Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc



Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 8/27/2017

Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life, financially and otherwise. When you buy a home you're deciding on the region you want to live in, where you might want to raise children, and the people you'll live around for likely many years. You're also signing up for all of the responsibilities that come with a home: utility bills, issues and repairs, cleaning the house, maintaining the yard... the list goes on. So, before plunging into a mortgage, check off all the items on this checklist to determine if you're ready for home ownership.

The First Time Home Buyer's Checklist:

  1. I know where I want to live. Determining the location of your home is one of the most important factors that goes into home buying. Most decisions are influenced by your job/career, but things like family, friends and weather are all important things to consider. Aside from knowing where you want to live, you'll also need to know how long you want to stay. As a general rule, if you don't plan on staying in your home for at least 5-8 years it could be cheaper and easier to rent until you find somewhere you'd like to settle in.
  2. I have my finances under control. You don't need to be wealthy to buy a home, but you do need to have a strong understanding of your personal finances. In a spreadsheet, write down your total savings, monthly income and monthly expenses (including groceries, transportation, bills, and loans). Find out what type of mortgage and downpayment you can afford at your income level.
  3. My income is dependable. When you apply for a home loan the bank will look into this for you. But you should also want to make sure you can continue to afford your mortgage payments. How dependable is your job? Are there a lot of job opportunities in your field and in your area? These are all questions that help you determine the stability of your income.
  4. I have a good credit score. Your credit will be a big factor in getting approved for a home loan. Building credit seems complicated but it's based on four main things: paying bills on time, keeping balances relatively low, having a long record of repayment, and not opening several new cards or taking on multiple loans in a short period of time.
  5. I'm pre-approved for a loan. Getting pre-approved isn't mandatory, but it offers many benefits. First, it shows lenders that you are a safe person to loan money to. Second, it will give you insight into what banks think of your finances and will give you an idea of what price range you can safely buy in.
  6. I'm prepared for the responsibilities of owning a home and willing to learn. If you're handy around the house and can fix anything, that's great. What's more important, however, is that you have the time and willingness to learn new skills that will help you become a good homeowner.





Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 10/9/2016

Many people think of their first home as a “starter home.” This refers to a home that is fairly small and typically is for young people who are just starting out in a new phase of life. These types of homes are generally not thought of as “forever homes.” Many times, as families expand, they will move on from their starter homes to bigger and better homes. This includes living in desirable neighborhoods and adding extra comforts that the first home may not have had. Other times, people expand on their starter home in order to make more room for children and the needs of a growing family. These homes truly are jumping off points. Studies show that the idea of starter homes is disappearing. It could be that the requirements of first-time homebuyers are changing and therefore the types of homes that are being sought after are few and far between. The expectations of buyers have increased greatly. Buyers would like adequate space and hope that their first home is not only in a great location, but ready for them to move in without much work as well. Really, buyers are looking for everything anyone would want in their forever home in their starter homes. So, is it a smart idea to search for a starter home, only to move a few years later? The answer is multi-faceted. Starter homes are typically the homes that you can afford at the present time in your life. If you decide that you can save up longer and go for the house you really want, that may be a smarter financial decision for you. There’s always an option to wait for more homes to go on the market while you rent a place. If you do decide to go for a starter home, here’s some tips for you: Don’t Try To Get Everything You Want For A Low Price Buyers tend to have wish lists of the things they desire in a house. While that’s a great idea, don’t expect to get everything you want in your starter home. Manage your expectations along with the cost of the home. See Where You Can Expand Many homes have great potential, but buyers have what they see set in their minds and fail to see what can be done in the future. Look at homes with open eyes and picture the possibilities. Know There Will Be Work Involved Purchasing a starter home means that you’ll usually need to participate in home improvement projects. Don’t go for a home that needs major work done if you’re not up for the challenge. Typically, you’ll need to be able to get your hands dirty by doing things like changing out wallpaper, painting walls, or sanding cabinets. These are the little projects that make your house your own.





Posted by Duarte/Downey Real Estate Agency, Inc on 6/19/2016

Although an exciting time in your life, moving out of the home you grew up in or your college/first apartment can seem scary and daunting. The thought of packing and unpacking is intimidating. And let’s not forget about the cost. Making such a large investment for the first time and really, truly living on your own is a whole new experience. It’s important that when you visit a house for sale you can feel yourself living there and turning it into your home. Here are a few tips for making a house a home: Photos & Artwork: What better way to bring personality and familiarity into a home than photos of family and friends or artwork from a favorite artist. Often frames can become a thing of clutter and even dust collectors. However, adding photos and artwork can be done tastefully. A popular approach is a grid-like arrangement created on large, open walls. This is one way to display many beloved photos without creating clutter on tables or other pieces of furniture. Have a long wall that’s runs along a hallway? This would be a great place to display larger photos or artwork that would run horizontally. This is especially nice for sequenced pieces such as change of season photos or artwork. DIY projects: Add your personality and blood, sweat, and tears to your home with DIY projects. Ok, maybe ‘blood, sweat and tears’ is a little dramatic but get ready to get your hands dirty. Mason jars, glass vases, and empty wine bottles can be turned into beautiful home décor with only a few materials and a couple hours. Items like rope, artificial flowers, ribbon, and craft glue are just a couple examples of supplies that can be used to turn those boring items into a homemade masterpiece. To make this idea even more appealing invite friends or family over for a craft day and work on multiple DIY projects. Keepsakes: Have a family heirloom that has been passed down from generation to generation? An heirloom could range from a quilt or afghan that a great-grandparent or grandparent had knit, family photos that span over many generations, clocks, diaries and recipes. Recipes could simply be displayed on a kitchen counter or you can get creative and design custom wallpaper from the recipe cards. Wall clocks can be displayed in family or dining rooms and grandfather clocks fit the atmosphere of dens. There are tasteful ways to add each one of these into your home and preserve the memory of these mementos. Fresh flowers: Nothing adds life to a home like fresh-cut flowers. The colors and the scents just fill a room. Add a pop of color to a room with dyed carnations, tulips, roses or hydrangeas. Add elegance to a room with white or cream colored flowers such as roses, daisies or lilies. Small, horizontal arrangements look lovely on a rectangle or square dining room table. Taller arrangements are perfect for a bay window or small table. Fresh-cut flowers would also pair well with a DIY vase.




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