How to Make Your Raleigh Home Sale “Spark Joy”

Ask any homeowner what the most challenging part of selling a home is, and they’ll likely respond: decluttering.

Decluttering is a huge endeavor. It takes time, patience, good judgment, and stellar organizational skills. It also requires follow-through. Decluttering does you no good if your clutter sits in trash bags by the front door waiting to be donated.

Luckily, there’s a new and trendy way to declutter your home. It’s called the KonMari Method, and it’s changing lives!

Meet Marie Kondo

Small white table with a journal and two potted plants on top.The woman behind the KonMari method is a Japanese consultant and writer named Marie Kondo. Author of the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up that inspired a new Netflix show, Marie has some amazing tips for, well, tidying up.

Her philosophy is simple: “Keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy.”

Both her Netflix show and book are full of amazing tips for decluttering your home. If you’re getting ready to sell your home in Raleigh, we highly recommend checking them out!

The KonMari Method

Small bar cart with glasses of water and a plant on the top in a white hallway.Sort your possessions into categories, and start from there. Instead of going room by room, eliminate your clutter by category. Start with your clothes.

Pick up an item of clothing and take a long hard look at it. Does it spark joy? Does it make you feel happy, or remind you of a wonderful memory?

For the less sentimental of us, here’s an alternative way to look at it: when’s the last time you wore this? Try it on now: does wearing it make you happy? I you answered “no” to any of the previous questions, it’s time to get rid of it!

Marie Kondo advises us to “thank the item for its service, then let it go.”

Tidy Up Your Home Sale

Clean and bright kitchen.Marie Kondo’s method is time-consuming, but effective. Not only that, you’ll end the process feeling good about all of your belongings.

You’re increasing the amount of space in your home, decreasing your belongings, and making your upcoming home sale and relocation easier.

Now that’s something you should feel good about!

Sell Your Home for More in Raleigh

When you’re selling your home, first impressions are key! That’s why staging your home for the Raleigh market is essential. And, you can’t begin staging until your home is thoroughly decluttered.

By using the KonMari method, you’re ensuring that your new home will be filled only with items that spark joy.

If you’re ready to list your Raleigh home, please give us a call at Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®. We would love to utilize our area resources to help achieve a home sale that sparks joy in you!

How Going “FSBO” Costs You More Money in the Long Run

If you’re selling your Raleigh home, chances are you’re trying to maximize your profits. It’s normal for homeowners to look for ways to sell their home for the most amount of money possible, while limiting all of their costs.

However, time and time again, I see new sellers opting to list their home as “FSBO” in order to save a few dollars. Listing your home as “FSBO” means going “For Sale By Owner,” or choosing to sell your home without hiring a real estate agent.

While listing as “FSBO” means not having to pay an agent’s commission, it has a lot of hidden costs and pitfalls and will actually cost you more money in the long run!

An Agent is a Professional in the Real Estate Industry

A professional reviewing graphs.Did you know that a home sold with an agent typically nets 6% more than one sold as “FSBO”?

That’s because an agent knows the real estate market really well—it’s their job after all! They’re an expert in their field, which means they know all the tips and tricks for selling homes.

In addition, it’s their job to stay on top of market trends, housing inventory, and sales prices. An agent knows how to price your home for the market you’re selling in.

Sure, you could rely on an automatic home value estimator to price your home, but those services are famous for being highly inaccurate.

All the “Hidden Work” Agents Do

If you’re choosing to sell your home without an agent, be prepared for a lot of work. After all, when you work with an agent to sell your home, you have them by your side to negotiate on your behalf.

As you sell your home, you’ll probably have to negotiate with:

  • The Buyer
  • The Buyer’s Agent
  • The Buyer’s Bank
  • The Appraiser
  • The Inspection Company
  • The Title Company

And an agent’s work doesn’t stop there! Your real estate agent is your guide to the world of real estate. They’ll be able to provide you with home-selling resources, advice on how to stage your home, an effective marketing strategy, and emotional support during a busy time.

Agents Know How to Reach Buyers

Two people sitting side by side on a couch, one is one a computer and the other is on a tablet.More than 50% of buyers find their home on the Internet. As such, if you’re going to sell your home you need to have a thorough online presence for your home.

A professional real estate agent is more likely to have a comprehensive Internet marketing strategy, as well as a top-tier website where buyers can search for homes.

Selling Your Raleigh Home? Let’s Talk

Here at Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, we want you to make the most amount of money possible when you sell your home. That’s why we offer an array of complimentary home-selling resources, and a specialized marketing plan designed to give your property maximum exposure.

Don’t just take our word for it! Check out our home-selling track record, and see what our clients have to say. There’s a reason we’re the Triangle’s #1 real estate team: we sell homes quickly and for more money, and we’ll help you achieve all of your real estate goals.

Interested in learning more? Give us a call today to get started.

You Don’t Have to Wait Until Spring: Sell Your Raleigh Home for Top Dollar Now

There’s a common misconception that spring and summer are the only times to buy or sell a home. However, when it comes to selling your Raleigh home, that couldn’t be further from the truth!

The thing is, the price of any item is determined by the theory of “supply and demand.” If a lot of people are looking to buy an item, and the supply of that item is low, the price will increase.

Still not catching our drift? Let’s go more in depth.

The Raleigh Housing Inventory is Low

Luxurious dining room with lots of open space.Statistically, during the first few months of the year, the inventory of homes for sale in Raleigh is very low. That number picks up drastically come springtime—because sellers think that’s the most advantageous time to list their home!

However, if you’re looking to sell your Raleigh home, there’s no better time than the present. In fact, waiting until the spring may end up hurting you!

Now is the Time to List

A professional going over a brief on his computer.If you want to sell your home for top dollar, and within your timeframe, then it doesn’t make sense to wait. Buyers are highly motivated to buy a home right now, and there’s no way they’re going to wait until the spring.

Selling while the inventory is low, but the demand is high, is the most surefire way to make an incredible return on your investment in the Raleigh real estate market.

So, Are You Ready to Sell?

Allow our team to help make you the most amount of money possible in your home sale. There’s a reason Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® are the #1 ranked real estate team in the North Carolina Triangle. Our home-selling resources are endless and our success record is unmatched.

From pricing your home correctly to marketing it effectively and making sure closing day goes off without a hitch, Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® are here to help.

Want to start achieving all of your 2019 Raleigh real estate goals? Please reach out to us today.

 

When’s the Best Time to List Your Home? NOW!

If selling your home is at the top of your New Years Resolutions, then it’s time to get started. Although the market is thought to “slow down” during the cold winter months, that doesn’t mean it’s not an advantageous time to sell your home.

In fact, now is the best time to sell your Raleigh home! Want to know why? Because homes are highly in demand, and inventory is at an all time low.

It’s a Seller’s Market

A luxurious outdoor pool with two red lounge charis.While the number of buyers has decreased over the past few months, inventory has been at an all-time low since November of 2018. Truthfully, there just isn’t enough inventory to satisfy what buyer demand there is.

For the last five months, the number of homes for sale has decreased substantially.

According to the National Association of Realtors, the number of homes for sale in the country decreased by about 190,000 from June to November of last year. While demand for homes has decreased slightly over the years, it still far exceeds the current inventory available.

What’s the Bottom Line?

Two professionals reaching across a table to shake each others hand.Now is the time to sell your home! Across the board, the best time to sell your home is when there’s less competition. In a market as competitive as the Triangle, where motivated buyers far outweigh current sellers, now is an incredible time to sell your home!

Selling your home during a “seller’s market” typically guarantees you a better price for your home, fewer hassles in the transaction, and a stress-free selling experience.

Ready to Sell Your Raleigh Home?

Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® are ready to help. We offer a number of different home-selling programs, designed to meet your unique needs as a seller.

Want to receive an instant offer on your Raleigh home? We can help with that, too. You can also research the market, see what homes are selling for in your neighborhood, and get specific home staging tips to make your home sell even faster.

List Your Home Today: The Advantage to Selling Your Home in Winter

Happy New Year! If selling your home is at the top of your resolutions list, then it’s time to get started. You don’t have to wait for warmer weather for a successful home sale. In fact, it may be a good decision to go ahead and sell your home right now!

There are many hidden benefits to selling your home in winter. Although the market has slowed down, that doesn’t mean buyer demand has! The weather cannot change the circumstances that motivate people to buy new homes, which makes every time of year great for selling your Triangle home.

Less Competition

Saleswoman presenting a new project property on digital tabletMany people believe that winter is a bad time to try and sell your home, which is why they wait until the spring or summer to list. However, the market tells us that housing inventory is low — meaning that there are not enough homes for sale in the market to satisfy buyers’ demand.

If you’ve gained substantial equity in your home over the years, it’s probably time to go ahead and list it!

Same Strong Demand

People often choose to buy a new home and move for a number of reasons that aren’t affected by the weather. Even in the winter, people accept new positions in different cities, need to downsize, or want to move closer to their loved ones.

The weather doesn’t stop them, and it shouldn’t stop you! Take advantage of the decreased inventory for a successful home sale.

A Faster Home Sale

Two professionals shaking hands.As a result of the decreased inventory, and steady demand, your home will probably sell quicker in the winter than it would in the summer! The Triangle market is competitive, no matter the time of year, so you can expect an interested buyer to act fast in putting an offer on your home.

If your goal is to sell your home before March, now is the time to act.

It’s Your Time to Move Up

If you want to sell your Triangle home in order to buy a premium or luxury home, now is the time to act! Luxury homes are in a market all their own, and the inventory for luxury homes in the Triangle continues to increase.

These conditions create a buyer’s market for luxury homes—meaning you can get a tremendous deal on a luxury home for sale in the Triangle!

Don’t Allow the Weather to Decide for You

Luxurious modern kitchen with white countertops.Why do you want to sell your home? Is it worth waiting until the weather decides to improve? Probably not!

Plus, the weather in the Triangle Region of North Carolina will continue to surprise us. In Raleigh this year, it was almost 70 degrees on the first day of the year! While the market may have slowed down a little, buyers are still just as motivated as they’ll be come spring.

Sell Your Triangle Home for Top Dollar

If you’re ready to list your home in the Triangle, then it’s time to contact Linda Craft & Team Realtors®. We have a proven track record in selling Triangle homes fast and for the most amount of money possible.

Get in touch with us today to learn more about your home-selling options in the Triangle.

The Art of Home Selling: Stage It!

a green landscaped yard in a suburb

You know, some wise person once said, “If you don’t have time to do it right, you may not get the chance to do it over.” This is very much the case when it comes to getting your home ready to sell. You only get one first impression, so it is a good idea to take the time to prepare your home carefully in order to drive as much interest to your door as possible.

bright sunny dining room looking onto garden

Staging is the Name of the Game

What’s the real secret to selling a home quickly and at a high price point? The majority of Realtors will tell you that staging absolutely enhances your chances of selling your home quicker and for more money. The goal of staging is to make your home appeal to as large a number of potential buyers as possible in order to increase traffic. You can stage your home yourself, but you have to be able to take your emotions out of the equation. For example, you have to be alright with putting away personal photos, awards, and things that may have sentimental value to you because they would be very distracting if on display.

If you think it would be too hard for you to remove personal items from your home, hiring a professional stager to help with this task might be something you want to consider. They are specifically trained to know what look will help attract buyers to your home. Here are some of their top suggestions for staging your home so it will be a top performer on the market.

the exterior of a large brick suburban home in raleigh north carolina

1. Passing the First Test – The Drive-By

Every stager will tell you that it is very common for buyers to do “drive-by” visits even before they solicit the help of a realtor. That means the curb appeal of your house may determine whether it even stays on the book a showing list of potential buyers. To grab their attention and elicit those “love at first sight” emotions, try the following:

  • Potted plants and flowers
  • Rocking chairs or small table and chairs on the front porch
  • Well-manicured lawns and gardens
  • Remove window screens
  • Clean roof stains off shingles
  • Power wash house, driveway, and walkways
  • Clean those windows
  • Make sure your house number is visible
  • Re-stain or paint porch
  • Paint the house
  • Haul away any junk that has piled up around the house

a modern nicely staged kitchen2. Clean-Purge-Organize-Repair!

Great! The drive-by was a success and now they’ve booked a showing. If they loved the exterior, make sure they love the interior even more. Take care of the 4 Ds: Deep Clean, Declutter, De-odorize, Damage Repair.

  • Clean as if you are having company for the weekend. That means everything, including closets, cupboards, the space under the sink, storage spaces, and yes, that garage.
  • Organizing and purging are tactical tools to making your home look neat and orderly.
  • Do you have animals? Unappealing odors can kill a deal. Have a friend come over and do an odor inspection before showings get scheduled to make sure your home is odor-free.
  • If it is broken, fix it! Do your own walk-through making a list of items that need attention and get them taken care of.

clean neutral living room with beige walls and off white couch3. The Appeal of Neutral

Did you know neutral colors make rooms in a home look larger? While you may love that dark purple and gold, the vast majority of buyers may not share your taste in colors. Remember, you want your home to appeal to as many people as possible. Severe colors narrow the pool of potential buyers.

Did you also know that 95% of buyers decide if they want to view a home based on the online photos? If your home has old wallpaper or needs to be painted, be sure to do this BEFORE photos are taken.

Bright living room with fireplace and natural sunlight

4. Clean up the Clutter

A cluttered home is a strong deterrent for buyers. It takes away from the real visual value of your home. You may love all the family pictures you have collected over the years, but buyers need to see your home as possibly their home. So, go ahead and pack away those personal photos, that teapot collection, and all those soccer awards you child won this year. Buyers need to be able to imagine the home as their very own.

This does not mean your home should be stark and unwelcoming. Go ahead and set that table, put a basket of lemons in the kitchen, or add fluffy, new white towels and white shower curtains to create a spa feel in bathrooms. Put away bath rugs so the flooring is completely uncovered. These simple staging tips make a home inviting and comfortable.

Here’s where a professional stager will really earn their money. Not only can they help you decide what to use to decorate the walls and shelves, they can also select the best furnishings to show off your home. They may suggest just repositioning furniture, moving pieces to another room, or removing older furnishings to give your house a more up-to-date look. A good stager will also be able to suggest pieces of art or furnishings to add to your collection as a way to inject color to make a room more contemporary. It’s their job to create an atmosphere that appeals to the larger market.

Clean staged bedroom with blue walls and hardwood floors

5. Floor to Ceiling

Stand in each room, start at the floor and go all the way to the ceiling. Consider what would make that room more appealing? Nothing says, “clean and fresh” like a new coat of paint, eliminating cobwebs, and repairing separating caulk. Are those floors looking a bit worn? Try an inexpensive area rug which can also add a bit of color. Light fixtures can date a home quickly; update them. New hardware in the kitchen can also liven up sad, tired cabinets.

Staged organized reading nook with built in shelves

6. Give Every Room Purpose

Do you have one of those rooms where things collect that have no purpose? Extra furniture, extra artwork, extra clothes, etc. Well, consider purging or storing the extras and give that room a purpose! Stage it to be an office, a guest room, a library, or a playroom. Create a vision that will appeal to buyers. Remember, they may be looking at several properties and if yours is the most “put together,” chances are it will also be the most memorable.
Another valuable asset of having a professional stager is that they use artwork and unique pieces of furniture to draw the eye of potential buyers to entice them to continue exploring the entire home. It may not seem too important, but what if your home is the last showing in a very long day of looking at houses. The buyers are tired and have had enough. Strategic placement of unique furnishings will keep them interested and make them want to see more instead of giving up and ending the tour.

Screened in porch over looking backyard with fireplace with foliage

7. Remember to stage the outdoors

In the Raleigh area, we experience some wonderful weather and outdoor staging will show potential buyers just how livable the outdoors can be. It’s like having an extra room; an extension of the home that adds to the overall square footage. During spring, take advantage of all the blooms by keeping your garden areas well-manicured. In summer, set an outdoor table to look like company is coming over for dinner al fresco. In fall and winter, go ahead and light that gas fire pit. How cozy would that be? Drape a couple of soft throws over the chairs. Your buyers will never want to leave!

Thinking of selling your home in the Triangle area, give us a call. One of our savvy REALTORS will help you with everything from comps to establishing a strong selling price. They can also help you find a trusted, professional stager who has an outstanding track record for setting the right mood to sell homes. In fact, we can offer you a complete list of homecare professionals should you need anything from painters to power washers to get your home in top selling condition!

Let us help you get your home ready to make the best first impression. Call us at 919-235-0007.

Is Now a Good Time to Sell My House?

Mixed Race Couple, Baby, Sold Real Estate SignThe answer is “It couldn’t be better!” To just say it is a seller’s market seems like an understatement right now for a couple of reasons. Any time demand is higher than the supply, sellers have the advantage. Right now it is oh so true in the housing market!

There could be many reasons for the current climate in the housing market. Increase purchasing power in the form of a healthy job market is probably the biggest factor in this equation. Perhaps because of the job market, some young professionals (fondly referred to as millennials) are changing their minds about not owning housing. Some of them are now deciding it’s time to purchase homes. That could be in part due to the availability of jobs. It could also be that this segment is getting a little older, probably have student loan debt under control, and may even be thinking of starting a family.

Whatever the magic combination that has produced this environment, new listings were up over 8% in April, but the inventory for homes fell over 12%. With the median home price hovering around $250,000, current inventory is selling very quickly; days on the market has dropped to an average of 45 days.

While new building of homes is up, it is not reducing the gap between supply and demand fast enough and pricing is typically $300,000 and up on new homes in this area. This shortage of affordable inventory is creating buyer competition primarily in homes under $400,000.

What does that mean for potential sellers?

girl lying in the grass holding a yellow toy house with red roofIf you are ready to sell, make sure your home is in tip top shape so you will get the most out of this seller’s market. Read What Home Buyers Do Not Want to gain insight into what issues with your home you should take care of before putting your home on the market. Then contact your friendly, reliable real estate listing agent and get it listed!

If you’ve been toying with the idea of selling, whether you are bursting at the seams in your current home or thinking that it’s time to downsize, perhaps it is time to stop toying with the idea and act now. Rising mortgage rates may be a sign of a healthy economy, but at some point they will curb the appetite of some buyers and your window of opportunity could pass you by before you get your ducks in a row and get your home on the market. If it seems like a daunting task or if you really were targeting selling a couple years from now…..seriously, think again. The propensity for top dollar will not last forever.

What does this mean for potential buyers?

Mature couple sitting at table with financial advisorIf you are ready to buy now, you will need to be prepared to spend some time with a qualified real estate broker in order to catch the right house before it’s sold. Some houses, especially those in the $250,000 range, can receive multiple offers the minute they go on the market and are sold in less than a week. Your agent can advise you on how to be successful in this fast-paced market.

Get together with a mortgage lender and get pre-qualified before you even start looking. That way you can act fast and you will know exactly how much home you can afford. Be prepared to pay close to, if not list price. Bidding is competitive. Cash offers and pre-qualified buyers generally have the edge.

In order to be quick with your responses to new listings, it is crucial that you work with a seasoned broker who will be on top of your search for a home. A buyer’s agent does not work for the seller. They work exclusively for buyers, so your needs will be their driving force.

If you are considering selling your home, we would love to help. At Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS®, we have over 30 years of experience developing our method of selling homes in the Greater Raleigh area providing sellers with exceptional guidance when placing their homes on the market. As the #1 real estate team in the Triangle, let us equip you with our wealth of knowledge and the tools needed to make your home fly off the market.

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

What Home Buyers DO NOT Want

If you are selling your home, listen up! Trendy ideas that tout being just the thing to help you sell your home faster are readily available across many mediums — TV, social media, podcasts, DIY guides to name a few. But what about those things home buyers truly consider to be “deal breakers”? Are there aspects about your house that potential home buyers would shake their heads at as they walk out the door, or at the very least, would keep you from getting the price you’re hoping for?

It may be a seller’s market in the Raleigh area right now, but buyers still have certain criteria for aspects of a home that fit into the “Absolute Dissatisfaction” category and the “Maybe, but let’s keep looking” category. You don’t want your home to be passed over right out of the gate when there may be some low-cost solutions that would make your home initially more desirable.

Absolute Dissatisfaction

woman shocked at outdated featuresLet’s get these out in the open first. These are things the vast majority of home buyers will not tolerate. Take a look at these top turnoffs:

  • Rank odors (yes, pet odors and cigarette smoke are two of the worst)
  • Severe clutter
  • Filth of any kind, any where
  • Personal decorating choices that are extreme in any way (e.g., pink cat wallpaper, an “Elvis lives here” look)

Fixing these turnoffs will give the seller a direct return on their investment, because they will receive offers 3 times higher than if they did not. Seasoned Realtors will tell you that you only get one shot at a good first impression and a bad impression means no sale or a low sale.

Low-Cost Solutions to Fix the Problem

Taking care of the Absolute Dissatisfaction items in your home can quicken your time to sale and are usually cosmetic (not structural), so the cost is minimal. Some simple fixes might be:

  • A fresh coat of paint inside and/or outside will make everything look clean and less decrepit.
  • New hardware on kitchen cabinets or on doors can make the home look less dated.
  • It’s amazing how new light fixtures can make a room look brighter, more up-to-date, and bigger.
  • Uncluttered rooms look so much larger! Clean up the yard, declutter your garage, keep the grass mown, and cut back any overgrown landscaping.
  • If you have streaks on your roof shingles, have them cleaned so the roof does not look old and tired in your front photo and curb view.
  • Get a professional to do a deep clean. That will help with any unsightly odors or dirt.

Concerning Features

These are features of a home that are definitely things people dislike and it would benefit the seller if they could address these before placing the home on the market.

Popcorn ceilings really date a home and buyers don’t like them. They are costly to remove and it’s a very messy process. Replace the ceiling if you want top dollar or be prepared to offer buyers an allowance to have it done.

Wall-to-wall carpeting used to be a thing people were willing to live with, but fewer and fewer buyers want it in their homes. Everyone wants hardwoods. Sometimes you can remove the carpeting and be surprised that there are perfectly good hardwoods underneath. If that’s the case, get rid of the old carpet and have the floors refinished. Buyers will love them! At the very least, have a good professional carpet cleaning company deep clean all the carpets before putting your home on the market.

room with ugly wallpaper and tacky decorWallpaper can go both ways with buyers. If it is old and shabby looking, get rid of it and paint in neutral colors. Do not put up fresh wallpaper as a way of sprucing up the place. Your taste in wallpaper may be very different than the buyer and could diminish the chance of selling instead of making the home more desirable. Paint is easier and safer.

Vertical living (typically three stories) was very popular in the ’90s and is still common in larger cities where the footprint is more expensive and people tend to build up rather than out. It’s not so popular with Millennials and Gen Xers looking for homes today. There aren’t really any fixes for this downward trend, but it is good to understand that if you have one of these homes and are looking to sell, it could take longer and you may be looking at a lower asking price.

Chopped-up space with small rooms is a concern. There’s not much you can do if your home is split up into many small rooms. Open floor plans are most desired; however, reducing clutter and even taking unnecessary furniture out of the room will make it appear larger. If you’ve ever considered structural modifications in the past and can share information you gathered with the buyer about removing interior walls or expanding rooms, it would be useful information for a potential buyer to have.

Even in a Seller’s Market, It’s Best to Fix These Features

bucket of cleaning suppliesIn the Raleigh market, home sales are up 5.6% from last year while listings are down 7.95%. Increased sales with low inventories makes for a strong seller’s market. This could lessen the effect of those “Buyer Turnoffs.” However, remember those Absolute Dissatisfactions could keep buyers from considering your property no matter what kind of market the area is experiencing.

The smart seller will fix the absolutes before placing their home on the market. If there is time and a budget to take care of the Concerning Features, it is in your best interest as a seller to make those changes. It is quite possible that your home will sell quicker and for top dollar.

Need Home Selling Advice? Let’s Talk

Preparing your home for the market can be stressful if you do not have the right resources and professionals on your side. At Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS®, we have over 30 years of experience helping homeowners sell their homes for top dollar in a short time, all because of our expert knowledge of the Greater Raleigh real estate market and in-depth understanding of the industry.

If you currently have features in your home that are considered deal breakers, contact us and we can provide everything you need for a smooth and hassle-free experience. We can connect you with recommended cleaners and other professionals to fix these issues, advise you on what additional factors can affect your home sale (such as Raleigh’s “mini home selling seasons”), and show you how we can make your home fly off the market.

Don’t waste time or money when selling your home. Call us at 919-235-0007.

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.

Organize Your Whole Home in 3 Weeks with These 30-Minute Tasks

If you’re like many homeowners in the Greater Raleigh area, you are determined to organize your home in 2017 (since you weren’t able to get around to it last year). The secret to keeping any New Year’s resolution is making sure your goal is “smart” — specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic, and time-based. That’s why it’s almost impossible to tackle a whole-home organization project without a deadline or specific list of steps.

At Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS®, we want to help you accomplish your New Year’s real estate goals so you can focus on the things that matter. Follow this 3-week organization calendar and you’ll have your whole home completely organized by February 1.

Tackle Those Projects You’ve Been Meaning to Do

closet with organized clothesThere’s always a certain room or space that seems to be a catch-all for laundry, unorganized files, or miscellaneous household items. Here’s how you can conquer the mess in just a week.

  • Day 1: Identify problem areas in each room of your home, including the garage and attic. Set aside boxes for items you intend to donate and trash bags for stuff you need to toss.
  • Day 2: Add drawers, coat hooks, and a designated container for shoes by your front door.
  • Day 3: Organize pet supplies or children’s toys.
  • Day 4: Designate specific spaces in your kitchen for utensils, spices, pots and pans, etc.
  • Day 5: Fill space-saving containers with dry goods from your pantry.
  • Day 6: Replace bulky clothes hangers with thinner, non-slip hangers. Donate any clothes you no longer wear.
  • Day 7: Give your accessories (scarves, winter hats, gloves, etc.) a special bin in your closet. Donate any items you no longer use.

Donate or Discard What You No Longer Need

Fill a box with household items, clothes, and books that you no longer use, and plan to donate it to a local charity or thrift store at the end of the week.

  • Day 8: Throw out any expired food that has been sitting in your fridge or pantry.
  • Day 9: Sort through your coffee mugs. For every one you keep, put one in the “donate” box.
  • Day 10: Donate any kitchen gadget that you haven’t used in more than a year.
  • Day 11: Pick through your storage containers and Tupperware. Toss any that don’t have a lid.
  • Day 12: Go through all of your books, movies, and games and donate any you haven’t opened in a year.
  • Day 13: Sort through items you keep in under-bed storage containers.
  • Day 14: Take everything out from under your bathroom and kitchen sinks. Put back only the items that you’re going to use.

Focus on Your Office Space

tub full of shredded paperIt’s easy for paperclips, rubber bands, paperwork, and old files to pile up in your home office. You can tackle this entire room in less than a week by focusing on these 30-minute tasks.

  • Day 15: Declutter your desk of piles of paper, office supplies, and miscellaneous knickknacks.
  • Day 16: Shred your old tax records and documents now, or wait for our free shredding event in the spring.
  • Day 17: Label your files and place them in a filing cabinet.

Tackle Your Garage or Attic

If your home has a garage or attic, chances are that they’re the trickiest spaces to organize. Follow these quick tips for freeing up your storage space.

  • Day 18: Hang up wall shelving to keep items off the floor but within easy reach.
  • Day 19: Put all your tools in an easy-to-find spot, such as a pegboard on the wall.
  • Day 20: Use a shoe organizer to store rope, extension cords, nails, etc.
  • Day 21: Store all your holiday decorations in one section of your garage or attic.

Congratulations! You’ve tackled your home organization project in less than a month. You can keep the clutter at bay by sticking to a regular cleaning schedule.

Buying or Selling a Home This Year?

We hope you have had a productive start to 2017! If you’re planning to buy a new home or sell your current home in the Greater Raleigh area this year, we have the tools you need to get started right now. Set yourself a deadline, identify your goals for buying or selling a home, and contact us at 919-235-0007 to schedule a consultation.