Find Out Why More Than Half of Buyers are Wrong About Down Payments

True or false: if you’re buying a home, you need to have at least a 20% down payment? If you answered true, you aren’t alone—so did 62% of Americans.

But in reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth—and you don’t have put off your home-buying dreams just because you can’t come up with 20% down!

While a 20% down payment will help you avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI), it isn’t some sort of home-buying hurdle that you must clear in order to buy. In fact, it’s far from the most common amount that U.S. buyers put down!

Here’s the truth about down payments—and why you shouldn’t let that 20% number prevent you from reaching your buying goals.

The Truth about Down Payments

A piggy bank standing against a white background.

According to NerdWallet’s 2019 Home Buyer Report, around 6 in 10 Americans think you need a 20% down payment in order to buy a house. Because of this, they also tend to think that it takes several years to come up with the necessary funds for buying.

Unfortunately, this way of thinking unnecessarily postpones plenty of people’s home-buying dreams!

The truth? The most common down payment amount—put forward by around 32% of buyers—was just 5% or less. Put that in terms of concrete amounts, and it translates to just $7,500 on a $150,000 home or $15,000 on a $300,000 home.

Other Common Down Payment Amounts

A single dollar bill sitting on a wooden surface.

While 5% or less is the most common down payment amount, it’s still just one of the many options that buyers choose. Here’s how the rest of the numbers break down:

  • 16% of buyers put down 6 – 10%
  • 23% of buyers put down 11 – 20%
  • 18% of buyers put down more than 20%
  • 10% of buyers bought their home outright

A 20% down payment is a great goal, but you don’t have to feel locked into that amount! Instead, consider how much money you’d feel comfortable with putting down, then work from there.

Buyers are Optimistic

A woman packing up her home and writing on a cardboard box.

Despite prevailing misconceptions about down payments, buyers are still feeling optimistic about the market. Around 42% of Americans feel better about their home-buying prospects this year, which is up almost 20% from last year.

Additionally, 44% of people say that the current economic and political conditions make them more likely to buy in the next year, which is around a 10% increase from last year.

Long story short? Now’s a great time to buy!

Find Your Dream Triangle Home

Buying a home is major step, so it’s important that you have trusted and experienced professionals on your side. At Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, we have over 300 years of combined real estate experience, making us well-equipped to provide you with everything you need to find home-buying success.

Take some time to explore our resources for home-buyers, learn a little more about what our past clients have to say, and use our specialized search tool to narrow down your options. Once you’re ready to get started, we’d love to talk details!

Your Latest Course in Homebuying: The 5 Acronyms You Need to Know

You might think that since you’ve put some distance between now and high school and college, your days of memorizing vocabulary and learning new definitions is long gone. But if you’re buying a home, then you’re going to want to dust off those skills and start studying up.

Real estate comes with its own confusing jargon, and knowing what each term means makes you all-the-more prepared to tackle the process. Here are the top five homebuying acronyms that you should add to your vocabulary!

APR

Calculator

APR, or annual percentage rate, represents the annual cost of borrowing money based on your loan amount, interest rate, and other specific fees. The calculations for APR are a little confusing, but there are plenty of online calculators that can help you figure out what the number might look like for you!

FRM

FRM stands for fixed-rate mortgage, which is one of the most common types of mortgage. Luckily, this one pretty much means what it sounds like: with FRM, your interest rate will not change during the entire term of your loan.

DTI

A credit card.

One of the most important aspects of your finances that a lender looks at is your DTI, or debt-to-income ration. Your DTI is calculated by measuring your total monthly income against your total monthly debt payments. Ideally, you’d want to have around a 36% DTI.

PMI

If you can’t afford a 20% down payment, you’ll have to pay PMI, or private mortgage insurance. This acts as an added safeguard for lenders who work with you by ensuring that they’ll be protected from losses if you default on loan payments. Once you’ve paid off around 80% of your home, you’ll no longer have to pay PMI.

P & I

People at a bank.

P & I is just a fancy way of saying principal and interest, which are the portions of your monthly mortgage payment that go towards paying off the money you borrowed to purchase your home.

Ace Your Real Estate Experience

Of course, these five acronyms aren’t the only ones that’ll come up during your buying journey—but we’ll be around to make sure you can handle any other letter combinations that get thrown your way.

At Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS®, we’ve been working in the Raleigh real estate world for years, and we’d be more than happy to leverage our experience to your benefit. Get to know a little more about what we bring to the table, explore our resources for buyers, and give us a call when you’re ready to get started!

The Biggest Reasons Why Homeowners are Happy… and Renters Aren’t

Coffee or tea? Cake or pie? Rent or buy? Life is full of big questions—some a little harder to answer than others. But in the case of renting versus buying, there are a few big reasons why ownership still wins the battle.

Thinking about making the jump from renting to owning? Here’s how your life might change.

Does Owning Make You Happier than Renting?

A family with pets.

That’s the big question posed by the most recent Bank of America Homebuyer Insights Report. The answer? A resounding yes. In fact, out of the modern homebuyers interviewed, 93% of respondents said that owning a home made them happier than renting, and 83% said that they would never go back to renting after owning.

It doesn’t just end with happiness, though—79% of homeowners believe that buying their own property has changed them for the better and 88% say it’s the best decision they’ve ever made.

On the flip side, according to the latest Zillow Housing Aspirations Report, 45% of renters regret not buying, with the biggest reasons being lack of customization opportunities, high rent payments, and lack of private outdoor space.

The Effects of Owning a Home

A grandmother and granddaughter.

You hear a lot about the financial equity of owning a home, but Bank of America’s survey sought out information on the “emotional” equity of ownership—which brought up some interesting numbers.

When asked if they viewed the home as a place to make memories or a financial investment, more than half of respondents chose the former. After buying, more than 76% of people pursued new hobbies—including landscaping and gardening, cooking and baking, and interior design.

And it’s not just the individuals: family relationships also benefited. Homeownership allowed 49% of respondents to entertain more often and 24% to bring the entire family under one roof.

Current Homeowners versus Prospective Homeowners

A house.

If you’re still on the fence about buying a home, consider these numbers:

  • Time spent pursuing hobbies
    • Current homeowners: 82%
    • Prospective homeowners: 63%
  • The quality of social life
    • Current homeowners: 78%
    • Prospective homeowners: 58%
  • Financial well-being
    • Current homeowners: 77%
    • Prospective homeowners: 42%
  • Quality of life overall
    • Current homeowners: 88%
    • Prospective homeowners: 70%

Ready to Become a Homeowner?

Owning a home comes with a myriad of benefits—both financial and emotional. If you’re ready to take the leap into homeowning, then congratulations!

At Linda Craft & Team REALTORS ®, we’re dedicated to not only finding you the best Triangle-area home for your wants and needs, but also ensuring that your journey is seamless and stress-free. Browse some of the resources we have to offer our buyers, and use our specialized home search tool to narrow down your options. Once you’re ready to get started, just give us a call!

How A Daily Latte Affects Your Real Estate Goals

With summer on its way out and fall just around the corner, it’s prime latte season. Pumpkin spice, maple pecan, salted caramel—some of the best seasonal flavors make their debut!

While it’s great to treat yourself to a cup of coffee every now and then, those small expenses can really add up—especially if you’re pinching pennies for a down payment.

The Latte Method

A person making a latte.

Recently, Realtor.com put together a report titled “A Latte a Day Keeps Homeownership Away.”

By calculating the average down payment and median home price for a number of major US cities, the minds at Realtor.com were able to figure out just how much you need to save every day in order to afford a down payment within the next five years, representing that number with the equivalent amount of lattes.

The title may be a little pessimistic, but when you take a hard look at the numbers, the results are undeniable.

Daily Savings

A person reading a book and drinking a coffee.

The average price of a latte fluctuates based on city, but typically hovers within the $3.50 to $3.80 range. Depending on your usual coffee order, that number could be even higher—for example, a tall pumpkin spice latte comes in at $4.25.

Here’s what you’d need to save daily to afford a down payment within five years:

  • Atlanta: 1.6 lattes
    • Average down payment: $10,450
    • Median price: $335,436
    • Daily savings: $5.72
  • Chicago: 2.9 lattes
    • Average down payment: $19,580
    • Median price: $312,098
    • Daily savings: $10.72
  • New York: 6.8 lattes
    • Average down payment: $45,717
    • Median price: $564,500
    • Daily savings: $25.04

Raleigh falls on the lower end of the range, coming in at 2 lattes a day, or around $7.30. When you break your down payment into these smaller numbers, you can see just how much a coffee day affects your overall budget.

Buying Your First Home

A person holding up several bills.

Figuring out your finances while buying your first home is a daunting process, but not an impossible one. If you need help creating your five-year plan, Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® can help. Start things off by figuring out what your extra daily expense might be—whether it’s a latte, lunch, or an after-work drink—and cutting it back. Then, use our mortgage calculator to get some concrete numbers!

Need Some Budgeting Help?

Trust in the expertise of Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®. With over 300 years of combined real estate experience, we have what it takes to not only help you save up for your new home, but also successfully lead you through the in and outs of the buying process.

Take a look at some of our resources for buyers, browse a few homes on the market, and give us a call to get started.

The Best Real Estate Advice for Millennials—from a Millionaire

If you’re a millennial, then you’re probably a little tired of hearing all the criticism towards your generation. Buying avocado toast instead of saving money, always texting instead of calling—they’re all pretty unfair generalizations.

Another common criticism of millennials? That they never buy homes. But actually, that couldn’t be further from the truth! In fact, millennials represent the largest portion of homebuyers in the market.

And according to millionaire David Bach, buying a home is one of the best decisions you can make for your future equity.

It’s All About Owning

A beautiful home.

Since you’re likely working with limited funds, your first home probably won’t be your dream home—but that’s okay. Getting your foot in the door and buying a home is the stepping stone to building wealth and equity, according to Bach. Even if your budget isn’t as high as you’d like, it’s best to buy as soon as you can!

In Bach’s opinion, you should start by crunching the numbers. You might think you can’t afford a home, but setting clear goals based on concrete numbers will help put things into a realistic perspective.

A good rule of thumb? Make sure your home payments don’t total more than 30% of your take-home pay.

David Bach’s Background

A person pulling money out of their wallet.

Why should you trust what Bach has to say? Well, his resume speaks for itself. A self-made millionaire, Bach has written nine consecutive New York Times bestsellers.

Not only that, but he’s also one of the only business authors to ever have four books on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, and USA Today bestseller lists at the same time. His book The Automatic Millionaire even spent 31 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list!

Additionally, Bach is considered to be one of the foremost authorities on finance, appearing as a contributor on NBC’s Today Show,  ABC, CBS, Fox, CNBC, CNN, Yahoo, The View, and PBS.

Why Now is a Great Time to Buy

A person holding up house keys.

If you’re all in on following Bach’s advice, then you should know: now is the perfect time to buy a home—and we’re not just saying that.

Mortgage rates are hitting near-record lows, and home prices are steadily increasing. Buying a home soon means saving on payments now and benefitting from higher prices in the future.

Ready to Get Started?

We understand that buying a home is a major decision. But with over 300 years of combined real estate experience, in-depth area knowledge, and a wide collection of resources, Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® are well-equipped to lead you to buying success.

Explore a few of our resources, kick off your home search, and give us a call when you’re ready to get started.

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!

Streamline Your Raleigh Home Search with These 6 Key Tips

A couple sitting at a computer, smiling as they look at the results of their research.

Buying a home can be challenging, especially when you factor in low inventory levels in top cities like Raleigh. High demand and low inventory have created something of a seller’s market, and while conditions are slowly improving for buyers, the market is still tipped favorably towards sellers.

But don’t give up! While finding a home that’s just right and within your price range can be tricky, it’s by no means impossible. Use these six tips to streamline your home search in Raleigh.

Have a question about buying a home and want to speak to an expert? Give us a call, we’re always here to help.

Tip 1: Get Pre-Approved Right Now

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage will save you so much time as you navigate searching for a home. Essentially, the pre-approval process works like this: you’ll sit down with a lender who will review all of your finances. The lender will crunch some numbers and then give you an estimate with an interest rate—that’s how much the bank is willing to lend you.

Look at this number as your budget, and then do some extra calculations on the side. Based on your down payment, interest rate, and loan length, are you comfortable with what those monthly payments look like? Adjust your budget as necessary until you hit your sweet spot.

Tip 2: Clearly Define Your “Must-Haves” and “Like-to-Haves”

A large luxury bedroom with a white bed and wood closet.

Balancing your needs and wants is tricky in any buying situation, but can quickly become overwhelming when you’re searching for a home. Think about your lifestyle essentials to determine exactly what you need in a home. This typically includes things like “three bedrooms,” “two bathrooms,” and “10 miles from Downtown.” These are your deal breakers.

“Like-to-haves” aka wants are nice to have in your potential home, but not deal breakers. These are things like walk-in showers, finished “man caves,” and farmhouse-style sinks.

Tip 3: Carefully Research Local Neighborhoods

In addition to finding a home that’s the right fit, you want to make sure the neighborhood has everything you need. Do some research to make sure any particular community has the amenities, features, and location that you need in a home.

We can help with that!

Tip 4: Stick to One Type of House

An aerial shot of multiple homes in a neighborhood.

Would you like one level of living (a ranch-style home) or something more like a Cap Cod with bedrooms on multiple levels? Assess your needs and narrow down your housing preferences to one specific style.

This will make it easier to find homes that meet your needs in the greater Raleigh area!

Tip 5: Write Everything Down and Take Pictures

As you tour multiple homes in Raleigh, document every visit so you can go back to them later! Jot down notes on your smart phone or a notebook as you walk around, and try to take pictures of things that you like and dislike.

Having thorough documentation will make it easier to sit down and make a decision—especially if you’re considering more than one home!

Tip 6: Work with a Professional REALTOR®

Having the right real estate agent on your side makes all the difference. If you’re searching for your dream home in the greater Raleigh area, then it’s time to call Linda Craft.

Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® are an award-winning team of real estate professionals serving Raleigh and the greater Triangle area. We have plenty of resources for you to choose from to help make your home search as easy as possible.

Your Mortgage Matters: The Benefits to a 20% Down Payment

A person holding a stack of hundred dollar bills.

As you start saving for your next home, you may find yourself wondering: how much should I have for the down payment?

While 20% is the most common number thrown out for your down payment, it really depends on the type of mortgage loan you take out. Some loans require a down payment of just 3% while the military-specific VA loan doesn’t require a down payment at all!

However, if you have the means, putting 20% down for your home is a great idea. Here are some of the biggest benefits to using a 20% down payment to buy a home in Raleigh.

It Lowers Your Monthly Payments

The larger your initial down payment, the lower your loan will have to be. This guarantees a lower monthly payment than if you were to put down less than 20%.

In addition, that means there’s less money remaining on your loan to rack up interest!

You’ll Pay Lower Interest Rates

Two people pointing to a piece of paper on a desk.

Your bank will offer you an excellent interest rate on your mortgage loan if it feels confident that you are financially stable. Nothing demonstrates this quite like a heft initial down payment.

Say Goodbye to “Private Mortgage Insurance”

When you put down a lower payment for your home, your bank may be less confident in your ability to pay it back. In order to protect themselves, they may require you to take out Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI).

This is a policy that protects the lender in case you’re unable to pay off your loan. It is a monthly free included in your mortgage payments. Typically, PMI is required for down payments less than 20%.

Best of All, It Makes Your Offer More Competitive

A spacious, two-story single-family home.

Sellers are likely to be more confident in your offer when it includes a high down payment. You’ll be seen as a stronger buyer whose financing is more likely to be approved, making you stand out in the seller’s eyes.

Ready to Buy a Home in Raleigh?

Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® has your back. Give us a call today to learn more about buying a home in Raleigh, including your options for obtaining a mortgage loan.

Searching for a lender? We can help you with that, too. Check out our list of local lenders to find the mortgage lender who’s right for you.

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.

What You Need to Know About These Historically Low Interest Rates

A beautiful white kitchen interior.

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

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

Now is a Great Time to Buy a Home

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

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

Lock In Those Low Interest Rates

Two adults shaking hands over a table.

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

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

Allow Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® to Help

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

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