Triangle 4th of July Fireworks, Parades and Celebrations

Find out about all the ways to celebrate Independence Day 2019 in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and beyond. Enjoy fireworks, parades, festivals and more.

Apex

Olde Fashioned Fourth of July
Thursday, July 4th, 2019, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Historic Downtown Apex
Flag-raising, inflatables, face-painting, karaoke, parade of wheels, fire department splashdown
Free to attend. Might be cost for some activities.

Cary

Cary Independence Eve Celebration
Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019, 6:30 p.m.
Cary Arts Center

The Cary Town Band will celebrate and honor our nation’s veterans in this year’s Independence Eve Celebration. Speaker Deborah Tilton, a Specialist in the NC Army National Guard and decorated veteran, will answer the question, “What is a Veteran?” Musical selections will be played to honor those who have served. The band will pay special tribute to our military service personnel and their spouses past and present who have helped secure our freedom and liberty. For more info call (919) 469-4069.
Free

Cary Independence Day Celebration
Thursday, July 4th, 2019, 7:00 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Fred G. Metro Bond Park, Boathouse
Enjoy the fishing tournament, parade, and various activities. The activities start at 8 a.m.
Free

July Fourth at Booth Amphitheatre
Thursday, July 4th, 2019, 3 p.m.
Koka Booth Amphitheatre
Enjoy an afternoon and evening of fun, family festivities. The North Carolina Symphony will be performing. There will be a fireworks  display at the end of the event.
Free but there will be a charge for some of the amusements.

Chapel Hill

Town of Chapel Hill 4th of July Fireworks and Community Celebration
Thursday, July 4th, 2019, 6 p.m.
Southern Village, 400 Market Street, Chapel Hill

The celebration and fireworks are moving from Kenan Memorial Stadium this year. They will be launched from Scrogg’s Elementary School, and the prime viewing areas will be Southern Village, where there will be a pre-fireworks community celebration with kids’ activities and music, and Southern Community Park, 1000 Sumac Road.

Clayton

Clayton’s Fourth of July Celebration
Thursday, July 4th, 2019, 4 p.m.
Municipal Park, 325 McCullers Drive, Clayton.

Live music by Big Love, free watermelon slices, free ice cream, inflatables, fair rides, and more.fireworks at the end of the day.

Durham

Children’s Independence Day Celebration
Thursday, July 4th, 9:30 a.m.
Durham Central Park, 501 Foster Street, Durham
Bring the kids and celebrate the birth of our nation in this fun and patriotic parade. Come early to help your kids decorate their bikes, big wheels, tricycles, wagons, even strollers. Parade starts at 10:30 am. Free popsicles and fire truck tours after the parade.
Free

Durham Fourth of July Celebration
Thursday, July 4th, after the ballgame ends
Durham Bulls Athletic Park
Patriotic fireworks show immediately following the USA baseball game.
Free, but you should consider buying tickets to the baseball game to make sure you get in. This is strongly suggested. Follow the above link for more information.

Watts-Hillandale Fourth of July parade and Celebration
Thursday, July 4th, 10 a.m.
Oval Drive Park, 2200 W. Club Boulevard, Durham
This tradition started in 1950 with six neighborhood kids riding their bikes up and back on the sidewalk. Today, 1,000 people attend. The parade is led by the fire truck and features patriotic singing. Afterwards, participants cool down with bottles of ice-cold Coca-Cola.

Independence Day Celebration at Stagville
Friday, July 5th, 2019, 11 a.m.
Stagville State Historic Site
5828 Old Oxford Highway, Durham
Free

Frederick Douglass Community Reading: Commemorate Independence Day with a community reading of Frederick Douglass’ powerful Fourth of July address, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July.” This is a participatory event, open to people of all ages! We will provide copies of the speech to all attendees, and read it out loud together as a community.

Fuquay-Varina

Independence Day Celebration
Wednesday, July 3rd, gates at 6 p.m., Spare Change plays at 6:30 p.m., fireworks at sundown
South Park, 900 S. Main Street
Food vendors, music, free rides for kids, splash pad 6 p.m. until sundown, and fireworks.
Free

Garner

Garner Independence Day Celebration
Wednesday,  July 3rd, 5 p.m.
Lake Benson Park, 921 Buffaloe Road, Garner
Celebrate Independence day with food, music, and inflatable games. The North Carolina Symphony will be performing. The event will end with a fireworks show.

Hillsborough

Hillsborough’s Independence Day Picnic
Sunday, June 30th, 11 a.m.
Eno River Farmers Market Pavilion
Live music by Alabama Slim and more. Food trucks and family activities in River Park until 3 p.m.
Free

Holly Springs

Holly Springs Independence Day Celebration
Friday, July 5th, 5 p.m.
Jefferson L. Sugg Farm at Bass Lake Park
A pet-friendly festival with food, games, crafts, activities, and more. There will be a fireworks display at 9:15.
Free

Knightdale

Knightdale Fourth of July Celebration
Thursday, July 4th, 5 p.m.
Knightdale Station Park
This celebration features food trucks, vendors, and kids’ activities, as well as a live performance by The Embers. There will be fireworks to close out the celebration.
Free

Morrisville

Morrisville Fireworks
Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019, 6 p.m.
Morrisville Community Park
Fireworks and food trucks. Bring blankets, chairs, and tents to watch the show.
Free, but bring money for the food trucks

Raleigh

Raleigh Fireworks
Thursday, July 4th, 6 p.m.
PNC Arena/Carter-Finley Stadium/NC State Fairgrounds Area
Raleigh’s fireworks will take place in the PNC Arena area.

Fireworks will be launched from property owned by North Carolina State University along Trinity Road, which is adjacent to PNC Arena, Carter-Finley Stadium, and the North Carolina State Fairgrounds. There are no major visual obstructions in the vicinity so the fireworks can be viewed from all directions.

Parking lot gates will open at 6 p.m. and fireworks are scheduled to launch at 9:30 p.m. There will be free parking at the PNC Arena lots, Carter-Finely Stadium lots, and North Carolina State Fairgrounds Bunn Field lots along Trinity Road. 

Finley Freedom Festival
Sunday, June 30th, 2019
6:30 p.m.
A.E. Finley YMCA, 9216 Baileywick Road, Raleigh
Free

The whole community is invited. You don’t need to be a member of the YMCA. Music, games, face painting, food vendors, balloons, and afireworks show.

Brier Creek Independence Day Celebration
Thursday, July 4th, 7 p.m.
Brier Creek Commons
Games, bounce houses, prizes, and face painting. Ends with a fireworksdisplay at dusk.

Joel Lane House Celebration
Thursday, July 4th, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Joel Lane Museum House
The historic Joel Lane Museum House offers free admission on July 4th. Take a tour of the house, and enjoy historical activities.
Free

Independence Day Celebration at the State Capitol
Thursday, July 4th, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
NC State Capitol, 1 E. Edenton Street, Raleigh
This great Raleigh tradition includes a naturalization ceremony for new citizens and patriotic music by Raleigh Concert Band. Check back soon for more information. Last year it also featured carriage rides, food trucks, and free family-friendly activities.
Free

Rolesville

Rolesville Fourth of July Parade and Celebration
Thursday, July 4th, 5 p.m.
121 Redford Place Drive
The event will include live entertainment, food trucks, a beer garden and a fireworks display.

Selma

Selma’s all-American Festival
Thursday, July 4th, 2019, 6 p.m.
Uptown Selma
A family-fun event featuring food, special events, a children’s area, and fireworks.
Free

Smithfield

Smithfield Independence Celebration
Sunday, June 30th, 2019, 6:30 p.m.
South Third Street, Historic Downtown Smithfield
Food vendors, water wars, and music by The Seaside Band. The celebration ends with a fireworks display at 9 p.m.

Wake Forest

Wake Forest Fireworks Display
Wednesday, July 3rd, 5:30 p.m.
Heritage High School, 1150 Forestville Road, Wake Forest
The band, Crush, is performing, followed fireworks.
Free

Wake Forest Children’s Parade
Thursday, July 4th, 10 a.m.
North Main Street
Children can ride their bikes, walk, or be pulled in a wagon along North Main Street.
Free

Arts and Games in the Park
Thursday, July 4th, 11 a.m.
Holding Park, 133 West Owen Avenue
Arts activities for kids
Free

Wendell

Wendell’s Independence Day Celebration
Thursday, July 4th, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Wendell’s annual Independence Day celebration features a citizen’s and children’s parade down Main Street, starting at Wendell United Methodist Church, and ending at the J. Ashley Wall Town Square.
Free

Money 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.

What You Need to Know About These Historically Low Interest Rates

A beautiful white kitchen interior.

Interest rates are at a historic low. In fact, they’ve been on a slow decline since November of 2018, resulting in some of the best mortgage interest rates we’ve seen in a while!

In fact, these are the lowest they’ve been since January 2018. If you’ve kept up to date on the Raleigh real estate market, you may have encountered conflicting information about whether or not now is a good time to buy a home. We’re here to set the record straight.

Now is a Great Time to Buy a Home

Right now, the average mortgage interest rate is 4.12%. In 2018, that average rate was about 4.6%.

Market experts at Freddie Mac predict that rates will rise back to 4.6% by the end of 2019. This is sending would-be homebuyers a strong signal: now is the best time to buy a home in the greater Raleigh real estate market!

Lock In Those Low Interest Rates

Two adults shaking hands over a table.

If you buy a home in Raleigh now, or before the end of the summer, you’ll lock in these historically low interest rates. Your mortgage interest rate has a huge effect on your monthly payment, and the lower they are the less you’ll have to pay over the long run!

So, if you’ve been thinking about about buying a home in Raleigh, now is the best time to act. With high inventory and low mortgage rates, you stand to make the deal of a lifetime.

Allow Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® to Help

Our team is comprised of professional real estate agents with years of experience helping buyers navigate this unique market. Take advantage of our expertise, in-depth market resources, and local knowledge to find the home of your dreams in the greater Raleigh area.

Have a question about your mortgage or the home-buying process in general? Please give us a call. We’re here to help you navigate a successful transaction in Raleigh.

The Home Buying Debate: 3 Big Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying a Home

A man and a woman with their arms around each other, looking at the front of the home they've just purchased.

If you’re in the middle of buying a home in the greater Raleigh area, you’ve probably already listened to a lot of unprompted advice. Home-buying, and real estate in general, is one of those topics that elicits some pretty strong opinions.

At the end of the day, however, it all boils down to what you think and what you’re looking for in a home. That’s why I recommend sitting down to ask yourself three big questions before you buy a home.

1. Why are You Buying a Home?

Put aside the financial side of things for a minute. Why do you really want to buy a home? If you have kids, you might be thinking about living within a great school district. If you’re nearing the retirement age, you might want to be closer to your family and friends (as well as your favorite golf course).

It may be for a different reason altogether! There are plenty of reasons to buy a home, and each one is just as valid and important as the last.

In fact, did you know that the top four reasons Americans buy a home, according to a study at Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University are:

  • A good place to raise children and provide them with a good education
  • A place where you and your family feel safe
  • More space for you and your family
  • Control of that space

What non-financial benefits do you hope to gain from owning a home? Those are the most important things to consider when you start searching.

2. How are Home Values Faring in this Market?

Rising house prices. Man is holding green arrow up in his hand and house on the table.

Over the past several years, home values have appreciated steadily. According to the National Association of Realtors’ Existing Home Sales Report median price of homes sold in February was up 3.6% from this time last year.

In their recent Home Price Insights report, Core Logic predicted that home values would rise 4.6% over the next year.

With home prices increasing so steadily, now is the best time to buy. For example, if you’re looking at a home that is worth $250,000 today, it will cost around $11,500 more if you wait until next year to buy it.

3. What are Mortgage Interest Rates Like?

The long-term cost of a home is largely based upon mortgage interest rates, which dictate how much you’ll end up paying every month for your home.

Right now, mortgage rates are at their lowest. However, both the NAR and the Mortgage Bankers Association predict that mortgage rates will increase over the next year.

So, now is the time to buy a home and lock in those low mortgage rates! This will ensure a steady, low monthly mortgage payment in the Raleigh market.

How to Know When It’s Time to Buy a Home

Truthfully, only you can know when it’s the right time. Buying a home is a huge decision, and whether or not it makes sense for your right now depends entirely on how you answered those three questions.

Have additional questions about buying a home in Raleigh? Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® is here to help. Give us a call to talk home buying. We’d love to walk you through your different options in the greater Raleigh real estate market.

Find Your Dream Home: How to Plan for the Perfect Retirement in Raleigh

As you get closer and closer to retirement, it’s time to start thinking about where you want to live. The big question on every almost-retirees mind is whether to stay in their home or buy a new one.

Take a long, hard look at your current home to assess whether or not you can renovate it to fit your retirement needs. If it has a long winding staircase, lots of empty rooms not being used, and hefty maintenance needs, it might be time to downsize.

As you begin searching for the perfect home for your retirement, here are some things to keep in mind.

Look Into Affordability

Although you’ve probably saved up a tremendous amount of money for your retirement, your monthly income is now one average sum. As such, it’s important to find a home that is affordable and convenient.

Be mindful of the additional costs associated with buying a home—especially if you’re purchasing one in an active adult community with higher HOA fees.

Check Your Equity in Your Current Home

Two adults sitting side by side on a couch, browsing their computers.

Depending on how long you’ve owned your current home, you may have built up a lot of equity.

As a result, you can use this money to help fund your next home purchase—therefore, lowering or even eliminating those monthly mortgage payments.

Consider a Maintenance-Free Community

Do you really want to spend your retirement years performing yard work or exterior maintenance?

A condominium or townhouse with low-maintenance options may be exactly what you’re looking for. Forget shoveling snow in the winter and cleaning gutters! Let someone else take care of that for you.

Don’t Forget About Security

A home with a metal security system.

Unfortunately, older residents are often the target of break-ins and scams. Look for a home in a community with an onsite security guard.

If you’ve fallen in love with a home that’s not included in an HOA, consider installing additional security features.

For Retirement, Convenience is Key

Lastly, make sure that your home is near all the retirement amenities you’re looking forward to! If you’re an avid golfer, it should be a quick drive away from your favorite course.

For outdoor enthusiasts, consider buying a home close to a big park like Umstead State Park. If you have grandchildren in the area, look into buying a home in their neighborhood or close by. The best part of retirement is getting to pick and choose how you spend your days, so you’ll want your home to be as close to your favorite activities as possible.

The Bottom Line

Whether you’re choosing to stay in your current home for retirement or find a new one, it’s important to make sure it will be a good fit for your retirement lifestyle.

For help locating the perfect property in Raleigh, please don’t hesitate to give Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® a call. We can assist you with finding the home of your dreams.

A New Kind of Home Buyer: Tips for Marketing Your Home to Millennials

Millennials get a lot of flack, but they’re an important part of the real estate market. In fact, they make up the largest generational percentage of home buyers right now!

So, if you’re planning on selling your home soon, it’s important to keep the average millennial home buyer in mind. This generation is unlike any that’s come before it, and the way they buy everything (from laundry detergent to life insurance) is unique.

When it comes to catching the eye of the discerning millennial home buyer, here’s what you need to do:

Create a Strong Internet Presence

It goes without saying that millennials rely on the Internet for, well, everything. This isn’t unusual: the Internet makes every kind of shopping easier and more accessible.

As such, giving your home an effective online presence is key. It needs to be easy to find via the most popular home-buying networks, and it has to look great no matter the screen size. After all, more home buyers than ever before are using their smartphones to find their dream home.

Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Professional Listing Photos

A beautiful modern kitchen.

Because millennials rely on the Internet to search homes for sale, your home’s photos have to stand out in a big way. After all, with the right photographer even the smallest home can look like a palace.

So, don’t skimp on this expense! Great photos could be the difference between a home selling within hours, and a home languishing on the market for months.

Show How Your Home Will Improve their Lifestyle

Millennials are looking for homes that will improve their lifestyles and be close to wherever they need to be during the week. As you market your home online, be sure you’re highlighting both its features and location in your listing description.

Tell an exciting story of how much better their life will be once they buy your home! Craft your listing description to carefully touch on all the best parts of your home and its surroundings, and let buyers know exactly why they need to buy it.

Know What Millennials are Looking for in a Home

A pair of hands typing on a smart phone.

So, what are millennials looking for anyway? Market research finds that millennial buyers are attracted to affordable homes with eco-friendly and smart features. If your home has any green features or environmentally friendly add-ons, you’ll definitely want to highlight them.

In addition, if you’ve outfitted your home to accommodate any smart features that use technology—like a Nest thermostat or other Smart Home appliances—be sure to mention that in your listing description and social media promotion.

Use a Pro to Market Your Home

The easiest way to market your home to millennials? Work with a real estate specialist who understands this unique market—and how to best target real estate’s next generation of buyers.

Here at Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, we have an in-depth understanding of the Raleigh real estate market. Allow us to market your home and sell it for top dollar within your timeline.

Give us a call today for more information about selling your home to millennials!

The 3 Things You Need to Know About Today’s Real Estate Market

Depending on which news outlet you go to, you may hear some pretty contrasting takes on the current real estate market. Some say the market is going up, others say we’re headed towards a crash similar to the one in 2008.

Instead of relying on over-sensationalized media reports, we prefer to look at the data. Numbers don’t lie, and they’re a reliable way to see exactly how the market is behaving. We took a look at some reports from three top Chief Economists and want to share our findings with you.

A woman gesturing to a graph to show rising home sales.

Here are three things you should know about today’s real estate market, based on the data.

1. Low Interest Rates Make for Confident Buyers

The real estate market throughout the country is warming up as a result of low mortgage rates.

Mortgage rates are at an all-time low, and they haven’t risen significantly over the past few years. These low rates have caused consumer confidence to skyrocket, which has resulted in increased home purchases throughout the United States.

Both sales demand and inventory have steadily risen, which signals that the market is only going to get hotter!

2. Increasing Incomes = More Home Sales

Sold house sign in suburban setting. Focus on sign.

Early this year, existing homes sales increased by almost 12% between January and February.

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors, said this in response to rising home sales, “A powerful combination of lower mortgage rates, more inventory, rising income and higher consumer confidence is driving the sales rebound.”

In fact, since August of 2018, the average hourly wage has increased steadily—suggesting that the economy is in an upswing.

3. Home Price Appreciation Has Slowed

Many are worried over the real estate market because of one crucial trend: home value appreciation has begun to slow. This means that home values are not increasing as drastically as they have in years past. But believe us when we say: this is a good thing.

This signals that the real estate market is returning to normal. It is not heavily tilted towards either buyers or sellers, but exists somewhere in the middle.

This makes now a great time to buy and sell your home—especially in a community as robust as Raleigh and the NC Triangle.

Navigate the Real Estate Market Like a Pro

Interested in buying or selling a home in the greater Raleigh area? Here at Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, we have the local resources and market expertise to help you make a successful transaction in Raleigh. Give us a call today to learn more.

Why Now is the Time to Upgrade Your Home—and Your Lifestyle!

A luxury living room with a fireplace.

While the rest of the real estate market is distinctly geared towards sellers—high demand and low inventory make for ever-increasing home prices—this section of the market doesn’t apply towards luxury or premium properties. In fact, the luxury home market (homes priced at $1 million and up) is a buyer’s market.

Over recent years, an influx of first-time home buyers and those seeking affordable properties has dominated the market. The demand for luxury properties is far lower.

What Does this Mean for Home Buyers?

If you’ve been wanting to upgrade your home—trade it in for something in the luxury market—now is the time to do so! In fact, if you negotiate correctly, you stand to make an amazing deal on a luxury home.

The truth is that demand for luxury homes has grown very slowly over the years. This isn’t to say that the market is taking a downturn—if anything, it is simply returning to normal.

What’s the Best Way to Upgrade My Home in the Triangle?

A huge white bathroom with a glass shower.

It all depends on what exactly you’re searching for! Raleigh, NC and the greater Triangle area are full of stunning luxury homes and premium properties. Whether you’re looking for a new construction paradise with acres of land to roam, or a unique estate-style home in a sought-after neighborhood like Five Points, Raleigh has something for you.

The real estate market here is as diverse as the population! Here at Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, we have the resources you need to find exactly what you’re looking for.

Plus, at the end of the day, the best way to upgrade your home is to listen to your heart. What home features have you been dreaming of? What kind of home—location, amenities, design—will get you on the path to living your very best life?

These are the questions you need to answer, and our team would love to be there to help you along.

Let’s Work Together to Upgrade Your Lifestyle

Raleigh is full of opportunity. Let’s explore it together! Use our home-search tool and our free buyer resources to become better acquainted with the Raleigh real estate market–and discover your dream home today.

Have any questions? We’re just a phone call away.

The Best Smart Home Technology for Upping Your Home’s Value

Repainting the walls, updating the kitchen and bathroom, replacing the hot water heater—there are ways to increase your home’s value that stand the test of time. But as the market and the priorities of buyers change, there are newer, more popular ways to get a high return on your investment!

Smart home technology is becoming a bigger factor for buyers, and it’s not hard to see why. Things like smart appliances, high-efficiency lighting, and programmable thermostats aren’t only convenient, but they also save you money on utility bills! Lucky for sellers, smart home technology is pretty affordable compared to other value-boosting projects and can increase your home’s resale value by a few percentage points.

Whether you’re selling your home soon and looking to get top dollar or just curious about your options, take a look at our guide to the top smart home technology to install in 2019.

Smart Appliances

A new kitchen with new appliances.

Pretty much every appliance in your home has a “smart” option—refrigerators, washers and dryers, faucets, ovens, you name it. Smart fridges can self-adjust the temperature and create grocery lists, smart ovens allow you to check how much time is left from your phone and preprogam recipes, and smart washers will run during the most cost-effective time of day.

As far as what to install, you don’t have to replace every appliance with a smart version, but think of what’s most practical. Since kitchens and bathrooms are priorities for buyers, consider replacing the fridge, oven, or faucets.

Smart Security System & Locks

A smart lock on a door.

Installing a smart security system is one of the most popular smart improvements you can make. According to T3 Sixty’s recent survey of buyers interested in smart home technology, the largest amount of interest was shown for smart security systems.

The security includes anything from cameras that upload footage to a virtual database to locks enabled by wifi. Some companies, like Nest, Ring, and SimpliSafe, offer bundle packages with alarms, cameras, and smart doorbells. Since security is such a high priority for buyers, these systems will likely show one of the highest returns on your investment.

Smart Lighting

A lightbulb sitting in grass.

You know those lights that turn on when you clap? This is the next level. Not only can smart lighting be controlled via apps, but it can also be set to trigger under certain conditions, like when you walk by or when you leave for work. Forget to switch the lights off before leaving? No problem—you can just turn them off from your phone!

It’s recommended to buy a starter pack, since those come with light bulbs and other supplies you’ll need for setup. Once that’s all installed, most systems are compatible with smart speakers like the Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

Smart Thermostats

A smart thermostat.

Buying a home is a big investment, so if you can show potential buyers how your home can help save them money, it’s going to make your property that much more desirable. According to studies conducted by major smart thermostat providers like Ecobee and Nest, homeowners saved 23% in heating and cooling costs (Ecobee) and around $150 annually (Nest). You can even estimate what the savings in your home might look like with an energy calculator!

The most popular smart home thermostats are Ecobee and Nest, which will run you around $200 – $300. If you’re interested in a budget option that will still look flashy to buyers, check out Honeywell. Of course, each system offers different features, so be sure to do a little research beforehand.

Smart Blinds

Blinds.

Smart blinds are a little more of a cosmetic perk for buyers, but they do have their money-saving benefits. You can set the shades to open or close based on peak sunlight times or the temperature of your home, which saves a few extra dollars on heating and cooling here and there. They also add an extra layer of security and convenience to the home, both of which are big selling points for today’s buyers.

Depending on the model you get, you can control your smart shades through an app, a smart hub, or even just your voice. You can even coordinate them with other smart features in your home, like the lighting or smoke detectors!

Check out options like the Serena smart shade by Lutron, the Pella Insynctive line, or Ikea’s upcoming August line.

Getting Ready to List Your Home?

While smart home technology might be one of the most popular ways to up your home’s value right now, there are a number of other options. If you’re curious, our team can even do a walkthrough of your house, suggest a few upgrades, and tell you the most competitive listing price!

Whether you’re getting ready to buy, sell, or just starting your home search in the Triangle area, the Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® will be around to answer all of your questions along the way—just give us a call!

How to Buy a Home: Your Step by Step Guide

A living room with dark hardwood floors and blue walls.

Homeownership is closer than you think!

If you’ve long been considering buying a home in the greater Raleigh area, now is the time to act. You might be worried about the financial side to buying a home: the hefty down payment and the mortgage approval process—but it’s really not that complicated.

In fact, there are ten simple steps to buying your first home in the Raleigh real estate market!

Save Your Down Payment

It’s a common misconception that you have to put down 20% of the home’s overall value. That’s simply not true!

There are a number of loans out there that require less than 20%, with some like the USDA Loan requiring only a 3% down payment and the VA loan requiring 0% down!

While it’s true that the more you save up for a down payment, the lower your monthly mortgage payments will be, 20% is not the end-all be-all.

Determine Your Credit Score

A man using a marker to circle different numbers on a graph.

Whenever you’re making any large purchase that requires a loan, it’s important to have a handle on your finances. Use a free service like CreditKarma or FICO to check your score. This will give you a good idea for what kind of interest rates the bank is willing to offer you.

Find an Agent

While it is possible to buy a home without an agent, it is twice as stressful. An agent handles a lot of the “invisible work” associated with buying a home.

In addition to handling negotiation and closing, your agent can make recommendations on local neighborhoods and homes for sale. Plus, they’ll likely be able to offer you support as you navigate a tricky real estate market.

Get Pre-Approved

Saleswoman presenting a new project property on digital tablet

Trust us, getting pre-approved for a mortgage loan will make the rest of your home-buying experience easier.

This process typically includes sitting down with a lender to review your finances. The lender will go over your credit score, savings, outstanding debt, annual income, and anything else relating to your money situation. Then, they’ll give you an offer for the amount of money (and the interest rate) the bank is willing to lend you. Boom: your budget is set.

Go Shopping

Now it’s time for the fun part! Think long and hard about what you want in a home, and get to searching. To make it a little easier on you, feel free to use our complimentary home-search tool.

You can easily filter results by price, location, neighborhood, size, special features, and more. Happy house hunting!

Make an Offer

A man pulling several hundred dollar bills out of his wallet.

Once you’ve found a home that you can’t live without, work with your agent to make an appropriate offer. It’s important to make an offer that is both competitive enough to sway the seller, while still staying within your budget.

Remember that pre-approval letter? This makes you a more competitive buyer as well!

Get an Inspection AND an Appraisal

This is crucial. Before you sign any closing documents, you HAVE to make sure the home is a worthwhile investment. The best way to do that is by hiring an inspector to come out and review the property. This way, if there are any hidden issues with it, you’ll be able to negotiate with the seller to have it fixed.

After the inspection, your lender will arrange for a home appraisal. This is to assure the bank that your new home is worth the price you’ve agreed to pay for it.

Close the Sale & Move In

Once your loan is approved, your bank will schedule a closing date. This is when you cross your T’s and dot your I’s.

Congratulations! After some heavy negotiating and serious home shopping, you’ve finally found your dream home and made it your own.

Ready to Become a Raleigh Homeowner?

We can help with that. At Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, we have the experience necessary to help you find the home of your dreams at the right price tag. Give us a call today to get started.

Home Buying Round Up: Let’s Talk About Your Credit Score

If you’re thinking about buying a home in Raleigh, you’ve probably checked your credit score at least once, and maybe even been a bit dismayed at what you found.

The truth is, many would-be homeowners out there feel like their credit score has to be in the high-700s in order to buy a home. Luckily, we’re here to set the record straight.

You Don’t Need an “Exceptional” Credit Score to Buy a Home

Did you know that only 19% of Americans have a credit score between 740 and 799, according to Experian?

Having a low credit score doesn’t mean you can’t afford, or won’t be able, to buy a home. There are a number of unique loan programs out there that don’t have a credit score minimum, and may not even require a hefty down payment.

Here Are Some Loan Examples

A man writing on some papers with a pen.

The Fair Housing Administration offers a unique FHA loan that only requires a credit score minimum of 580, if you want to qualify for the low down payment advantage.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture does not set a minimum, but lenders throughout the industry typically require around 640.

For active-duty or retired military members, the Veterans Affair loan does not set any credit score minimum requirement.

The bottom line? You can still be approved for a mortgage even if your credit score is below a 700.

Don’t Have a 700+ Score? You Can Still Buy a Home in Raleigh

Be honest: when is the last time you checked your credit score? Many Americans refrain from checking it because they fear it’s too low.

However, according to FICO, the average credit score has steadily risen year after year! In 2009, the average FICO credit score was around 680. In mid-2018, it had risen to around 704.

If you’re worried about your options as a homebuyer, we highly recommend checking your credit score. The result may surprise you!

Still Worried About Buying a Home?

Please give us a call. We would love to sit down with you to discuss your home-buying options in the greater Raleigh area. In addition to our extensive real estate network and resources, we are connected with a number of lenders in the area we’d love to recommend.

Homeownership is more attainable than you think! Please reach out to us at Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® to learn more about buying a home in Raleigh.