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THERE’S A CHILL IN THE AIR!

by Masha Halpern

The hardy mums are making an appearance and a light jacket has become necessary for the crisp morning temperatures.  Both are sure signs that fall is upon us.  Although some of us hate to see the summer come to an end, there is no avoiding the onset of fall.  The change of seasons generates an inventory of chores that must be completed prior to the commencement of winter.  Routine fall maintenance must be performed in order to ensure a healthy yard come springtime.  In addition, your house must be protected from the harsh elements that winter brings.

Let’s begin on the outside and work our way in.  Fall is the best time of the year to give attention to your lawns and landscaping.  Fertilization of your lawns will provide necessary nutrients for the winter months to come.  In the spring your lawn will grow lush and green. And, don’t be mournful of the loss of color in your landscaping.  There are a variety of plants that can be incorporated to provide brilliant color through late November.  These plants include:  autumn crocus; strawflower; variations of aster; coleus; and dianthus.  Fountain grasses, burning and blueberry bushes will also add bursts of color.  All are easy to care for and will deliver great curb appeal.  Be sure to weed your gardens well in the fall, to minimize new growth in the spring. 

It is imperative in fall to trim your trees back.  Any branches hanging low, too close to the house, or near electrical wires can be weighed down by winter snow or ice wreaking havoc once broken.  Rake away all tree debris, leaves, and other forms of rubbish from the foundation of your house.  Make sure there are no entry points for animals seeking warmth.  If you have a crawl space, close the ventilation hatches keeping the cold air from entering underneath your house. 

Next we need to make sure that all of our outdoor tools are in good working condition and ready for action.  Rakes, snow shovels, and snow blowers should be inspected, cleaned, and all kept in one easy access location.

Gutter maintenance is also critical.  Clean your gutters and downspouts thoroughly and check for proper anchoring to the house.  Melting snow and freezing rain must have an easy escape route from the roof, into the gutter, down the downspouts and away from the foundation of your house.  You do not want the formation of ice dams to occur in your gutters.  The dams prevent water flow, and the water has nowhere to go but behind the gutter, seeping into your walls and ceilings. 

Moving from the outside in, it is paramount to have your furnace inspected and cleaned.  Having this service performed now, will be cheaper than waiting until the winter season hits.  Furnace upkeep is also vital for safety precautions.  Placing a carbon monoxide detector near your furnace is also a good idea.

Here are some other important chores to execute inside:

  • Locate your water main so in the event of an emergency it can be shut off
  • Insulate any exposed pipes (perhaps in the basement)
  • Ensure that there is adequate insulation in your attic
  • Find your air conditioner shut-off valve and turn it to the off position
  • Drain the air conditioning pipes to prevent freezing
  • Install weather stripping around all windows and doors in prevention of cold air drafts
  • Replace screen doors and windows with storm doors and windows

Finally, we all love snuggling up in front of the fireplace on cold winter nights.  Fall is the ideal time to guarantee the safety of our chimney.  Make sure the chimney cap on the outside is secure, and have a certified chimney company come out and inspect for soot and creosote buildup.  The chimney professional can also ascertain that your chimney damper is opening and closing properly.

I know what all of you readers are thinking right now.  “I don’t need to attend to these projects today.  It still feels like summer.”   However, all too often, summer turns to fall, and then very quickly to winter, and we don’t know where the time has gone.  Do not find yourself outside braving the winter elements to enact on what can be accomplished during the beautiful fall season.  Preventative maintenance is necessary in safeguarding your lawn, landscaping, and house from the harsh winter conditions.  It is better to be prepared today than to pay the consequences tomorrow.

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.

Just Listed - 119 Friar Lane!

by Masha Halpern

Welcome to 119 Friar Lane!

Completely renovated within the last two months, this darling townhome features a beautifully updated interior and convenient location. Enjoy being close to the Chapel Hill Transit line in Carrboro, UNC Campus and Downtown Carrboro.

A lovely brick exterior welcomes you home. Inside, gorgeous new laminate flooring combines exquisitely with freshly painted walls and trim. The spacious living room features crown molding and a corner fireplace. It offers a tile surround and crown mantle adding to the beauty of this space. The living room flows into the adjoining kitchen.

A granite topped breakfast bar separates the kitchen from the living room defining each space while maintaining an open feel. New oak cabinetry, granite countertops, black appliances, range hood installed in September are showcased in the kitchen. Tucked off the kitchen is a dining area with elegant chair railing and glass sliders leading to the rear patio. Lighting does not convey. The first bedroom hosts new paint, nicely sized closet, new carpet and full private bath. The bath has been updated with new vinyl, paint, fixtures and tub shower combo. Gentle afternoon sunlight embraces the second bedroom with new paint and carpet. It comes complete with its own bath with new vinyl flooring, new toilet and fixtures, and a shower. The private patio off the dining area offers ample space, a great place to relax and access to the utility room with kitchen entry.

New updates include new front storm door installation, new Goodman HVAC unit with 10 year warranty, new laminate, carpeting and vinyl flooring throughout. Each bath has new fixtures, hinges, and door knobs. A newer 50 gallon water heater with 6 year warranty was installed on 11/23/09 and new ceiling resurfacing was completed in 2011.                                                                                                                                        

Contact Masha Halpern of Masha Halpern & The Smart Move Team for more information or to schedule a private viewing.  Visit www.TheSmartMoveTeam.com or email Masha@MashaHalpern.com

Getting a Mortgage Loan when You Are Self-Employed

by Masha Halpern

The thought of qualifying for a mortgage can be stressful for many prospective buyers. If you are self-employed, you may have even more concerns. Even if you do not have a regular W2 or tax form from an employer, you can still qualify for a mortgage. There are some tips to follow, however.

Prior to the housing crisis and recession, many self-employed home buyers could simply attest to the amount of money they earned and that was it. Today, that is no longer the case. You will need to provide additional evidence beyond stated income. In order to document your income, you may be asked to provide business and personal income tax returns for the past two years along with financial statements. Documentation is critical when you are applying for a mortgage as a self-employed individual. Ensuring that you have all of the relevant documentation gathered together prior to applying for your mortgage loan can be a critical element in ensuring a fast turnaround. If any additional documentation is requested, provide it as quickly as possible.

You may also find that your chances of being approved for a mortgage loan increase if you are able to demonstrate that you have access to financial reserves in the event your business experiences a downturn. In the end, the lender simply wants to be assured that you can afford the home you are planning to purchase. Paying off consumer debt or consolidating your debts to a lower interest loan may also help in improving your cash flow while providing the lender with greater peace of mind regarding your ability to repay your mortgage loan.

If you are purchasing a home with your spouse who has a regular job, your chances may also be improved if your spouse applies as the primary borrower. You can then be listed as the secondary applicant. If that is not an option, you might consider asking a parent to co-sign the mortgage for you. It should be kept in mind that if you are not able to keep up with your mortgage payments, the co-signor will become responsible for the loan.

Although it is more challenging to obtain a mortgage loan today if you are self-employed, it is not impossible. With some careful advance planning, your dream of becoming a homeowner as well as a business owner can become a reality.

 

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.

Under Contact in 2 Days - Multiple Offers!

by Masha Halpern

Welcome to 102 Orangewood Court!

Enjoy easy living and entertaining in this beautiful Craftsman style home. Ideally positioned on quiet cul-de-sac in Cary Park, it features an abundance of natural light and flowing floor plan.

A lovely front porch welcomes you home. Once inside, admire the gorgeous hardwood floors showcased throughout the main floor. Architectural molding enhances each room. A luminous two-story foyer with dual sidelights, transom and high window invite natural light in. Opening from the foyer is elegant dining room with wainscot paneling, crown molding and large windows overlooking the porch. Adjacent to the dining room, on the opposite side of the foyer is a nice living room hosting plenty of space for multiple furniture arrangements. The family room features a wall of windows that flank the fireplace creating a beautiful focal point for this space. Decorative columns capped with crown molding offer a stunning transition into the open breakfast and kitchen area. Although open to the family room, the kitchen features a convenient breakfast bar distinguishing each space brilliantly.  New and sleek stain appliances, pantry and ample counter space make the kitchen a delight. Enjoy casual dining in the adjoining breakfast nook wrapped in windows and a French door that leads to the screened porch.

Pass a darling powder room with pedestal sink on your way to the Owner’s Suite. You will adore the main floor master. With its subtle blue color palette, neutral carpeting, and walk-in closet, it’s a peaceful haven from hectic daily life. The private bath has a nice corner garden tub, separate shower a dual sink vanity.

Venture upstairs to find an amazing bonus room loft area with nook and three additional bedrooms. Each offers a lighted ceiling fan, gentle sunlight, and neutral color palette.

Whether entertaining or relaxing, the backyard has everything you need. A nice screened porch with skylights and ceiling fan creates a wonderful expanded living space. It opens to an adjacent deck perfect for barbecuing. The deck overlooks the mature majestic trees lining the backyard and is flanked by a stone patio and beautiful garden variety.

Cary Park is an all in one community. Families will be able to live, shop, play and enjoy all the conveniences of a big city town in a unique village setting. Cary Park features beautiful tree-lined streets, a 28 acre lake, biking and walking trails, swim club, pool, ponds and clubhouse with big-screen television and pool table. Cary Park is less than a mile away from Cary Park Town Center hosting Harris Teeter, CVS, dry cleaners, medical service providers and several dining and nightlife options. It also is conveniently close to Research Triangle Park.

Contact Masha Halpern of Masha Halpern & The Smart Move Team for more information or to schedule a private viewing.  Visit www.TheSmartMoveTeam.com or email Masha@MashaHalpern.com

 

Thinking about Renting Instead of Buying? Think Again

by Masha Halpern

The housing market has been through a hard time recently. Home values declined for several years, and many places are just starting to recover. Because of this, many potential buyers are nervous about home ownership.

It’s not surprising that many would-be buyers are thinking about staying on the sidelines and renting for a while. After all, to many people, renting seems far safer bet right now than buying a home.

Are you are wondering if you should rent your next home or take the plunge and buy? If so, you should consider a recent report by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) before you make your final decision.

The NAR released its quarterly commercial real estate forecast in August. In it, they predicted that apartment rents will rise by about 4% in 2013, and another 4% next year. That means the cost of rent is rising faster than annual wage growth and other consumer prices.

Construction has picked up, but is still not keeping up with demand for new apartments. Inventories of available apartments to rent remain low, while demand is high. Low apartment inventories indicate that we are in a landlord’s market right now. The competition makes renting difficult and expensive, and is keeping pressure on rents to keep rising.

In addition, owning your home provides benefits you can’t get from renting. If you buy your home now, you can take advantage of historically low mortgage interest rates, as well as bargain prices. Owners can build equity and get tax deductions. Owners also get the benefit of being able to renovate their homes to save money, such as making changes to increase energy efficiency.

If you are looking at moving to a new home, carefully consider your options before you make the decision to rent. It may well be a better option to buy right now, especially if you are planning to stay in your home for a long time. This could be one of the best times to invest in a new home.

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.

 

Tips to Stage Your Home for a Fast Sale

by Masha Halpern

Buying a new home is exciting. If you have to sell your old home to be able to move, however, it can be a lot less fun. Home prices have stabilized and more people are buying, but selling your home in today’s market can still take a lot of time and effort.

Fortunately, you can give yourself an edge in the marketplace when you sell your home. There are several things you can do before you list your home that will to increase your chances of success when trying to sell your home quickly. Here are some tips to stage your home to look better to buyers and hopefully, sell faster.

Get rid of your stuff :Buyers need to be able to picture themselves in your house. To help them with that, you should remove as many personal items as you can. You should also get rid of extra furniture and clutter. Rent a storage unit to hold your belongings while you are selling your home.

Hire a professional to stage your home for you: Professionally staging your home to be attractive to buyers can bring you top dollar in the final sale. It can also make your home sell faster, saving you months of mortgage payments. Before you try to do it yourself, think about how many hours it takes to properly stage a home. A professional can do the job for you, saving you time and stress.

Lighten up: Open up your drapes to let in natural light, and paint the walls with light, neutral colors. Remove any large, dark, or heavy furniture. A home that seems bright and airy will likely sell faster.

Listen to your Agent: Your Realtor® is an experienced professional who knows what it takes to sell a home in your market. Listen to their suggestions and follow them. They will help you sell your house quickly and for the best price, so you can move into the home of your dreams.

                                                                                    Photo Provided by:Stock.XCHNG

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.

 

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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