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.

3 Reasons Why the Raleigh Area is a Great Place to Relocate

Relocate To Raleigh North Carolina

There’s a lot of buzz about “Best Places to Live” flying around the internet. Without a doubt if you Google “Hottest Housing Markets” you will see Raleigh, NC positioned in the top 10 on most lists depending on what criteria is used. So a safe bet (since you are reading this blog) is that if you are looking to relocate, Raleigh is one of the places you are considering.

What’s so great about the City of Oaks? Well, let’s take a look at why Raleigh continues to be a such great value. Most of these online rankings are based on things like employment opportunities, unemployment rates, average income estimates, housing values, and population growth. Some even take a look at lifestyle factors such as outdoor recreation, restaurants and entertainment, and higher education. So what does it all mean, really?

 

First, You Have to Bring Home the Bacon

Work In Raleigh

Let’s get serious. First and foremost you have to pay the bills, so employment opportunities rank highest on everyone’s list when it comes to relocating. The Triangle area has a reputation worldwide as one of the most progressive, hi-tech, finance, and healthcare hubs. IBM, Cisco, SAS, and Glaxo, Fidelity Investments, Wells Fargo, Lenovo are some of the largest employers in the area. The Triangle also boasts one of the largest entrepreneurial networks in the world with a 30-year track record of successfully nurturing startup companies. These are a few reasons why the unemployment rate is 3.6% – .5% under the national average.

 

Second, Can I Afford a Home in the Triangle?

Can I afford a home?

Yes, housing is tight all over the country. Median home values in the Raleigh area is around $266,000 according to Forbes. So much more affordable than the western part of the country and definitely cheaper than the northeastern part of the US.

Raleigh saw an appreciation rate of 5.9% last year but that’s estimated to level off to 3.7% this year keeping prices from skyrocketing as they have in other parts of the country. With a median household income of $84,288, the American Dream of owning a home is very achievable in Raleigh and the surrounding areas.

 

Third, Will I Enjoy Living in the Triangle?

Fun in the park.

Well, that all depends on your tastes and interests. If you like to be outdoors, enjoy moderate temperatures most of the year, like the beach or the mountains, then you will definitely enjoy this area. Here’s a link to things to do in NC which will help you connect with area offerings.

Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill each house top-ranked universities – NC State University, Duke, and the University of North Carolina. So what? Well, having three college towns means loads of restaurants, entertainment, and SPORTS!!! Where else can you enjoy all the benefits of THREE major universities all within 30 minutes of each other.


Need Help Relocating?

One of the favorite things our agents love about working here is being able to help people relocate to this area. Many have lived here for years; some have lived here all their lives and they have raised their own families here. Wouldn’t a person like that be someone you would trust to share their knowledge of the area with you; helping you to find just the right neighborhood and the right home for you and your family? Give us a call and talk to one of our relocation specialists today!

Sink or Swim – Diving into the Raleigh Housing Market?

Like any major investment, buying a home is all about timing.

Is now the best time to take the risk and jump into the home ownership pool? In the Raleigh market, 2018 certainly looks like the right time; but sooner rather than later because it could be quite a different pool you are jumping into if you wait until the latter part of the year.

Yes, the past couple of years or so have seen crazy upward movement in price appreciation and yes, there’s a shortage of inventory – record lows to be exact. While all that doesn’t seem too comforting to a buyer, there are other aspects to consider about the temperature of that housing pool you are about to dive into.

Even this early in 2018 we are seeing some home prices leveling off, and while inventory is still low, analysts say all that is about to turn a corner, especially in price points above $350,000. While 2017 saw home prices appreciating at a rate of 5.9%, these prices are expected to level out this year to around 3.7 in the Triangle area.

Three other factors could push you into the pool sooner rather than later:

  • Two – four more mortgage rate increases are predicted to happen this year. You could be looking at a rate of 5% by the end of 2018. Increased mortgage rates decrease the amount of home you can afford to buy.
  • While prices are not predicted to climb at the steep increase we’ve seen this past year, they are going to continue to climb.
  • Home builders are working hard to close that gap in inventory, however, construction labor is not getting any cheaper, land in the Raleigh proper market is scarce, and banks are getting tighter with building loans. These limitations slow the supply side of housing availability.

Buying is still a more desirable option than renting in the long-term.

Buying vs. Renting

Even if this competitive market makes it a challenge to find just what you want in a home, it is possible if you seek the right team of Realtors to help you.  If you are considering taking that plunge in the near future, it’s best to consult a Realtor who has years of experience in this market. Think of them as your personal lifeguard. Their knowledge and determination can be the difference between a refreshing dip in the housing pool or diving head first into the deep end without a floatation device.

If you think purchasing a home in this market is tricky, set up a consultation with one of our agents and let them guide you through the ins and outs of buying safely in this market.  Our 30+ years of helping people like you buy and sell homes in the Raleigh area gives us a vast amount of knowledge we are ready to put to work for you.

Explore Dog-mopolitan Raleigh

A Canine-friendly City

Cute dog lying on the welcome mat

Americans, in general, love our dogs.

It’s true! Over 78 million furry friends reside in US households and over 44% of all households in the US have at least one pooch. Folks in Raleigh are no exception when it comes to pawsitively loving their dogs. One great thing about Raleigh, and really the whole Triangle area, is that except for the immediate downtown areas, it’s not as urban as many large cities which means Fido will probably have a backyard, even if it is small. In the more urban areas, there are numerous city parks, dog parks, and many, many restaurants, trails, outdoor activities, and events, that make it pawsible for dogs to join in life’s special moments.

 

Looking for a Canine Concierge?

Woman and Dog at Hotel

Are you looking to relocate to the Triangle area?

Raleigh alone has over 40 hotels that are pet-friendly. So if you are looking to relocate to the area, you will have no problem bringing your dog with you when you come to visit. BringFido.com is a great source for finding a hotel to stay in where your pup will be welcome! So is HotelGuide.com.

 

Bone A-pet-treat!
Women with dogs sitting in street cafe

With our temperate climate in the Triangle, most restaurants have some sort of outdoor seating and will welcome your well-behaved. furry friend to join you alfresco! So don’t furget your furry companion. Take them along with you! Here are a few favorites:

 

Downtown
Raleigh
North Hills RaleighCameron VillageNorth Raleigh
Plates Neighborhood KitchenChuy’sBenelux CoffeeRestaurants in Lafayette Village
Raleigh Brewing CompanyKing’sTazza KitchenSaints & Scholars Irish Pub
The StationMuraThe Flying BiscuitSola Coffee Cafe
Bad Daddy’s Burger BarAnother Broken Egg CafeThe Players RetreatGonza Taco Y Tequilla

There are hundreds of dog-friendly restaurants in Raleigh alone.

Need help deciding where to go? Yelp.com can help. Type “dog-friendly restaurants” in the search and select the city you want. You will see pictures and reviews of restaurants all over the Triangle written by dog owners who have enjoyed dining with their dogs. Also, check out these apps to keep up with what’s happening in the Triangle area:

  • Downtown Raleigh
  • Offline
  • WRAL Out & About
  • Go Eats
  • KoMoot
  • Indy Go

 

Tails on the Trails

Woman walking with dog on a trail

The Triangle area is ideal for active lifestyles with your dog.

Want to spend a fun day out and about with your pup? There are numerous trails and dog parks to explore. NC Museum of Art Trails, Umstead Park, Eno River Park, Tobacco Trail, and more all offering excellent hiking trails and most are close to dining areas as well. Here are some websites you can explore to find a trail that’s looks interesting to you.

 

TrailWebsite
Capital Area Greenway Systemwww.RaleighNC.gov
NC Museum of Art Trailswww.NCArtMuseum.org
Umstead Parkwww.NCParks.gov
Eno River Parkwww.NCParks.gov
American Tobacco Trailwww.WakeGov.com

If you want a special treat or if the weather is not ideal for outdoors activities, Woofinwaggle, a fitness center and dog spa in North Raleigh, has daily classes you can take to work out with your dog. Amazing, right?

If you are relocating to the Raleigh or just moving within the Triangle area, Linda Craft & Team REALTORS can help you find the right neighborhood for your dog-friendly lifestyle.  Contact us today to let us know what your goals are and how we can best help you meet them.

 

Your Raleigh Home: Proper Care, NOT Impending Catastrophe

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

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

Let’s Start Outside — Easy on the Mulch!

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

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

Trees — Oh How They Grow!

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

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

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

Calamity of Climbing Plants

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

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

Keep Bleach in the Laundry Room!

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

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

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

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

No Glass Cleaner, Really?

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

Clogged Drains? Go Mechanical, Not Chemical!

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

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

The Many Faces of Caulk

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

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

Providing Raleigh Homeowners with a Wealth of Knowledge

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

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

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

first-time buyers in new home

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

Is the Timing Right to Purchase a Home Now?

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

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

living room in a single-family home

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can Your Budget Handle Owning a Home?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hire an Agent Who Truly Understands Your Home Needs

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

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

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

What’s in Your Hurricane Kit?

aerial view of a hurricane

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

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

Let’s Start with the Emergency Kit:

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

General Home Preparation:

severe storm

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

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

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

Stay Informed:

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

Know Your Storm Lingo:

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

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

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

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

Want to Know More About Protecting Your Home?

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

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

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

red, white, and blue fireworks at night

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

1. The ‘Works in Downtown Raleigh

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

2. Show Us Your Stripes Block Party in Brier Creek

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Fireworks in Chapel Hill’s Kenan Stadium

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

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

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

There are More Reasons to Move to the Triangle

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

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

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

Your Raleigh Home and Radon Danger

What is Radon? How Does It Get Into My Home?

Radon is a chemical element formed when uranium in water, rock, and soil begins to break down. This causes the release of radon gas into the dirt which could be beneath your house. It gets into your home through gaps and cracks in walls and floors, spaces around pipes that enter the house through the foundation, fireplaces and furnaces, exterior air vents and if you have well water, it can come in that way too. It’s heavier than air so it tends to collect in lower levels and basements.

So How Serious is This, Really?

radon flowing into a houseWell, on one hand, we are around a certain amount of radon all the time; however, in the open air it tends to dissipate at a quicker rate. If it gets captured in the home, it is more concentrated and that’s where the problems start. Radon gas emits ionizing radiation which damages DNA and can cause cancer. It can be pretty serious, so your home should be tested regularly.

Although radon has been declared a national health problem, there are no real federal or state standards that mandate taking care of the problem. The EPA has made the following recommendations:

  • 4/pCi/L – is qualified as an “action” limit. It means fix your home now!
  • 2 pCi/L – is qualified as “consider action.” It is strongly suggested you fix your home.

Since cleaning up radon issues can cost on average about $1,200, the EPA has not made it mandatory because of the burden to homeowners. However, they have made it known that this is NOT safe. Their studies also show that radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer. Over 20,000 people die each year because of this invisible radioactive gas.

For more information, take a look at the EPA’s online brochure: Home Buyer’s and Seller’s Guide to Radon.

How Do I Know If Radon is in My Home?

There are DIY kits you can purchase at any hardware store that you can use to test for radon at an average cost of $25 per kit. Make sure it is labeled “Meets EPA Requirements.” Be sure to follow the instructions carefully. Results take a couple of weeks for processing.

A better solution is to hire a professional to do electronic radon testing. It takes less time, provides better quality results, and you get the results back sooner because samples don’t have to send away to a lab. The average cost of testing is $110. If you do have an radon issue in your home, the same company can also perform the mitigation services.

If I Have an Issue with Radon, What Do I Do?

If you have a radon level anywhere near 4 pCi/L, you should take steps as soon as you can to reduce the level. The good news is that installing a removal system will vent the radon gas from beneath your home immediately, eliminating 99% of the radon. You should always solicit the help of a certified radon mitigation service to install the removal system. They can also assess the points of origin where the radon gas may be getting in your home and repair them.

How Often Should I Test My Home for Radon?

chemical sign for radonIf you’ve never had your home tested, do a long-term test as soon as you can. Also, the first round of tests should be performed in two different heating and cooling seasons. Maybe do one in the spring and one in the fall for best results. After that, every 2 years is fine under normal circumstances.

Exceptions to this guideline may occur if you have had any major changes to your home; renovations, ventilation changes, earthquakes, and ground settling can all lead to changes in radon gas levels. Also, if your living arrangements change and you find you are spending more time in the lower level or basement of the home.

Testing for radon is fairly inexpensive (on average $12 per test), so why not give yourself peace of mind? You’ll rest and breathe easier knowing that the air in your home-sweet-home is safe.

Contact Us for More Information

At Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS®, we have over 30 years of real estate experience in the Greater Raleigh area. Whether you are buying a home or selling a home, allow us to equip you with our wealth of knowledge and homeownership advice, from information about radon and other home hazards to a vast network of recommended service providers. Schedule an appointment with us today by calling 919-235-0007.