The 2 Biggest Buying Myths—And Why You Shouldn’t Believe Them

Buying a home is a major decision—one that you should spend plenty of time thinking about. But for many people, that thinking stage quickly becomes filled with anxieties—about money, about mortgages, about lenders—and they may decide to postpone their buying plans.

At Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, we want to break some of the negative stigma around the buying process. Here are the top two myths that scare away buyers and why you shouldn’t believe them.

Myth #1: The 20% Down Payment

Professionals meeting at a bank.

While a 20% down payment is preferred, it’s far from required—even though 22% of renters and 31% of homeowners believe that it is! In fact, buyers often overestimate how much they need for a home—so much so that it delays their plans.

A recent report from Freddie Mac found that if a 20% down payment was actually required, 70% of people planning on buying the next three years would delay their purchase. Not only that, but 30% of buyers said they would never be able to afford a home under those conditions.

In reality, there are a number of programs available to buyers that help lower your down payment, from VA loans to FHA loans. Give us a call, and we can help you figure out what you qualify for.

Myth #2: The Stellar Credit Score

A person holding out a credit card.

Many people think a “good” credit score is right around 780—and that you need a “good” credit score to qualify for a loan. But according to Ellie Mae’s Origination Insight Report, that number is way above average. In fact, over 50% of approved mortgages had credit scores anywhere between 600 to 749—way below what most people consider “good.”

Even if you don’t have an outstanding credit score, odds are, it’s still good enough to snag the right financing. Need some tips on upping your credit score? Just reach out to my team, and we’ll help you out!

Don’t Let Buying Myths Hold You Back

Buying a home is certainly a tricky process, but it’s often more attainable than people think—especially when you work with a professional. At Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, we have over 100 years of combined real estate experience around the Triangle, and we’d love to leverage our skills to help you find your dream home.

Take some time to explore our resources for buyers, and give us a call when you’re ready to learn more about your buying options!

Waiting to Buy Your New Raleigh Home? Here’s How Much It’ll Cost You

Buying a home is a big decision, one that requires plenty of thought and deliberation. While it’s important to take your time and feel confident in your choice, you might want speed up the process.

Why? Well, within the next year, buying is about to become significantly more expensive. Take a look at the breakdown of the numbers, and get started with your search soon!

Costs Are Rising

Graphs and charts on a laptop.

Right now, mortgage interest rates are lower than they’ve been in years—even lower than experts had predicted. Over the next year, though, they’re only expected to rise.

Not only are interest rates ticking up, home prices themselves are growing as well. Add those two factors together, and you’re also looking at increased mortgage payments.

Concrete Numbers

A man pulling money out of his wallet.

Let’s put those numbers in perspective. According to Freddie Mac projections, current interest rates are around 4.3%. Next year, they’ll reach 4.5%. While that might not seem like a big jump, when you’re talking about big ticket purchases—like homes, for example—.2% can mean a major difference in cost.

As far as home prices go, CoreLogic estimates around a 4.8% jump. Again, not huge at first glance, but when you start looking at the numbers—like, for example, $250,000 versus $262,000—that’s a difference of over $10,000!

Put interest rates and home values together, and you’ll find that mortgage payments are following suit. Considering the current numbers, your average mortgage payment would be $1,231.60. Next year, that number looks more like $1,321.04.

How Much Will Waiting Cost You?

A man holding a Starbucks coffee.

Bottom line? Waiting to buy may not seem like a big deal at first, but those increased costs will add up quickly—especially in a competitive market like Raleigh’s.

Say you buy that home you’ve had your eye on, but you don’t do it until next year. You can expect to pay an extra $89.44 monthly—around the same cost as your daily coffee or weekly sushi. Per year, you’re looking at $1,073.28—around the same cost as a cushy weekend getaway or the balance on those credit card statements.

Within 30 years? You’ll be paying an extra $32, 198—and when it comes to other ways we’d rather use that money, we can think of about a thousand.

Don’t Wait to Buy Your New Home

If you’re on the fence about buying, just know: waiting until next year is going to cost you big. About $32,000 big. Don’t put off buying your Raleigh home—let Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® help you get started today.

Browse our buying guides and resources, narrow down your options with our specialized search tool, and give us a call to start scheduling showings today!

Is Moving in with Your Family the Latest Real Estate Trend?

Moving back in with your parents after a few years? You’re certainly not the only one!

Maybe your loved ones are growing older, and you want to spend more time with them, or they need a little extra help around the house. Maybe finances are tight, and you’re saving up for your own place.

Whatever your reasoning may be, multigenerational households are on the rise—and they provide some major benefits.

The Basics of Multigenerational Housing

A grandmother, grandson, and daughter sitting by the water.

The only qualification for a home to be multigenerational is, well, there’s more than one generation under the roof—whether it’s parents and adult children, adult grandkids and their grandparents, or any other combination.

Until recently, multigenerational households hadn’t been popular—or even common—since the 1950s, when around 21% of the population lived in a multigenerational home. That number continued to tick down over the years, but as of 2009, it’s been on the rise.

Currently, around 20% of the population lives in a multigenerational home, making it the second-highest percentage in recent history!

Reasons Behind Multigenerational Housing

Grandparents holding their grandchildren.

There are several major reasons why people have started moving back in with older family members. The most common reason is to take care of aging parents (26%), closely followed by spending time with parents in general (14%). Previously, adults ages 85 and older were most likely to live in multigenerational homes. Now, the title goes to young adults ages 25 to 29.

Additionally, growing diversity may play a part in those numbers. According to the Pew analysis, Asian and Hispanic populations—both of which have grown rapidly—are more likely than others to live in multigenerational homes, coming in at 29% and 27% of the population, respectively.

Lastly, student loan debt might be a big factor in multigenerational homes. For people ages 22 to 35, 83% blame their student loans for preventing home ownership. Seeing as how the average borrower owes over $30,000, they might be onto something!

The Surprising Benefits

A daughter and mother sitting on a park bench.

Not only do multigenerational households make financial sense for many people, they also boast a number of benefits. According to a study from the University of Oxford, children who grow up close to their grandparents often have fewer emotional and behavioral problems and can cope with traumatic events better. Also, researchers from Boston College found that when adult grandkids have close bonds with their grandparents, both groups report reduced depressive symptoms.

Understanding the benefits helps put into perspective why a staggering 41% of Americans are now in the market to buy a multigenerational home!

Linda Craft on Multigenerational Housing

Find Your Multigenerational Home in Raleigh

Raleigh has a wide variety of large, private homes for sale, perfect for multigenerational housing. If you’re looking to make the move with a few family members, then Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® is more than happy to help.

Explore all of your home-buying options in Raleigh, browse our helpful resources, and give us a call today to get started!

Boomerang Buyers: Why a Past Foreclosure Shouldn’t Stop You from Buying Again

Facing a foreclosure can be traumatic. Putting all of that hard work and hard-earned money into buying a home, only to have it fall through in the end, is the worst-case scenario for many buyers—enough that it may prevent them from buying again.

While it’s hard to imagine the impact that a foreclosure has, it doesn’t mean that your home-owning dreams are over. In fact, many “boomerang buyers” are gearing up to give it another go!

What is a Boomerang Buyer?

A woman on her laptop.

Following the housing crisis—from 2006 to 2014—there were 7.3 million foreclosures and 1.9 million short sales, according to CoreLogic. After going through the foreclosure process, buyers must wait about seven years before applying for mortgage again, although that timeline may be shorter if you qualify for an FHA loan.

Those buyers who have previously undergone a foreclosure but have chosen to buy a home once again have been coined as “boomerang buyers”—and now that a few years have passed, there are more and more entering the market!

The Latest Numbers

Women looking at a laptop.

The NerdWallet‘s 2019 Home Buyer Report sheds some light on the latest trends for boomerang buyers. Out of the 13% of Americans who lost a home in the past ten years, around 60% have not re-entered the market, and around 20% say they’ll never buy a home again. Those numbers are certainly cautious, and also a tad bit grim.

The good news, though? The numbers are starting to look up.

In January 2016, 2.8 million people who experienced foreclosures, short sales, or bankruptcies had those incidents dropped off of their credit report. Since then, 11.5% of them have successfully obtained a new mortgage!

Not only that, but of the 13% Americans who lost a home, 39% say they plan on buying within the next three years, and a staggering 58% say they plan to buy within the next five.

The bottom line? There’s still hope, despite past foreclosures!

Know Your Options

A family in a brightly lit room.

The most important thing for boomerang buyers going forward is to be prepared. In fact, 74% of formerly foreclosed buyers say that they will be more cautious about choosing a lender, agent, or loan.

When it comes to knowing and working with the top trusted lenders in the area, the Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® has a vast network of options. Since we’ve been working around the Raleigh area for years, we can leverage our unique expertise to ensure that you’re matched with the best possible experts in the area.

Buying a home—especially for boomerang buyers—is intimidating. But when you work with our team, we’re dedicated to laying out all of your options and helping you select the most prudent choice.

Ready to Buy Again?

Then we’re here to help. Team up with Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, and let us help you buy your next home. With our resources, expertise, and local knowledge, we’ll ensure that your buying journey is both successful and seamless.

Give us a call today to begin exploring all your Raleigh home-buying options!

Breaking Down Housing Affordability: The Bottom Line for Buyers

As of late, there’s been a lot of buzz about home prices going up, and a fair amount of anxiety about what that means for buyers. While some headlines have been announcing an “affordability crisis,” that’s perhaps an over-sensationalization of current conditions.

If you’re worried about not being able to afford a home in the greater Raleigh area, here’s why you may not need to be as concerned as the headlines would lead you to believe.

What’s the Housing Affordability Index?

A man looking at charts and graphs on his laptop.

Every month, the National Association of Realtors crunches the numbers to create a Housing Affordability Index. This index measures how affordable it is for a family with a typical income to purchase a median-priced home, assuming a 20% percent down payment.

The index uses the number 100 as a starting point, and the higher the index gets, the more affordable homes are.

What the Index Has to Say

This year, the index is at 153, which is higher than it ever was from 1990 to 2008. The periods when the index was higher than it is today—2009 to 2017—were right on the heels of the housing crash, so the purchase of distressed and discounted properties was a frequent occurrence.

In fact, this year’s number is five points higher than last year’s, meaning 2019 has been more affordable for homebuyers than 2018!

Now is a Great Time to Buy

People receiving the keys to a home.

With low mortgage rates and affordable home prices, right now is a great time for buyers. If you’re in the market to purchase a home soon, you should take advantage of these favorable conditions while you can, and kick off your search process.

Find Your Dream Home in the Raleigh Area

With years of experience in Raleigh real estate, Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® is more than prepared to help you find your new home in Raleigh. Take a look at a few of the resources we have to offer, and give us a call when you’re ready to start seeing a few homes in person!

Buying and Selling in Raleigh? Here’s Why It Pays to Have a Professional on Your Side

With all of the latest technology and new ways of buying and selling, you might be wondering: “What benefits do I gain from working with a real estate agent?” While apps and websites may sell an easy real estate process, the truth is that if often ends up being far from that.

If you’re preparing to buy your dream home or sell a home for top dollar in the Raleigh area, here’s why you should enlist the help of an agent.

The Search Process Takes More Than You Think

A man on his laptop.

From starting your search to closing on your home, there are over 230 possible steps you’ll need to take—and when you decide to go it alone, you may end up adding to that number.

Even the search process, as simple as it may seem, is infinitely more complex. Without representation, you likely won’t gain access to information like the property’s public record for ownership and deed type, the land use coding and deed restrictions, or the property’s curb-appeal assessment.

Not only will a skilled agent secure all of that information for you, but they’ll also match you with similar homes that fit your more specific criteria—criteria that you may not find on online searches.

Negotiating Can Be Challenging

Two women meeting and discussing paperwork.

With low mortgage rates and steadily rising housing prices, it’s a prime market for both buyers and sellers. This is good news, but also means you’ll likely be dealing with more competition than usual.

Working with a skilled negotiator can not only be the difference between your offer being accepted or denied, but it can also save you thousands of dollars in the end.

When negotiating a home sale, you’ll have to deal with a number of parties, including the buyer and the buyer’s agent, the buyer’s attorney and lender, and the home inspection company. Every step—from your original offer to the inspection to the closing—demands guidance from an agent who knows their way around the process.

At at Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, we have over 350 years of combined real estate experience—which means countless successful negotiations.

What is Your Home Worth?

The kitchen of a home.

Since mortgage rates have been trending lower than in years past, home prices are veering in the opposite direction. Your agent should have an in-depth knowledge of the greater Raleigh area real estate market, enough to ensure that your home is priced competitively and accurately—or that you’re getting a fair price for your purchase.

In the end, you need an agent who will be transparent with you, even if it means telling you something you may not want to hear.

Enlist the Help of Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®

If you’re in search of local real estate professionals, look no further than Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®. Whether you’re buying and need help navigating the process or selling and hoping for top dollar, our track record of success proves that we have what it takes to achieve your real estate goals.

Interested in learning more about our real estate services? Please don’t hesitate to give us a call.

Strong Investment Strategy: Why Real Estate is one of the Most Popular Long-Term Investment Choices

A man pointing to a graph representing the rise of the real estate market.

When it comes to investments, real estate proves to be one of the most successful and worthwhile in the long run. According to Gallup, real estate is the top investment choice among survey respondents—beating out stocks, gold, and savings accounts.

This has been the case for the last six years. During the time of the recession, specifically from 2008 to 2010, most respondents cited CDs or savings accounts as the best form of long-term investment. But with the economy, and the housing market, recovered, real estate has once again become the number one investment.

The Many Benefits to Investing in Real Estate

There are a number of benefits to investing in real estate over the stock market or gold. If you invest wisely, and in a market as popular as Raleigh’s, you may be able to set up a steady cash flow to supplement your income.

In addition to monthly cash flow, here are some of the best benefits to investing in real estate in Raleigh.

Financial Security

A woman holding several hundred dollar bills.

Owning a property and then renting it out to tenants may yield longstanding financial security. Once you purchase the property, you can use monthly rent collected from tenants to pay off the mortgage—building equity and wealth for yourself as the investor.

Given the market’s positive upward growth, your investment property is likely to appreciate in value over time—meaning a greater return on your initial investment.

Tax Benefits

Owning an investment property in Raleigh and renting it out may yield tremendous advantages come tax time. Rental income is not subject to self-employment tax, which can be hefty.

In addition, you may be eligible for tax breaks for property maintenance, depreciation, insurance, and other factors that come with being a homeowners.

Supplemental Income

A happy couple standing in front of their home.

Without a doubt, the best part of investing in real estate is the additional monthly income. After your property’s mortgage is paid off by your tenants, you’ll have a tidy sum of money to do with as you please!

Put it in a savings account, use it to perform maintenance or upgrades on your primary residence, or re-invest it back into the market! Make your money work for you in real estate.

Ready to Invest in Raleigh Real Estate?

Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® is here to help. As longtime Raleigh and Triangle-area real estate agents, we have years of experience investing in the market.

Give us a call today to explore your real estate options in Raleigh! In the meantime, check out our home-buying and local area resources.

Why Now is the Best Time to Downsize

A simple kitchen with tile backsplash, wood countertops, and white paneled cabinets.

Searching for a smaller home? Chances are, you’re not alone.

Over the past few years, many “baby boomers” have experienced a sudden change. Their children have moved out and bought homes of their own, leaving their parents to dream about their own lives.

Oftentimes, such a sudden change in household size can be eye-opening. All of a sudden, that two story home with five bedrooms is too big. It’s costly, overly spacious, and hard to keep up with.

The solution? Downsizing.

Save Money & Improve Your Lifestyle

Downsizing your home is becoming a popular option for older generations. In the past, developers and builders focused on constructing huge luxury properties. But, just like the real estate market, that has shifted significantly.

In Raleigh, you’ll discover a wide variety of homes perfectly suited for smaller households. Two- or three-bedroom ranch style homes are increasingly popular, which is why you’ll find plenty of homes like this for sale in Raleigh.

Plus, unlike more luxury options, these homes are highly affordable.

Find Amenities Catered to Your Needs

A man standing on the golf course at sunset.

The best part about downsizing? You can find a neighborhood that offers all the amenities you’ve ever wanted! Don’t want to take care of your yard or home’s exterior? Search for homes in low-maintenance or maintenance-free communities!

Want to live right on the golf course? There are plenty of golf neighborhoods in Raleigh, as well as the greater Triangle area. When it comes to finding your dream home in Raleigh, you have every option right at your fingertips.

Downsizing is Highly Affordable

As the housing market throughout the United States remains consistent and reliable, you’ll notice a variety of single-family homes sold at lower price points.

According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), “The inventory of new homes for sale was 344,000 in March, representing a 6 months’ supply. The median sales price was $302,700 with strong gains in homes sold at lower price points. The median price of a new home sale a year earlier was $335,400.”

Looking to Downsize Your Raleigh Home?

Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® can help you find the perfect home in Raleigh. Give us a call today to explore all your Raleigh home-buying options!

Home Buying Timeline: How Long Does it Take to Save Up a Down Payment?

A family holding a piggy bank.

Time and again, we hear from potential buyers that one of the most challenging parts of buying a home is saving up for the down payment.

Many people believe that they need a 20% down payment in order to buy a home, but that’s not really true. While 20% is a standard, it is by no means the only option for putting down a deposit on a home.

In fact, there are a wide variety of mortgage loans out there that may only require as little as a 3% down payment. If you’re still saving up for your home’s down payment, here are a few things to keep in mind about your buying timeline.

How Long Does it Take to Save up a 20% Down Payment?

This depends largely on your financial circumstances. How much you make in a year, your current debt and monthly expenses, and your saving patterns will largely dictate how much (and how quickly) you’ll be able to save.

Many financial advisors suggest saving around 20% of your monthly income throughout the year, and this is certainly a great place to start! However, if you want to buy a home as soon as possible, you may have to be a more aggressive saver.

It also depends on what state you live in. In fact, the number of years it takes a median-income earner to save up for a 20% down payment differs largely by state.

How Long Does it Take Buyers in North Carolina?

Two adults pointing at a tablet lying flat on a table.

In North Carolina, it generally takes someone around two years to save up enough money for a down payment. In other states, depending on median housing prices, this may be as high as 30 years, or as low as a little over one.

But that’s just for the 20% down payment option. If you’re eligible for a 3% down payment program, it may only take you about half a year to save up for a down payment.

All in all, it depends largely on your financial situation!

How Much Should I Spend on Housing in a Month?

The age-old rule for handling your income is the 50/30/20 rule. Half of your monthly income should go to necessities like housing, healthcare, and food. 30% should go towards discretionary spending, and 20% should go to savings.

Experts in real estate agree that of that 50%, no more than 30% of your income should go towards your housing expenses.

How Do I Navigate the Financial Side of Buying a Home?

We can help with that. Here at Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, we have years of experience helping home buyers from a wide variety of backgrounds find success in the greater Raleigh real estate market. Not only can we walk you through your many options as a buyer, but we can also connect you with professional lenders in the area.

Have a question about buying a home in Raleigh? Please don’t hesitate to give us a call or browse our free resources today.

As the Average Rent in Raleigh Increases… It Might Be Time to Look Into Buying

A beautiful kitchen with pots of fresh herbs in the window sill.

While renting has a number of unique benefits, it also has one big disadvantage in the Raleigh area: it’s skyrocketing.

While rent prices have gone up significantly every year since 2005, the average mortgage payment has actually decreased since then. In fact, according to Core Logic, the average rent has increased by 36% between 2005 and December 2018. In that same time period, the average monthly mortgage payment went down by 4%.

What does this mean for people living in Raleigh? It’s time to buy a home. Here’s why.

Rent Prices are Only Going to Continue Increasing

This goes without saying. For renters, there’s no assurance that your landlord won’t jack up the rent prices every year you continue living there. Landlords do this to keep up with inflation, but also because they can.

If you buy a home, however, you can expect payments that are both lower and set. Depending on the type of mortgage loan you take out to finance your home purchase, you can probably expect to pay the exact same amount every month during the term of your loan.

Is Buying a Home Really More Affordable?

A woman sitting at a desk, crunching numbers on a calculator with a small stack of papers in the other hand.

Yes. It all has to do with your mortgage. Your monthly mortgage payments depend heavily on your loan’s interest rates. Luckily, mortgage rates right now are some of the lowest they’ve been since 2005.

According to the Economists’ Outlook Blog, the percentage of income needed to purchase a home throughout the United States has decreased steadily since November of 2018. This is great news for potential buyers: it means that they’ll need less of their income to afford a home.

Want to Learn More About Buying a Home in Raleigh?

Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® is here to help. Give us a call today to begin exploring your home-buying options in Raleigh and the greater NC Triangle area. With our years of experience, in-depth market knowledge, and local real estate resources, we have everything you need to make a successful home purchase.