Category Archives: Triangle REALTOR Tips

REALTOR Tip: Holiday Decorating for the Exterior of Your Home

Raleigh Home for Sale FMRealtyIt may be mid-December (and only 15 days until Christmas, but who’s counting?!), but we venture to guess in the busiest season of the year there are plenty of you that have not decorated your homes in all their holiday fare just yet. Go ahead. Let’s see you raise your hands!

The folks at HGTV always have some excellent tips for just about anything a homeowner could want. For this particular piece, we are concentrating on the often over-looked details of decorating the outside of your home during the holidays. Let’s face it – most of us just pick what color lights we want, where we think they should go, whether or not to add wreaths or other special decorative elements, etc., but what we don’t look at is architecture, unique elements we might want to feature, or yes, even the correct lighting for each!

In this short (less than 2 minutes, folks!) video, HGTV explains how to incorporate the right plan in your outdoor decor and lighting for the holidays. As a home seller in the Triangle this season too, this is especially important for the right curb appeal to attract those buyers too because you never know – a buyer who just toured your home might then drive by again to take a look at it at night too. Give that prospective buyer something to envision in what could be their new home!

For more tips on selling your home during the holidays, check out our Top 5 tips for holiday home sellers too!

Image of 2601 Shadow Hills Court, Raleigh courtesy of TMLS and Image current at time of publishing.


REALTOR Tip: New Year’s Resolutions Every Homeowner Should Make

The following contribution is by our Eddie Brown, VP / Sales Manager of our Fonville Morisey Brier Creek office. While it may only be the beginning of December, why not think about these things now because you know 2015 will be here before you know it, right? Thanks, Eddie!

New Year’s Resolutions Every Homeowner Should Make

Whether you’re a new homeowner or you’ve been in your house for years, why not resolve to make this year the year you get your house into shape?

A few simple changes could prevent you from encountering costly problems down the road. An important task every homeowner should do is develop and implement a maintenance plan. Doing so will end up saving you in the long run by avoiding larger, more expensive repairs in the future. Think of it as giving your home an annual physical.

Things to consider:

Water– Check visible water pipes and sewer lines for cracks, rusting and leaking; turn on faucets to test water pressure and volume; and look for clogged or sluggish drains or dripping faucets. If pipes are galvanized or steel and the house is old, be sure to check carefully along the entire length of the pipe. Wrap your pipes with heating tape every winter and insulate unfinished rooms such as garages if they contain exposed pipes. Also, check for signs of leaking or rusting on your water heater.

Electricity– Check your electrical system’s load center and see if there are fuses or circuit breakers; also check its age and look for signs of wear or exposed wires.

Heat– Check your heating system for gas leaks and cracks in the heat exchanger. Maintain your furnace, fireplace, boiler, water heater, space heater and wood-burning stove and have your heating system serviced every year. Clean and vacuum dust from vents, baseboard heaters and cold-air returns.

Gas– Check smoke and fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and change your heating and air conditioning filters. Have your appliances inspected for gas leaks and adequate ventilation.

Insulation– Your attic should be five to 10 degrees warmer than outside air. Check weather stripping and caulking around windows and doors and replace or repair it as needed. Also, repair broken glass and loose or missing putty on windows.

Basement/Attic– Well-insulated basements and crawl spaces will protect your pipes from freezing. Check the basement for signs of water leaking, dampness, flooding, dry rot and termites. Check the attic for signs of leaks and any rodent or insect infestation.

Exterior– Remove all debris from gutters. Maintain your steps and handrails. Inspect your roof for damaged or loose shingles; gaps in the flashing where the roofing and siding meet vents and flues; and damaged mortar around the chimney (especially at the joints, caps and washes). Inspect your home’s exterior walls, looking for possible weather-related damage like cracks and loose or crumbling mortar.

For Tax Purposes– if you do any major home improvement projects, keep your receipts. You may be eligible to minimize the capital gain that may come your way when you eventually sell. The improvement must be one that permanently increases the value and useful life of the house (like a new roof).

By keeping your house maintenance in order this year, you’re sure to thank yourself at this time next year.

Do you have any additional suggestions to add to this list? Please comment below, if you do!


REALTOR Tip: Our Top 5 Tips for Selling Your Home During the Holidays

FM Falls Christmas Tree

It’s November. Halloween has come and gone. Now, everyone from retailers to your next door neighbors have broken down the ghosts and goblins to make way for wreaths and dare we say it, Christmas trees. BUT, just because the holiday season is around the corner that does not mean you can’t put your home on the market AND sell it! Here are our Top 5 tips for selling your home during the holidays.

Tip #1 – Deck Those Halls – Just Be Selective (and simple) About It!

Another way to put it – be tasteful about your decoration selections. A simple holiday wreath on the front door followed by a nicely decorated Christmas tree in the family room and a few lights in the windows will give your home that holiday glow welcoming the prospective buyer into your home. That’s really all you need.

Tip #2 – Curb Appeal is Still Important

Just like what you do with the inside of your home, many families enjoy spreading a little decorative holiday cheer on the outside as well. However, you don’t have to go all Clark Griswold on it either. Perhaps, place a nice wreath on your front door and shine a spotlight on it or put up one string of icicles dangling off the roof and let the faux candles burn from the windows below. At the same time, don’t forget to make sure the front steps/porch is cleaned up. The gutters too. Of course, make sure any wires attached to holiday lighting are not in the path of the sidewalk, steps or front porch as well.

Tip #3 – Take Photos AFTER You’ve Decorated

Whether you’ve just listed your home on market OR you need updated images for the MLS listing (or your website, social media, etc.), deck the halls and THEN get some professional pictures taken. Buyers love to look (and Pin on Pinterest!) pretty images of homes for sale. Once you’ve done all the work making it sparkle for the holidays, why not invest a little extra in having a professional photographer snap some shots for you!

Tip #4 – Having an Open House? Spread Some Holiday Cheer!

Go ahead play a little Nat King Cole, The Carpenters Christmas Portrait, Christmas With Scotty McCreery or whatever holiday music puts you in a festive mood. Prepare a holiday punch & offer some holiday cookies for your prospective buyers. On Open House day make your buyers feel welcome in your home while spreading some holiday cheer!

Tip #5 – Hire a Real Estate Agent to Help You Price it Right

This should be a no-brainer but we just have to say it – real estate agents know the market. They can compare home prices of the homes in your neighborhood as well as take many other steps necessary that they only have access to in order to help you price your home right. Don’t go and do all the work in the steps above without having an experienced real estate agent assist you in the most important piece of the sale – the price. Our Fonville Morisey Sales Associates will guide and show you how much your home is really worth. Price it right and you can expect a successful sale in the end.

So, go ahead – deck the halls, spread a little holiday cheer, and sell that home. You can do it during the holidays!

REALTOR Tip: Our 3 BEST Tips for Preventing Fire in the Home

It’s National Fire Prevention Week. Educators across the country are teaching the children in their charge all kinds of tips & tricks to prevent (or escape from) fires in their homes. Some schools bring in guest speakers or even one of the BIG fire trucks from their local fire department!

NFPA Fire Prevention Week 2014 FMRealty

Fire Prevention Week began as a way to recognize and commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. That fire lasted a day, killed 250 people, left 100,000 homeless and destroyed over 17,000 structures. HUGE doesn’t even describe the depth of that tragedy. The International Fire Marshal’s Association established Fire Prevention Week as a means to remind homeowners and keep the public informed of fire safety.

As real estate agents, many of our clients are either getting ready to list their homes for sale in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and surrounding communities, have listed them, OR we have buyers interested in purchasing them and as such, those same buyers have to go through a home inspection during the closing process. In both cases, it’s important that homeowners are aware of what they need to do to ensure their home is inspected for fire safety. With it being Fire Prevention Week, we thought we’d look at three most crucial tips to prevent fire in a home.

1. Check Your Wiring

Your home’s electrical system can be a primary source of a fire if it’s not tended to properly. Ensuring your have replaced faulty wires, you are not overloading electrical outlets, you’re routing extension cords properly and as basic as it sounds – you’re following the manufacturer’s instructions before plugging an appliance into an electrical outlet – all contribute to fire prevention. For more tips on proper care for your home’s electrical system, check this link with the National Fire Prevention Association.

2. Keep Your Outdoor Grills at a Safe Distance

This time of year, we’re still outside grilling our favorite steaks, chicken or the day’s catch. Be sure to place your grill far enough away from the structure, including railings and under eaves, etc. That’s the first and most important thing. Additionally, it’s also important to keep your grill clean of grease from previous use, and that includes in the trays below. If you’re using a charcoal grill, make sure you use the right amount of fluid, store that far enough way from the grilling surface AND let the coals completely cool before putting the grill away. For more tips here, visit the NFPA’s PDF on grilling safety.

3. Fire Prevention Safety for Kids

This should go without saying, but the tip from the NFPA that struck us the most was –

“A grown-up always stays in the kitchen when food is cooking on the stovetop.”

So true! Monitoring your stovetop and what’s cooking on it is more important than you think. Fires have been started by a simple spark caused by a faulty burner, but also, if you have young children in the home at the same time who don’t know any better, they too could knock a pot over or inadvertently turn up the temperature of the cooking surface, or what have you. That too can start a fire. Additional tips for children can be found on the NFPA checklist for kids and families. We’d also like to share this video from the NFPA shared by our own North Carolina Department of Insurance too –

Of course, you can find MANY more tips about fire prevention safety on the National Fire Prevention Association webpage for Fire Prevention Week.

The bottom line is no matter if you currently own or are selling your home, take the time this week to ensure your home is safe from fire. Taking the steps now will prevent a fire in the future…and if you’re planning to sell your home, it’s better to find out (and fix) what issues your home may have before the inspection of it for the prospective homebuyer too.

Image of Fire Prevention Safety Week courtesy of the National Fire Prevention Association. Used by permission.




Celebrate “Cheese Pizza Day” in The Triangle!

by Lisa Sullivan, Digital Media Marketing Director with contributions from Kim Skiba (FM Relocation), Jenna Simmons (FM Lending), Jennie Logan (Guaranty Title), Allison Manella (FM ITB, Admin), and Sales Associates Sara DuChon (FM ITB), Bo Bromhal (FM ITB), Laura Pedersen (FM Wake Forest), Kelly Cobb (FM Lochmere), Kelly Mathews (FM Vandora – Garner), Catherine Baldwin (FM Stonehenge), Susan Wies (FM Croasdaile), and Valerie Troupe (FM Croasdaile).

Cheese Pizza by D Sharon Pruitt Creative Commons FMRealtyHonestly, there’s no real origin to this day, at least not one that we have been able to find (or others as well!). Still, as Americans we tend to find joy in many special days throughout the year – “National Chocolate Day” or how ’bout “National Bacon Day” (yes, that one exists too). In fact, later this month there’s even “National Guacamole Day”! Break out the Margaritas, everyone.

But, seriously, with today being “Cheese Pizza Day” this topic gave us pause to reflect on the many places around the Triangle that serve mouth-watering delicious cheese pizza. Most Triangle residents know of the Mellow Mushroom locations in Raleigh, Durham, Cary, and Wake Forest. They also know of the famous Lilly’s Pizza in Five Points. The Rachael Ray Show even featured them earlier this year! We polled our Fonville Morisey family for their favorite destinations for cheese pizza in the Triangle and here is what some of them had to say.

Take Your Pick for New York-Style Cheese Pizza!

It’s funny. When you poll a number of people about their favorite “whatever” chances are you always get a response that includes “it’s the BEST_____!” In this case, when we asked for favorite pizza joints, we received a number of submissions described as “the best New York-style pizza” and your choices for that are: Randy’s Pizza with six locations throughout the Triangle, Pizza Mia in Durham (or Creedmoor), Cannizzaro’s Pizzeria & Restaurant in Wake Forest, J & S New York Pizza in Apex or Fuquay-Varina, or La Roma’s Pizza & Pasta in Garner. In fact, Allison Manella had this to say about Pizza Mia –

“Pizza Mia in Durham has the closest thing to a NYC style pizza my husband and I have been able to find since moving from Manhattan last year! They even sell slices!”

While Valerie Troupe was partial to the sauce on the pies at J & S New York Pizza –

“J & S NY Pizza in Apex is the best! They have the most amazing pizza sauce that makes their cheese pizza taste awesome and their garlic knots are fantastic too.”

See what we mean – SO many options to choose from for New York-style pizza!

Who knew Ohio had a pizza style?

We didn’t…until we polled our Fonville Morisey family, that is. Jenna Simmons with our FM Lending group shared her thoughts on Donato’s Pizza and it certainly made our mouths water –

“It’s the perfect amount of cheese, and always cooked perfectly. The pizza is made in a rectangle shape and cut into smaller rectangles, so it’s more fun to eat and the portions are smaller if you are watching your waist size. The sauce is perfectly seasoned and they use provolone cheese – different from the typical mozzarella.”

Let’s not forget about gourmet and Italian-style pizzas either!

For a gourmet…and a gluten free…twist to your cheese pizza, check out Bella Monica in Raleigh. Bo Bromhal describes Bella’s pizza as, “the secret Old Italy sauce recipe combined with the quality of the other ingredients AND what the oven does to the crust…” Then, he stopped there. Makes you want him to finish his sentence, or go see for yourself, doesn’t it?

When we talk “Italian-style” pizza, we have differing opinions there too, but both are excellent reviews of each favorite restaurant. Kelly Mathews absolutely LOVES La Bella Pizzeria in Clayton and had this to say about it –

“La Bella Pizza is our go to pizza place to sit down or have delivered. The pizza is always hot and baked right. You can’t beat a local place with friendly faces and great service. It is a small pizza restaurant in a small town!”

She’s right. You can’t beat local and friendly…and if the food is great too, well then that’s a win-win!

Our Kelly Cobb who has traveled to Italy on many occasions and experienced authentic Italian pizza recommends Enrigo Italian Bistro in Cary. Located at the bustling Waverly Place shopping center she declares, “the atmosphere by the fountain is awesome and the cheese pizza tastes just like the one I had in Italy on my first visit!”

Another Italian-style favorite is Raleigh staple Amedeos Italian Restaurant on Western Boulevard. Once family-owned and operated, the restaurant prides itself on the various delicious family recipes they have on their menu, including the cheese pizza.

How ’bout brick oven & something you might not have expected!

For wood-fired, brick-oven pizza try Brixx Wood Fired Pizza in Chapel Hill and in Raleigh. Sara DuChon shares –

“The whole wheat crust is awesome, the toppings are all fresh and they have wonderful combos. They are opening a new location in Cameron Village in the next couple of weeks. Looking forward to having it closer to work!”

On a totally different and unexpected level, have you ever tried the cheese pizza at Whole Foods? Our Kim Skiba has and her favorite part about its ingredients is that they use Buffalo Mozzarella (or chunky Mozzarella) cheese to make their pizzas with. Who knew?!

And there you have it – our picks for best cheese pizza in the Triangle. We venture to guess we’ve missed a few of your favorites. Feel free to leave a comment below with your pick!

In the meantime, we’re thinking about ordering a pizza from one of these fine Triangle restaurants to celebrate Cheese Pizza Day. Who’s in?

Image of pizza courtesy of D. Sharon Pruitt on Flickr. Used via Creative Commons.