You Should Be Building Your Own Wealth… Not Your Landlord’s

There’s no doubt about it: buying a home is a daunting task. In fact, many potential buyers are nervous about the commitment and obligation that comes with buying a home.

If you’re more comfortable renting because you think you can’t afford buying a home, we should talk. The truth is, even when you’re a tenant, you’re still paying a mortgage. Unless you live completely rent-free with a relative, you’re helping someone build their equity and pay off their mortgage with your rent money every month.

You’re paying your landlord’s mortgage, and giving them a little extra for themselves each month. Wouldn’t you rather be building your own wealth?

If You’re Serious About Your Finances, You Should Buy a Home

Stacks of coins growing consecutively in size until they reach a large pot.Buying a home is one of the most surefire ways to build wealth for the long-term. Additionally, it gives you significant benefits to your credit score, as well as a sense of security.

When you own your home, you’re not at the mercy of your landlord—who may raise your rent whenever they see fit. Plus, owning your home means you can decorate and renovate it to match your unique tastes! You have complete freedom over what goes in and what comes out.

In Fact, It’s a Great Time to Buy in Raleigh

A white kitchen countertop with red flowers and a candle.The spring home-buying season is shaping up to be a good one. Interest rates are still historically low, while inventory only continues to grow. That means this spring will be a wonderful time to buy a home in Raleigh.

Get a head of the competition by beginning your home search today! Do some research and come up with an idea of what kind of home you’d like to buy.

If you need any help locating potential homes for sale in the area, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. At Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, we have the inside scoop on the area’s best new listings.

Join the Home-Buying Ranks

It’s never too late (or too early!) to buy a home in Raleigh. Trust us, if you can afford to pay rent every month, you can afford to buy a home.

Plus, there are plenty of mortgage options out there that require little to no down payment! There’s no excuse not to take advantage of excellent market conditions and become a homeowner.

Guess What? You Do Not Need a 20% Down Payment to Buy a Home in Raleigh!

Many people believe that they can’t afford to buy a home because they can’t afford the down payment. Time and time again, I hear would-be homebuyers resign themselves to a life of renting because a 20% down payment just isn’t feasible.

However, this is one of the biggest myths of buying a home! The truth is, you do not need to put down 20% to buy a home. There are plenty of options for buying a home without a hefty down payment!

What You Need to Know

According to a recent study called “Barriers to Accessing Homeownership,” 39% of non-homeowners and 30% of those who already own a home think that they need more than a 20% down payment.

But that just isn’t true. In fact, there are a number of loans available that don’t require a down payment at all or require a very small one.

Did you know that the median down payment on loans approved in 2018 was only 5%? If you’ve spent the last couple of years saving up for your down payment, chances are you already have enough saved to buy now!

The Lowest Down Payment Loans Out There

A family of three holding a pink piggybank with coins spilling out.Here are three loans that offer low to zero down payments. There are certain eligibility requirements for each, but don’t feel discouraged if they won’t work for you! Please give us a call at Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®!

Chances are, we know of the perfect solution to fit your unique situation in the Raleigh real estate market.

VA Loan

It’s no secret that the VA loan is one of the best mortgage loans out there. It is available to qualified veterans, active-duty service members, certain spouses, and other specific members of the National Guard and Reserves.

The VA loan features a 0% down payment and does not require mortgage insurance. It is offered through a local lender, but guaranteed by the government. The borrower does have to pay a funding fee (anywhere from 1.25 to 3.3%) that can be included in the total loan amount.

USDA Loan

Attractive kitchen with hardwood floors, marble countertops, and hanging light fixture.This loan is available for certain eligible buyers. It has restrictions based on household income, as well as certain credit and employment requirements.

It is designed for people looking to buy a single-family residence in a suburban or rural area. The USDA has maps with specific eligibility information, so you can easily see if your property is eligible!

The USDA loan is one of the most popular loans available, and it isn’t uncommon for the total fund to run out before the end of the fiscal year. If you’re interested in using a USDA loan to buy a home in the North Carolina Triangle, check your eligibility requirements and then give us a call!

Federal Housing Administration

The FHA loan requires a minimum down payment of 3.5% and is a great option for would-be buyers that have a low credit score or history of poor credit.

While it charges a low down payment, it does require the borrower to purchase mortgage insurance upfront with a premium of about 1.75% of the total mortgage amount.

Your Dreams of Homeownership are Within Reach!

We know you can do it! Please know that you have plenty of options when it comes to buying a home in Raleigh or another popular Triangle community.

When you choose to work with Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, you’re enlisting the help of the Triangle’s #1 real estate team. We have the resources and experience to help you buy the home of your dreams. No 20% down payment necessary!

Ready to begin exploring your home buying options? Please reach out to us today!

 

The Pros & Cons of a Buyer’s Letter: Standing Out in a Busy Market

Imagine, after weeks of searching, that you’ve finally found your dream home. It’s in the perfect location with the right features and exactly the amount of space you need. But after requesting more information, your agent informs you that there are already several offers made on the house. How do you stand out in a busy market and snag your dream home?

When buyers are looking to make a lasting impression on sellers, they often opt to submit a letter to the seller. In fact, a recent study found that buyers who submitted letters were 9% more likely to have their offer accepted.

A Buyer’s Letter can work both with you and against you, so it’s important to understand what they are and when you should use one.

What is a Buyer’s Letter?

A man typing on a laptopA Buyer’s Letter is pretty much what it sounds like — a letter written by the buyer for the seller in order to stand out in a busy market. The letter is your chance to make a case for why you should get the home over other buyers.

Many people opt to write about how they envision their lives in the home, how well they would take care of it, how much owning this specific home would mean to them, and similar sentiments.

You might also use this space to talk yourself up, bringing up steady finances, your down payment, and job security — things geared towards making the seller confident in choosing you.

Advantages of a Buyer’s Letter

A man and a woman shaking handsA Buyer’s Letter sets you apart from the crowd and makes you more than just an offer on a sheet of paper — it allows you to connect with the seller on a personal level. In a constantly growing and changing market, being able to stand out or connect puts you a big step ahead of other buyers.

Is the home close to a golf course? Does the seller have bikes in their garage? Are there signs of pets in the home? If you notice you have common interests, including them in the Buyer’s Letter can elevate your standing.

When you choose to forgo a Buyer’s Letter, you miss out on the chance to advocate for yourself, which can go a long way in the seller’s final decision.

Disadvantages of a Buyer’s Letter

A woman writing in a notebook. While there are plenty of pros to using a Buyer’s Letter, there are also pitfalls to consider. Making your case is great, but it does give the seller leverage. If you really love the house as much as you say, then what’s to stop the seller from raising the asking price?

Maybe the seller accepts your offer, and you move to the home inspection stage. If issues turn up, then the seller might refuse to make costly repairs, assuming that you’ll buy the house no matter what.

Another unexpected con of a buyer’s letter? It can be tricky for sellers to navigate around discrimination issues. If a seller picks a buyer of a certain race, religion, gender, or family status instead of another, they could face backlash. Be aware of this when writing your letter so as to not put the seller in an uncomfortable position.

Need Help Standing Out?

If you’re kicking off the home-buying process and need help standing out, we’ve got you covered. When you work with Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, you’re enlisting the help of the Triangle’s #1 real estate team. We know exactly how to help you purchase the home of your dreams.

Get in touch with us today, and we’ll help you secure your dream home, and answer any and all of your questions in the process.

Want to Build Your Wealth? It’s Time to Buy a Home in Raleigh

The most surefire way to begin building your wealth in the NC Triangle? Become a homeowner.

Buying a home essentially forces you to build wealth. To purchase a home, you have to apply for a mortgage loan to pay for it. Then, every month, you pay off a percentage of that mortgage. Each mortgage payment brings you a little bit closer to fully owning the home on your own, and makes your equity a little big bigger. To be honest, your home is really just one big savings account.

So, owning a home and paying your mortgage every month builds your wealth for the long run.

Owning a Home Leads to Financial Security

A white table with a checkbook and small stack of money.According to many housing experts in the real estate industry, buying a home before the age of 35 leads to being better prepared for retirement at age 60.

If you’re a millennial in the greater Raleigh area, you may believe that you can’t afford to buy a home because of the massive down payment or the high mortgage interest rates. However, that’s not actually true!

If you can afford to pay rent every month, you can afford to buy a home. Plus, with so many different mortgage options available, it’s not always necessary to pay a huge 20% down payment!

Navigate the Triangle Real Estate Market

Cute interior decor.It’s never too early to begin planning for your retirement. And, the sooner you begin saving, the better off you will be when it’s finally time to retire!

It’s no secret that housing wealth is the largest single source of wealth currently available. Plus, the emotional benefits that come from buying a home are on the same level as the financial benefits!

If you’re interested in building your wealth by buying a home in the greater Raleigh area, then it’s time to contact Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®.

You Deserve a Successful Real Estate Transaction

When you choose to work with Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, you’re enlisting the help of an all-star team that will stop at nothing to make sure you achieve success in the Triangle real estate market.

As the Triangle’s #1 Ranked Real Estate Team, we know exactly how to help our clients find the perfect home. Give us a call today to explore your real estate options in the greater Raleigh area!

Market Update: Are Low Interest Rates Going to Stick Around?

If you’ve been eyeing the Triangle real estate market for a while, you’ve probably noticed interest rates rising in 2018. As we enter the first quarter of the new year, it’s important to stay on top of changing mortgage interest rates.

Right now, interest rates for mortgages in the United States are on a downward trend. As 2019 began, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped to just 4.51%. In addition, the growth of home prices are expected to slow.

So, what does it all mean?

It’s a Great Time to Buy a Home in Raleigh

A couple receiving the keys to their new home.If interest rates remain low, now is a wonderful time to apply for a mortgage and buy a home in Raleigh! As interest rates increased in 2018, many homebuyers decided to pause their search for a new home.

But, if you’re in the Raleigh real estate market, now is the time to pick the search back up! As we continue through 2019, the inventory of homes for sale in Raleigh is expected to pick back up, while interest rates are expected to grow slowly from 4.77 to about 4.93 by the end of the year.

How Much Will Interest Rates Increase in 2019?

A man and a woman meeting with a bank lender.Organizations like the Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, and the National Association of Realtors project that interest rates will increase in 2019. However, they will not increase as rapidly or dramatically as they did in 2018.

The bottom line: if you’ve been hesitating on buying a home in Raleigh, it’s time to dive into the real estate market. Low interest rates, a growing inventory, and the slow growth of home prices have created ideal conditions for home buyers in Raleigh!

Ready to Find the Perfect Home in Raleigh?

Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® are here to help. With a combined 30 years of real estate experience in the Triangle, our team possesses the unique expertise necessary for making a highly successful home purchase.

We’re the #1 Triangle Real Estate Team for a reason. We offer customized services, in-depth real estate resources, and extensive real estate expertise to our Raleigh homebuyers. If you’re ready to expand your home search in Raleigh, then it’s time to give Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® a call.

The Real Benefit to Buying a Home in the Triangle

When it comes to real estate, it can be easy to get bogged down by the numbers. How much money are you going to spend on a home? Are you going to be able to build substantial equity over the years? If you decide to sell before your mortgage is paid off, will you have to renegotiate with the bank?

While the financial side of buying a home is important, what’s possibly even more significant is its emotional aspect. Buying a home has many intangible benefits; home is where you look forward to returning at the end of a long day. It’s the one place you can truly feel at peace and be yourself. It’s a place where you feel safe, loved, and protected.

The purchase of a home is unlike any other purchase you’ll ever make in your lifetime.

Owning a Home Brings Stability

Two parents teaching their daughter how to ride a bike.

When you buy a home, you’re not simply purchasing a property. You’re choosing to invest in a unique community that’s going to shape your way of life.

That’s why we’re so excited you’re exploring the Triangle as your new home. With its many different neighborhoods, towns, and cities, the Triangle offers a wide variety of different communities to choose from.

You Have Total Freedom Over Your Space

Unlike with renting, owning a home means having near-unlimited possibilities to customize your space as you see fit! Want to install a fire pit in the backyard? Interested in transforming your extra bedroom into a home gym? Eager to paint a wall in your kitchen with inspirational quotes? When you own a home, you have all the options in the world.

You’re also free to adopt pets, install Pinterest-inspired light fixtures, and do whatever else it takes to make your house feel like home.

There’s No Place Like Home

Adults clinking their drinks together over a lavish dinner spread.

The biggest reason to buy a house? To make it a home.

Create a space where you and your loved ones can come together to celebrate and to take care of one another. Set up a guest bedroom for when company visits, decorate your dining room for the holidays and the big events, and get excited about your new life in a community as charming as the Triangle!

Ready to Buy a Home in the Triangle?

We’d love to help you along. At Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, we understand our buyers’ unique needs and expectations in a real estate transaction. As leading Triangle REALTORS®, we’re more then prepared to guide you towards a successful, lucrative, and emotionally fulfilling home purchase.

Get in touch with us today to learn more. In the meantime, browse some of our most popular Triangle homes for sale.

Still Renting Your Home? There Are Better Options Available!

2018 is quickly drawing to a close, which means it’s time to start planning for the new year. If you’re still renting a home in the Triangle, please know that you have better options available!

Have you been dreaming of becoming a Triangle homeowner? You’re not alone! This is a wonderful area to invest in, and an ideal time to buy a home. Home values in the Triangle are expected to increase over the coming years. This makes now the time to act!

Take a look at our complimentary home-buying tools to get an idea of your options in the Triangle. Oftentimes, it’s less expensive to pay a mortgage every month than it is to keep up with annual rent increases, and all the other fees associated with leasing!

What Do You Dislike About Renting?

Young couple thinking and looking at a laptop computerAccording to a 2018 Bank of America Homebuyer Insights Report, 75% of millennial renters plan on buying a home in the next 5 years, and 38% are planning to buy in the next 2 years!

Those surveyed were also asked what they disliked about renting. 52% said rising rental costs were their biggest reason. Other factors included “not building equity,” “feeling like I’m paying my landlord’s mortgage,” and “not being able to have pets.”

There’s plenty of merit to that concern, as the median asking rent has risen steadily every year since the 1980s.

Common Misconceptions About Buying a Home

Bright living room interior with huge windows.If you plan out your budget every month, you’ve probably heard of this rule “don’t spend more than 30% of your monthly income on housing expenses.” Did you know that almost half of all renters surveyed in the Bank of America Report spend much more than that on their monthly rent?

When asked what was stopping them from buying a home, many responded that they “weren’t able to save the 20% down payment.”

However, this is one of the biggest misconceptions about buying a home! It is possible to buy a home without putting 20% down.

Ready to Explore Your Triangle Home Buying Options?

Allow our team of experienced Triangle real estate agents to guide you through the process. For more information about what kind of homes are available in the Triangle, and what your options are as a buyer, please get in touch.

As the #1 Real Estate Team in the Triangle, Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS® are fully prepared to find you the home of your dreams and negotiate an excellent price on your behalf.

Homebuying Success: A Simple Way to Build Your Wealth For the Future

Did you know that, unless you’re living somewhere rent-free, you’re paying for a mortgage. If you own a home, you’re paying your own mortgage and building wealth over the long run. However, if you’re renting, you’re paying your landlord’s mortgage.

If you’re currently renting a home, but want to build wealth for you and your family, then it’s time to invest in your future by buying a home. Buying a home is equivalent to forcing yourself to save money every month, and it will increase your wealth over the long run.

By paying off your mortgage every month, you’re paying off your debt and building your own wealth. Once that mortgage is paid off, you own your home and you’ll be surprised by the many invaluable benefits this will bring to your financial situation.

The Benefits to Homeownership

Luxurious bedroom with white curtains.Once your home is paid off, you own a tremendous asset worth hundreds of thousands of dollars: your home. In addition, paying your mortgage every month will increase your credit score and force you to save money (think of your home as your savings account). So, by paying off your mortgage you’re actually paying yourself.

Plus, when you buy a home in a market as competitive and ever-growing as the Triangle, your home’s value will increase over time. That means your wealth increases right along with it, even before you’ve finished paying off your home.

As you continue to pay off your home, you’re building something known as home equity. This is the percentage of your home that you actually own, and it grows every time you make a payment. Increased home equity means increased wealth… it’s just that simple.

The Market Continues to Improve

Happy couple looking at a computer screen and discussing their future.Now is a great time to become a homeowner, because housing prices are only continuing to increase across the country — but especially in the North Carolina Triangle. According to Pulsenomics, home values are expected to appreciate by an average of 3% every year.

You may be wondering “Linda, if home prices are going up, that means they’re getting more expensive. Isn’t it better to just continue renting?”

The answer is no! If you buy a home by the end of next month, you lock in your home for that price. While your monthly mortgage payments will reflect that price and that price alone, you’ll actually make money over the years as your home’s value appreciates. Here’s an example:

John and Mary buy a home in North Raleigh for $250,000 in January. Over the next 5 years, their home appreciates in value by 3% every year. At the end of that five-year period, John and Mary have built up nearly $40,000 in home equity. While they’re still paying for a $250,000 home, their home is actually worth almost $290,000!

That’s without any major repairs or renovations! They’ve made an additional $40,000 in forced savings by living in their home and paying their mortgage every month. If they ride out their entire mortgage period (let’s say, a 20-year term fixed interest mortgage), how much do you think their home will be worth when they’re done paying for it?

Build Your Wealth by Buying a Home in the Triangle

If you’re ready to expand your wealth by buying a Triangle home, then it’s time to contact Linda Craft & Team Realtors®. Our team has unsurpassed experience in the Triangle, ample home-buying resources, and a commitment to achieving your goals.

For a streamlined and successful home-buying experience, rely on Linda Craft & Team Realtors®.

How to Buy a Home in One Year: A Step-by-Step Guide

Let’s start the new year off right. If you’ve been dreaming of a new home, it’s time to get started. Here’s a month-by-month guide to planning for and buying a new home. It’s about time to set your new year’s resolution, right?

January: Brush Up on Your Market Knowledge

Woman typing on a laptop with a paper pad and pen sitting next to her on the desk.The best way to get started? Brush up on your real estate knowledge. Scour the market with a fine-tooth comb. Check out things like current inventory in your city, average sales prices, and the listing-to-sales-price ratio.

This research will help you familiarize yourself with the market.

February: Address Your Budget

Let’s finalize our budget shall we? The easiest way to do this is to get pre-approved for a mortgage.

Meet with a lender (let us know if you’d like a recommendation) to review your finances. The lender will go over your financial history, and then let you know what the bank is willing to lend you.

Now you have an idea of what your mortgage will be and what you can afford in a home.

March: Find Your Perfect Location

A park full of bright trees, each at a different stage in the fall process (one is red, one yellow, and one green).Do some soul searching. Where will you be happiest? Explore locations based on their job market, housing affordability, and overall quality of life. The goal is to narrow down your search to one city.

If you have the means, try to take some time off to go and visit a few cities. Once you find a city, it’s time to narrow your search down even further by pinpointing specific areas or neighborhoods that will best meet your needs.

April: Find the Right Agent

Find the right real estate agent to help you buy a home. Trust us: they’ll save you time, money, and more than a few headaches.

If you need any recommendations, let us know. We have more than a few ideas.

May: Define Your Dream Home

Luxurious living room with winding staircase, bright furniture, and hanging light fixtures.Now is the fun part! Start putting together a list of everything you want in your dream home. We recommend starting by defining your “must-have” features. Think of the things in your home you can’t live without. That’s a great place to start.

It’s also important to know the difference between “must-have” (i.e. you need 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms) and “nice-to-haves” (it would be nice to have granite countertops but you can also live without them.)

June-July: Begin Searching

Use a handy home search tool like ours to begin browsing homes for sale in your target area. Once you find a home that you like, it’s time to schedule a tour.

Private home tours are often better than traditional open houses because you have more time to walk through the home, without the pressure of competing with other potential buyers.

At some point in your home-search journey, you’re likely to come across at least one home that calls your name.

August: Fall in Love and Make an Offer

Bright dining room with hardwood floor, small black table, modern decor, and a ceiling fan.You’ve found the one; now make an offer!

Work closely with your agent to compare recently sold homes in the area and craft the perfect offer.

Ask your agent for their advice—like whether or not they think the price is right for this home, as well as what other contingencies you might want to include in your offer. This is when your real estate agent will prove truly valuable: they’ll be able to provide useful insight in order to help you get the home of your dreams for the best possible price.

September: Schedule All the Things

Let’s get down to business. It’s time to negotiate with the seller, schedule an inspection, have your real estate agent complete any renegotiations (based on that inspection), and get the home appraised by a professional.

You’ll also have to take care of some more paperwork to finalize your mortgage loan.

October – December: Let’s Start Closing

Two adults reaching over a table to shake hands.Next, you’ll start the closing process.

Buckle up, because we’re in it for the long haul! Here’s where you’ll finalize your mortgage approval (this requires a ton of paperwork) and meet with an attorney to set closing dates and sign paperwork prior to closing. This is also the time when you’ll review closing fees and the exact monthly costs for your home.

At the end of it all comes the close. You’ll pay the remaining closing fees, sign all the paperwork, and collect your keys Congratulations! You just bought a home.

Ready to Begin?

We’re ready to help. Give us a call today to get started.

Keeping a Healthy Credit Score – DOs and DON’Ts

How many times have you been told how important it is to keep a healthy credit score? The biggest benefit of keeping a healthy credit score is that you will enjoy the benefits of lower interest rate, especially when you go to finance a home, buy a car, or invest in property for your business.

There are five things that influence your credit score:

  • Payment History – 35% – bills you’ve paid on time
  • Level of Debt – 30% – how much you owe and how it is used
  • Credit Age – 15% – average amount of time credit line is open
  • Mix of Credit – 10% – credit cards, loans, and other credit accounts
  • Recent Credit – 10% – credit inquiries – several in a short period of time can damage your credit

There are also several DOs and DON’Ts that can affect these five credit score components. Here’s Linda to tell you about them.

 

DOs

  • Pull a credit report – you pulling a credit report will not affect your credit so it’s good to do this once a month to make sure it is correct. The credit bureau does get things wrong from time-to-time.
  • The rule of thumb for credit cards is to only use 30% of your available credit and pay it off every month.
  • Collections can kill your score. If you have them, settle as soon as possible with the company you owe and then ask for a Letter of Deletion (not a Letter of Satisfaction) for the Credit Bureau. This permanently deletes that collection from your account and will increase your credit score.
  • If you want to buy a home, choose a mortgage lender that uses a credit simulator. They can really help you manage your credit to your best advantage.

DON’Ts

  • Don’t open new accounts
  • Don’t cancel credit accounts
  • Don’t consolidate credit – this really damages your score

If you would like help finding a mortgage lender in the Raleigh area with a credit simulator to help you achieve a very healthy credit score, give us a call. It doesn’t cost a thing to take steps to increase your credit score whether you are looking for a home or a space for your business. We’re here to help! For residential real estate assistance, call 919-235-0007 or visit LindaCraft.com. For commercial real estate assistance, call 919-466-5000 or visit CraftCommercial.com.