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Get Organized Before You Shop for a Home

by Masha Halpern

The process of buying a home has gotten more complicated in recent years. To make sure everything goes smoothly, you’ll want to get organized before you even begin to look for a house. Once you’ve taken care of these things, you’ll be ready to shop for the home of your dreams.

Check Your Credit Score. Examine and fix any blemishes on your credit score, before you apply for a loan. Also, avoid taking on any new debt at this time. This includes buying a new car or other large item on credit.

Look at Your Finances. Take an honest look at your budget and figure out how much home you can afford. There are many online calculators available to help you with this. In general, most loan programs require that your mortgage payment be no more than 28% to 31% of your gross monthly income.

Beef up Your Savings. You should have enough cash saved up to cover your down payment and closing costs. Depending on your mortgage, you’ll need anywhere from 3.5% to 20% down, plus money available for closing.

In addition, mortgage lenders like to see borrowers with a healthy savings account. This shows that you have enough money to pay for your closing costs and any incidental expenses, as well as enough to live on once you move in. Savers aren’t likely to be living paycheck to paycheck, and are good candidates for a loan.

Apply for Your Mortgage. Get preapproved for a loan before you even start to look at homes. Applying for a loan first gives you a definitive answer on how much mortgage you can afford, and ensures you have financing ready when you find your dream home.

Refine Your Shopping List. Finally, think about the features you really want in a house. You’ll probably live in this house for several years, and you want it to serve your needs the entire time. After all, if you change your mind in a few years, you may not be able to sell this house quickly.

Shopping for a home is exciting. Take the time to organize and prepare before you look at properties, so you can be ready to make an offer when you do find a home that you love.

 

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.

Photo courtesy Kristja, Stock.XCHNG

Easy Ways to Go Green in Your Home

by Masha Halpern

The term “green living” means a lot of things. Mainly, though, it’s about living in a way that’s friendly to the environment. When you think about a green home, you may think of solar panels, wind turbines, grey water recycling, and other expensive projects. An environmentally friendly home doesn’t have to be expensive, however.

Homeowners that want to go green on a budget have many different ways to do it. With some time and a little work, you can go green in your home without spending a lot of cash.

You can get a big bang for your buck from basic maintenance projects around your home that make your home more energy efficient. Using less energy to heat and cool puts less strain on natural resources. Some of these projects include weather-stripping your doors and windows, plugging leaks in your walls and foundation, switching to low flow shower heads, and fixing dripping faucets. Each of these tasks only takes a few minutes and costs very little. However, they can significantly cut your energy use.

Going green is not just about energy savings, however. It’s also about using products that have less impact on the environment. Green up your shopping by buying products that use less packaging, buying local so that less fuel is used to transport items, and switching to household cleaners and detergents that are environmentally friendly. You may end up buying fewer things overall, which can save you money as well.

There are many other simple things you can do green up your home, including:

  • Install a programmable thermostat, and set it so your air conditioning doesn’t run when you are not home.
  • Switch to energy-efficient LED light bulbs.
  • Plant landscaping in your yard that will shade your house in the summer but allow sunlight through in the winter.
  • Replace old appliances with a newer, energy-efficient models. This is an investment, but can save you money in the long run on your utilities, which will help offset the cost.

You don’t have to shell out thousands of dollars for new solar panels on your roof or a wind turbine to go green. There are many other ways you can green up your home and routine. Remember, every time you make an environmentally friendly choice, no matter how small, you make a difference.

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.

  Photo courtesy B Cleary, Stock.XCHNG.

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.

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.

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.

 

How to Successfully Approach the New Market

by Masha Halpern
Is now the right time to purchase a home, or should you
continue to wait and see how the market fares in the future? According to the latest reports, real estate markets in many areas are nearing a return to normal. With a combination of rising prices and declining foreclosure rates, many prospective buyers feel the time for waiting is over. In fact, according to a survey conducted by Trulia, 75 percent of people believe it is better to buy now rather than wait another year. Not all sellers agree, however. Only about one-third of sellers feel that now is the right time to sell. As a result, buyers who are ready to take the plunge are now facing a combination of low inventory levels and rising prices for the first time in years. In our area we are 39% down in inventory from this time last year. Click the video to see what local appraisers and our own MLS reports
 
 
What exactly does this mean for you? It is only natural for prospective buyers to be concerned.
While it is important to avoid the temptation to make snap decisions, working with Masha you will be given the most up to date real estate statistics to help you understand if moving quickly- and at what price point, you ought to be considering to make THE smartest move for you and your family.
 
 Make sure to take the time to analyze your financial situation carefully. By understanding where you
stand in terms of finances and looking at the statistics of your potential home's recent sales history provided by Masha Halpern, you may find that you are better able to afford a home that is more in
line with your needs and Masha will help you purchase it.
 
In addition, it is important to make certain you are working with a qualified agent. As
multiple offers become the norm and inventory becomes more limited, it is imperative that you
work with an agent who is knowledgeable regarding the local market. When working with Masha you will find she is  highly resourceful and reliable.  Masha will also be
able to guide you in best practices for making your offer stand out from the crowd if you do find
yourself in a multiple offer situation. 
 
The local real estate market IS evolving, requiring a change in how you approach home
buying. Call us so Masha can help you get started on the right path to home ownership.

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.

How to Deal with a Mold Problem

by Masha Halpern

Mold spores are a fact of life. They’re tiny, too small to see with the naked eye, and float about in the air. Trouble arises when they land on something wet and begin growing.  Once that happens, the clock is ticking.  As long as there is moisture, the mold will grow and spread. Mold can cause suffering for people with allergies or asthma.  Left unchecked, mold can cause damage to your home.

The keys to preventing a mold problem are ventilation, humidity, and preventing water leaks. Mold thrives in moisture, so ventilation and low humidity will dry out wet spots. And when you find moisture in places where it shouldn’t be, you need to be looking for a source of leaking water and fix it as quickly as possible.

The Environmental Protection Agency suggests that as long as the mold area is less than ten square feet, you can clean it up yourself. If the problem has grown beyond that, you’ll want to hire a contractor with mold remediation experience.  If you are going to try handling a small area yourself, the EPA has these suggestions:

  1. Protect yourself and others from exposure to mold. Wear goggles, gloves and an N-95 respirator, which looks like a paper dust mask with a nozzle on the front of it.
  2. Fix leaks and other water problems and let affected areas dry completely.
  3. Scrub mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water and let it dry.
  4. Porous materials like carpet and ceiling tiles may need to be thrown away because mold is nearly impossible to remove completely from them.

The problem with mold is that you can’t always see it. If you smell mold, but don’t see any or the house has had water damage and your family is having allergic reactions, you may need some help.  Mold problems can be hidden inside the walls of your house, under wallpaper or paneling, on top of ceiling tiles, on the underside of roofing materials and even in your ductwork. Finding it and exposing it to clean it can release massive amounts of spores, which is why you may want to bring in a professional.

The cost of cleaning an extensive mold problem is high enough that you need to protect yourself when buying a home. An experienced home inspector should be able to see the signs of mold or water damage that could lead to mold.  If you’re selling, you’re going to wind up paying a mold problem, so it’s not a bad idea to have your home checked well ahead of that time if you suspect there may be a problem. As always, if you have questions about how mold problems can affect buying or selling, contact me and I’ll help put it all into perspective for 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.

The Trouble with Pets

by Masha Halpern

For many homeowners, pets are part of the family. And just like other members of the family, pets can sometimes cause problems around the house. A stain here, damaged wooden floors there: It can add up over time. Before selling a home, a homeowner will want to rectify these problems just like any others.

Oh My, What’s That Smell!

Sometimes you can tell pets live in a house the moment you open the door. This is not something you want to happen to potential buyers coming to take a look.  There is no simple fix for pet odors.  Sprays, plug-ins and scented candles might cover the smell, but may also set off alarm bells as people wonder what you’re trying to hide with all that perfume.

The secret to solving this problem is thorough and complete cleaning of all problem areas. That means deep cleaning carpets, furniture, and floors and walls. The smell of cat urine is perhaps the worst offender, and it the hardest to remove successfully.  The process can be involved, but here are guides from wikihow.com and petfinder.com that will help immensely. In addition, here are some more suggestions:

The Damage Pets Can Do

Hardwood floors and sharp, hard claws do not mix well. Cats and window screens is a disaster in the making. We won’t even consider some of the more exotic pets. All of this can add up to significant repair costs. So, here are some ideas to help prevent damage in the first place

  • Keep pet’s nails trimmed so they won’t wear away the finish of a hardwood floor.
  • Give your cat something to scratch so they’ll leave window screens alone.
  • Don’t train your dog to scratch at the door when it wants to go outside. Unless the door is protected, it’s going to suffer over time.
  • A bitter smelling spray from the pet store will help discourage teething puppies from chewing the edge of a door.
  • Double-wide sticky tape will keep cats from scratching that area.
  • Make sure to clean up urine and water spills quickly. Water can seep through the floor, and cause damage all the way down.
  • You’ll have to do it when you sell your house, so go ahead and vacuum up all of that pet hair hiding behind the refrigerator.

A final tip: Your homeowners insurance policy will only cover damaged caused by pets if that animal is covered by the policy. You’ll need to talk to your insurance agent if you think you need to expand your coverage.

And when it comes time to sell your home, I’m here to help you. Give me a call and let me help you get the best possible price for your home, pets or no pets.

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.

Getting the Most from Your Swimming Pool

by Masha Halpern

Summertime means a lot of things, including a trip to the pool. But, if you happen to own the pool, you know summertime means lots of regular pool chores.  And no one will enjoy your pool if you neglect them!

  • ​Regularly test your pool water chemistry. Twice a week is a good base line. It’s easier to keep things in balance is you don’t let them get out of control.  Make sure to check after periods of heavy rain.
  • You’ve got to keep your pH level as close to 7.5 as you can, and make sure your alkalinity stays between the recommended levels. If you must add chemicals, do it in the evening. Strong sunlight will weaken the effect.
  • Make repairs promptly. Broken drains or suction pipes are dangerous. Cracks in a pool wall will worsen over time, as will liner tears. Problems with pump equipment can allow the pool water to stagnate.
  • Keep things clean. No one wants to swim in a pool with algae covered walls and debris on the bottom. Brush and scrub floors, walls and tile. Empty the skimmer basket every time you check the water chemistry.
  • Your pump has to run between 8 and 12 hours each day to ensure proper circulation. Most have built in timers, but you’ll want to make sure they’re working properly.  And you’ll want to run the pump during the heat of the day. You’ll need to backwash a sand filter every three to four weeks, depending on the size of the pool.
  • Once summer is over and temperatures begin to fall, you’ll need to properly winterize your pool. Failing that can mean expensive repairs, which may not be covered by your home owners insurance.

Maintaining a pool does take some work, but it can be well worth it. Taking care of the pool is essential to maximizing its value if the time comes to sell. And if that time comes, let me help you get the best price for your 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.

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