Real Estate Information Archive


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Home Recycling Tips


The United States is #1 in trash producing countries, producing about 1,609 pounds of trash per person per year. However, by reducing, reusing, and recycling  materials at home and throughout our communities we can make a difference by reducing waste in our homes. There are many things you can do to help, check out the below tips and start today!


• Stop junk mail by removing your name
• Purchase durable long lasting goods
• Stop delivery of unwanted newspapers and donate old magazines
• Use your own shopping bags when visiting the supermarket
• Take a packed lunch to work or school in a reusable plastic container 


• Reuse plastic shopping
• Buy rechargeable items instead of disposable ones e.g. batteries and cameras
• Buy things in refillable containers
• Buy concentrated products which use less packaging


• Choose products in packaging which you know can be recycled
• Contact your home trash collection service's recycling program. Most cities offer a free curbside service that makes it convenient to recycle!
• Place recycling bins next to your garbage can. This will make it easier to recycle if you have all waste containers in the same area.
• Designate separate bins for plastic and newspapers. Recycling a four-foot stack of newspapers saves the equivalent of one 40-foot fir tree.
• Buy products made from recycled materials. Most supermarkets now stock a wide range of these items, click here for some examples and to learn more.
• Locate your nearest recycling facilities are by clicking here 


What To Look For During A Final Walk Through


Before the final closing on your home you will have the opportunity to inspect the property again, also known as a final walk through. The main purpose to this inspection is to ensure that the property is in the same condition as day you signed the contract.  You are making sure that the seller has lived up to his or her agreements in the sales contract.   It is a good idea to schedule the walk-through as close to the actual closing as possible, typically within the 24 to 48 hours prior to closing.  It is also advised that you do it after the sellers should have already moved out as there can be damage caused by moving.

What should you look for in a walk through inspection? To start with, you want to make sure that the overall condition of the home has not changed since you signed the contract. Below are some things you should look for in a pre-closing inspection, it is also a good idea to bring along a checklist so that there is nothing overlooked.  

 • Ensure that all required repairs have been satisfactorily completed or are in the process of being done
• Did the seller leave "junk” or debris behind in the basement, attic, yard or garage?
• Have the items that the seller agreed to leave been removed?
• Are the instruction books and warranties for any appliances or fixtures available?

 In addition to looking at condition, repairs, and items remaining or removed, pay particular attention to key areas such as:
Major systems and appliances – Confirm that these components are in good working order.
Attic and basements/crawl spaces – Look for discarded items and potential problem areas.
Walls and floors – Check for any damage that may have occurred when the sellers moved or that may not have been obvious when you originally looked at the home.
Exterior – Check the condition of windows, doors, sprinklers, gutters, and landscaping.

Unfortunately, things don't always go as planned when buying a home.  If you find during your final home inspection that the seller has not lived up to their part of the agreement, you want to know about it in advance of the closing so a solution can be agreed upon before money changes hands.  If this occurs you do have options, it is a good idea to work with a real estate attorney to come to a satisfactory arrangement. 

• Placing Repair Money in Escrow – One solution is to have the seller place the anticipated repair costs in escrow.  It is important to make sure the amount is sufficient to cover the costs of the repairs.  Once the money is placed in escrow, the funds can be withdrawn to pay for the repairs as needed.

• Reducing the Selling Price – Another option to resolve this matter is to negotiate the costs with the seller and have the costs of the repairs removed from the selling price of the home at closing.  It is very important you have enough information to make a proper estimate of the repair costs so you can negotiate enough money to be able to make the repairs.

• Delaying the Closing - Finally, if you're uncomfortable with either of these two options, you may want to delay the closing itself.  The details will need to be worked out with your attorney but it's not unreasonable to ask the seller to help you pay for costs that you'll incur because of the delay in closing on the home - especially if they've purposefully ignored the repairs in the first place and you're forced to live elsewhere and/or pay to have your furniture placed into storage.

Spring Yard Preparation


The smell of spring is in the air and soon the temperatures will gradually warm and you can finally start to spend more time outside. Winter can take a toll on your lawn and landscaping, harsh conditions such as  fluctuating temperatures and dry winter winds can be damaging. Spring lawn care is important, as early season care has a big impact on lawns. Here are a few tips to get you started on your outdoor “to do” list and to help you prepare your lawn and landscaping for the months ahead.

Lawn Care

It is important to begin by removing any accumulated debris from last fall such as leaves and be sure to remove all the thatch (dried dead grass and weeds) with a rake. If the thatch is left in the yard it can prevent water and nutrients from reaching the roots of your lawn. If you will be planting grass seeds, this will help them to root in the soil better.

Before you mow the yard for the first time of the season, it is important you change the oil, spark plug, put fresh gasoline in the tank and make sure the blade is sharpened. 

Lawns can be fertilized organically by using compost and mulching mowers.   It is also easy to  go green when looking for solutions for lawn and soil problems. There are many organic  non chemical based products available from fertilizers to weed control.


Depending on your area you may be able to plant some types of perennials, start now to get your plan together. Research gardening books, magazines as well as online  for ideas and information on certain plants and the amount of care required. Depending on your area you should also be able to plant roses, berries, fruit trees and most deciduous plants now. Some other flowers that can take the often chilly temperatures of spring are: Snapdragons, Violas and Purple Cabbage.


Now is the perfect time to prune ornamental trees and shrubs, the best time to do so is before growth starts. This is also a great time to prune roses, by doing so you will see a much fuller and robust plant when they begin to bloom.
Proper pruning enhances the beauty of almost any landscape tree and shrub, while improper pruning can ruin or greatly reduce its landscape potential, so be sure to research the correct methods!

With a little extra care and prevention now can make for a beautiful landscape to be enjoyed all summer long. Take advantage of the cooler temperatures to get your yard and garden ready now!

Should You Use A Real Estate Attorney?


Getting involved in a real estate transaction is an exciting but sometimes confusing time. The process can take a lot of time and money to complete. With something so complicated, there is certainly some merit to involving a lawyer in the real estate proceedings. Use the below information to help you decide if you need to use a real estate attorney for your transaction.

How an attorney can help me?

A real estate attorney can offer many different services and some may specialize in certain areas but some general services that are typically offered are:

• Reviewing and outlining the real estate transaction process
• Reviewing any listing or agency agreements
• Drafting and reviewing real estate condition reports
• Drafting and reviewing residential offers to purchase and counter offers
• Assisting buyers and sellers through the property inspection and financing contingencies
• Working with title insurance companies and reviewing title insurance commitments
• Checking the settlement statement figures with you prior to closing
• Advising you at closing

In addition, because you will likely have questions throughout the purchase process, having an attorney available to answer all of your questions that arise during the course of your sale will be an added benefit.

What are the costs involved?

The actual cost for an attorney varies by state and by amount of work required. Fee structures also vary (some lawyers charge by the hour, others by flat fee, some by both depending on the task.) but the typical range is $350-$1500.  While it is important to do your research and shop around for the attorney that best fits your budget, don’t let the price factor determine your decision. You may find the worst attorney that is the most expensive or you may find an excellent attorney that offer decent services at a fair price.

Where can I find a reputable attorney?

A good place to start in locating a real estate attorney is to ask for referrals from your local bar association, your real estate agent or your mortgage broker.  Word of mouth has great value as well; ask friends, colleagues and family whom they've had a good experience working with. The internet is a valuable tool you can use to research also, locate an attorney in your area.

For most people buying or selling a house is the most complicated and largest legal transaction that a person will make in their lives. Having your real estate lawyer sitting next to you to make sure that your interests are being looked out for will relieve a lot of the stress associated with that sale.

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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