Real Estate Information Archive


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Chapel Hill and Durham Home Sales Strong in Third Quarter of 2012

by Masha Halpern

 We just got great news AGAIN on our local real estate market. For the third quarter of 2012 and continuing the annual trend- Triangle home sales in Chapel Hill Durham and Raleigh, North Carolina are up 24% in both pending and SOLD homes!

 That is really exciting news since home showings are also up 12 % and the number of days on the market has gone down from 126 to 111 days. That 15 day decrease is really significant. Our inventory is down 23% from this time last year and that further supports the figure that homes are selling in the Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh areas. Our inventory of new listings is up just 7% which means that the market is favorable to buying now- with great rates for loans and an active market it is just a matter of finding the right home to buy.

One new figure that local appraiser,  Stacey Anfidsen has started tracking is the number of contingent sales. Stacy reports that contingent sales are up 34% from this time last year.


Good news for jobs  locally is helping support stronger home sales in the third quarter. Employment is up in the "Triangle" area of N.C. as compared to other areas in the Tar Heel State and Nation. Unemployment is down locally to better figures, but still needs continued  improvement.

One final bit of good home inventory news is that the number of distressed properties is down to 9-10% of all homes for sale in our local  market- all in all a strong third quarter in Real Estate and great news if you are considering buying a home or selling a home in the Durham or Chapel Hill areas.

Masha Halpern has been selling homes in Chapel Hill and Durham for 20 years and is in the top 10 percent of Keller Williams Realtors in closed sales nationwide. Masha is also certified as a Luxury Home Marketing Specialist. Call Masha Halpern at 919-951-1780 or 877-478-4669,  if you are considering buying or selling a home.

Take Steps Now to Save Lives

by Masha Halpern

October is Fire Prevention Month, and there's no question that everything you do now can save lives in a fire emergency. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, across the United States, there were more than 369,500 fires in homes in 2010. 2,640 people died and another 13,350 were injured in those fires, which causes $6.9 billion dollars in damage. Let's talk about a few simple things you need to do to ensure you don't become one of those statistics!

The very first thing you need to do is to make sure you have smoke detectors installed in every hallways and bedroom of your home. They need to have the Underwriters Laboratories seal to ensure quality. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions. Just as important is to test those smoke detectors every week to make sure the batteries are still good and that the device is operating normally.

In the case of a fire, the most important thing is to get out as fast as you can. And then stay out! The danger is not just the actual flames, but the atmosphere the fire creates, as it consumes oxygen and gives off deadly gases such as carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide.

To that end, you'll want to establish a plan ahead of the time you might need it. You'll need to establish this plan with everyone who lives in your home. Make sure you have at least two ways out, and know them by heart. Make sure someone is assigned to call 911 for help, and if someone is assigned to help those who might need assistance. And set up a meeting place outside so you can be sure everyone is safe.

Keep this fact in mind, that the leading cause of home fires and injuries since 1990 is cooking! And most of those fires happen when kitchen ranges and ovens are left unattended. The second leading cause of house fires is heating equipment, which must be cleaned properly and checked annually. The other leading causes of fires are smoking materials, electrical appliances and candles.

For much more, make sure to check out the Fire Prevention information on the National Fire Protection Association Website

This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.
Photo courtesy musubk/

Painting Walls and Ceilings Yourself

by Masha Halpern

Previously, we’ve talked about how a new coat of a paint is vital when you’re planning to sell your home. But, you may decide that the expense of hiring a professional painter is too much when you can do most, if not all, of the work  yourself.  In the first part of this series, we looked at the steps you need to take before you dip a brush into a can of paint. Today, we’re going to get to work painting.

The first stage of paint is treating the surface with a coat of primer. The primer protects the surface, gives the paint something to adhere to and helps prevent stains. The guidelines below work for both the primer and paint.

Wait! Put the brush down for a second. You’ve moved the furniture out of the room, or pulled it away from the walls. You need to use drop cloths or tarps to cover the flooring and any furniture still in the room. Murphy’s law says if you leave something unprotected, it will wind up with paint drops on it. Anywhere on the walls and along the edges of a ceiling where you don’t want paint splatters needs to be covered with strips of painters tape. Also, go ahead and make sure you have cleaning supplies on-hand just in case.

Okay, let’s get to work. If you’re going to paint the ceiling, and that’s usually a good idea, do that first.  Again, these guidelines work for both the ceilings and the walls. The first steps here is to use a trim brush to outline the edges of the ceiling. You’ll want a border about three inches wide. When that’s done, move on to the roller and the rest of the surface.

You’re going to pour the out the paint into a roller pan. Make sure you don’t overfill the pan: Fill it so they paint just touches the grated part of the pan.  Depending on where you’re painting, you may need to work on a ladder or with an extension pole. Dampen the roller with water for latex paint or paint thinner for oil paints. Coat the brush completely with paint, and then roll it against the grate to distribute it and squeeze out and excess.

Using a zig-zag motion, cover an area three to four feet square. Then roll over the same area in straight lines. Make sure to overlay the edges of previously painted areas to reduce visible lines when the paint is dry.  Once you’ve completely covered the surface you’re working on, move to another area and let the first dry.

You’ll want to let the painted surfaces dry before you apply a second coat, which will ensure the paint isn’t too thin or missing in places. Don’t remove your drop cloths or tape until you’re sure there aren’t any spots that need touch-ups.

The next part of your painting project is to tackle the door frames, window frames and molding. We’ll talk about that and cleaning up in an upcoming blog post. So for now, get to work on your walls. That way, when you call me to help you sell your home, we’ll already be ahead of the competition!

This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.
Photo courtesy theunquietlibrarian/

Masha Halpern of Keller Williams Realty in Chapel Hill, North Carolina was recently recognized as a top individual real estate agent for August 2012.  Masha ranked at number eight in closed sales volume of all Keller Williams Realtors in North and South Carolina.  

As a member of the Chapel Hill Association of Realtors market. Keller Williams regional directors review the volume in sales for all Keller Williams REALTORS®  and through Masha’s dedication to her clients she has landed in the Top 10.

Masha’s award-winning website, has received wide recognition locally, as well as on a state, national and even an international level.  “Today, approximately 80% of all homebuyers are using the internet to help them with their home-buying process.  Some buyers and sellers even use the internet as a tool to help them choose their Realtor!  As sellers, homeowners want to see how their home might be showcased on the internet, and as buyers, they want to be able to search ALL homes currently available in the MLS.”   Masha’s knowledge and experience is what today’s home buyers and sellers are looking for to accomplish their goals in today’s real estate market.

“As Regional Director it is a pleasure to know how much dedication Masha has to the Chapel Hill/Durham, North Carolina real estate market and going the extra step to ensure her buyers and sellers are confident in their real estate decisions”, says Janet Faulker.

Masha is a licensed Broker in the Chapel Hill/Durham area with 20 years experience, and holds numerous designations including GRI (Graduate Realtors Institute), CLHMS Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist from the Luxury Home Marketing Institute.

For Information:

Preparing to Paint-It-Yourself

by Masha Halpern

Many people know that painting is one of the easier home improvement efforts you can make yourself. If you have the time, and doing it right does take time, then you can save a lot of money if you can do at least the basics yourself. And that's what we're talking about today, giving your rooms a face-lift without the expense of painting contractors.

What are you painting and how do you want it to look when you're finished? Color is beyond the scope of this discussion, so let's wrap up that point by saying that unless you're going to live with the color for a good, long time, don't get  too crazy: You'll wind up having to tone it down when you decide to sell.  

You probably know there are a variety of interior paint types you can work with, but in general, you're going to use a flat, non-reflective finish on the main walls and semi-gloss or gloss finish on trim, moulding, baseboards, and door and window frames. You'll get great advice for your particular situation from the folks at your local paint store or in the painting section of Lowes or Home Depot.

How much paint to you need? You'll need to determine how many square feet you'll need to cover. Simply measure the height and width of each wall (in feet) and multiple those numbers together. If you have a lot of windows or doors along the wall, you'll want to subtract the square feet they take up from the total square feet. The paint can itself should tell you how many square feet it will cover.  Remember, paint left over is great for when you need to do repairs or touch-ups later!

You'll also need the tools to do the job: Brushes, rollers, roller tray, painter's tape and drop clothes. Don't skimp on these items - the quality will make a difference! Make sure you have a sturdy ladder. And grab some  face masks, because breathing those fumes isn't good for anyone! For more on the tools you'll need, here's expert painter Grady Johnson:

Before you start painting, you'll need to ensure your walls are ready. You're going to have big problems if you don't take care here. You need the painting surface to be in great shape, and that means fixing holes or other damage, and make sure the wall is free of dust and debris. You're going to also need to make sure you have plenty of space to work in and that the floor and any items in the room are properly protected with drop cloths.

For more details, let me suggest these articles on, or the TLC network's articles on And stay tuned here for the next step, actually putting the paint on the walls!

This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.
Photo courtesy Wuertele/

Displaying blog entries 1-5 of 5




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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