Real Estate Information Archive


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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!




Preparing Your Home For Winter

by Masha Halpern

Is your your home getting the winter blues? As the colder weather approaches, home owners in North Carolina can do the following maintenance checks to ensure their properties are ready for the winter months.

  • Check the weather stripping along your door and door frame to ensure there are no gaps that can let cold air seep into your home. Also, you may want to add weather stripping or caulk to your windows to prevent any drafts and wasting energy.
  • If you have a fireplace, be sure to sweep out those chimneys. The National Fire Protection Association advises home owners to sweep out the chimney at least once a year to help prevent house fires.
  • Schedule a service for your furnaces at least once a year too. It’ll cost roughly about $100 and can help avoid costly repairs later or a malfunction of carbon monoxide pumping into the home, which can be deadly.
  • Prevent frozen pipes, by using heating tape to wrap any exposed pipes on the home’s exterior and turning off the water as well as draining any water remaining inside the valves.
  • Don't forget the roof! An properly maintained roof is the best weatherproofing you can get and it will greatly reduce your heat costs. Here’s what you should be checking for:
  • All gutters should be fastened securely to the roof
  • Look to make sure the roof is not missing any shingles, tiles, slates or nails
  • Look for any warped or darker areas on the roof
  • If you’ve noticed any problems with the roof, it’s time to call a roofing professional to take a look and assess what needs to be done.

These are practical and affordable tips that will not only keep your your home more safe and comfy in the holidays, but over the long run could improve the resale value of your home.





Eight Simple (And Inexpensive!) Ways to Add Curb Appeal

by Masha Halpern

There is lots of talk about curb appeal when it comes to selling your home. Some of the tips can be downright overwhelming! Want to improve the view from the other side of the curb without breaking the bank or making remodeling your full time job?

Here are eight easy tips to help you with your curb appeal!

1. Look at the big picture. Some things should go without saying. But the truth is that after you've lived with fading trim or a cracked driveway for a year or two, you probably don't even see it anymore. Remember that people are not going to look at your home the same way that you do, Ask your real estate agent or a trusted friend to look at the front of your home with a new set of eyes. Would they be interested in the home if they didn't know you? If not, what are the turn-offs?

And always do the obvious: keep the lawn mowed and the gutters clear. Trim the bushes, get rid of any dead branches and fix anything that's hanging or broken. And keep outdoor lights on in the evening and in good working order, the better to show off your house 24-7.

2. Got a brass doorknob? Make it shine. If you have wrought iron, clean it or paint it. Wash the windows so that they gleam.  Make your home look cared for!

3. Mesh your home to fit into the community. For example, if you live in a neighborhood with alot of young children, it's OK to have a bike in the yard. Most buyers interested in that type of a neighborhood most likely have children as well. Keep your audience in mind as you show your house.

4. Use flowers. If you have room, go for the traditional two large planters -- one on either side of the door or walkway. Fill them to overflowing with flowers if it's spring or summer or evergreens in the cooler months, she says.

This will create a focal point, forcing home buyers to focus on one area rather than the whole home at once. Consider hanging a colorful flag out front to draw in the buyers' eye. Or put a seasonal wreath on the door. You really want your home to say, "Come on it!"

5. Apply pressure! If the exterior needs a fresh look, consider getting it pressure washed. (This is a great way to clean trim or walkways and give them a clean, white look.)

6. Make the yard look manicured. Put some fresh mulch or bedding material around the plants in the yard and use a hoe to make the edges of the bedding sharp.

7. Paint. Want to make the house look great without painting the whole thing? Just paint the trim and the front door. And since the porch frames the front door and is the first part of the house buyers will actually visit, make sure it looks freshly painted. But if it needs it, then paint the whole house. The outlay will be well worth the money if you get a clean looking home that moves fast.

8. Invest in landscaping. If you have just a little money to spend, consider visiting a nursery where they can recommend the most bang for your buck. Or, if you don't have a lot of time or a green thumb, think about creating some informal garden areas. 

Your realtor has been through this many times and is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to curb appeal and these easy and inexpensive tips should be able to get you started!




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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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