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Be Financially Prepared On Closing Day

by Masha Halpern

Purchasing a home in Chapel Hill can be overwhelming if you are not familiar with the steps and costs involved in this life changing transaction. Many buyers and sellers are especially unfamiliar with what it is involved when it comes to closing costs.

If you are aware of these specific costs and budget for them, they won’t surprise you on closing day and cause you financial stress.

Below is a guide to some of the more standard costs that you may be faced with on closing day.

  • Loan Origination Fee or Points: These are the fees charged by the lender for generating your loan.
  • Broker Fee: These fees are occasionally combined into the Loan Origination Fee.
  • Credit Report: Lenders may require this fee up front to obtain and review your credit history. (Approx. $21 - $60)
  • Appraisal Fee: This fee is normally non-refundable and will vary depending on the value of the home.
  • Inspection Fee: Fees paid to have a Certified Home Inspector evaluate the structural and mechanical condition of the home.
  • Title Search: This search will provide verification that the seller owns the house you are buying.
  • Title Insurance: This fee insures against losses as a result of any title defects.
  • Prepaid Interest: To pay up the mortgage interest to the first of the following month.
  • Mortgage Insurance: Insurance to protect the lender in the event that the borrower (mortgager) is unable to repay the loan.

These are some of the most common costs involved with closing. Once you have applied for your loan, the lender will provide you with a Good Faith Estimate of what they anticipate the closing costs to be.

Be sure to do your homework and ask extensive questions about these items and your closing on your new North Carolina home will go much smoother on closing day.

 

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Potential Costs Associated With Selling Your Home

by Masha Halpern

Some potential costs are involved when trying to sell a home, but many sellers in Chapel Hill are unaware of these possible expenses. 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. 

 

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Save Energy and Money in Your Home This Summer

by Masha Halpern

Summer is in full swing here in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Homeowners are constantly running the air conditioner to try and stay comfortable, which is completely understandable, but unfortunately uses a lot of energy. Here are some simple ways to become more energy efficient but still enjoy the summer!

Energy Saving Tips For Outside

  • Replace air-conditioner filters regularly. Dirty filters restrict airflow and can cause the system to run longer, increasing energy use. Replace filters monthly for maximum benefit.
  • Longer days mean we don't need outdoor lighting as much. Adjust your outdoor lighting timers accordingly and you'll save money and extend bulb life.
    Try solar-powered outdoor lighting or garden lighting as an alternative. They are energy-efficient, inexpensive, safe and very easy to install.
  • Consider switching to electric lawn mowers as well as trimmers. By not using the traditional gas models, you can help to save money, reduce pollution and they are also much quieter!
  • If you have an outdoor pool, reduce the operating time of your pool filter and automatic cleaning sweep to four to five hours, and only during off-peak time.

Energy Saving Tips For Inside

  • There is really no need to have your gas fireplace's pilot light during the summer. Save energy, and money, by turning out the fireplace's pilot light until the fall. It is always a good idea to refer to the operating manual for your furnace to learn how to do this properly or  consult a technician. 
  • Keep blinds and draperies closed on hot days to keep the inside temperature cooler and comfortable. 
  • Make sure your attic has the proper insulation that will protect your home from excessive heat penetration in summer and cold penetration in winter. 
  • Ceiling fans are a inexpensive way to create gentle breezes throughout your home to help keep the temperature down.

These are a few summer tips to keep your family comfortable in your Chapel Hill homes during this hot summer as well as a few energy saving and environmental alternatives.

 

 

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Tips for Selling in a Slow Market!

by Masha Halpern

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 with.at 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 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 North Carolina 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!

 

 

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Need More Space? You Have Storage Options!

by Masha Halpern

There are various reasons why you might need to look into storage options, especially during the moving process. You may be moving from your old house before your new place is ready or if  you're down-sizing and your new home does not have enough room for all your treasured items you will need to consider storage. Whatever your situation there are different options that may work for you, read more below to find one that will work best for your situation.

Self Storage Facilities

These consist of mini-storage units where a monthly charge is incurred. Most have a variety of units in different sizes to accommodate your storage needs; if you are not sure of what size you may need, use this estimator to help determine the best size you may need.
Depending on the facility, access can be granted at specific times but some do have 24 hour access. Find a
self storage facility near you.

Container Storage

This type of storage can be used for long-term, portable storage. Many people refer to this type of storage as Pods, they are delivered to your home where you pack them and then can be stored at a storage center, and once you move to your new home, delivered at your doorstep for your convenience.  This can be a time and money saving solution because you only have to pack once, you don’t have to move your items to the storage facility and then again to your final destination.

Moving/Storage Facilities

Many moving companies offer storage as an extra service to their moving capabilities. This can be very convenient as they simply load up your possessions, take them back to their facility and store them for you rather than dropping them off at your new home. Then, when you're ready, they load them back up again and deliver them.

Important factors to consider when making your storage decision:

Location. It is important to consider the location to your residence and the time and expense associated with frequent visits to the location. 

Convenience. You will need to ask about the accessibility of your storage facility on weekends and evenings.  Some self storage facilities are 24 hours, but check first.

Security. Be certain you understand the security in the storage facility that you choose. How will your household goods be stored within the storage unit? What kind of security does the facility have both during regular business hours and after hours?

Insurance. While it is smart to ask about what would happen to your stored items in case of fire, flood or other natural disaster. Don’t assume the storage facility will cover your items if they are damaged or stolen. Check your homeowners or renters insurance policies to see if they will cover items kept in storage.

Whatever decision you make it is always a good idea to tour the facility before signing any contract in addition to asking the above questions. It is important to do your research, just like choosing a moving company, you want to be sure your things are in safe hands.

 

 

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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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