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Local July 4th Celebrations

by Masha Halpern

Independence day is just around the corner! The long weekend is perfect for spending time with family and friends, celebrating our independence and of course fireworks! The Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Durham area offers many fun July 4h events for all to enjoy. Have a safe and happy July 4th!



Festival for the Eno

Location:  West Point on the Eno; Durham City Park
5101 North Roxboro Road, Durham, NC  27704
Dates:  July 3, 4 & 5
Times:  10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. each day
Over 90 performers on 4 stages.A variety of activities, all with an environmental or cultural connection to the river and kid-friendly activities all day; face painting; craft demonstrations; historic buildings; rain tent
Cost:  Kids 12 and under & Seniors 65 and over are admitted free
          Early bird passes:  $13 per person (single day); $30 per person (3-day pass)
          At the gate:  $15 per person (single day); $35 per person (3-day pass)
Parking:  Free parking at Durham County Stadium on Duke Street. For more information email,


Old Fashioned July 4th

Location:  Horace Williams House Grounds
610 East Rosemary Street, Chapel Hill, NC  27514
Time:  1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Free ice cream and picnicking.  Free concert by the Village Band. Call (919) 942-7818 for more information.

Carrboro July 4th Celebration

9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.:  Kick-off at Weaver Street Market Lawn
Includes Patriotic Tattoo booth, hat making & decorating, bike & wagon decorating, patriotic costume contest)
11:00 a.m.:  Parade from Weaver Street Market to Town Hall
Town Hall Activities:
10:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.:  Main Stage at Carrboro Town Hall
10:30 a.m.:  The Village Band
11:15 a.m.:  Cane Creek Cloggers
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.:  Children's Stage -- The Whistling Woman
11:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.:  Kids Fun Zone -- face painting & magic
12:00 p.m.:  Sea Cruz)
12:30 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.:  Limbo & sack races
12:45 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.:  Captin Jim's Magic Show
1:00 p.m.:  Toddler Square -- sandboxes, water tables, scrap exchange, etc.
1:30 p.m. -- Senior Bingo
1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.:  Pie Eating Contest
2:15 p.m.:  The Harvey Dalton Arnold Blues Band
2:40 p.m.:  Water balloon toss
All day:  Bounce house, rock climbing, face painting, fortune telling, welcome wall, games, roaming magician, juggle boy, food court)

Independence Day Celebration

Location:  Kenan Memorial Stadium, UNC at Chapel Hill
7:00 p.m. -- Gates open; live entertainment, interactive children's activities, juggler and magician shows begin
8:00 p.m. -- Big Sam Band
9:30 p.m. -- Fireworks

Cost:  Free. *Also receive a free glow necklace from Grace Church (while supplies last)
Parking:  Enter through Gate 2 at Kenan Stadium's North Side.  Public parking available in the parking deck off Manning Drive and in Rams Head Parking Deck off Ridge Road.


Termite Inspections

by Masha Halpern

Termite inspections are a necessary inspection required by many states in the home sale process. If a home has termites, they can create significant damage and even destroy a home if left untreated.

In fact, if you notice evidence of termites, there’s a good chance the infestation is already quite advanced.

If you have any worries at all about termites in home, the best course of action is to locate a pest control or termite inspection so that you are aware of the full extent of the problem. Of course, pest inspections are an important part of the overall inspection process, so make sure you hire an expert in the field:

  1. Check out online or yellow page listings under Pest Control for a licensed, bonded inspector. Your real estate agent can also be helpful in location a company for you.
  2. Request estimates for the inspection cost and compare rates.
  3. Make sure that you get a copy of the inspection report and course of action needed before signing any contract papers.

Buying or selling a home usually requires a clear pest control report. The inspector looks for termite infestation as well as other pest infestation, plumbing leaks, obvious roof leaks, dry rot and water damage. Make sure that all areas of the home are accessible for the inspector. Try to stick with companies that do inspection and treatment only – and leave any wood repair to carpenters or contractors.


Consumer Electronic Tips for the Home

by Masha Halpern

Homeowners are increasingly interested in electronics for the home. Some find interest in the gadgetry and some enjoy home electronics for the lifestyle and enjoyment at home. However, many find the range and complexity of products on the market today overwhelming, but the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA) is a great resource.

CEDIA consists of knowledgeable and talented professionals who can help you navigate through the maze of consumer electronics. They have developed the 10 Smart Consumer Electronic Tips for the Home, below is their list:

  1. Wire for everything now...even wireless – If you are building or remodeling a home, start with a plan for future wiring needs. Wire is necessary to support wireless applications.
  2. Insist on integrated systems – Make sure the electronic equipment you are buying can be hooked up together and operated with one, easy to use control system. Systems that communicate simplify your life and offer peace of mind by "watching" over your home.
  3. Integrate lighting and heating control – Going green meets convenience. Get the most out of your system with the least amount of energy consumption. System integration provides automatic energy-efficient adjustments saving you time and money.
  4. Think with your wallet, but lead with your head – Quality and long-term dependability are the most cost effective attributes that you can build into a home.
  5. Buy an experience, not a box – Find an electronic systems contractor that allows you to test drive the entire system or at least experience the thrill of a high performance system. Few people have the time to research and evaluate all the hardware choices. It's smarter to focus on the end result and make your choices based upon overall performance and value.
  6. Simplify your controls – Easy to use, all-in-one remote controls are available for any system. You can even have them custom programmed so they make perfect sense to you. New technologies offer control from other devices and even through Internet browsers anywhere in the world.
  7. Increase your expectations – Your home electronics system is a big investment and you deserve to be satisfied with it.
  8. Think "green" – By utilizing green practices, you can save money by having a more energy efficient system and help save the planet. Ask a professional about how you can "go green" in your home.
  9. Ensure the experts work together for you – Maximize your home's electronic systems capabilities by having your architect, builder or interior designer collaborate and partner with an electronic systems contractor from the beginning of the planning process.
  10. Consult a professional – Today's integrated electronic systems grow, evolve and change over time, constantly adding entertainment, comfort and security features. Select an electronic systems contractor you can trust and who will support your electronic integration needs for years. Having a long-term relationship with one professional will maximize the reliability and enjoyment of your home's electronic systems.

If you found this helpful and would like to know more, find a CEDIA Certified Professional near you at


Fanny Mae Implements New Credit Requirements

by Masha Halpern

Homebuyers who have been monitoring their credit score, watching their debt-to-income ratio and avoiding large purchases may still face another hurdle if appling for financing with Fannie Mae.

Unfortunately Fannie Mae has instituted more requirements, the LQI – Loan Quality Initiative. Changes in lending will take effect June 1 as a part of the government’s effort to monitor and regulate underwriting and fraud in the mortgage business. Now lenders can order an additional, last minute full credit screen before your loan actually closes. Any debt that you have incurred in preparing to move into your new house – from furniture to appliances or landscaping, could place your closing on hold.

If the debt is significant enough to affect your debt-to-income ratio, your deal could actually fall through. New rules under the LQI will require lenders to pull two credit reports for each mortgage and to perform additional verifications of borrower occupancy, Social Security information and Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers, among other changes.

So, if you buy new furniture for your home on retail credit, the lender will now be contacting the merchant to verify the credit terms and amount. The best course of action is to wait on any purchases that require credit until after you have officially closed on your mortgage.

For more information on the guidelines and what your lenders are required to do, check out Fannie Mae’s LQI page.


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Contact Information

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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