S.T.O.R.I.E.S Above – Saving a Family from Foreclosure

I’m Julie, the Director of First Impressions at Linda Craft & Team REALTORS. One day recently I received a call from a home owner who was facing foreclosure and was going to lose the family’s home in five days. After compassionately listening to the situation they were facing and gathering pertinent information, I forwarded everything to Steve Kruger, one of our listing partners. Steve did an analysis of the property and realized there was quite a bit of equity in the home.

One of the things I like about working on this dedicated team is that we have a combined total of 350 years of experience.  That’s a ton of knowledge and know-how. We collaborate on everything!

With his research in-hand, Steve went to Linda Craft and asked her if there wasn’t something we could do to stop the foreclosure clock. Remember, the deadline was in 5 short days.

There’s usually no grace period from the foreclose court system, so we knew we had to present a powerful case for this family or they would have to walk away from their home without a penny. Our market analysis showed they could sell for a profit and we were determined to get it for them.

Linda and Steve acted quickly to contact the foreclosure attorney to see if there was any way to secure a bit more time. Even in the best of circumstance with a cash offer and a quick “as is” closing they knew we would need a minimum of ten days to pull this off.

There’s so much that has to be done from initial listing to closing; we have to measure, photograph, list and advertise, show to perspective buyers, negotiate offers, and get it to closing with a clear title. We also have to secure a written payoff from the lender that includes all the back payments, attorney’s fees, court costs, and any other amounts that may be due.  Stopping a foreclosure is a lot more work than just a traditional sale and time was running out.

When Steve and Linda contacted the foreclosure attorney, they were able to present the case and get the time they needed. Our awesome team was able to list the home for sale fast. Showings began and offers started coming in. We were able to negotiate a cash sale that closed successfully with only 24 hours remaining before the court deadline. Whew!

The beautiful thing about all the hard work the team put into this situation is that this family ended up with a substantial profit and NO foreclosure on their credit record. If they had not called our office when they did and if they had not reached a company that had the experience that we have in knowing how to handle all real estate transactions, they would have walked away with a foreclosure on their record and zero dollars in their pockets.

One of our Core Values is Integrity, which means we always do the right thing for our clients. We are proud to say our clients walked away with $86,000 and peace of mind knowing they would not be going through foreclosure and the seven-year recovery period that goes with it.  And, they used our moving truck for FREE to move.

The first two words in our mission statement are “Helping people…”  S.T.O.R.I.E.S Above, like this one, is why I love working for Linda Craft & Team REALTORS.

Linda Craft & Team REALTORS is the Triangle’s #1 ranked, locally-owned Real Estate Company and Carolina Hurricanes Corporate Real Estate Sponsor. They have served the real estate needs of individuals and families, in all price ranges, for over 30 years. The company’s mission and core values focus on Expert Market Knowledge coupled with Raving Fan Customer Service to ensure complete client satisfaction. For more information about Linda Craft & Team, please call 919-235-0007 or visit www.lindacraft.com

Linda Craft & Team – Check List for Spring Cleaning

Whether you bought your home from Linda Craft & Team last year or ten years ago, it may be time for a good spring cleaning. Set aside a Saturday (time) to get it done and solicit the whole family to help. To be as organized as possible, you’ll need a plan, a logical way to navigate the whole house.  Here is a handy floor to ceiling check list from Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS.  Let’s get started!

FOYER:

  • Wipe walls, ceiling and trim
  • Dust and wipe down all light fixtures
  • Wash doors, knobs, and switch plates
  • Empty out coat closet. Donate items that no one uses anymore
  • Clean or replace entry mat
  • Sweep and mop floors
  • Wipe doors with a Magic Eraser and wipe doors with disinfectant

 

BEDROOMS:

  • Open the windows and air out the room – as long as the pine dust is not falling
  • Dust furniture
  • Go through your dresser draw by draw; empty out content and wipe down the drawer. Donate items you no longer need or want. It’s best to bag them up and go ahead and place them in your car
  • Move the bed; sweep and vacuum under the bed.
  • You can freshen up your mattress by sprinkling a little baking soda on the bare surface, letting it sit for 15 minutes, and then vacuuming it up. You can also add essential oils like lavender, eucalyptus or peppermint to the baking soda to add your favorite scent
  • Wash all the bedding and curtains. Wash pillows and duvet in hot water
  • Dust lights and lamp shades with a lint roller
  • Wash windows and window sills
  • Clean mirrors and dust art
  • Wipe doors with a Magic Eraser and wipe doors with disinfectant
  • Sweep and mop floors or vacuum – consider professionally cleaning carpets

 

BATHROOMS:

  • Open windows if pine dust is not flying
  • Empty all cabinets and vanity. Wash inside and replace items neatly. Discard expired medications and cosmetics
  • Wash outside of cabinets and vanities
  • Clean tub and drain
  • Clean toilet inside and out. Be sure to clean around seat bolts and check tightness
  • Clean sink and drain
  • Shine faucets
  • Clean mirror and frame
  • Dust light fixtures – wash if glass
  • Wash windows and window sills
  • Wash switch plates
  • Wipe down walls and trim
  • Wash floor registers and other vent covers
  • Sweep and wash floors

 

KITCHEN:

  • Open windows
  • Remove and clean window coverings
  • For each cabinet or drawer. Remove items, wipe out drawers, and replace items back neatly. Donate unneeded items
  • Wash and sanitize cutting boards
  • Sharpen knives
  • Wash cabinet doors and knobs
  • Organize pantry
  • Clean oven
  • Clean stove top. Remove elements, clean, and put back
  • Check food expiration dates in freezer and discard any expired items
  • Clean under refrigerator and stove
  • Vacuum refrigerator coils
  • Clean microwave by heating a glass of water and vinegar and letting it sit and steam inside; then wipe down.
  • Clean crumbs out of toaster and toaster oven
  • Wipe down counters and back splash
  • Clean dishwasher
  • Dust light fixtures
  • Wash windows and window sills
  • Wipe walls and trim as needed
  • Wash doors and door knobs
  • Sweep and mop floor

 

LIVING ROOM / FAMILY ROOM / PLAYROOM:

  • Open windows if it is past pollen season
  • Wash windows and window sills
  • If window screens have been in all winter, take them out and wash them
  • Vacuum all furniture
  • Spot clean furniture where needed or professionally clean fabric
  • Wash all blankets and throw pillows
  • Dust shelves and tables
  • Clean TV screen and dust all electronics
  • Sort books and magazines
  • Wipe walls and trim as needed
  • Wash fireplace screen or clean ash for wood burning fireplaces
  • Sweep and mop floors

 

OUTSIDE:

  • Sweep porches and walkways
  • Wash thresholds
  • Wash exterior doors. Paint front door if needed
  • Clean or replace welcome mat
  • Have outside surfaces power washed if needed

 

Do you need assistance with any of these projects? At Linda Craft & Team we have an excellent list of talented professionals who provide home care services in the Triangle area. All of them have our stamp of approval from deep cleaning to plumbers! Call our Raleigh office today to get a copy – 919-235-0007. And by the way, when you tackle that home office, remember our Annual Shred Event to be held May 12th from 10am – 2pm at 7300 Six Forks Road. Securely dispose of all those sensitive documents you no longer need!

 

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.

Renovations for Tech-Savvy, Millennial Buyers

happy young couple sitting on the floor surrounded by moving boxesIf you have an older home (built before 2005), in order to entice tech-savvy buyers, most of whom are millennials, you may need to focus on upgrading features that would make your home “smart.” These young (36 and under) buyers want the ability to use all their digital gadgets simultaneously without lag time or crashes. The top features this tech-savvy crowd are looking for are climate control, lighting, security and safety, and voice activation and control. They want to be able to use their energy-efficient, smart appliances and control things like temperature, locks, and lighting from their mobile devices.

They are a fairly large part of the buyer pool right now (34% of all home buyers), so accommodating some of these desires in a home will only increase your chances of attracting them to your door.
Here are a few renovation ideas that may help draw in a larger audience of buyers:

Let’s Talk Infrastructure

How old is the wiring in your house? Millennials are looking for a home that is wired to accommodate all of the digital tools necessary for their lives to run smoothly. If you home has wiring that is not capable of handling large loads of digital traffic without dropping the ball, perhaps you should consider upgrading to Cat5e and Cat6 Ethernet cables capable of handling large amounts of data quickly.

Does Your Wireless Need a Boost?

Boosting your wireless capability could also make your home more marketable. Anything you can do to amplify the signal throughout the house could create a better digital environment.

Are You Outage Ready?

cheerful young couple looking at a tabletRedundancy is the key. Do you have a battery back-up system to make sure key devices and appliances will still function during an outage? Having LAN cables throughout the home can create a level of redundancy that covers inconvenience issues because of wireless router failures. If you are planning a digital home-improvement upgrade anyway, it may be a good thing to address.

Kitchens and Bathrooms are a Good Place to Start

Millennials don’t have a lot of funds to put into the renovations of these areas, nor do they want to fit extensive renovations into their lives. They are looking for new kitchens with granite countertops and “smart” appliances and also bathrooms with stone tile. The good news is that most of these costs, if not all, will be recouped through the selling price. Plus it will initially attract more buyers to the property.

Open Up That Floor Plan

Young buyers want an open floor plan. They want space to entertain and rooms that are multi-functional so if they need to work at home, they have a comfortable place to get projects done with plenty of horsepower to drive their digital activities. They don’t like the idea of being sectioned off from family members. So open up that kitchen to extend into the living and dining rooms.

Low-Maintenance Lifestyles

Younger buyers tend to be very active and don’t want to spend all their time working on their home. They want maintenance-free and low-maintenance materials, so keep that in mind when remodeling. Materials that go into a home should be made to last and easy to maintain. They also don’t want big, high maintenance yards and gardens.

Lifestyle Features

young woman walking in the city streets doing shopping in downtownMany of these millennials are very attracted to homes with high “walkable” scores. What??? It just means they like to be housed close to where they work, play, and live; near grocery stores, restaurants, local businesses, public transportation, and entertainment. If your home has some or all of these things within walking distance, be sure to talk about it when marketing the property. A high “walkability score” can increase the selling price of your home on average $3000.

Hire an Agent Who Truly Understands the Needs of This Market?

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, we can analyze your homes features and, if necessary, help you make a plan for improving your property’s marketability.

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.

Selling Your Home During the Holidays

hearth and christmas tree

Here in North Carolina, we have 4 beautiful seasons and some people mistakenly associate them with 4 distinct home buying seasons as well. They assume spring is the best time to sell and nobody buys during the winter, but that is simply not true.

wrapped gift under the treeWhen I hear people talking about this I am often reminded of Miracle on 34th Street when little Susan sits on Santa’s lap and asks for a new home for Christmas. The same wish is on many people’s list today and the winter months do not deter them from fulfilling their goal.

What Group is Most Actively Shopping in Winter?

While Seniors and Baby Boomers are busy hosting family, planning parties, and baking delicious food for their winter festivities, Millennials are on the hunt. In fact, Millennials have become the #1 home buyers in our area and this trend is constant throughout our country. They are highly motivated and eager to have a place of their own so they can begin their own holiday traditions.

People relocating for work are also active during the winter months. With new jobs starting in January, they use the months leading up to shop around, find the perfect home, and lock in the lower winter interest rates. Seeing as how North Carolina has exceptional weather, a mild climate, and ample job opportunities, it is no wonder why so many outside our state migrate here every year.

Take Advantage of the Winter Misconception

Our world is not the same as it was in years past. Our schools are year-round, more people are inclined to relocate for work, and we are constantly moving forward. Do not let the idea of traditional house hunting hold you back. By putting your home up for sale in the winter, you have a huge advantage over others who take their homes off the market because they think nobody buys during these months.

Less homes on the market means less competition and potentially higher offers on your property. People generally have more time off during the winter as well, so they have more time to tour homes and make moving arrangements than they do in other parts of the year.

Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS®

couple looking at homesWhether you are buying or selling a home this holiday season, having a strong Real Estate Team guiding you through the entire transaction is essential. If you are buying a home, we can guide you through the home buying process, help you get the best deal for your home, and prove to the seller that you are a serious buyer. If you are selling your current home, we can help you learn your home’s value, price your home competitively, and help you avoid major home selling mistakes.

At Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS®, we have worked for over 30 years to provide the Greater Raleigh area with exceptional service and quality transactions with each and every home bought and sold. As the #1 team in the Triangle, we would love to help make your holiday real estate dreams come true. Schedule an appointment with us today at 919-235-0007 or visit our website for a full listing of all of our services and more!

How to Effectively Cope with Financial Stress

a frustrated home seller

As we age, financial obligations and life events can cause us to feel stressed. For adults in their 40s and older, the most common sources of financial stress are job loss, reduced wages, consumer debt, and medical expenses. Other situations, such as divorce or a foreclosure, can also lead to financial strain.

Too often, Raleigh-area homeowners facing financial hardships find themselves in a position where they can no longer afford their home. If you are in a financial situation such as this, the trick is not to let yourself be paralyzed by hard decisions.

But the good news is, we have seen it all and can help you through your unique situation. Here are a few ways to cope with your financial stress and make the best possible real estate decisions.

Maintain Healthy Habits

senior adult on the golf courseFinancial stress can be hard to deal with. Common signs of stress include headaches, low energy, increased frustration, insomnia, and a change in appetite. Healthy eating and exercise habits can significantly improve your mood and your health, even in stressful financial situations.

Seek Out an Expert

Unfortunately, some financial hardships, like failing health and medical expenses, are not temporary. If you are contemplating selling your home and putting the money toward medical bills, or if you are considering declaring bankruptcy, contact us. We can refer you to a recommended attorney in the Triangle area who will guide you through this hardship with your future in mind.

Carefully Consider a Reverse Mortgage

Adults aged 62 or older who own their homes or owe just a small mortgage balance may consider a reverse mortgage program to supplement their income. But before you consider applying for a reverse mortgage, talk with a reputable lender and review the fine print with an attorney. You can read about the pros and cons of reverse mortgages on AARP’s website.

decluttering a homeConsider Downsizing

Many homeowners in the Triangle area downsize their homes in favor of a smaller mortgage payment and using the money from their home sale to pay off their debt. Follow these downsizing tips to keep from feeling stressed and overwhelmed while decluttering.

You Can Trust Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS®

If your financial obligations are causing you to worry about the future, the real estate experts at Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS® can give you the advice you need. We have helped homeowners in the Triangle through a variety of life events from divorce to foreclosure. Contact us today at 919-235-0007 to discuss you options.

How Real Estate “Mini Seasons” Affect Home Sales

When deciding what time is best to sell a home, most people focus on the 4 cardinal seasons of spring, summer, fall, and winter. What you may not realize is that in the Real Estate Market there is a subset of selling periods known as “mini seasons” and where they fall on the calendar affects home sales in a big way.

a family with kids at the beachVacationing in July

July is the ideal month for planning vacations for home buyers and Realtors alike. So there is no wonder why home sales tend to dip during this month due to all of that travel. Plus, with temperatures rising over 90 degrees, getting in and out of a hot car isn’t very pleasant.

 

school bus on a streetBack to School in August

Whether you have a child in year-round or traditional, the first couple of weeks in August mean back to school. Registration, buying school supplies, and planning afternoon activities takes precedence for the busy parent over plans for new home ownership.

 

father and son at the lakeLabor Day in September

Labor Day Weekend is well-known as a prime traveling time and in the Real Estate Market, this can stretch upwards of 5 to 6 days. During this time, both home buyers and Realtors are visiting family and enjoying time with each other, causing a lag in home sales.

 

yellow leaves on treesResurgence Between September and November

The cooler temperatures of September and November along with the Wake County Parade of Homes are a boom to the home shopping experience. Home sales go way up now that traveling is finished and many customers are in the market for a new home for the holidays. This is a perfect time to make a new beginning or to put your home on the market.

 

suburban home in winterClosing in December

December is hands down the best month for closing on a home. In addition to having a new place to share the holidays with family, interest rates are lowest in the winter and will help save you money over the course of your mortgage. Also, if you close your home before the end of the calendar year, you can write off the purchase on your taxes and potentially receive a nice refund.

Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS®

Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS® has helped our clients navigate the seasons and changing Real Estate Market for over 30 years. Let us show you what working with the #1 team in the Triangle can do for you.

Schedule an appointment with us today at 919-235-0007 or visit our website for a complete list of our services and more!

Beware: A Realtor Bonus May Hurt Instead of Help

a frustrated home sellerDid you know for many many years home buyers had no representation because all Real Estate Agents worked for sellers as “sub-agents”? Realtors showed properties to home buyers and built wonderful relationships with them, but legally they represented the seller because the seller paid them through the listing commission. This was very confusing to home buyers and it eroded trust between buyers and their Realtor.

Finally, in the mid ’90s, the North Carolina Real Estate Commission decided consumers needed better education as to who represented who in order to make a more informed home buying decisions. They made it mandatory for all Realtors to present a Working with Real Estate Agent brochure at first substantial contact to educate the consumer. This was a great change!

home sellers and their agentNow home buyers are given the opportunity to work exclusively with one Realtor representing them by a formal written commitment. The buyer’s agent is still paid by the seller through the formal listing contact with the listing real estate firm. The listing firm advertises the agreed commission to be paid to a buyer agent through their private data base of homes for sale, (TMLS) Triangle Multiple Listing Service. The buyer agent must disclose the amount they will be paid by the listing firm through a formal written agreement with their buyers. Bottom line is, all monies must be disclosed in writing to all parties and this too was a great change!

Exclusive Buyer Representation and full disclosure in the greater Raleigh area was a much needed industry change. It gives home buyers more peace of mind and builds trust and stronger relationships with their buyer agent by knowing they have full and Exclusive Buyer Representation. The full disclosure also protects the professional image of Realtors that had been damaged by the confusing ways we worked prior to the mid ’90s.

Why Do Sellers Think a Bonus is a Good Idea?

A highly motivated seller is always looking for creative ways to promote their property and draw fast attention to create a sale. Many Triangle area home sellers do not consider the legal, fiduciary relationship between the home buyer and their buyer agent when thinking about advertising and marketing. Many still believe offering a buyer agent bonus will draw positive attention to their property, when it could actually hurt them. Naturally a bonus to the buyer agent seems like a good plan, but it is really a complicated plan that can backfire creating a negative effect.

Why Can a Bonus Backfire?

  • Today’s home buyers hire Realtors to represent their best interest exclusively by written contract. A bonus may cause doubt in the minds of buyers.
  • Realtors follow a Code of Ethics and know the absence of trust always damages the professional image of our industry. Therefore, we want everything to be disclosed and avoid anything that could potentially damage trust with clients.
  • When a Buyer Agent discloses one amount in writing to be paid by the seller and later is told of a larger number, suspicions arise as to whose best interest was at heart, potentially damaging the relationship between client and Realtor permanently. For this reason, instead of seeking out Realtor Bonuses, many Realtors actively avoid them.
  • With the change from the mid ’90s, there is also no longer an area on TMLS, Triangle Multiple Listing Service, to advertise a buyer agent bonus to the 8,000 members other than agent remarks which many Realtors do not read. So, the marketing effect along with the negativity it may create between the home buyer and their Realtor may not produce the result a home seller is trying to achieve.

Better Solution for Sellers—Add a Buyer Bonus

house for sale in raleighReaching the buyer is the name of the game, so if you really want to increase traffic to your home, instead of a Realtor Bonus try adding a Buyer Bonus. The best way to entice buyers to visit is to ensure your home is “easy to buy” by making the condition move-in ready with updates and fresh neutral paint which is reflected in the photos buyers are viewing. Finally, make sure your home is priced competitively, because no showings or low showings indicate home buyers are rejecting your house at the price currently being offered. Reducing the price is a bonus to the buyer every time.

Lastly, you may offer to cover closing costs for the buyer’s mortgage or you may add other incentives such as all appliances, pool table or riding lawn mowers to add value to the property. However, too much personal property may affect the appraisal so approach personal property with creative caution.

Linda Craft & Team, Realtors

Building and maintaining the trust of our clients has been our goal for over 30 years and we continue to hold ourselves to the highest standards of business. Voted #1 Team in the Triangle, our efforts have fulfilled the dream of owning a home for thousands. Let us help you today.

Schedule an appointment with us today at 919-235-0007 or visit our website for a complete list of our services and more.

5 Simple and Low-Stress Garage Cleaning Tips

red garage door in a home

Overwhelmed with the thought of tackling your garage? It happens to the best of us. The trick to tackling a big project, like cleaning the garage, is to start small.

Whether you are selling your home or simply want to make the most of space, use these helpful garage cleaning tips to turn your overwhelming mountain of work into a manageable weekend project.

1. See What Needs to Be Done

Don’t start cleaning right away. The first step to tackling any project is to do some reconnaissance. Take photos of the space, make a list of items you know you want to get rid of, and start thinking about where you will take your unwanted items.

having a garage sale2. Check Your List

Take a few minutes to create a game plan. Consult your list or photos and figure out what items you want to donate, what items you want to keep, and what items you want to throw out. This will help you decide whether to rent a dumpster or schedule a donation pickup for a Raleigh-area charity.

3. Spend Time Going Through Everything

Set aside some time, whether it’s two hours or a full weekend, to start sorting everything in your garage. Remove anything that you want to throw out or donate. It will free up a lot of space. You may be surprised how much you can tackle in such a short time.

4. Organize What’s Left into Categories

After you have removed any unwanted items, you can start organizing the rest of your belongings. Group items together, such as gardening tools, holiday decorations, and athletic equipment, so you can easily find them later.

5. Invest in Space Savers for the Garage

Trade cardboard boxes for more durable storage containers to keep your items protected and your garage looking decluttered. If possible, invest in wall-mounted shelves and overhead storage to keep items off the floor. This minor fix can have a major impact on the way your garage looks.

Ask Us About Other Decluttering Tips!

decluttering a homeDid you know that starting small is the best way to start decluttering your home? If you are selling your home in the Raleigh area, we have excellent resources for preparing your home, including how to hold a garage sale.

We have been helping people sell their homes in the Triangle area for more than 30 years. If you would like more decluttering tips and information about selling your home, call us at 919-235-0007 to schedule your appointment.