If you can't use up the products, you could consider donating them to a local store or organization who could. Otherwise, check with your local hazardous waste disposal center to determine the best option.
  • E-waste (electronics waste) E-waste is growing more and more common with advancing technologies that are becoming outdated faster and faster. Many state and local governments regulate e-waste. Some stores, like Staples or Best Buy, accept electronics and electronic appliances for recycling but you should call before dropping your items off. Another option is to donate your working electronics to a place like Goodwill, Savers, or The Salvation Army.