Raleigh, NC Ranked #1 on Forbes List

Good news for all of us who live and love Raleigh, NC. Forbes.com ranked Raleigh #1 March 25th, 2009, as the best place for business and careers. Durham ranked #3.

With wonderful publicity such as this, PLUS  UNC and Carolina Hurricanes both in the play offs for championships the Raleigh real estate market is getting a nice media boost.

As predicted the Raleigh real estate market is bouncing back faster than other areas around the country. Sales in all price ranges have increased. I have had multiple offers on several properties and other Raleigh REALTORS have reported this as well.

Raleigh declared one of the top places to live by Forbes.com

Many people are still waiting and trying to time the Raleigh Real Estate bottom. In the lower price points $300,000 and below, those that are waiting have missed it.

Inflation will drive up interest rates so if owning a piece of Raleigh real estate is in your future I would take action now. Rates are low today and Raleigh home prices are stabilizing and on the rise in some areas.

Please don’t be one of the people who look back 2 years from now with regret that you didn’t buy a Raleigh home or investment property when you had this incredible opportunity. It is really a great time to buy.

If you or any of your friends, families or co-workers have have questions about the the current Raleigh homes market, I am available by email or at (919) 235.0007.

Have a great day-

Linda

Should Buyers Buy in a Buyers Market?

Interest rates are below 5%, there is a surplus of housing which gives buyers unbelivable choices, sellers are motivated to sell and are pricing realistically and are still negotiating even lower than list price…Sounds like a fabulous buyers market to me and buyers should buy. Right? But, here it is January 2009 and buyers who really want to get a great house at an affordable price could do so right now and they are parralized by fear and waiting. Waiting for what?

When you ask them why they are waiting, they will say because they don’t want to pay too much. As a Raleigh residential real estate broker for 24 years it amazes me that in a sellers market where there are very few homes to chose from and buyers frequently settle for less, while paying top dollar because many buyers are in bidding wars and pay above asking price to get a home—buyers buy. They buy fast when prices are high and wait when prices are low? Fear causes them to pay too much in a sellers market and is now causing them to miss out on a great buy in a buyers market. Why do buyers buy in a sellers market when the prices are the highest and they will not buy in a buyers market when the prices have dropped and interest rates too. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Safety for Raleigh Home Owners

Today I heard that WRAL- Channel 5 -would be featuring a story on the potential danger home owners face when allowing strangers into their home when they are selling it themselves.   As Agents we take this matter very seriously.   Some of you may remember several years ago when a real estate agent in the Fayetteville area was shot and killed when showing someone a vacant home.   The North Carolina Real Estate Commission published a booklet for agents on safety and what people should and should not do when meeting strangers for the first time.   Our local Board of REALTORS and Triangle MLS requires all agents to sign a confidentiality agreement stating that they will keep all lock box codes, security alarm passwords and such matters confidential.  The fine for sharing any of this information with a non-agent can be as high as $1,500.   This is a very serious issues and I urge you to take as many precautions as you can before you open your home to strangers, including service providers and lawn care professionals.  Make sure that you know their true identity and ask for proof of driver’s license, business license, etc.  What ever may apply to help keep you and your family from danger.  

 Here are a few good tips to use:

Write down the color, make, model and license number of the car the person arrived in.

Tell someone you trust who are meeting, what time they will be at your house, what time they should leave.  Have them call you at a certain time to make sure you are ok.

Keep your cell phone in your pocket, not in a different room

Trust your instincts.  You have them for a reason

 Dress for safety- do not wear expensive jewelry

 Keep your valuables out of site- your laptop is included in this too.

For more information on how to protect yourself contact the Raleigh Police Department or an agency that offers self protection classes.

 Have a great day-

Linda

Raleigh Has A Growing Number of Homes in Foreclosure

Every day I watch and the number of new listings, price reductions and failed listing in the Raleigh real estate market. It is very concerning to me as I see our historically safe real estate market falling and our personal equity investment decreasing. Although Raleigh home prices have not fallen to the extent other areas have, we too have been touched by the forces in this economy.

The past two years have real estate values flat for some Raleigh homes and declining for others. One factor that has caused a decline in property values is the increasing number of Raleigh home foreclosures. We have a second wave of foreclosures postured for early 2009.

Many ask; “how long will it take for Raleigh home prices to return to the highs of 2005 and 2006”? Some believe a year, others think three to five. One thing I know for sure is it will not be this spring.

The mortgage crisis that started with subprime has become an economic snowball that is rolling down hill fast. Housing controls 40% of our economies fuel. Which means it’s no longer just the housing market that is struggling, every business has been affected. Unemployment is growing and people in all price ranges and in every walk of life is losing their homes to foreclosure.

If you know of anyone struggling to make their mortgage payments please have them contact me or any other REALTOR with a CDPE designation. There is help available but, in people in that situation do not know where to turn. Foreclosure and the terrible negative effect it will have for years and years can be avoided. A foreclosure on a credit report has the absolute worst consequences. It will affect their ability to rent a home, buy a car, get student loans for the children’s education and may even keep them from getting a job.

Every person that is saved from foreclosure helps Raleigh homes prices stabilize faster. If we can reduce foreclosures we will protect our own property values and the equity we all need for our future while helping someone else have a future too.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call me at the office- (919) 235-0007.

Linda

Raleigh REALTOR Earns Certified Distressed Property Expert Designation

RALEIGH, N.C.

Linda Craft
Linda Craft

Linda Craft and Team REALTORS® announced today that Linda Craft has achieved the Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) designation from the Distressed Property Institute. Craft is the first and only REALTOR® in Raleigh to receive the designation, joining only 1000 agents worldwide that have earned the certification.

“Historically, a percentage of the real estate market has consistently been in distress,” said Craft. “With the recent challenges in the subprime lending market, this percentage has grown exponentially. I felt it was important to acquire the specialized knowledge needed to assist home owners in need.”

Rapid growth in what once was a niche market requires agents to gain specialized knowledge and learn new processes that will allow them to successfully assist homeowners in need. The Distressed Property Institute provides the tools and information REALTORS® need to help distressed homeowners avoid foreclosure and move forward with their lives.

To further enhance the ability to provide homeowners with every option available to find the best solution for their situation, Craft has established a new division to handle short sales and foreclosure properties in addition to her company’s Retail Residential Real Estate services. She and her team now have the expertise necessary to guide homeowners step by step through the review of 11 options available to avoid foreclosure and alternatives to preserve their credit history. In addition, they are prepared to help buyers trying to maximize their home buying budget through the often complex process of locating, evaluating and purchasing a foreclosure or short sale property.

About Linda Craft and Team

Linda Craft and Team, REALTORS®, the Triangle’s 4th ranked real estate team, has been helping individuals and families find a place to call home in all price ranges for over 20 years. A Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), Linda Craft has helped over 5,000 people maximize profits and minimize costs in the sale or purchase of a home. Whether you are looking for your first home or your dream home, planning to relocate, or need to sell for the highest value, the Linda Craft Team can help. For more information, please call 919.235.0007 or visit www.lindacraft.com.

Raleigh Homeowners Struggling With Their Real Estate Investment

My phone rings a lot with people who need to sell and have unbearable heartaches in their lives. Divorce, job loss, death, retirement loss, rising cost of living paralyzing cash flow and when you couple that with 2 years of a declining real estate market it has made me more than a REALTOR, I am now a counselor and consultant for many families. People ask me all the time; “How is business”? I could tell them it is full of opportunity, because it is. But, I usually just tell them the truth; “It is an emotional roller coaster”. I am still gratefully selling houses and haven’t missed a meal but, the sadness that I deal with daily caused by this declining real estate market is what makes my business so hard. This week I had several listing appointments and all had serious struggles in their lives. Last week one of my sellers had to bring $68,000 to closing to get out of their Raleigh home so they could get into their new home in another state.

Many families come to me whom are facing foreclosure. So many people I meet are “upside down” in their home and they can’t sell. Upside down is a real estate term for owing more for your home than it can sell for. We are always upside down when we buy a new car, diamond ring, furniture or most anything else in life but, we don’t expect it from real estate. My seller appointments are riddled with shock and sadness and my buyer appointments are so excited because they are getting more house than they ever dreamed of. My world can be an emotional roller coaster every day but, I know as a professional the best thing I can do for my home buyers and home sellers it to stay firmly planted on the ground for them. They need me more than ever to give them good advice.

Some advice I am giving is: BUY NOW it is a fabulous buyers market. If you don’t have to sell, don’t list now. It is not the time to try or test the market. Only motivated sellers have success. The rest fail. If you need to sell hire someone with a successful track record and extremely good Internet exposure. Follow their advice for staging and pricing. Every home is in a beauty contest and a pricing war. To sell in this market you need a business plan. “Let’s try it” mentality doesn’t work.

If you have any questions, feel free to call me at (919) 235-0007.

Hope you have a great week.

Linda

Raleigh Real Estate is Full of Great Deals

As of December 2008 the Raleigh real estate market has an average of 11 months absorption rate for homes in all price ranges. This means it is the absolute best time to buy because there are so many good homes to choose from. Right now Raleigh homes have very motivated sellers including: REO, short sales, foreclosures and builders sitting on a lot of inventory. Best of all the interest rates are very low and there is a $7,500 tax credit for first time home buyers. It just doesn’t get any better for buyers than right now.

If you are planning to buy a foreclosure or short sale keep in mind all offers are contingent upon bank approval and the process could take 90 days to get an answer from the banks. Also, the homes are sold “as is” and it is difficult to get REO companies to pay any mortgage closing cost for buyers. FHA short sales will not pay closing cost at all. It is important to know what type of mortgage the short sale seller has before you make an offer so you can structure your offer correctly. If you need closing cost paid you may want to negotiate on a builder inventory home or motivated seller to assist instead of shopping foreclosures and short sales. If you have questions give me a call.  My office number is 919-235-0007.   I have access to short sales, foreclosures, builder’s inventory and buyer incentives plus thousands of Raleigh homes for sale. It is a buyer’s market which means it is best to explore all of your options with a consultation first.

Have a great day-

Linda

Timing A Raleigh Real Estate Purchase

I have gone to a lot of Christmas parties this season and I keep having people ask me; “when I think they should buy real estate. Should they buy now, wait till spring or wait until 2nd quarter”? My answer is if you have a steady job and can afford a mortgage payment now is the best time to buy real estate in Raleigh. There is plenty of money to lend and it is easy to get a mortgage if you have a job and average credit. I know with all the media hype it is scary trying to figure out when to pull the trigger. No one wants to make a mistake but, if you miss the “perfect time” you will not miss it more than $10 or $20 per month. I will explain this one later, please read on.

The daily news is enough to make everyone worry and second guess themselves. Keep in mind the one thing the media doesn’t makes clear is that Raleigh real estate is not Miami real estate. Our local market did not have the highs of other markets and we have not had the extreme lows either. But, the biggest thing no one is talking about is the number of millionaires made after the great depression and again after the Savings and Loans crisis of the 80’s. More millionaires followed that real estate crisis than any other time in history. I was selling real estate during the Savings and Loan crisis of the 80’s. I remember when Preston Country Club and many other developments went into foreclosure. Oh how I wish I had bought some of those homes back then. Our residential mortgage crisis that started in 2006 is just like the commercial Savings and Loan crisis of the 80’s. Ask Mr. Goodnight if he has any regrets about buying Preston out of the S&L foreclosure. That is why I am so passionate and absolutely convinced your then is now and you need to buy Raleigh real estate today. I guarantee you some savvy real estate investor is going to snag Hasentree up fast.

I watch so many people continue to sit on the home buying fence trying to figure out the perfect time. You have an opportunity now while history is repeating itself for you to be the beneficiary of this cycle. Your time to build wealth in real estate starts today and here are more reasons why: Raleigh residential real estate sales are off 40% from this time last year. This means there are a lot of very motivated sellers out there that are ready to deal. Interest rates are below 5% and there are mortgage companies that will lock your rate at 5% and re-lock your rate if it goes down before closing. So you do not need to worry about rates. Lock and go with peace of mind. Motivated sellers and low interest rates is the formula for incredible buying power right now. If rates go up or sellers start to see positive signs your buying power drops immediately.

You know what is really sad 98% of the people waiting will miss the bottom. Think about it….how does anyone really know when the bottom happens? The only way to know is when prices start going back up. So the questions to ask yourself is; “Would I rather buy one day too early or one day too late?  Some people are waiting hoping the market will fall lower or interest rates will drop another fraction. Interest rates are so volatile right now they adjust 3 times a day. They could go up. They could go down but, how much money would you actually save if rates drop a quarter or half of a percent. Maybe $10.00 per month. Do you want to risk rates going up over $10.00?  Or another way to look at it is, do you want to lose the best house for you and your family over $10.00 a month? When you do the math and consider all possibilities it just doesn’t make sense to wait.

Oh, but there is more…every seller I know believes the new year and especially this spring will mean higher prices for them. If sellers believe they will get higher prices they will not negotiate a bottom price with you. They will start waiting too. Right now prices have dropped because sellers believe the market is bad. The best time to buy real estate is when a seller fears that tomorrow will be worse than today. That time is now but, it won’t last long. I really believe you need to get off the fence and start buying now or you may end up regretting that you didn’t buy… in this fabulous buyers market.

Linda

You Could Miss Out On A Great Opportunity!

Hi Friends,
Great news the mortgages rates have come down 1% which means you can buy 10% more home today. First time home buyers also receive a $7,500 tax credit. Tell your friends about this exciting news and call me before they go back up. It is a buyers market and there are a lot of great deals out there.

 
Cost of Home                   BUY NOW               WAIT, and hope for a 10% drop in price
Loan Amount                    $320,000               $288,000
Interest Rate                    6.375%                 7.125%
Term (Months)                 360                       360
Monthly Payment              $1996                    $1,940
 
Renting at $1,000 per month, for 12 months, while waiting for the prices to maybe drop, is a $12,000 loss in one year. Unlike a mortgage where part of the payment is returned to you in a tax savings. Raleigh is slated to bounce back fast. It would be better to buy a day too soon than a day too late. Prices are going to go up with news like this.

Don’t wait buy. Buy now before rates and prices go up!

Have a great weekend.

Linda

First Time Home Buyer Raleigh Real Estate News

Hi Friends,If you know of anyone still renting now is the time to buy real estate in Raleigh. Prices have dropped and so have interest rates. 5.75% is available now. There is also a $7,500 tax credit for first time home buyers. If this news is not enough to get everyone moving, look at these facts.

Statistics from NAR show that rental houses and apartments increase rents 3% per year. If your rent payment is $1,000 a month, it will cost you $1,300 per month in 10 years. The total amount of rent you would pay over 10-year period would amount to $137,567. And, you had NO tax advantage. There is even a $7,500 tax credit for first time buyers or anyone who hasn’t owned a home in the past 3 years. Wouldn’t it be great to receive a check from Uncle Sam of $7,500?

Let’s say instead of renting you buy a $200,000 home now:

You purchase a $200,000 home

Fixed rate mortgage of 6.5% for 30 year period

Mortgage: $1,264

Property Tax and Insurance: $230

Total Payment $1,494

Tax savings per month (assuming a 30% income tax bracket)

Mortgage interest tax deduction: $322

Tax deduction for property tax: $68

Total Monthly Tax Savings: $309

Total Monthly Cost of your $200,000 homes after tax savings $1,104.

With every monthly payment you are paying off your home, instead of someone else’s.

RATES ARE AT 5.57% WHICH MEANS YOU CAN EFFECTIVELY SAVE 10% ON THE SAME HOUSE AS DESCRIBED ABOVE.

This is exciting times for first time home buyers. Give me a call so I can answer your questions and help you start living the American Dream of Home Ownership.

Have a great week-

Linda