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Uncommon Tactics to Sell Your Home

by Masha Halpern KH

If you’ve been waiting to sell your home, the housing market is really picking up. Now is the time to take action. But keep in mind that there is no guarantee on how fast your home will sell once you list it. Pricing and condition are still 'key'.

To improve their chances of a quick sale, you could consider some  uncommon tactics to sell your home. The key is to make your home stand out and show better or in a different way than the others on the market. Here are a few things that other sellers have tried that helped them get a quick sale. They may work for you, too.

One thing that has always drawn attention is to offer incentives to buyers. Today’s market is no exception. Some popular incentives include offering to pay some of the buyer’s closing costs, including a home warranty that protects appliances, include the appliances in the sale or pay for one year of HOA dues- or club membership.

Interesting photos of your home can improve your online marketing. Buyers get tired of seeing nearly identical photos as they look at online listings. Make yours stand out from the rest with bright floral arrangements or an unusual piece of furniture. Often times hiring  professional photographer can make ALL the difference in the world. 

Every so often I have consulted with a client and presented an offer to a buyer to get THEM interested in pursing this home. Maybe they were on the fence but we were able to sell our client's home that way in tougher markets.

These are just a few uncommon ways to attract attention to your listing. Discuss your ideas with your realtor and decide if any will be right for selling your home.

Are you considering selling your home or would like real estate advice? Contact me to set up an appointment. I’d be happy to discuss your real estate needs.

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 Oliver Delgado, Stock.XCHNG. Michael for KH.

Keeping Up with the Joneses

by Masha Halpern

Don’t be ashamed of the current condition of your kitchen, following a recent dinner date at your neighbor’s house.  Their kitchen may be beautiful and completely renovated, but, you too, can achieve the same look.  And, while Keeping Up With the Joneses, you are investing in the most fundamental room of your home.  While you may have a vision for your future kitchen, it is best to contact your local realtor first.  They will offer advice on what areas of your kitchen to focus on for the best return on your investment.

The most advisable approach to updating, remodeling, or completely renovating your kitchen, is to work with your realtor in seeking out a well-established contractor in your area.  The contractor you opt to hire, should have a background in both design, and construction.  They should not only be able to construct your vision, but should also be competent in offering advice and consultation, in regards to the design aspect.  By working with a local contractor, and a real estate professional, you can rest assured that you will not be over-improving.  They will recommend upgrading, focusing on trends that are typical for your area and neighborhood.  Together, your realtor and contractor will devise a strategy, concentrating on getting the best bang for your buck.

Upon meeting with the contractor you have chosen, you already have visualized the results of the renovation.  However, they will ask detailed questions, not only about your vision, but also about your expectations of remaining in the house.  They will also want to know the amount of money you wish to put into the project, and your reasoning behind wanting the job to be performed in the first place.  All of these questions are influential factors in the formation of the remodeling options the contractor will offer.  Once your options have been presented to you, consult with your realtor before making a final decision. 

Obviously, the reasoning behind your desire to remodel is key in establishing which decision is best, and most feasible, for your needs.  The return on your investment clearly changes if you anticipate putting your house on the market in the next couple of months, versus your plans of staying in the home for the next 20 years.  The money you anticipate putting into the design will also play a role in governing the completed project.  Again, your real estate professional will be your best asset in helping you to establish a sensible surety, to your kitchen’s remodel.

One way of procuring ideas of what is trending in your neighborhood, is to attend open houses that your realtor is holding.  This approach will help identify how your vision compares to what is hot in the market, or what is not.  While viewing other kitchens, focus on how they have been remodeled, and how they are arranged.  You will want to merge renovation, with functionality.  Be sure to speak with your real estate agent in regard to what you have seen, and liked.  They will be able to confirm, if indeed, this is representative of what your renovation, or remodel should entail.  Your local real estate agent is fully informed of, and knowledgeable in the current market values for your area.  They observe kitchens of all varieties, on a daily basis, and know which are selling, and for what reasons.  Heed their advice.

If you stick with a classic design without over-improving, and hire a reputable contractor, you cannot go wrong performing a kitchen remodel.  As your realtor will tell you, remodeling your kitchen is a great investment for your home.  Regardless of whether you are planning on spending a huge chunk of money, or just a small pittance, you will be able to makeover your kitchen, and bring it up to par.  Call your realtor today for kitchen remodel advice, and get the project started. Before you know it, not only have will you have kept up with the Joneses, but you have managed to surpass them.

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.

Photos courtesy of Rfanelli (first photo), and Gnangarra (second photo) Wikimedia.

Check Your Credit Before You Shop for a New Home

by Masha Halpern

Buying a home is a big step. A home mortgage is a long-term commitment, unlike any other item you’ll buy. To prepare for applying for a mortgage, take these steps to make sure your credit is in good shape.

The first thing to do is check your credit reports. You can do this once a year for free. Pull your records from all three credit bureaus. Read over them, and make sure all of the information is correct. For a small fee, you can also get your overall credit score.

If you find any errors on your credit report, work on getting them cleaned up before applying for a mortgage. It will make the process easier, and it could raise your score, which could get you a better rate. That can translate into saving thousands of dollars in interest over the life of the loan.

Common credit report errors include payments showing as late that really weren’t, and bills showing outstanding that have been paid off. Follow the credit bureau’s instructions to fix any errors you find.

Late payments can drop your credit score, but you can improve it by making all future payments on time. Experts also say that you can bump your score up by a few points by paying down your credit card balances. However, you’ll need to keep your balances down, so don’t charge new purchases to those credit cards.

Applying for new credit will also temporarily lower your credit score, so don’t buy any big ticket items, like a car or furniture, in the months before applying for a mortgage loan. Ideally you should not take on any new debt within a year of buying a home.

Finally, don’t close old accounts thinking it will raise your score. In general, you want to show a long, reliable credit history, so make sure you keep your oldest credit card open. Use your credit wisely, but don’t abuse it.

Making sure your credit is as good as it can be can save you money in the long run on a mortgage, as well as let you know how much house you can afford. This will let you shop for a home with confidence.

If you have any questions about checking your credit score or getting a mortgage pre-approval, contact me to set up an appointment for a consultation. I’d be happy to offer you suggestions on how to improve your score and help you find the home of your dreams.

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 Marius Mauresan, Stock.XCHNG.

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
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.

Image courtesy of Luiz Fernando Pilz, Stock.XCHNG

Are You Considering a Reverse Mortgage

by

A reverse mortgage provides a way for seniors to borrow against the equity in their home with no repayment due until the homeowner dies, moves or sells. Any remaining equity after repayment goes to the borrower or the estate. 

A reverse mortgage may be of benefit if:

  • You need cash assets or income and have no other source available.
  • You are unable or unwilling to sell your house.
  • You do not care what the costs are to get the income or assets you need. (Recent law has helped limit the outrageous costs of reverse mortgages.)
  • You have no concern about which assets are left to your heirs.

    Make sure you thoroughly scrutinize all costs and provisions.

    Other possible solutions to increase income or get to assets are selling the home to family members or establishing a home-equity credit line on the house.

    — Drew Tignanelli, president of the Financial Consulate in Lutherville, Md.

    Yes, if your sources of retirement income (savings, investments, pensions, Social Security) no longer cover your spending. But using the equity in your home should be a last resort after all other resources have been exhausted.

    The payments to the homeowner from a reverse mortgage can be received in the form of a monthly annuity, lump sum or revolving line of credit. Compared with a typical home-equity line of credit, establishing a reverse mortgage carries significant fees, so the decision to obtain one should be extensively evaluated.

    You should make sure it is a reverse mortgage under the Federal Housing Administration Home Equity Conversion Mortgage program so that mortgage insurance will cover the lender if the proceeds from the eventual sale of the home are not sufficient to pay the amount owed.

  • Be realistic. Ask for help. Have patience.

    If you're selling a house, don't skimp on a pro's services — which can earn you more than it costs — and be prepared to live in a showroom during what could be a bit of a wait for a buyer. Price your home realistically and be patient and know that things will stabilize.

    Us the following tips as a guide throughout the sales process, with links to additional resources.

    Before you list

    Selling a house is likely to be one of the largest financial transactions of your life. Find a real-estate agent whose experience and commitment you trust. Ask friends and neighbors for referrals then interview several. Some things to ask include:

    • What's your marketing strategy? This is where your agent really makes the difference. Make suer you discuss how your real estate agent is going to market your property.
    • Will you represent me exclusively in the transaction, or the buyer, as well?
    • What are your commissions and fees?
    • What's your impression of my home?
    • Can you provide the names and contact information for previous clients?
    Gather your paperwork: Once you select an agent, he is going to ask you for a lot of information. Gather these documents:
    • Prior year's tax bill, utility bills, water and sewer bills;
    • Declarations, covenants or deed restrictions on the property;
    • Assessments, surveys and plats;
    • Sales and repairs of major appliances and building components;
    • Inspections for pests or environmental hazards;
    • Lists of items to be included in or excluded from the sale.

    An agent will also run through the disclosures you need to make on the property, basically any problems that could potentially make the home less valuable.

    The above documents will be needed, so start now in gathering the above items and you might even make a few copies to have on hand.

    You can also find out which disclosure forms are required from your state's real-estate division. It's important, because even the most upstanding seller can forget a repair or minor blemish from long ago.

    In some state if you don't disclose something, and it's found that you did have knowledge, you can be subject to triple damages.  Be aware of everything.

    Get an appraisal: You can hire an independent certified appraiser or get a few real-estate agents to prepare comparative market analyses. CMAs will detail similar houses that have sold in your area over the past three months and will drive the agent's suggested price per square foot for your home.

    You real estate agent can provide automated home valuations, so make sure to ask the agent to prepare a CMA on your property.   For now, deep local experience still trumps the computer models, so expect to revise your list price based on your agent's feedback.

    There's not a lot of subjectivity. As the seller you need to be realistic and realize that the agent has all the tools needed to get an accurate picture of what the price needs to be to sell.

    Price it right:

    Buyers today are savvy. Eighty-four percent look online before contacting an agent, and two-thirds hire an agent to represent them.

    The biggest mistake sellers make is overpricing their homes. Overpricing leads to price reductions and increased time on the market, both of which look bad.

    When your home sits on the market and sits on the market, then your home becomes stale and it looks to buyers like they can negotiate further and the price drops more.  Set the right price at the beginning, chances are you'll get pretty close to it

    Consider a home inspection: As a seller, it is not your responsibility to conduct a home inspection. But for about $300, you can uncover potential problems and fix them before listing your home.

     

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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

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