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, 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 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.

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!

Your Raleigh Home: Proper Care, NOT Impending Catastrophe

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

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

Let’s Start Outside — Easy on the Mulch!

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

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

Trees — Oh How They Grow!

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

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

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

Calamity of Climbing Plants

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

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

Keep Bleach in the Laundry Room!

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

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

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

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

No Glass Cleaner, Really?

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

Clogged Drains? Go Mechanical, Not Chemical!

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

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

The Many Faces of Caulk

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

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

Providing Raleigh Homeowners with a Wealth of Knowledge

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

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

What’s in Your Hurricane Kit?

aerial view of a hurricane

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

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

Let’s Start with the Emergency Kit:

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

General Home Preparation:

severe storm

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

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

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

Stay Informed:

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

Know Your Storm Lingo:

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

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

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

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

Want to Know More About Protecting Your Home?

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

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

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.

5 Must-Try Halloween Candy and Craft Beer Pairings

Halloween candy cornHalloween is just a few days away, which means that many homeowners in the Triangle area are busy stocking up on candy for the trick-or-treaters. But what should you do when November arrives and you’re left with half a bag of assorted chocolates and sugary treats?

You could always eat your leftover Halloween candy, share it with the neighbors or the office, or throw it away. Or, you could try pairing your candy with craft beer.

Pick Your Favorite North Carolina Brew

What better way to enjoy your leftover candy than with craft beer made right here in the Triangle area? Here at Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS®, we are always looking for a win-win. Consider pairing these local craft beers with your Halloween candy.

Hershey’s Chocolate & BlackMamba Oatmeal Stout

This stout from Aviator Brewing Company, which is located in Fuquay-Varina, has hints of chocolate that will pair nicely with pure Hershey’s chocolate.

a bowl of leftover candyTwix & Copperline Amber Ale

The malty flavor of this red ale from Carolina Brewery will complement the caramel and chocolate of the Twix. Carolina Brewery has two locations, Franklin Street in Chapel Hill and Lowes Drive in Pittsboro.

Reese’s Pieces & El Toro

There’s no better pairing than peanut butter, chocolate, and cream ale. Try Fullsteam‘s El Toro with Reese’s Cups or Reese’s Pieces. If you’re relocating to the Triangle and searching for neighborhoods, the historic Hope Valley community is just 5 miles from this brewery in Durham.

Smarties & Bière de Neuse

Neuse River Brewing Company in Raleigh has a Saison that complements the sour taste of the Smarties. This brewery is located inside the Beltline and is just minutes from Raleigh’s historic Flythe Hills and Hayes Barton neighborhoods.

Hot Tamales & Pumptrack

The spices in Crank Arm Brewing‘s seasonal pumpkin beer pair nicely with the cinnamon spices in Hot Tamales and Red Hots. Crank Arm Brewing is conveniently located on West Davie Street in Downtown Raleigh. If you want to live just steps from this brewery, unique shops, and top-rated restaurants, consider a home or condo in the Warehouse District.

Find Your New Home in the Triangle

In addition to local breweries, the Triangle area is home to Research Triangle Park, major shopping and dining destinations, and excellent local neighborhoods. For over 30 years, we have helped home buyers relocate and find a home in their price range and in their favorite location. If you are buying a home in the Triangle area, contact us today at 919-235-0007.

10 Winter Home Improvements That Are Worth the Investment

Though it may not feel like winter yet in Raleigh, December is ending and the winter is officially upon us. We can expect temperatures to drop as we head into the New Year. In preparation for the colder weather coming, we wanted to share with you some relatively easy home winterization tips that you can make that will save you money during the cold winter months.

Home Tips for Saving Yourself Money This Winter

Here are 10 do-it-yourself home improvements that you can make on your Raleigh home this winter that will save you both money and energy.

1. Caulk Around Windows and Doors 

Make sure that all cracks and holes are sealed. This will keep the cold air out of your house, which will keep your heater from working overtime. If necessary, you might also consider adding or replacing weather stripping.

updated living room with large rugs and fireplace2. Add Area Rugs to Your Tile and Wood Floors

This creates an extra layer of insulation in your home and also makes it easier to walk around your home in bare feet during the winter time.

3. Install Glass Doors That Close Off Your Fireplace

This will not only keep cold air from coming down and through your house but it will also prevent warm air from escaping through the chimney. Also, if you use your fireplace, make sure to close the flue when you’re finished.

4. Insulate Your Attic Door

For instance, you can buy covers for your attic staircases or openings. This will actually help you reduce energy costs all year long.

5. Cover Your Windows

Even if you don’t have storm windows, you can create your own with a window insulation kit. And inside your house, consider using insulated drapes.

6. Buy Insulated Garage Doors and Exterior Doors

Typically, the garage doors that come with most homes aren’t insulated. You can change that to save on energy costs.

7. Add Insulation Throughout Your Home

This includes in the attic as well as the crawl space, garage and basement. Experts recommend that you add insulation if you haven’t done so in more than 20 years.

ceiling fan in a home8. Reverse Ceiling Fans

Some people may not be aware of this but you actually have the option of reversing your ceiling fans. Running them counterclockwise makes it cooler during the summer months but by making them clockwise, they will circulate warm air back into the room.

9. Replace Your Furnace Filters

Just like with anything else, dirty furnace filters will make it work less efficiently. Generally speaking, filters should be changed every month during the heating season.

10. Replace Your Outdated Furnace Altogether

If your furnace is older, you might consider purchasing a newer unit that is going to produce more heat with less energy. Just make sure that you get the right size for the space you have.

If you want to take your home-savings even further this winter, you can check out the U.S. Department of Energy’s do-it-yourself energy audit on their website. Or you can call a contractor and request a professional audit. (We can recommend trusted local professionals. Just contact us or visit our Raleigh area business directory.)

Home Winterization is a Great Selling Point

We hope you found this DIY home improvement advice helpful as a homeowner. Home winterization is a great way to not only keep your home warm and energy-efficient during the colder months in Raleigh, but it is also a great feature to offer when you are selling your home, especially during the wintertime.

If you are selling your home, let us help make the process easier for you. As the Triangle’s #1 ranked real estate team, our trusted professionals can give you all of the advice you need to prepare your home for sale, from a video library of home selling tips to how to sell your home faster and for more money. We even offer tools to see how much your home is worth.

Contact us today at 919-235-0007 or to talk with us about listing your home.

What to Do with Your Leftover Halloween Candy

Halloween candy cornIf you have kids or work in an office, there’s a good chance that you’re surrounded by leftover Halloween candy. What do you do about this problem?

Of course there are these standard options: You could eat it, share it, stash it for later, or throw it away. But maybe there’s another option: You might be able to pair that candy in a way to make it even better.

Delectable Beer-And-Candy Pairings

Here at Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS® we are always looking for a win-win. Our own Steve Kruger recommends the following beer types and brews below, and you can find the best candy to pair with them here or on this beer and brewing article.


Pair your pure chocolate candies, like M&Ms and Hershey’s fun-sized bars, with these barrel-aged craft beers:

  • Olde Hickory (NC) — The Event Horizon
  • Brooklyn — Black Ops
  • New Holland — Dragon’s Milk

The seasonal release of Olde Hickory’s Event Horizon is not available yet, but it is a great choice if you’re lucky enough to have one in your beer cellar.

Cream Ale

Peanut butter, chocolate, and cream ales — what could be better? Try Reese’s Cups or Reese’s Pieces with these recommendations:

  • Fullsteam (NC) — El Toro Cream Ale
  • Foothills (NC) — Carolina Blonde
  • Catawba Brewing Co. (NC) — Farmer Ted’s Cream Ale


Pair fruity treats like Starburst with these equally delicious pale, fruity ales:

  • Haw River — Rusted Plow Farmhouse Saison
  • Brasserie DuPont — Saison DuPont
  • The Bruery — Saison Rue

If you’ve never had a Saison, Saison DuPont is the benchmark.

Raspberry Ale

Take a bite of luxury with these raspberry ales paired with scrumptious dark chocolates:

  • Mother Earth (NC) — Windowpane Series Raspberry
  • Abita— Purple Haze
  • Founders — Rubaeus

The Windowpane beer has been retired, but it is still available at Total Wine on Capital Boulevard in Raleigh. Don’t be afraid of the fact it’s a year old. This one ages well.


Try malted candies like Butterfingers with these beers:

  • Red Oak (NC)— Seasonal Bocks
  • Ayinger— Celebrator Doppelbock
  • Troeg’s — Troegenator Double Bock

If you’ve never had a Doppelbock, Ayinger’s is the benchmark.


This Craft Beer & Brewing article recommends IPAs with Hot Tamales to balance the flavors, and we recommend the following craft brews:

  • Wicked Weed (NC) — Freak of Nature
  • Lynnwood Grill and Brewing Concern (NC) — Hop On Top
  • Foothills (NC) — Jade
  • Stone — Enjoy By Series or Ruination 2.0
  • Lagunitas — Sucks

It is critical that your IPA is fresh; the closer to the brewing date the better. Check the bottle for a brewed on or best by date. Preferably, IPA should be no more than 3 months old.

At Lynnwood Grill, you can get a fresh growler of this IPA at the restaurant. Even better, go on Wednesday when growler fills are only $10.

Light Lager

Appreciate the subtle taste of the caramel in candy corn and similar sugary treats when paired with these light lagers:

  • Red Oak (NC) — Hummin’bird
  • Oskar Blues (NC) — Mama’s Little Pils
  • Uinta — 801 Pilsner

Milk Stout

Again, pair rich chocolates like Hershey’s bars with these brews and savor the sensation:

  • DuckRabbit (NC) — Milk Stout
  • Left Hand — Nitro Milk Stout
  • Stone — Coffee Milk Stout

If you like coffee, Stone’s Coffee Milk Stout should pair beautifully with milk chocolate.


Get a taste of fall with a cider to complement candied apples and caramel apple-flavored candies.

My recommendation is drive to Bull City Ciderworks in Durham and check out their wonderful assortment of ciders.  Then take home a growler of your favorite. If you don’t want to drive out to Durham though, here are some other options:

  • Naked Apple (NC) — Wicked Peel
  • Angry Orchard — The Muse or any option from their Cider House Collection
  • Crispin — Stagger Lee

Sour Beer

Choose a sweet-and-sour pairing with our personal recommendations:

  • Wicked Weed (NC) — Any sour they brew, especially Serenity
  • Haw River (NC) — Any sour they brew
  • Vichte — Duchesse De Bourgogne (The Belgians are the true Kings of Funk)

Keep an eye out for our wine and candy pairings coming soon! How were our recommendations? Let us know in the comments.

The Triangle: Your Craft Brew and Celebration Paradise

Have you been thinking about relocating to the Triangle area? Do you enjoy craft beers like the ones we mentioned in our beer-and-candy pairings?

The Triangle is home to several areas that are renowned for their local brewing companies and craft beer cultures, including the city of Durham — home of the World Beer Festival.

Does this sound like a great area to call home? We invite you to browse Durham’s neighborhoods and homes for sale and find your new home at the heart of the city, and contact us at 919-235-0007 or to schedule a showing of your dream home.

Why Do I See Raleigh School Buses?

School Bus

School is out! School is in!
If you are new to Wake County or don’t have kids in the school system, it may seem strange that there are yellow buses running throughout the summer. All the local high schools are on “traditional” schedules where the kids and teachers have the summers off. However, the elementary and middle schools have varying schedules – they may be on a traditional schedule OR a year round schedule. Buses run all year long here in Wake County and do not have the summers off – so be on the lookout for stopped buses as they do have kids on them.

Year Round Schools in Wake County
It’s a little different being on a year round schedule if you’re used to schools starting around Labor Day & ending in early June. You will hear language that includes the word “track out”  – that means that kids are on a 3-week break while other kids are in session. This allows for schools to accommodate more kids while utilizing the facilities throughout the year. You’ll also hear about “track out camps” – most kid-friendly organizations (music lessons, karate, trampoline places, YMCA, even churches) offer sessions that usually last a week where kids can be supervised, learn something new, and be social. They are not cheap but they are a great way to occupy kids, even if it’s only occasionally.

Busses in North Carolina
NC School Bus Safety concerns are huge throughout our state. This website includes everything you could ever want to know about kids riding the bus. There are FAQs, seat belt questions, a kid-friendly page with games, and information about illegally passing a bus. We all want our kids to be safe and make it where they are supposed to go.

Linda Craft & Team is a locally owned real estate company where every dollar earned proudly stays in the community. Our Team is celebrating its’ 30th Anniversary and leading the Triangle in 2014 as the #1 Team for previously owned homes SOLD! We would love to help you too! Please call our office today to set up a free consultation with one of our expert team members.



Buying a Home? 4 Things You Should Know About Home Appraisals

home mortgageAs you might already know, summertime is a very busy time for real estate agents. That’s why so many home buyers decide to enter the market during this time of year.

If you too are a prospective home buyer planning to enter the market soon, then you’ve visited the right real estate blog!

Today, we’re going to share four things that every home buyer should know about appraisals.

What Are Appraisals and Why Are They Important?

An appraisal is the valuation of a property by the estimate of an authorized person.

These are particularly important for those who will be taking out a loan on their next home.

And unless you’re independently wealthy (or have been successful in building a sizeable savings account), you will more than likely end up requesting a loan.

When you ask for that loan, banks reference your home’s appraisal as a way of deciding how much to give you. That’s why appraisals are so important.

Consider this example: Let’s say you make a purchase offer on a home for $120,000. You need a loan for exactly that amount.

However, when the appraisal comes back, it says the home is worth only $100,000 – and the bank isn’t willing to give you a penny more.

This means that you’re faced with a $20,000 budget gap. And that’s enough to kill many a real estate deal.

But Don’t Worry – We Can Help!

Here is some valuable information on appraisals that may help you avoid unfortunate situations like the one above:

Appraisers must meet certain criteria first. According to the Appraisal Institute, a qualified appraiser should be licensed or certified and also should be familiar with the local area. What’s more, federal regulations stipulate that the appraiser must be impartial and have no direct or indirect interest in the transaction. Fannie Mae even requires that appraisers certify that they have experience appraising similar properties in the same area.

Appraisal values are influenced by a number of factors. For instance, appraisers will consider recent sales of similar properties as well as current market trends. They’ll also factor in such things as the home’s amenities, number of bedrooms, floor plan functionality and more.

Appraisers are required to do a complete visual inspection of the interior and exterior of the home. During this time, they’re also required to note any conditions that may adversely impact the property’s value. This may include needed repairs.

Generally speaking, appraisers use Fannie Mae’s Uniform Residential Appraisal Report for single-family homes. This report asks the appraiser a number of questions, including what the home’s interior and exterior look like, what neighborhood it’s located in and what nearby comparable sales there are. Other parts of the report include: a street map showing the appraised property, an exterior building sketch, an explanation of how the square footage was calculated, and photos of the home. After providing all of this information, the appraiser offers an analysis and conclusions about the property’s value based on this information.

We’ll Help You At Every Stage of the Home Buying Process

We hope you found the above information insightful as a prospective home buyer.

Hopefully, if all goes well, the appraisal on your next home will go smoothly and you’ll be that much closer to owning your own home.

For EVERY stage of the home buying process, we want you to know that we’ll be there to assist you in order to make the experience as seamless as possible. Contact us today to learn more about the services we provide and the valuable advice and insight we can offer.