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Housing Prices Rise, along with Mortgage Rates

by Masha Halpern

It’s been a good spring for the housing market. Newly released data from the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index shows an increase of 12.1% over last year’s price in the top twenty real estate markets across the country. Analysts say that the tight supply of homes for sale, record low mortgage rates and a drop in foreclosures are behind the growth.

But, that’s not necessarily good in the long term. Mortgage rates are beginning to rise as well, which is cutting into the purchase power of potential buyers. The National Association of Realtors warned last week that “home price growth is too fast.” They say the market needs more new home construction and easier access to credit for buyers.

Another factor to consider are the changes to mortgage industry mandated by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act. Nearly a dozen new regulations totaling almost 4,000 pages are scheduled to take effect at the beginning of next year.  Among the regulations are definitions of a Qualified Mortgage and a Qualified Residential Mortgage. Writing in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin Bankers Association CEO Rose Oswald Poels says this will mean “Fewer, more difficult to obtain loans, which are more costly and statistically less risky, but also less helpful for consumers.”

And although you may feel the need to buy now before prices rise too much, many experts advise caution. Amy Hoak of The Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch offers five excellent tips for avoiding “buyer’s remorse.” She says you need to consider a home’s location and potential hidden costs. You need to confirm the house is what you really want and really need at this time. And she writes that you have to balance between a home’s cost, function and delight.

The decision to buy or wait is yours. But, don’t feel like you have to make it alone. Give me a call and I can help you put everything in perspective and help you find a home that meets your needs, fits your budget, and that will make you happy for years to come. 

Masha Halpern, Broker, CLHMS, GRI,
Keller Williams Realty
Masha@MashaHalpern.com
919-414-0337  

Get your latest Home Value
Receive Your Personalized Listing Alerts

Masha Halpern and The Smart Move Team is your ultimate real estate resource for Chapel Hill, Durham, Carrboro and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Masha is a certified member of The Luxury Home Marketing Institute, participates in its annual Leaders in Luxury Conference, and works with The Institute’s thousands of members worldwide to share information about current listings.

Masha is also a certified member of Keller Williams Luxury International and is also a member of Cyber Stars International – Top Realtors Using Technology – a group dedicated to taking the best and latest technological advances and applying them to real estate advertising and marketing for her clients in all price points. Masha Halpern can be contacted for a private consultation by calling 919-414-0337 or by visiting www.TheSmartMoveTeam.com.

This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.

Quick and Easy Curb Appeal

by Masha Halpern

If you are preparing to sell your house, you’ve got a lot to do. And one of the biggest tasks on your agenda needs to be a makeover. Not necessarily redecorating or remodeling, but a thorough cleaning followed by strategic decorating. Just like wearing your finest clothes to church on Sunday, your house needs to look it’s best from the outside as well. But, you say, I’ve got so much else to do. Understood. So here are some ideas that you can knock out quickly and inexpensively.

Spruce up the Front Door
The entrance to your home should be a potential buyer’s elegant introduction to the house. So, make sure that front porch is immaculately clean. Clear out the cobwebs, wipe off the dust, repair damaged spots and then give everything a tidy new coat of paint. Make sure metal door handles and knockers are polished, too! And put down a new doormat as well. If you have furniture outside, or on your porch, make sure it’s clean and in good condition.

Dress up the Yard
Take a good look at your landscaping and decide if there are places where planting some inexpensive annuals could add a dash of color. If your mailbox needs some attention, spray paint it in a color that accents or nicely contrasts the color of your home.   Make sure the house numbers are visible on the mailbox and/or the front of your home. 

Make it Look Like Home
You want a potential buyer to easily picture themselves living in your house.  So, take the time every day to make sure buyers first impression of your home is a positive one. Plant some fragrant herbs in window boxes or planters.  Take a few minutes every morning to remove dead or dying flowers and scan for wind-blown debris in your yard.  If you have a garbage can outside or in the garage, keep it clean and odorless.  

None of these ideas cost very much, and none of them will take more than a couple of hours. So, the investment of your time and money will be well worth it as buyers begin to take a look at what you’ve got to sell them. Call me we'll get your house on the market when you're ready!

Masha Halpern, Broker, CLHMS, GRI,
Keller Williams Realty
Masha@MashaHalpern.com

919-414-0337  

Get your latest Home Value
Receive Your Personalized Listing Alerts

Masha Halpern and The Smart Move Team is your ultimate real estate resource for Chapel Hill, Durham, Carrboro and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Masha is a certified member of The Luxury Home Marketing Institute, participates in its annual Leaders in Luxury Conference, and works with The Institute’s thousands of members worldwide to share information about current listings.

Masha is also a certified member of Keller Williams Luxury International and is also a member of Cyber Stars International – Top Realtors Using Technology – a group dedicated to taking the best and latest technological advances and applying them to real estate advertising and marketing for her clients in all price points. Masha Halpern can be contacted for a private consultation by calling 919-414-0337 or by visiting www.TheSmartMoveTeam.com.

This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.

Are You Ready to Buy?

by Masha Halpern

It’s not hard to see the signs. The housing market in some regions is roaring toward a complete recovery. Some developers are resorting to lotteries to handle the scores of prospective buyers each new home brings.  It seems every week brings new, positive reports on housing starts, sales and other statistics. So if buying a home is on your agenda this year, you’ll need to be prepared.

Know What You Can Afford
This part of the process can be difficult, because you have to be painfully honest with yourself or you risk problems down the road. You know how much you make. What you need to know is home much of that is available for a mortgage payment and insurance every month, as well as annual taxes and fees. Sometimes, it can be easier to work from the other direction and determine how much you have left over after other expenses are accounted for in your plan. These are things like car payments, monthly food purchases, and school related expenses.   However you can get there, you need to have a number to represent how much you can spend each month to pay for your housing. You won’t be the only one doing this, of course. Your lender is also going to make the same assessment when they decide how much they’re going to be willing to lend you!

Know What You Want
Here’s where you can go a little crazy. You want to make a list of all the things that would make a new house perfect for the life you envision living in it. Don’t add things unless they really would make you happy.  This isn’t about what you can afford, this is about what you’d like to have if you could get it. A media room? A three-car garage? A hot tub and his and hers closets in the master? Write it down.  A list like this can really help you narrow potential choices down as you compare what’s on this list to the features of houses you’ve seen.

Know What You Need
This one is a little harder, because you have to take the list you just made and take out everything that isn’t essential to the life you want. While the list above is what would be nice to have, this is the list of things that a potential new home must have. You might be able to live without wood floors, but what about central heating and air? Or access to top notch schools and medical care. Sharing this list with me means we'll be able to find your new home faster.

Having thought through these elements before you begin searching can save you a lot of time. When we begin looking at houses, you’ll see the benefit of this preparation right away. And with some luck, we’ll have you in the perfect new home in no time!

Masha Halpern, Broker, CLHMS, GRI,
Keller Williams Realty
Masha@MashaHalpern.com

919-414-0337  

Get your latest Home Value
Receive Your Personalized Listing Alerts

Masha Halpern and The Smart Move Team is your ultimate real estate resource for Chapel Hill, Durham, Carrboro and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Masha is a certified member of The Luxury Home Marketing Institute, participates in its annual Leaders in Luxury Conference, and works with The Institute’s thousands of members worldwide to share information about current listings.

Masha is also a certified member of Keller Williams Luxury International and is also a member of Cyber Stars International – Top Realtors Using Technology – a group dedicated to taking the best and latest technological advances and applying them to real estate advertising and marketing for her clients in all price points. Masha Halpern can be contacted for a private consultation by calling 919-414-0337 or by visiting www.TheSmartMoveTeam.com.

This blog is maintained by Michael of Kim Hughes & Company.

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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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