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Avoid These Major Home Buying Mistakes

by Masha Halpern

Right now, it’s a great time to buy a home. Properties are priced affordably, and interest rates are historically low. That doesn’t mean that you can go out and buy without thinking. You still need to do your homework and proceed with a plan.

After all, buying a home is likely the largest purchase you will ever make. Make sure you do it right by avoiding these major home buying mistakes.

Buying more house than you can afford. Spending more than you planned on a home may seem like no big deal, especially when you spread it out over a 30 year mortgage. Over time, however, those extra dollars each month can put a strain on your finances. Get preapproved for a mortgage so you know exactly how much you can spend, and stick with that figure.

Not having an emergency fund. Remember, once you own your home, you have to pay for anything that needs to be fixed. With any house, there will be expenses that you didn’t budget for. Make sure you have an emergency stash of cash to help you get through unexpected repairs.

Not getting an inspection before you buy. You’ve looked over the house thoroughly, and so have your in-laws, and all your friends. However, there still could be hidden surprises waiting for you. A crumbling foundation, bad electrical wiring, or hidden roof damage are among the things likely to be spotted by an inspector’s trained eye.

Not thinking about resale value. Remember that you will probably sell your home at some point. Choose a home based on what you want, and also consider what other buyers are looking for. Look for desirable neighborhoods, schools, and other amenities so your house will hold its value.

Trying to do it yourself. Buying real estate is a complicated process. You need a professional to help guide you through buying your home. That’s where your Realtor® comes in. It just makes sense to have someone who is an expert to help you out.

Don’t just stumble blindly through the home buying process. Take care to avoid these mistakes, and you’re more likely to end up buying your dream home, instead of getting stuck with a nightmare.

Masha Halpern, Broker, CLHMS, GRI
Keller Williams Realty

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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

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How to Negotiate When Purchasing A Home

by Masha Halpern

Though negotiating is a big part of the whole process when purchasing a North Carolina home, there are some factors that remain true for all.

You’re in a strong bargaining position if: 

  • You’re an all-cash buyer
  • You’re already preapproved for a mortgage
  • You don’t have a home that needs to be sold before you can buy

These circumstances give you a little more power while you are negotiating. However, even if you are in a strong position, in a "hot" market, you may want to make your offer more desirable by offering more than asking price. When the market is "soft," homes tend to sell more slowly, creating a larger pool of homes from which to choose. On the other hand, when the market is "hot," there may be a limited number of homes to visit and the demand for them may be high.

Overall, here are some suggestions: 

  • Enter into negotiations with the maximum amount you are willing to spend firmly in mind.
  • Keep in mind (and add to the contract) some terms you can live without – then you can make concessions without compromising the items that are important to you.
  • Always have a few alternative homes in mind – knowing you have other options will help you stay objective during bargaining and may encourage the seller to be more reasonable.
  • Try to determine what the seller wants and needs. If, for example, the seller’s new home is not ready by the closing date, you might consider allowing the seller to rent back the home for a short time as long as your own schedule allows it.

You may be able to negotiate the terms as well a the price. These changes can help you financially in the long run.





Financing Your Home If You Are Self Employed

by Masha HaLpern

There's no question that it could be more difficult for you to get a mortgage loan if you are a free lance viola player than if you are a government accountant. Traditionally, lenders have been more cautious when evaluating loan applications of buyers who are self-employed than people who work for a regular salary. In today's economic climate, self-employed families like mine and yours, are finding it harder to get financing when they have to buy a new home.

However, if you are self-employed, there is no reason for you to shy away from applying for a home mortgage loan, especially if your earnings have been in the same field for at least two years. It is a good idea to meet with one or more loan officers before you begin your search. They will probably want to analyze your tax returns for the past 2 or 3 years, keeping in mind that many self employed people can look impoverished on paper, since you can write off some expenses that salaried individuals can not. Try to get pre-approval from the lender, and ask for a letter stating that you have pre-qualified for a loan which your real estate agent can attach to any offer you submit on a home. This will make you more attractive to the sellers.

An Inspired Real Estate Agent

by Masha HaLpern

I really get inspired  as a real estate Broker when I  match prospective buyers with the perfect home for their family--and when it works, they feel terrific! And just as important, sellers feel terrific too! Those are the days when I come home and just feel like I have done something good that day!!

Sellers often have a strong attachment to a home that holds many memories for them. It is important for them to know that the new buyers will love it, too. While any sale can potentially become complicated and difficult, problems seem to work themselves out more easily if we  have started out on a positive note. This is one important reason why agents work hard to maintain a good rapport between the parties involved in every transaction.

Great curb appeal goes a long way toward attracting buyers to a home that is for sale. Many of our sales have been generated by a "For Sale" sign in front of a home that is beautifully landscaped. Prospective buyers who admire a home's exterior often prove to be among the most interested in the property.

An investment in attractive landscaping can help your home sell more quickly. If you have a moderately green thumb, you can get a lot of free advice from local nurseries. They can give you tips on what will look good in your yard, considering the time of year, the available light, and the type of plants that do well in the area. You will probably be able to choose from many attractive low-maintenance plants that will add color and vitality to your yard. Whatever the season, a few dollars invested in your front yard will usually reap much greater benefits than your original investment.

Displaying blog entries 1-5 of 5




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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