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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

When You Don’t Need a Down Payment to Buy a Home

a couple in their new homeSaving thousands of dollars for a down payment is one of the biggest obstacles to homeownership, especially for first-time home buyers. Fortunately, you don’t need a down payment to secure the home of your dreams in the Greater Raleigh area.

Thanks to the USDA Loan Program, you can quickly and easily buy your first home! In no time at all, you can be hosting get-togethers with your loved ones, meeting your new neighbors, and transforming your house into your dream home.

What is the USDA Loan Program?

The USDA Loan Program gives first-time buyers the financial boost they need to take the first step toward homeownership. If you’re searching for a home in a qualifying rural area near Raleigh, you may be eligible for a USDA loan!

Discover Your Dream Home Near Raleigh

Eager to live close to Research Triangle Park, in a vibrant small town, or only minutes from popular areas like Chapel Hill and Apex? There are plenty of housing options available to you, including new construction homes, properties with large yards, and even waterfront homes! Search our interactive map to find a home in your favorite location in the Greater Raleigh area.

map of Greater Raleigh area
Areas that qualify for the USDA Loan Program

Let Us Help You Buy Your First Home

For over 30 years, Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS® has helped first-time buyers purchase the home of their dreams. If you’re eager to own a home in the Greater Raleigh area, we can provide everything you need to know about the USDA Loan Program as well as invaluable information about the home buying processContact us and let’s talk about your plans.