Real Estate Information Archive


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Real Estate Tips To Sell Your Home

by Masha Halpern

Here are some tips for sellers trying to sell their home:

1) The biggest change in how homes are sold now is the internet. Buyers look at homes online before they visit a home. Good photos capture a buyers interest. Previewing a home on the internet is actually considered a first showing. Therefore, it's really important to have good online pictures for buyers to view.

2) According to Zillow, homes with a manicured lawn and a well maintained fence tend to attract homebuyers.

3) Some sellers want to list their house at a price based on what they paid for it. But if a homeowner wants to sell their home, it should be based on current market conditions, location of the home, neighborhood, condition of the home, and comparables. If possible, "comps" should be homes that have sold within the last 60 days. If there is a lot of competition, or the area you live in doesn't have a lot of turnover, or if your home needs a lot of improvements, you may need to price below your competition.

4) According to Trulia, selling your home as a "for sale by owner" is generally a bad idea. Only an agent can ensure your home has the maximum exposure to the widest range of potential buyers as quickly as possible." According to the National Association of Realtors 2011 Profile of home buyers and sellers, "the typical FSBO homes sold for $150,000 in 2011 compared to $215,000 among agent-assisted home sales."

5) If your home is not selling, research why. A spokesperson from S&P advises, "find out what the major flaws were that pushed buyers away." If you can make a specific change to your home, that can mean the difference between a sale and a home that sits on the market for months. If you cannot make a change (too close to a main road, too noisy), consider reducing your selling price.

6) Last but not least, find the best broker. Ask for recommendations from friends, find out how long they have worked in the area (Masha Halpern-20 years!) and what their track record is for selling homes.

According to, typically a well-maintained home that is priced right will sell. Make sure you make obvious repairs, (i.e. water stains, leaks, doors that creak and windows that do not shut). In a slow real estate market, buyers have less money for renovations, they want homes that are move-in ready. New carpets, new floors and a fresh coat of paint may be the difference between selling your home or not.





Keller Williams Realty Is Number One In Sales

by Masha Halpern

According to Mark Willis, CEO of Keller Williams Realty, Keller Williams has held the No. 1 spot for both transaction sides and units this year. Keller Williams represented 23 percent (116) of the top 500 brokerages ranked by closed transactions and 24 percent (119) of the top 500 brokerages ranked by closed volume - more than any other real estate franchise.

Keller Williams appeared in the Top 50 more than any other brand. KW was also Number 1 with the highest increases during the Real Estate Market Downturn.

What are you waiting for? Give us a call today if you are interested in buying or selling a home. We are committed to serving our clients.

Masha Halpern & The Smart Move Team                                                                                              c/o Keller Williams Realty






Keeping Your Lawn Healthy in the Heat of Summer

by Masha Halpern

Making a good first impression when you’re trying to sell your home is vital, and one of the first things prospective buyers are going to see is your front yard.  There’s nothing quite as important as having a luxurious, well-maintained landscape to set the scene when a buyer first sees your property.  

Unfortunately, summer heat can take a major toll on landscaping. But there are several things you can do to avoid a scraggly, brown grass, withered shrubs and dead flowers.

Summer Lawn CareWhen caring for the lawn, remember not to cut the grass too short.  Making your front yard look like a putting green might be nice, but trimming that closely to the ground can wind up doing far more harm than good.  Set your lawn mower to cut just the scraggly tops of the grass and your lawn will reward you for it.  

A lack of rain means lawns will dry out and go dormant.  It won’t die, but it won’t be a gorgeous, healthy looking green.  Keeping it looking that way requires regular watering, and if mother nature isn’t helping, you’ll need to get out the sprinklers and hoses.

Water HoseWatering a large lawn can be an expensive proposition when the water bill comes.  You can make the most of watering by doing it at night, when the sun won’t evaporate the moisture before it has time to soak into the ground.  Soaker hoses cost about the same as regular hoses, but use less water more efficiently.

Soaker hoses are also ideal for keeping shrubs, flower beds and gardens alive during the brutal summer months.  Heat and lack of rain can kill delicate plants quickly, so keep a close eye on them and keep them well-watered if you want them to stay looking good for the entire season.

Without mother nature’s help, maintaining a beautiful lawn may take a little work, but the result is well worth the effort when you want to sell your home.

Masha Halpern, Broker, GRI
The Smart Move Team
Keller Williams Realty

Masha Halpern is your ultimate resource for Orange County, North Carolina specializing in Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Hillsborough, Durham, Raleigh, Cary, and the surrounding Research Triangle communities.

Kim Hughes  * Photos from 

Summer Is Hot And So Is The Real Estate Market!

by Masha Halpern
Summer is hot in more ways than one! Temperatures are rising and the Real Estate market is hot!
The Market Statistics this month are very encouraging for the Triangle and in our office! We have been very busy showing homes, signing contracts, and selling homes.
According to Triangle MLS, Pending sales are up 26.7% from one year ago. Closed sales are up 18.7%. This means that there are serious buyers out there! The Days on Market was down slightly from 121 days to 115 days which means sellers still need to be patient, but the numbers are moving in a positive direction.
The number of 2nd quarter showings for 2012 was 192,529. A year ago, the number of showings was 173,315, that's 19,214 more showings, a 10% increase!
We know that unemployment is a huge factor when buying homes. Unemployment is down from 8.4% to 7.8% in the Triangle area. This means there are jobs being created in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. Interest rates are still very low which makes housing affordability high. The government has said they will keep interest rates around 4% through mid 2013, which is great news!
Watch this video from Stacey Anfindsen to listen to the latest trends in the Triangle real estate market:
Let's hope these trends continue. If you are interested in buying or selling a home, please contact me so I may be of service to you.


4 Tips for Finding the Right Contractor

by Masha Halpern

Perhaps you’ve decided to sell your home and need to make improvements before putting it on the market. Or maybe you’ve just purchased a home but it needs a little work. In either case, you’re probably going to need a contractor to get the job done, but finding the right one can be tricky. There’s more to it than picking a name out of the phone book or going with the lowest bidder. Below are some tips that will help you select the right contractor for your home improvement project.

Get referrals from friends and family members who have used contractors in the past. Who do they recommend? Getting a referral from someone you know and trust is a great way to find the right person for the job.

Once you have a list of potential candidates, narrow down the list and request at least three bids for your project to give you an idea on the cost and time it will take to complete the project.

Licenses & Insurance
Verify that your potential contractor is licensed.  Though having a license doesn’t guarantee the contractor will do the job well, it does offer protection for you, the homeowner as well as a red flag that the contractor is not legitimate if there is no license.

In addition, ask if the contractor has general liability insurance and request proof of insurance. Make sure they also comply with workers’ compensation requirements.

Request References
Even if a potential contractor looks good on paper, it’s always a good idea to check references with past customers to check the quality of work and ease of working with the contractor. Seeing their work in person and talking with their customers will give you a good indication of what it will be like to work with them yourself.

Get it in Writing
Once you are confident that you have the right contractor for your project, be sure to get a written agreement. Make sure payment details of the project are clearly stated in the contract. Beware of any contractor that wants all or most of the money up front. Most reputable contractors will expect a down payment and then offer installments as various phases of the project are completed.

Do you have additional tips on working with a contractor? Share them below and contact us for more information on home improvement and much more.

Kim Hughes


The Princeton Review published its "Best Value Colleges Guide" and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was voted "Best Value Public College". The top undergraduate schools that were picked offered excellent academics, generous financial aid and have a relatively low cost of attendance.


"The Princeton Review chose its "Best Value" schools based on analysis of data the company collected from an initial list of 650 institutions/ Cost and financial aid data came from the Company's Fall 2011 surveys of school administrators. Data on academics came from its Fall 2010 through Fall 2011 surveys of school administrators. The Princeton Review also factored in data from surveys of students attending the schools who shared assessments of their professors and their satisfaction with their financial aid awards."


According to The Princeton Review, "You can purchase more information through the book titled "The 150 Best Buy Schools and What It Takes to Get In." Its school profiles report information on application requirements, average SAT and ACT score ranges of enrolled freshmen, curriculum, campus culture and financial aid. They also include Princeton Review's exclusive school ratings (scores from 60 to 99) for Academics, Financial Aid, Admissions, and Quality of Campus Life. The profiles' "Bang for Your Buck" and "Bottom Line" sections discuss the school's financial aid patterns programs and offer Princeton Review's advice for applicants. To help students with their college search, the book also has a section with over 150 short lists of schools in the book by various interests and amenities. Among them: "Schools with the largest campuses," "Schools with great business/finance programs," and "Schools with great grant programs for independent study."

It's nice to see that UNC-Chapel Hill outperformed over 600 other schools. Chapel Hill is a great place to go to school and a great place to live. If you know anyone who would like to purchase a home in the Chapel Hill area, contact Masha Halpern & The Smart Move Team.






Masha Halpern & The Smart Move Team would like to announce a new amazing price of $699,900 at 1610 Olde Beechwood Court. Click here to see our virtual tour of this lovely 4 bedroom, 5 1/2 bath 2 story home which features a Home Theatre, an Infinity pool, and an outdoor fireplace. 



Orange County North Carolina Changes The Way We Recycle

by Masha Halpern


As of July 1, 2012, Orange County, NC Solid Waste Management has switched to single stream recycling.

Residents and businesses in Orange County will no longer have to divide their recycling into separate containers. Previously, Orange County residents would separate paper from plastic. Now, all newspaper, magazines, paper, phone books, cartons and junk mail can be combined with plastic bottles and jugs, metal cans, aluminum trays and foil, glass bottles and jars at the curb, in carts and at drop-off sites. I know this makes recycling much easier at my house!

Orange County Officials say this way of recycling will make it easier for residents, businesses, and for their recycling collection employees. Recycling trucks won’t fill up as fast because everything will go into one compartment, reducing transportation costs.

As always, it's important to be mindful of what you throw in your trash can. Make sure you are recycling and teaching your kids the importance of recycling. Every little bit helps the environment!




Displaying blog entries 1-8 of 8




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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