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Good Faith Deposits

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If you are buying a home, condominium or other real estate, you will most likely be asked to make a good faith deposit. The good faith deposit (also called earnest money deposit) establishes that you are serious and, to some extent, has the financial capacity to follow through on the purchase. Keep in mind that these deposits however should not to be confused with a down payment.

How much do you need to deposit?

The amount of the good faith deposit is dependent upon the agreed sale price of the real estate. Deposits vary and typically can range anywhere from 1 to 3 percent of the sales price but, there is no set requirement. Generally speaking, you want your deposit to be large enough that your offer is taken seriously, but you do not want it to be so large that you put significant funds at risk.   While the chance that you will have a problem is slim, the smaller the amount you have tied up and at risk in a deposit, the better.

Who gets the money?

Typically the earnest money deposit should be made to a reputable third party such as a well known real estate brokerage, legal firm, escrow company or title company.
As a buyer, be aware that if you allow earnest money to be held and deposited by a seller or by a builder or developer for use in construction, you risk that they will not be able to return it to you in the event the transaction does not close for whatever reason. Most buyers prefer to have real estate agents or attorneys hold the earnest money deposit as  they are licensed by the state and required to deposit the money in a trust or escrow account, this reduces the risk that the monies will be improperly used. To avoid the loss of your deposit, follow these tips.

• Never give an earnest money deposit to the seller.
• Verify that the third party will deposit the funds into a separately maintained trust account.
• Obtain a receipt.
• Ask how the money will be returned if necessary. Do they hold the check until it clears or return it?

Is the money refundable?

Your real estate contract will indicate if your deposit is refundable, so be sure to review this document very carefully. It is advisable that you consult a real estate attorney who can help ensure that your offer is written in a manner that protects your rights to the deposit.  Do your research to get the facts about state law and even local customs on refunds of deposits before your earnest money leaves your hands. Even if your money is refunded, you may not receive the entire amount. Often, third party fees are paid out of earnest money deposits. For example, if an appraisal has been completed on the property then the appraisal fee is going to have to be paid before money can be released to either of the parties. Check the laws in your state  as some states have laws requiring the buyer and the seller to agree on the disbursement of these funds before they are refunded, which can lead to further problems and legal action.


A good faith deposit acts like an insurance option for a seller. Because the escrow process can take 30 to 60 days, their property is off the market. The good faith deposit essentially compensates the seller for this time in the event the buyer is unable to follow through on the purchase of the property. This deposit helps reassure the seller you are serious about buying their home.

Need Storage? Explore Your Options

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There are various reasons why you might need to look into storage options, especially during the moving process. You may be moving from your old house before your new place is ready or if  you're down-sizing and your new home does not have enough room for all your treasured items you will need to consider storage. Whatever your situation there are different options that may work for you, read more below to find one that will work best for your situation.

Self Storage Facilities

These consist of mini-storage units where a monthly charge is incurred. Most have a variety of units in different sizes to accommodate your storage needs; if you are not sure of what size you may need, use this estimator to help determine the best size you may need.
Depending on the facility, access can be granted at specific times but some do have 24 hour access. Find a self storage facility near you.

Container Storage

This type of storage can be used for long-term, portable storage. Many people refer to this type of storage as Pods, they are delivered to your home where you pack them and then can be stored at a storage center, and once you move to your new home, delivered at your doorstep for your convenience.  This can be a time and money saving solution because you only have to pack once, you don’t have to move your items to the storage facility and then again to your final destination.

Moving/Storage Facilities

Many moving companies offer storage as an extra service to their moving capabilities. This can be very convenient as they simply load up your possessions, take them back to their facility and store them for you rather than dropping them off at your new home. Then, when you're ready, they load them back up again and deliver them.

Important factors to consider when making your storage decision:

Location. It is important to consider the location to your residence and the time and expense associated with frequent visits to the location. 

Convenience. You will need to ask about the accessibility of your storage facility on weekends and evenings.  Some self storage facilities are 24 hours, but check first.

Security. Be certain you understand the security in the storage facility that you choose. How will your household goods be stored within the storage unit? What kind of security does the facility have both during regular business hours and after hours?

Insurance. While it is smart to ask about what would happen to your stored items in case of fire, flood or other natural disaster. Don’t assume the storage facility will cover your items if they are damaged or stolen. Check your homeowners or renters insurance policies to see if they will cover items kept in storage.

Whatever decision you make it is always a good idea to tour the facility before signing any contract in addition to asking the above questions. It is important to do your research, just like choosing a moving company, you want to be sure your things are in safe hands.

Hard Water Facts And Benefits Of Soft Water

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Most homes have hard water problems without necessarily knowing about it. Hard water is probably the most common water problem found in the home, according to the U.S. Geologic Survey in the U.S. about 85 percent of the homes have hard water. The best way you can tell if you have hard water is if you find it  difficult to get soap to form a lather. you have to use alot of soap into the water to clean your dishes or if your dishwasher is just not getting the dishes clean.

What Causes Hard Water?

When water moves through the soil small amounts of minerals are broken up and are held in the solution. The minerals that hold the most are magnesium and calcium and the how hard the water is depends on how much of these minerals is in the water.

Why Is Hard Water Bad?

While hard water is not considered to be unhealthy for people to drink,  people who have it are more prone to rashes and skin problems because it changes the skin's pH and soap remains on the skin, clogging pores.

Appliances that use water, such as dishwashers or washing machines are much less efficient when you are using hard water in the operation of them. This can translate to higher energy bills. If the hard water is heated it brings about a scale of magnesium and calcium which comes in the form of limestone deposits. These deposits can lead to less efficient water using appliances and sometimes can lead to the breakdown of them as well. If you suspect you have hard water, contact a professional  in your area who will do the proper testing and recommend your best treatment options.

 What Are The Advantages Of Soft Water?

• You will use less soap by using soft water, both in the shower and in the kitchen.
• You'll have less unsightly spots on dishes, and glassware and your knives and forks.
• Your heating bill will also be lowered because heating hard water in the water heater, causes hardness scale which plugs plumbing pipes and vessels and builds up on the inside of water heaters.
• Your plumbing will last longer. Hard water can cause a build up of scale from mineral deposits. Over time, pipes can clog, water flow can diminish, and water pressure can be reduced. This doesn't happen with soft water. Soft water is low in mineral content and therefore doesn't leave deposits in the pipes.
• Your skin and hair will look and feel better after bathing or showering. Scum from hard water clogs skin pores and coats hair.
• Clothes are softer, cleaner, brighter, and last longer
• Your food and beverages will taste better using soft water and ice cubes will sparkle more. 

How To Solve A Hard Water Problem

Some solutions to correct hard water is either to filter the water by distillation or reverse osmosis to remove the calcium and magnesium, or to the most common solution is to use a water softener. Because the cost of filtration would be extremely expensive to use for all the water in a house,  a water softener is usually a less costly solution.
The idea behind a water softener is simple. The calcium and magnesium ions in the water are replaced with sodium ions. Since sodium does not precipitate out in pipes or react badly with soap, both of the problems of hard water are eliminated.

Hard water waste can cost hundreds of dollars each year as it impacts laundry operations, your  water heater, efficiency, household cleaning, and the life expectancy of water-using appliances and plumbing. While hard water is not an emergency, the costs do adds up.  Click here to read more about hard water and how it affects you.

 

How To Prepare Your Home For A Power Outage

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You never know when a power outage may strike your home. A power outage is inconvenient, whether it lasts a second or an hour, but you can minimize the problems and safety hazards of a power outage by following these simple suggestions to protect your family and home.

Be Prepared

Don’t wait for a power outage to buy emergency supplies, be prepared and have everything you need on hand. If your power goes out, it’s likely you could find the store shelves raided and empty during a power outage. It is a good idea to purchase emergency home kits and store them in a general area in your home so you won’t be searching for needed supplies in the dark in an emergency. While most power outages are short-lived, but some may last days. Here are some things to consider for a long-term outage. Stock up on:

•  Matches and disposable lighters.
• Flashlights and extra batteries.  It is recommended you not use candles unless necessary to avoid fire risks.
Battery operated radio and extra batteries
• Canned goods and dry food mixes. Water and juices. Don’t forget the hand-operated can opener
• Special items for infants, the elderly or family members with special needs and prescription medications
• Paper plates, cups and plastic utensils.
First-aid kit
• Fire Extinguisher
 
Refrigerated Food Safety

Refrigerated food must be kept at temperatures of 40 degrees to avoid spoiling. Do not taste food to figure out if it’s safe to eat.

• A closed refrigerator will keep food safe for about four hours.
• A closed freezer will maintain food quality for about 48 hours if full, 24 hours if half full.
• 50 pounds of dry ice will keep a freezer cold for two days.
• If your power outage lasts longer than four to eight hours, discard the following items:
• Eggs
• Mayonnaise
• Leftovers
• Milk products (except butter)
• Fresh meats, poultry and seafood
• Soft cheeses, low-fat cheese and shredded cheese
• Creamy-based dressings, gravy and spaghetti sauce
• After six hours of a power outage, discard all frozen products except breads, nuts, hard cheeses and fruit juices.

During an Outage

• Turn off all the major appliances in your home, especially the heat pump. This will prevent damage to the appliances once the power is restored. Turn on appliances one at a time so the electric demand does not jump suddenly.
• Make sure the oven and stove are off; this will prevent fires if the power comes back on while you’re away. Do not set dishes, towels, or paper on the stove; these may catch on fire if a burner is on when the power comes on.
• Leave the freezer and refrigerator closed. This will help food stay fresh longer.
• Never touch downed power lines or attempt to remove trees from power lines. Contact with power lines may result in serious injury or death.  Report any downed lines to your power company and leave the clean up and repair work to the professionals

Other Storm Preparedness Tips

• If you use electrically powered life-support equipment, ask your doctor about emergency battery backup systems.
• Protect sensitive electronic equipment, such as computers, televisions and other devices, with surge suppressors.
• Make sure you know how to safely reset your circuit breaker or change fuses. Keep extra fuses on hand.
• If a well is your source for water, plan ahead to determine how you will get drinking water. Store containers of water for cooking and washing.
• Know how to open your garage door manually if it is equipped with an automatic opener.


Power outages are one of the most common emergencies that occur. They can be caused by storms, accidents in which power lines are knocked down, circuit overloads, etc. Power failures can last for an extended period of time or for a brief moment, but no matter the length of time, they cause a disruption in everyday life. Take the time to prepare for a power outage and to gain the knowledge needed to respond safely and effectively during the emergency. A few simple preparations can greatly reduce the inconveniences caused by a power outage.

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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

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