[schema type="organization" orgtype="LocalBusiness" url="http://4salebydonna.com" name="Real Estate Agent Donna Baker" description="Real Estate Agent showing homes for sale and available real estate in Monrovia, Pasadena, Arcadia the San Gabriel Valley in Southern California." city="Monrovia" state="Ca" postalcode="91016" email="donna@4salebydonna.com " phone="(626) 408-7766 "]

Food Drive in Response to President Obama’s Call to Service Surpassed Expectations

[singlepic=459,320,240,,]To everyone who so generously responded to President Obama’s call for Americans to join in service to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., THANK YOU!

On the eve of President Obama’s swearing in as the first African-American President of the United States, men, women and children from around the San Gabriel Valley joined me in my effort to collect food for the Foothill Unity Center, demonstrating once again Obama’s ability to inspire average citizens.

I decided to help in a simple way, by putting out a request for others to join me in collecting food for the Foothill Unity Center. I got the word out in two ways; I emailed everyone in my personal address book (190 contacts) and also put out the call by word of mouth. In addition, I used USAService.org to announce my event online. Many people registered there and committed to dropping off food during the Call to Service on MLK day. [singlepic=463,320,240,,right]

Thanks to your generous contribution, close to 2,000 food items and toiletries were donated to the Foothill Unity Center. Items donated included canned goods, cereals, pastas, rice, beans, and health items such as, shampoo, toothpaste, soap and toilet paper. The Unity Center offers assistance to low-income neighbors from eleven local cities: Altadena, Arcadia, Azusa, Baldwin Park, Bradbury, Duarte, Irwindale, Monrovia, Pasadena, Sierra Madre and South Pasadena. Last year, they distributed over two million pounds of food to over 2,200 unduplicated very low-income local families. They also provide clothing, limited motel vouchers, and referrals to the homeless and people in crisis. So rest assured that your bags of groceries will make a difference for families here in our own neighborhood.

 [singlepic=471,320,240,,]I take very seriously Obama’s urging to make this year a continuous effort of community service. Therefore, I commit to coordinating these food drives every quarter to help feed those who need food for their families. As this year’s Monrovia Citizen of the Year, I feel compelled to reach out in other ways, as well, to help my fellow community members in any way I can. 
 Contact me for more information about volunteering opportunities

MLK Food Drive’s Participants

Arden, Felice
Arguijo, Denise
Balsamo, Diane
Barltlett, Sylvia
Barnier, Christine
Baum, Jordan
Baum, Linda
Baum, Mar
Bead, Ann
Bencosme, Andy
Brown, Cheryl
Bull, Sheldon
Carmack, Allison
Carnighan, Deanne
Carter, Charles
Cash, Francie
Cervantes, Pat
Cervantes, Ray
Chattersee, Saswati
Cole, Britt
Connally, Kate
Conway, David
Cote, Jessie
Crowell, Cyndie
Ezin, Max
Faibis, Nancy
Forbeck, Betty
Gandy, Margaret
Garcia, Tony
Garemore, Margaret
Geltz, Christine
Giangregorio, Kathy
Girl Scout Troops 637 & 366
Gonzales, Pamela
Hansen, Vicky
Hastings Family
Hiestand, Laurel
Hiestand, Richard
Johnson, Karen
Lawless, Elaine
Leavens, Hal
Lopez, Samantha
Lutz, Mary Ann
Macy, Maryanne
May, Nancy
McCabe, Rosemarie
Mills, Alycia
Mills, Vanessa
Miner, Paula
Murphy, Deborah
Mullenix, Sharon
Norton, Barbara
Norton, Ralph
Nunez, Diego
Olsen, Joey
Olsen, Lindsey
Otis, Julieane
Phillips, Annemarie
Reck, Jan
Reck, Melissa
Reilly, Collen
Riko, Tom
Rosas-Petty, Yvonne
Savan, Adolfo
Scafidi Leiva, Gia
Scott, Jeanine
Shelton, Kirk
Shelton, Rachel
Shevlin, Chris
Singer, Jeri
Smith, Stephanie
Sotelo, Aaron
Soto, Pam
Sparks, Cameron
Sparks, Dave
Sparks, Deb
Sutherland, Gary
Sutherland, Karen
Taylor, Vermel
Wilson, Barbara
Wong, K.K.
Wray, Amanda
Zucco, Alexandra
Zunino, Ellen
Donna Baker, Dickson Podley Realtors, Monrovia


Avoid Home-Buying Mistakes That Could Cost an Arm & Leg

Buying a home can be a harrowing experience, fraught with unforeseen dangers. But it doesn’t have to be! You can stay out of trouble and make the most of your home-purchase dollars by avoiding the mistakes other home buyers commonly make.
The Wrong Home
Homeownership is not a short-term investment. If you select a home that’s too large to maintain, too small for future needs, or too expensive for your income, you may have to live with your mistake for awhile – or spend a lot of money getting rid of it. The same is true if the home is too far from work, too close to traffic, or in need of extensive repairs that you can’t handle. Be sure to take a realistic look at your financial situation – income, debt, future expenses – before selecting a home. Also factor in your housing needs, time constraints and home-improvement skills.
Bidding Blind
Some buyers offer a contract above the true market value of the property or fail to bid on a great value because they don’t know the market. Research the market you want to purchase in by reading local newspaper articles and ads, touring a variety of homes, and talking with people in the area. Your best source of information about home values may come from a professional buyer’s agent who specializes in the area.
Title Troubles
A title search may reveal encumbrances on the property title, such as tax liens, easements, leases, or an undisclosed co-owner. Have the title search done as early as possible. You can protect your investment from another person’s claim of ownership by purchasing owner’s title insurance in addition to a lender’s policy, which you’ll be required to purchase if you take out a mortgage.
Last-Minute Defects
During the final walk-through, some serious defects may become apparent that hadn’t been noticed before. Do you back out of the deal? Settle on the home anyway? These are difficult decisions that can be avoided by inspecting the home carefully before you make an offer. You can also include a home inspection contingency in your contract, then hire a professional inspector to check the home inside and out. You’ll be supplied with a report of items that need attention, the cost to repair them, and possible repercussions if they are left as is.
Pre-paid Shockers
Some items, such as real estate taxes and homeowners association dues, are pro-rated at settlement, while others, such as hazard insurance and taxes, have to be paid a few months ahead. Make sure you have enough cash for settlement by asking for those charges a day or two in advance, and check them for accuracy. Remember, if the settlement date changes, so will the pre-paid costs.
Seller Slip-Ups
Repairs not made, items that haven’t conveyed, and other contractual hang-ups can delay settlement. Be sure to take the list of agreed upon conveyance items with you to walk-through and check to make sure they’re present. Be prepared to set a dollar amount for an escrow fund for items that have fallen through the cracks.
Closing Rush
Get settlement sheets the day before closing to avoid last minute problems, such as an interest rate or points that may be different from those you agreed upon. Missing the settlement date because of a last-minute snag could endanger the locked-in interest rate or the entire sale. Minimize the problems by asking for a long lock-in, say, 60 days.
Wrong Mortgage
Lots of different mortgage programs are available to choose from, but find the best one for your situation and goals can be pretty confusing. Do your homework and make sure your lender has the experience and expertise to offer you a good selection of loans.




I made it through the Credit Crisis of 08 and all I have to show for it is…

Those who do not learn from the past are most certainly destine to repeat it. But, in a year as we just had, those who dwell on the past are often just as likely to be stuck there for much longer than they would like.

So, in lieu of t-shirts that say “I made it through the Credit Crisis of 08 and all I have to show for it is this stupid t-shirt?” we want to offer of the positive things we have to look forward to in the New Year!

Fact #1: Mortgage Rates are the lowest I have seen them in my 23 years of arranging home loans. 30 Year Fixed Rates can be had for as low as 4.875%+1.00 point in some cases.

Fact #2: Fannie Mae max loan limit is extended to $625,000 for Los Angeles County for 2009!

Fact #3: Jumbo loans markets are making noises about actually loosing up a bit.

Fact #4: Lenders are making loans! In fact, we closed 2008 having been able to fund and close every loan we said we could. Some were more difficult than others but we got them funded! We plan to keep that record going forward in 2009!

Fact #5: BWA Mortgage had no lay offs in 2008 & has increased staffing for 2009!

I look forward to helping keep you informed in what is very likely to be another year of changes and opportunities in the Real Estate and Credit Markets.