Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc



Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 10/22/2017

The average person doesn’t need to know much about the different architectural styles to determine whether or not they like a home. We’ve all heard likely heard of ranch and colonial style homes, and could probably identify them without much help.

However, America is filled with homes that are inspired by numerous cultures, their styles spanning centuries of innovation. America is a melting pot and its houses are no exception. As a result, many homes are a blend of styles.

The McMansion

Some style blends are more successful than others. The term “McMansion” has been used to describe a type of large house that is being developed across the country. These houses typically are an assortment of features that can’t really be called a cohesive style. Another way to think of a McMansion is like choosing items off of a dollar menu--they might not fit together in a particularly tasteful way, but they’re all things you crave.

That being said, there are many styles that share similarities with McMansions that architects consider to be postmodern or “New American.” These homes are often a combination of Traditional style homes and other styles such as Greek Revival and cottage style.

Style isn’t just for looks

The style of early American architecture was heavily inspired by factors like climate and available resources. New England colonial houses were and still are built with steep roofs to shed the heavy load of snow in the winter time.

In the southwest, homes were built with adobe, or sun-dried bricks, due to the lack of other building materials. But also, adobe stays cool even on the scorching summer days faced by the southwest region of the country.

In architecture, as in all sciences, form follows function. So, it’s a good idea to keep these factors in mind when you’re shopping for your next home.

The most common styles

We’ve only just scratched the surface of the hundreds of home styles that are to be found across the country. Building such a list would require a full-length book. So here, we’re just going to mention some of the most common house architectural styles throughout the United States.

  • Cape Cod. This early colonial home style has changed a bit over the years, becoming bigger and incorporating additions and garages. However, one aspect that most Cape Cod houses have in common is the symmetry between the doors and windows. Cape style houses have two windows on the left, a front door in the center, and two windows on the right. The siding was traditionally made from wooden shingles, but in modern day they can be made from a number of materials, including stone, brick, and vinyl.

  • Revival. Revival houses attempt to bring back certain characteristics of historical buildings. Greek revival is common in affluent suburbs of the United States. They are typically painted white, include large white columns at the entry way, and are at least two floors. Gothic Revival omits the columns and adds ornate trim along its steep roof edges. They are typically made from brick, especially dark red in color.

  • Dutch Colonial. The most obvious indicator that you might be looking at a Dutch style house is the roof which usually has two different pitch angles and flared eaves. These homes originated in New York and New Jersey but have since spread across the Mid-Atlantic and New England areas of the United States.

  • Craftsman. Originating in Southern California, the craftsman style home is a bit trickier to identify than more traditional styles. However, they’re making a big comeback due to their notable interior designs. This includes exposed roof rafters, detailed interior woodwork, and large, single-paned windows that let in lots of natural light.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 10/15/2017

The home selling journey can be long and time-consuming, particularly for those who are listing a residence for the first time. Lucky for you, there are many quick, easy ways to avoid the danger of becoming a "typical" home seller, i.e. someone who lacks the skills and know-how to generate plenty of interest in his or her property.

Now, let's take a look at three tips that you can use to become an expert home seller.

1. Review the Current State of the Housing Market

The housing market often fluctuates. As such, a buyer's market today may quickly morph into a seller's market tomorrow.

Ultimately, an expert home seller will allocate the necessary time and resources to learn about the current state of the real estate market. He or she will be able to identify housing market patterns and trends and collect extensive real estate market data to map out the home selling journey accordingly.

To learn about the housing market, take a look at some of the houses that are currently available in your city or town. Evaluating available houses in your area will allow you to find out how your residence stacks up against the competition.

Also, assess the prices of recently sold residences in your region. This may help you differentiate between a buyer's market and a seller's market.

2. Analyze Your House's Interior and Exterior

For a home seller, it is paramount that his or her residence makes a positive first impression on potential homebuyers. And if you enhance your house's interior and exterior, you may be able to boost your chances of a quick, seamless home sale.

A property appraisal usually represents a great starting point for home sellers. This appraisal involves a full evaluation of your house by a property inspector. Then, you'll receive a report that outlines your home's strengths and weaknesses and will help you plan any home improvement projects.

Also, it is important to remember that there are many simple ways to upgrade your home's exterior and interior.

Home exterior improvements like mowing the front lawn and clearing dirt and debris from walkways can make a world of difference in the eyes of homebuyers.

Removing clutter from your home offers multiple benefits as well. De-cluttering allows you to free up space inside your residence as well as get rid of unwanted items.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

There is no need to navigate the home selling process on your own. Fortunately, you can hire a real estate agent to help you remove the guesswork as you proceed along the home selling journey.

A real estate agent understands what it takes to promote your residence to large groups of potential property buyers. In fact, he or she will set up property showings and open houses, offer honest, unbiased home selling suggestions and respond to your home selling queries at any time.

Don't settle for an "average" home selling experience. Instead, use the aforementioned tips, and you can become an expert home seller in no time at all.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 10/8/2017

Everyone uses a slightly different set of guidelines when it comes to food safety, but some people's standards are a bit more "flexible" than others. The perfect example is the so-called "five second rule." If you're not familiar with it, that "rule" states that if you drop food on the floor (or ground) and pick it up within five seconds, then it's safe to eat!

In some cases, you can wash and safely eat food that has fallen on the floor, but it depends on the condition of the floor and what type of food you're dropping. While some mothers may jokingly say, "My kitchen floor is so clean you could eat off it," eating food that has fallen on the floor can be somewhat risky.

Although the 5-second-rule has its humorous side, food safety is a very serious subject. Making sure that perishable food is properly prepared, cooked, and refrigerated is one way to help keep your family healthy. There's also a psychological benefit to being careful with food safety: When you and your family know that your food is fresh, safely stored, and properly prepared, it helps give you peace of mind and makes mealtime more of a pleasurable experience.

Basic Food Safety Tips

One way to keep track of food freshness is to pay attention to expiration dates and other information printed on food labels. Another step involves putting your own labels on perishable foods and leftover food containers. "When in doubt, throw it out," is also a good policy to consider.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (DOH) offers a number of helpful food safety guidelines to keep in mind and discuss with your family. To reduce the chances of cross-contamination and harmful bacteria growing on food, the agency recommends the following practices:

  • Wash hands for 20 seconds before preparing food
  • Wash food preparation surfaces, utensils, and cutting boards after each use
  • Wash the outsides of fruits and vegetables to help remove bacteria and other impurities
  • Promptly refrigerate food and follow recommended storage times and refrigeration temperatures
While there are a lot of safeguards to be aware of when preparing, handling, and storing food, the DOH breaks it down into four easy-to-remember categories: "clean, separate, cook, and chill." A couple related topics worth researching and keeping in mind  are minimum cooking temperatures for meat and recommended refrigerator storage times for perishable food (often three to five days).

As an afterthought, the other advantage of putting dates on your food packages and leftover containers is that you avoid wasting food by throwing it away prematurely.

Healthy food preparation and storage does involve heightened awareness and sometimes creating new habits, but preventing food poisoning and other digestive ailments in your family is well worth the effort!





Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 9/24/2017

Bad housing contractors have a conscience. It's just that they don't behave as if they have a conscience. A big reason for this has to do with the contractors' focus. Instead of putting you, your family and your house first, bad housing contractors focus on how much money they can make after you give them access to your property.

What happens when you're not your housing contractor's top priority

Money is so important to bad housing contractors that these workers publish ads and seek out customers right after a hurricane, tornado or another natural disaster. Instead of seeing the suffering caused by a severe storm, bad housing contractors see opportunity.

To safeguard yourself from bad housing contractors, you have to be alert. And you can't just be alert right after a severe storm, the type of storm that causes millions of dollars of damage in a town over the matter of a few days.

You have to be alert year round and in all situations. Specific safeguards from bad housing contractors starts with a simple search. You can conduct this search online.Simply log into your local licensing department's website.

Confirm that housing contractors you want to work with have an active license. Look to see if there are any complaints against the contractor. Also, check to see if the contractor has had a lapse in her contract.

More safeguards from bad housing contractors

Make sure that housing contractors have a license for the type of work that they will be performing at your house. For example, contractors who you pay to repair or replace plumbing fixtures should have an active plumbing license. Before performing electrical or wiring work, electricians should have an active electrician's license.

Other safeguards from bad housing contractors include:

  • Thoroughly reviewing legal agreements before contractors start working on your property
  • Speaking up on points in legal agreements that you don't feel comfortable adhering to (Don't be intimidated by strong willed housing contractors. Remember that housing contractors are working for you.)
  • Seeking referrals on licensed contractors. Don't rely on the fact that contractors are licensed. Check to see how satisfied customers are with contractors' work.
  • Asking contractors about the process that they follow when preparing to perform work and while they work. Also, find out about the process that housing contractors use to clean up after they finish making renovations or repairs at a property.
  • Putting valuables in a safe place to avoid having the valuables get damaged by paint or other materials or equipment.
  • Ensuring that contractors stick to work schedules so that you don't end up paying more for a job than you had budgeted for.

Safeguards from bad housing contractors come with far reaching effects. Not only do the safeguards protect you from overpaying for repairs or renovations, these safeguards protect you during other business situations. The first step alone teaches you how to review legal documents, experience that you can use in other work negotiations.





Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 9/17/2017

Whether new or old, many homes can have issues that aren’t obvious from photos. Many of the most common problems in a home have to do with the plumbing system. Since water can be so damaging, it’s especially important to get these issues out in the open prior to sale.

Some sellers might be aware of their plumbing issues, others may have no clue at all. Oftentimes, if a home was previously occupied by only one or two people who didn’t entertain many guests, they may not be aware of the strain that a larger family could have on things like the septic system.

In this article, we’ll cover some of the most common plumbing issues that a home has and help you identify these issues before you buy a new home.

The small fixes

Let’s start with some problems that are common and simple to address. When touring a home or performing an inspection, test all of the home’s faucets. Dripping faucets might not seem like a big issue, but the cost of wasted water can add up on your utility bill.

Leaking pipes are another issue that is seemingly harmless, but can lead to bigger problems that could cost thousands of dollars to repair. Check ceilings, floors, and underneath cabinets for signs of water damage.

Flush the toilets in the house to see if they continue running. Toilets that continue running water is often a simple fix, like replacing the chain or flapper in the tank. However, a leaking toilet could be symptomatic of a bigger problem that could include having to replace the toilet.

Sewer line and septic systems

Ask the owner about the history of the sewer or septic system. Find out if they’ve had problems recently and when the last time they were taken care of. If there is a septic tank or field on the property, look for signs of issues such as the grass having been dug out, water pooling in the yard, or foul smells in the area.

When it comes to septic and sewer issues, always reach out to a professional. They will be able to give you an accurate assessment and estimate of costs.

Inspect the pipes

Spot-checking the pipes in the home will tell you a lot about the state of the plumbing. Pipes that are old, worn, and lacking insulation are signs that plumbing issues could be coming. Rust is a major red flag. The water lines that lead out of the house for lawn faucets should also be wrapped to avoid freezing in the winter months.

Hot water heater

Just like the septic system, you’ll want to ask about the history of the home’s hot water heater. If it’s over ten years old, you might have to replace it soon after purchase.

You should also consider the size of the hot water heater. You’ll want to be sure it can accommodate your expected water usage. If children are in your future, having a bigger hot water heater might be something you want to plan for to avoid cold showers in the morning.