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May is National Bike Month - List of Triangle Trails to Wander!

by EM & AH for Masha Halpern

May is National Bike Month! Started in 1956 by the League of American Bicyclists, National Bike Month is a time to get active and experience the many benefits of biking. Whether you’re riding for health and wellness, cleaner air, or to save money on gas, bicycling is an undeniably great way to explore your community. In honor of that, here are some great trails around the Triangle!


William B. Umstead State Park
Tucked between downtown Raleigh and Research Triangle Park, this oasis offers a 5,579-acre area for outdoor enthusiasts and nature-lovers alike. Centered around three man-made lakes (Reedy Creek Lake, Sycamore Lake, and Big Lake), this park is not only ideal for bicycling, but hiking, fishing, and boating too. Of the 32 miles of trails, 13 miles of groomed and dirt paths are dedicated to bikers, making for peaceful and secluded rides. These winding and scenic trails are also a part of the East Coast Greenway, a 3,000-mile biking and walking route that extends from Maine to Florida.

 

American Tobacco Trail
Founded in 1989 by the Triangle Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Inc., the American Tobacco Trail was created to transform local, abandoned railroad corridors into clean, wide paths for the community to enjoy. Today, the American Tobacco Trail stretches from Morehead Avenue in Durham to New Hill-Olive Chapel Road in Wake County.  The northern segment even continues into another trail system called the North/South Greenway System while the southern segment boasts a more rural ride full of hardwood forests and a variety of wildlife. Also, there’s easy access at the Durham end to the Durham Bulls Athletic Stadium and the American Tobacco Historic District, a convenient place to enjoy food, drinks, and entertainment before or after your ride! You can also watch this short time-lapse video of the building of the pedestrian bridge over I-40 for the American Tobacco Trail.


Neuse River Trail
This 27.5-mile trail stretches from eastern Raleigh’s Falls Lake Dam to the Wake/Johnston County Line and connects with the Johnston River Walk at the southern end for another 4 miles of pathway. The Neuse River Trail (or the Neuse River Greenway) meanders over and past boardwalks, wetlands, historical sights, and sunflower fields. Between the scenic views, flat, paved road, and limited road crossings, this trail is a biker’s dream. In addition to being part of the City’s Capital Area Greenway System, the Neuse River Trail is a portion of the Mountain-to-Sea Trail, which connects the Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks.

 


Bolin Creek Trail
The Bolin Creek Trail is a paved bike path that begins at the Chapel Hill Community Center and continues towards Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. This cool and shady 3-mile out and back trail goes through meadows and wooded floodplain making it perfect for family outings. If you’re looking for a longer excursion, check out the unpaved Battle Branch Trail extension, which can also be accessed from the Chapel Hill Community Center. Find more information and a trail map here.

 

Duke Forest
With more than 150,000 visitors each year, Duke Forest is a popular destination (and for good reason too). There are over 30 miles of road for biking that wind through dense pine and hardwood forests, Civil War sites, and around 3.4 miles of prepared surface trail near the Duke University Golf Course. Duke Forest is located close to Duke University for which it’s named and is used by researchers as an outdoor lab to study soil conservation and water quality. Since the trail is so close to Duke University, also consider exploring the very bike-friendly campus.

Be sure to check out GoTriangle’s calendar for upcoming bike events and bike resources for more information. There are many reasons to ride, what’s yours?

Earth Day 2018 in the Triangle

by AH for Masha Halpern

Each week in the real estate field, we look at many homes. Some are big, some are small, some have large yards while others have that unusual feature that is just right for our buyers. But the one thing they all have in common….they are all on this beautiful Earth of ours - a place we ALL call HOME.
 

Earth Day is celebrated on April 22, 2018, but there are projects & events that take place all month. Are you looking for small ways to get in on the celebration? Wondering what you can do? Check out these 10 ideas for ways to conserve at DoYouYoga’s website.
 

The  Triangle, NC Area has lots of ways to celebrate Earth Day!  (If you aren’t local, you can search Google with keywords “ Earth Day Celebrations  & YOUR TOWN NAME “).
 

Durham Earth Day Celebration - Picnic Under the Tower, April 20: 12-1:30pm

This is no ordinary picnic, enjoy a variety of food vendors while enjoying live music and special appearance by Wool E. Bull & Otus the Owl. Event information.
 

UNC 2018 Earth Day Fair - April 18, 10am-2pm.

Visit Polk Place to engage with vendors, organizations and departments and learn how they work together to make Carolina a more sustainable community. Event information.
 

Chatham County Earth Day Event - April 21

Offering  “free paper shredding, medication take-back, compost bins for sale, household hazardous waste, raffle prizes, and give-a-ways.” Event Information.


HAPPY EARTH DAY 2018!

Tour Green Homes in the Triangle!

by LC for Masha Halpern

Attention green homeowner hopefuls! Your chance to tour green homes in the Triangle is here. On May 3-4 and 10-11, 12:00 to 5:00 p.m., the 9th Annual Triangle Green Home Tour is offering you a chance to see both new and remodeled green certified homes.

This open-house tour event is both open and free to the public, allowing all to see the "up close and personal"of green building materials and builder practices. Every home that is to be toured is third party verified and inspected, providing reassurance that what you're seeing is honest to goodness GREEN, meeting the certification requirements set forth by the National Green Building Standard. Furthermore, a green building professional will be on site to answer questions and point out the home's unique features.

So plan a trip across the Triangle this weekend and/or next to see these green, energy efficient homes! Click here for a guide and more information about the tour, and contact Masha Halpern & The Smart Move Team when you're ready to become a green homeowner!

 

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Masha Halpern and The Smart Move Team is your ultimate real estate resource for Chapel HillDurhamCarrboro and surrounding areas. Visit my website at www.TheSmartMoveTeam.com for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Masha is a certified member of The Luxury Home Marketing Institute, participates in its annual Leaders in Luxury Conference, and works with The Institute’s thousands of members worldwide to share information about current listings.

Masha is also a certified member of Keller Williams Luxury International and is Chapel Hil & Durham's EXCLUSIVE  member of Cyber Stars International – Top Realtors Using Technology – a group dedicated to taking the best and latest technological advances and applying them to real estate advertising and marketing for her clients in all price pointsMasha Halpern can be contacted for a private consultation by calling 919-414-0337 or by visiting www.TheSmartMoveTeam.com.

 

Time to Celebrate Earth Day!

by LC for Masha Halpern

Celebrate Earth Day!

There's many different ways to celebrate the planet we call home, but here's seven ideas to get you started.

7. Update your lightbulbs to the energy-saving fluorescent kind. Put even your lamps to work for the cause of preserving the environment. The earth - and your energy bill - will be thanking you.

6. Abstain from driving. Vehicles are one of the biggest sources of pollution. So grab your bikes and say yes to exercise!

5. Forego bathtime. This one may sound entirely too gross to attempt, but considering the amount of water wasted in just a ten minute shower (approximately 50 gallons), it won't hurt you to skip this part of your daily routine. Besides, a daily bath is a comfort, not a necessity to your health.

4. Pay bills online. There's a good explanation for this one. Paying bills online = saving paper. Saving paper = saving trees. Saving trees = keeping our earth healthy and beautiful!

3. Adopt a highway, park, stream or beach. Pack a picnic and join forces with family and friends and make a day out of cleaning up and revitalizing your adopted area!

2. Start a compost pile. Instead of trashing those unwanted banana peels, coffee grounds and paper towels, put them in a compost bin to create natural fertilizer for outdoor spaces!

1. Plant a tree. Planting a tree is one of the most popular ways to celebrate Earth Day. Year after year you can watch the tree grow and be reminded of how incredible our planet truly is to sustain the life of this tree... and you!

If you're looking for some ways to add "green" value to your home, contact Masha Halpern & The Smart Move Team!

 

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Masha Halpern and The Smart Move Team is your ultimate real estate resource for Chapel HillDurhamCarrboro and surrounding areas. Visit my website at www.TheSmartMoveTeam.com for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Masha is a certified member of The Luxury Home Marketing Institute, participates in its annual Leaders in Luxury Conference, and works with The Institute’s thousands of members worldwide to share information about current listings.

Masha is also a certified member of Keller Williams Luxury International and is Chapel Hil & Durham's EXCLUSIVE  member of Cyber Stars International – Top Realtors Using Technology – a group dedicated to taking the best and latest technological advances and applying them to real estate advertising and marketing for her clients in all price pointsMasha Halpern can be contacted for a private consultation by calling 919-414-0337 or by visiting www.TheSmartMoveTeam.com.

Easy Ways to Go Green in Your Home

by Masha Halpern

The term “green living” means a lot of things. Mainly, though, it’s about living in a way that’s friendly to the environment. When you think about a green home, you may think of solar panels, wind turbines, grey water recycling, and other expensive projects. An environmentally friendly home doesn’t have to be expensive, however.

Homeowners that want to go green on a budget have many different ways to do it. With some time and a little work, you can go green in your home without spending a lot of cash.

You can get a big bang for your buck from basic maintenance projects around your home that make your home more energy efficient. Using less energy to heat and cool puts less strain on natural resources. Some of these projects include weather-stripping your doors and windows, plugging leaks in your walls and foundation, switching to low flow shower heads, and fixing dripping faucets. Each of these tasks only takes a few minutes and costs very little. However, they can significantly cut your energy use.

Going green is not just about energy savings, however. It’s also about using products that have less impact on the environment. Green up your shopping by buying products that use less packaging, buying local so that less fuel is used to transport items, and switching to household cleaners and detergents that are environmentally friendly. You may end up buying fewer things overall, which can save you money as well.

There are many other simple things you can do green up your home, including:

  • Install a programmable thermostat, and set it so your air conditioning doesn’t run when you are not home.
  • Switch to energy-efficient LED light bulbs.
  • Plant landscaping in your yard that will shade your house in the summer but allow sunlight through in the winter.
  • Replace old appliances with a newer, energy-efficient models. This is an investment, but can save you money in the long run on your utilities, which will help offset the cost.

You don’t have to shell out thousands of dollars for new solar panels on your roof or a wind turbine to go green. There are many other ways you can green up your home and routine. Remember, every time you make an environmentally friendly choice, no matter how small, you make a difference.

Masha Halpern, Broker, CLHMS, GRI
Keller Williams Realty
Masha@MashaHalpern.com
919-414-0337  

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Masha Halpern and The Smart Move Team is your ultimate real estate resource for Chapel Hill, Durham, Carrboro and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Masha is a certified member of The Luxury Home Marketing Institute, participates in its annual Leaders in Luxury Conference, and works with The Institute’s thousands of members worldwide to share information about current listings.

Masha is also a certified member of Keller Williams Luxury International and is also a member of Cyber Stars International – Top Realtors Using Technology – a group dedicated to taking the best and latest technological advances and applying them to real estate advertising and marketing for her clients in all price points. Masha Halpern can be contacted for a private consultation by calling 919-414-0337 or by visiting www.TheSmartMoveTeam.com.

  Photo courtesy B Cleary, Stock.XCHNG.

Here is another way of looking at and understanding 'how' changes in property ownership laws could effect you. This information is also available and gathered by the National Association of Realtors. Here are some of the important information my clients, and you , will want to to keep handy when you buy and  when you sell property:

Mortgage cancelation relief is extended until January 1st, 2014.  This is for people doing short sales and not wanting to be taxed on the amount shorted to the bank.

Deductions for mortgage insurance premiums for filers making under $110,000 is extended through 2013 and is retroactive for 2012.

Effecting every homeowner is the energy efficiency tax credit of 10%. The total for this credit is $500 and  was extended through 2013 for improvements- but ONLY to EXISTING homes.

Capital Gains Rate: The C.G.R.  will stay at 15% for those making under $400,000/$450,000  After that tax rate will now be  20%.  The $250,000/$500,000 exclusion for the sale of a single family residence stays in place.

Estate Tax:  The first $5 million in individual estates and $10 million in family estates are now exempt from estate taxes.  After that the rate is 40%.

The market here in Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Durham has improved significantly. Homes are selling faster and in some cases, seeing multiple offers. Having a great negotiator is important now, more than ever, in a real estate sale! My team, and as a result, my clients, have  been so successful because of this and  we had a GREAT year helping our clients find new homes!

If you are looking to buy or sell a home in Chapel HIll, NC or Durham, NC please contact me at www.thesmartmoveteam.com or 919-414-0337, or Masha@MashaHalpern.com

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Masha is a certified member of The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, participates in its annual Leaders in Luxury Conference, and works with The Institute’s thousands of members worldwide to share information about current listings. Masha is also a certified certified member of Keller Williams Luxury International and is also a member of Cyber Stars International – Top Realtors Using Technology – a group dedicated to taking the best and latest technological advances and applying them to real estate advertising and marketing. Masha Halpern can be contacted for a private consultation by calling 919-414-0337 or by visiting www.TheSmartMoveTeam.com.

 

 

 

Orange County North Carolina Changes The Way We Recycle

by Masha Halpern

 

As of July 1, 2012, Orange County, NC Solid Waste Management has switched to single stream recycling.

Residents and businesses in Orange County will no longer have to divide their recycling into separate containers. Previously, Orange County residents would separate paper from plastic. Now, all newspaper, magazines, paper, phone books, cartons and junk mail can be combined with plastic bottles and jugs, metal cans, aluminum trays and foil, glass bottles and jars at the curb, in carts and at drop-off sites. I know this makes recycling much easier at my house!

Orange County Officials say this way of recycling will make it easier for residents, businesses, and for their recycling collection employees. Recycling trucks won’t fill up as fast because everything will go into one compartment, reducing transportation costs.

As always, it's important to be mindful of what you throw in your trash can. Make sure you are recycling and teaching your kids the importance of recycling. Every little bit helps the environment!

 

SEG

 

Going Green for the Holidays!

by Masha Halpern

Most North Carolina homeowners are concerned about the environment and try to do their part with recycling, purchasing eco-friendly products and energy efficient appliances for their home. But what many homeowners don't realize all the waste that the holiday season can generate.

With the holidays just a few weeks away, there are some simple changes that you can do this holiday can help and even save you some money! Below are some ideas to help you go green this holiday season.

1. One of the best part of the holidays is gift giving. You may not have ever thought about it before, but some gifts are certainly more eco-friendly than others. Instead of another tie or gift basket, consider giving an experience, like tickets to a sporting event or concert.

2. When wrapping your gifts, consider recycling gift wrap. You can easily reuse gift bags, tissue paper, bows and even wrapping paper. For gift wrapping alternatives, think about using reusable items like scarves, or for a unique touch use old posters, maps, sheet music or even wallpaper scraps! Creative, free and good for the environment!

3. If you need to ship your presents this year, avoid Styrofoam packing peanuts and try the biodegradable kind instead. Another idea is to use dry, popped popcorn instead!

4. For many families choosing a real tree is part of their holiday tradition. You don't need to get a fake tree to be green, you can still keep that tradition alive and be conscious of the environment. Be sure to purchase your tree from a tree farm you're not damaging forests or consider purchasing a potted plant that can be enjoyed year round such as a Norfolk pine. Of course if you prefer to use an artificial tree they can be used each year! If you do choose a real tree, remember to recycle it so it can be converted to mulch rather than sent to a landfill.

5. It is easy to find holiday lights that are made with light-emitting diodes, or LEDs. These lights have been around since 2001 and are ninety percent more efficient than traditional Christmas lights and can last about 200,000 hours. According to one U.S. Department of Energy study, if all families replaced their conventional holiday light strings with LEDs, at least two billion kilowatt-hours of electricity could be saved in a month. The savings alone would be enough to power 200,000 homes for a year!

There are many things we can do to help our environment and still have a wonderful holiday. As a responsible homeowner, it would be a shame to invest in the earth all year round only to clutter up landfills with garbage around the most wonderful time of the year!

 

 

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Save Energy and Money in Your Home This Summer

by Masha Halpern

Summer is in full swing here in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Homeowners are constantly running the air conditioner to try and stay comfortable, which is completely understandable, but unfortunately uses a lot of energy. Here are some simple ways to become more energy efficient but still enjoy the summer!

Energy Saving Tips For Outside

  • Replace air-conditioner filters regularly. Dirty filters restrict airflow and can cause the system to run longer, increasing energy use. Replace filters monthly for maximum benefit.
  • Longer days mean we don't need outdoor lighting as much. Adjust your outdoor lighting timers accordingly and you'll save money and extend bulb life.
    Try solar-powered outdoor lighting or garden lighting as an alternative. They are energy-efficient, inexpensive, safe and very easy to install.
  • Consider switching to electric lawn mowers as well as trimmers. By not using the traditional gas models, you can help to save money, reduce pollution and they are also much quieter!
  • If you have an outdoor pool, reduce the operating time of your pool filter and automatic cleaning sweep to four to five hours, and only during off-peak time.

Energy Saving Tips For Inside

  • There is really no need to have your gas fireplace's pilot light during the summer. Save energy, and money, by turning out the fireplace's pilot light until the fall. It is always a good idea to refer to the operating manual for your furnace to learn how to do this properly or  consult a technician. 
  • Keep blinds and draperies closed on hot days to keep the inside temperature cooler and comfortable. 
  • Make sure your attic has the proper insulation that will protect your home from excessive heat penetration in summer and cold penetration in winter. 
  • Ceiling fans are a inexpensive way to create gentle breezes throughout your home to help keep the temperature down.

These are a few summer tips to keep your family comfortable in your Chapel Hill homes during this hot summer as well as a few energy saving and environmental alternatives.

 

 

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Tips For Going Green This Holiday

by Masha Halpern

Most homeowners are concerned about the environment and do their best with recycling, purchasing eco-friendly products and energy efficient appliances for their home. Going green is a commitment but what many don't realize is that between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, Americans throw away a million extra tons of garbage each week according to the book, "Use Less Stuff: Environmental Solutions for Who We Really Are."

The holiday's don't need to be a burden on the environemnt, some simple changes that you can do this holiday can help and even save you some money! Below are some ideas to help you go green this holiday season.

1. One of the best part of the holidays is gift giving. You may not have ever thought about it before, but some gifts are certainly more eco-friendly than others. Instead of another tie or gift basket, consider giving an experience, like tickets to a sporting event or concert.

2. When wrapping your gifts, consider recycling gift wrap. You can easily reuse gift bags, tissue paper, bows and even wrapping paper. For gift wrapping alternatives, think about using reusable items like scarves, or for a unique touch use old posters, maps, sheet music or even wallpaper scraps! Creative, free and good for the environment!

3. If you need to ship your presents this year, avoid Styrofoam packing peanuts and try the biodegradable kind instead. Another idea is to use dry, popped popcorn instead!

4. For many families choosing a real tree is part of their holiday tradition. You can still keep that tradition alive and be conscious of the environment. Be sure to purchase your tree from a tree farm you're not damaging forests or consider purchasing a potted plant that can be enjoyed year round such as a Norfolk pine. Of course a great choice is to use an artificial tree which can be used each year! If you do choose a real tree, remember to recycle it so it can be converted to mulch rather than sent to a landfill.

5. It is easy to find Christmas lights that are made with light-emitting diodes, or LEDs. These lights have been around since 2001 and are ninety percent more efficient than traditional Christmas lights and can last about 200,000 hours. According to one U.S. Department of Energy study, if all families replaced their conventional holiday light strings with LEDs, at least two billion kilowatt-hours of electricity could be saved in a month. The savings alone would be enough to power 200,000 homes for a year!

There are many things we can do to help our environement and still have a wonderful holiday. Visit Earth911 for more tips on what you can do this holiday season! 

 

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Photo of Masha Halpern - Boutique Real Estate Real Estate
Masha Halpern - Boutique Real Estate
Keller Williams Realty
101 Cosgrove Avenue, Suite 200
Chapel Hill NC 27514
Direct 919-951-1780
Toll Free 877-478-4669
Fax: 919-928-9030




Masha Halpern of Keller Williams Realty provides real estate services in the Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Durham, North Carolina area including real estate services for buyer, sellers and those relocating to the surrounding areas of Apex, Bahama,Cary, Efland, Hillsborough, Holly Springs, Mebane, Raleigh, and Wake Forest. Search for homes in Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Durham or the surrounding communities.  Request a market analysis for your North Carolina property.  I list and sell residential real estate, investment property, vacant land, lots for sale in Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Durham, North Carolina area.

Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Durham, North Carolina real estate and homes for sale in North Carolina - Masha Halpern & The Smart Move Team