The 2 Biggest Buying Myths—And Why You Shouldn’t Believe Them

Buying a home is a major decision—one that you should spend plenty of time thinking about. But for many people, that thinking stage quickly becomes filled with anxieties—about money, about mortgages, about lenders—and they may decide to postpone their buying plans.

At Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, we want to break some of the negative stigma around the buying process. Here are the top two myths that scare away buyers and why you shouldn’t believe them.

Myth #1: The 20% Down Payment

Professionals meeting at a bank.

While a 20% down payment is preferred, it’s far from required—even though 22% of renters and 31% of homeowners believe that it is! In fact, buyers often overestimate how much they need for a home—so much so that it delays their plans.

A recent report from Freddie Mac found that if a 20% down payment was actually required, 70% of people planning on buying the next three years would delay their purchase. Not only that, but 30% of buyers said they would never be able to afford a home under those conditions.

In reality, there are a number of programs available to buyers that help lower your down payment, from VA loans to FHA loans. Give us a call, and we can help you figure out what you qualify for.

Myth #2: The Stellar Credit Score

A person holding out a credit card.

Many people think a “good” credit score is right around 780—and that you need a “good” credit score to qualify for a loan. But according to Ellie Mae’s Origination Insight Report, that number is way above average. In fact, over 50% of approved mortgages had credit scores anywhere between 600 to 749—way below what most people consider “good.”

Even if you don’t have an outstanding credit score, odds are, it’s still good enough to snag the right financing. Need some tips on upping your credit score? Just reach out to my team, and we’ll help you out!

Don’t Let Buying Myths Hold You Back

Buying a home is certainly a tricky process, but it’s often more attainable than people think—especially when you work with a professional. At Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, we have over 100 years of combined real estate experience around the Triangle, and we’d love to leverage our skills to help you find your dream home.

Take some time to explore our resources for buyers, and give us a call when you’re ready to learn more about your buying options!

Checking in on the Trends: The Positives and Negatives of Today’s Housing Market

Real estate trends are prone to change. After all, there are many factors that play into home prices and mortgage rates, and as the economy changes, the real estate market follows suit.

If you want to get the best possible outcome to your real estate endeavor, staying updated on current real estate trends is crucial to your buying and selling success.

Here are the three biggest changes currently happening in the housing market—and what they mean for buyers and sellers!

Interest Rates are Low…For Now

A man looking at numbers on a laptop.

Interest rates play a huge part in the overall cost of your home, and right now, they’re the lowest they’ve been in years. As of June, rates are hovering right around 3.8%. Back in March, they were as high as 4.4%!

According to the latest info from Freddie Mac, those numbers could be here to stay for a while, but with the current unpredictability of the housing market, there’s no guarantee. So the sooner you buy, the better.

Tariffs Could Drive up Prices

A construction area.

What could tariffs on China possibly have to do with the housing market? Well, many of the tariffs will affect building materials like lumber and steel—and the National Association of Home Builders estimates that around $10 billion worth of those supplies come from China.

With an already low inventory of homes, the increased of cost in building a new home will likely further exacerbate the problem. The tariffs began in June, so the effects may not be fully felt for a little while—meaning now is a great time to buy.

The Economy is Cooling off

A man carrying a newspaper and briefcase.

Previously, many economic experts thought we were headed for a recession this year. While that estimate has been pushed back, three leading surveys (the WSJ Survey of Economists, Duke University Survey of CFOs, and NABE Survey of Members) predict that it’ll happen sometime in the next 18 months.

That doesn’t mean there’s any need to panic, but it does mean that the current economic conditions might be the best that they’ll be for a while.

Ready to Buy Your Raleigh Home?

If you’re on the fence about buying or selling, the current housing trends indicate that now is the time to make some moves. Find your real estate success, and trust in the expertise and years of experience that Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® can provide.

Browse our buying resources, see what homes in Raleigh we love, and give us a call to get started!

Waiting to Buy Your New Raleigh Home? Here’s How Much It’ll Cost You

Buying a home is a big decision, one that requires plenty of thought and deliberation. While it’s important to take your time and feel confident in your choice, you might want speed up the process.

Why? Well, within the next year, buying is about to become significantly more expensive. Take a look at the breakdown of the numbers, and get started with your search soon!

Costs Are Rising

Graphs and charts on a laptop.

Right now, mortgage interest rates are lower than they’ve been in years—even lower than experts had predicted. Over the next year, though, they’re only expected to rise.

Not only are interest rates ticking up, home prices themselves are growing as well. Add those two factors together, and you’re also looking at increased mortgage payments.

Concrete Numbers

A man pulling money out of his wallet.

Let’s put those numbers in perspective. According to Freddie Mac projections, current interest rates are around 4.3%. Next year, they’ll reach 4.5%. While that might not seem like a big jump, when you’re talking about big ticket purchases—like homes, for example—.2% can mean a major difference in cost.

As far as home prices go, CoreLogic estimates around a 4.8% jump. Again, not huge at first glance, but when you start looking at the numbers—like, for example, $250,000 versus $262,000—that’s a difference of over $10,000!

Put interest rates and home values together, and you’ll find that mortgage payments are following suit. Considering the current numbers, your average mortgage payment would be $1,231.60. Next year, that number looks more like $1,321.04.

How Much Will Waiting Cost You?

A man holding a Starbucks coffee.

Bottom line? Waiting to buy may not seem like a big deal at first, but those increased costs will add up quickly—especially in a competitive market like Raleigh’s.

Say you buy that home you’ve had your eye on, but you don’t do it until next year. You can expect to pay an extra $89.44 monthly—around the same cost as your daily coffee or weekly sushi. Per year, you’re looking at $1,073.28—around the same cost as a cushy weekend getaway or the balance on those credit card statements.

Within 30 years? You’ll be paying an extra $32, 198—and when it comes to other ways we’d rather use that money, we can think of about a thousand.

Don’t Wait to Buy Your New Home

If you’re on the fence about buying, just know: waiting until next year is going to cost you big. About $32,000 big. Don’t put off buying your Raleigh home—let Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® help you get started today.

Browse our buying guides and resources, narrow down your options with our specialized search tool, and give us a call to start scheduling showings today!

Is Moving in with Your Family the Latest Real Estate Trend?

Moving back in with your parents after a few years? You’re certainly not the only one!

Maybe your loved ones are growing older, and you want to spend more time with them, or they need a little extra help around the house. Maybe finances are tight, and you’re saving up for your own place.

Whatever your reasoning may be, multigenerational households are on the rise—and they provide some major benefits.

The Basics of Multigenerational Housing

A grandmother, grandson, and daughter sitting by the water.

The only qualification for a home to be multigenerational is, well, there’s more than one generation under the roof—whether it’s parents and adult children, adult grandkids and their grandparents, or any other combination.

Until recently, multigenerational households hadn’t been popular—or even common—since the 1950s, when around 21% of the population lived in a multigenerational home. That number continued to tick down over the years, but as of 2009, it’s been on the rise.

Currently, around 20% of the population lives in a multigenerational home, making it the second-highest percentage in recent history!

Reasons Behind Multigenerational Housing

Grandparents holding their grandchildren.

There are several major reasons why people have started moving back in with older family members. The most common reason is to take care of aging parents (26%), closely followed by spending time with parents in general (14%). Previously, adults ages 85 and older were most likely to live in multigenerational homes. Now, the title goes to young adults ages 25 to 29.

Additionally, growing diversity may play a part in those numbers. According to the Pew analysis, Asian and Hispanic populations—both of which have grown rapidly—are more likely than others to live in multigenerational homes, coming in at 29% and 27% of the population, respectively.

Lastly, student loan debt might be a big factor in multigenerational homes. For people ages 22 to 35, 83% blame their student loans for preventing home ownership. Seeing as how the average borrower owes over $30,000, they might be onto something!

The Surprising Benefits

A daughter and mother sitting on a park bench.

Not only do multigenerational households make financial sense for many people, they also boast a number of benefits. According to a study from the University of Oxford, children who grow up close to their grandparents often have fewer emotional and behavioral problems and can cope with traumatic events better. Also, researchers from Boston College found that when adult grandkids have close bonds with their grandparents, both groups report reduced depressive symptoms.

Understanding the benefits helps put into perspective why a staggering 41% of Americans are now in the market to buy a multigenerational home!

Linda Craft on Multigenerational Housing

Find Your Multigenerational Home in Raleigh

Raleigh has a wide variety of large, private homes for sale, perfect for multigenerational housing. If you’re looking to make the move with a few family members, then Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® is more than happy to help.

Explore all of your home-buying options in Raleigh, browse our helpful resources, and give us a call today to get started!

Breaking Down Housing Affordability: The Bottom Line for Buyers

As of late, there’s been a lot of buzz about home prices going up, and a fair amount of anxiety about what that means for buyers. While some headlines have been announcing an “affordability crisis,” that’s perhaps an over-sensationalization of current conditions.

If you’re worried about not being able to afford a home in the greater Raleigh area, here’s why you may not need to be as concerned as the headlines would lead you to believe.

What’s the Housing Affordability Index?

A man looking at charts and graphs on his laptop.

Every month, the National Association of Realtors crunches the numbers to create a Housing Affordability Index. This index measures how affordable it is for a family with a typical income to purchase a median-priced home, assuming a 20% percent down payment.

The index uses the number 100 as a starting point, and the higher the index gets, the more affordable homes are.

What the Index Has to Say

This year, the index is at 153, which is higher than it ever was from 1990 to 2008. The periods when the index was higher than it is today—2009 to 2017—were right on the heels of the housing crash, so the purchase of distressed and discounted properties was a frequent occurrence.

In fact, this year’s number is five points higher than last year’s, meaning 2019 has been more affordable for homebuyers than 2018!

Now is a Great Time to Buy

People receiving the keys to a home.

With low mortgage rates and affordable home prices, right now is a great time for buyers. If you’re in the market to purchase a home soon, you should take advantage of these favorable conditions while you can, and kick off your search process.

Find Your Dream Home in the Raleigh Area

With years of experience in Raleigh real estate, Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® is more than prepared to help you find your new home in Raleigh. Take a look at a few of the resources we have to offer, and give us a call when you’re ready to start seeing a few homes in person!

The Two Need-to-Know Factors for Pricing Your Home Right

The real estate market is in a unique situation right now. Mortgage rates are the lowest they’ve been in years—and expected to keep decreasing—and many people are left wondering what that means for home prices.

While housing prices are currently increasing at a slower rate than usual—coming in around 3.7%, compared to the average of 6 – 7% over the past few years—they’re still surpassing historic norms.

In a competitive and active market like Raleigh, knowing how to price your home accurately is more crucial than ever! Luckily, we can help. Here are the two biggest factors to keep in mind when pricing a home.

Consider the Appraisal Gap

A woman writing in a notebook.

The Home Price Perception Index checks in every month on the difference between homeowners’ estimates of their property and the appraiser’s evaluation. Over the past few months, that number has steadily ticked up. Last July the difference was around .25% lower than buyers expected, but it’s tripled since then, now standing at .78%.

While that may not seem like a major gap, that small percent can still mean thousands of dollars in difference come closing—money that sellers would have to make up for.

Avoid Price Cuts

A man glancing over a booklet in front of a window.

Not valuing your property accurately can create further problems down the road, as well. Realtor.com recently reported that price cuts in homes have increased 2% since last year. Again, 2% may not seem like a huge number, but 37 out of 50 of the largest US housing markets reflected this decrease—including Raleigh.

Oftentimes, there isn’t anything wrong with a home that gets a price reduction—it just started with the wrong price. If you hit the ground running with an accurate listing price, you won’t have to worry about knocking it down in the future! In fact, our selling tips can even help you net more for your home than usual.

List Your Home for the Right Price

Navigating market trends can be tricky, but luckily you don’t have to do it alone. At Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, we have years of experience with buying and selling homes in Raleigh—meaning we know exactly how to handle the ups and downs of the market.

Learn more about what we offer our sellers, get an accurate price for your home, and give us a call when you’re ready to list!

Buying and Selling in Raleigh? Here’s Why It Pays to Have a Professional on Your Side

With all of the latest technology and new ways of buying and selling, you might be wondering: “What benefits do I gain from working with a real estate agent?” While apps and websites may sell an easy real estate process, the truth is that if often ends up being far from that.

If you’re preparing to buy your dream home or sell a home for top dollar in the Raleigh area, here’s why you should enlist the help of an agent.

The Search Process Takes More Than You Think

A man on his laptop.

From starting your search to closing on your home, there are over 230 possible steps you’ll need to take—and when you decide to go it alone, you may end up adding to that number.

Even the search process, as simple as it may seem, is infinitely more complex. Without representation, you likely won’t gain access to information like the property’s public record for ownership and deed type, the land use coding and deed restrictions, or the property’s curb-appeal assessment.

Not only will a skilled agent secure all of that information for you, but they’ll also match you with similar homes that fit your more specific criteria—criteria that you may not find on online searches.

Negotiating Can Be Challenging

Two women meeting and discussing paperwork.

With low mortgage rates and steadily rising housing prices, it’s a prime market for both buyers and sellers. This is good news, but also means you’ll likely be dealing with more competition than usual.

Working with a skilled negotiator can not only be the difference between your offer being accepted or denied, but it can also save you thousands of dollars in the end.

When negotiating a home sale, you’ll have to deal with a number of parties, including the buyer and the buyer’s agent, the buyer’s attorney and lender, and the home inspection company. Every step—from your original offer to the inspection to the closing—demands guidance from an agent who knows their way around the process.

At at Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, we have over 350 years of combined real estate experience—which means countless successful negotiations.

What is Your Home Worth?

The kitchen of a home.

Since mortgage rates have been trending lower than in years past, home prices are veering in the opposite direction. Your agent should have an in-depth knowledge of the greater Raleigh area real estate market, enough to ensure that your home is priced competitively and accurately—or that you’re getting a fair price for your purchase.

In the end, you need an agent who will be transparent with you, even if it means telling you something you may not want to hear.

Enlist the Help of Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®

If you’re in search of local real estate professionals, look no further than Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®. Whether you’re buying and need help navigating the process or selling and hoping for top dollar, our track record of success proves that we have what it takes to achieve your real estate goals.

Interested in learning more about our real estate services? Please don’t hesitate to give us a call.

Streamline Your Raleigh Home Search with These 6 Key Tips

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

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

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

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

Tip 1: Get Pre-Approved Right Now

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tip 3: Carefully Research Local Neighborhoods

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

We can help with that!

Tip 4: Stick to One Type of House

An aerial shot of multiple homes in a neighborhood.

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

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

Tip 5: Write Everything Down and Take Pictures

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

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

Tip 6: Work with a Professional REALTOR®

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

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

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

A person holding a stack of hundred dollar bills.

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

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

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

It Lowers Your Monthly Payments

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

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

You’ll Pay Lower Interest Rates

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

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

Say Goodbye to “Private Mortgage Insurance”

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

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

Best of All, It Makes Your Offer More Competitive

A spacious, two-story single-family home.

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

Ready to Buy a Home in Raleigh?

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

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

Why Now is the Best Time to Downsize

A simple kitchen with tile backsplash, wood countertops, and white paneled cabinets.

Searching for a smaller home? Chances are, you’re not alone.

Over the past few years, many “baby boomers” have experienced a sudden change. Their children have moved out and bought homes of their own, leaving their parents to dream about their own lives.

Oftentimes, such a sudden change in household size can be eye-opening. All of a sudden, that two story home with five bedrooms is too big. It’s costly, overly spacious, and hard to keep up with.

The solution? Downsizing.

Save Money & Improve Your Lifestyle

Downsizing your home is becoming a popular option for older generations. In the past, developers and builders focused on constructing huge luxury properties. But, just like the real estate market, that has shifted significantly.

In Raleigh, you’ll discover a wide variety of homes perfectly suited for smaller households. Two- or three-bedroom ranch style homes are increasingly popular, which is why you’ll find plenty of homes like this for sale in Raleigh.

Plus, unlike more luxury options, these homes are highly affordable.

Find Amenities Catered to Your Needs

A man standing on the golf course at sunset.

The best part about downsizing? You can find a neighborhood that offers all the amenities you’ve ever wanted! Don’t want to take care of your yard or home’s exterior? Search for homes in low-maintenance or maintenance-free communities!

Want to live right on the golf course? There are plenty of golf neighborhoods in Raleigh, as well as the greater Triangle area. When it comes to finding your dream home in Raleigh, you have every option right at your fingertips.

Downsizing is Highly Affordable

As the housing market throughout the United States remains consistent and reliable, you’ll notice a variety of single-family homes sold at lower price points.

According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), “The inventory of new homes for sale was 344,000 in March, representing a 6 months’ supply. The median sales price was $302,700 with strong gains in homes sold at lower price points. The median price of a new home sale a year earlier was $335,400.”

Looking to Downsize Your Raleigh Home?

Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® can help you find the perfect home in Raleigh. Give us a call today to explore all your Raleigh home-buying options!