News, Photos & Up-Comming Events of the CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes Sales & Marketing Team

Monday, December 14, 2009

We got the holiday spirit!

Every company has its traditions and at CENTURY 21 Adams and Barnes we look forward to our yearly Holiday Breakfast and Gift Exchange.

With dozens of our agents on-hand and a pleasant break in the weather, the team got together in downtown Monrovia for the anticipated festivities.As always, our very own Mr. and Mrs. (Tom and Sally Adams) were on hand to emcee the morning and coordinate the gift exchange.

The morning was full of laughs as usual as our agents browsed through the secret bags, made some colorful choices and "stole" prized items from one another.

Some big announcements were shared with the team that sets the company poised to take advantage on an increasingly healthier real estate market in the year to come.

Altogether it was another wonderful get-together and it reminded everyone the importance of friendship, good company, laughter and a little revelry. To see all the photos of this year's events we invite you to join the CENTURY 21 Facebook fan page. And also, from our team to yours, Happy Holiday season.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Should You Use a Real Estate Agent for Your Home Sale?

For most people, a house is the largest investment they’ll ever make. Yet when it comes time to sell that investment, some opt to do so on their own, without the help of a real estate professional. These do-it-yourselfers are known as FSBOs—short for “for sale by owner.”

It may be tempting to go it alone. But many FSBOs end up listing their home with a real estate agent anyway. That’s because an agent offers many advantages, such as:
  • Local market knowledge. An agent knows what other houses are available and will price your house right. She will perform a comparative market analysis to determine its fair market value and will list at a price that will draw buyer interest without compromising value.
  • Negotiating skill. Your real estate agent will negotiate on your behalf when you receive an offer—from price to date of possession to any necessary repairs.
  • Exposure. FSBOs tend to market a house with signs, newspaper ads and online listings. Yet, according to the National Association of Realtors’ 2009 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 42% of FSBOs sell to someone they already know. What happens if you don’t know someone looking for a house? That’s where an agent has a huge advantage. An agent has access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) that lists homes for sale. An MLS listing is seen by other real estate agents—around the world—therefore bringing a tremendous number of buying opportunities to the table.
  • Prequalifying buyers. Why open your home to anyone who sees your sign? Your agent will prequalify potential buyers to make sure they are really interested in purchasing and are financially able to do so. That means you don’t have to allow strangers into your home who aren’t qualified or serious.

For more information about selling your home, or for a complimentary comparative market analysis, call our CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes offices today at 626.358.1858 (Monrovia) or 626.963.7621 (Glendora)

Monday, November 16, 2009

What’s New In Eco-Friendly Interior Design?

The color “green” is red-hot these days, as environmental awareness spreads and more and more industries incorporate Earth-friendly principles. Going green not only helps the environment, but also helps consumers save money on utility bills.

Incorporating eco-friendly principles into your home may also improve your health, says Hilary Sopata, a Park Ridge, Ill. designer, by eliminating volatile organic compounds (VOCs) often found in paint and other products.

Sopata, currently writing a book called “Get Green With Style,” is seeing the following trends in eco-friendly home design:

New Countertop Materials. “Countertops have come a long way from where they were even three years ago,” Sopata says. Granite has been popular for years, but keep an eye out for compressed paper counters as well as those made from recycled glass bottles.

Natural Fiber Carpets. Wool, cotton, jute and hemp rugs are becoming increasingly popular. These are great for households with pets or small children, Sopata says, who spend time on the carpet and won’t be exposed to the chemicals given off by man-made carpet products.

Automatic lights. These are easy and inexpensive to install, but can save a significant amount of energy.

Natural Window Coverings. Natural window coverings are made out of grasscloth, sisal or other woven plant material. They can be dressed up with a fabric edge trim and are available with a lining for privacy.

Antiques. Using antique or vintage furniture saves them from landfills. Reupholstering or refinishing an antique can cost as much as buying new, but it is much better for the environment.

Eco-Resin. Eco-resin is a translucent material (with 40% recycled content) that lets light flow through to otherwise dark spaces. Used as part of a wall or in place of a door, it may eliminate the need for artificial lighting.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Staging Is Not Just for Residential Listings

Staging is a common tool used by real estate agents to prepare a house for sale. According to, a staged house will sell quicker and for more money than a non-staged one.
But staging isn’t just for residential properties.

Commercial landlords are increasingly adding office furniture to vacant offices in an effort to help them rent or sell quickly. With so much vacant office space on the market these days, staging can help to create a positive impression and differentiate your properties from others on the market. Potential lessees will be able to visualize the space and how it could be set up for employees. And office furniture is readily available for lease at reasonable rates from furniture rental firms.

When considering staging for your rental properties, take a look at your own office space as well. Does it have fresh paint, clean carpets and trimmed landscaping? Or is it in need of some freshening? And what about the furniture? Is it dusted, with desktop surfaces kept tidy and organized? Are the rest rooms modern and fresh-smelling?
The old adage “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression” applies to your office space too.

Do a walk-through of your own facilities, and pay particular attention to the following:

Outside: Is the entrance inviting and well-kept? Is it clean and nicely landscaped? Is it well lit? Are signs easy to read?

Inside: Is the lobby area easy to navigate and furnished with comfortable furniture? Are magazines current? Is the area clutter-free? Are carpets clean and rest rooms spotless?

If you’re interested in hiring a professional stager for your investment property--or your own office--call our commercial REALTORS at CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes today. We will refer you to a qualified professional in your area.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Home Sweet Home (Especially at Tax Time)

Planning to buy a house? It’s one of the smartest decisions you can make—and not just because you’ll be creating a wonderful home in the location of your choice. It’s because homeownership has many tax benefits as well.

Homeowners may receive benefits from Uncle Sam when they purchase or sell a home, and tax advantages may even accrue during the period you own a home. That's why many people consider homeownership to be the ultimate tax shelter.

Here are just three of the possible tax-saving opportunities for homeowners*:

  • Mortgage interest deductions. Interest paid on a mortgage on a first—or even second—home is deductible for those who itemize. That reduces the cost of ownership. For example, someone who pays $10,000 in mortgage interest and who falls in the 25% tax bracket could save up to $2,500 in taxes each year. Generally, all the interest paid on a mortgage is deductible, unless the loan is more than $1 million.
  • Real estate tax deductions. Property taxes based on the assessed value of your home and paid to a state or local government can be deducted—whether you pay directly or through an escrow account. Your bank will provide you with a statement of the actual amount it paid. Also, remember to look at your settlement statement if you recently purchased a home. Any prepaid taxes for which you reimbursed the seller are deductible as well.
  • Capital gain exclusion for the sale of a home. Under current law, if you are selling your principal residence, you can exclude from taxation any profits up to $500,000 for married taxpayers or $250,000 for single taxpayers.

Call our CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes office today so we can get you on the path to the home of your dreams.

* Consult a tax professional for details.

Friday, September 11, 2009

CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes Walks for Hope

The CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes residential sales team has registered once again for Walk for Hope (Sun. Oct. 25, 09) because we refuse to let this terrible disease affect anymore people than it already has.

Now we need your help.

Like you, we all know of someone who has felt the impact of cancer in their lives and perhaps you've "What can I do to help them." Walk for Hope supports breast cancer research, treatment and education at City of Hope, an amazing place that is saving lives every day.

Walk for Hope is a national breast cancer walk that supports breast cancer research, treatment and education at City of Hope, a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. The event is family oriented and a great way to get involved in the fight against this terrible disease.

Please support the CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes team and City of Hope's work. By doing so, YOU are helping to make a difference in so many lives.

BTW: Did you know that more than 200,000 new cases diagnosed of breast cancer are diagnosed each year? That means another 200,000 of our mothers, sisters daughters and friends and all their loved ones will be affected by this terrible disease.

Small donations add up to make a big difference. Just "Click Here" button - you can't miss it - and make a tax-deductible donation. It's that easy and it's that important.

Whatever you can give will help - it all adds up! We greatly appreciate your support and will keep you posted on our progress.We hope to see you on the big day with your jogging shoes.

Thank you!

The CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes Walking for Hope Team

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

CENTURY 21 Llc. Recognizes Joe Garcia & Karen-Taylor Straley for Sales Achievement & Performance

Monrovia, CA / September 01, 2009 — The management at CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes presented REALTORS® Joe Garcia and Karen Taylor-Straley with CENTURY 21’s Pacesetter Gold Award at a recent company sales/marketing meeting. The award, which recognizes Sales Achievement and Performance for the first half of the year, is a good indicator of agents who will receive top CENTURY 21 Honors at the end of the year.

“Karen (Taylor-Straley) and Joe (Garcia) approach everything they do with passion and professionalism. Over the years, each has worked to become fixtures within their service area in the San Gabriel Valley.” said General Manager Hugo Torres of CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes. “Our real estate family could not be more proud of both Karen and Joe for their significant production thus far and the high customer marks the consistently achieve.”

Karen has been a long-standing real estate force in the San Gabriel Valley. For over 20 years she has represented clients who habitually come back to her for their real estate needs. Believing that civic affairs are an important part of the community, she has served as the President of the Monrovia Chamber of Commerce and Past-President of Monrovia’s Kiwanis Club. Over the years, Karen has ammased countless CENTURY 21 Llc. awards for production and customer satisfaction.

Joe Garcia has quickly made a name for himself in the real estate community. His intimate knowledge of Historic properties in the San Gabriel Valley gives his clients the advantage of working with a Real Estate professional who understands the uniqueness and value that every address possesses. Joe Garcia’s civic involvement has broadened the scope of his knowledge and this grants his clients a proven practitioner that can maneuver and coordinate through a transaction efficiently.

Joe and Karen continue to set eye-catching production levels and high customer satisfaction marks.

Located at 433 West Foothill Boulevard, CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes is a full service brokerage specializing in residential, commercial and luxury properties. For more information about Joe Garcia and/or Karen Taylor-Straley, contact us today at 626.675.0658 or visit us on-line at

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Welcome Edda Hudson (Broker-Associate) to our Real Estate Family

The management at CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes is thrilled to welcome long-time industry trailblazer Edda Hutson to our realty family.

With over 21 years of experience in the field, Edda has amassed and impressive string of awards, accolades and production benchmarks.

"Edda has been a friend of CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes for a long time and it is exciting that we'll now have the opportunity to work together" said Broker/Owner Tom Adams at a recent marketing meeting

A resident of Monrovia, Edda has specialized in San Gabriel Valley residential sales for decades and has been awarded much industry and brand recognition over the years. In 1998, after 5 consecutive years of earning CENTURY 21's CENTURION award, Edda was inducted into the brand's Hall of Fame and has been in its CENTURION Honor Society ever since.

Personally, Edda keeps busy with six grandchildren and a garden.

To speak with Edda today, contact our office at 626.358.1858 or visit us on-line at

Monday, August 3, 2009

Tips for Sellers Competing Against Foreclosures and Short Sales.

If you’re trying to sell your home, you already know it’s a challenging market. Not only are there a lot of other homes on the market competing with your house, but some buyers are finding it difficult to obtain mortgages. Plus, with distress sales—foreclosures and short sales—accounting for half of all home sales in some parts of the nation, it’s hard to compete on price alone.

There are things you can do, however, to better make your home stand out. Here are some tips:

Price Your House Right. This is probably the most important thing you can do. With the market so competitive these days, buyers will completely ignore your home if it’s not priced realistically. Buyers today don’t care what your neighbor sold his home for a few years ago. A realistic, fair market price—or even a price slightly lower than fair market value—is the best way to attract buyer interest. This is where a qualified real estate agent can provide invaluable assistance.

Get Out Quick. Short sales are notorious for being, well, not short. Banks may take months to evaluate a short sale offer, and the potential buyer is left waiting helplessly during this time. By offering a fast closing, however, a buyer—who perhaps has children she wants to enroll in school—can move in and get settled quickly. That’s a huge advantage over waiting for a short sale to be approved.

Offer Curb Appeal “Plus.” Foreclosures often need substantial repairs because they’re frequently abandoned by their owners. Often, they are sold “as is” by the banks that own them. A home that is in move-in condition can save a buyer time and money. Consider doing some minor renovations or improvements to update your home and make it more attractive to potential buyers.

Call CENTURY 21 Adams & Barrnes today for more tips to sell your home. Recently we have found the our listings are typically seling in less than 14 days when price and marketed correctly.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Merger News: CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes Team Continues to Grow

The management at The management at CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes is thrilled to announce the merger of the CENTURY 21 Premier team into its real estate family.

The announcement was made during the company's Friday marketing meeting where company agents and staff typically meet to discuss the week's business.The merger is a strategic move to strengthen the outreach of CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes' real estate services in the San Gabriel Valley.

“As respected and innovated real estate brokerage companies in their own right, the coming together of these companies means a heightened level of service for area home buyers, sellers and owners,” said Tom Adams, Broker/Owner of CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes.

The announcement comes at a time when real estate sales continue to climb (20.1% Increase in June 09) despite the economic challenges facing the nation.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Seis consejos para una mudanza tranquila.

Es bien sabido que mudarse puede ser una de las experiencias más mortificantes en la vida. Pero no tiene que ser así. Con algo de planeación anticipada, organizacion y atención al detalle, una mudanza puede ser relativamente libre de estrés. He aquí algunos consejos:

Contraten con una agencia de mudanzas acreditada. Una agencia acreditada les da tranquilidad. No contraten con la primera que encuentren, ni con la más barata. Una agencia de mudanzas inepta les puede salir más cara si al final se pierden o se rompen cosas. Verifiquen cuidadosamente las referencias y consulten con la oficina local de Better Business Bureau para ver si hay quejas.

Programen un calendario de actividades. De ser posible, comiencen elaborando una lista de chequeo al menos dos meses antes de la mudanza. Entre más organizados estén, menos detalles se les van a pasar por alto y tendrán menos tensión, especialmente cuando se aproxima la mudanza y el tiempo apremia.

Marquen apropiadamente las cajas. Marquen apropiadamente cada caja con su contenido y la habitación a la que debe ir; así ahorran tiempo y las cajas llegan al sitio correcto.

Desháganse de lo que no necesitan. Deshacerse antes de la mudanza de lo que no van a necesitar en su nueva casa les trae varias ventajas: ahorran tiempo empacando, eliminan desorden y pueden hacerse a algún dinero si hacen una venta de garaje.

Tengan accesorios en abundancia. No hay nada más estresante que quedarse sin cajas o sin cinta de empacar en el último momento. Tengan a la mano el equipo necesario en cantidad suficiente.

Registren tempranamente su cambio de dirección. Registrar la forma de cambio de dirección antes de mudarse les puede ahorrar dolores de cabeza en cuentas no pagadas, desconexión de servicios, y hasta robo de identidad. No olviden programar las fechas de suspensión de servicios públicos, y cerciórense de que estos servicios les sean instalados a tiempo en su nueva casa. Muchas empresas no permiten hacer estos cambios por internet.

Llámenos al 626.675.0658 y con gusto les daremos más consejos para una mudanza tranquila y los pondremos en contacto con agencias de mudanzas acreditadas.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Dante Underwood Completes CENTURY 21 Fine Homes & Estates Training Course

Monrovia , CA (Grassroots Newswire) July 2009 -- Realizing that real estate education needs to be a career-long endeavor for today's real estate professional, CENTURY 21 Century 21 Adams & Barnes is proud to announce that Dante Underwood , REALTOR with the company's Monrovia office recently added the "Luxury Home Specialist" designation to Dante's professional offerings by completing the CENTURY 21 Fine Homes & Estates program's proprietary agent training course.

Dante successfully completed this online course which is offered exclusively through the CENTURY 21 Learning System educational platform. The course offered Dante strategies for prospecting clientele, and for recognizing relevant market trends influencing the purchase and sale of luxury property. The online course also instructed Dante on how to effectively market high-end homes using the CENTURY 21 Fine Homes & Estates program.

"Through the CENTURY 21 Fine Homes & Estates program’s agent training course, I have empowered myself to engage the luxury home market, and have expanded my knowledge while helping to ensure that CENTURY 21 Century 21 Adams & Barnes clients receive the professional real estate services they expect and deserve," said Dante Underwood

CENTURY 21 Century 21 Adams & Barnes is a full service real estate brokerage company specializing in Luxury Home properties, located at 433 W.Foothill Blvd in Monrovia, CA. Contact Dante today at 626.358.1858 for more information.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Is Buying a Bank Owned Home Right for You?

Barely a day goes by without the media reporting on the flood of foreclosures taking place across the United States. According to a RealtyTrac press release issued earlier this year, one in 374 houses in the U.S. received a foreclosure filing in April, the highest monthly rate since the company began tracking in 2005.

But instead of seeing doom and gloom from these numbers, many view foreclosures as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to buy bank-owned properties at below-market rates.

Some seek to buy in bulk, and they often get the best deals. Individual purchasers may find foreclosures to be a bit more challenging. “The only way to pick up these properties for cents on the dollar is to have cash upfront and buy a minimum of about 10 properties,” said Manny Alvarez, a CENTURY 21 system member. “For individual purchasers, banks don’t like to go below 7 percent of the market price within the first 30 days of their listing.”

Still, Alvarez said there are deals to be had—and discounts do vary throughout the nation.

Here are some tips for buying a foreclosure:

- Make sure you have the cash not only for the purchase but for any repairs required after you close—these properties are often distressed and require extensive repairs, Alvarez said. Plus, traditional financing may not be available.

- View the house in person, and get it inspected.
- Don’t make an unreasonable offer. Many banks are getting multiple offers now, and your offer can be rejected before you have a chance to increase it.

If you’re interested in a foreclosure, it’s essential to work with an experienced agent who can negotiate aggressively with the bank. Our team at CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes has worked with bank owned homes and have the know-how to help you take advantage of this unique market place.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Inspección: Descubra problemas con la casa antes de cerrar el trato.

Tras el largo proceso de búsqueda de casas, trámites para obtener una hipoteca y negociaciones con el vendedor, ¡está usted a punto de cerrar el trato y convertirse en el dueño de su propio hogar! Sin embargo, antes de formalizar la compra es necesario llevar a cabo una completa inspección de la casa.

La inspección es una de las actividades más importantes en el proceso para comprar una casa. Esta inspección le permite descubrir problemas con la propiedad que pueden afectar las negociaciones durante el cierre o incluso ser la razón para decidir si es o no la casa correcta para usted y su familia.

Algunos ejemplos de los problemas que usted puede descubrir durante la fase de inspección de la casa incluyen:
  • Goteras en el techo.
  • Fugas de gas.
  • Daños a causa de termitas.
  • Daños a causa de termitas.
  • Grietas en las paredes, entre otros

Contacte a un agente de CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes para asesorarle durante este paso del proceso. Su agente le puede aconsejar cómo realizar una buena inspección de la casa durante las negociaciones finales con el vendedor.

En la mayoría de los estados, usted tendrá la opción de realizar un recorrido de la propiedad antes de cerrar el trato. Esta será su última oportunidad de asegurar que todos los términos de su contrato y condiciones de la propiedad cumplen sus expectativas.

Con la mano amiga del Sistema de CENTURY 21, el hogar de sus sueños está más cerca que nunca. ¡Busque la casa perfecta para usted y su familia hoy mismo!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hold Down the Forth and Keep Things Clean

Jim Gupton is CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes' facilities manager and he ensures that the offices are in pristine condition and that our equipment is running smoothly. Every week, at Glendora's office meeting he delivers his "Poet Laureate" minute; here is this week's submission:

"I really wanted to be here today,
Instead I got on a plane and flew far away.

I'll be in NC for a week or so
but I'll be back before you know.

So hold down the fort and keep things clean
if you mess things up I can get pretty mean.

I'm going to miss all of you like a spoon full of honey,
stay close to your phones, cause I may need money."

Jim is in North Carolina this week visiting family and he will be missed. Come back soon Jim.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Crédito Tributario del Gobierno Federal esta disponible para quienes van a comprar una casa.

Créditos de impuestos federales promulgadas por el Congreso a principios del 2009 será importante para muchos que van a comprar casa por primera vez.

El crédito se planeó para estimular la compra de vivienda y reactivar el mercado inmobiliario, y las primeras señales muestran que está teniendo éxito. Solamente en febrero, un número record de 844.000 compradores potenciales visitaron el sitio de internet establecido por la Asociación Nacional de Constructores de Viviendas ( para saber más acerca del crédito tributario de $8.000.

He aquí algunos detalles acerca del nuevo crédito:
  • Solamente está disponible para quienes compran casa por primera vez. Esta condición está definida como alguien que no haya sido propietario de una residencia principal durante un periodo de tres años antes de la compra. Para parejas casadas aplica la historia de propiedad de ambos cónyuges.
  • No hay que pagar el crédito mientras no se venda la vivienda al menos por tres años.
    La cantidad real del crédito es el 10 por ciento del precio de compra de la vivienda, hasta un máximo de $8.000.
  • Para obtener el crédito, se debe cerrar el negocio entre el 1º de enero y el 30 de noviembre de 2009.
  • El crédito completo es aplicable para contribuyentes individuales con ingresos de hasta $75,000 o parejas casadas de hasta $150,000. Para contribuyentes con ingresos superiores a estas cantidades se reduce o se elimina el crédito.
  • La casa debe ser su residencia principal. Puede ser nueva o usada.

Recuerde que cualquier casa que se vaya a usar como residencia principal califica para el crédito; esto incluye casas individuales, dúplex, condominios, casas móviles y hasta casas botes. Como hay un estricto límite de tiempo, llame ya a nuestra oficina, y con gusto le ayudaremos a aprovechar este importante beneficio tributario.

  • Consulte con un profesional de impuestos.
  • Para más detalles visite: Mapa de Referencia Rápida La Asociación Nacional de Agentes Inmobiliarios Para Compradores de Casa Por Primera Vez ® - Preguntas más frecuentes La Asociación Nacional de Agentes de Bienes Raíces ®

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Your Realty Advisors Team Welcomes a New Member

Kevin Wang has lived in different parts of the world including Taipei, Taiwan; Auckland, New Zealand; El Paso, Texas; and San Francisco, California. As a result of his broad exposure to different cultures, Kevin is a valuable real estate resource. He is able to quickly adapt, problem solve and creatively negotiate on behalf of his clients. After earning his bachelor’s degree in business administration at Saint Mary’s College of California, Kevin relocated to the San Gabriel Valley.

Prior to joining CENTURY 21 Commercial, Kevin helped real estate investors evaluate and purchase investment properties throughout Los Angeles County.

Presently, Kevin specializes in commercial tenant and buyer representation. Shortly after joining the team, Kevin represented a Vizio distributor and repair company in the leasing of expansion warehouse space in El Monte, California.

In addition, he assisted in a 10,000 square foot industrial lease transaction in the San Gabriel Valley with an aerospace defense subcontractor. The tenant was thrilled to consolidate its operations under a single, free standing building with ample room for future growth.

Kevin thoroughly loves the challenge and satisfaction of helping business owners and investors reach their real estate goals.

Kevin is fluent in English and Mandarin. He enjoys traveling, fishing, badminton and running.

For your commercial tenant leasing or purchasing needs, feel free to contact Kevin Wang at 626-930-9320 or 626-434-5224. He may also be reached at

Monday, June 1, 2009

6 Tips for Getting A Mortgage

If you are planning to buy a home or refinance your mortgage, you might be a bit apprehensive about the mortgage application process. After all, media reports on how banks have tightened their purse strings can make the process seem daunting.

While its true that mortgage applicants face challenges not present at the height of the real estate boom, there is some good news you many not be aware of: 30-year fixed rate mortgages are below-some of the lowest rates in over 30 years. First time homebuyers may qualify for federal tax credits*, and some states (such as California) have instituted tax credits as well to stimulate local housing activity. So the news is very promising.

There are things you can do now to ease the application process and increase the odds of finding the right mortgage.
  • Improve your credit. Standards have normalized, and you’ll need a good FICO score to obtain the best rates. Check your credit report, and correct any errors.
  • Gather necessary paperwork to verify employment and other income as well as any assets.
  • Be an educated consumer. Learn about the various types of mortgages, and for adjustable rate loans, consider the impact if the adjustment reaches its peak.
  • Pay down debts. The fewer debts you have, the better your application looks to the lender. Mortgage lenders prefer borrowers who are not over-leveraged.
  • Once you make an application, respond quickly and fully to any requests you receive from the lender for additional information.

To learn more about the opportunities available to you today, contact the team at CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes today. We have the connections to help you take advantage of current market conditions.

* Consult a Tax Professional

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Enjoying Outdoor Entertaining

It used to be that you had to go to a drive-in theater to enjoy a movie outdoors.

Not any more.

Imagine watching a film from the comfort of your own backyard--or even from the hot tub.
More and more Americans are converting their backyards into oases, where state-of-the-art, weatherproof large screen HDTVs and digital surround sound systems are seamlessly integrated into expansive decks, patios, pools and stonework. Computer-controlled lighting sets the mood, adjusting automatically on paths, steps, underwater and overhead as the sun rises or sets. Speakers vanish into walls, planters and decking, yet 3D sound is audible everywhere—even underwater in the pool.

“Outdoor home theaters are the biggest trend in home entertainment since the introduction of the flat-panel TV,” says David Berman, director of training for Home Theater Specialists of America (HTSA), a trade group.

Homeowners are transforming their backyards into a place for friends and family to gather, barbecue or swim while enjoying high definition video, MP3 surround sound, surfing the Web, watching a big game or taking in the latest movie.

Costs vary for creating the perfect backyard retreat, but most upscale installations cost at least $10,000, and many range up to $50,000—or more—depending upon the quality of the equipment used, according to HTSA.

Outdoor home theaters may be one of the few bright spots in an otherwise down market for high-end electronics. Says Berman: “Watching movies under the stars still has great appeal.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Celebrating Mother's Day Weekend in Monrovia

If you are looking for some fun and excitement on this sunny Southern California weekend then you may want to visit Monrovia as the city kicks-off the 123rd Monrovia Day Celebration over the Mothers Day Weekend.

Beginning on Sunday, May 10th, you can tour some of the city's most picturesque homes at the Vintage Home Tour coordinated by the Monrovia Historic Preservation Group.

Then on Thursday (May 14) evening, on-lookers will line Myrtle Avenue to enjoy the Monrovia Day Parade which will at 7 p.m. and move north from Chestnut to Palm Avenues. (

As usual, the famed Old Town Family Festival will be on hand Friday May 15 during its usual hours.

Finally the highly anticipated opening to the public of the Monrovia Library will take place on Saturday, May 16 at 10:00 a.m. (

All-in-all some fun and exciting days in Monrovia, CA coming up. See you there.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Congratulations to All the Winners

This week, the team at CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes celebrated its annual awards banquet in Monrovia.

The evening was a joyous celebration of the 2008-09 production year and an opportunity to acknowledge the successes of the brokerage's top producers and rising stars.

Monrovia Office Top Sales Agents for the 2008-2009 year are:

10. Beverly Firth, REALTOR
9. Isabella Cappucci, Associate
8. Dave Decker, REALTOR
7. John Pentecost, REALTOR
6. Craig McKenzie, REALTOR
5. Linda Vidov, REALTOR
4. Dan Bacani, REALTOR
3. Joe Garcia, REALTOR
2. Karen-Taylor Straley, REALTOR
1. Linda Jo Pyle, REALTOR

Top Sales Team for the 2008-2009 year is:
Baker and Snider REALTORS

Glendora Office Top Sales Agents for the 2008-2009 year are:

10. Pam Ganas, Associate
9. Karolin Kazma, REALTOR
8. Clare Eubanks, Associate
7. Renee Gant, REALTOR
6. Debbie Bush, REALTOR
5. Patti Tris, REALTOR
4. Luis Campos, REALTOR
3. Jackie Riley, REALTOR
2. Margaret Ellis, REALTOR
1. Tia Byrne, REALTOR

Monrovia Office Top Listing Agents for the 2008-2009 year are:

10. Lucy Williams, REALTOR
9. Anne Kee, REALTOR
8. Beverly Firth, REALTOR
7. Cassandra Meyer, REALTOR
5. Dan Bacani, REALTOR
4. John Pentecost, REALTOR
3. Linda Jo Pyle, REALTOR
1. Karen Taylor-Straley, REALTOR

Glendora Office Top Listing Agents for the 2008-2009 year are:

10. Jackie Riley, REALTOR
9. Clare Eubanks, REALTOR
8. Alfred Williams, REALTOR
7. Lisa Mendoza, REALTOR
6. Jay Rutnam, REALTOR
5. Ron Gillen, REALTOR
4. Margaret Ellis, REALTOR
3. Tia Byrne, REALTOR
2. Debbie Bush, REALTOR
1. Karolin Kazma, REALTOR

Congratulations to all the winners and we look forward to another great year at CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Friday Report - April 24, 2009

Open Houses Available for Pre-View this Weekend

1. 748 Crescent Drive, Monrovia - Sunday 1 - 4 pm / Listed at $998,000
2. 341 Oakcliff Avenue, Monrovia - Saturday 12 pm to 3 pm / Listed at $709,000
3. 2612 Glenrose Avenue, Altadena - Sat. & Sun. 1 - 5 pm / Listed at $359,300
4. 226-228 Heliotrope Avenue, Monrovia - Sunday 1 - 4 pm / Listed at $399,000
5. 2595 Rochelle Avenue, Monrovia - Sunday 1 - 4 pm / Listed at $595,000

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A New Reason to Green Your Home

The stimulus package recently adopted by Congress is putting more money into consumers’ pockets via the expansion of tax credits available for those who make energy-efficient improvements to their homes.

Making your home more energy-efficient is obviously good for the environment and helps you save money on water and energy bills. But now the new tax credits will make such home upgrades even more affordable, providing a financial incentive for homeowners who go green on their renovation projects in 2009 and 2010.

Under Internal Revenue Code section 25C, tax credits for existing homes expired at the end of 2007. These credits were reinstated by the Bush Administration as part of its economic rescue package passed last fall. Those credits rewarded homeowners who installed energy-efficient windows, doors, roofs, insulation, furnaces, air conditioners and heat pumps.

But that credit was equal to only 10 percent of the cost of each product, with a lifetime cap of $500, and it wasn’t strong enough to encourage homeowners to act.

Now, the tax credit has been tripled—to 30 percent—and the lifetime cap has been lifted to $1,500. Plus, the list of eligible improvements has been expanded. So homeowners opting to make their homes more energy-efficient will be financially rewarded for doing so.

For more information about tax credits or greening your home, give our office a call.

Happy Birthday Jim Gupton - Facilities Manager at CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes

Our team at CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes wishes our Facilities Manager Jim Gupton a Happy 75th Birthday.

Jim, you keep the offices in great shape and always make us smile with your poem's at office meeting.

Happy Birthday

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Earth Day is here (April 22) and our team at CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes is happy to promote awareness and appreciation of the Earth's environment. With our offices located at the base of the San Gabriel Valley Foothills, we have a special respect for nature's beauty which hugs our neighborhoods.

So in the spirit of this Earth Day and our pressing need to conserve water, we provide you the following tips from
  • Look for the WaterSense label to identify water-efficient products and programs. The WaterSense label indicates that these products and programs meet water-efficiency and performance criteria. WaterSense labeled products will perform well, help save money, and encourage innovation in manufacturing. (
  • Don't let the water run while shaving or brushing teeth.
  • Take short showers instead of tub baths.
  • Keep drinking water in the refrigerator instead of letting the faucet run until the water is cool.
  • Scrape, rather than rinse, dishes before loading into the dishwasher; wash only full loads.
    Wash only full loads of laundry or use the appropriate water level or load size selection on the washing machine.
  • Buy high-efficient plumbing fixtures & appliances.
  • Repair all leaks (a leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons a day).
  • Water the lawn or garden during the coolest part of the day (early morning is best).
  • Water plants differently according to what they need. Check with your local extension service or nurseries for advice.
  • Set sprinklers to water the lawn or garden only – not the street or sidewalk.
  • Use soaker hoses or trickle irrigation systems for trees and shrubs.
  • Keep your yard healthy - dethatch, use mulch, etc.
  • Sweep outside instead of using a hose.
  • Learn how to plant trees, build a pond, compost, and more from the Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service

Thursday, April 16, 2009

CENTURY 21 Real Estate First-Time Home Buyer Survey Reveals Increasing Demand Despite Concerns About the Economy

Century 21 Real Estate LLC, the franchisor of the world’s largest residential real estate sales organization today announced the results of its recently commissioned first-time home buyer survey. The survey found that more than three-quarters (78 percent) of potential first-time home buyers say that now is a good time to buy a home, despite widespread concern about the economy. Out of the 1,000 prospective U.S. first-time home buyers surveyed in early March for the CENTURY 21 First-Time Home Buyer Survey, 68 percent think now is a better time to buy than six months ago.

Prices are the driving motivation for potential first-time home buyers with more than eight of ten first-time home buyers (85 percent) saying they consider current home prices affordable and 73 percent citing that taking advantage of current prices is a major factor in their decision to buy. Interestingly, potential first-time buyers are still split between "being willing to consider an offer now" (42 percent) and "waiting for prices to go down before they seriously consider making a purchase" (48 percent).

"Current pricing, rates and incentives, such as the First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit, provide tremendous opportunities for first-time home buyers to get into the market," said Tom Kunz, Century 21 Real Estate president and CEO. "Our research shows that while consumers still have concerns about the future of the economy, many are actively considering their options as we move into the spring selling season."

Among the survey’s other key findings:

Bargains in the marketplace are providing additional options for buyers to consider. 56 percent of potential first-time home buyers are considering purchasing a foreclosed or short sale home, and 63 percent are open to purchasing either a "fixer-upper" or "as-is" home.

When asked to rate the features that they look for when choosing a home, price is the primary consideration with 87 percent saying this feature is "very important," followed closely by neighborhood safety (80 percent) and the condition of the home (71 percent).

Having enough money for a down payment is a top concern of potential first-time home buyers as nearly half (46 percent) said they are "very worried" about the issue.

Most respondents (86 percent) are in the market for single family homes.

Available Government Incentives

In addition to affordable home prices and mortgage rates, the survey also showed strong interest in taking advantage of the recent government stimulus. More than three-quarters (77 percent) of potential first-time home buyers say they are more likely to buy a home in the next six months because of the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit offered in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Affordable Mortgage Rates

Perception about the lending market is a key concern for prospective first-time home buyers. Current mortgage rates are considered to be affordable by approximately three-quarters (72 percent) of respondents and 62 percent recognize that rates are lower than a year ago. However, 75 percent of potential first-time home buyers believe it is difficult to get a home loan right now and 74 percent think it is harder to get a loan than the same time last year.

"Traditional mortgage investors, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA and VA are receiving significant financial backing from the federal government, keeping interest rates low and mortgage funds available for qualified buyers," said Marshall Gayden, senior vice president of Century 21 Mortgage¨. "Home buyers who have a stable job history of at least two years, solid credit (620 and above) and down payment money that can be documented (3.5% on FHA loans) are well positioned to secure a mortgage in today’s credit environment."

Understanding the Buying Process

Prospective first-time home buyers also indicate that there is a real need for someone who can provide accurate and reliable information while they look for a home. When asked about the real estate transaction process, more than half (59 percent) of potential buyers rated their understanding of the process as only "fair" or "poor."

"Between home loans, the closing process and understanding the new government stimulus, real estate professionals play a vital role in working with first-time home buyers to help them navigate the current market," said Kunz. "Every individual situation is different, and consumers should use their Realtor as a trusted advisor to seek opportunities, get educated on the process and make informed decisions."

In addition, the survey asked potential buyers which factors are most relevant in their decision to choose a home:

First-Time Home Buyers’ Top Reasons for Buying / (% saying major factor)
Taking advantage of current housing prices / 3
Moving to a bigger living space / 60
Having a more suitable place to start or raise family / 56
Buying a home as an investment / 47
Moving to a better neighborhood / 44
Moving to better location for work / 28

MethodologyPenn, Schoen & Berland Associates conducted an online poll on behalf of Century 21 Real Estate LLC with 1,000 prospective first time home buyers that indicated they were likely to buy their first home in the next two years. The survey fielded from March 2-7, 2009, and has a margin of error of ± 3.1%.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

C.A.R. Launches Mortgage Protection Program for First-Time Home Buyers

Quick Facts
  • C.A.R. is the first statewide association in the nation to offer a mortgage protection plan for consumers.
  • Approximately 3,000 households expected to receive assistance in first year.
  • C.A.R.’s Housing Affordability Fund is dedicating $1 million toward program

LOS ANGELES (April 2) – The CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) today launched the C.A.R. Housing Affordability Fund Mortgage Protection Program (C.A.R.H.A.F. MPP) for first-time home buyers.

Through the Housing Affordability Fund Mortgage Protection Program, first-time home buyers who lose their jobs due to layoffs may be eligible to receive up to $1,500 per month, for six months, to help make their mortgage payments. A qualified co-buyer also can participate in the program, and receive a monthly benefit of $750 per month for up to six months. Program benefits also include coverage for accidental disability and a $10,000 death benefit.

C.A.R.’s Housing Affordability Fund is dedicating $1 million toward its Mortgage Protection Program, and estimates that as many as 3,000 families will benefit from the program this year.

“The Mortgage Protection Program was developed to help ease the anxiety of consumers who are concerned about potential job loss and its impact on their ability to pay their mortgage should they purchase a home,” said C.A.R. President James Liptak. “It also provides peace of mind to those buyers who are actively searching for a home.”

To qualify for the Mortgage Protection Program, applicants must:.

Be a first-time home buyer – someone who has not owned a home in three or more years.

Open escrow April 2, 2009, or later, and close on or before Dec. 31, 2009.

Use a California REALTOR® in the transaction.

Purchase the property in California.

Be a W-2 employee (cannot be self-employed)

To apply for the program, home buyers must request an application for the H.A.F. Mortgage Protection Program from their REALTOR®.

Leading the way...® in California real estate for more than 100 years, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® ( is one of the largest state trade organizations in the United States, with nearly 180,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.

The CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) Housing Affordability Fund (H.A.F.) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) dedicated to addressing California’s housing crisis . It receives donations primarily from REALTOR® members and REALTOR® associations committed to addressing the housing problem in California. H.A.F. raises and distributes funds and partners with other groups to promote housing and homeownership and address housing opportunities locally and statewide.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Debbie Bush & Rosie Haynes Earn Top March Sales Honors

At Glendora's office meeting this morning, REALTORS Debbie Bush and Rosie Haynes were awarded with Top production honors for the month of March 2009.

Debbie was named Top Listing agent for March while Rosie received Top Sales Agent accolades.

Both agents have been on a hot streak since the beginning of the year working with buyers looking to take advantage of the warming real estate market.

To learn more about either Debbie Bush ( and/or Rosie Haynes contact CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes' Glendora office at 626.963.7621 or visit us on-line at

Monday, April 6, 2009

New Tax Credit Attracts Buyers on Sidelines

There’s some good news if you’re in the market to sell a home.

A tax credit enacted by Congress as part of the landmark $787 billion economic stimulus package--up to $8,000--is expected to entice first-time buyers, many of whom have been sitting on the sidelines. And since the credit only applies to those who close on homes between Jan. 1, 2009 and Nov. 30, 2009, some say that first-time buyers may move quickly to capitalize on it.

Early signs indicate the new credit has already piqued homebuyers’ interest. In February alone, a record 844,000 prospective homebuyers visited a site set up by the National Association of Home Builders ( to learn about the tax credit. And that’s great news for those who are selling homes, whether new or existing.

“Current pricing, rates and incentives, such as the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit, provide tremendous opportunities for first-time home buyers to get into the market,” said Tom Kunz, CENTURY 21 Real Estate president and CEO. “Our research shows that while consumers still have concerns about the future of the economy, many are actively considering their options as we move into the spring selling season.”

If you’re a current seller, talk to your CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes REALTOR about new buyers and how to appeal to them. If you’re considering listing your home, townhome, condo, mobile home or even houseboat, now is a great time. Call our office and one WE will answer your questions and help move you along the path.

Remember to always consult a tax professional regarding real estate master and feel fre to contact our offices for additional resources.

626.358.1858 / Monrovia - 626.963.7621 / Glendora or visit us on-line at

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Friday Report - April 03, 2009

Open Houses Available for Pre-View this Weekend
  1. 341 Oakcliff Avenue, Monrovia - Saturday 10 am to 1 pm / Listed at $739,000
  2. 658 South Wabash Avenue, Glendora - Saturday 1 - 4 pm / Listed at $315,000
  3. 2612 Glenrose Avenue, Altadena - Sunday 1 - 5 pm / Listed at $359,300
  4. 2002 Bella Vista Avenue, Arcadia - Sunday 1 - 4 pm / Listed at $1,899,000
  5. 658 South Wabash Avenue, Glendora - Sunday 1 - 4 pm / Listed at $315,000
  6. 601 Sycamore Drive, San Gabriel - Sunday 1 - 4 pm / Listed at $759,000
  7. 316 Genoa Street Unit A, Monrovia - Sunday 1 - 4 pm / Listed at $339,000
  8. 4095 Fruit Street #146, La Verne - Sunday 12 - 4 pm / Listed at $67,000
  9. 4095 Fruit Street #323, La Verne - Sunday 12 - 4 pm / Listed at $67,000

To learn more about CENTURY 21's April Open House Month Drive and/or The Path to Your Dreams Sweepstakes visit us on-line at:

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Friday Report - March 27, 2009

Please note that Jerry Baker's listing at 966 Swiss Trails Road in Duarte will not be held for Open House. Said listing is curently in escrow.

  • 2612 Glenrose Avenue, Altadena - Sunday 1- 5 pm
  • 966 Swiss Trails Road, Duarte - Sunday 1 - 4 pm
  • 2002 Bella Vista, Arcadia - Sunday 1 - 4 pm
  • 658 South Wabash, Glendora - Sunday 12 - 3 pm
  • 601 Sycamore Drive, San Gabriel - Sunday 1 - 4 pm

Thursday, March 26, 2009

CENTURY 21 CEO Describes the Housing Market.

CENTURY 21 President/CEO Tom Kunz spoke today on CNBC regarding the uptick in sales that we have been experiencing over the last few months.

See the Video

We were thrilled to see our CEO sporting the Gold Jacket and positively describing the market at this time. It gives us all an incentive to speak with the cyou about the realities and opportunities available out there.

To learn more about current incentives available:

1. $8,000 Credit for first time purchasers.
2. $10,000 State of California credit for new construction purchases.

Call us today at 626.358.1858 / Monrovia or 626.963.7621 / Glendora or visit us on-line at

Monday, March 23, 2009

New Homes Need Inspections Too

As California recently announced, current incentives to spur sales of New Construction have prompted great interest in purchasing such properties.

So let's say you just signed a contract to purchase a brand new home from a reputable builder. But even though it comes with a homeowner’s warranty, has never been lived in, and will be inspected throughout the construction process by local government officials, experts suggest that you hire an independent home inspector to check it out.

Even new homes come with defects, according to the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). And it takes a professional to spot them. Many items can't be inspected once a house is completed. That’s why ASHI recommends that buyers consider having a series of phased inspections conducted at key points in the construction process: prior to the foundation pour, prior to insulation and drywall installation, and prior to the final walkthrough. These types of phased inspections may be added to the contract during negotiations.

Catching problems early will save homebuyers time—and money—later on.

But why have your own inspections? Aren’t buyers protected by the inspections done by local government officials?

While it’s true that local governments have oversight over the homebuilding process, building officials can and do miss things. In addition, a newly constructed home could have a problem that doesn’t rise to the level of a code violation yet could have serious consequences for a new homeowner. Remember, the building code contains a set of minimum standards to which a builder is required to adhere.

To find a certified home inspector, use the “Find an Inspector” tool on the ASHI Web site, at Or simply ask your real estate professional for a recommendation. He or she can provide you with the names of several licensed inspectors in your area.

To learn more about recent California New Construction incentives call our REALTORS at CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes at 626.358.1858 / Monrovia and 626.963.7621 / Glendora or visit us on-line:

Friday, March 20, 2009

The CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes Friday Report - March 20, 2009

Visit Us On-Line at or call us at 626.358.1858 / Monrovia or 626.963.7621 / Glendora

CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes Welcomes Arby Artoonian

Arby Artoonian was invited to join the team at CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes ( in the Spring of 2009 and since then has been on a fast track to success.

Drawing from ample experience in handling customer service challenges, Arby is a multi-lingual business professional who consistently seeks new ways to analyze real estate opportunities for his clients.

Using up-to-date technologies, he prides himself as the consummate communicator who will keep you abreast of developments during the transaction and guide you towards taking the steps towards fruitful results.

It was his hard-working and professional attitude that earned him an invitation into the CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes family. Arby proved himself to be an amiable team player who understood the importance of providing real estate services that went far beyond the expectation of clients.

His history as a pro-active negotiator was a glaring positive attribute which the company seeks in its REALTOR ranks. To learn more about Arby Artoonian, we invite you to visit today or contact him at 818.216.0054

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes Posts Considerable Sales Numbers

After a review of the company's production this week, Broker Tom Adams announced a 200% increase in sides (one half of a sale) closed over the same first quarter period last year. The numbers for the company's Monrovia office (for the same measured period )were 160%.

The announcement came on the heels of the company's receipt of the CENTURY 21 Technology Company Award and presentation as a Hall of Fame office earlier this month at CENTURY 21's International Convention in San Antonio, TX.

The uptick in closes sides and revenue seem to follow a moderate thawing in the real estate market that the company has been quick to embrace. The company's considerable listing portfolio of Bank Owned Homes, Short Sales, Commercial Units and well priced conventional listings have spurred the increase in production.

In addition, the company in order to continue the momentum, is embracing CENTURY 21's April Open House Month Sweepstakes which will give one lucky winner a handsome cash prize.

For more information about CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes and April's Open House Month Contest, contact us today at 626.358.1858 / Monrovia - 626.303.8733 / Glendora or visit us on-line at

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Technology Award

Here it is. The coveted CENTURY 21 Technology Award that will be comming back to our Monrovia office at the conclusion of this wonderful convention.

We are very proud of this award because it is a testament that our brokerage is taking pro-active steps to meet the needs of today's consumer.

Now, getting it back to Monrovia without breaking it will be a feat all to itself. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes Receives Technology Award

CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes Receives CENTURY 21's Technology Award

CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes was the proud recipient of CENTURY 21's Technology Award at this year's International Convention in San Antonio, TX.

Speaking to a packed house, the company's General Manager Hugo Torres accepted the award on behalf of all CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes agents who consistantly use system tools (21Online, E -Greetings, etc) to generate leads and grow business.

To see the video of the presenation, see our video above:

First Night

Well after nearly 8 hours of travel time, Jacen (Crehan) and I finally arrived and registered for CENTURY 21'S Llc's annual convention in San Antonio, Texas.

The flight was definitely worth it as the night's reception at Sunset Station proved to be a fantastic meet and greet for many old friends from previous convention and conferences.

Tonight, I was able to get together with folks from corporate, International Manager's Academy (IMA), convention's past (Las Vegas, Florida) and from Facebook.

All together, I am glad to finally be in San Antonio (beautiful city) and to start the week's festivities with a bang.

We're Solid Gold indeed.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

How to Downsize Your Space in Style

Are you moving into a smaller home? If so, you don’t have to sacrifice luxury and style along with square footage.

Downsizing is a popular option these days, as people move from larger to smaller houses for a variety of reasons. Some are empty nesters, looking for a more manageable home when children fly the coop. Others might be college graduates, moving from their suburban childhood home to their first apartment in the city. No matter what the reason, a smaller space can be just as comfortable and elegant as the larger one left behind.

Many downsizers opt to change their design style when they move. Lauri Ward, a designer and author of “Downsizing Your Home With Style,” says her clients often swap traditional furniture and design for cleaner lines that are more eclectic and sleek.

The biggest design challenge for those who downsize: storage. Many smaller homes lack garages and basements.

What to do? - Ward recommends closed storage—a trunk rather than a coffee table, for example—to do away with what she calls “visual chaos.” She also makes extensive use of built-ins, which save space.

In living areas, avoid cluttering the floor space with tables that have no purpose or with stacks of magazines. Opening up the floors makes the space appear larger—and in any downsized home, every piece needs to earn its keep by having a purpose for being there.

Rooms in a smaller home need to serve double duty. Combine a home office with a guest room, for example. Or purchase a dining room table that can double as a desk for a home office.

“People often think they’re compromising if they go smaller, but good things come in small packages,” Ward says. “You can really have a beautiful home—even more beautiful than your last. It’s more about quality than quantity.”

Monday, March 2, 2009

Falling House Prices Create New Opportunities for Buyers

Buyers should pay close attention to the results of a report released on Feb. 10, 2009.

On that date, Denver-based Integrated Asset Services released its House Price Index for December 2008. Based on the most current information available at the time, the report shows a 13.8 percent decline in house prices for the full year 2008 and an overall decline of 19.1 percent since the market’s peak at the end of 2006. These are national numbers, of course; certain local markets have seen greater or lesser declines.

Of greater interest to potential buyers, however, is the data contained in the IAS report that identifies 10 of the counties hit hardest during the national real estate decline. It is in these markets that some of the greatest buying opportunities lie.

Not surprisingly, most of the hardest hit counties were in states that experienced the largest gains during the housing bubble. California fared the worst, with the top three of the nation’s hardest hit counties: San Joaquin County, down 51 percent from its high; Monterey County, down 49 percent; and Kern County, down 45 percent. In Florida, Lee County fared the worst, with a decline of 44.6 percent. Charlotte County dropped 42.2 percent, and Pasco County declined 39.7 percent.

“We’re seeing house prices returning to pre-bubble levels, and there are no signs of leveling off just yet,” says Dave McCarthy, president and CEO of Integrated Asset Services. “But location is still everything.”

In these hard hit counties, and others, opportunity knocks for savvy buyers. Want to learn more about prices in your neighborhood? Give your local CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes office a call, and we can provide you with prices and other data for areas that you’d like to live in as well as tips on how to make the most of current market conditions.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A New Lending Landscape

It may seem like a tough time to be in the market for a home. In the wake of the sub-prime mortgage crisis and the related banking upheaval, lenders have tightened their purse strings and put the brakes on issuing homes loans, at least at the rates and terms that were prevalent just a year to six months ago. But not all the news is bad for today’s buyers.

First, this new approach to lending can reduce the risk that you be a victim of unscrupulous lending practices. As a result, this more stringent approach may work to your benefit. Use this time to learn as much as you can about the current lending landscape. Read articles in the newspapers and online. Reach out to your CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes Realtor® and ask for his or her interpretation of the recent developments. It is also wise to spend time analyzing your own finances including your income, assets, expenses and credit score. If you know your own budget and financial qualifications inside and out, you will know what is realistic and what is too good to be true.

Once you have identified what you want and are prepared with your own facts and figures start making some calls. Banks and mortgage companies may have reined in their lending, but it is still a free and competitive marketplace. Search for the best rates and terms available. However, if you feel you may get a better offer in a few weeks or months, and your timetable permits it, wait a bit. The advice of your real estate professional will be invaluable when making this decision.

Finally, remember that the real estate marketplace still favors buyers. The inventory of homes exceeds the current demand in most locations, so you have the opportunity to be more selective and a little more demanding at the bargaining table.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

How Is Your FICO?

In today's increasingly automated society, it should come as no surprise that when you apply for a mortgage, your ability to pay can be reduced to a single number. All the years you've been paying your mortgage, car payments, and credit card bills can be analyzed, sliced, diced, spindled and mutilated into a single indicator of whether you're likely to meet your future obligations.

All three of the major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) use a slightly different system to arrive at a score. The best known is called the FICO score, based on a model developed by Fair Isaac and Company (hence the name) and used by Experian. Equifax's model is called BEACON, while TransUnion uses EMPIRICA. While each of the models considers a range of data available in your credit report, the primary factors are:
  • Credit History - How long have you had credit?
  • Payment History - Do you pay your bills on time?
  • Credit Card Balances - How much do you owe on how many accounts?
  • Credit Inquiries - How many times have you had your credit checked?

Each of these, and other items, are assigned a value and a weight. The results are added up and distilled into a single number. FICO scores range from 300 to 850, with higher being better. Typical home buyers likely find their scores falling between 600 and 850.

FICO scores are used for more than just determining whether or not you qualify for a mortgage. Higher scores indicate you are a better credit risk, and thus may qualify for a better mortgage rate.

What can you do about your FICO score? Unfortunately, not much. Since the score is based on a lifetime of credit history, it is difficult to make a significant change in the number with quick fixes. The most important thing is to know your FICO score and to ensure that your credit history is correct. Conveniently, Fair Isaac has created a web site ( that let's you do just that. For a reasonable fee, you can quickly get your FICO score from all three reporting agencies, along with your credit report. Also available is some helpful information and tools that help you analyze what actions might have the greatest impact on your FICO score. Each of the credit services offers similar services on their web sites:,, and

Armed with this information, you will be a more informed consumer and better positioned to obtain the most favorable mortgage available to you.

To learn more about how your credit can yield new real estate opportunities, contact our office today at 626.358.1858 or at 626.963.7621.

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Monrovia, California, United States