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Identifying and Treating Lawn Diseases

by Masha Halpern

At the height of summer, the last thing any of us want to see is a brown, dying lawn. Caused by fungus, lawn diseases are a reality that can wreak havoc with your landscaping. How can you tell if you have a problem, and what can you do to prevent or treat one? Let’s start with the possible problems.

The Diseases

Rust occurs in laws that with lots of shade, humidity and low nitrogen levels. It’s easy to identify from the orange color and the fact that a tissue run over the affected area will also turn orange.

Humid, wet weather and warm temperatures at night are the conditions that can lead to Brown Patch disease. You'll see circular, sunken patches of grass that turns purple-green then brown. The outer edges will appear dark green.

When temperatures are between 70 and 90 degrees, lawns infected with Dollar Spot will begin to develop dead spots, up to six inches in diameter.

Dry weather followed by wet weather can help bring on Necrotic Ring Spot. Also known as Frogeye disease, it usually appears in fall and spring, but can affect lawns in summer as well. If it is affecting your lawn, you'll notice light yellow patches or rings which eventually turn brown or yellow.

Hot, dry and humid conditions are perfect for the fungus that causes Summer Patch. Crescent shaped patches result from rotting roots. Affected areas lose their color, turning reddish-brown and then tan.

Treating Lawn Disease

The bad news is that these diseases can cause permanent damage to your lawn if they aren’t dealt with promptly. The good news is that these diseases can be treated. Simply using a fungicide, and then following the guidance below will usually take care of the problem. The sooner you recognize the problem and start treating it the better. For more information, please see this article on WikiHow.

How to Avoid Lawn Diseases

There are a number of steps you can take to prevent lawn diseases. First and foremost, proper fertilization and watering are the foundations of a healthy lawn. Watering should be done in the morning so the lawn dries before evening. Mowing should be done at a high height and with a sharp blade.

Conclusions

A lawn represents a large part of any home’s curb appeal. Damage from disease can hurt the first impression potential buyers have of your home, and so preventing and treating lawn diseases are a priority if your house is on the market. So, don’t wait to take care of problems. And if you need help getting your house sold, please contact me and I’ll help you get the best deal possible.

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.

Give Your Kitchen a Lift

by Masha Halpern

For many families, the kitchen is the center of the house. And an attractive, well-kept kitchen is an enormous asset to a home’s value. If you’re planning to sell, take a hard look at your kitchen. Is there anything that needs to be improved?

Painting or refinishing cabinets can be a great idea, especially if they’re older, worn or have an outdated design. A bright new look can really spruce up the appearance of your kitchen. You’ll also want to repair small problems like misaligned doors or drawers. For more on those repairs, see this article on TheFamilyHandyman.com.

If you’ve got problems with your countertops, you’ve got two options. You can replace them, or restore them. Replacing countertops is going to be more expensive, but can be an excellent long-term investment.  Replacing countertops is often done as part of an all-over kitchen makeover that includes new cabinets, flooring and paint. But just replacing older countertops can give a kitchen a big boost. It needs to be done in the overall context of your kitchen, fitting in with the existing design.

Another option is to restore the existing countertops. Wear from years of use and even damage can be repaired. Repair kits for granite, solid-surface, marble, wood and laminate countertops are available. Laminate counters can be patched, repainted, polished and re-laminated.  For more on repairing or replacing countertops, Thisoldhouse.com has a fantastic section devoted to countertops.

Flooring in the kitchen is another area that suffers a lot of wear over time. This is another area where replacement or repair is both good options. Your options depend on the type of surface. Wooden floors can be restored beautifully by sanding and refinishing. For help with vinyl floors, eHow offers these instructions. When it comes to new flooring, you have a fantastic variety of options including stone, tile and concrete.

Other important items to check include the plumbing and lighting, and the conditions of appliances, which you may or may not want to replace before putting your house on the market. Anything you can do to improve the look of your kitchen will improve offers you’ll get from potential buyers. And when it comes to that factor, please call me and let me help you get a quick sale at the best possible price

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.

Three Keys to an Easier Home Buying Experience

by Masha Halpern

For many Americans, buying a home is the most significant purchase they’ll make in their lifetimes. The entire housing crisis has created a lot of turmoil and confusion, adding on to what was already a daunting task. But, take a deep breath. Things are much better than they were a couple of years ago, and as before, there are some basic things you can do to make the process of buying a home less stressful. Here are three key things to do:

Choosing Your Agent – Unless you've done this a lot, you’ll want to have an experienced agent on your side. This means using a buyer’s agent, who you pay, instead of a sub-agent who is paid by the seller and represents their interests, not yours. Because the subagent is ethically required to report what you say to them to their clients, you may regret things you do say to them. An agent representing you will be in a better position to make sure you get the best possible deal. Your actual cost for using a buyer’s agent can be offset by putting in your offer that the seller pays the agent’s commission. And by the fact that the agent is working to get you a better deal.

Choose a Good Investment – No matter how long you live in it, your new home is an investment. And you need to treat it just like you would any other financial investment. That means buying a home that is going to appreciate in value over time.  A beautiful home can be a terrible investment if you wind up paying more than the structure is worth. Don’t let your heart overrule sound financial decisions. Make sure you use a professional home inspector for a written report that includes general estimates of repair costs.

Plan Ahead – Don’t wait to learn about your mortgage options. Before you make an offer, research and understand the types of mortgages available and which lender offers the best rates. Work with your agent to determine what paperwork you’re going to need when you make an offer, and get as much of it ready ahead of time as possible.  Making an offer and buying a home is stressful, but you can make the process a lot easier if you've already handled these details. If this will be your first home purchase, make sure you take advantage of first-time home buyer programs.

For more guidance, check out the American Homeowners Foundation Top 10 Home Buyers Tips and CNNMoney’s Tips for Buying a House.  And remember that my job is to make the process of finding and buying your new home as easy as possible, so let me know how I can help you.

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.

What Hurts A Home's Market Value

by Masha Halpern

Evaluating a home’s market value isn't easy for a homeowner. Sometimes an objective opinion is required, even if it is hard to accept. Overpricing a home is a sure way of prolonging the process. An experienced real estate professional, someone who knows the market and the neighborhood, is the best way to make sure a house is properly valued.  Some of the factors that can negatively affect a home’s value are obvious.  Some are not. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Curb Appeal

First impressions really are important, and a house without curb appeal is going to turn off some buyers before they even get out of their cars. Fortunately, curb appeal is a lot easier to rectify than other problems. A fresh coat of paint, clean front porch and neatly maintained yard are essential.

Pets

There’s no question that odors and damage caused by pets need to be addressed before a house goes on the market.  The scent of cat urine or sight of wood floors badly scratched by big dogs is going to turn away buyers as well as drive offer amounts down. Again, these are problems that can be addressed ahead of time.

Renovations

The problem with many design and customization decisions is that they may work for the current owner, but prospective buyers may simply see garish choices they'll have to pay to undo. Buyers need to imagine themselves living in a home of their own, not someone else’s home.  That’s why sellers are almost always advised to repaint with mild colors and replace unique features like lighting fixtures that may have buyers scratching their heads.

Physical Problems

This should be obvious, but anything that will be a problem for the next owner of a home is going to cost a seller. Whether it’s obvious, or only discovered during a home inspection, problems with roofing, structure, HVAC equipment, etc., either need to be addressed by the seller before the house goes on the market, or will be factored into a prospective buyer’s offer.

Location

The location of a home can be the biggest problem facing a homeowner wanting to sell. A home in a neighborhood with a questionable reputation, high crime rates, filled with unkempt homes and/or an unappealing skyline is going to be difficult to sell, even if the home itself is in pristine conditions.

Conclusion

There isn't a house that can't be sold, but if you want to sell and get the best price for your home, you’re going to have address issues like the above. Working together, I can help you sort through what can and can't be done to improve your position and help you set an asking price that will bring results

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.

What Buyers Want

by Masha Halpern

You might suspect that upscale home buyers have different requirements than their more modest peers, and if so, you'd be right. A new report from the National Association of Home Builder’s HousingEconomics.com shows some stark contrasts. The report is the result of a study that asked potential buyers to rate 120 different home features, and then divided the results into two groups. The first group was buyers willing to spend $500,000 or more, the second $150,000 or less.

At the top of the list, nearly half of the upscale buyers thought an outdoor kitchen (49%), and exercise room (48%) and a kitchen with a wine cooler (46%) were either desirable or essential.    28% of the more modest buyers want an exercise room, 27% want outdoor kitchens, but only 15% were interested in kitchen with a wine cooler. You can get the entire article as a PDF download here.

Other aspects of the study revealed that 53% of all buyers wanted to buy a brand new home. Buyers on average expected to pay $203,000 for their next home, and wanted a home with an average of 2,226 square feet. 70% would prefer the utility room for washers and dryers are on the first floor. 57% want a single story house, while 31% preferred two story homes.

The most desired feature overall were Energy-Star appliances, windows and other features.  A laundry room, exhaust fans in bathrooms, exterior lighting, a bathroom linen closet, ceiling fans, garage storage, room enough for a table to eat in the kitchen and a walk-in kitchen pantry rounded out the most popular features.

What features do you think are the most important in your home, or in the next home you buy? What features can you live without? These are key questions to ask yourself when you decide it’s time to find a new home. A list of wants/don’t wants makes it easier to screen out homes that won't fit your lifestyle. Of course, there’s much more to the equation, and I can help you put all the pieces together. 

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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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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