Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-9 of 9

Masha Halpern & announce a fantastic new price on 309 Rossburn Way. Click here to see our virtual tour of this lovely 4 Bed 2.5 Bath home designed by Carol Ann Zinn, located in Chapel Hill School.

Its just a short distance to Carrboro High School and a lovely stroll to Culbreth Middle School. Featuring a kitchen the opens to a light filled breakfast room and adjacent family room- this is the heart of the house! Don't take a chance missing out on this great opportunity at an amazing new price of $429900. Call Masha at 919-414-0337 to see this home.

Great Tips to Spring Clean Your Finances

by Masha Halpern

Now that spring is here, I read a great article in Kiplinger Finance that I wanted to share.

Take some time this spring to get your money matters in order by following these tips:

1. Toss unnecessary documents-Do this every year after you file your tax return. Click here to see what you should toss and what you should save.

2. Freshen up your insurance coverage.-If you're looking to cut costs, increase the deductibles on your car and homeowners policies. Ask your insurance agent about an umbrella policy.

3. Tidy up your credit report.-Once a year, you can request a free credit report at If you are planning on purchasing a home, it's important to check that your credit report is accurate and up to date. Errors on a credit report can hurt your ability to borrow money or get new credit.

4. Clean out your portfolio -Take a look at your investments. It may be time to sell some investments and purchase new ones. Evaluate your holdings. Don't forget to add to your IRA each year.

5. Plug leaks in your budget - When was the last time you tracked your expenses? Try using a budget worksheet to see how much you spend per month. It's the little charges that add up each month.

The above tips are something we should all do every year, especially if you are planning to buy a home.


Masha Halpern has been an agent in Chapel Hill since 1992. Contact Masha at or toll free at (877)478-4669 for all your real estate needs.


A mild winter and a stronger job market have helped boost sales ahead of the Spring buying season but
overpricing your home can cost you in the Triangle! The past two months made up the best winter for sales of previously occupied homes in five years, when the housing crisis began. Sales are heading in the upward direction but they still remain below what housing specialists equate with a healthy market. However, if the trends continue, 2012 should be a good year for buyers and sellers!
The supply of homes fell in January to its lowest level in seven years. That is good news. A lower supply helps push prices up however if your home is overpriced, that can cost you. If you don't price your home right initially, you're going to end up with less in your pocket in the long run. We have seen many homeowners think their home is special and unique and say they can't take a loss on their investment. That may be true, but no matter how special your home is, if the competition is offering their home at a lower price, buyers will choose the home for the best price. While other homes are selling, you continue to pay real estate taxes, insurance and maintenance costs on a monthly basis because your house remains on the market.
If you would like to sell your home for the right price, we would love to provide you with a free market analysis. Call Masha Halpern & The Smart Move Team today!

Our luxury home, listed by Masha Halpern, was featured on the  front page of Sunday's Real Estate Section of The Chapel Hill News.  We appreciate Sally Keeney taking the time to write a feature article about this breathtaking home.

The listing at 1200 Bayberry Drive in Chapel Hill is a modernized version of Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie-style home. The homeowner and the builder (Jim Henry Builders) were both interviewed for the article. The front page of the Real Estate section features the master bathroom with cherry cabinets, a wall of glass block and a relaxing whirlpool tub. Page two showcases the dining room which offers magnificent views from large windows and glass doors that open to a wrap-around deck.

The Luxury Division of Masha Halpern & The Smart Move Team is excited to be listing this home. If you or anyone you know is interested in touring this property,, please contact Masha at your earliest convenience. You don't want to miss this house!


Masha Halpern has been an agent in Chapel Hill since 1992. Contact Masha at or toll free at (877)478-4669 for all your real estate needs.



Home Sales Finally Jump 35% In The Triangle!

by Masha Halpern

The Triangle area, which includes Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Hillsborough, Durham, Morrisville, Cary, Raleigh and Apex has finally seen a big uptick compared with the same period a year ago. The housing market had its best February in four years as sales increased 35 percent compared with a year ago. This is great news for those already living in the Triangle as well as those looking to buy in the area.

The size of this increase has given us hope that the Triangle's economy is on the mend. As the economy improves, there is renewed confidence in the real estate market. The Triangle's housing inventory increased 3 percent from January to February. This makes sense. Traditionally, February is the time many people put their homes up for sale. Are you looking to sell your home?

For those interested in buying, it is still a buyer's market.  We are seeing more and more interested buyers because home prices and mortgage interest rates remain low.

The next few months are typically the strongest ones for home sales. If you are thinking of buying or selling your home, now is the time to call Masha Halpern & The Smart Move Team.

Happy Spring! 









Home Appraisal is a Must in Chapel Hill!

by Masha Halpern

Are you looking to buy or sell a Chapel Hill home? It will be necessary to have the property appraised. The value of the home is a major part in both the buying and selling process. The appraisal has a variety of purposes in a transaction for both the buyer and the seller.  By having an appraisal, it will protect all involved in the sale: the seller, the buyer, the lender and the insurance company.

Most lenders require an appraisal before any financing can be finalized.  So even if the buyer wants to waive the appraisal contingency due to finding a home they want where they have competition, they will still need the appraisal.

It is important to understand that waiving the appraisal can be a dangerous way to purchase a home.  Buyers can lose some of their earnest money if the appraisal does not come in high enough for them to secure financing. Sellers can demand that some of the earnest money be used to compensate them for money lost due to financial losses as well as having to put the property back on the market because the buyer wrote a contract they can’t fulfill.

If you are buying a North Carolina home, it is very important to think it through. You wouldn’t purchase a car without knowing the true value of the vehicle. Purchasing a home should be held to even higher standards, and if you don’t follow these standard practices, it could cost you thousands of dollars.

Contact me today if you are interested in buying a Chapel Hill, NC home!





Budgeting After a Divorce in Chapel Hill

by Masha Halpern

It may surprise you that in Chapel Hill, North Carolina the divorce rate is higher than is recent years. In fact, it's risen over 40% in the last two years.  Divorce is very difficult both emotionally and financially. How can you prepare for budget adjustments in the Chapel Hill during this transition? Here is a helpful and informative blog by Becky Sarwate:

Anyone who has been through a divorce will tell you that it’s a complicated and difficult process on so many levels. In addition to the emotional toll of separating from a spouse, the transition to life as a newly-single person and the impact of divorce on children and extended family members, there are real, long-term financial considerations. There is a reason that divorce ranks number two on the famed Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale.

Budget adjustment after divorce can be one of the most grueling tasks of all, whether the divorcing spouses have children to provide for or not. Budget adjustment can be especially challenging for partners who may have taken a backseat when it came to managing the finances during the marriage. The now single person will have to quickly acquire new financial skills to gain control of assets and monthly expenses, make investments and plan for retirement.

Fortunately, there are some basic strategies that can put even the most overwhelmed on the path toward financial health. Budget adjustment after divorce is painful but not impossible.

The first, and perhaps most critical step is to establish a monthly budget that allows for the payment of bills as well as a little future planning. It can be a huge shift to learn to live on only one income and it’s essential for you to understand where your money is going as soon as possible. Once done, you will have a clearer picture of where changes could and should be made – whether paying down debt or channeling more resources into savings.

How does your retirement future look? If you can’t answer that question, now is the time to act. Budget adjustment after divorce should always include the evaluation of IRAs, 401ks and investment funds. If you don’t have any of these, it’s time to get serious. A financial planner can help.

Divorce filings involve many small, often arduous details, but some of the tiniest particulars are the most important of all. Stressed spouses often neglect to check their  life insurance and retirement accounts and change listed beneficiaries after divorce. For the protection of children and your individual estate, these modifications should not be overlooked.

While taking ownership of your financial prospects may not dull the pain of ending your marriage, it can create a tremendous sense of empowerment. Budget adjustment after divorce is a challenge you will thank yourself for facing. After a painful event, with the right help you can have much success financially in Chapel Hill!





2012 Home Trends in Chapel Hill, NC

by Masha Halpern

Whether you are ready to buy a Chapel Hill home or sell your current house, the best tool you can have is knowledge of the current trends! It's helpful when you considering a new home or if you are ready to sell your current home at the best price!

Quality More Prized Than Size

It's no secret that the the nation is recovering from a troubled economy. The home size has trended downward for the first time in three decades and Americans have shifted their priorities when home shopping.  Most have adopted a longer-term perspective, as homes that are smaller in scale are generally more affordable to maintain over time and have less impact on the environment. However, they are not necessarily less expensive to purchase if they are situated in a prime location and include more high-end features.

Findings of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Home Design Trends Survey suggests that home buyers and renovating homeowners alike are choosing efficient floor plans with less square footage so that they can still indulge their tastes for quality details, upgraded features and a higher degree of personalization. This key consumer survey also captured the following trends in the home marketplace in vivid detail.

New Priorities Trump Old Rules

The prevalence of non-traditional, open layouts with spacious kitchen and family room areas continues. Today’s Chapel Hill, NC homeowners are looking for ways to maximize the square footage of their homes, so larger, more gathering-friendly casual spaces are often replacing rarely-used formal living and dining rooms.

Options Create Opportunities

Many builders have incorporated flexible spaces that give buyers more option to dedicate a room to meet their specific needs and preferences or to serve multiple purposes. For example, a formal dining room calls for a chandelier and open access, whereas double doors and built-ins can easily create a private home office or library in the same space. It is now also more common for the owners of older homes to alter their floor plans to work better with the way they live.

Focus on Accessibility, Practicality, and Storage

A growing number of aging baby boomers drives the preference for one-level or two-story designs with the master bedroom downstairs. Storage features such as large closets and rooms with built-in shelves and cabinets maximize the use of space in a smaller footprint.

Embracing the “Outdoor Room”

Homeowners are enhancing their properties by blending indoor and outdoor living areas that are suitable for entertaining family and friends. Decks, patios and porches are more popular than ever and are often furnished comfortably and decorated to coordinate with the home’s interior spaces.

Homes Grow Greener

Consumers spend about an average of $1,900 each year on utility bills, so a desire to trim the household budget often goes hand-in-hand with a homeowner’s investment in upgrades that increase energy efficiency or water conservation. In many cases, these improvements pay for themselves with savings over time. Some of the most common features built into new homes and retrofitted into older ones include:
• Insulated exterior doors
• Low-emissivity (low-e) windows
• Energy-efficient appliances, lighting and HVAC systems
• Programmable thermostats
• Tankless water heaters
• Solar panels
• Extra insulation
• Water-saving plumbing fixtures and appliances

Work at Home Means Less Play

A growing percentage of Americans are making their living at home. Many corporate employees work remotely at least once a month, and more than half of all small businesses are now home-based. Functional spaces that promote organization, concentration and productivity have become a top priority in many households, while guest suites, mud rooms, and game rooms have declined in popularity.

Surveys across the nation are showing the homeowners are most interested in having functional spaces that are thoughtfully designed for their unique needs that cost less to maintain over time.

Ready to buy a Chapel Hill home - contact me today! I would love an opportunity to help you in your search!



Twenty One Things Your Burglar Won't Tell You

by Masha Halpern


  1. Of course I look familiar. I was here just last week cleaning your carpets, painting your shutters, or delivering your new refrigerator.
  2. Hey, thanks for letting me use the bathroom when I was working in your yard last week. While I was in there, I unlatched the back window to make my return a little easier.
  3. Love those flowers. That tells me you have taste... and taste means there are nice things inside. Those yard toys your kids leave out always make me wonder what type of gaming system they have.
  4. Yes, I really do look for newspapers piled up on the driveway. And I might leave a pizza flyer in your front door to see how long it takes you to remove it. 
(Now, if I ever go away, I will ask my neighbor to bring in flyers as well as the newspaper and mail!)
  5. If it snows while you're out of town, get a neighbor to create car and foot tracks into the house. Virgin drifts in the driveway are a dead giveaway. 
(Good thing it rarely snows in NC!)
  6. If decorative glass is part of your front entrance, don't let your alarm company install the control pad where I can see if it's set. That makes it too easy.
  7. A good security company alarms the window over the sink. And the windows on the second floor, which often access the master bedroom - and your jewelry. It's not a bad idea to put motion detectors up there too.
  8. It's raining, you're fumbling with your umbrella, and you forget to lock your door - understandable. But understand this: I don't take a day off because of bad weather.
  9. I always knock first. If you answer, I'll ask for directions somewhere or offer to clean your gutters.
(Don't take them up on it!)
  10. Do you really think I won't look in your sock drawer? I always check dresser drawers, the bedside table, and the medicine cabinet. 
(Are they the ones who take our missing socks?!)
  11. Here's a helpful hint: I almost never go into kids' rooms. 
  12. You're right: I won't have enough time to break into that safe where you keep your valuables. But if it's not bolted down, I'll take it with me.
  13. A loud TV or radio can be a better deterrent than the best alarm system. If you're reluctant to leave your TV on while you're out of town, you can buy a $35 device that works on a timer and simulates the flickering glow of a real television. (Find it at http://www.faketv/
  1. Sometimes, I carry a clipboard. Sometimes, I dress like a lawn guy and carry a rake. I do my best to never, ever look like a crook.
  2. The two things I hate most: loud dogs and nosy neighbors. 
(There's something to be said for nosy neighbors after all!)
  3. I'll break a window to get in, even if it makes a little noise. If your neighbor hears one loud sound, he'll stop what he's doing and wait to hear it again. If he doesn't hear it again, he'll just go back to what he was doing. It's human nature.
  4. I'm not complaining, but why would you pay all that money for a fancy alarm system and leave your house without setting it?
  5. I love looking in your windows. I'm looking for signs that you're home, and for flat screen TVs or gaming systems I'd like. I'll drive or walk through your neighborhood at night, before you close the blinds, just to pick my targets. 
(Glad I have loud dogs!)
  6. Avoid announcing your vacation on your Facebook page. It's easier than you think to look up your address.
  7. To you, leaving that window open just a crack during the day is a way to let in a little fresh air. To me, it's an invitation.
  8. If you don't answer when I knock, I try the door. Occasionally, I hit the jackpot and walk right in. 
It's always useful to check with your local police department for more information on how to keep your home safe. If you would like more information on the Triangle area, click here.


Displaying blog entries 1-9 of 9




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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