How COVID-19 Is Impacting Real Estate

If you’ve been thinking about buying or selling a home in the near future, the unprecedented events of the last few weeks might have left you feeling a bit uncertain. COVID-19 has undoubtedly affected all of our lives, but that doesn’t mean you need to press pause on your real estate dreams.

We want to set the record straight about how these changes to everyday life affect buyers, sellers, and agents…and how you can protect yourself while continuing to pursue your goals.

How Will COVID-19 Affect the Real Estate Market?

Our way of life has changed dramatically within the course of just a few weeks, and the real estate market has shifted, too. Have a few questions? It’s hard to predict what will happen in the future, but here’s what we know right now.

Expect some major market shifts

Person studying COVID-19 graph

As we adjust to a new normal, it’s clear that COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on every industry in the country—including real estate. However, this doesn’t mean that investors aren’t still buying and selling homes. A recent survey by the National Association of Realtors shows that 61% of sellers plan to keep their houses on the market, and over half of buyers will continue to shop for a home.

Although we’ll likely see a reduced number of sales in the coming weeks and months, record-low interest rates and a continuously low supply of homes might help to prevent any drastic price drops. Many economists also believe that another housing market crash is unlikely due to new regulations and stricter mortgage qualifications.

Buying and Selling a Home During COVID-19

As of early April, agents are continuing to help their clients buy and sell homes—but you can expect to see some changes aimed at keeping everyone safe and healthy.

Essential Tips for Sellers

Cleaning supplies

Selling a home during the COVID-19 outbreak is definitely uncharted territory, but as we’ve seen in the last few weeks, it’s not impossible. Many sellers and their agents have worked together to pioneer new marketing strategies…some of which might last even after life returns to normal. Before you start scheduling those virtual showings, here are some tips to consider.

Make sure you’re healthy

First and foremost, it’s crucial to ensure that every member of your household is healthy before and during the selling process. Alert your agent right away if you’re feeling sick so they can halt in-person showings.

Sanitize your home

As a seller, your main priority should be ensuring that your home is germ-free, especially before a showing. We recommend wiping down all surfaces with disinfectant wipes and sprays and offering hand sanitizer to potential buyers. Reduce unnecessary touching by pre-opening any doors, cabinets, or drawers and turning on all lights before a showing.

Capitalize on digital marketing

If you still plan on selling soon, have your agent use the latest digital marketing techniques to really showcase your listing. Open houses and showings might be out, but virtual tours and showings via video sharing platforms are in—and it’s important to capitalize on these techniques to draw in potential buyers.

Essential Tips for Buyers

Person using a tablet

Believe it or not, it’s still possible to buy a home during these uncertain times—and modern technology is making everything easier than you might expect. Here’s how to stay safe and healthy throughout the entire buying process.

Make sure you’re healthy

If you’re feeling ill, it’s important that you stay home, practice social distancing, and avoid any showings. However, you can still continue to tour homes virtually and chat with your agent via online meetings.

Use virtual homebuying technology

Thanks to new innovations, it’s easier than ever to explore listings from the comfort of your couch. If you don’t want to attend a showing, many agents provide in-depth virtual tours and personal walkthroughs through video platforms like FaceTime and Zoom.

It’s also possible to complete the entire closing process remotely. Chances are, most documents can be signed electronically, which adds another layer of convenience and safety. Some states even allow you to virtually notarize your paperwork!

Take extra precautions during in-person showings

Want to see a home in person before making an offer? If your agent still offers normal showings, there are a few extra steps you should take to keep yourself (and the sellers) safe. Carry hand sanitizer with you and try to refrain from touching any surfaces. This might be difficult, but it’s the easiest way to mitigate the spread of germs. If your community has a shelter-in-place order, you may have to postpone any in-person showings until restrictions are lifted.

Have More Questions?

As we navigate the changes inflicted upon the market by COVID-19, it’s crucial to consider your individual needs and follow local guidelines. Linda Craft &Team are constantly on the lookout for new ways to assist our clients, and we’re determined to protect your health and safety while helping you meet your goals. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us and check out our virtual resources for more information.

Resources for Grocery and Prescription Delivery

In the coming weeks, as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to unfold and develop, at-risk populations like seniors or those with preexisting conditions are encouraged to stay home and avoid public places whenever possible. But even if you aren’t part of those at-risk populations, you might be curious about the best ways to obtain essentials like groceries or prescriptions. Here are some Raleigh-area businesses offering grocery and prescription delivery.

Grocery and Prescription Delivery in the Raleigh Area

grocery and prescription delivery

Many local businesses and organizations are offering services like grocery and prescription delivery, curbside grocery pickup, and more. Here are some of the main companies.

CVS

CVS is waiving charges for prescription delivery. It even allows for the addition of store items for delivery at no extra cost. Store items are also available for same-day delivery through Instacart.

Walgreens

Walgreens is providing free shipping on prescription refills and any other store products.

Carroll Pharmacy (Smithfield)

This local pharmacy is offering free delivery within their delivery area.

Davis Drug (Kenly)

This local pharmacy is offering free delivery within 10 miles of their store. Prescriptions may be delivered same-day if the order is placed before noon.

Falls River Pharmacy

Both prescription and over-the-counter items are being delivered free for Raleigh-area residents. They also have drive-through service.

Hayes Barton Pharmacy

Like Falls River Pharm, Hayes Barton offers free delivery for both prescription and OTC items to Raleigh-area residents. They also offer curbside pickup.

Health Park Pharmacy

Free delivery for OTC and prescription items is available to all Raleigh-area residents. There’s also curbside pickup.

HealthSmart Pharmacy (Wake Forest)

Free delivery is available to residents in Wake Forest and the surrounding area. Note: Their weekend hours are limited to Saturday 9am – 1pm. Call them for details at 919-569-0550.

HealthSmart Pharmacies

There are several HealthSmart Pharmacies in the area, and most offer free delivery within a 10 mile radius of their store.

Hillsborough Pharmacy and Nutrition

Hillsborough Pharmacy and Nutrition offers free prescription delivery. Hours are limited to Monday – Friday.

Aldi

Aldi has partnered with Instacart to offer grocery delivery, including free delivery on the first three orders of $35 or more with the coupon code “SHOPALDI20”.

Big Lots

Big Lots will bring your order to your car with curbside delivery.

Carlie C’s

Carlie C’s is offering free delivery to customers over age 65 for grocery orders over $100 purchased with the code “love65”. The code is good through June 30. Customers must live in their delivery area.

Costco

Costco has partnered with Instacart to offer same-day delivery (at a charge).

Food Lion

Food Lion offers both delivery and pickup—each for a small fee. Fees vary based on order size and request window.

Dollar General

Dollar General lets seniors shop during the first hour of business to create a less crowded, safer, and more socially distanced shopping experience.

Harris Teeter

Harris Teeter is offering same-day delivery and pickup. There’s a small shopping fee for both orders, plus two tiers of delivery fee based on the size of the order.

Lidl

Lidl offers grocery delivery through Shipt (membership required).

Lowes Foods

Lowes offers online ordering and grocery pickup. There’s either a one-time fee per order or a one-time annual membership fee.

Publix

Publix offers both delivery and curbside pickup. Both are managed through Instacart.

Sam’s Club

Sam’s has developed a new concierge service for seniors and at-risk members. During designated hours (7am – 9am on Tuesdays and Thursdays), members can place their orders from their cars, and a Sam’s Club associate will collect and deliver the items.

Target

Target offers grocery delivery through Script (membership required). They also designate the first hour of business every Wednesday to at-risk populations.

Walmart

Walmart offers free curbside grocery pickup.

Wegmans

Wegmans offers curbside pickup and delivery through Instacart.

Additional Services & Organizations Offering Aid

organizations offering aid

There are several organizations in the Triangle area offering additional services and support for at-risk populations with financial need. Here are some offering food and grocery assistance.

Community of Hope Ministries (Garner)

Community of Hope Ministries offers a drive-through food pantry during specific hours. No sign-up is required and there is no associated cost.

Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina

This food bank’s Food Finder allows those in need to enter a zip code to show the closest food pantry locations and hours of operation.

The Center for Volunteer Caregiving in Wake County

Volunteers with the organization work with at-risk individuals to coordinate grocery or pharmacy shopping and pickup. Services are free, and additional assistance, like light housekeeping or visiting, may also be available.

Looking for Assistance in the Triangle?

Here at Linda Craft & Team, we’re here for you during this uncertain time. If you have any questions or are in need of any type of assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at any time.

Will 2020 Be the Year of Luxury Real Estate?

Luxury homes weren’t seeing too much interest at the end of 2018. The US real estate market was comprised heavily of first-time buyers searching for lower-priced homes, and the luxury market slowed considerably. But a shift in the market and buyer interest shows that luxury real estate might be poised to make a comeback in 2020.

What Is Luxury Real Estate?

luxury real estate in raleigh

From a general real estate standpoint, homes priced in the top 25% of a price range for a particular area are considered “premium” or “luxury” homes. That being said, the definition of luxury living will vary from city to city, region to region, and even buyer to buyer.

Here in the Triangle, that “premium” price tag could even start as low as $750,000.

Luxury is back on the market

According to the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing (ILHM), there has been a definite upswing in both luxury single-family and condo sales, so it’s a good time to make a move in the high-end price range.

It’s a Smart Time to Enter the Luxury Market

a beautiful luxury bedroom

If you’ve been considering investing in a high-end property or trading your old home for something with a bit more space, now is the time! High inventory and favorable buying conditions make 2020 a fantastic year to invest in premium real estate.

Interest rates are low

In fact, interest rates aren’t just low; they’re near historically low—which means it’s a pretty ideal time to invest in any kind of real estate. At any price point, you will ultimately be paying less for your loan when rates are this low. And when you’re working in a luxury price range, that translates to a lot of money.

Inventory is high

Lower-priced homes have been in high demand for some time now, which has led to a shortage in inventory. The high-end market, however, is not experiencing this same deficit, thanks, in part, to the market slowdowns of 2018 and early 2019. For buyers, this means that despite the increasing competition, there are still plenty of choices!

Buying power & affordability are increasing

Despite a steady rise in home values over the course of the last handful of years (great news for homeowners!), homebuying is actually becoming more affordable for many buyers! How is this possible? Well, for one, lower interest rates make mortgages more accessible. And for another, an increase in average wages gives buyers more room in their budgets to spend on housing.

Luxury Real Estate in Smaller Cities

luxury real estate in the Triangle

Not only is luxury investing making a comeback, it’s growing in popularity in smaller cities, too. Because prices in smaller cities tend to be more affordable, buyers are able to find better deals and purchase more house at the same cost.

Luxury investing in Raleigh

Raleigh is a great example of where small-city luxury real estate is really flourishing. Affluent communities like North Raleigh, Cary, Chapel Hill, and Wake Forest have strong, yet affordable, high-end markets with price tags starting in the low to mid $700s and climbing into the multi-millions.

One of the great things about investing in the Triangle is how much value you really will get, especially compared to larger markets. A million dollars, for example, might get you a lakefront estate or a brand-new ultramodern condo in Cameron Village. It might get you a historic stone manor or backyard tennis courts or 60+ acres of breathtaking countryside complete with horse facilities. There’s a lot out here… and the prices are fantastic.

Ready to Get in on the Luxury Market?

If you’re thinking of investing in a luxury home in Raleigh or the Triangle, Linda Craft & Team is here to help! Our partnership with Luxe Global, coupled with our 350+ years of combined experience, gives us a highly competitive edge—and you an unparalleled investment experience. Contact us today to learn more or get started.

Another Housing Market Crash WON’T Happen. Here’s Why.

There’s a lot of uncertainty hanging over us—the coronavirus closing businesses left and right, stock market volatility sending stocks plummeting, the Fed cutting interest rates to near nothing—but we want to reassure you that another housing market crash is not on the horizon.

Here’s Why We Aren’t In Store for a Housing Market Crash

not another housing market crash

After the major real estate market crash of 2008, it’s easy for buyers and owners alike to feel more than a little wary. Buying at the wrong time can be financially and emotionally devastating, so it’s not surprising that more than a few people are rethinking buying in this uncertain time.

But a housing market crash isn’t inevitable. Here’s why.

Mortgage standards are entirely different

qualifying for a mortgage

One of the reasons the housing market soared in the mid 2000s (and then inevitably crashed) was that it was incredibly easy to qualify for a mortgage. In fact, the Mortgage Credit Availability Index shows that it was almost five times easier to get a mortgage in the 2006 – 2008 range than it is today.

In translation: During the housing bubble, people who should not have qualified for a mortgage at all were buying homes they could not realistically afford.

Prices aren’t skyrocketing

rising prices

Over the course of the last six years, housing values have increased slowly and steadily over time—at an average rate of about 5%. Compare that to the soaring prices of the housing bubble—where rates soared to over 12%—and you’ll see that prices aren’t skyrocketing out of control as they did back in the early 2000s.

There’s an inventory shortage, not surplus

sold sign on a raleigh home

A “normal” market has approximately six months of inventory (homes for sale). Anything more than that is considered a surplus and will cause demand to lower and prices to drop. In 2007, the amount of inventory soared to over eight months—which caused prices to fall drastically. Today, however, we face the opposite scenario, with only three months’ supply of homes for sale.

Housing is much more affordable

calculating housing costs

Affordability of real estate is about more than price. The income of the purchaser and the available mortgage rates must also be taken into account to determine how affordable homes are. Prior to the market crash, prices were astronomically high, income was low, and mortgage rates sat at over 6%—making housing very unaffordable.

In contrast, today’s housing is significantly more affordable; though prices are still high, wages are also high and mortgage rates have decreased to as low as 3.5%. That means you’ll pay less for your mortgage and put less of your income towards it.

People have more equity

equity on a home

During the housing bubble, many owners withdrew equity on their homes as soon as it was available. When the market crashed and home values fell, owners found themselves instantaneously in debt. Many foreclosed on their homes, further worsening home values with a high number of discounted foreclosures and short sales.

This time around, however, owners are exercising a little more caution. In fact, homeowners have cashed out over $500 billion LESS than before.

The Bottom Line: A Housing Crash Isn’t Happening

Economic conditions aren’t the same as they were back in 2008, and buyers and owners are much smarter (partially thanks to hard-earned lessons) than during the housing market crash. These may be uncertain times, but real estate will stay strong regardless.

If you have any questions about how current conditions affect your homeownership, purchase, or sale, Linda Craft and Team is here to chat and share our expert options and advice.

50 Years of Homebuying: A Look at Interest Rates Over Time

We all know that home prices change over time. It’s one of the reasons we invest in real estate in the first place—because we know that a home you buy today is likely going to be worth a lot more tomorrow! But did you know that interest rates have also changed a lot over time… and it’s not how you might think!

Interest Rates Over Time Might Surprise You!

infographic of interest rates over time

If you think your parents or grandparents probably had much lower interest rates than you will, you’re actually pretty far from the truth. Interest rates have fluctuated a lot over the past 50 years, and definitely not how you might think.

The 70s saw sky-high rates

You don’t have to know what today’s rates are to know that interest rates of 8.86% are pretty high. That’s high for a car loan… but it’s also sky-high for a house. One of the reasons for these astronomical rates was inflation, which began rising in the early to mid 70s.

… But the 80s were even higher

Inflation continued to climb into the 80s, and lenders raised rates to combat the economy’s flagrant boom. Rates hovered around 12.7%… with highs climbing to over 18% in 1981!

Rates dropped in the 90s… a little

The interest rate hike did improve inflation, and the economy eventually leveled off. In the 90s, rates fell back into the 8% range—still high, but definitely more manageable than the rates of the 80s.

Rates continued to fall into the 2000s

From the 90s into the 2000s, rates continued to drop into the low 6% range, heading into the housing boom prior to the 2008 market drop. During this time, the combination of low interest rates and low home prices lead to a housing “bubble” that encouraged risky home buying, and ultimately lead to the 2008 housing crisis. Following the collapse, interest rates climbed again, though not significantly.

The 2010s saw all-time historic lows

historic lows of interest rates over time

After the 2008 collapse, the real estate market slowed considerably. Many previous owners had foreclosed on their homes, while others were forced into short sales (selling for less than they owed), and once-likely buyers were wary of trapping themselves into a similar scenario.

To bolster the market and encourage buying, the Federal Reserve continued to lower rates until they reached an all-time historic low of 3.31% in 2012. This did the trick, and the market started to pick back back up… until 2016 once again saw a booming and robust housing industry.

Today’s rates are almost historically low again!

Rates in the late 2010s began a climb upwards from the 2012 low, with rates in 2018 hitting highs close to 5%. Experts predicted 2019 would see rates over 5%, but in a surprising twist, rates actually fell!

Now, even with mortgage rates expected to increase a bit over the next year, they’re currently hovering near a five-decade low. In fact, rates are just 3.49% today… which approaches the all-time low of 3.31%. So while your home likely is going to cost you more than your parents’ or grandparents’ homes, your loan is going to cost you significantly less… and that’s a pretty big deal.

Interest Rates Are a Big Deal!

calculating interest rates over time

Just how much do interest rates matter? Let’s say that your parents bought a $100,000 home at the 1981 peak rate of 18.63%, and you buy your home—also $100,000—at the 3.49% rate of 2020. Your parents would be paying $1,558 a month for their home… while your mortgage payments would be just $448. That’s $1,110 LESS a month, $13,320 LESS a year, and $399,600 LESS over your 30 year loan.

That’s a tremendous difference. Interest. Rates. Matter. Big time.

Want to Buy a Home in Raleigh While Rates Are Low?

Ready to buy while the market is in your favor? Then it’s time to contact Linda Craft & Team and let us put our 350+ years of real estate experience to work for YOU! First home? Tenth home? Doesn’t matter; we’ll work hard to make sure you find the perfect home in just the right spot.

5 Ways to Freshen Up Your Decor for Spring

The days are getting longer, temperatures are starting to climb, and the trees are finally starting to turn green again. As spring approaches, it’s a great time to freshen up your decor and add a splash of color to your space. Looking for some quick, easy, and affordable design tips? Here are a few ways to welcome spring into your home…especially if you’re thinking about selling in the next few months!

Our Top Spring Decor Tips

Do Some Spring Cleaning

Person cleaning a kitchen

Before you make any decor updates, it’s crucial to get every inch of your home looking pristine. Spring cleaning involves more than just a little scrubbing—you should take some time to reorganize, too!

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, just start by working room by room and removing any clutter. It may also be beneficial to make “keep,” “donate,” and “throw away” piles to ensure that everything stays in order. After you’ve freed up some space, break out the cleaning supplies and banish any dust, cobwebs, and grime. Don’t have time to do it all yourself? Consider hiring a professional cleaner or organizer.

Incorporate a Little Greenery

Roses in a vase

Want to breathe new life into your home? Take some inspiration from nature! Adding freshly-cut or potted flowers and greenery can turn your house into a home—and if you’re selling, your buyers might appreciate the extra pop of color.

If you’re not sure where to start, consider picking up a ready-made bouquet or some low-maintenance houseplants for your living room, kitchen, or bedroom. Placing them in trendy planters and decorative vases can create an added level of style. For a final splash of spring, try hanging a wreath of seasonal blossoms or greenery on your front door to welcome guests inside.

Add New Accessories

Blue-themed living room

Take some time to get rid of your winter accessories and usher in a brand-new season. Light and bright colors, linens, textured pottery, and raw wood accents are all on-trend this spring, and adding these small details can really elevate your home’s style.

Start by incorporating some new accent pillows and paring down your current accessories in favor of a more curated collection. This is particularly important if you’re getting ready to sell; you’ll want to depersonalize your space, but it should still feel like a home. Hanging some different art on your walls can also help you transition to spring—we recommend floral prints or paintings.

Freshen Up with Inviting Scents

Lit candle in a living room

Is your home smelling a little musty after a long winter? Throw open the windows and freshen up with some invigorating scents…especially if you’ll be inviting buyers into your home.

Before you integrate spring fragrances, however, be sure to eliminate any unpleasant odors first. Once you’ve deodorized, swap out those holiday candles in favor of some fresher aromas. Lavender, fresh cotton, and lemongrass are all great choices, and they won’t be too overpowering.

Don’t Neglect Your Outdoor Space!

Spring patio with a table and chairs

As you prep for the warmer months ahead, the outside of your home matters just as much as the inside. Your outdoor space can really make or break a sale during the spring, as buyers are probably ready to spend some time outside. Even if you aren’t selling soon, your yard, porch, deck, or patio could probably use a little extra attention.

Brush off the winter blues by sweeping away any debris, addressing brown spots on your lawn, and getting rid of any dead or wilting plants. You might also want to incorporate some new outdoor furniture on your deck or patio to show off its potential.

Ready Sell Your Home This Spring?

If you’re looking for spring decorating tips because you’re planning on selling your home soon, we’d love to help you navigate every step of the process. Feel free to reach out to Linda Craft and Team, REALTORS® for more staging strategies and seller tips—we can even help you list your Raleigh home with just a few clicks!

Rental Prices Are on the Rise—Here’s What That Means for You

If you’ve been hesitating to buy a home because you’re afraid you can’t afford it, 2020 might be the year you reconsider. Falling mortgage rates and rising rental prices indicate that buying could actually become more affordable than renting—in addition to the numerous other benefits of owning a home.

Here’s what rising rental prices could mean for you.

Rental Rates Rise While Homeownership Becomes Affordable

rental prices rising

Real estate and rental professionals predict that 2020 could be a strong year for homeownership thanks to a number of factors. According to Freddie Mac, mortgage rates are expected to remain low, holding steady at an average of about 3.8%.

On the flip side, the national rent index increased by 1.4% year-over-year, according to the National Rent Report, and is expected to continue its climb.

Increasing rental rates add up fast

calculating rental rates

An increase of 1.4% might not sound like much—but the math is pretty powerful, especially considering that rental rates have been on a steady rise since 2012. In fact, in 2012, rental prices sat at an average of $1,300 per month. Today, eight years later, they’ve risen to $1,600 a month—an average of $300 more.

When you break down the math, those numbers become even more eye-opening. At $1,300 a month, you pay $15,600 a year for housing. At $1,600, that number climbs to $19,200. That’s a pretty huge difference!

Mortgage rates don’t change

happy buyers outside a home

One of the biggest financial advantages to homeownership, besides building equity, is the stability of monthly payments. Since most homeowners use a fixed-rate mortgage, your rates do not change. So if your monthly payment is $1,500 at the beginning of your payment, it will still be $1,500 eight, 10, 20, and even 30 years from now.

The bottom line: Buying is becoming affordable!

searching for a home for sale

The bottom line for many is that skyrocketing rental prices are making it more and more difficult to find decent housing at an affordable price. Buying a home is quickly becoming a more appealing—and at times, more viable—option for many, thanks to low and predictable interest rates.

Thinking of Buying a Home in Raleigh?

Are you thinking of buying a home in the Triangle area? Linda Craft & Team would love to help! Contact us today to learn more about how we can use our 350+ years of combined experience to help you find the perfect home in just the right spot.

The #1 Misconception in the Homebuying Process

There are a lot of myths and misapprehensions about the homebuying process and real estate investing in general—how Fed rates affect mortgage rates, how inventory affects buyer demand, how the economy as a whole affects the real estate market. But this might be the #1 misconception of the whole process.

Homes Values & Affordability: A Major Misconception

#1 misconception about homebuying affordability

Towards the end of 2018, home prices and values were on a major rise. Then, in 2019, the combination of government shutdowns, a minor stock market slump, and rising interest rates caused the market to slow. Economists predicted an increase in home inventory and a subsequent decrease in prices.

This was not the case.

The new year ushered in a few surprising turns of events—like decreasing interest rates—that brought many buyers back into the market, drove inventory down, and brought home values back up. This reacceleration of home values caused many buyers to believe that owning a home was becoming less affordable.

Rising values don’t mean decreased affordability

How could a higher price tag not mean decreased affordability? In short, because there’s more to affordability than home value. Interest rates, for example, have decreased significantly since the end of 2018, which despite rising prices, has actually increased affordability for many buyers.

Interest rates hugely affect home affordability

In fact, a study by Mortgage Monitor revealed that, although average home prices increased nearly $13,000, the monthly mortgage payment needed to buy that same home actually dropped 10% thanks to falling interest rates.

Income also affects affordability

Not only have interest rates decreased, but median family income has actually increased by 5% over the past year. This gives buyers even more buying power and increases the overall affordability of buying a home.

The #1 Misconception: High Prices Mean Decreased Affordability

House with keys

The bottom line: just because home prices and values are increasing does not mean that homebuying is becoming less affordable. If anything, the contrary is true—which makes it a particularly good time to buy.

Increased values + Increased affordability = A great time to buy

What happens when home values are up AND affordability is up? It’s a recipe for the perfect time to buy a home! Not only will you be paying less, you’ll also reap the benefits of instant equity as home values continue to rise throughout the year. In short, there’s never been a better time to buy.

Ready to Buy in the Triangle?

If you’re thinking of buying a home in the Triangle, now’s the time to act! Contact Linda Craft & Team and let us put our 350+ years of combined experience and expertise to work to find you the perfect home… in just the right spot.

3 Oft-Overlooked Financial Advantages to Homeownership

Buying a home comes with a lot of perks, both financial and personal—building equity, finding a place to belong long-term, becoming part of a community—but there are some overlooked financial advantages to homeownership, too.

Financial Advantages to Owning You Didn’t Know About

financial advantages to homeownership

If you’re still renting or haven’t owned a home recently, you might not know about all the hidden benefits to owning! Here are three financial advantages to homeownership you might not’ve thought about.

Someday, you won’t have a housing payment

paying off a home loan

When you first buy a home, you’ll likely have a mortgage, and it will probably be comparable to your current rent payment. But starting from that first monthly payment, your money will no longer be going into your landlord’s pocket; it’ll be paying down your mortgage.

And believe it or not, if you stay in your home long enough, there will come a day when you don’t have a monthly housing payment.

Homeowners get tax breaks

tax benefits of homeownership

As a renter, you might not be aware that owning a home comes with a few nice tax benefits. In fact, both the mortgage interest and your property taxes are tax-deductible—which can be a pretty big break when tax season rolls around! And it’s certainly a benefit that renters cannot enjoy.

Monthly housing costs are predictable

budgeting monthly costs

When you rent a home, the amount you pay per month depends on the rates your landlord sets, and since most leases are terms of a year or two, that rate can change from year to year. But when you own a home, such is not the case.

The majority of homeowners use a fixed-rate loan, which means that your rates stay the same throughout the duration of your loan. Your property taxes and homeowner’s insurance may fluctuate over the years, but what you pay for your mortgage will not. Not only does that make budgeting a breeze, but it also ensures that you’re protected against things like inflation and skyrocketing rental rates.

Convinced to Buy?

If you’re ready to buy a home in the Triangle, or even if you’re still on the fence, Linda Craft & Team is here to help! Let us put our expert local knowledge, our extensive network, and our 350+ years of combined experience to work to find the perfect home for you.

The Top 10 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Buyer’s Agent

When buying a home, who you choose to work with matters more than you think. Finding the right agent can make or break your entire experience, so it’s important to interview a few candidates before settling on “the one.” Not sure where to start? Here are a few must-ask questions to consider before you pick your buyer’s agent.

How long have you been an agent?

Agent and client talking at a table

Unless you mesh well with a newer agent, it’s usually better to go with someone who has at least a few years of experience under their belt. They’ll have the knowledge you need to navigate the ins and outs of the entire buying process.

Are you a full-time or a part-time agent?

When you’re buying a home, would you rather work with someone who puts in part-time or full-time effort? It’s best to go with a full-time agent that can devote more attention to you and your specific needs.

What experience do you have in my preferred areas?

People talking at a table

If you already know where you want to move, consider collaborating with a real estate pro that has plenty of experience in your target areas. They’ll have the inside scoop on the most popular neighborhoods, price trends, and all the other details you need to know before you buy.

How many clients are you working with right now?

It may seem tempting to use a popular agent—they must be the best if they have a lot of clients, right? This might be true, but you also want to make sure they have the time to take on another buyer. The last thing you want is an agent that has a hard time scheduling showings or returning your calls.

How can I get in touch with you?

Woman texting on a cell phone

Communication is key in the world of real estate, and every agent has a different way of connecting with clients. Be upfront about which method works best for you, and confirm that your agent is willing to reach out in a way that you’re comfortable with.

What’s your availability?

Even if an agent is able to take you on as a client and is willing to communicate, they might have a lot of other things going on in their personal and professional lives. Make sure they’re honest with you about their availability…and that they aren’t jetting off on a 2-week European vacation anytime soon!

What are the conditions of your contract?

People signing a contract

Some buyer’s agents require you to sign a contract before you start touring homes, and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, you shouldn’t agree to anything without reading all the terms and conditions, and if you have any concerns, bring them up during the interview.

What’s your commission policy?

Traditionally, the seller pays most (if not all) of your agent’s commission, but it’s still crucial to familiarize yourself with their policies. You don’t want any surprises to come up during the closing, especially if they’re in the form of unexpected fees.

Can you connect me with other professionals?

Women at a table

You’ll work with more than just a real estate agent when you buy a home. If you’re looking for a good home inspector, lender, real estate attorney, repairman, or cleaner, having an agent with a broad professional network is a major plus.

Can you provide any references?

A great agent should have plenty of references, and they’ll probably be happy to share them with you. If they seem hesitant, try searching for testimonials online or consider going with someone else. You want to choose someone that’s honest and has plenty of 5-star reviews!

Looking for a Top-Notch Agent?

If you’re looking for the right real estate agent to suit your needs, we’d love to offer you our expertise! Feel free to give Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS® a call to learn more about the tools we offer our buyers—we’re always here to lend a helping hand or answer any lingering questions.