Archive for February, 2010

The Best Time to Sell

By Jessica Sadler

Clients and friends often ask about the best time to sell and, considering we are entering the busiest time of year in real estate, it seemed like a good time to discuss timing. There are many angles from which to consider this question but in this post I will look at the number of showings during each month of 2009. Although 2009 may have seen fewer houses sold, from my experience it does represent the showing trends for most years.

I’ve included a chart below of the number of showings in Durham for houses between $150,000-$400,000 by month. The period from March-June saw the most showings beginning with a significant increase of activity in February. December and November had the fewest showings by far and numbers were steady in January, February, and July-October.

Judging by the chart, I would advise that the ideal time to list a house is between the end of January and the beginning of April. Listing a home in October may result in fewer showings and possibly a lower price. However, the numbers make it clear that the Durham housing market continues to see some showings throughout the year and if your situation makes selling your home necessary, there will be buyers looking.


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By: Mariana Byrd

Another great, easy, and free way to support Homes4NC (a charitable 501(c)(3) organization created by the North Carolina Association of REALTORS® to help more North Carolinians get into homes):

Download a customized toolbar at and each time you search the Internet or shop at one of 1,300 stores, a percentage is donated to Homes4NC. (I love the Goodsearch tagline: “you search we give”!)  It’s a simple way to make a difference!

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What we mean when we say, “green”

By: Courtney James

We have a specific set of principles that we at Urban Durham Realty have committed to.  They are as follows:

  • We are committed to staying informed about issues that impact Durham
  • We are committed to giving back to the community by donating a portion of each transaction to a local charity
  • We are committed to supporting Durham businesses and keeping our resources local
  • We are committed to increasing our awareness of “green” opportunities and decreasing our impact on the planet

The one I want to focus on in this blog post is the last one – the statement regarding increasing our awareness of “green” opportunities and decreasing our impact on the planet.  It’s probably an understatement that the term “green” has become trendy.  It’s gotten so trendy in fact that the word has lost its luster for many.  Because of this blatant overuse, I think we, as a company, need renewed focus on defining concrete objectives to abide by our commitment.

Last year I attended a three-day class to earn an Eco-Broker certification.  Believing this might be another example of rhetoric without substance, I expressed initial reluctance.  Now, having earned the certification, I can honestly say that I learned a tremendous amount and continue to learn more.  I am so enthusiastic about it that I have encouraged all of the agents at UDR to work towards their certifications.

As real estate brokers, we are in a unique position of introducing clients to their future house.  We have unfettered access to show buyers (and sellers) potential energy and cost saving opportunities in their home.

As a simple example, most people pay little attention to the direction their house faces, and where the trees are in relation to the sun.  These features can have a tremendous impact on heating and cooling costs. In the summer, the sun rises in the northeast and sets in the northwest and in the middle of the day, the sun is high overhead.  In the winter the sun rises in the southeast and sets in the southwest and in the middle of the day, the sun is low in the southern sky.  Planting a deciduous shade tree on the southwest or southeast side of your house will help reduce your cooling needs in the summer, and after the leaves drop in autumn, sunlight will warm your home through south and west-facing windows during the colder months.

Another example deals with how ‘sealed’ a home is.  I tend to do much of my business helping people buy and sell older homes and although I love them, they tend to be drafty.  This is especially significant in the winter time since heating our homes typically accounts for the highest single energy cost in a home.  Here is a test you can perform to help determine air leaks.  On a windy day, hold a lit incense stick next to your windows, doors, electrical boxes, plumbing fixtures, electrical outlets, ceiling fixtures, and attic hatches. If the smoke stream travels horizontally, you have located an air leak that may need caulking, sealing, or weatherstripping.

It is through small opportunities to educate our clients that we feel we are able to live our commitment to be more earth friendly.  We have lots more to learn, but be assured that what we learn we’ll be passing along to many new homeowners!

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How Does Providing Books to Children Increase the Value of Real Estate

By:  Mary Rae Hunter

As a former kindergarten, reading and remediation teacher in the local public schools, I was very happy to see that our local school system has decided to launch a new initiative designed to place new or gently used books in the hands of elementary students throughout the Durham Public School District.  It is well documented that, when children are out for summer vacation, they often lose a great deal of what they have learned over the previous year.  By simply reading four or more books over the summer, children significantly increase what they lose for learning during school break.

So, how can reading help the value of real estate?  We know from experience that parents will move to different parts of the community to have their most precious possession, their children, attend schools where the test scores are the highest, or where the students are challenged and taught by excellent teachers.  It is in these desirable communities that schools gain parent support.  That parent support often translates to students showing respect to the administration, teachers and their peers.  When schools perform at a “high” academic level, the community receives the benefit of having families want to move into that particular school district boundary.  When that happens, the real estate value in the desirable boundary appreciates.  Our family, for instance, made two moves that were totally determined by school district boundaries.  One was for my daughter to attend middle school.  The second was for her to attend the high school where she felt she could perform at the top academic level.

Durham Public Schools have a praiseworthy initiative this year:  Place books into the hands of the Durham Public School elementary students for them to enjoy at home.  By giving children the chance to have books and to read them over the summer, we give the children the opportunity to grow personally, academically, and culturally.  By giving books to a child, no matter where he or she lives in Durham City or County, it promises to make a positive difference in their life.  This will contribute to a fuller learning and cultural experience when they return to school.  How?  Well as a former teacher, I know how much more teachers are able to teach children when every child comes to school eager to learn.  As studies show, reading during school breaks can help tremendously.

How can you and I help?  Well, we can start helping the children in Durham by donating new or gently used books.  The Durham Public Schools are accepting books at any high school media center, the DPS Staff Development Center on Hillandale Road and the Fuller Building on Cleveland Street.  We can also check out the BookMark program on the Durham Public School Website. bookmark

Before the children go on their summer break, they will get the thrill of choosing books they want to take home and read.

Durham Public Schools will not accept magazines, textbooks, activity books or books printed before 1990.  Gently used books should be free of writing and rips.

Help Children Learn to Read – Help Your Real Estate Values Increase!

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