Give the Gift of Life at Our 1st Annual Blood Drive

holiday gift

‘Tis the Season of Giving the Gift That Saves Lives

SPECIAL EVENT

 

1st Annual Blood Drive


November 28th – 10am – 2:30pm

At our office: 7300 Six Forks Road, Raleigh

Sign up to give blood and enter sponsor code: Craft

Make a monetary donation.

 

Would you like to do something truly special on National Giving Day – Tuesday, November 28th? We’d like to invite you to take the opportunity to donate blood at the Craft Residential/Craft Commercial 1st Annual Blood Drive. The American Red Cross Bloodmobile will be parked in front of our office from 10 am to 2:30 pm that day and we are excited to host such an important, life-saving event.

About the NC Red Cross:

gift of life at blood drive

Serving 53 counties and more than 4.6 million people through five Red CrossChapters, the American Red Cross of Eastern North Carolina has served North Carolinians for 100 years. Thanks to the kindness of volunteers, donors, and partners, the Red Cross is able to fulfill its mission of alleviating human suffering in the face of emergencies. Here’s a look at their footprint in Fiscal Year 2017:

Why give:

Here’s why people choose to give. Your donation can potentially help save the lives of three people. Since 1917, the Eastern Carolina Chapter of the Red Cross has provided assistance to North Carolinians as well as national and international disaster support.

  • Our Chapter provides 40% of the blood used to save lives in area hospitals.
  • Every six hours in the Triangle the Red Cross responds to a home fire. More families lose their homes to fire each year than to hurricanes and tornados combined.

  

How does my donation help multiple people:

In modern medical treatments, patients may receive a pint of whole blood or just specific components of the blood needed to treat their particular condition. Up to four components can be derived from donated blood. This approach to treatment, referred to as blood component therapy, allows several patients to benefit from one pint of donated whole blood.

How to sign up:

Schedule your life-saving appointment and enter sponsor code: Craft. This link will take you directly to our blood drive so you can schedule your appointment.

Fill out paperwork ahead of time:

RapidPass® can help save time during your blood donation by completing some of the paperwork before your appointment. For the best donation experience, we recommend you schedule an appointment, then complete your RapidPass®.

The Process:

The entire process takes about an hour. If you have never donated blood or if it has been a while since you’ve donated, here are some links that will educate you about the process.

Am I eligible to give:

Here’s an outline of who is eligible to give blood.

Before you donate:

Check out a few things you can do before your appointment.

Here’s what happens that day:

Never given before? Take a look at this.

After you donate:

This is what you do after you give.

Where Your Blood Goes:

Ever wonder where your gift of blood goes? Here’s a look at what happens from donation to destination.

contribute money to the blood driveWhat can I do if I can’t donate blood?

If that date and time does not work for you or you hate the thought of needles, you can still support this event. Simply go to this link and make a monetary donation. Any amount – $1, $100, $1,000 or $10,000 – is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for your generous donations!

LINDA CRAFT WITH MATCH ALL DONATIONS UP TO $10,000!!!

At Craft Residential and Craft Commercial, we take pride in doing all we can to help support our communities in the Triangle. Linda Craft serves on the Board of Directors and was the 2017 Chairperson for the Annual Ball – the top local fundraiser for the Red Cross in Eastern Carolina. By the way, the 2018 ball date is April 28th. So go ahead and mark your calendars!

Your Raleigh Home: Proper Care, NOT Impending Catastrophe

Your home is most likely one of the largest personal investments you will ever make. Whether it’s your first time jumping into the homeownership pool or even if you have taken the plunge multiple times, you may not know the safest way to care for your investment so that you are giving it the TLC it deserves rather than making a catastrophe.

Here are a few helpful tips to keep your house well maintained rather than encouraging problems.

Let’s Start Outside — Easy on the Mulch!

flowers growing out of mulch areaIn the case of mulch, more is not better! Mulch should be no deeper than three inches. This ensures that water can get down to the roots, but will not smother the plant.

Also, try to keep it a few inches away from the foundation. You don’t want to encourage insects!

Trees — Oh How They Grow!

So many homeowners tend to plant trees without doing their research to see how big that lovely timber will get when it is mature. Do your homework. What’s that tree going to look like in a decade or two? It is best to make sure your mature tree will be at least six feet from the house — that’s not the trunk, that’s the widest part of the branches. Also, stay away from planting too close to the driveway and sidewalks so the roots don’t grow underneath and create damage.

You know those wonderful conifers you love to see in the wintertime? Well, make sure they aren’t too close to the house either or you may end up with a dark feel to the house because of too much shade. Too much shade could very well encourage molds and mildew you will have to contend with at some point. That means more work!

The Georgia Forestry Commission put out a handy guide to planting the trees with a section on site selection which could be useful.

Calamity of Climbing Plants

cottage covered in creeping plantsYou know all those charming pictures of cottages with the quintessential ivy growing on the outside? Well, those folks might have had tons of charm, but they probably had termites, too! And, if they didn’t have termites, they may have had damage to drain pipes or gutters that were sagging from the weight of the vines. Shoots and roots can introduce water and insects to siding and shingles.

Suggestion? Find another way to add charm to the outside of your home. Keep the ivy for areas away from the home where groundcover is appropriate.

Keep Bleach in the Laundry Room!

When it comes to your home, bleach can cause more harm than good. It can:

  • Damage the seals in your disposals
  • Discolor enamel and acrylic bath tubs
  • Change the color of grout
  • Dissolve linoleum flooring
  • Eat the sealant on stone counter tops

Yikes! And here you thought bleach was good for cleaning all things! On grout it can actually feed mold growth.

So what’s the answer? Water and vinegar can be used in most cases. In your disposal, just cold water and ice cubes. NO LEMONS! Baking soda is better, but you can also freeze water and vinegar and use the cubes to both sharpen the blades and remove odors.

No Glass Cleaner, Really?

Nope. It can cause black edges around your mirrors and often smears and streaks. It’s much better to just use a microfiber cloth and warm water.

Clogged Drains? Go Mechanical, Not Chemical!

freestanding tub in a bathroomUnclogging a stubborn drain with something you might think is a little old fashioned — a plunger or a drain snake. Chemicals can erode your pipes and cause more damage in the long run.

If this simple option does not appeal to you, consider the fact that it is much cheaper to pay a plumber $100 than it is to experience water damage or the cost of replacing pipes.

The Many Faces of Caulk

Do you know the difference between mortar caulk and gutter caulk? There are probably just as many types of caulk as there are types of toothpaste. How are you to know which one to use? Chances are there is a caulk for the specific job you are about to tackle. Kitchen and bathroom caulk is a perfect example.

Match the project to the caulk or ask what’s best when you go to purchase it.

Providing Raleigh Homeowners with a Wealth of Knowledge

beautiful house with a front porchAt Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS®, we have over 30 years of experience developing our techniques and providing buyers in the Greater Raleigh area with exceptional service. As the #1 real estate team in the Triangle, let us equip you with our wealth of knowledge to help you give your home the proper care!

Schedule an appointment with us today at 919-235-0007 or review our home buying resources for a full listing of all of our services and more!

Is It Time to Stop Renting and Buy Your First Home?

first-time buyers in new home

It’s a huge decision, deciding to move out of your rental and move into something you can call “Home Sweet Home.” How do you know you are ready for this big step? See if the following questions can help you determine your readiness for homeownership.

Is the Timing Right to Purchase a Home Now?

Could it be that you are thinking of starting a family or you have simply outgrown the capacity of your rental? If so, maybe it’s time to put down roots in your own place.

Perhaps the driving force is that you would like to see that chunk of your income going into housing that earns you money rather than just an expense you pay each month. You’re not alone. In 2016, 35% of all home buyers were first-time buyers; many of them went through the same process that you are now.

living room in a single-family home

Here’s another thought! Maybe you’d like to have more control over your surroundings. You might like gardening. Or you would like your living spaces to have your personal touch on them; your choice of paint colors, lighting elements you like, a gas range instead of electric, or a pool in the backyard.

All these things are usually not possible in a rental situation.

Do You Have Your Financial “Ducks in a Row”?

Let’s consider your down payment. FHA loans can be secured with a minimum of 3.5% down payment. However, more than 5% down will allow you to secure a fixed-rate conventional loan. If you can manage it, a 20% down payment or more will help you pay less interest over the life of the loan. And of course, if you are a member of the military, a veteran, reservist, or National Guard member, you are eligible to apply for a VA loan.

There are also some locations that qualify for 100% financing where a down payment is not needed at all.

Make sure your credit is in really good shape and don’t open any new lines of credit now. Check to make sure that buying is indeed a good deal for you financially. Charles Schwab has an excellent calculator that weighs information to determine if buying or renting is the ideal option for you. Give it a try!

Can Your Budget Handle Owning a Home?

calculator next to list of costsYour mortgage will be just a piece of your overall debt ratio. Things like maintenance, insurance, taxes, and if applicable, homeowner’s fees are also considered in your overall debt.

In most cases your debt ratio cannot exceed 43%; this includes car loans, credit cards, student loans, and other forms of debt. If your debt is within this range and you have a good payment history, then plan a meeting with your friendly, neighborhood banker and get pre-qualified.

Great! You’re Pre-qualified! Time to Start Looking for Your New Home!

Now it’s time to work with your trusted real estate agent to find a home that works for you. You know what you can afford because you’ve done the financial work ahead of time. Besides the normal questions like how many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need, here are some questions an agent may ask you in order to narrow down your search:

  • Do you have some neighborhoods in mind?
  • Are you willing to do a bit of work or have some work done in order to make the house your home?
  • Would you rather find a home that is move-in ready?
  • How important is proximity to work?
  • What amenities do you want for your home or the neighborhood?
  • Are there particular school districts that are important to you?

agent and buyer chatting over coffeeThis is your first home. It’s a huge commitment, so put your trust in a buyer’s agent who listens to what you want, is knowledgeable about the Raleigh market area, and represents you professionally. A helpful agent can make the whole process go smoothly and keep you from making costly mistakes during the process.

Hire an Agent Who Truly Understands Your Home Needs

If you are considering buying a home, we would love to help.

At Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS®, we have over 30 years of experience developing our method of finding you just the right home in the Greater Raleigh area and providing buyers with exceptional guidance, especially first-time buyers. As one of the top real estate teams in the Triangle, we can guide you through the home buying process, reduce your stress, and make the whole experience from start to finish a good one. We also offer the service of one of our FREE moving truck to all our clients.

Contact us today at 919-235-0007 to learn more about buying your first home in the Greater Raleigh area.

What’s in Your Hurricane Kit?

aerial view of a hurricane

Although June through November is technically “Hurricane Season,” NC tends to get the worst of the storms in the August/September timeframe. It’s never too redundant to put out a reminder of all the things that should go into your Emergency Kit just in case a storm heads this way.

Whether it’s a tropical storm or a full-blown (no pun intended) hurricane, it’s always good to have a list of items you may need, where to get the most up-to-date weather information that is reliable, and plans for action should you need to respond in order to be safe. It’s all about keeping yourself and your loved ones safe.

Let’s Start with the Emergency Kit:

  • Water: 1 gallon of water per person per day – don’t forget your furry friends. If you have well water, plan enough in advance in case the electric pump fails.
  • Battery-operated electronics: Battery or crank radios, cell phones with battery pack for charging, charger cords, and lots of spare batteries in different sizes.
  • Fuel: Gas up your car – get fuel for your generator if you have one and make sure it is in good working order.
  • A place to stay: Have a backup plan for housing in case you can’t stay in your own home. Even extended power outages can be uncomfortable.
  • Easy-to-prepare food: It’s best if it doesn’t have to be cooked or refrigerated – again, don’t forget your pets; make sure you have their food and medications, vaccination records, and ID tags on their collars.
  • First aid kit: Include first aid supplies, flashlights and batteries, and medications.
  • Protected documents: Important documents (life, health, and homeowner’s insurance) should be stored in a waterproof bag or off site in a safety deposit box.
  • Extra cash and emergency contact information
  • Blankets/sleeping bags/personal items

General Home Preparation:

severe storm

Bring in anything that can act as a projectile when the winds get high.

Find your “safe haven” inside the house where you can avoid windows. It could be the space under the stairs or in an interior room with no windows.

If you haven’t looked at your homeowner’s policy lately, you might want to take a look or ask you agent to go over damage and replacement costs with you ahead of time. Do you even have or need flood insurance?

Stay Informed:

Monitor the weather closely. Don’t be caught off guard because you weren’t tuned in. Here are several reliable sources for weather in the Triangle:

Know Your Storm Lingo:

A watch is when a treat of a hurricane is projected 48 hours out. This is a good time to take stock of your supplies. Above all, stay informed in case a warning is issued.

A warning means that within the next 36 hours a hurricane threat is imminent and whatever action authorities deem necessary should be taken seriously.

Even the threat of a tropical storm should be taken seriously. They may have lower wind speeds but they can still be dangerous as flooding and flying objects can be an issue.

Even if the power goes out, you can get weather alerts on your phone if you can keep it charged. The Red Cross has an Emergency App you can download and the ReadyNC app has weather alerts on it as well.

Want to Know More About Protecting Your Home?

house style common in the Greater Raleigh areaLinda Craft & Team, REALTORS® is committed to providing home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners in the Greater Raleigh area with the information they need to make the best real estate decisions. As the #1 real estate team in the Triangle, we can offer you a wealth of resources and over 30 years of local expertise.

Contact us today at 919-235-0007 for a full list of our services and more, including additional tips about protecting your home from weather events.

Craft Residential & Craft Commercial Announced as Corporate Sponsors of Triangle Business Journal’s Tomorrow’s Real Estate Event

commercial office building with big glass windowsRaleigh, NC – Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS® is pleased to announce that Craft Residential & Craft Commercial will sponsor the Triangle Business Journal’s Tomorrow’s Real Estate event, to be held on July 27, 2017.
Linda Craft, CEO of both Craft Companies states, “We are excited to be part of this informative event that will discuss the recent growth of residential and commercial real estate within the Triangle and what opportunities lie ahead.”

TBJ’s Tomorrow’s Real Estate event will go behind the numbers from their latest quarterly SPACE survey and talk to the experts in the Triangle’s commercial and residential real estate markets about how this growth and density has affected the quality of life and growth of business. This event will take place at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, NC.

Craft Residential & Craft Commercial were also Corporate Sponsors of the Triangle Business Journal’s CEO & CFO Awards, Women in Business Awards and 40 Under 40 Awards that took place earlier this year.

About Craft Residential

truck donated for charityCraft Residential the Triangle’s #1 ranked locally-owned Real Estate company and Carolina Hurricanes Corporate Real Estate Sponsor. They have served the real estate needs of individuals and families, in all price ranges, for over 30 years. The company mission and focus is expert market knowledge plus Raving Fan customer service to ensure complete client satisfaction. Craft Residential has closed over 2 billion in real estate transactions.

Local honors include: Top 25 Women Owned Business, Best Place to Work and the Humanitarian Award. Linda Craft, CEO serves on the board for the American Red Cross and Triangle Athena Powerlink and is a member of Women’s President Organization, Business Leaders Club and Shop Local. For more information, or to schedule an appointment with Craft Residential, please call 919-235-0007 or visit www.craftresidential.com.

About Craft Commercial

The Craft Team has earned over 30 years of success in the Triangle real estate market. They bring cutting-edge marketing, unique social media strategies, attention to detail, and solid systems to an industry sometimes lacking in innovation. When you work with Craft Commercial to buy, sell, or lease property in the Triangle, you benefit from the entire team rather than just one agent’s knowledge and skills. With a whole team of commercial real estate experts acting in your best interests, you can quickly and easily achieve your real estate goals. For more information or to schedule an appointment with Craft Commercial, please call 919-446-5000 or visit www.craftcommercial.com.

Your Raleigh Home: Extending the Life of Your Septic System

suburban home not within city limitsIf you live outside the city limits, chances are your home will have a septic system rather than a connection to a municipal sewage system. A septic system contains four basic components which are the source (inside the home), the septic tank, the drain field (leach bed), and the soil beneath the drain field (outside the home). If well maintained, a septic system can last anywhere from 15 – 40 years depending on what it is made out of, level of daily use, and how well you maintain the system.

First Things First – Design and Installation

a man fixing a sinkIf you are building a new home outside the reach of the municipal sewage system, it is critical that the system be designed for the home – meaning, what type of source appliances will you be installing, how many people will live in the home, and what type of soil conditions are present on your home site. If the system is poorly designed for the home, using more water than the system is designed for, backups can occur in the house or outside on the surface around the actual tank.

If you are purchasing a home with a septic system, make sure you find out what type of system it is, how old it is, and ask for the maintenance records. All this should be covered if you have the home inspected by a professional during due diligence. Also pay attention to the type of source appliances (e.g.; toilets, showers, washer, and garbage disposal) that are present in the home. High-efficiency source appliances that use less water are ideal as they put less stress on a septic system and thus can extend the life of the system, saving you money in the long run.

While garbage disposals are not recommended for homes with septic tanks, you can install one specially made for use with septic systems; one with a two-stage grinding system that will liquefy what you put into it. That being said, composting solid waste materials is also a good idea and will help lengthen the life of your septic system.

An Ounce of Prevention….

stainless steel faucet dripping into a glassThe best way to extend the life of your septic system is to make sure regular maintenance is performed and take care of any issues uncovered during maintenance. Experts say you should have your tank pumped every 3 – 5 years depending on how many people live in the home contributing to the daily wastewater. Other ways to extend the life of the system are:

  • Fix those drippy faucets – it may not seem like much, but excess water in the drainfield is what you want to avoid
  • Conserve water  when replacing appliances and fixtures, go for the high-efficiency models; less water use is better
  • Things that should not go into the system – paint, gasoline, motor oil, chemicals, solvents and other substances that might kill the beneficial bacteria in the tank or pollute the environment by being absorbed into the soil. Compost kitchen solids when you can instead of using the garbage disposal.
  • Proper landscaping – Plant grass over the outside portion of the system to prevent soil erosion. Avoid planting trees and bushes near the area as pipes can be damaged by roots.
  • Do not drive or build over any part of your septic system

What are the signs?

water swirling as it goes down the drainKnowing you have a septic system should put you on watch for clues that might point to a potential system failure. Keep an eye out for the following:

  • Slow drains
  • Water backup of any kind
  • Gurgling sounds when you use water
  • Unpleasant odors
  • Greener grass near the site of your septic system
  • Saturation of the soil around the site when there has not been any rain

If you want additional help assessing an existing septic system, contact the NC Cooperative Extension at http://content.ces.ncsu.edu/investigate-before-you-invest. They also have a helpful maintenance site outlining steps to keep your septic system in good working condition at http://content.ces.ncsu.edu/septic-systems-and-their-maintenance.

At Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS®, we have over 30 years of experience developing our techniques and providing buyers in the Greater Raleigh area with exceptional service. As the #1 real estate team in the Triangle, let us equip you with our wealth of knowledge to make your home buying experience exceptional!

Schedule an appointment with us today at 919-235-0007 or review our home buying resources for a full listing of all of our services and more!

The 5 Best Places to Watch 4th of July Fireworks in the Raleigh Area

red, white, and blue fireworks at night

The Greater Raleigh area has no shortage of fun 4th of July celebrations, which are not complete without spectacular fireworks shows. Here are the top five Independence Day events with fireworks that you do not want to miss.

1. The ‘Works in Downtown Raleigh

Fayetteville Street in Downtown Raleigh will have live music, a beer tent, street performers, eating contests, and even more summer fun. Head to The ‘Works between noon and 10 PM for all of the Independence Day fun, and make sure to watch the fireworks over the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts starting around 9:30 PM.

2. Show Us Your Stripes Block Party in Brier Creek

Another fun fireworks show takes place in Raleigh’s Brier Creek area. The Brier Creek Commons shopping area is celebrating its 10th annual Independence Day celebration in 2017, and the block party will feature games, bounce houses, face painting, and spectacular fireworks after sunset.

Find more details about the Show Us Your Stripes Block Party on the shopping center’s events page.

3. July 4th Celebration at Cary’s Koka Booth Amphitheatre

a ferris wheel on a bright summer dayCome to Cary for a variety of summer fun that everyone will enjoy.

The Town of Cary’s July 4th Celebration at Koka Booth Amphitheatre will have a ferris wheel, contests, patriotic music performed by the Cary Town Band and NC Symphony, and more.

Choose your space on the amphitheater lawn and sit back to watch the fireworks over the lake.

4. Fireworks in Chapel Hill’s Kenan Stadium

Chapel Hill celebrates July 4th at the University of Chapel Hill with a spectacular fireworks show you can only watch from inside Kenan Memorial Stadium. Gates open at 7 PM and the fireworks start at 9:30 PM.

5. July 3rd Celebration at Garner’s Lake Benson Park

On Monday, July 3rd, head to Garner for the town’s annual Independence Day event at Lake Benson Park. The event will kick off at 5 PM with inflatables, games, and live music. Bull City Syndicate and the NC Symphony will perform in the evening, and the fireworks will start after the symphony’s performance.

There are More Reasons to Move to the Triangle

The Greater Raleigh area hosts even more Independence Day celebrations that are worth visiting, from the Olde Fashioned 4th of July in Apex to the activities at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham. An array of festivities is just one reason to move to the Triangle area.

the raleigh skyline at duskMoney magazine named the Greater Raleigh area as the Best Place to Live, and Forbes has ranked this area #1 Best City for Jobs and #1 Best City for Education. If you are looking for a home in the Triangle, we can help.

Contact us at 919-235-0007 and we can schedule your personal tour of neighborhoods or homes in your desired area.

The Art of Home Selling: Stage It!

a green landscaped yard in a suburb

You know, some wise person once said, “If you don’t have time to do it right, you may not get the chance to do it over.” This is very much the case when it comes to getting your home ready to sell. You only get one first impression, so it is a good idea to take the time to prepare your home carefully in order to drive as much interest to your door as possible.

bright sunny dining room looking onto garden

Staging is the Name of the Game

What’s the real secret to selling a home quickly and at a high price point? The majority of Realtors will tell you that staging absolutely enhances your chances of selling your home quicker and for more money. The goal of staging is to make your home appeal to as large a number of potential buyers as possible in order to increase traffic. You can stage your home yourself, but you have to be able to take your emotions out of the equation. For example, you have to be alright with putting away personal photos, awards, and things that may have sentimental value to you because they would be very distracting if on display.

If you think it would be too hard for you to remove personal items from your home, hiring a professional stager to help with this task might be something you want to consider. They are specifically trained to know what look will help attract buyers to your home. Here are some of their top suggestions for staging your home so it will be a top performer on the market.

the exterior of a large brick suburban home in raleigh north carolina

1. Passing the First Test – The Drive-By

Every stager will tell you that it is very common for buyers to do “drive-by” visits even before they solicit the help of a realtor. That means the curb appeal of your house may determine whether it even stays on the book a showing list of potential buyers. To grab their attention and elicit those “love at first sight” emotions, try the following:

  • Potted plants and flowers
  • Rocking chairs or small table and chairs on the front porch
  • Well-manicured lawns and gardens
  • Remove window screens
  • Clean roof stains off shingles
  • Power wash house, driveway, and walkways
  • Clean those windows
  • Make sure your house number is visible
  • Re-stain or paint porch
  • Paint the house
  • Haul away any junk that has piled up around the house

a modern nicely staged kitchen2. Clean-Purge-Organize-Repair!

Great! The drive-by was a success and now they’ve booked a showing. If they loved the exterior, make sure they love the interior even more. Take care of the 4 Ds: Deep Clean, Declutter, De-odorize, Damage Repair.

  • Clean as if you are having company for the weekend. That means everything, including closets, cupboards, the space under the sink, storage spaces, and yes, that garage.
  • Organizing and purging are tactical tools to making your home look neat and orderly.
  • Do you have animals? Unappealing odors can kill a deal. Have a friend come over and do an odor inspection before showings get scheduled to make sure your home is odor-free.
  • If it is broken, fix it! Do your own walk-through making a list of items that need attention and get them taken care of.

clean neutral living room with beige walls and off white couch3. The Appeal of Neutral

Did you know neutral colors make rooms in a home look larger? While you may love that dark purple and gold, the vast majority of buyers may not share your taste in colors. Remember, you want your home to appeal to as many people as possible. Severe colors narrow the pool of potential buyers.

Did you also know that 95% of buyers decide if they want to view a home based on the online photos? If your home has old wallpaper or needs to be painted, be sure to do this BEFORE photos are taken.

Bright living room with fireplace and natural sunlight

4. Clean up the Clutter

A cluttered home is a strong deterrent for buyers. It takes away from the real visual value of your home. You may love all the family pictures you have collected over the years, but buyers need to see your home as possibly their home. So, go ahead and pack away those personal photos, that teapot collection, and all those soccer awards you child won this year. Buyers need to be able to imagine the home as their very own.

This does not mean your home should be stark and unwelcoming. Go ahead and set that table, put a basket of lemons in the kitchen, or add fluffy, new white towels and white shower curtains to create a spa feel in bathrooms. Put away bath rugs so the flooring is completely uncovered. These simple staging tips make a home inviting and comfortable.

Here’s where a professional stager will really earn their money. Not only can they help you decide what to use to decorate the walls and shelves, they can also select the best furnishings to show off your home. They may suggest just repositioning furniture, moving pieces to another room, or removing older furnishings to give your house a more up-to-date look. A good stager will also be able to suggest pieces of art or furnishings to add to your collection as a way to inject color to make a room more contemporary. It’s their job to create an atmosphere that appeals to the larger market.

Clean staged bedroom with blue walls and hardwood floors

5. Floor to Ceiling

Stand in each room, start at the floor and go all the way to the ceiling. Consider what would make that room more appealing? Nothing says, “clean and fresh” like a new coat of paint, eliminating cobwebs, and repairing separating caulk. Are those floors looking a bit worn? Try an inexpensive area rug which can also add a bit of color. Light fixtures can date a home quickly; update them. New hardware in the kitchen can also liven up sad, tired cabinets.

Staged organized reading nook with built in shelves

6. Give Every Room Purpose

Do you have one of those rooms where things collect that have no purpose? Extra furniture, extra artwork, extra clothes, etc. Well, consider purging or storing the extras and give that room a purpose! Stage it to be an office, a guest room, a library, or a playroom. Create a vision that will appeal to buyers. Remember, they may be looking at several properties and if yours is the most “put together,” chances are it will also be the most memorable.
Another valuable asset of having a professional stager is that they use artwork and unique pieces of furniture to draw the eye of potential buyers to entice them to continue exploring the entire home. It may not seem too important, but what if your home is the last showing in a very long day of looking at houses. The buyers are tired and have had enough. Strategic placement of unique furnishings will keep them interested and make them want to see more instead of giving up and ending the tour.

Screened in porch over looking backyard with fireplace with foliage

7. Remember to stage the outdoors

In the Raleigh area, we experience some wonderful weather and outdoor staging will show potential buyers just how livable the outdoors can be. It’s like having an extra room; an extension of the home that adds to the overall square footage. During spring, take advantage of all the blooms by keeping your garden areas well-manicured. In summer, set an outdoor table to look like company is coming over for dinner al fresco. In fall and winter, go ahead and light that gas fire pit. How cozy would that be? Drape a couple of soft throws over the chairs. Your buyers will never want to leave!

Thinking of selling your home in the Triangle area, give us a call. One of our savvy REALTORS will help you with everything from comps to establishing a strong selling price. They can also help you find a trusted, professional stager who has an outstanding track record for setting the right mood to sell homes. In fact, we can offer you a complete list of homecare professionals should you need anything from painters to power washers to get your home in top selling condition!

Let us help you get your home ready to make the best first impression. Call us at 919-235-0007.

Renovations for Tech-Savvy, Millennial Buyers

happy young couple sitting on the floor surrounded by moving boxesIf you have an older home (built before 2005), in order to entice tech-savvy buyers, most of whom are millennials, you may need to focus on upgrading features that would make your home “smart.” These young (36 and under) buyers want the ability to use all their digital gadgets simultaneously without lag time or crashes. The top features this tech-savvy crowd are looking for are climate control, lighting, security and safety, and voice activation and control. They want to be able to use their energy-efficient, smart appliances and control things like temperature, locks, and lighting from their mobile devices.

They are a fairly large part of the buyer pool right now (34% of all home buyers), so accommodating some of these desires in a home will only increase your chances of attracting them to your door.
Here are a few renovation ideas that may help draw in a larger audience of buyers:

Let’s Talk Infrastructure

How old is the wiring in your house? Millennials are looking for a home that is wired to accommodate all of the digital tools necessary for their lives to run smoothly. If you home has wiring that is not capable of handling large loads of digital traffic without dropping the ball, perhaps you should consider upgrading to Cat5e and Cat6 Ethernet cables capable of handling large amounts of data quickly.

Does Your Wireless Need a Boost?

Boosting your wireless capability could also make your home more marketable. Anything you can do to amplify the signal throughout the house could create a better digital environment.

Are You Outage Ready?

cheerful young couple looking at a tabletRedundancy is the key. Do you have a battery back-up system to make sure key devices and appliances will still function during an outage? Having LAN cables throughout the home can create a level of redundancy that covers inconvenience issues because of wireless router failures. If you are planning a digital home-improvement upgrade anyway, it may be a good thing to address.

Kitchens and Bathrooms are a Good Place to Start

Millennials don’t have a lot of funds to put into the renovations of these areas, nor do they want to fit extensive renovations into their lives. They are looking for new kitchens with granite countertops and “smart” appliances and also bathrooms with stone tile. The good news is that most of these costs, if not all, will be recouped through the selling price. Plus it will initially attract more buyers to the property.

Open Up That Floor Plan

Young buyers want an open floor plan. They want space to entertain and rooms that are multi-functional so if they need to work at home, they have a comfortable place to get projects done with plenty of horsepower to drive their digital activities. They don’t like the idea of being sectioned off from family members. So open up that kitchen to extend into the living and dining rooms.

Low-Maintenance Lifestyles

Younger buyers tend to be very active and don’t want to spend all their time working on their home. They want maintenance-free and low-maintenance materials, so keep that in mind when remodeling. Materials that go into a home should be made to last and easy to maintain. They also don’t want big, high maintenance yards and gardens.

Lifestyle Features

young woman walking in the city streets doing shopping in downtownMany of these millennials are very attracted to homes with high “walkable” scores. What??? It just means they like to be housed close to where they work, play, and live; near grocery stores, restaurants, local businesses, public transportation, and entertainment. If your home has some or all of these things within walking distance, be sure to talk about it when marketing the property. A high “walkability score” can increase the selling price of your home on average $3000.

Hire an Agent Who Truly Understands the Needs of This Market?

If you are considering selling your home, we would love to help. At Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS®, we have over 30 years of experience developing our method of selling homes in the Greater Raleigh area providing sellers with exceptional guidance when placing their homes on the market. As the #1 real estate team in the Triangle, we can analyze your homes features and, if necessary, help you make a plan for improving your property’s marketability.

Is Now a Good Time to Sell My House?

Mixed Race Couple, Baby, Sold Real Estate SignThe answer is “It couldn’t be better!” To just say it is a seller’s market seems like an understatement right now for a couple of reasons. Any time demand is higher than the supply, sellers have the advantage. Right now it is oh so true in the housing market!

There could be many reasons for the current climate in the housing market. Increase purchasing power in the form of a healthy job market is probably the biggest factor in this equation. Perhaps because of the job market, some young professionals (fondly referred to as millennials) are changing their minds about not owning housing. Some of them are now deciding it’s time to purchase homes. That could be in part due to the availability of jobs. It could also be that this segment is getting a little older, probably have student loan debt under control, and may even be thinking of starting a family.

Whatever the magic combination that has produced this environment, new listings were up over 8% in April, but the inventory for homes fell over 12%. With the median home price hovering around $250,000, current inventory is selling very quickly; days on the market has dropped to an average of 45 days.

While new building of homes is up, it is not reducing the gap between supply and demand fast enough and pricing is typically $300,000 and up on new homes in this area. This shortage of affordable inventory is creating buyer competition primarily in homes under $400,000.

What does that mean for potential sellers?

girl lying in the grass holding a yellow toy house with red roofIf you are ready to sell, make sure your home is in tip top shape so you will get the most out of this seller’s market. Read What Home Buyers Do Not Want to gain insight into what issues with your home you should take care of before putting your home on the market. Then contact your friendly, reliable real estate listing agent and get it listed!

If you’ve been toying with the idea of selling, whether you are bursting at the seams in your current home or thinking that it’s time to downsize, perhaps it is time to stop toying with the idea and act now. Rising mortgage rates may be a sign of a healthy economy, but at some point they will curb the appetite of some buyers and your window of opportunity could pass you by before you get your ducks in a row and get your home on the market. If it seems like a daunting task or if you really were targeting selling a couple years from now…..seriously, think again. The propensity for top dollar will not last forever.

What does this mean for potential buyers?

Mature couple sitting at table with financial advisorIf you are ready to buy now, you will need to be prepared to spend some time with a qualified real estate broker in order to catch the right house before it’s sold. Some houses, especially those in the $250,000 range, can receive multiple offers the minute they go on the market and are sold in less than a week. Your agent can advise you on how to be successful in this fast-paced market.

Get together with a mortgage lender and get pre-qualified before you even start looking. That way you can act fast and you will know exactly how much home you can afford. Be prepared to pay close to, if not list price. Bidding is competitive. Cash offers and pre-qualified buyers generally have the edge.

In order to be quick with your responses to new listings, it is crucial that you work with a seasoned broker who will be on top of your search for a home. A buyer’s agent does not work for the seller. They work exclusively for buyers, so your needs will be their driving force.

If you are considering selling your home, we would love to help. At Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS®, we have over 30 years of experience developing our method of selling homes in the Greater Raleigh area providing sellers with exceptional guidance when placing their homes on the market. As the #1 real estate team in the Triangle, let us equip you with our wealth of knowledge and the tools needed to make your home fly off the market.

Schedule an appointment with us today at 919-235-0007 or review our selling resources for a full listing of all of our services!