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Carpet Cleaning Options


The appearance of your carpets are one of the first things noticed when people enter your home. If you are selling your home, having your carpets professionally cleaned is an easy, cost effective way to give your house a facelift before showing prospective buyers.  Stains and worn traffic areas can disappoint potential buyers and new homeowners alike. Having your carpets professional cleaned can help to extend the life of the carpet and also help allergy and asthma sufferers by removing germs and dust.

There are many different options you have when looking for a professional to clean your carpets, below are some of the methods available.

Hot Water Extraction or "Steam" Cleaning
This is the most common method where a cleaning solution is sprayed on the carpet and immediately extracted (along with the dissolved soil) by a wet vacuum. Extraction equipment can be portable or truck-mounted, the latter being more powerful in terms of spray pressure, heating capabilities and power of the vacuum pumps. Hot water extraction is often referred to as "steam" cleaning and is considered by many carpet manufacturers as the most thorough method. Drying time is generally between 4 to 6 hours.

In this process a shampoo is applied to the carpet and then agitated with a brush mounted on a floor machine. The solution absorbs soil and crystallizes as it dries. Soil and shampoo are then removed through vacuuming at a later time. This method is also referred to as encapsulation. Drying time is generally between 1 to 2 hours.

Bonnet Cleaning
This method is similar to the shampooing process in which a pre-spray is applied to the carpet and then is absorbed with cotton or synthetic bonnet pads attached to a floor machine. This removes the soil as it is absorbed on the shag pad.  When one side of the pad becomes soiled, the pad is reversed until both sides are soiled, at which time it is replaced. Drying time is generally between 1 to 2 hours.

Foam Cleaning
This system uses detergent in the form of a foam.  A machine generates a foam, which is agitated on the carpet by brushes. The foam is then removed, with trapped soil, by an extraction-vacuum pickup.

Dry Cleaning
In this process the cleaning agent, an absorbent dry compound (containing solvents and detergents) is sprinkled on the carpet and worked into the pile by a machine. It is vacuumed off after about half an hour, removing the soil suspended by the compound. Drying time is usually less than 1 hour.

For many reasons, a professional carpet cleaning company is a good investment. A deep clean not only improves the carpets appearance but also lengthens the life of your carpets and makes your home healthier. Contact a professional in your area if you are not certain which method is best for your style of carpet. 


How Much House Can You Afford?


Now is the time to buy a home, there are so many homes on the market at great prices, but you want to make sure that you still purchase a home that won’t leave you overextended.  To make sure that the house you are thinking of buying is going to be affordable, make sure you do your research and budgeting before you sign the paper work.

To get started, figure the amount you've budgeted for your monthly mortgage payment. If you're not sure how much to spend on your mortgage, a great guideline to start with is somewhere between 30% to 40% of your monthly income. This should include principal and interest, as well as property taxes and homeowners insurance.

 Most people can afford a home that costs up to three times their annual household income, if they can make a 20% down payment and have only a moderate amount of other debt. If you have little to no debt and can put 20% down you can probably buy a house worth up to four times your annual income. Calculate how much house you can afford with this home affordability calculator to see an estimate of how much you can potentially afford for your new home.

When it comes to deciding how much you can afford to spend consider the following:

  •  Make sure you get pre-qualified or pre-approved for your loan before you start looking.
  •  If you buy a condo or a home that requires you to join the homeowner's association, your monthly dues will directly reduce how much you can afford to spend on a home. Some dues can be very costly, be sure to include the cost into your budgeting.
  •  Remember to assess and figure in the costs for any remodeling and repair projects.

If you're considering a new home purchase, it is crucial that you spend time calculating what you can truly afford. Remember, just because the bank says they will give you a certain amount of money, that doesn't mean you can actually afford it. Everyone's situation is different, and by planning ahead to ensure you're not overextending yourself, you can make it through the difficult times

Adjustable Rate Mortgages


When you decide to purchase a home you will need to start to consider what type of mortgage will be best for you and your situation. You can choose to go with a fixed rate mortgage, which means the interest rate on a fixed rate mortgage remains the same throughout the life of the loan. Your monthly payment (consisting of principal and interest) generally remains the same as well. The entire mortgage is repaid in equal monthly installments over the term (length) of the loan.

Fixed rate mortgages are the most popular and almost 75% of all home mortgages are fixed interest rate mortgages. However, having a fixed interest rate on your mortgage has both positive and negative aspects. If interest rates rise, yours won't; and thus, your monthly mortgage payment will always remain the same. For homeowners on tight budgets or with fixed incomes this can be reassuring and this type of mortgage is typically the best choice.

Another option you can investigate is adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs.) With this type of mortgage, sometime also called a variable rate mortgage, your interest rate is adjusted periodically, rising or falling to keep pace with changes in market interest rate fluctuations. Your monthly payment amount is recalculated with each rate adjustment. Depending on what's specified in the mortgage contract, an ARM can be adjusted semi-annually, quarterly, or even monthly, but most are adjusted annually.

If neither of these options sound appealing, you do have an alternative choice-Hybrid ARM's. Simply put, they are mortgage loans that offer a fixed interest rate for a certain time period (3, 5, 7, or 10 years), and then convert to a 1-year ARM. The initial fixed interest rate on a hybrid ARM is often considerably lower than the rate on either a 15-year or 30-year fixed rate mortgage. The longer the initial fixed-rate term, however, the higher the interest rate for that term will be. Generally speaking, even the lowest of these fixed rates is higher than the initial (teaser) rate of a conventional 1-year ARM.

Hybrid ARMs are ideal for individuals who plan to stay in their homes for a short period of time (3 to 10 years), as they will be able to take advantage of the low initial fixed interest rate without worrying about how the loan will change when it converts to an ARM. If your situation changes and you decide to stay in your home for a longer period of time, look for a hybrid ARM with a conversion option. This option will allow you to convert your loan to a fixed rate loan before it turns into an ARM.

ARM mortgages are somewhat riskier than a fixed rate mortgage, but may benefit you if you have certain needs or find yourself in certain circumstances. In other circumstances, you may be better off with a fixed rate or other type of mortgage. Examine your financial and life situation with the help of your loan officer or financial advisor. Try this mortgage calculator to help you in your decision making.

Selecting a Pest Control Professional


The weather is getting warmer, flowers are blooming, Spring has arrived!  So have the bugs. A homeowner can often control household pests through a combination of preventive measures, including proper sanitation and over-the-counter pesticides. However, some pest infestations may be extensive or a particular pest may be difficult to control, requiring pest control services. While most  household pests are merely a nuisance, some can cause serious damage to our homes or property and other pose dangers such as bites, stings and transmit disease-causing agents. Choosing a pest control company is a serious matter, you want someone who is honest, dependable, state-certified, and who has the proper training and expertise to use the pesticides safely in your home. Below are some tips to help you in your search to find a professional in your area.

• Select a company based on their reputation, time in the community and willingness to answer your questions. They should give you written material that describes the problem they propose to treat and how they propose to treat it including what chemicals will be used and in what amounts.

• Pest control companies differ in their guarantees so be sure to Inquire on the specifics. If a guarantee is given, know what it covers, how long it lasts, what you must do to keep it in force, and what kind of continuing prevention and management are necessary.

• Do not select a pest control company based on price alone, an advertisement in the phone book or the "deal of the week". Be cautious of unsolicited sales pitches and never select treatment just because your neighbor's property is being treated or because there is "leftover spray from another job". Get references and check them. 

• Make sure you receive a written estimate detailing how much will they charge to do an inspection to determine the extent of your problem, outline the services they would perform.

• Ask how long it will take to solve your pest problem, and how often the company will return to do more work or to track results. Ask the company what other measures they can take to manage the pest problems, or what you can do to reduce future pest problems.

Choosing a quality pest control company is an important decision. You want the company to solve your pest problem, but you also want to keep your home safe.  Do not be pressured by a sales person or a company to sign a contract immediately or to pay in advance, take your time to make a sound decision. The key to any decision is having confidence in the company you chose.

In our current economic status, companies throughout the U.S. are facing a number of challenges, from the credit crunch to soaring commodity prices. In Forbes 10th annual ranking of the Best Places for Business and Careers,  #1 on the list is  Raleigh, N.C.   Following on the list, the Southeast is home to half of the top 10 for a third straight year.

For the second straight year, low business costs, strong job growth and a very educated labor supply have contributed to the outstanding ranking. According to Forbes, business costs are 14% below the national average, and the area boasts one of the most educated labor supplies in the country, with 38% of the adult population possessing a college degree and 12% holding a graduate degree. Raleigh has seen a growth of new residents over the last few years; net migration has averaged 25,000 or 2.4% of the population, seventh highest in the country.  Contributing to the growth are big employers in the area like Cisco SystemsGlaxoSmithKline and the SAS Institute.

Throughout the list, a common factor for the top ranked metros include solid job growth, an educated labor supply and low business costs. Forbes rankings cover the 200 largest metro areas (populations over 240,000) as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and are based on nine factors. The economic research company, supplied data on five-year historical job and income growth as well as migration trends. The business cost index, which looks at labor, tax, energy and office space costs and its living cost index, which factors in housing, transportation, food and other household expenditures was also reviewed.

Raleigh is ranked among the top of many "Best Places to…” lists, it is a wonderful place to work and play!   It offers many advantages, opportunities and possibilities. Get started on your search for the perfect home in the area! 

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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