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Tips for Relocating in Retirement

by LC for Masha Halpern

Did you know that one-third of Baby Boomers make the decision to retire to a new state? If you're among the one-third who's made the definite decision to relocate for retirement, here are some things to consider before the big move is made.

Number one on the list? Decide where you want to retire! Narrowing down the exact place to nestle could be a challenge, so utilize the greatest resource at your fingertips, the Internet. Are you wanting a tropical destination out of the US? How about a quiet suburban area minutes from a slew of retirement-friendly activities? (Would it be helpful to have a relocation guide or area information? Click here to request one from Masha). The choice is yours - have fun surfing the web! 

Number two: Hire a Realtor. A listing agent can take care of the details of selling your home while you work with a buyer's agent to hone in on your new dream home. Life will be a lot easier with an agent on board - we guarantee it!

Get ready to put on your work clothes and gloves, because number three is ​empty out your garage, closets and attic. If you're moving halfway across the country, many of the things you've been collecting - but haven't used lately - will probably need to stay behind. 

Number four is perhaps the most difficult of all... telling family and friends about your plans to move away.  Procrastination is not the route you want to take with this one. A line like, "Kids, we're moving 2,000 miles away next week," might not go over well. Take their feelings into consideration and give them plenty of time to process that you won't be around the corner anymore. Being able to explain why you have chosen your new city will go a long way towards easing their concerns over your move.

If you or someone you know has plans to relocate to the Triangle area for retirement, Masha Halpern & The Smart Move Team are only a phone call away. Retirement should be the best time of your life, so let us help you find the perfect home to enjoy these remarkable years!  

 

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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 Hill & 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 visitingwww.TheSmartMoveTeam.com.

 

10 Greatest Cities to Raise Your Kids

by LC for Masha Halpern

Kids change everything. Your sleeping pattern, your monthly spending habits, even your vocabulary. But one of the greatest ways they rock your world is where you end up living to raise them.

As singles or couples, excitement and fun are often what drives us to live where we do as our mentality is focused on living in the moment. But when kids come into the picture, our frame of minds change from "Where is the best bar in town?" to "What is the most kid-friendly restaurant in the area?" You now have to think about factors that weren't necessarily applicable before, like schools, playgrounds, libraries, safe, family-oriented neighborhoods, and the list goes on...

So where do you begin your search for the best city to raise your children?

Kiplinger provides a list of the top 10 cities in America to raise a family.  The criteria is based on "metropolitan areas with high household incomes relative to living costs, a large percentage of families with children under 18, and low crime rates." 

Let's see what cities made the list!

10. Stamford, CT

9. Corona, CA

8. Middletown, NY

7. Sunnyvale, CA

6. Appleton, WI

5. East Grand Rapids, MI

4. Thousand Oaks, CA

3. Suwanee, GA

2. Richland, WA

1. Omaha, NE

Even though the Triangle didn't make this list, we have some of the top schools in NC, several museums, parks, playgrounds and other kid-friendly activities. Plus, many families with small children are choosing to establish themselves here as well.

If you're in search of a wonderful place to raise your kids and you'd like to learn more about the Chapel Hill, Durham and Raleigh areas, contact Masha Halpern & The Smart Move Team today!

 

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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 atwww.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 Hill & 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.

Moving with Children: Make it Easier on Your Kids

by Masha Halpern

Moving is hard for everyone. It’s a lot of work, and there are a lot of emotions that go into packing up one home and moving to another one.

A move can be especially difficult for children, however. Kids can feel like they have no control during a move. They are leaving behind their home, their school, their friends, and most of what they know.

You can’t completely eliminate the stress of a move, but you can help your children get through the process a little easier. Here are some tips from parents on how to make your household move less stressful for your children.

Give your kids time to adjust to the idea of moving. Children will need time to say goodbye to friends, but giving them too much time can cause them to worry more about the upcoming move. Younger children need only a month or two of advance notice. Older children and teens, however will need more time. They have more friends, more activities, and more memories in the old house.

Involve your children in the process if you can. Bring older kids along on a house-hunting trip. Consult your children about paint and decorations in their new room. If you have some flexibility, ask your kids for input on what they want in your new home. If you are able to find a home that fits some of their requirements, your kids will be much more excited about the move.

Encourage your children to remember your previous home. Talk with them about your favorite memories in your old house, or make a scrapbook. If your child has never lived anyplace else, the home is obviously very special to them. Help them deal with the separation by allowing them to share their memories.

At the same time, help them get excited about their new home. Visit the new neighborhood and school before the move if you can, or show them pictures and videos of the area. Talk about the new friends they will make, the new things they’ll learn, and the details about your new neighborhood. This will make it easier to deal with the anxiety of leaving behind what they know.

Most of all, pay attention to how your children are feeling and support them. Acknowledge their separation issues and help them work through them. This will make it easier for your kids to settle in and enjoy their new home.

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

Get your latest Home Value
Receive Your Personalized Listing Alerts

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 Doriana S., Stock.XCHNG

Getting a Mortgage Loan when You Are Self-Employed

by Masha Halpern

The thought of qualifying for a mortgage can be stressful for many prospective buyers. If you are self-employed, you may have even more concerns. Even if you do not have a regular W2 or tax form from an employer, you can still qualify for a mortgage. There are some tips to follow, however.

Prior to the housing crisis and recession, many self-employed home buyers could simply attest to the amount of money they earned and that was it. Today, that is no longer the case. You will need to provide additional evidence beyond stated income. In order to document your income, you may be asked to provide business and personal income tax returns for the past two years along with financial statements. Documentation is critical when you are applying for a mortgage as a self-employed individual. Ensuring that you have all of the relevant documentation gathered together prior to applying for your mortgage loan can be a critical element in ensuring a fast turnaround. If any additional documentation is requested, provide it as quickly as possible.

You may also find that your chances of being approved for a mortgage loan increase if you are able to demonstrate that you have access to financial reserves in the event your business experiences a downturn. In the end, the lender simply wants to be assured that you can afford the home you are planning to purchase. Paying off consumer debt or consolidating your debts to a lower interest loan may also help in improving your cash flow while providing the lender with greater peace of mind regarding your ability to repay your mortgage loan.

If you are purchasing a home with your spouse who has a regular job, your chances may also be improved if your spouse applies as the primary borrower. You can then be listed as the secondary applicant. If that is not an option, you might consider asking a parent to co-sign the mortgage for you. It should be kept in mind that if you are not able to keep up with your mortgage payments, the co-signor will become responsible for the loan.

Although it is more challenging to obtain a mortgage loan today if you are self-employed, it is not impossible. With some careful advance planning, your dream of becoming a homeowner as well as a business owner can become a reality.

 

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

Get your latest Home Value
Receive Your Personalized Listing Alerts

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.

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.

 

 

 

Twenty One Things Your Burglar Won't Tell You

by Masha Halpern

 


THIRTEEN THINGS YOUR BURGLAR WON'T TELL YOU :
   
  1. Of course I look familiar. I was here just last week cleaning your carpets, painting your shutters, or delivering your new refrigerator.
 
  2. Hey, thanks for letting me use the bathroom when I was working in your yard last week. While I was in there, I unlatched the back window to make my return a little easier.
 
  3. Love those flowers. That tells me you have taste... and taste means there are nice things inside. Those yard toys your kids leave out always make me wonder what type of gaming system they have.
 
  4. Yes, I really do look for newspapers piled up on the driveway. And I might leave a pizza flyer in your front door to see how long it takes you to remove it. 
(Now, if I ever go away, I will ask my neighbor to bring in flyers as well as the newspaper and mail!)
 
  5. If it snows while you're out of town, get a neighbor to create car and foot tracks into the house. Virgin drifts in the driveway are a dead giveaway. 
(Good thing it rarely snows in NC!)
 
  6. If decorative glass is part of your front entrance, don't let your alarm company install the control pad where I can see if it's set. That makes it too easy.
 
  7. A good security company alarms the window over the sink. And the windows on the second floor, which often access the master bedroom - and your jewelry. It's not a bad idea to put motion detectors up there too.
 
  8. It's raining, you're fumbling with your umbrella, and you forget to lock your door - understandable. But understand this: I don't take a day off because of bad weather.
 
  9. I always knock first. If you answer, I'll ask for directions somewhere or offer to clean your gutters.
(Don't take them up on it!)
 
  10. Do you really think I won't look in your sock drawer? I always check dresser drawers, the bedside table, and the medicine cabinet. 
(Are they the ones who take our missing socks?!)
 
  11. Here's a helpful hint: I almost never go into kids' rooms. 
 
  12. You're right: I won't have enough time to break into that safe where you keep your valuables. But if it's not bolted down, I'll take it with me.
 
  13. A loud TV or radio can be a better deterrent than the best alarm system. If you're reluctant to leave your TV on while you're out of town, you can buy a $35 device that works on a timer and simulates the flickering glow of a real television. (Find it at http://www.faketv/ ...com/)
  
 8 MORE THINGS A BURGLAR WON'T TELL YOU :
 
  1. Sometimes, I carry a clipboard. Sometimes, I dress like a lawn guy and carry a rake. I do my best to never, ever look like a crook.
 
  2. The two things I hate most: loud dogs and nosy neighbors. 
(There's something to be said for nosy neighbors after all!)
 
  3. I'll break a window to get in, even if it makes a little noise. If your neighbor hears one loud sound, he'll stop what he's doing and wait to hear it again. If he doesn't hear it again, he'll just go back to what he was doing. It's human nature.
 
  4. I'm not complaining, but why would you pay all that money for a fancy alarm system and leave your house without setting it?
 
  5. I love looking in your windows. I'm looking for signs that you're home, and for flat screen TVs or gaming systems I'd like. I'll drive or walk through your neighborhood at night, before you close the blinds, just to pick my targets. 
(Glad I have loud dogs!)
 
  6. Avoid announcing your vacation on your Facebook page. It's easier than you think to look up your address.
 
  7. To you, leaving that window open just a crack during the day is a way to let in a little fresh air. To me, it's an invitation.
 
  8. If you don't answer when I knock, I try the door. Occasionally, I hit the jackpot and walk right in. 
 
It's always useful to check with your local police department for more information on how to keep your home safe. If you would like more information on the Triangle area, click here.

 

Luxury Insights: Warren Buffett Says, ' Buy That Retirement Home Now'

by Masha Halpern
 
Milder climate, proximity to high level health institutions and universities, emphasis on continuing education, and short drives to beach and mountains make Chapel Hill and Durham, NC a favorite retirement location. Properties have always been viewed as good value, but now, it's an opportunity that really should not be missed.
blog.luxuryhomemarketing.com
As his secretary Debbie Bosanek says: “Warren tells me that it will be the best opportunity in my lifetime. Mortgage rates are low and prices have dropped dramatically...."

 

Time Saving Tips for Your Move

by Masha Halpern

If you have ever moved before, you know that it can be time consuming, overwhelming and frustrating. Even a good moving plan can hit a snag. Being flexible is key when you are planning a move.

Here are some tips that will help you get organized and make moving day a lot easier!

1. Change your address and notify companies before you move. Start by filling out a change of address form in advance of your move. Doing this ahead of time can help you to avoid hassles like past-due bills, service lapses and even identity theft. It is also a good idea before you move to set dates to discontinue your utilities at your old address as well as arrange for these services to be turned on at your new address. .

2. Create a moving schedule.
It is a good idea to set up a
moving schedule a few months before you move. Set it up as a week-by-week checklist to manage the process and help to stay on track. A moving schedule helps you to keep track of the little details or things that may be over looked, thus helping you to avoid last minute headaches. 

3. Establish a packing system.
Packing is a major time consumer so thing about coming up with a packing system so all of your boxes end up in the right rooms when they get to your
new home. Many professional movers recommend that you use the color code system where you color code each box with a particular room to avoid any confusion with the movers. It is also helpful to give your movers a floor plan of your home with each room labeled.

4. Get rid of unnecessary items.
The less boxes you pack the less you have to move and finally unpack. So it makes sense to thoroughly go thru your items and get rid of the things you just don't need. Items such as unread books, half-empty cleaning products, clothes that you know you wont wear again should be given away or sold at a garage !sale. You don't want to bring the clutter to your new home!

Do you have any tried and true tips for a successful move? Share them with us, we would love to hear how you made moving easier!

 

 

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Tips for An Easier Move in Chapel Hill

by Masha Halpern

Moving can be very time-consuming, and sometimes even frustrating. However, here are some helpful tips to help you get organized for a smooth and efficient move to your new Chapel Hill home.

1. Change your address and notify companies before you move. Start by filling out a change of address form in advance of your move. Doing this ahead of time can help you to avoid hassles like past-due bills, service lapses and even identity theft. It is also a good idea before you move to set dates to discontinue your utilities at your old address as well as arrange for these services to be turned on at your new address.

2. Create a moving schedule.
It is a good idea to set up a moving schedule a few months before you move. Set it up as a week-by-week checklist to manage the process and help to stay on track. A moving schedule helps you to keep track of the little details or things that may be over looked, thus helping you to avoid last minute headaches.

3. Establish a packing system.
Packing is a major time consumer so think about coming up with a packing system so all of your boxes end up in the right rooms when they get to your new home. Many professional movers recommend that you use the color code system where you color code each box with a particular room to avoid any confusion with the movers. It is also helpful to give your movers a floor plan of your home with each room labeled.

4. Get rid of unnecessary items.
The less boxes you pack the less you have to move and finally unpack. So it makes sense to thoroughly go through your items and get rid of the things you just don't need. Items such as unread books, half-empty cleaning products, clothes that you know you wont wear again should be given away to charity or sold at a garage sale. You don't want to bring the clutter to your new home!

Contact us for more information and tips on how to make moving easier, we would love to help!  Do you have a moving tip that helped you? Share it here!

 

 

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Tips For Moving With Pets

by Masha Halpern

If considering a move to North Carolina, there are many things that need to be planned. If you have pets, it is important to not forget about their needs and it is a good idea to formulate a plan to make the move a smooth transition. Below are some tips that can help you to get organized and make your move a calm transition for your furry members of your family.

  • As part of your plan, appoint one person in the family that will be in charge of the pet. This will eliminate any confusion as to who has responsibility and will help for a smoother move.
  • Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian a few weeks before your move for a check up. Be sure to attain your pet's veterinary records so that they can be forwarded to your new veterinarian. Certain localities may have stringent requirements or restrictions regarding pet ownership. You may need permits or registrations.
  • Prep your new home for pets. Pets may be frightened and confused in new surroundings. Choose a room that you can set up for them with all their familiar items such as toys, foods, bedding, etc. Pack these items in a handy spot so they can be unpacked right away.  
  • If you are moving your pets by car be sure to plan for several stops along the way. Pets may find car travel extremely distressing and stopping for fresh air and breaks can help. Don't forget any medications your pet might need as well as a leash.
  • If you are traveling long distance and plan on staying overnight at a hotel, be sure to call in advance to make sure that pets are accepted.
    If you are moving your fish, be sure to check with your local Aquarium or Pet Store ahead of time on the best way to safely transport your fish.
  • If your pets are not micro-chipped be sure to get a new pet ID tag with your new address and contact phone numbers and if they are micro-chipped be sure to update the info with your microchip company.  

Your pets are a part of your family, these tips will make it easier on them (and you!) when moving into your new home!

 

 

 

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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