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Is Granite Out? Find Out What’s In

Is Granite Out? Find Out What’s In

There’s no denying that granite is a phenomenal countertop material. It’s pretty, durable, and affordable at a $75 average per square foot. Granite’s 30-year run on top as the preferred type of countertop isn’t necessarily coming to an end, but there are a variety of different materials being used for countertops now too. Home owners and buyers are looking towards more modern designs that use these different materials to create an updated kitchen. According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, quartz is the leading competitor.

Quartz

Is Granite Out?
The durability of this material is impeccable. Resistant to scratches, chips, and stains, quartz overtakes granite in durability. Quartz can also defend itself from heat, which means it’s OK to put that pan on the countertop after pulling it off the stove. Granite and marble are porous materials. While granite and marble need yearly sealing treatments to keep the countertops in good condition, quartz needs nothing of the sort. Engineered quartz comes in uniform designs because as it is engineered, there’s no one-of-a-kind slabs to choose from. But don’t worry, because quartz comes in many different colors and designs.

It’s also very affordable. Granite costs $75 on average per square foot, while marble costs $85 on average per square foot. Quartz is right in between at $80 on average per square foot.

Stainless Steel

Is Granite Out?This material is very functional and efficient in the kitchen. Heat resistant, rust resistant, and stain resistant, stainless steel as a countertop material can be very efficient. Another unique feature of stainless steel is that it won’t let bacteria harbor on its surface. The material is easy to clean, however it has it’s drawbacks.

Stainless steel will scratch easy. Choosing a brushed stainless finish will help in the battle against visible scratches, but it’s a good idea to use a cutting board during food prep.

SoapstoneIs Granite Out?

This attractive material is non-porous, resistant to stains, and it comes in a variety of colors. What more could you want out of a countertop material? The natural quarried stone doesn’t need sealing treatments like granite or marble which makes it low-maintenance, too.

Unfortunately, soapstone is soft so it’s likely to scratch easily. It also comes in smaller slabs than granite, marble, or quartz. This means that the seams of the slabs may be visible in the countertops.

Wood

Is Granite Out?Natural wood is becoming a commonality in homes. It’s beautiful, unique, and adds warmth to any home. Used for butcher blocks and custom made furniture, wood creates a beautiful and tasteful environment. Wood countertops are stunning, but their downside is that they damage easily. Heat and moisture will injure your wooden countertops which must be sealed monthly. The upside? Wood countertops can be refinished if damage occurs to them.

ConcreteIs Granite Out?

Concrete countertops aren’t new to the market, but their updates are. While they used to chip and crack easily, concrete countertops now prove to be less prone to damage. Heat resistant and naturally very strong, there are advantages to this material. Slabs of concrete can also be sealed to prevent staining. They’re also available in a variety of colors to suit your kitchen design.

Which is Right for You?

Choosing a material to remodel your kitchen countertops with can help your kitchen look more upscale. While choosing the material is important, it’s also important to figure out if you’re remodeling for yourself. Or, on the other hand, are you remodeling for a potential buyer? If you’re remodeling for the latter situation, try one of these different countertop materials to modernize your kitchen.

Unsure of what updates to make before selling your home? Real Estate Experts are here to help. Visit us online.  Call us today at 919-813-6449 or e-mail us at  [email protected] for additional information.

Triangle Region Housing Market Annual Report for 2016

Triangle Region Housing Market Annual Report for 2016

The annual housing market report for 2016 provides insight not only into the past year, but for the upcoming year as well. 2016 saw the election of a new president which means there will be changes in federal policies on the housing market and real estate. The new president, Donald Trump, has a history of real estate experience. He’s indicated interest in investing in infrastructure development as well as the development of new housing and construction. This is intriguing for the future of residential real estate, according to the annual report on the Triangle Region Housing Market.

Let’s take a look at the information provided in 2016‘s Housing Market Report for the Triangle area.

Interest Rates and Mortgage RatesTriangle Housing Market Report

Interest rates on homes did not rise as predicted. But like the year prior the Federal Reserve waited until December to create a short-term rate increase. With that in mind, 2017 interest rates are expected to increase over the year. The economy is healthy, unemployment is at a nine-year low, and wages are higher. The market outlook is positive.

2017 is expected to see mortgage rates stay below 5.0 percent. Rates aren’t expected to grow by more than .75 percent throughout the year. If mortgage rates begin to climb higher, there’s a possibility for rate lock. This means that homeowners may stay in their current housing situation instead of trading their property for a higher-rate property. If this situation occurs, it might affect the availability of affordable homes and a strain on the already-struggling housing inventory.

Listings, New Construction, and Sales

Inventory of homes in 2016 was lower than other years in a year-by-year comparison. Low home inventory is expected for 2017, too. At the end of 2016, there were 7,447 active listings. New listings increased by 4.2 percent, helping 2016 to finish out with 46,193 listings. Most new listings, compared to 2015,  came from East Durham, Central Durham, Knightdale/Wendell/Zebulon, Inside the Beltline, and in Chatham County. The top five areas in the Triangle where the inventory of homes for sale increased from 2015 are Wake Forest, Hillsborough, Durham, Inside the Beltline, and in Chapel Hill or Carrboro.New Construction Annual Housing Report 2016

New homes are being built. In the Triangle region in 2016, new construction built an inventory of 31,126 units. Compared to 2015 where new construction built 28,512 units, 2016 shows positive growth. In 2016, Chatham County, Johnston County, Knightdale, Wake Forest, Fuquay Varina, and Holly Springs had the most new construction in the Triangle region.

However, houses are not being built quick enough. New construction in the Triangle area is approximately at half the rate of the rest of the country. Even though there is a lot of new construction, there are a large number of properties being developed as expensive rental units.

The sales in the region also showed some positive growth. Under Contract sales and Closed sales both increased in 2016. Under Contract sales saw a 9.7 percent increase, while Closed sales saw a 10.1 percent increase. In comparison to 2015, East Durham, Johnston County, Knightdale, Zebulon, Wendell and Durham County saw the most closed sales. Overall in 2016, the Carey, Apex, and Morrisville saw 5,287 homes total in closed sales alone.

Prices

Over the last year, home prices rose. In the Triangle region, Durham, Knightdale, Wendell, Zebulon, Garner, Cary, Apex ,and Morrisville showed the most change in median sales prices in comparison with 2015. The lowest amount of change occured in Raleigh, Hillsborough, Orange County, Chapel Hill, and Carrboro. The median sales for 2016 hovered around $232,000 which is a 5.5 percent raise. This is, in fact, a symptom of low home inventory. When the demand outweighs the supply, prices rise. In 2017, there’s an expected home price increase, but it should be at a slower rate than that of 2016.

In 2016, sellers received 97.5 percent of their list price. Sellers in Hillsborough, Durham, and Garner saw the most change in percentage of original listing price received at sale. This is a year over year increase of .9 percent; and good news for sellers.  A predicted increase of price of homes in 2017 will likely encourage an increase in list price received at sale.

Who Will Be Looking to Buy in 2017?

Even though it might seem logical to look at millennials as the next wave of home buyers, there are factors that are contributing to their lack of participation in the housing market of the Triangle area. Some analysis suggests that it’s a bit of a cultural shift for this generation; they’re doing things differently. Many are opting away from early marriage, family life, or they’re making attempts to get rid of student loan debt. Some could be uneasy real estate investment in the wake of the last recession.

Baby boomers will likely make up a major group of home buyers this year. Refocusing investment from the stock market to real estate is an option for this generation in the wake of the election. The new administration creates a period of expected change, and it has encouraged this demographic to look at a higher price-range homes to invest their wealth in.

 

If you are interested in learning about available 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Allergies or Mold: Find Out If Your Home Secretly Houses Mold

Allergies or Mold: Find Out If Your Home Secretly Houses Mold

The signs of spring are early, this year. With temperatures soaring high and breaking February records, flowers and plants of all kinds are blooming. The trees are spreading their spores all over, and it’s a matter of time before the Triangle is covered with a green layer of pollen. Though spring in the Triangle is beautiful, spring also means allergy season is right around the corner.  But how can you tell if your allergies are from the outside, or inside of your home?

The symptoms of mold are very similar to allergies. Sneezing, itching, runny nose, and congestion are all symptoms of both allergies and mold. However, with mold symptoms will get worse over time due to exposure.

Spring NC Mold Prevention

Find out if you are housing mold in your home.

Where Does Mold Develop?

There are many places in a home mold likes to grow in. Mold likes to live in warm, dark, and damp places like basements, crawl spaces and attics. Places which will accumulate moisture are likely environments where mold will breed, such as bathtubs and plumbing appliances. Here are some other places you can find mold developing in a home:

  • Underneath sinks
  • Around pipes
  • Outside around gutters and rainwater management
  • Within walls of bathrooms with poor ventilation

Where Can Mold Hide?

While mold typically develops in areas out of sight in your home, there are other important places to search for mold. Take care to inspect these areas regularly to be sure there’s no mold developing or spreading.

  • Kitchen appliances should be inspected because they generate moisture. Make sure to take a look at your dishwasher, refrigerator, and coffeemaker regularly.
  • Air conditioners and ducts are prime locations for moisture. Poorly draining air conditioners and humidity can lead to mold within your HVAC unit. Mold can spread very quickly from this if moisture gets in the air ducts of your home.
  • Washing machines are another prime source of moisture in your home. The humidity generated by both the washing machine and the dryer can lead to mold lurking nearby. Examine underneath your washing machine for mold, but also check behind the appliance.

I Found Mold, What Next?

Spring Mold Prevention NC

If you find mold in your home, there are several ways to handle the pesky spores. It’s very important to tackle the removal of mold because it spreads so easily, so contacting a mold remediation company is a perfect first step. Mold remediation companies prove to especially effective in eliminating mold, but they can also help you identify the source of the mold. This is useful because you’ll be able to prevent the same problem from happening again.

You can also lower your indoor humidity which takes away one of the biggest factors in mold development. Aim to keep your indoor humidity anywhere below 45 percent. Reducing dampness in bathrooms, basements, and laundry areas will help decrease likelihood of mold in your home.

Let Us Help

As real estate professionals, we deal with issues like this every day.  We are trained to handle issues like mold and know the top mold and water remediation specialists to work with locally.  Don’t hesitate when you are thinking of buying or selling a home this spring and summer to reach out to top realtors to help you through the process.

 

Neighborhood Spotlight: West End in Hillsborough, NC

Neighborhood Spotlight: West End in Hillsborough, NC

The West End Subdivision

If the historic oaks of North Nash Street in Hillsborough could talk, they’d tell tales of the civil war fought nearby and the cloth mill. The design of the homes in this renewed neighborhood will encourage the culture-rich history of Hillsborough to charm you home. When you arrive in the West End subdivision on North Nash, you’ll be blown away by Windhorse LLC’s 1920’s-era inspired cottages and bungalows. Take a look at the neighborhood here: The West End.

Silvestri Properties, a boutique real estate company, and Windhorse LLC have worked together to develop five different plans, including single- and two-story homes that range in size from 1,100 to 2,400 heated square feet. One look at any of the floor plans, and you’ll be smitten. 

Silvestri Properties, a boutique real estate company, and Windhorse LLC have worked together to develop five different plans, including single- and two-story homes that range in size from 1,100 to 2,400 heated square feet. One look at any of the floor plans, and you’ll be smitten with their southern charm.

Farmhouse in West End

The welcoming exterior of the Farmhouse floor plan in the West End neighborhood

The iconic Farmhouse house plan features 1625 heated square footage both upstairs and downstairs. With a first floor master, a generous dining room and a cozy nook upstairs, the Farmhouse is a great example of the homes in the West End.

The lots in West End range from .25-.5 acres. The beautiful foliage that borders the properties will only get better as the trees bloom in spring. The new homes feature covered front and back porches which are a must in this historic city. The West End homes are welcoming with 9-foot cathedral ceilings, oak floors, stunning re-purposed trim accents and encapsulated crawl spaces. Ceramic tile and granite or marble counter tops build a cook’s kitchen; perfect for entertaining or cooking the family meals. Energy-efficient and green building features as well as smart-home options are available.

Farmhouse Floor Plan

First floor plan of the West End “Farmhouse”

The neighborhood is located minutes from downtown Hillsborough. Just one mile from vibrant, historic downtown Hillborough, there’s always something going on in the area. UNC’s Hospital Hillsborough Campus is only four miles away, while it’s just a short 10 minute drive to Chapel Hill. Durham is another short drive away, offering all kinds of incredible food and the Durham Bulls Ballpark.

Things to Do in Hillsborough, NC

West End just a mile from downtown, giving residents easy access to all that this historic and lively town has to offer. Hillsborough is a unique hub for artists, writers, and musicians – just check out The Sun magazine. This lovely town is also home to the Orange County Artists Guild, a non-profit organization of artists supporting artists. Stop in at the independent bookstores or local artisan shops.

Don’t miss Last Friday’s Art Walk which is held on the last Friday of each month between 6 PM and 9 PM.  The Art Walk showcases the talent of the incredible local artists.

You’ll have to try the down-home cuisine offered by local farm-to-table restaurants. The Hillsborough Farmer’s Market is a foodie favorite, where you get the chance to meet and support the local farmers, bakers and craftsmen. Buy fresh, locally produced food that you can trust from the Farmer’s Market.

Hillsborough has something for everyone. The whole family will enjoy a beautiful walk on the approximately two mile Riverwalk at the Eno River. During the summer, the Eno River is a great spot to bask in the sun.

Healthcare in Hillsborough

West End is four miles from UNC Hospital’s new Hillsborough Campus which provides convenient healthcare. The Hillsborough Campus includes a Medical Office Building, Emergency Department, Outpatient Surgery and Inpatient Services, along with other support services.

The 68-bed facility combines a community hospital culture with the innovative procedures. The facility provides incredible care for which the UNC Medical Center is known.

We’re Here to Help!

If you are interested in learning about these West End homes 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.
Amazing Personal Safety Technology By Wearsafe – Don’t Miss This

Amazing Personal Safety Technology By Wearsafe – Don’t Miss This

Personal safety has always been important and today more than ever, we need to make sure our safety and the safety of our loved once is protected.  As we move forward and technology continues to advance we are going to see more and more devices that help us live our lives, stay safe, and even help us order our groceries.

One amazing new technology in the safety realm is Wearsafe. This personal safety technology makes it simple to communicate in a bad or scary situation. If you’re hurt or in danger, you can’t always count on being able to find, unlock and dial your phone to call for help. At the first sign of trouble, pressing the Wearsafe Tag keeps you a step ahead of the situation.

Personal Safety Technology by Wearsafe – How It Works

Wearsafe uses the power of your phone to alert friends and family, sends them audio from the scene and starts a live chat room where they can coordinate a response or call 911. All while keeping your phone—your lifeline—out of sight.  All you have to do is press the button on your Wearsafe tag and it will activate the record button on your phone WITHOUT turning on the light.  It will also notify the people you have put in your network that you are in an unsafe situation and through the APP it will show them your location.

Wearsafe is packed with amazing safety features that you will appreciate, and be thankful for when and if the time comes. Features include “On-scene Audio” so that your trusted circle can hear what’s happening as it happens—no need to guess what’s wrong. It also offers “Wearsafe Rewind” which captures what led up to the situation with audio from 60 seconds before you pressed the Tag. One more amazing feature is the “Real-time Feedback” which lets the wearer know help is coming by silently vibrating each time someone gets your alert. This is a truly awesome product and should be something to check out in 2017.

The Virtual Situation Room

This part of the technology is truly smart and it goes to show that this team put a lot of hard work and dedication into how they were going to solve the issue of safety, and how best to get help to a person when in need. By continually collaborating with top security experts, users, students, designers, and engineers, they have created a personal safety solution that fits the way we live today. Let’s get back to the “Virtual Situation Room” and explain to you that once your friends and family receive your alert, the Wearsafe app gives them a private, live chat room where they can talk to one another, see who else has viewed the alert, figure out where everyone is located in relation to you and coordinate a response in real-time. If that doesn’t make your hair stand up, then I don’t know what will. Being able to coordinate a response to help a loved one in need could be the difference between speaking to them again and not. In dangerous situations every second counts, and this technology could be a life saver.

Why Wearsafe over other products?

Speed of use, sharing of critical information like live audio, and the ability to coordinate in order to send the best response,personal safety with wearsafe sets Wearsafe apart from any other personal safety system. Wearsafe says that it offers the smartest, most effective personal safety technology in the world, and it will allow you — and the people you care about — to live more confidently every day. The Wearsafe Tag has a range of up to 200 feet — so you don’t have to pull out your phone to call for help. During an emergency, the last thing you want to do is fumble through your phone’s password, dial an emergency number, and try to tell an emergency service where you are and what kind of help you need. In addition to plenty of helpful focus groups, they went through three highly selective University accelerator programs, conducted extensive beta tests with actual users, and made sure Wearsafe Tag got into the hands of over a thousand users before going to market.

What is very cool about this company, you can try the product for FREE!

Our thoughts on Wearsafe

In a time when life is so fast paced, and the planet is more populated than ever —safety becomes more important than ever. Technology is all around us, some doing us good, some doing us bad. That’s life though, gotta take the good with the bad. We have found the good in Wearsafe Tag and believe it to be a great new technology in the safety sector. As a real estate agent this technology sounds like a game changer.  But, this technology is important for everyone:  our daughters, our sons, our friends and our colleagues.  I recently heard about this at the Inman Conference I was attending and knew I had to tell the my team and you.

If you are looking to buy, sell or rent your home in the Durham, Chapel Hill, Raleigh area, visit us at Real Estate Experts.

 

North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival 2017

North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival 2017

The North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival is almost here, and #NCCAF has become one of the premiere comedy festivals in the United States. Acts from New York, LA, Chicago, DC, Boston, Philadelphia, and every city in between, flock here to perform, network and develop as the next generation of comedy talent.  This years line-up includes The Josh and Tamra Show , Emo Philips , and Mo Collins just to name a few, so come get your laugh on at #NCCAF  2017.

North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival

 

Every February #NCCAF presents one of the largest independent comedy events in the country, showcasing improv, sketch and stand-up comedy acts from all across North America in the heart of North Carolina (Chapel Hill and Carrboro). Produced by DSI Comedy and Zach Ward; NCCAF was created in 2001 to showcase Chicago-style improvisation and educate Carolina audiences. This is an experience you will not want to miss, as this show has something for everyone.

Headliners for the Show

Emo Philips will headline his own standup show at DSI COMEDY on Wednesday Feb 15 to kick off the 17th annual festival. He will be improvising with founder Zach Ward on Thursday, a special All-star cast on Friday and (as he has for the last 5 years) Emo will be dropping in on as many workshops as possible while in Chapel Hill. Emo Philips is one of the recent standards of American comedy, an incredible entertainer born in the suburbs of Chicago. His work influenced Jim Carrey, Demetri Martin, Patton Oswalt, Mitch Hedberg and Bo Burnham.

The Josh and Tamra Show returns to headline #NCCAF 2017. The first comedy duo to tour Muppet-style Puppet Improvisation. They are offering a Master Class in improv and puppetry, on camera. The Josh & Tamra Show are pioneers of puppet improv comedy. For the past 17 years, Josh Cohen, Tamra Malaga, and a cast of amazing Muppet style puppets create a feature length montage of scenes. This show may contain adult situations and language.

Mo Collins (MADtv 1998-2004) has confirmed as a headliner for #NCCAF 2017. Mo will also teach a Master Class in creating sketch comedy characters and will improvise with our festival All-Stars. Mo has been a part of MadTv for some time now and should bring the area top notch comedy skits.

Details about #NCCAF 2017

This year’s Festival will last from Feb. 15th – Feb 26th 2017. We have a lot of great acts and we are so happy to have everyone involved. #NCCAF tickets can be bought here. Information on shows and dates can be found here.  If you are in need of lodging for the show, see these nearby Hotels. Maybe you would like a list of amazing restaurants in the area. Whatever your needs are Chapel Hill can fill them, so come on down to Tarheel country and have a few laughs.

At Real Estate experts we like to have a good time, and get out and live a little. Here is a great chance for you and your family to do the same, a chance to try something new, an opportunity to start the year off with a little laughter. If you are new to the area and have any questions about Chapel Hill Real Estate, or Durham Real Estate please do not hesitate to reach out to me. The Triangle area has much to offer and I would love to give you the tour.

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