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Jodi Bakst, Broker Owner of Real Estate Experts, Earns the Certified International Property Specialist Designation

Jodi Bakst, Broker Owner of Real Estate Experts, Earns the Certified International Property Specialist Designation

Certified International ProfessionalJodi Bakst, Broker Owner of Real Estate Experts located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina has earned the Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation, placing her among 3,500 elite real estate professionals in over 45 countries.  The designation was awarded to her by the National Association of REALTORS® for completing rigorous coursework devoted to learning international real estate practices and demonstrating proficiency in international business.

The CIPS designation is synonymous with advanced expertise, a global perspective, and distinct understanding of a global buyer. As a designee, Ms. Bakst has the knowledge and resources to efficiently work with international buyers, including U.S. residents looking to invest overseas, foreign buyers purchasing in the United States, as well as recent immigrants who might be unfamiliar with real estate transaction practices in the United States.

For more information on the CIPS designation, visit www.nar.realtor/whycips.  To contact Ms. Bakst directly you can email her at [email protected] or call her at 919-928-5131 x2.

How Accurate is the Zestimate?

How Accurate is the Zestimate?

You might be familiar with Zillow. “The leading real estate marketplace” that allows you to search through millions of for-sale and rental listings.

Zillow provides a huge wealth of information on all kinds of properties, all over the country. Many people turn to Zillow to look at property values and check out features of a home they’re interested in. Zillow’s property values are called “Zestimates “. Zestimates are an estimated market value for an individual home. These estimates come from a special algorithm designed by statisticians for Zillow. While it’s a starting point to determine a home’s value, Zestimate aren’t appraisals. Zestimates can also create a prediction of a home’s Zestimate a year from now based on current information on a property. These Zestimate forecasts also work to create an estimated monthly rental price.

The Zestimate takes into account information like special features, location, and market conditions. However, it’s important to remember to take other information into account, too, when comparing properties. You want to consider a comparative marketing analysis from a real estate professional, an appraisal, and actually visiting the house.  A Zestimate can not tell if one house has an updated kitchen or bathroom, or a screened porch or outstanding landscaping.  These are things that take “boots on the ground” to see and evaluate.

Accuracy of the algorithm of Zillow’s Zestimate software depends on location, and availability of data in a certain area. You’ll find some counties with much more information on houses like number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and square footage while some counties have none of that information. The algorithm has a median error rate of 5%. Here’s a great example to explain that number. In Seattle, Zestimate for half of the homes are within 4.9% of the selling price, and half are off by more than 4.9%. Zestimates are within 5% of the final sale price 53.9% of the time.

What does that information look like within North Carolina? As of February of 2017, let’s take a look.

North Carolina Zillow Accuracy

Wake County

  • Zestimate Accuracy: “Best Zestimate” with four stars
  • Homes on Zillow: 363,200 homes listed
  • Home with Zestimates: 321,500 homes listed with Zestimates
  • Within 5% of Sale Price: 57.3%
  • Within 10% of Sale Price:  82.6%
  • Within 20% of Sale Price: 93.6%
  • Median Error: 4.3%

Orange County

  • Zestimate Accuracy: “Tax assessor’s value” Unable to compute Zestimate accuracy
  • Homes on Zillow: 48,300 homes listed
  • Home with Zestimates: 44,300 homes listed with Zestimates
  • Within 5% of Sale Price:  None listed
  • Within 10% of Sale Price:  None listed
  • Within 20% of Sale Price: None listed
  • Median Error: None listed

Chatham County

  • Zestimate Accuracy: “Fair Zestimate” with two stars
  • Homes on Zillow: 34,400 homes listed
  • Home with Zestimates: 25,800 homes listed with Zestimates
  • Within 5% of Sale Price: 45.6%
  • Within 10% of Sale Price:  66.7%
  • Within 20% of Sale Price: 77.8%
  • Median Error: 6.1%

Durham County

  • Zestimate Accuracy: “Best Zestimate” with four stars
  • Homes on Zillow: 103,100 homes listed
  • Home with Zestimates: 87,000 homes listed with Zestimates
  • Within 5% of Sale Price: 52.2%
  • Within 10% of Sale Price:  71.7 %
  • Within 20% of Sale Price: 85.2%
  • Median Error: 4.6%


So, what does this information mean? Most houses in North Carolina are on Zillow. What’s more is that most of the houses in Wake, Durham, and Chatham counties have Zestimates. However, Orange county homes don’t have Zestimates at all. While 48,300 homes are listed on Zillow in Orange county, there isn’t any information to describe the home values of the area. This is a great example of why we can’t rely on Zestimates alone to appreciate the value of a home.

In Chapel Hill

There’s no shortage of beautiful properties for sale in Chapel Hill. Of course, some of them are listed on Zillow. Consequently, they have a Zestimate on their listing page. While many of the homes have Zestimates, there are many in Chapel Hill in Orange County that don’t. A home off of Hayden Pond Lane in Chapel Hill with 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms at 2,500 square feet is listed at $498,000. However, there’s no Zestimate for the property; we can only tell it was sold prior in 2011 at $483,500.

Zestimates tell you something. They’re starting points of information, and they can help shed light on to the values of homes. However, they’re not as accurate as looking at true comparable sales, and making adjustments for the differences between properties.

There are several things the Zestimate won’t tell you, especially in an area like Orange County where there isn’t a lot of data regarding the percentage of houses sold within 5, 10, and 20% of their list price. The Zestimate won’t tell you about the local amenities near the property you’re looking at. It won’t be able to provide insight on construction prices and actual costs of items such as an extra bedroom in a comparable home. 

A great source for neighborhood information is a local realtor or real estate professional. Real Estate Experts can help! Here, our company has provided the most current Triangle-area listings, hot off the press. You’ll want to visit us daily to check out new listings, as well as market trends, property tax data, school report card information, and more.

As always, give us a call at 919-813-6449 for more information about all things real estate!

Consider the Cost of Your Home

Consider the Cost of Your Home

The key to a successful purchase of a home is the combination of what the seller thinks their home is worth, what the buyer believes the home is worth, and what an appraiser thinks it’s worth. Figuring out any of those three numbers takes some effort, but with the right tools it’s possible to determine the worth of a home.

Price per square foot can be misleading in terms of real estate value, so it’s important to understand how square footage is calculated and how homes are compared. It’s also important to understand there are other factors that can help you consider the cost of your home.

Keep in mind, price per square footage is a helpful tool for comparing homes when they are substantially similar. Overall, this approach doesn’t allow for differences between houses such as brick siding, having a basement (regardless of whether or not it is a finished basement), landscaping, or having a screened porch.

Why Valuing a Home on Square Footage Can Be Confusing
square footageEven though square footage seems like a good way to compare homes, it can be deceptive. Different methods can be used to determine square footage, so it’s entirely possible the homes you want to compare were evaluated differently. In new construction, it’s easy to see why square footage can be up for contention. Some builders measure a home’s size from the outside of the wall framing. Others measure to the outside of siding material. This means that an all-brick home may span more square footage than a house built with lap siding. Differences like this can impact the home’s square footage, and consequentially the price per square foot.

Square footage measurements aren’t necessarily all inclusive, either. Are unfinished attics or basements included? The price of a home where the square footage of unfinished space isn’t included will be less than a home where it is included. Other contenders for being included or excluded from total square footage include garages, porches, patios, or decks. It’s important to know what is included in the square footage of a home. You want to get the most for your money!

Let’s Talk Comparisons

Calculating value on an individual home is more important than a generalized value like what you get with price per square foot. By comparing homes to one another, you’re more likely to get an accurate idea of what a home is worth.

For example, if there are two homes with 2,500 square feet and they’re both several years old, you would compare features. Home 1 has granite countertops in the kitchen and in the bathrooms, hardwood floors, and custom bathrooms. Home 2 has white appliances, carpet on the first floor, and no moldings. If they’re the same square footage, wouldn’t they be priced the same? The differences in the home features make it obvious that it’s misleading to believe the correlation between square footage and list price.

Of course, interior features aren’t the only things you can compare in order to know a home’s value. Location, home improvements, furnishings, updates, and condition are all incredibly relevant to a home’s list price.

Location, Location, Location
square footageThey don’t say “location, location, location” in real estate for nothing! However, price per square footage doesn’t take into account location.

Though home improvements, updates, and the like are important, location dramatically impacts value of a home. Think back to Home 1 and Home 2. If Home 1 was located in a lovely part of town equipped with great schools, cultural opportunities, and other amenities, it would increase the value of the home. Home 2 wasn’t located in the best of areas, with mediocre schools and a long commute to employment opportunities. You can bet the price disparity would grow.

Taking a mediocre home and setting it up in the best neighborhood in town will change its value. A home on a back road might sell for something different than a home on a main road. Different school districts impact home value, too. Neighborhood locations are important to note especially if you’re planning to sell your home later down the line.

We’ll Help Get the Price Right

Price per square foot can be a useful tool in determining whether a home is in your budget. There are other
important factors that can help determine if a home is right for you, though. Analyze value in a personal way, with whatever amenities mean the most to you with the help of a real estate professional.

At Real Estate Experts, we’re committed to providing our clients the best experience buying or selling homes. We want the process to be smooth for everyone involved. If you’re interested in buying or selling a home in the Triangle area, give us a call anytime at 919-813-6449 or send us an email to  [email protected].



Why You Need a Pre-Sales Inspection

Why You Need a Pre-Sales Inspection

Set your home apart from other homes on the market with a pre-sales inspection. The more information a potential buyer has, the more likely they are to spend time thinking about purchasing a property. There are many reasons to have a pre-sales inspection, but each reason supports the end goal: to sell your house quicker and closer to list price.

Home inspections let you know the condition of your home before you sell it. Everything from ventilation, plumbing, electricity, to the home appliances will be inspected. The interior and exterior will be considered, too. Think structural components too, like the chimney, roof, or home foundation. Typically, the home inspection lasts two to three hours, and at the end you’ll receive an evaluation of the condition of the property.

Let’s look at the benefits of pre-sales inspections.

Pre-Sales Inspections Save Time

By doing a pre-sales inspection, you will find out the deficiencies of your home before you’re negotiating a sale. Most of the time, buyers will find out the issues with the home gradually. Instead, by facilitating a pre-sales inspection you can arm potential buyers with more information. This will, typically, encourage potential buyers to invest more time and thought into your property.

Sometimes during negotiations, potential buyers want to sellers to make repairs. If you’ve done a pre-sales inspection, you’re aware of what faults the property has and your home can be priced accordingly. This saves both seller and buyer time by eliminating round after round of repair negotiations.

Pre-Sales Inspections Save Money

As a seller, you’ll have the choice to either make certain repairs or market your home with an appropriate list price that considers the condition of the home after the inspection. Pre-sales inspections aren’t too costly, either. They can range from $200-$500, depending on the size and location of your home. What’s more? They can help you list your home at a higher price, too.

Alternatively, inspection prices may be covered at the closing of the home. In some cases, sellers will offer buyers a sum of money to cover their cost of the inspection. However, doing a pre-sales inspection means that you’ve already taken care of that payment. It also helps convey that you care about your property, and you’re not trying to hide anything from a potential buyer.

Pre-Sales Inspections Save Energy

So much time, money, and energy go into selling and buying homes. It’s an exciting time, too! By having a pre-sales inspection, you’ll save yourself energy in what can only be described as a roller-coaster ride to selling your home.

You can offer the pre-sales inspection findings at open houses to encourage potential buyers to trust you, the seller. You won’t have to waste time and energy getting excited about potential offers when they’ll fall through because of property issues later on. By letting potential buyers see the property defects instead of finding them out on their own, you enable them to look at the necessary repairs rationally. With the proper perspective, buyers and sellers can save their energy, money, and time.

How We Can Help

real estate expertsIf you’re looking to set your home apart on the market, we can achieve that. Let us help you through the pre-sales inspection process. We, at Real Estate Experts, are top listing agents.  We have been providing all of these benefits for our clients for the past 20 years.

Our seasoned team members work together to provide outstanding service to our buyers and sellers, while developing a unique partnership to better care for our clients. If you are looking to buy or sell, let one of our top realtors assist you today.





Neighborhood Spotlight: 515 Churton in Downtown Hillsborough

Neighborhood Spotlight: 515 Churton in Downtown Hillsborough

Looking 515 Churton Downtown Hillsborough515 for a way to experience a low-maintenance lifestyle while reaping the benefits of city living in charming Hillsborough? Forget the lawn mowing, garden care, or porch maintenance with Hillsborough’s newest condominium community. 515 Churton condominiums might be the perfect answer. Located in the Historic District, this condominium community provides easy access to downtown Hillsborough and surrounding cities. There’s no shortage of entertainment, culture, nightlight, and some of the best food in the South.

If you are interested in learning about the 515 Churton community and other properties in the greater Triangle area, visit us online.  Call us today at 919-813-6449 or e-mail us at  [email protected] for additional information.  


515 Churton was created as a team effort. Developers, design and engineer services, as well as interior decorators collaborated to produce a luxurious, modern, and sophisticated community. The team worked tirelessly to compliment the historic surroundings of North Churton Street with this community.

George Horton, developer and builder on the project, has devoted much of his 35-year-long career to improving and developing historic Hillsborough in a way that preserves the town’s unique charm. Summit Design and Engineering Services is a leading architectural and engineering firm in the Southeast. With their expertise, Summit Design and Engineering Services influenced 515 Churton to implement current technology and innovative architectural designs. The interior design firm, Jessica Cote Design Group, works to provide potential residents customization of the interior of their condominium. Her design group provides timeless, sophisticated style.

The Residences at 515 Churton

23 luxury condominium residences are coming available at this unprecedented community. The ease of access to

515 Churton Downtown Hillsborough

Two Bedroom and Study

downtown Hillsborough without the hassle of city life is what 515 Church emphasizes. The actual condominiums are loaded with special features. With one look at them, you’ll fall in love with any of the condos.

The design team thought of every nuance a potential resident might want or need. Each condo is equipped with Bosch full-sized front loading washer and dryers, as well as Bosch stainless steel kitchen appliances. Sleek, yet stylish! Finding cable and internet providers can be a hassle. Luckily, the condos are also pre-wired for cable TV and internet access to ease the headache. Thanks to an environmental and energy conscious design team, 515 Churton condominiums have energy efficient heating and cooling systems. Enjoy the evening from the private terrace or courtyard attached to every unit.

Head Inside the Condominiums

Inside, the condos have open floor plans with enormous windows that brighten them with natural light. The ceilings are at 9-10 feet which gives the living space a spacious feel. Hardwood floors span the entire living space, surrounded by designer accent walls. Step into the kitchen and prepare to be wowed with the quartz or granite counter tops, tile backsplash, and high-end cabinets available for your customization. Choose your favorite finish!

The large bedrooms have beautiful natural lighting, lush carpeting, and massive walk-in closets in the master suites. Spa-inspired bathrooms have granite or quartz countertop options with tile floors and showers. In every one of the 23 condominiums, there are two full bathrooms.

515 Churton provides residents private parking, elevator access, great security, and sound isolation between the residences. You won’t have to worry about loud neighbors, here! Take your work into the furnished lobby with wired workspaces, or host a get-together in the community meeting room.

515 Churton Floor Plan Options

Offering a wide variety of floor plans, 515 Churton will have the perfect plan for you based on the layout you want, and the size home you’re looking for. Floor plans include a one bedroom and a study, two bedrooms, two bedrooms and study, and three bedrooms.

One Bedroom and Study

The one bedroom and study floor plan square footage combines to 1,164 square footage. Several units are available in this style, but the one bedroom and study floor plans don’t vary much in square footage. The two bedroom floor plans at their largest have a total of 2,471 square feet, including the terrace. The next floor plan, two bedrooms and a study, offers generous space with a total square footage of 1,897. The final floor plan, three bedrooms, spans 1,560 square footage.

What’s Nearby?

There’s no shortage of entertainment, nightlife, culture, and amenities near 515 Churton.  Hillsborough is a unique hub for artists, writers, and musicians. This lovely town is home to the Orange County Artists Guild, an non-profit organization of artists supporting artists. Stop in at the independent bookstores, or local artisan shops. During the summer, Hillsborough is home and host to many street festivals.

Try the down-home cuisine offered by local farm-to-table restaurants. Radius Pizza, Antonia’s, Panciuto, Bona Vide Sandwish Shop, and the Wooden Nickel are right at your doorstep of 515 Churton.

Three Bedroom

Commuting to RTP from this new community is easy. RTP is only 26 minutes away, while downtown Greensboro is a half-hour drive away. RDU Airport is convenient, too. Located only 28 miles from the Historic District in Hillsborough, your travel needs will be easy to meet.

If you’re ready to get outside this summer, 515 Churton has access to lots of trails, parks, and recreation. Hit the Hillsborough Riverwalk, or take a hike along the nearby Bolin Creek in Chapel Hill. There’s no shortage of golf courses for enthusiasts. Hillsborough is also home to the Historic Occoneechee Speedway.

Healthcare in Hillsborough

The healthcare nearby is immaculate. With UNC Health Care Hillsborough Campus only 3.6 miles away, convenient healthcare is available. The Hillsborough Campus includes a Medical Office Building, Emergency Department, Outpatient Surgery and Inpatient Services, along with other support services.  Duke University and Medical Center is only 12 miles away, so there’s no shortage of healthcare options.

We’re Here to Help!     

If you are interested in learning about the 515 Churton community and other properties in the greater Triangle area, visit us online.  Call us today at 919-813-6449 or e-mail us at  [email protected] for additional information.  

When buying a home, even new construction, it is important to have a buyer’s agent. At Real Estate Experts, we are fierce representatives for our clients. We’re known as expert buyer agents so contact us and see how we can help you find just the home you are looking for.






Fastest Growing New Housing Communities in Triangle Area

Fastest Growing New Housing Communities in Triangle Area

The Triangle ranks #7 out of 100 of best metro areas to live in the United States. Nearly 80 new residents a day make their home in Raleigh, Durham, or Chapel Hill. The growth of the region is incredible, and it’s only getting bigger thanks to the lure of high quality of life, strong job prospects, and good education opportunities in the area.

We already know Triangle sales and prices are rising thanks to a smaller inventory, but local home builders are working to create room for growth. “We’re building fewer lots than we are taking down homes,” says Jay Colvin, the director of Metrostudy’s Raleigh-Durham Triangle region. “We’re at an equilibrium, which is good for a sustainable market, but it’s a problem for growth. Right now we’ve got some room for growth, but not by much.”

Colvin predicts a growth rate that will swing between 5-7 percent for new home starts and sales in the Triangle for the next year.

But where is this growth going to come from within the Triangle? The top 25 Triangle new housing communities by new home construction. These homes will come from Wake, Durham, Orange, Chatham, Johnston, Granville, and Franklin Counties.

The Top 10 Fastest Growing New Construction Communities

Briar Chapel

new construction

These homes are surrounded by all the amenities you could ever want or need. In fact, the Briar Club offers a fitness program, water park, and a jam-packed community event calendar. Located in Chapel Hill at U.S. 15-501, downtown Chapel Hill is just a hop, skip, and a jump away. Currently, the builders have 374 vacant, developed lots. What’s more? They’re anticipating  730 future lot sales.

Carolina Arbors

This neighborhood is designed with the needs of active adults over 55. Therefore, Carolina Arbors offers innovative and fun fitness classes, community gardens, and a billiards room. Residents can get creative in the crafts room, cook in the demonstration kitchen, or take dance lessons in the community ballroom. Carolina Arbors by Del Webb are in construction in Durham at Andrews Chapel Road.

Bella Casa

The custom homes at Bella Casa in Apex are premier, unique, and nestled near any amenity you might need. These homes bring aesthetically pleasing, custom-chosen features to life on Evans Road, conveniently near NC State and downtown Raleigh. So far, they’ve developed 162 lots with an anticipated 162 sales!

12 Oaks

Holly Springs is home to this new construction community which provides access to the Club at 12 Oaks. The Club offers casual dining, and a Nicklaus-designed golf course. Made to feel more like a Southern college campus with sprawling trails that encourage biking and walking, this community is without a doubt incredible. 12 Oaks has something for the whole family. The fitness center is equipped for weight training, cardio, and a variety of classes. Another big perk? All dog breeds are welcome.

Flowers Plantation

new construction

Clayton is home to this new construction community that is growing incredibly fast. Flowers Plantation is anticipating 5,526 future lot sales, or lots under contract. With what they have to offer, though, it’s likely
Flowers Plantation will become a bustling community soon. The Club boasts three pools, a spa, a cafe and bar, as well as playgrounds, parks, trails, and every variety of sport court you can imagine. Their line of homes spans the price range of $150,000 to well over $500,000 to suit everyone’s financial needs.


Sitting at the intersection of Sunset Lake Road and Lockley Road in Holly Springs, Woodcreek is a new construction community with undoubtedly designer features. These homes spotlight southern architecture with second floor balconies, beautiful columns, and finally an incredible use of square footage to create unique living spaces. In the future, builders are eventually anticipating 188 lot sales, or lots under contract.

Highland Creek Preserve

This community is nestled in Raleigh off of Louisburg road. Entertainment, dining, and events in Raleigh and Wake Forest are very close thanks to 540.  In addition, these homes showcase comfort, design, and functionality these homes sell quickly. They come in several different floor plans, too. Miles of trails and sidewalks line Highland Creek, encouraging residents to get out and get active.


new construction

With 422 lot sales anticipated, Traditions of Wake Forest is getting ready to flourish. This new construction community is built to foster a sense of welcome. The Club is the certainly the perfect entertainment spot with a cozy outdoor stone fireplace, large saltwater pool, and playgrounds or pocket parks. Traditions is hugged by 100 acres of trees and natural preservation but entertainment and city life isn’t far. Quaint downtown Wake Forest is nearby and only a bicycle ride away.

Wendell Falls

new construction

This unique community is built around the Tobacco Barn seated on the festival lawn. Inviting and family
friendly, Wendell Falls is growing as a result. They’re anticipating 1,990 lot sales or lots under contract over the year. With events like wine tastings, bluegrass concerts, and movie nights Wendell Falls has
something for everyone. Residents agree this community really feels like a small, close-knit neighborhood.

Brightleaf at the Park

The intersection of US 70 and Copper Leaf Parkway in Durham is home to Brightleaf at the Park. A “tale of two cities”, Brightleaf at the Park is midway between Raleigh and Durham.  Consequently, this community has the best of both cities. Brightleaf is rich with community art built on Audubon certified land. The natural setting and resort-style amenities create a culture-rich community home to a variety of house plans at mid-range prices.

Check out the full list of the top 25 fastest growing Triangle new housing communities here.

Interested in a New Construction Home Community?

If you have been thinking of relocating to the Triangle area, you will definitely want to consider putting down roots in one of these new construction housing communities. When buying a home, even new construction, it is important to have a buyers agent. At Real Estate Experts, we are fierce representative for our clients and known as expert buyer agents.  Contact us and see how we can help you find just the home you are looking for.
Give us a call at 919-813-6449 or send us an email to  [email protected] to find out more about living in the Triangle, and visit realestateexperts.net to view current homes for sale in the area.


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