A New Kind of Home Buyer: Tips for Marketing Your Home to Millennials

A young millennial couple standing in front of the home they've just purchased.

Millennials get a lot of flack, but they’re an important part of the real estate market. In fact, they make up the largest generational percentage of home buyers right now!

So, if you’re planning on selling your home soon, it’s important to keep the average millennial home buyer in mind. This generation is unlike any that’s come before it, and the way they buy everything (from laundry detergent to life insurance) is unique.

When it comes to catching the eye of the discerning millennial home buyer, here’s what you need to do:

Create a Strong Internet Presence

It goes without saying that millennials rely on the Internet for, well, everything. This isn’t unusual: the Internet makes every kind of shopping easier and more accessible.

As such, giving your home an effective online presence is key. It needs to be easy to find via the most popular home-buying networks, and it has to look great no matter the screen size. After all, more home buyers than ever before are using their smartphones to find their dream home.

Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Professional Listing Photos

A beautiful modern kitchen.

Because millennials rely on the Internet to search homes for sale, your home’s photos have to stand out in a big way. After all, with the right photographer even the smallest home can look like a palace.

So, don’t skimp on this expense! Great photos could be the difference between a home selling within hours, and a home languishing on the market for months.

Show How Your Home Will Improve their Lifestyle

Millennials are looking for homes that will improve their lifestyles and be close to wherever they need to be during the week. As you market your home online, be sure you’re highlighting both its features and location in your listing description.

Tell an exciting story of how much better their life will be once they buy your home! Craft your listing description to carefully touch on all the best parts of your home and its surroundings, and let buyers know exactly why they need to buy it.

Know What Millennials are Looking for in a Home

A pair of hands typing on a smart phone.

So, what are millennials looking for anyway? Market research finds that millennial buyers are attracted to affordable homes with eco-friendly and smart features. If your home has any green features or environmentally friendly add-ons, you’ll definitely want to highlight them.

In addition, if you’ve outfitted your home to accommodate any smart features that use technology—like a Nest thermostat or other Smart Home appliances—be sure to mention that in your listing description and social media promotion.

Use a Pro to Market Your Home

The easiest way to market your home to millennials? Work with a real estate specialist who understands this unique market—and how to best target real estate’s next generation of buyers.

Here at Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, we have an in-depth understanding of the Raleigh real estate market. Allow us to market your home and sell it for top dollar within your timeline.

Give us a call today for more information about selling your home to millennials!

Home Buying Round Up: Let’s Talk About Your Credit Score

If you’re thinking about buying a home in Raleigh, you’ve probably checked your credit score at least once, and maybe even been a bit dismayed at what you found.

The truth is, many would-be homeowners out there feel like their credit score has to be in the high-700s in order to buy a home. Luckily, we’re here to set the record straight.

You Don’t Need an “Exceptional” Credit Score to Buy a Home

Did you know that only 19% of Americans have a credit score between 740 and 799, according to Experian?

Having a low credit score doesn’t mean you can’t afford, or won’t be able, to buy a home. There are a number of unique loan programs out there that don’t have a credit score minimum, and may not even require a hefty down payment.

Here Are Some Loan Examples

A man writing on some papers with a pen.

The Fair Housing Administration offers a unique FHA loan that only requires a credit score minimum of 580, if you want to qualify for the low down payment advantage.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture does not set a minimum, but lenders throughout the industry typically require around 640.

For active-duty or retired military members, the Veterans Affair loan does not set any credit score minimum requirement.

The bottom line? You can still be approved for a mortgage even if your credit score is below a 700.

Don’t Have a 700+ Score? You Can Still Buy a Home in Raleigh

Be honest: when is the last time you checked your credit score? Many Americans refrain from checking it because they fear it’s too low.

However, according to FICO, the average credit score has steadily risen year after year! In 2009, the average FICO credit score was around 680. In mid-2018, it had risen to around 704.

If you’re worried about your options as a homebuyer, we highly recommend checking your credit score. The result may surprise you!

Still Worried About Buying a Home?

Please give us a call. We would love to sit down with you to discuss your home-buying options in the greater Raleigh area. In addition to our extensive real estate network and resources, we are connected with a number of lenders in the area we’d love to recommend.

Homeownership is more attainable than you think! Please reach out to us at Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® to learn more about buying a home in Raleigh.

Greater Raleigh Real Estate: Homeownership is More Attainable than Ever

A happy couple excitedly touring their new home.

After the housing market crash of 2008, homeownership rates throughout the country have decreased dramatically. At one point prior to the crash, the homeownership rate was over 69%. In the years following, it dropped to its lowest point at 63.7%.

As homeownership in Raleigh continued to decrease throughout the late 2000s and early 2010s, many began to wonder if it was no longer an essential part of the American dream.

Here’s our take on it:

Homeownership Will Always Be a Cornerstone of the American Dream

A row of suburban homes with American flags displayed outside.

Owning a home is as American as apple pie and baseball. According to a recent report by the Census Bureau, the home ownership rate has actually increased steadily over the last two years.

Today, it stands at about 64.8%. That’s a 1.1% increase from its lowest point in 2015. While it’s still not nearly as high as it was at its peak, this growth is a good thing! It shows that buying a home is still a huge financial goal to many.

The Desire for Homeownership is Strong Across All Generations

Modern kitchen.

With millennials poised to take over the real estate market, we’re expecting homeownership rates to continue rising steadily in the following years.

After all, there are so many benefits—both financially and emotionally—to buying a home. We’ve written about it extensively, but owning a home improves your life in more ways than one. It gives you financial security, allows you to grow your wealth by building equity over the longer term, and provides you a stronger emotional attachment and investment in your community.

If you’ve long been thinking about joining the ranks of homeownership, now is the time to act!

It’s a Great Time to Become a Raleigh Homeowner

With the summer real estate market gearing up in Raleigh, now is a great time to make your Raleigh homeownership dreams come true. The current inventory of homes for sale in Raleigh has never been better.

Here at Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, we have a ton of resources to help you locate the home of your dreams. In addition, allow us to use our expertise to help you negotiate the best possible price, navigate your relocation with ease, and achieve all of your real estate goals.

Give us a call today to learn more!

Home Prices are Not Crashing, They’re Coming to a Soft Landing

Luxury two story stone home.

Over the last several years, home prices have increased substantially throughout the country. Many homeowners are worried that this means we’re headed towards another housing crash.

Luckily, that’s not the case. We’ve written about it at length, but the real estate market is not heading towards a crash. While it’s true that home values are not increasing as dramatically as they have in the past five years, they’re by no means crashing or even declining.

Here’s What’s Going On

It’s not that the average price of homes in the market are decreasing. Rather, the appreciation of home values is slowing down.

This is because the market is shifting from an advantageous sellers market, to a more “normal” market where the intense demand of homes is matched by its inventory. That doesn’t mean we’re headed towards a crash!

The real estate market is stronger than it’s ever been.

This is Different than the 2008 Crash

A woman looking at a tablet that has market information displayed.

The last real estate market crash was caused in large part to extremely lenient mortgage standards. This created an artificial demand for new homes.

When this demand faltered, a rush of homes hit the market. Many of these properties were in distress or suffering from foreclosure, so they were heavily discounted.

Plus, mortgage standards are much stricter today than they were in 2008. In addition, foreclosures today are lower than they have been since 1996.

Home Prices are Leveling Up

And that’s a good thing! It means the market is returning to “normal,” which is good for buyers and sellers.

Want to Learn More About the Greater Raleigh Real Estate Market?

Then it’s time to give Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® a call. We have the area expertise and the real estate resources you need to make a wise financial decision in this highly competitive market.

Please reach out to us today so we can get started on achieving all your real estate goals.

Homeowner Perks: The Many Benefits that Come with Buying a Home in Raleigh

A gorgeous kitchen with hardwood floors and a white interior.

If you’re planning on buying a home in Raleigh soon, you’ve probably already started weighing the pros and cons. While buying a home is a huge transaction, and an even bigger investment, it will improve your lifestyle, finances, and overall well-being for years to come.

In fact, there are a myriad of benefits—both financial and emotional—you can expect to receive after you’ve closed on your home. Some of these perks might even surprise you!

Let’s take a minute to explore the three big ways owning a home is going to change your life for the better.

It Will Improve Your Finances

business man showing a graph that reflects rising rates in the economy.

For many years, owning a home has been considered one of the biggest parts of the American Dream. As such, it’s no surprise that it can help you improve your finances for the long-term.

Look at buying a home as making a big investment. In truth, it’s also a forced savings account. When you pay off your mortgage, month-by-month and year-by-year, you’re building equity. Eventually, when you pay off your mortgage completely, you’ll own your home outright, as well as all the equity you’ve put into it.

When you live in an area that’s constantly in demand, much like Raleigh, you can expect your home value to increase substantially long after you’ve purchased it. What does that mean for you? More money, increased savings, and a secure financial future.

And Increase Your Net Worth

On average, a homeowner’s net worth is usually about 44 times that of a renter!

Plus, owning your home means more stability. If you opt for a fixed-rate mortgage, you won’t have to worry about constantly increasing rent payments every year!

It Improves Your Quality of Life

Happy active adults walking through a park.

Owning a home means so much more than just having a place to sleep at night. It guarantees stability, shelter, and long-term happiness! After all, your home is so much more than just a house: it’s a place where you go to feel comfortable, safe, and protected.

In that spirit, here are some of the biggest emotional perks that come with owning a home in Raleigh.

Community Involvement

When you own a home in a community, you’re truly able to put down roots and invest in what’s going on. You also have a network of neighbors and friends to depend on when you need help.

Lifestyle Security

There are a number of unique benefits associated with owning a home! For example, homeownership may have a positive impact on a child’s education, specifically in math and reading.

Homeowners are also more likely to have substantial health advantages over renters.

Creative Freedom

You have complete freedom to decorate and upgrade your home as you see fit! Whether this includes unique paint jobs, tearing down a wall to create a more open floor plan, or installing a pool in the back yard, you can do whatever you like!

Ready to Buy a Home in Raleigh?

We’re ready to help. At Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, we possess a unique expertise when it comes to the greater Raleigh real estate market. Feel free to browse our complimentary home-buying resources and guides, and let us know if you have any questions.

Give us a call today to learn more about the Linda Craft & Team Advantage!

No, We are Not Headed Towards a Housing Crash: Here’s Why

In the past few months, you may have heard whisperings about an incoming housing market crash. We’re here to put you at ease: we are not headed towards a crash!

A lot of this concern comes from average home prices slowing in growth across the country. We wrote a blog about it last week, but this is not a bad thing! It just means the market is shifting back towards normal.

The Three Most Important Factors

A luxury home interior with a fireplace.

Today’s market is wildly different than the pre-crash housing market of the late 2000s. We’re going to show you why and how using three important metrics that measure the Raleigh real estate market.

Home Prices

Beginning in 2008, average home prices in the U.S. dropped almost 29% over a four year period. That’s drastic, and it’s what spurred the housing market crash!

Today’s average home prices are not depreciating. It’s just that the level of appreciation is slowing down. Over the last year, homes have increased by more than 4%.

While this is less than the 6-7% prices appreciated over years prior, it in no way indicates that we’re headed towards a crash!

Mortgage Standards

A white table with a checkbook and small stack of money.

In the current real estate market, it’s considered easier to get a loan from the bank than in years prior. Many are concerned that these “lenient standards” will contribute to a housing crash.

However, the Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center released a quarterly index that details the percentage of home purchase loans that are likely to default. When this rate is very low, it indicates that lenders are unwilling to tolerate defaults. This makes it much harder to get a loan.

When that percentage is higher, it indicates that lenders are more lenient so it is easier to get a loan.

In another report called the Housing Credit Availability Index, the Urban Institute also revealed that there is still ample space to expand the housing market credit box. Even if the current risk of default was twice what it currently is, it would still be well within the pre-crisis standard of 12.5%.

Foreclosure Rates

In the last 10 years, foreclosures and short sales have made up 35% of all home sales. That’s huge!

At the end of the fourth quarter of 2018, the percentage of loans in the foreclosure process was just 0.95%. It hasn’t been that low since 1996!

Ready to Explore the Raleigh Real Estate Market?

Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® is ready to help. Give us a call today to learn more about the best way to buy a home in the greater Raleigh market.

Rely on our expertise, our extensive resources, and our proven track record with buying homes in Raleigh. We’ll guide you towards a successful outcome in the Triangle, guaranteed.

The Real Estate Market is Returning to “Normal:” Here’s Why That’s a Good Thing

In the past couple of months, we’ve written about how the Raleigh real estate market is primed for sellers. That’s because of a discrepancy between housing demand and housing supply.

When there aren’t enough homes for sale to satisfy buyer demand, home prices rise. In fact, over the past few years, home price appreciation has averaged around 6% across the country. These conditions are known as a “seller’s market.”

So What’s Changing?

A spacious, luxurious kitchen with a huge island in the center.

The market is starting to level out a bit. Home price growth has begun to cool down, with a recent report by CoreLogic showing that prices have only risen by 4.7% over the last year.

While housing prices have by no means stagnated, many buyers and sellers are still worrying that this recent activity means another housing crash is on the horizon.

Don’t Worry, the Market is Doing Just Fine

A business professional showing a client shifting trends in market activity.

Sure, the market is cooling off a bit, but that’s not a bad thing! It also does not indicate that we are headed for a crash.

It means that the real estate market is returning to “normal.” The inventory of homes for sale is growing to meet buyer demand, so housing prices aren’t increasing dramatically.

This is good for buyers: it means that housing prices aren’t skyrocketing, so more people will be able to afford homes in their preferred neighborhood.

Will Housing Prices Go Up Again?

Sold house sign in Midwest suburban setting. Focus on sign.

Most likely, yes! The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University estimates that over 30 million new households will enter the market from now through 2040.

Is Now the Right Time to Buy a Home in Raleigh?

Yes! If you’re interested in buying a home in Raleigh, or anywhere else in the NC Triangle, now is the time to act. Here at Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, we have the resources and expertise to assist.

Just give us a call today to learn more! You can also browse our home-buying resources, see what homes are currently going for in Raleigh, and explore specific communities in the Triangle.

Why 2019 is THE Year to Sell Your Raleigh Home

A couple touring a home for sale with a real estate agent.

If you stay up to date on real estate trends, you’ve probably noticed that interest rates and home prices are rising. Many homeowners are taking this as a sign that it’s a bad time to sell their homes because buyers won’t be as interested.

However, that couldn’t be further from the truth! Buyers are still highly motivated—especially in the greater Raleigh area.

Buyers are Out in Full Force

Elderly couple talking with a real estate agent.

According to NerdWallet’s 2018 Home Buyer Report, around 32% of Americans are planning to buy a home in the next five years. Millennials in particular are most likely at 49%.

Homebuyers have their own personal reasons for buying real estate. Of those Americans surveyed by NerdWallet, 44% want to buy a home because they think it’s a good investment.

They’re not wrong! We’ve written about it many times before, but buying a home is the most efficient way to build your wealth. When you own a home and pay off your mortgage every month, you’re really paying yourself. You’re building up your equity for the long term, and you can expect your hard work to pay off!

That’s Why Now is the Time to Sell

Home with a red "SOLD" sign out front.

Let’s review. Not only are buyers highly motivated, more and more sellers have decided that now is not the time to sell. What does that mean for you?

There’s less competition AND more buyers out! You don’t have to wait on the market if you want to sell now.

Sell Your Raleigh Home for Top Dollar this Spring

Ready to make a tremendous return on your real estate investment? Then it’s time to list your Raleigh home with Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®.

We offer a wide array of home-selling services, resources, and tools to better assist you in selling your Raleigh area home. With more than 30 years of unparalleled experience in the Raleigh and Greater Triangle real estate market, we know exactly what it takes to sell your unique home for top dollar. Contact us today to learn more.

First Comes Love… then Comes Your First Mortgage Payment!

Every year, the National Association of Realtors® conducts a survey to determine the profile of home buyers and sellers across the country.

The 2018 profile is interesting because the majority of recent homebuyers (a whopping 63%!) are married couples!

The Majority of First-Time Buyers are Married Couples

A married couple standing on the porch of their new home.

It’s true! According to the NAR, 54% of first-time buyers in 2018 were married couples.

However, if you’re still single, there’s no need to worry. 18% of first-time home buyers in 2018 were single women, while 10% were single men. In addition, about 16% of these buyers were unmarried couples.

Homeownership is Within Your Grasp!

Spacious living room with beige sectional sofa and a coffee table.

Even if you haven’t saved up an enormous down payment, you likely still have plenty of options for buying a home in the greater Raleigh area!

Many homes for sale in Raleigh, and the Greater Triangle area, qualify for loans that don’t require huge down payments. You may be able to use an FHA loan or a USDA loan to purchase a home in one of Raleigh’s orbiting cities—in communities like Angier, Fuquay-Varina, and Apex.

These loans are popular because they only require a down payment that’s 1 – 3% of the home’s overall price. And, if you’re in the military, you have even more options!

Let’s Buy Your Dream Home Together

A hand holding a pair of house keys in front of a home.

If you’d like to explore your home-buying options in the greater Raleigh area, please give us a call at Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or looking to invest in your fifth real estate property, we have the resources and expertise to assist.

Let’s set up a time to talk about your plans! In the meantime, feel free to explore the Greater Raleigh area with our free home-buying guides.

How Homeownership Makes the Biggest Difference

If you’re looking for the most surefire way to build your wealth, become a homeowner. We’ve blogged about this in the past, but it really is one of the most effective (and simplest) ways to build your wealth for the long term.

The majority of homeowners take out a mortgage loan to buy their home. By paying off your home’s mortgage every month, you’re building your wealth. Although it feels like you’re paying somebody else (the bank) you’re actually putting money into a forced savings account.

And forcing yourself to save money pays off. Big time.

It Helps You Achieve the American Dream

A core part of what many consider “The American Dream” is owning a home. Owning your own home brings a myriad of benefits, both financial and non-financial.

Financially speaking, buying a home and becoming a homeowner increases your net worth. Every time you make a mortgage payment, your net worth goes up a little.

Here’s an example: in a study performed by The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, researchers found that the difference in net worth between homeowners and renters over 65 was 47.5 times greater.

In that study, nearly half of those homeowners’ net worth came from their home equity!

It’s a Huge Retirement Benefit

Studies show that homeowners over 65 are more financially prepared for retirement. Even if they choose to sell their home and downsize for retirement, they have the added bonus of owning their home for a long time—meaning their home has likely increased in value.

Now, when they choose to sell their home, they’ll make an even bigger return on their investment.

Although renting may seem like an affordable option short-term, it’s less lucrative in the long term. This is especially true when you consider that median rent prices have increased substantially every year.

Plus, It Has Emotional Benefits

You deserve to love where you live. That’s the biggest emotional benefit you get from owning your home: you get to put down roots and invest in a community that will improve your quality of life.

When you buy a home in a community like Raleigh and the NC Triangle, you’re signing up for an exciting, well-rounded lifestyle! The Triangle has plenty of small towns, gorgeous real estate options, and maybe even a major city or two.

Ready to Become a Homeowner?

We’re ready to help. Start building your wealth and guaranteeing yourself a more successful retirement by buying your dream home in the greater Raleigh area.

Just call us, Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, today to get started. You can use our free home-buying resources, easily search for homes in the area, and see popular Raleigh homes for sale.