Real Estate Market

Outdoor Home Maintenance, Benefits of a Broker & M

6 Must-Do Outdoor Maintenance Tasks

Preventative outdoor maintenance is an important part of being a homeowner. Not only does it minimize the cost of future home repairs but it also allows you to enjoy the outdoor spaces you love. With pool party and backyard barbeque season upon us, now is the perfect time to get your outdoor spaces ready for the upcoming season. Check out these six helpful tips to get the job done!


Cleaning the Gutters

Fallen leaves, twigs, and other debris often clog downspouts in the fall and winter months, preventing water from moving away from the home properly. Having clogged gutters can cause water damage to your roof, fascia (the board behind the gutter), foundation, and basement. To combat the potential damage, it’s recommended that you clean your gutters twice a year. If you are going to do-it-yourself, spring and summer are great times to tackle this task. Grab your ladder and use a gutter scoop, plastic sand shovel, or a trowel to remove the gunk. Spare your lawn, and dump the gunk into a bucket or onto a tarp. After you’ve de-gunked, flush the rest of the debris out the gutters with a garden hose. This is also a great way to check if there are any leaks. Lastly, don’t forget to check the weather forecast before you clean- it’s much easier to clean when the gunk is dried out!


Repairing Outside Paint

Have you noticed any chipping or peeling on your home’s siding? Are your shutters and front door a few shades grayer or bleached-out? If so, it may be time to pick up a paint scraper to minimize damage from the elements and increase your curb appeal. If you’re not sure whether you should paint your house, check out this helpful blog. Once you’ve decided to go ahead and re-touch, use a paint scraper to liberally remove any damaged areas. Then, switch to a wire brush to get the remaining loose edges and debris off. Next, apply a thin, flat layer of wood filler that extends past the edges of the spot you want to fix with a putty knife. Let the filler dry for about 2 hours and then use a fine grit paper to sand. After that, apply a primer and paint. When painting, make sure to blend the paint in with the rest of the exterior. If the color is too light once it dries, consider applying a second or even third coat.


Preparing the Grill

Cleaning and maintenance are necessary for quality grilling. Now that the weather is getting warmer, it’s time to get your grill ready for barbeque season. Before you begin cleaning, make sure the dials are in the off position and the grill is disconnected from the propane tank (if applicable). Remove your grates and place them in a bucket of warm water and dish soap. Use a scrub wire brush and degreasing agent to thoroughly clean the grates. It’s also in good practice to oil your grates. Find out how using this article. After that, move onto the main part of the grill. Loosely cover the heating elements with pieces of tin foil for protection. Take a grill brush or steel-wool pad and scrub the inside walls and under the hood. The ash and debris should fall onto the foil. You may also notice that a residue that looks like peeling paint while cleaning. These are the remains of a harmless buildup of carbon from grease and smoke and should be discarded. Once your finished, wipe the walls with a damp paper towel.


Washing the Windows

After rain and snow, windows can look grimy and dirty because of water spots, streaks, and residue on the glass. Clean them inside and out by taking out the screens and gently hosing them off then leaving them outside for a few hours to dry in the sun. At this step, consider renting a steam machine from your local home improvement store to quickly clean your windows but if not, bucket with dishwashing soap and warm water and wash the windows with a cloth or sponge. Starting at the top, use a squeegee and pull in a ‘s’ pattern. After each stroke, wipe the squeegee blade with a rag. To remove water on the edges of the glass, use a damp chamois since it absorbs water without leaving streaks. The last step should be drying the windowsills with a rag.


Freshening up the Outdoor Furniture

Goodbye rust marks, mildew, and stains! Ensure that your outdoor furniture will look beautiful for years to come by periodically cleaning and freshening your pieces. Since outdoor furniture is constructed from a wide variety of materials, the way they are handled, cleaned, and cared for varies greatly. So, the first step in maintaining your outdoor furniture is reading the care label for instructions. After that, begin with some light cleaning like sweeping the surfaces and using gentle cleansers and soft-bristled brushes. Lastly, pick a sunny day to put in your elbow grease so your furniture will air dry faster.

Restoring the Deck or Patio

Whether your deck is wood, composite, or concrete, the constant exposure to the elements can result in mold and mildew that love to grow during the warmer months. Wooden decks are especially susceptible to rot and deck, so make sure to inspect and repair if necessary. Also, consider scrubbing the wood with an oxalic acid to kill microbes, and restain. For, composite decks, a professional powerwash is a simple solution. Make sure to check if your deck is suitable for a powerwash first though! To clean concrete decks, use vinegar or baking soda with water for a great natural and eco-friendly mixture that work wonders on outdoor, concrete spaces. For how to clean and maintain other types of decks and patios and more general tips, check out this comprehensive guide.


     Follow these outdoor maintenance tips to improve your outdoor spaces today!

Just Listed....

Extra-Spacious Home with Beautiful Private Views

This stunning Zinn Design Build home presents timeless designer elegance in the Kent Woodlands neighborhood.  Luxurious modern livability extends throughout the home with 6 bedrooms, a bonus room, and a fully finished basement with flexibility for recreational or in-law spaces. Rounding out this home’s special appeal is its access to excellent public schools and convenient location for commuting to UNC, Duke or RTP.

104 Palomar Point in Kent Woodlands

Offered at $650,000

Take a 360 tour at or view on our website.

If you have any questions regarding this or any property listed below, please contact us at your convenience. For a private tour of the property, contact Masha.  Would you like to see more properties for sale? Click here. Selling now or soon? Click here.

Why Working With a Real Estate Broker Benefits You - Part 4: Education, Ethics & Real Estate Law

This is Part 4 of a 5 Part series about Why Using a Broker Benefits YOU! If you missed the previous articles, you can find Part 1 here (Money),  Part 2 here (Time),  and Part 3 here (Expertise & Ethics).

Real Estate Brokers are NOT lawyers and do not give legal advice but an important part of their job is to understand the partnership of real estate law and the many nuances for different types of real estate transactions and scenarios. Not only are Brokers required to go through a rigorous course load to obtain their license, but they are also required to take continuing education classes each year. Masha has also dedicated herself to becoming more specialized in certain areas of real estate and as such commits annually to taking courses that educate her in ways that benefit her clients. This is definitely a big advantage to you, and here’s why...


Changing Regulations

The North Carolina Real Estate Commission is our governing board. Their mission is “To protect the public interest in real estate brokerage transactions.” In order to do so, they continually make adjustments in the rules and regulations. With regular continuing education, Brokers are well suited to know the best practices to make your transaction go as smoothly as possible. Masha not only has over 26 years of education & training, but her Team Manager is also licensed and up to date on current real estate practices. With all members of her team up to date on their education, our clients are always offered the most up to date information which can help them make the best decisions for their families whether they are buying a home in Chapel Hill or Buying a home in Durham; or if you are Selling your Chapel Hill home, Selling your Durham home or Selling your Hillsborough home.


Have you seen the latest NC Offer to Contract & Purchase? It’s 13 pages long! And that’s just one document. There are also addendums and disclosures. Sorting through the sections, and not to mention the real estate jargon can be a bit overwhelming. Brokers understand these documents like the back of their hand and can make sure you understand what you are obligating yourself to when buying your home or selling your home.

Code of Ethics

“Honesty, trustworthiness, confidentiality, negotiation skills, and having the clients’ best interest” are all at the heart of the National Association of Realtors code of ethics. Interestingly enough it’s also what today’s buyers really want in a Realtor! Masha is a proud Realtor© and abides by this code at all times. At the end of the day our mission is provide our clients with their best real estate experience- and education plays a foundational role.


As with other professional fields, in the “real estate world” there are clear standards for Brokers. Brokers are used to working with each other in a way that is respectful and fair. Acting as a buffer for you, the Broker handles questions, concerns, negotiations, inspections, repairs and MUCH more and we do it in a professional and respectful way.

“To give real service, you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.” ~ Douglas Adams

Next month will be the last in our series, Part 5: Emotions. Selling or buying can be an emotional process. No need for a therapist, we’ve got you covered.

365 Things To Do In...

Share This Page

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