Category Archives: Triangle REALTOR Tips

REALTOR Tip: Ideas for “Happy Homework Spaces”

Let’s face it most kids are not all that gung ho when it comes doing their homework. Younger children (those in grades K-3) tend to not mind too much as they typically don’t have all that much to complete. It’s the children in grades 4 and above that tend to balk at the mere mention of – “Time to do your homework.” A collective, “Awwwww!” with a slight groan to the tone can be heard throughout the home. Are we right?

Well, why not make your kids’ homework spaces inviting! Give them a space of their very own either in a central location in the home, in a specially designated area (make use of the that loft at the top of the stairs perhaps), or create a “homework” wall or corner in their rooms. Either way, give them something to inspire them to want to improve their brain cells and get that homework completed!

We have had fun finding several GREAT ideas in our Pinterest Board appropriately titled “Happy Homework Spaces” and invite you to visit it here -

Follow Fonville Morisey’s board Happy Homework Spaces on Pinterest.

Whether you have a young tyke in 1st Grade or a teenager, we’ve compiled some of our favorite design ideas for an inspiring homework spot in the home.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics -

Research has shown that having a designated area with appropriate supplies helps students develop effective study habits.”- from 

A Third and a Fourth Grade Teacher from The Cambridge School in San Diego also touched up on the importance of designating an area for homework, specifically they point out how consistency is important as well as it being away from distractions too, among other tips they provide.

Because we assist so many families in our community with buying and selling their homes in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and surrounding areas, and with it being the start of a new school year, we hope you will find this post and the accompanying Pinterest Board link helpful to you. If you have any other ideas you’d like to share, please comment below!

We wish all our students MUCH success this academic year!


REALTOR Tip: Fall Decor & Recipe Ideas From Our Pinterest Page

by Lisa Sullivan, Digital Media Marketing Director

Have you noticed the slight change in the weather here in The Triangle? Mornings are a bit cooler than normal and afternoons have been glorious! It’s gotten us thinking about the Autumn harvest season, fall decorating, and the delicious goodness that can come from our kitchens (you know we’ve got you thinking about mom’s apple pie now!).

One of the things we’ll be working closely on as the rest of 2014 winds down is our Pinterest Boards of ideas for decorating and recipes to share. We start with our “Fabulous Fall Decor” and “Fantastic Fall Recipes” Boards -

Follow Fonville Morisey’s board Fabulous Fall Decor on Pinterest.Follow Fonville Morisey’s board Fantastic Fall Recipes on Pinterest.

The kids are back in school now, most vacations are over (oh there may be one last get away Labor Day Weekend), and everyone is getting back into the swing of things – homeowners AND home sellers.

Our Fabulous Fall Decor Board will be chock full of ideas for both, especially those of you either currently selling or planning to sell your homes in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and surrounding communities. We’ll “pin” easy ways to incorporate fall decor into the overall look of your home as you open it up to prospective buyers. We’ll add ideas that are simple yet colorful, not too splashy or over the top. The goal is to showcase your home this Fall season with just a hint of orange, brown, beige, and gold tones in the accessories & decorations you may wish to use during this season.

For the Fantastic Fall Recipes Board, we’ll add traditional flavors of fall, cooking, baking and even some healthy fall recipes into mix. We venture to guess your mouth is watering as you read this with the mere mention of “pumpkin spice breads” or “baked apple pie” or whatever flavor of fall strikes your fancy! Homeowners in the Triangle will delight in what we find (we hope!).

So, please join us on Pinterest. Follow along and if you have any ideas for pins for us, shoot us a message on Pinterest or post a link in the comments below.

In the words of one of our pinned fall decoration ideas -

Happy Fall Y’all!

REALTOR Tip: Choosing the Right Kind of Spray Paint for Your Home Project

by Lisa Sullivan, Digital Media Marketing Director

While the title suggests any home project, we’re going to specifically concentrate on one of our tips from our recent blog post on inexpensive ways to add curb appeal when selling your home – using paint. In that piece we touched upon how adding a touch of paint to trim, a new fresh color for your door or your shutters, etc. would add a clean and attractive look to the front of your home. Remember, you want to make a STUNNING first impression for the perspective buyer!

We’re going to take this a step further and share a video for a concept on paint that perhaps you didn’t think of – spray paint. Today’s choices and quality of spray paint (including the can itself) are much better than many years ago. We’re not suggesting you rely solely on spray paint for your curb appeal project, but what we are saying is that perhaps it’s an option.

So, to help you decide which type of spray paint you should use – color, texture (yes, texture), primer (or primer and paint combined), etc. – we’re sharing this GREAT video by the folks at This Old House. It’s just over 5 minutes long but the information is very valuable.

Your property is now on the market (or will be very soon) in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and surrounding communities. Why not show the BEST of it off by making simple small changes to attract the right home buyer! Adding a touch of paint here or there can sometimes make the difference.

If you found this video to be helpful, check out more from the folks at This Old House.

And if you have painted your front door or anywhere else in your home to entice a sale, let us know how you it went in the comments below. We’d love to hear about it!

REALTOR Tip: 4 Inexpensive Ideas for Curb Appeal for Triangle Home Sellers

by Lisa Sullivan, Digital Media Marketing Director

As the old saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

This is especially important for the home seller. You don’t get a second chance for that, but if you’re first impression isn’t so stellar, then make your second impression STUNNING.

Let’s say, you’ve just listed your home for sale in one of our fabulous communities, but the entryway to your home isn’t as inviting as it could be. It’s not bad; it’s just not…stunning. Well, we’ve got some ideas for you to create that stunning first impression for the prospective homebuyer… AND they’re fairly inexpensive too!

9713 Clover Bank Street FMRealtyPaint goes a long way!

Really, it does. Paint your front door, the trim around your door, your porch, what have you. Paint a combination – your door and the shutters (if you have them), your door and the trim, or perhaps any of those areas just need a touch-up. A gallon or two of paint can run anywhere between $30-$100 each. A small investment to make a BIG impact!

Wash that dirt right out!

Clean your windows, driveway, porch, concrete steps, etc. You’ve probably got window cleaning spray already at home (and if you don’t, that’s an inexpensive product to purchase!) so take an hour or two and wash the outside of your windows (insides too, if they need it). Windows glistening in the sun convey a cleanliness to your home.

Perhaps your driveway and steps need a little pressure washing too. Depending on the location of where you rent a pressure washer and how powerful it is, you can anticipate paying $30-$150 for the rental of one. Some places rent by day; some by the hour. Again, just a small investment for that first impression.

One of the easiest things you can do is sweep up and re-organize your front (or back) porch/patio if you have one. Sometimes just sweeping and tidying up that area, maybe adding a small plant or inexpensive cushions to any chairs on either, will be just enough to freshen up the space!

1421 Lakewind RaleighTrim the hedges & mulch those flower beds

Take an hour or two (longer if needed) and put the time in to tidy up your front lawn (but, don’t forget the back either). Chances are you already have a hedge trimmer in the garage, so perhaps the only cost to you might be for the mulch or extra flowers to sprinkle and plant in your front gardens. None of it needs to be elaborate either. Just think neat, tidy and attractive!

Does your mailbox need an upgrade?

Whether your mailbox sits right next to your door or is posted along the sidewalk/driveway, take a good look at it. How long have you had it? Is it weathered and stained? Is the color fading or chipping? Again, you don’t need to spend a huge chunk of this week’s paycheck on a new one. In fact, get a simple one and dress it up with flowers around the bottom or paint the flag on the box a different color than what you bought it as. Use your imagination! Either way, an old rickety mailbox won’t appeal to the potential homebuyer so see what you can do to change it.

Those are just four of our suggestions to inexpensively create some curb appeal for the home you are selling. Of course, it goes without saying if you have a lawn – large or small – keep it trimmed too (OK, so maybe that’s five suggestions!).

What other simple inexpensive things could you do to dress up the curb appeal of your home for sale? Please leave a comment below.

Image of 9713 Clover Bank Street, Wake Forest and 1721 Lakewind Court, Raleigh courtesy of TMLS and Images current at time of publishing.


REALTOR Tip: Things to Do in The Triangle for Free or Reduced Cost

Whether you are relocating to (or within) Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and surrounding communities or you already live here, whether you have a “stay-cation” coming up or are just looking for something FUN to do with the family, whatever your purpose, we asked our Fonville Morisey Sales Associates and Staff what some of their favorite things to do around The Triangle are. Compiling all the data and submissions we can break it down to three distinct categories – museums, parks and recreation, AND what we’re calling – “Did You Know?”. Each of the suggestions below are very economical and further detail more reasons why living in The Triangle is a wonderful place to be!

Museums and Gardens

NCMA Museum Park FMRealty Lisa SullivanAn overwhelming majority could not say enough about the North Carolina Museum of Art and its Museum Park. Admission to the Museum, its permanent collection and the grounds of Museum Park are all free. There is a charge for special collections and events. If you’re just in The Triangle for the day, this is one stop you definitely should make! Catherine Baldwin had this to say -

“I love the NC Museum Park trails! The art along the path inspires me.”

Many of our Agents marveled at the value in Membership at the Museum too. Cynthia Parker noted, “With their outdoor movies in the summer and indoor showings in the winter, they’re free to members and only $5 for non-members.” Of course, that’s only one perk of many with membership.

Other area museums with either free or reduced cost admission that made mention were the Museum of Life and Science as well as the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, both in Durham; the Ackland Art Museum at UNC in Chapel Hill, and the North Carolina Museum of History as well as the NC Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh. The latter in particular has a fantastic program – Science Thursdays. Says our Jean Stevens -

“The Science Café is every Thursday at 7:00pm. It used to be once a month but now it is weekly. It is ideal to get there early and enjoy a meal at the Daily Planet Café before the discussion begins. My parents enjoy going on a regular basis. I finally went myself and enjoyed it. This week’s topic is Genetic Ancestry. I think it is neat to have the opportunity to hear from the experts and all the different topics. The weekly discussions are free!”

The Museum of Life and Science in Durham has some special discounts for Durham residents throughout the year (and if you’re a Member, admission is FREE!) and the Nasher Museum of Art is free to everyone every Thursday evening from 5-9pm as well. Two more great values!

When it comes to gardens, we have many of those too…and once again, many are FREE to visit!

A couple of the most popular gardens mentioned by our Agents were Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham and the Coker Arboretum at the North Carolina Botanical Gardens in Chapel Hill. In fact, the NC Botanical Gardens got quite a few mentions. The gardens of either are absolutely gorgeous this time of year too!

Parks and Recreation Around The Triangle

Neuse River Greenway FMRealty Lisa SullivanOur community is very fortunate as its almost impossible to count the number of city, county, and state parks that dominate the landscape. Two popular destinations for many (on a large scale) that our Agents suggest are Umstead State Park in Raleigh and Eno River State Park in Durham. Both have a plethora of trails to choose from whether you are a beginner or advanced runner or biker. Many trails offer scenic overlooks where visitors can take in the view of ponds or, if at Eno, the Eno River itself. Add to that the number of places to picnic (shelters, open areas) within the properties as well, each park offers a whole lot to a person who enjoys being outdoors.

The Triangle also offers many lakes – big and small – to enjoy. If you’re into gas-powered boating, there’s Jordan Lake and Falls Lake. If you enjoy kayaking, canoeing or the latest craze, paddleboarding, there are several smaller lakes that offer any or all of those activities as well; but of course, you can do all of that on the larger lakes too (check out Jordan Lake Watersports for rentals).

Some of our Raleigh and Wake County-based Agents’ favorite parks/lakes are – Lake Lynn, Lake Ann, Shelley Lake, Lake Johnson, Crabtree Lake, and Lake Wheeler. Some offer water sports (like canoeing, kayaking) while others just offer pretty views, fishing, and even walking trails around the lakes. To learn more about each visit the Says our Linda Payne -

“You can rent canoes and small boats or you can just fish off the piers. It’s a great thing for families to do on a Saturday!”

Let us not forget the two longest Greenway projects and trails along our Triangle borders – the American Tobacco Trail in Durham and the Neuse River Greenway Trail in Wake County. Both stretch for miles and are great for walking, jogging, or biking. Destiny Sutton had this to say about the beauty of the Neuse River Greenway -

“My favorite free thing to do in the Triangle is explore the Neuse River Greenway Trail- 33 miles of gorgeousness from the North to the South of the Triangle’s Eastern Edge. Biking, Running, Kayaking, and Picnicking along the river with the lushness of the trees surrounding you is pretty unbeatable!”

Whether you’re looking for trails to wander, feel like a good workout standing on top of a paddleboard, or you’re a shutterbug waiting for just the right moment to capture digitally, our communities offer so many options for the outdoors enthusiast…and most of which is FREE too!

“Did you know?”

As we polled our Agents and Staff, there were a few FUN things to do that just really stuck out us.

Our Esther Giambalvo suggested taking in a movie under the stars at Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary’s summer program “Movies By Moonlight”. For just $3 for adults (free to kids under 12), it may not be a “drive-in” movie of old, but it’s an economical option for a summer evening. Says Esther – “My favorite cheap ‘date night’ for any occasion is Koka Booth Amphithetre’s ‘Movies By Moonlight’!” To learn more visit the Koka Booth website.

Martha Newport in our Chapel Hill office mentioned the Chapel Hill Library’s story time program. Infants, toddlers, school-age, or families can all participate. There’s even a program called “Pajama Time Story Time”. Who wouldn’t want to check that out? For more information, visit the Chapel Hill Library‘s website.

A favorite place that Beth Crompton in our Lochmere Sales office in Cary likes to visit is actually located just minutes away in Raleigh – the Joel Lane House. Mr. Lane is considered the “Father of Raleigh” because he spearheaded the location of the Capital of Raleigh on his land back in the late 1700′s. The historic restored house and plantation located just on the edge of Raleigh’s Boylan Heights neighborhood has guided tours and a beautiful garden. There is a minimal cost for the guided tour but history buffs will delight in taking it all in!

If you’re into all things equestrian, the Hunt Horse Complex on the grounds of the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh offers up free horse shows and competitions most weekends. Kim Decker and her family enjoy those! You can check out the schedule of events on the NC Department of Ag website too.

One of Kathy Legnaioli’s suggestions is the Duke Lemur Research Center in Durham. There visitors partake in a guided tour learning about Lemurs and their habitat. Visitors can even “adopt a Lemur” too! (Well, not actually take them home, but you know what we mean.). Kathy says -

“The Duke Lemur Research Center on Lemur Lane off of Erwin Road in Durham is fantastic. They do require reservations ahead of time, but it’s a blast and worth the few dollars to get in. It’s an experience you’ll never forget!”

For more information on the Duke Lemur Research Center, including pricing and tour FAQs, please visit their official website.

Another favorite “to-do” mentioned by many was the vast amount of Farmer’s Markets or farm stands in our communities. Of course, the BIG one – the North Carolina State Farmer’s Market is located in Raleigh, but there are many communities (and even neighborhoods – think North Hills in Raleigh’s Mid-Town, for instance) that host Farmer’s Markets throughout the season. Considering that many of our local restaurants also enjoy creating and serving dishes made with ingredients from local farmers, this isn’t much of a surprise, but it’s a GREAT way to take in a weekday or Saturday morning too!

Similar to area farmer’s markets was mention of the Raleigh Flea Market. We all love a good bargain and Raleigh’s own Flea Market is no exception. According to our Claudia Eades she says, “Browsing is free and cheap finds are available. You can even bring your dog too!”

Finally, if you’re into automobile racing, be sure and check out the Orange County Speedway in Rougemont OR the Wake County Speedway in South Raleigh. Both offer races most weekends during the summer months and for a nominal admission fee.

Truly, this was just a snippet of some of the favorite things our Fonville Morisey family members either enjoying doing with their own families or recommend to their clients as they transfer into and around the Triangle. There is so much to recommend for free and reduced costs, some of what we didn’t touch upon this time around…BUT we may just have to publish another post!

What are your favorite activities in our communities that are free or for a nominal fee? Please leave a comment below.

Many thanks to our Contributors, those mentioned above and – Anna Marie Ambrose, Christy Austin, Marie Brockenbrough, Amy Brown, Jackie Caprio, Beth Creaghan, Laurie Compiano, Lisa Hayes, Stacey Horowtiz, Sheila Kennedy, Deb Lepper, Jennie Logan, Kelly Mathews, Beth Prochaska, Lauren Richardson, Vicki Robinson, and Mike Strayhorn,

Images of NCMA Museum Park and the Neuse River Greenway credit to Lisa Sullivan.






REALTOR Tip: Home Maintenance Ideas for Summer

by Lisa Sullivan, Digital Media Marketing Director

After a long winter and as April and May roll around, we tend to get excited about the warmer spring weather and typically, as homeowners, that’s when we do what is often referred to as “spring cleaning”. For some, that could mean purging old clothes and cleaning out the closets to washing windows and curtains to getting our gardens ready for bloom. That’s all well and good but the problem is – we often stop there. Once spring cleaning is complete, then summer hits and it’s time for backyard barbecuing, slippin’ & slidin’, swimming, playing yard games, just overall having fun!

However, we need to remember we should be taking care of our property, our investment year round. So, we compiled some tips for you for keeping your home in tip-top shape for the summer months too.

Start With Your Back Deck

1632 Jamestown Place Chapel Hill FMRealtyWhen the weather gets real nice, we invite the neighbors over for an evening barbecue or our families over for graduation and summer Birthday parties. The fact, is we invite people over, people who will walk on your deck and/or sit on your patio furniture. So, it’s important to make sure that before anyone but you steps foot on your deck, it’s ready for others. Scrub and clean the deck. When that all dries, if you find it needs a touch of stain or paint, then go ahead and do that. Otherwise, once it’s clean, seal it and a day or two later it’ll be ready for your next backyard soiree!

Speaking of Patio Furniture

Now, is also a GREAT time to inspect, repair, or replace it. With the July 4th holiday and many celebrations coming around the corner, you know you’ll be having many guests. Make sure the current furniture is in good shape and if it’s not, take care of it. We’d also like to add if you haven’t changed out patio cushions or added accessories in quite a while, do that too. Make your deck look comfortable and inviting. BONUS – if you’re selling your home, that’s an added investment to showcase the sale too!

Trees and Shrubs Probably Need Pruning

As you were busy spring cleaning, you most likely did this already, but as summer approaches, it doesn’t hurt to do it again. In the Triangle region of North Carolina it seems like everything in your yard grows like a weed – so fast! That’s because it does. In our climate, grass isn’t the only thing that grows fast. Trees get covered with new branches and leaves and bushes tend to need a little pruning every now and then themselves too. Before the busy summer fun starts, prune those trees and shrubs.

Don’t Forget the Inside 

Summer is a good time to clean out your kitchen appliances (and sink drain too). We venture to guess you’re buying more and more fresh fruits and vegetables from local Farmer’s Markets and stands. Have a nice clean refrigerator to put them into when you get home. You’ll probably do less baking in the oven during the summer months too. So, why not use this time to clean it out! BONUS – if you’re selling your home, a sparkling clean kitchen makes for a great showcase!

One More Tip (Especially for Home Sellers)

If you are selling your home this summer (or if you’re not), a nice feature to add to your home would be landscape lighting. It can be fairly inexpensive and cost effective while still adding a bit of ambiance to the presentation of your home. The folks at Lowes Home Improvement have created this short video on how you can do that -

These are some of our suggestions for keeping your Triangle home well-maintained for the summer months. Do you have others? Please leave a comment below!

Image of 1632 Jamestown Place, Chapel Hill courtesy of TMLS and Image current at time of publishing.

REALTOR Tip: Home Appraisers Really Aren’t “the Bad Guys”

The following contribution comes from our Warren Sumner, Sales Associate with Triangle Specialists and Fonville Morisey Brier Creek. It was originally published in CIRCA Magazine. This excerpt is re-published by permission.

Home Appraisers: Not the Bad Guys After All

3004 Hillmer Drive Raleigh FMRealtyYou know the scene in the horror movies where the frightened young girl walks down the darkened hallway in the old abandoned house? There is a lone, solitary light at the end of the hall, beckoning her to safety, and she is only steps away from her salvation. But as she moves ever closer, the shadows begin to shift, and there is a palpable sense of fear and foreboding in the air. No one knows if, or when, the “monster” will strike from the dark.

It’s also a scene that plays out in any real estate transaction, when buyers and sellers come to an agreement on a home sale. The inspector clears the home of physical defects. The agent has filled out the necessary paperwork. The home is ready for sale, and at that point in the transaction, everything seems to be going smoothly; yet if everyone listens closely, they might just hear a frenzied strain of violins playing in the distance. The shadows will start to move. And in the pit of the stomach of any mortgage lender or realtor is a fear of the most heinous of creatures – the dreaded real estate appraiser!

Ok, so maybe this is an exaggeration – and according to local appraisers, an unnecessary one. Appraisers are a necessary evil (no pun intended) and according to Rob Ruark, an independent appraiser covering the Wake County area, they really don’t have the “fangs and claws” that some people attribute to them.

“We aren’t the bad guys,” Ruark said. “People need to realize that we are just doing our jobs. It’s our job to protect people from getting caught up in the emotion of home buying, to be the voice of reason….”

To get the whole story and find out more about why the Home Appraiser shouldn’t be considered the “bad guy” in your Triangle real estate transaction, please check out the original article on the CIRCA Magazine website.

Image of 3004 Hillmer Drive Raleigh courtesy of TMLS and Image current at time of publishing.


REALTOR Tip: Prepare Your Triangle Home for Hurricane Season – Whether You’re Selling It or Not

by Lisa Sullivan, Digital Media Marketing Director

Last week was National Hurricane Preparedness Week and this week marks the start of Hurricane Preparedness Month. So, we did some digging into the statistics about hurricanes in the United States, specifically how the powerful storms affect North Carolina. Whether or not you are selling your home, you should be prepared. We’ll provide you with some tips from that perspective as well as at the end of this article, we’ll provide you with resources for more information about how you can prepare your home and family in the event of a hurricane.

Hurricanes in North Carolina

If our state is going to experience a hurricane, the chances are it formed either in the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, or Southern Atlantic. A storm must reach upwards of 74mph for it to be considered a hurricane. According to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety historically -

“North Carolina is especially vulnerable to hurricane strikes.  From 1851 to 2005,  North Carolina has been hit by 47 hurricanes, 12 of them major.  Twenty-two hurricanes were a category 1, thirteen were a category 2, eleven were a category 3 and one was a category 4.  North Carolina has not had a direct hit from a category 5 hurricane.”

To give you some perspective on these statistics nationally in the last ten years the United States has experienced on average 19 storms and 8 hurricanes per year with damage estimates of over $230.7M to personal, commercial and governmental properties, according to the folks at Weather Underground. So, as homeowners and home sellers in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and surrounding communities we can’t take Hurricane Season (June 1st-November 30th) lightly. We need to be prepared.

1802 Blackstone Drive Durham FMRealty

What Should Home Sellers Do?

Really, there are two major pieces of advice we can give you -

Continue to stage the outside of your home for sale by doing such simple things as keeping your yard clean cut, adding a “Welcome” mat to your front door, tidying up your front porch area as well as your back deck, add some spotlighting where appropriate, trim any hedges or tree branches that need it, and if you have a pool, keep it clean too. Continue to present your home with a welcoming tone to the perspective buyer and should a hurricane be forecast to affect your immediate community, be sure to take the appropriate precautions to keep your property safe.

While your home is listed, make sure you and your family are prepared in the event of a hurricane.

Prepare Yourself Should a Hurricane Strike

The two most important things you should do right now -

  • Have an emergency kit prepared
  • Have an emergency plan in place, including an evacuation plan, especially if your property abuts a creek, river, pond, or other body of water.

The National Hurricane Center, a division of the U.S. National Weather Service, has prepared this series of videos on hurricane preparedness. They’re informative AND short. We encourage you to watch them.

Whether your home is on the market or it’s not right here in The Triangle, we encourage to take the appropriate measures to ensure you, your family, and your property are safe.

For more information on hurricane preparedness, please visit and the North Carolina Department of Public Safety’s webpage on hurricanes. If you’ve got small children at home, has some great hurricane resources for them too!

Image of 1802 Blackstone Drive, Durham courtesy of TMLS and Image current at time of publishing.


REALTOR Tip: Controlling and Limiting Exposure to Ticks and Other Backyard Pests

by Lisa Sullivan, Digital Media Marketing Director

What a lawn, pt. 2

It’s that time of year in North Carolina and the communities in the Triangle are not immune. Tick season. The mere mention of the word sends shivers down your spine, doesn’t it? This year in particular it seems tick season has certainly taken hold. I know first-hand thanks to my own four-legged furry friend the pesty troll has made its way through our community. I even found one on my own body just last week. So, it got me thinking, what can homeowners do to protect their backyard and landscape from ticks and other pests?

Rather than provide our readers with a list of tips and suggestions, I found this excellent video produced by the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service at Oklahoma State University. It’s just over six minutes long but has a wealth of information for both individuals and homeowners. From tips on how to protect your body to how to protect the perimeter of your landscaping, it’s worth a look -

Think home selling too! If you’re in the process of getting your home ready for sale in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill or surrounding communities, your Fonville Morisey Sales Associate will make countless suggestions on improving the appearance of your home making it ready for show. She or he not only focuses on the interior, but also the exterior…and that includes your landscaping. You want your buyers to see a beautifully landscaped lawn (front and back) and many will probably take a stroll through. So, add a layer of protection on their behalves too!

For more on how to control and limit exposure to ticks and other backyard pests, check this comprehensive guide from the Centers For Disease Control.

Image of a backyard courtesy of Johannes Gilger on Flickr via Creative Commons.

REALTOR Tip: Why Sell or Buy a Home in the Triangle in Spring 2014

The year 2013 saw growth in home sales beyond predictions both nationally and locally. In our market, Triangle home sales rose 24% in 2013 and showings were up 15% as well. By all accounts, it was a GOOD year.

2836 Barmettler Street Raleigh NC FM Realty

We are now in the height of the spring 2014 home buying and selling season. Spring is traditionally one of THE best times of year in housing. The weather gets warmer, the grass turns greener, traditional school calendars are winding down, all of which are just some of the factors that contribute to a higher potential for home sales. In March, pending home sales were up for the first time in nine months nationally, even higher in the south. According to Triangle Multiple Listing Service (or TMLS), for all 5 counties in which they track data (Wake, Durham, Orange, Johnston and Franklin) resale homes sold in the Triangle for March 2014 were either even or UP Year-To- Date. So, when you look at the bigger picture, yes, NOW is the time to sell your home.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, said the index’s increase was due to the end of “a dismal winter.”

“More buyers got an opportunity to look at homes last month and are beginning to make contract offers,” he said. “Sales activity is expected to steadily pick up as more inventory reaches the market, and from ongoing job creation in the economy.” (from the Triangle Business Journal, April 28th 2014)

Speaking of jobs, Forbes magazine just rated the Raleigh-Cary metro area as the No. 4 Best Big City for Jobs in 2014 right behind San Jose, San Fran, and Austin. In fact, local NBC affiliate WNCN produced a story just a few short months ago detailing the expected growth in our Triangle market. When we combine all these factors, we come to the conclusion that the buyers are out there and as we’ve previously indicated, the only thing standing in their way of finding their “perfect” home is inventory. Home sellers are needed.

But, are YOU ready to sell yours?

Noted finance expert, Dave Ramsey recently wrote an article about this very subject. He mainly talks about home equity and how that can be another factor in your readiness. He points out that selling a home is just as emotional as making the purchase of one. But, he also states the importance of talking to a real estate agent to find out what your home is really worth in your neighborhood or market as a whole. Ramsey says -

Consult a real estate professional who will compare your home to others that have recently sold and take local market trends into account. You can trust their estimate to reflect what your home is worth based on their experience selling homes in your area. (Are you ready to sell your home? by Dave Ramsey)

If you’re a prospective home buyer, are YOU ready?

One of the biggest concerns a home buyer has is whether or not they can qualify for a mortgage. In a recent article by REALTOR® Magazine, there were some staggering numbers -

Fifty-six percent (56%) of all potential home buyers—those who want to buy a home within the next 24 months—say they’re waiting to purchase because they fear being rejected by lenders. What’s more, 30 percent (30%) of current home owners say they don’t think they could qualify for another loan.

7250 NC 751 Highway Durham FMRealtyWhile mortgage restrictions today are a bit tighter, the thing is mortgage lenders today are doing what they can to loosen standards, at least they did so in March. According to the Mortgage Banker’s Association (MBA) the “Mortgage Credit Availability Index rose 0.44 percent to 114.0 in March, up from 113.5 in February. The MBA set its baseline index at 100 in March 2012.” This indicates a loosening of the standards. If you’re worried about your financial status, there are solutions for you. There are also ways to raise your credit score. That said, if you don’t know what credit score will help you to obtain a mortgage, we recommend you talk to one of our FM Lending Mortgage Consultants today to learn either what you need to do to fix your credit or, better yet, find out what you qualify for. Do that before starting the search for your dream home this spring!

The bottom line is our market is growing population-wise, consistently receiving accolades for this and that, and home values are increasing as are home prices (though slightly – up 3% from a year ago). It just may be a good idea for you to sell your home…or if you’re a potential home buyer, to purchase one. Talk to one of our expert Fonville Morisey Sales Associates today to see what works best for you!

We believe this spring season IS a good time to sell and to buy in the Triangle. Let us help you find the right home for you today.

Images of 2836 Barmettler in Raleigh and 7250 NC 751 Hwy Durham are courtesy of and TMLS. Images current at time of publishing.