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By Daniel Del Real | Agent in Modesto, CA

    Posted Under: Remodel & Renovate in Modesto, Design & Decor in Modesto, How To... in Modesto  |  October 5, 2014 12:25 PM  |  179 views  |  1 comment

    Chalkboard paint

    Below is a really fun article that even the kids will enjoy for a change!

    There are countless possibilities one mind can generate.  If you have been staring at your kitchen walls, not wanting to spend the money to purchase an expensive back-splash, CHALKBOARD PAINT to the rescue... If you don't know what to do to kid-friendly the baby's room, as she just figured out how to use a crayon, CHALKBOARD PAINT to the rescue...  Do you have an old dining table that needs a little oomph, yes I'll say it again, CHALKBOARD PAINT to the rescue!

    This innovative paint will get your eyes turning to objects in your home that just may need an extra coat of fun...

    Jessica Morgan, Marketing Director

    The Del Real Group


    Written by Jaymi Naciri

    Yes, it creates a great art spot for kids, whether in a playroom or on a bedroom wall (more on that later). But chalkboard paint can be used in so many more ways to bring a creative inspiration into the home.

    "Oh chalkboard paint, how do we love thee?" asks BRIT+CO. They "count the ways" with "40 creative chalkboard paint projects you can DIY in a cinch," including a DIY headboard and a chalkboard table runner. Our fave: an old fridge transformed into a great conversation piece with the added bonus of potential artistic masterpieces.

    This would be equally effective on an old dining table. With a coat (or two) of chalkboard paint, you have a unique art table that you can encourage kids to mark up instead of one you're worried about.

    Forget the backsplash. Chalkboard paint creates a unique, dramatic matte backdrop - plus you can use it to showcase recipes!

    If you don't want it to show in your kitchen but still want to make use of its unique properties, chalkboard paint on the inside of your cabinets is a great trick for keeping organized—and helping with measurements.

    Chalkboard paint's not just for walls (or cabinets). Check out this inspired dresser.

    Hosting a holiday party or simply having a few friends over for dinner? Special events are the ideal place to use chalkboard paint.

    Use it to wrap gifts distinctively, create a menu, or use it to create personalized drink glasses.

    When it comes to creating an art space for kids, there is a world of possibility using chalkboard paint. For little kids, frame out a space in a hallway or in the kitchen nook to encourage artistry. When they're a bit older, create a colorful learning opportunity with a chalkboard border.

    An entire wall of a playroom provides an ample canvas. Or, cover every inch of the room to create a whimsical, creative space.

    Get more tips and pics on Houzz.

    Not keen on store-bought chalkboard paint? Make your own in any color you want. All you need is sanded grout and latex paint.


    Posted Under: Schools in Modesto, Market Conditions in Modesto, Home Buying in Modesto  |  September 27, 2014 1:48 PM  |  31 views  |  No comments

    Buy a Home Now 

    You may have your reservations for buying a home in the fall or winter seasons, thinking you should be focusing on the holidays instead.  Truth is, it's the best  time to buy!

    Yes, the number of listing on the market are less, as most families are wrapping presents.  But, on the up-side, there are less people shopping for a home, giving you the upper-hand or the first shot at giving an offer rather than competing with multiple parties.

    Weighing out the future positives from purchasing during the holiday cookie crunch is something worth biting into!

    Jessica Morgan, Marketing Director

    The Del Real Group


    Written by Jaymi Naciri

    So you missed the boat on the summer buying season, huh? If you've got kids in school, you probably think you have to stay put now for another year.

    But maybe not.

    Here are a few reasons you should buy a house right now.

    Inventory is down but so is the buyer pool. That means prices may be coming down.

    You may well have less competition for homes right now, especially if you're in the ultra-competitive first-time buyer market. That means your chances of finding a home—and getting it for the right price—are good.

    "The real estate market supposedly shines in the spring and summer sun, but fall is where the deals are found," said AOL.

    "According to NAR numbers, home prices tend to plummet by an average $7,000 once Labor Day passes. That's not always the case out West or in the South, where prices level off or even jump a bit during the cold months, but Midwest home prices fall by an average of $10,000 between August and September, while Northeast prices plummet by nearly $20,000 by October."

    And this will be likely be true through the end of the year, as holiday home shopping tends to be an even tighter market.

    School enrollment rules may be looser than you thought

    Most buyers with kids like to be settled before the school year starts. You too, right? Yes, it definitely makes things easier. But moving during the school year has its advantages (see No. 1). And if you're moving locally and have already confirmed your address with your kids' school, you should have no problem keeping them in place for the rest of the year.

    If you are considering moving into another area and are in need of solid information regarding transfers and rules that may make it possible to move out of school boundaries but stay enrolled, Great Schools urges listening to the right people.

    "Make sure you get information from the correct source, which is the district office," they said. "Your school secretary or teacher might not have the latest information." You'll probably want to make sure you have those important conversations before you move.

    The "ask for forgiveness instead of permission" principle is a dangerous one to play with when your kids' happiness is at stake. Rest assured, though, enrollment rules today are more lenient than they used to be—which could definitely play in your favor.

    "It used to be that when it was time to find a school for the kids, most Americans looked no further than the neighborhood school," said Great Schools. "Now, however, with the expansion of open enrollment policies and the growth of the charter school movement, competition to get into public schools with good reputations has become more widespread. A competitive admissions process is not just a private school phenomenon anymore."

    Weighing the positives (new house, less competition, great value) of a move in fall versus the negatives (big hassle, bad timing, potential school upheaval) is, in the end, a personal choice. But it might be worth a look at what's out there. You never know - you could fall in love with a house that tips the balance. And then it's just you, the movers, and an important call to the school principal.


    Posted Under: Shopping & Local Amenities in Modesto, Remodel & Renovate in Modesto, Design & Decor in Modesto  |  September 13, 2014 6:54 PM  |  44 views  |  No comments


    Hello everyone!  If you're looking to revamp your space for for the upcoming fall season, here are some GOLDEN attractions to add to your collection. 

    The right wall mount, side table or even a touch of paint might be just what the mood calls for when interchanging the seasons.

    Whether going expensive and bold or cheap and untold, remember to have fun!

    Jessica Morgan, Marketing Director

    The Del Real Group


    Written by Jaymi Naciri on Saturday, 

    We're not talking real gold, of course. High-end gold tone metallic furniture and furnishing are expensive enough! Gilded gold is one of the top trends of the fall, and getting a rich look in your space is easy with the right accessories and a soft touch. After all, you don't want to end up looking like the Palace of Versailles. Unless that's your thing, in which case, we say go forth and prosper, Your Majesty.

    "What could be more glamorous than gold? The shimmering metallic color has recently made a stunning resurgence, appearing not only in decorative objects and picture frames, but also in large-scale furnishings and wall treatments," said Elle Décor. "It can be as gleaming and reflective as chrome and silver, but gold also has the advantage that its sunny character is infinitely warmer."

    Here are four ways to incorporate gold into your space.

    The right accessories

    Gold accessories are everywhere right now, which includes home goods and big box retail stores.

    That means you can get yourself a $1,500 designer gold-toned mirror or buy the $35 knockoff at your local Target.

    If you're going the low-end route, you'll want to make sure the finish is muted; garish gold will give you away.


    Metal easily lends itself to furniture pieces, and this is another area where you can go high or low. Because metal can be considered a classic finish, it's hard to go wrong investing a few dollars in a great quality piece you plan to have for years.

    But if you're not sure you want to take the designer plunge or if you are fickle and like to change your look frequently, it might be best to buy something inexpensive, like this side table.


    Metallic finishes have come a long way from the can of spray paint whose best (and only) use was once covering rusty patio furniture. For best results, get a good quality product like Benjamin Moore's Molten Metallics, which has a hammered metal look, or Sherwin Williams' Metallic Impressions, offered in traditional metal colors and jewel tones.

    When you're making your purchase, be sure to ask the sales person for any tips and tricks—that's how we learned that Metallic Impressions is harder to manage when applied at full strength (a little dilution with water made it much easier to use and still gave great coverage). Whether you're painting a room or a piece of furniture, these products make it easy to achieve a rich, glamorous finish.

    Take it up a notch with gold leaf

    Gold leaf isn't the easiest application in the world, and it's not super cheap either. But it is worth it, whether you are painting a gilded wall or an old chest.

    Learn how to use gold leaf here.

    For more ideas about how to bring the luster of gold décor into your space, visit Houzz.

  • Don't Risk Your Safety, List With An Agent

    Posted Under: Quality of Life, Home Buying, Home Selling  |  September 6, 2014 3:58 PM  |  35 views  |  1 comment

    List With An Agent

    You have made the decision to sell your home but you don't know where to start.  You want top dollar, as you need the funds to purchase your next home. You begin to weigh out your options to hire a Realtor or to handle the transaction(s)on your own.

    The article below conveys the smooth journey of your, soon to be, transaction when you make the decision to employ a Realtor. They have mass media marketing strategies combined with access to the multiple listing service (MLS), as well as safeguard you and your home from frivolous buyers. 

    The one, and ONLY, reason to sell by owner is to save on the commission paid to the Realtor. Your benefit of having your personal representative, your Realtor, is to save your peace of mind - to leave you without worry and to most that is worth every penny.

    Jessica Morgan, Marketing Director

    The Del Real Group


    Written by Blanche Evans 

    One of the best reasons to list your home with a real estate agent isn't just about getting more money for your home. While a real estate agent can get you up to 14% more for your home, according to the National Association of REALTORS®, he or she can also protect you and your property.

    When your home goes on the market, you don't know where your buyer is going to come from -- the Internet, the sign in your yard, a neighbor referral or the buyer's agent. Having your home professionally listed makes your agent the point of contact so you don't have people coming to your door who aren't qualified and ready to buy a home.

    To expose your home to the most qualified buyers, your listing agent operates within a cooperative of real estate brokers called the multiple listing service (MLS). Competing brokers may bring their buyers to your home and receive a share of your agent's commission for helping to sell your home.

    The MLS is the fastest and broadest way to expose your home to as many ready, willing and able homebuyers as possible. Through the MLS, your home may be promoted on Internet sites such as Realtor.comZillow and Trulia, where homes are showcased with virtual tours and multiple photos. Your agent may showcase your home in local media and put a sign in your yard so interested buyers can drive by and see your home's curb appeal.

    Serious buyers use these tools to choose homes they're interested in. They realize that your home is listed through an agent and will get in touch with their own agent or your agent if they're interested. Anyone who ignores or tries to circumvent these obvious signs of agency is not the buyer you want.

    Real estate professionals have ways of identifying genuine buyers. True buyers are prepared and ready -- they've been preapproved by a reputable lender, they're represented by an agent, and they're willing to share information about their parameters and timeline for buying a home.

    What about open houses? Most real estate agents offer them only when they have increased security to protect your home (and themselves), such as asking another professional or a lender to accompany them.

    Open house visitors are required to sign in, and some agents ask to see and make notes of drivers' licenses. Serious buyers won't mind these precautions, but someone who is interested only in decorating ideas or stealing prescription drugs from your bathroom won't likely comply.

    Since you're being represented by an agent, there's no reason to open your door to anyone who says he or she is a real estate agent or a buyer unless they have an appointment.

    Simply direct doorbell ringers to call your listing agent for an appointment. If they try to plead, bargain or get angry with you to get you to open the door, don't do it. Call the police.

    There's a good reason why 88 percent of sellers list with a real estate agent over selling their home by themselves. Don't risk your safety -- it's never worth it.

  • The Top Five Moving Mistakes You Can Make

    Posted Under: Home Buying, Home Selling, Moving  |  May 25, 2014 2:55 PM  |  216 views  |  No comments

    The Top Five Moving Mistakes 

    On your mark, get set, go!

    Monday, May 26th, 2014 is a big day for a lot of people; it is the busiest moving day of the year. This kind of day calls for careful planning and preparation, failure to do your homework on comparison price and time management could possibly turn your happy moving Monday into scrappy moving disarray.

    The Article below outlines a checklist to follow that will save you money, time and sanity.

    Jessica Morgan, Marketing Director

    The Del Real Group


    Written by SpareFoot.com

    Do you know what the Tuesday after Memorial Day is? It is the busiest day of the year for people to move items into self-storage and one of the most popular days of the year to move, earning it the name "National Moving Day."

    Whether moving across town or across the country, packing up and moving can be stressful, costly and full of surprises. From shady movers and inaccurate price quotes, to overpacking or not allowing enough time to get the move set up, every step of a move has the potential for mistakes that can make a move a nightmare.

    These tips will help anyone preparing for a move, whether they currently live in a house, an apartment, a dorm, with friends or with mom and dad.

    1. Hiring a shady mover.

    We've all heard horror stories about moving scams, and perhaps maybe you've been the victim of a moving scam yourself. You can steer clear of a less-than-upstanding mover by doing your homework. The Better Business Bureau, Angie's List, your state transportation regulator and the U.S. Department of Transportation -- and even your relatives, friends, neighbors and colleagues -- are all good sources of information about whether a moving company is on the up-and-up. Doing some homework online can save you a lot of heartache on moving day.

    If you've done your research and still aren't confident in the movers you've come across, you always can go the DIY route -- just be sure you're up for the task.

    2. Messing up the quotes.

    If you hire a mover, you should be able to have someone from that company come to your place for an in-home moving estimate. If a moving company won't do an in-home estimate, you should think about shopping around for another mover.

    Along those lines, don't rely on just one quote from one mover. Contact several movers for quotes. If you really like one mover over another but your favorite company is a little pricey, try negotiating for a lower price. Always make sure to get a moving estimate in writing.

    3. Packing too much stuff.

    Do you really need those old boxes of baby clothes that you haven't laid eyes on since your 6-year-old was in diapers? Before you move, you need to "edit" your belongings. Think about whether you can trash some of your possessions, donate them to charity, or give them away to friends and relatives. Perhaps you could hold a garage sale to clear out some of the clutter. If you haven't seen, worn or used something in a year, it's best to think hard about whether you need to keep it -- and whether you need to haul it to your new place.

    4. Failing to schedule your move well in advance.

    During the summer months, good moving companies are booked up quickly. Rather than waiting till the last minute, make sure your move is scheduled weeks -- or, better yet, months -- in advance. You don't want to be scrambling to find a mover the day before you're supposed to head out. Moving already is stressful enough without adding that frustration.

    5. Ignoring the need to pack ahead of time.

    You'll find very few people who'll say that packing is fun. In fact, a 2013 survey commissioned by SpareFoot found that people who'd moved in the past year identified packing and unpacking as the biggest hassle in the process.

    You can lessen the load by beginning to pack well before moving day comes along. Start by boxing up stuff that you won't need right away -- for instance, if you're moving in the summer, pack up your winter clothes so that they're out of the way. Also, be sure to carve out time in your schedule to check items off your packing to-do list.

    If you get down to the wire and need help with packing, enlist friends, neighbors, relatives or colleagues to lend a hand. Make sure you've got plenty of food and beverages as a "thank you" for your volunteer helpers. If you can't rustle up any free help, consider hiring laborers to do the packing for you; that may be a small price to pay to alleviate moving-related stress.

  • The Importance of Seller Disclosures

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Modesto, Property Q&A in Modesto, Home Ownership in Modesto  |  May 18, 2014 9:56 PM  |  283 views  |  No comments


    After many sleepless nights, you have finally made the decision to sell your home. You have done a lot of research and found the perfect Realtor, who matches your personality and understands your needs. While filling out the Listing Agreement he hands you a stack of disclosures to fill out - do not panic...

    There are two things you must do:

    First, answer all questions honestly and to the best of your knowledge.

    Second,  hiring a professional inspector to point out the problems that aren't on the surface, gives you the advantage to either repair, replace, or touch up as necessary before the buyer ever has a chance to look at it.

    It is in everyone's best interest to receive top dollar when selling their home - taking the necessary steps before the house is listed will give you leverage when it comes time to choose your buyers.

    Jessica Morgan, Marketing Director

    The Del Real Group


    Written by Blanche Evans 

    State and federal laws are strict in requiring sellers to tell what they know about the condition of their homes that isn't obvious or discernable to potential buyers. Buyers can't see behind walls or under houses, so they rely on truthful information from the seller about the operations, appliances and systems of the home.

    When you sell your home, your real estate agent will present you with a federal and/or state-mandated disclosure form called a Real Estate Disclosure Statement, Property Condition Disclosure, or Condition Report. You're required to disclose the presence of lead paint, radon, asbestos and other toxic products if you know your home has them.

    While the forms may ask you to disclose whether or not you know there is lead paint or radon present, you aren't required to do tests to determine the presence of toxic chemicals. But your buyer's lender can always require proof of tests and/or remediation for any problem that has been disclosed, such as fire and water damage.

    It's important to answer every question as truthfully as you can. You must answer the questions yourself - your real estate professional can not fill out the disclosure for you, but he or she can help you understand what's being asked of you. If you're in doubt about what to disclose, such as a repair, it's best to err on the side of too much information than not enough.

    While disclosure forms allow you to check the "I don't know" box, you should only do so if you truly don't know the condition of that item. If you answer that you don't know the condition of an appliance you use daily, such as a sink or bathtub, you might raise suspicions in the buyer.

    The best way to feel confident about the condition of your home is to have it inspected by a licensed professional home inspector. Your real estate professional can recommend someone or provide you with a list. For a few hundred dollars and a few hours of your time, you'll either find that your home is market-ready, or the inspector will bring a problem to your attention that you can fix.

    When you disclose a problem to the buyer that has previously been fixed, be sure to provide a copy of work orders, receipts and invoices. If the problem hasn't been fixed, expect the buyer to either ask you to fix it, or to offer a little less for the home.

    Remember, the more that's left unrepaired, the more the buyer will discount the offer, if he makes one at all. Homes in the best condition sell the best.

    The seller's disclosure is designed to do one thing -- hold you and your real estate agent harmless if you've disclosed the truth about your property. You don't want to give the buyer any room for complaint or litigation after the closing.

    To get an idea of the types of questions you'll be asked in a disclosure, you can find legal forms atFindLegalForms.com.

    Don't be afraid of the seller's disclosure. It's not meant to be a deal-killer, but a deal-maker. Many agents provide a copy of the disclosure to interested buyers, so they can get an idea of the home's condition before they make an offer or have an inspection.

  • the Effects of a Death on Your Title

    Posted Under: Quality of Life in Modesto, Property Q&A in Modesto  |  May 11, 2014 4:45 PM  |  313 views  |  No comments

    Death and Title

    Death is a subject that no one wants to talk about, much less plan for until it is too late.  Have you ever thought about what happens to a loved ones property(s), accounts, and personal belongings in the event of their death?  

    It can go one of two ways...

    One, they have prepared for this occurrence legally to where they have held title with rights of survivorship, which can be done in many ways, and to whom they prefer.  The best, ethical course of action that is undebatable in court is a will or testament - this provides how one's estate, both personal and real property, is to be distributed.

    Two, nothing has been planned, not will not title - what now?  The ugly truth of probate, and the actual meaning derives from the Latin word probare, to try, test, prove, and examine... After a death, the last thing anyone wants to do is PROVE their rights to their loved one's existing "things". In this occurrence, a probate court will appoint an executor to the deceased person's estate - creditors are notified, property may have to be sold to appease any debts, family members have the right to challenge any and all decisions, as well as the scrutiny of the court.  Probate is something, if at all possible, to be avoided!

    The goal  is to make you aware that there is life after death and to take the appropriate steps to take care of those that succeed you.

    Jessica Morgan, Marketing Director

    The Del Real Group


    Written by Benny L. Kass 

    Question: My mother died a couple of months ago, and my dad wants to make sure that title to his house is in his name. How do we determine the status of title? Dad wants to make sure that upon his death, his three children will not have any problems regarding the house.

    Answer: First, while I am sure that your motives are pure, you have to remember that the decision on where to distribute your dad's assets when he dies is his -- and his alone -- to make.

    The answer to your question depends on how your parents held title. You can ask an attorney to do a title search or you may be able to go to the website of the local recorder of deeds in the county (or city) where the property is located and get a copy of the original deed to the house.

    There are several ways that property can be owned:

    Sole owner. This is obvious; you own the property in your own name.

    Tenants in common. Here, two or more people own property together. Under a tenant in common arrangement, each owner has a divisible interest in the property. Although most tenant in common ownerships are split equally (i.e. 50-50 ownership), there is no legal requirement that it has to be this way. Often, there are financial or other considerations which dictate a different ownership split -- for example 90- 10, or 75-25. For example, parents may buy a house with their children and split up ownership in accordance with a formula they decide upon.

    In this arrangement, on the death of one owner, his/her percentage ownership is part of the decedent's estate -- and the estate must be probated. The property interest does not transfer to the surviving owner. If there is a Will, that portion of the property will be distributed in accordance with its instructions. If the person dies without a Will (called "intestacy") the laws of the jurisdiction where the person was domiciled will control the distribution.

    Joint tenants: here, the parties jointly own the property. Although some states require language to the effect that the property is held as joint tenants "with right of survivorship", the majority of the States will consider the property as being jointly held even if this magic language is not included in the deed.

    Under a joint tenancy arrangement, on the death of one owner, the property will automatically be transferred to the surviving joint tenant. Probate is not necessary. This is called a transfer "by operation of law". Let's look at this example: A and B own property as "joint tenants with right of survivorship". A dies with a Will which specifically gives A's share of the property to C, his child.

    However, since the property is jointly held, B will end up with full ownership. C has no claim to the property, and the Will -- as it relates to the property -- is meaningless.

    A joint tenancy ownership can, however, be unilaterally separated by one of the joint tenants. Let's go back to our example. While A is alive, he decides that on his death, his share of the property should go to C. He prepares a Last Will and Testament memorializing his intentions. But he also asks his attorney to prepare a deed, changing title to reflect that A and B will now hold title as "tenants in common". Although B should be informed -- as a matter of courtesy -- of this transaction, B has no control over what A does with his share of the property. Now, when A dies, his interest will be distributed to his child C, in accordance with the terms of the Will. Since they now own the property as tenants in common, probate will be required.

    It should be noted that some states allow joint tenants to own the property in unequal shares, but in the Washington metropolitan area, property must be held in equal shares.

    Tenants by the entireties: this is title reserved exclusively for husbands and wives. Although some married couples will hold title as joint tenants with right of survivorship, the more common arrangement is to take title as tenants by the entireties. This means that on the death of one spouse, the surviving spouse automatically (by operation of law) becomes the owner of the entire property. Probate is not required.

    Title ownership is important in life as well as in death. If, for example, there is a creditor who holds a judgment against one of the joint tenant owners, that creditor can force the sale of the property in order to satisfy the judgment. Let us assume that the judgment creditor is owed $25,000 by one of the joint tenants, and the jointly held house is worth $400,000, with a $200,000 mortgage. The judgment creditor can get a Court Order requiring that the house be sold. The first mortgage lender will get its $200,000, and the remaining sales proceeds (after commissions and closing costs are deducted) will be divided as follows: the joint tenant who did not owe any money will get half of the balance but the judgement debtor's share will be deducted in order to pay off the $25,000 debt.

    However, when husband and wife hold title as tenants by the entireties, a judgment creditor of only one of the parties cannot force a sale to satisfy the debt. This can only be done if both husband and wife owe the money.

    Some married couples decide -- for tax or estate purposes -- that the house will only be titled in one of the parties. There are advantages and disadvantages to this, and legal and financial advice must be obtained before going this route.

    Thus, the way title is owned can be important -- whether you are living or are dead.

    Assuming that your parents held the property as tenants by the entireties, your father is now the sole owner. The land records, however, will still show ownership in both names. While it is not critical to have the title placed solely in the name of your father, it is not an expensive process to update the records, and it may solve problems which could arise in later years.

    Your father will need a certified copy of your mother's death certificate. This means that the certificate will have an imprinted Seal from the government office which issues such certificates. He will then have to record a document -- called a "confirmatory deed" -- in the office of the Recorder of Deeds in the jurisdiction where the property is located. There should be no recordation or transfer tax, and the filing fee should be nominal, perhaps $20 or $30.

    Some local jurisdictions may require some additional documentation -- such as an affidavit of exemption from tax.

    Why should your father make sure that title is in his name? Peace of mind is perhaps the most important factor. Additionally, many years later, should the need arise to sell or refinance the property, you may not be able to locate your mother's death certificate. The title company or attorney handling the transaction will require proof that your mother died.

    Finally, a number of states have enacted the Transfer on Death Deed. Check with your attorney; it your state has that law, it is something that your dad may be interested in. Oversimplified, you prepare a deed that does not become effective until you die. It's not that simple, however, and you need legal counsel to assist you with this.

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