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Family Halloween Fun!

by Masha Halpern

Halloween is almost here and our area offers many events for the whole family to enjoy during this spooky season! Take some time to visit some of these events.

Ganyard Hill Farm

Now located at 319 Sherron Rd. in Durham.  Opening for the Fall 2009 Season on Friday, September 25, 2009 through November 1, 2009. Ganyard Hill Farm provides Elementary School Field Trips and Family Farm Amusement and is a popular annual Fall destination for many local schools and families.  Offering pumpkins, hayride tours of the farm with a complimentary pumpkin, cornfield mazes, giant haystack, a cotton field for cotton picking, farm animal feeding, hay maze, corn fields to pick, shuck and feed the animals, educational murals about bees, pumpkin plant life cycle, cows, chickens, a picnic area, and more (all included in the price of admission). A one of a kind place that offers a true farm experience!  Family groups are welcome to drop in and enjoy all the activities any time during open hours during the fall season. No reservations are needed.  Fall Hours of Operation: Monday–Sunday 9:00am 'till dusk. General Admission is $12.50 per person, ages 2 to 102 (Special rates for School Field Trips.) Directions to Ganyard Hill Farm lin Durham. 
(In case you haven't visited Ganyard Hill Farm in a while, please note that the Farm moved to this location in Fall 2005) Phone: (919) 596-8728.

McKee CornField Maze

McKee's Cedar Creek Farm, 5011 Kiger Rd., Rougemont, NC  27572 (near Hillsborough, @ 20-30 minutes from Chapel Hill).  Great Fun for the entire family in the country!  A favorite annual tradition for local families.  The 14 acre cornfield maze has 2 mazes to amuse young and old alike.  Also available:  mums, pumpkins, corn stalks, corn, straw, gourds, and other fall decorations.  Farm Animals, shady picnic area, wonderful children's play area, and Maple View Ice cream! Admission: General, $8.00, Children under 10, $6.00, Children 3 and under, free.  (919) 732-8065.

Hill Ridge Farms

Farm animal corral, barn, train rides, pony rides, gemstone panning, antique farm equipment, catfish feeding dock, hay rides, pumpkin patch, and much more!

The Hillridge Farm fall festival is open 7 days a week, and features covered hay rides and pumpkin picking as well as pony rides, a moon bounce and music in addition to the farm's year-round fun.  Also explore a 3-acre corn maze and the Giant Slide!

GREAT VALUE! $10.00 General Admission (includes Pumpkin to take home with you); ages under 2 FREE  Hill Ridge Farms, (A favorite Fall family tradition!), 703 Tarboro Road, Youngsville, NC 27596.  (919) 556-1771 or 1-800-358-4170.



Financing Your Home If You Are Self Employed

by Masha HaLpern

There's no question that it could be more difficult for you to get a mortgage loan if you are a free lance viola player than if you are a government accountant. Traditionally, lenders have been more cautious when evaluating loan applications of buyers who are self-employed than people who work for a regular salary. In today's economic climate, self-employed families like mine and yours, are finding it harder to get financing when they have to buy a new home.

However, if you are self-employed, there is no reason for you to shy away from applying for a home mortgage loan, especially if your earnings have been in the same field for at least two years. It is a good idea to meet with one or more loan officers before you begin your search. They will probably want to analyze your tax returns for the past 2 or 3 years, keeping in mind that many self employed people can look impoverished on paper, since you can write off some expenses that salaried individuals can not. Try to get pre-approval from the lender, and ask for a letter stating that you have pre-qualified for a loan which your real estate agent can attach to any offer you submit on a home. This will make you more attractive to the sellers.

What is Radon Gas and How do you detect and Rid Your Home of it?

by Masha HaLpern

Radon gas is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that can pose a serious health risk if it becomes trapped under your house. Radon typically enters the home via underground crawl spaces, sump pumps, gaps in the basement and even the water supply. It can pollute your indoor air with its toxic vapors, and is held responsible for more than 20,000 lung-disease-related deaths every year. Radon is assumed to be present in millions of American homes.

How do you detect the presence of radon gas, and how can you reduce its presence and influence if it is found in your home? First, have your home tested by a professional. Many contractors are licensed or certified by state and/or local agencies. They will conduct diagnostic testing to determine if radon gas is at acceptable levels. If levels are dangerous, the contractor can install a radon reduction system. Ask the contractor for references documenting the results of past work in other homes. Make sure the company checks the house after the system is installed, to verify that it is reducing the radon levels.

Air pollution is a fact of life in the 21st century. Reducing our use of pollutants will improve the environment and the health of those who live on our planet. But what about indoor air pollutants? The air quality inside your home affects you too, especially since most people spend more time indoors than outdoors.

Indoor air pollutants include elemental particles and gases produced by wood smoke and propane gas ranges. Some building materials, home furnishings and cleaning products emit toxic organic chemicals like formaldehyde that can contribute to poor indoor air quality. Outdoor pollutants such as radon gas from the soil under your home, carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide from the vehicles that drive by or pesticides from your neighbor's orchard can also seep inside your house.

How can you reduce the risk of negative health effects from indoor air pollution? First, check the contents of the household products you use, and always open the windows if there are warnings about fumes. You can buy a relatively inexpensive detector for indoor toxic emissions at your local hardware store. If air exchange is poor inside your home, consider installing a mechanical ventilation system that will maintain a healthy flow of air and filter out pollutants.

 Radon gas can be a worry for homeowners. This naturally occurring substance has been found in homes throughout the country. It is odorless, colorless and undetectable without sophisticated testing. Radon has been linked to many diseases, and environmental experts caution that it should be tested. Remember that if radon gas is detected, it can usually be removed at a relatively low cost with simple ventilation systems.

If you are concerned about radon in your home, you can have it tested. You can contact your nearest branch of the Environmental Protection Agency for information about how to find a reputable company qualified to perform the tests. If you are buying a new home in an area where radon has been a problem, you might consider including a radon test as part of the structural contingency clause. And if you are planning to sell your home, you can test it for radon before placing it on the market. If there is no problem, your fears will be put to rest, and even if radon is detected, it is neither difficult nor costly to correct.





An Inspired Real Estate Agent

by Masha HaLpern

I really get inspired  as a real estate Broker when I  match prospective buyers with the perfect home for their family--and when it works, they feel terrific! And just as important, sellers feel terrific too! Those are the days when I come home and just feel like I have done something good that day!!

Sellers often have a strong attachment to a home that holds many memories for them. It is important for them to know that the new buyers will love it, too. While any sale can potentially become complicated and difficult, problems seem to work themselves out more easily if we  have started out on a positive note. This is one important reason why agents work hard to maintain a good rapport between the parties involved in every transaction.

Great curb appeal goes a long way toward attracting buyers to a home that is for sale. Many of our sales have been generated by a "For Sale" sign in front of a home that is beautifully landscaped. Prospective buyers who admire a home's exterior often prove to be among the most interested in the property.

An investment in attractive landscaping can help your home sell more quickly. If you have a moderately green thumb, you can get a lot of free advice from local nurseries. They can give you tips on what will look good in your yard, considering the time of year, the available light, and the type of plants that do well in the area. You will probably be able to choose from many attractive low-maintenance plants that will add color and vitality to your yard. Whatever the season, a few dollars invested in your front yard will usually reap much greater benefits than your original investment.

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Contact Information

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