Real Estate Information Archive


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Tips For Selling In A Slow Market

by Masha Halpern

The economy is still in recovery mode and the real estate market is still feeling the pinch in many parts of the country. Home sellers are finding that selling their home is more and more challenging everyday as they are in steep competition with new home foreclosures. So how do you get your home off the market and into contract? Here are five tips to getting your home sold quickly and the price you’re looking for:

  1. Pick the agent who is right for your market.  Your first plan of action should be to locate an agent with proven results with sales. Keep in mind you should also work with someone that you feel comfortable and confident has a good track record with sales in your market range and neighborhood. Good sales stats in your price bracket demonstrate that the realtor knows what buyers are looking for and how to move property similar to yours. A great agent can help you move your home, even in a tough market.
  2. Know your market. Understanding the ‘comps’ in your area will help you reach a realistic asking price and get a better handle on the competition. Ask your realtor to provide this information and also take opportunities to visit open houses for homes that are comparable to yours. You can learn a lot about staging, pricing and what is appealing to buyers.
  3. Keep up with repairs and maintenance. Don’t hesitate to make necessary repairs and maintenance to your home when you are ready to sell. You don’t have to undergo major remodeling or expense. Simple updates like fixing broken steps, touch up painting and keeping your lawn mowed and flower beds cleaned out will really go a long way in making your home look move-in ready.
  4. Be flexible. From having your home ready to show at a moment’s notice to your willingness to negotiate, the key to selling your home in a slow market is flexibility and responsiveness. Going the extra mile for prospective buyers can really make a difference in getting more people through the door ready to make an offer.
  5. Add value. Remember that you are competing with short sales and foreclosures, so any extra value you can add to your home can make it more attractive. Whether it’s an appliance, patio furniture or a simple cost concession, small items can add up to big pluses when prospects are evaluating the total value of your home.

In a slow market, you need to get your home noticed quickly and be willing to negotiate so that prospective buyers see a great value in your property. Don’t stop looking for ways to make your home stand apart from the competition.


Common Costs Involved When Selling Your Home

by Masha Halpern

It is important to know if you are selling your home the potential costs that are involved. Many sellers are unaware of the expenses involved with selling but you don't have to be surprised if you do your homework. It is always a good idea to consult with your agent as to what expenses you should budget for during the selling process. Below is a list of some of the most common costs associated with selling your home.

Closing Costs: Although most of the closing costs are the responsibility of the buyer, the seller is expected to pay the property taxes and insurance up to the date of the closing, even if they're not due yet. In addition, some buyers will ask the seller for help with other closing costs as part of the negotiations.

Home Inspections: Although the buyer pays for the home and pest inspections, it's a good idea to get your own inspection before putting your house on the market. This way you're aware of any hidden problems before selling.

Home Repairs: If your inspector finds problems or if you know of problems that you have been wanting to correct, it is time to fix them. The less problems that the home has, the more attractive it is to buyers. Don't forget to budget for new paint, plants, hardware etc. that offers a fresh new look as well.

Realtor Commission: Typically there's a 4 percent to 7 percent commission on the sale price of the house if you opt to go with an agent. Usually this rate is between 5 percent and 6 percent, so be sure to account for this cost when pricing your home and figuring up your expenses that come with selling your home.

Legal expenses: Many sellers choose to work with a real estate attorney to examine the sales contract and assist with closing, which can be complicated.

Prepayment penalty: Many mortgages have prepayment penalties if you pay off the mortgage early. Be sure to examine your mortgage agreement and read the fine print.

Other Fees Negotiated by the Buyer: Buyer negotiated fees are becoming more common in the current real estate market. Some of the most commonly seen buyer negotiated fees might include a home warranty paid for by the seller, the cost of repairs needed to make the sale, and the cost for a home inspection. Keep in mind that most all parts of the real estate contract is negotiable.

Many homeowners are not aware of the costs involved with selling a home but there are some perks as well. With any home sale you are eligible for a tax write off of up to $250,000 gained in the sale of your home for a single owner, and $500,000 for married couples. This applies for most state taxes as well; check with a tax professional to get all the details of any tax credit that may be available to you and your situation. 



Open House Extravaganza - July 18th

by Masha Halpern

Join Masha Halpern & The Smart Move Team this weekend for an Open House Extravaganza on July 18th from 2:00 to 4:00 PM!

See you there!

Help For Buyers

by Masha Halpern

If you have been searching for the perfect home and are finally ready to make an offer, you may have some concerns about the down payment. In this difficult economy it can be difficult to pay a large down payment so what are your options? How can you complete the sale if you don’t have extra cash?  

Different lenders have their own minimum down payment requirements and can vary depending on the mortgage program, loan amount, borrower income and credit rating. A good rule of thumb is roughly 20%, but you can find different ways to help you meet down payment requirements, including buyer assistance programs -  also called down payment assistance programs.

Assistance programs and grants can help you avoid robbing your savings or 401K or borrowing the money elsewhere to come up with a cash down payment. Some of the most common buyer assistance programs are for first time home buyers, but other assistance programs are available as well. How do they work? Below are some key requirements of standard programs. 

  • Home buyers must qualify for a loan that allows gift funds from a charitable organization
  • Limits may apply to the price of the home
  • Funds can be used for the down payment and for closing costs
  • Gift funds can be used for new or existing homes

There ae several different organizations that provide buyer assistance, including Grant America, Nehemiah and American Family Funds. Many other buyer assistance organizations are available, so do some homework and talk to your tax preparer and mortgage lender about options.

Always speak to your lender about available programs in your market, they can help you structure the down payment assistance to be compatible with their underwriting guidelines and offer advice on program advantages for your type of loan.


Open House - July 11th

by Masha Halpern

Join us for two open houses on July 11th.

Come tour these two wonderful homes.

For most homebuyers, the deadline a receiving tax credits for buying a home passed in April. The Home Buyer Tax Credit incentive offered a credit of $8,000 to first-time home buyers, along with a “long-time resident” credit of up to $6,500 to repeat buyers. The deadline for the at large credit was April 30th to have a binding contract and June 30, 2010 to close on the home. The closing date deadline has now been extended to September 30th, 2010.

Military personnel have an additional year to get a contract and close on a new home through a special extension for the armed forces and other government employees deployed out the United States.

Qualified service members who are ordered on a period of official extended duty have until April 30th, 2011 to get a binding contract on a home in place and until June 30th, 2011 to close. Additionally, a service member who must return to the U.S. for medical reasons before completing his or her tour outside the U.S. may also qualify for the one-year extension.

Eligible parties specifically include members of the uniformed services, Foreign Services or employees of the intelligence community who were on qualified extended duty for at least 90 days during the period beginning after Dec. 31, 2008 and ending before May 1, 2010.

This bill giving the extension to military families can also assist financially strapped military personnel by making mortgage payments tax deductible.

As with any government credit or incentive, let tax professionals, including resources at the Internal Revenue Service, guide you through the qualifying and deduction requirements.



Displaying blog entries 1-6 of 6




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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