2020 Real Estate Projections That Might Surprise You

The new year brings with it a number of big events—a presidential election and talks of a possible recession, to name a few—and that means predicting the real estate market is a bit challenging. What the experts have to say might surprise you.

Here are some interesting 2020 real estate projections.

Mortgage Rates Will Stay Stable

2020 mortgage rates

Experts at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac predict relatively stable mortgage rates throughout 2020. Freddie Mac and NAR forecast slightly higher rates of 3.8%, while Fannie Mae suggests numbers could drop as low as 3.5%.

Just a note: These rates are pretty incredible, especially when compared to rates over the past few decades. For example, the 1970s saw rates around 8.86%, while in the 80s, rates soared to over 12%.

Home Sales Will Increase

increased sales in 2020 real estate

Of the four expert groups mentioned above, three predict that home sales in 2020 will increase compared to 2020, while Freddie Mac calls for consistent sales. Since mortgage rates are expected to stay low, buyer demand will also remain stable or even increase, driving home sales in the new year.

Home Values Will Increase

increased value in 2020 real estate

All four expert groups (plus two more) agree: home values in 2020 will continue to grow, though there’s a bit of variation in how much those values will grow. MBA predicts only a 3.1% increase, while CoreLogic calls for as much as a 5.4% increase in values. Closer to the middle, Fannie Mae suggests a 4.1% climb.

What About a Recession?

The big question on many buyers’ minds: Is a recession possible in 2020? The answer is of course that we can’t be sure. In early 2019, a large percentage of economists predicted a recession in 2020, but the economy has remained strong heading into 2020, so many are starting to rethink this forecast. In fact, Goldman Sachs anticipates only a 20% probability of a recession over the next year.

The Bottom Line: 2020 Real Estate Looks Promising

Whether you’re thinking of buying or selling a home in 2020, projections seem to be in your favor! For buyers, mortgage rates are historically low, which means increased affordability—even as prices climb. And rising home values are good for both buyers and sellers in terms of equity.

Are you thinking of buying or selling a home in the Triangle area? Work with Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS®—we’ll put our 350+ years of combined real estate experience to work for YOU.

Real Estate Ranked as the Best Investment for Americans

Over the past year, experts have been going back and forth over whether or not the United States is headed for a recession. More recently the risk of a recession has waned, but even with the possibility on the horizon, real estate remained strong.

In fact, real estate was ranked by Americans as the safest investment over the next ten years! Check out the numbers from Porch.com’s poll, and learn why now is the prime time to buy.

The Best Investment? Real Estate.

A row of homes.

Porch.com is a site dedicated to helping homeowners complete home renovations big and small, and they recently conducted a survey on generational housing outlooks. One of the questions on the survey? “What do you believe is the safest investment over the next 10 years?”

U.S. housing took the number-one spot, coming in as the response for 27.2% of those surveyed. It was closely followed by savings accounts, with 21.8%, then gold (16%), U.S. bonds (10.6%), and U.S. stocks (10.4%). Additionally, every generation overwhelmingly agreed that owning a home was a good investment, and most also expected the housing market to rise in the next ten years.

And Other Surveys Agree!

It’s not just Porch.com‘s survey that paints the housing market optimistically; there were two additional, unrelated studies that found similar results.

  • The Federal Reserve Bank’s 2019 Consumer Expectations Housing Survey discovered that 65% of Americans believe owning a home is a good investment, a number that has been steadily increasing over the past four years.
  • A Gallup survey also showed that Americans have picked real estate as the best investment for the past six years in a row.

Why Now Is the Prime Time to Buy

Two people shaking hands.

If you’re interested in starting to grow your investment, then now is the perfect time to start your home search. Mortgage rates—which have already been at near-record lows for most of the year—are expected to stay low into 2020. Buying a home now as opposed to waiting a few months could end up saving you a significant amount!

And it’s not only the financial side of things—since winter is typically a slower time for real estate, you won’t have to compete with nearly as many buyers in the Triangle area as you would in the spring. That means you can take your time and find a home that perfectly fits your wants and needs.

Navigate Triangle Real Estate with Linda Craft & Team

With over 350 years of combined real estate experience, Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS® has been helping Triangle residents successfully buy and sell homes for decades. If you’re ready to start growing your investment, then we’re here to help!

Take some time to browse our resources for buyers, use our specialized home search tool to narrow down your options, and give us a call when you’re ready to get started.

5 Big Reasons You Should Sell Your Triangle Home This Winter

We know what you’ve heard—it’s almost impossible to sell your Triangle home in the winter. And if you do, then you can expect to make much less than you would if you had sold in the spring.

In reality, that’s simply not true. In fact, winter can be a highly lucrative time to sell your home! …If you play your cards right and work with an expert.

If you’re on the fence about listing, here are our top 5 reasons to sell your Triangle home this winter.

Demand is High

Sellers handing over keys after selling their Triangle home in the winter.

No one wants to buy a home in the winter…right? Wrong. According to the National Association of Realtors‘ latest Buyer Traffic Report, buyer demand is still strong throughout the entire country. In fact, many areas of the country are seeing multiple offers on the same homes!

You Won’t Have to Deal with as Much Competition

Two people shaking hands over selling a Triangle home this winter.

While buyer activity is high, inventory is low—actually, it’s under the 6-month supply necessary for a normal housing market! Since homeowners are starting to stay in their houses for a greater number of years than in the past, fewer homes are popping up on the market as a result.

Although that trend is starting to shift a bit, it’s still the prime time to capitalize on less competition.

Buyers Mean Business

Paperwork needing to be signed after selling a Triangle home in the winter.

In other seasons, you get a lot of “tire kickers”—you know, buyers who aren’t really serious about finding a home and just want to browse their options. If you sell your home this winter, you’ll benefit from a greater number of serious buyers. Many people are looking to relocate during this time of the year, and are often on a timeline. That means that when it comes to home shopping, they’re in the market to make an offer—if they like what they see, that is.

Now’s the Time to Move Up

Thinking of upgrading to a luxury home in the Triangle area? Now’s the perfect time. While inventory is low overall, it’s much higher on the more expensive end of the market, meaning you have more negotiating power as a buyer.

According to CoreLogic, however, prices are projected to rise by 5.6% within the next year. Moving into a high-end home now means big savings in the future—and the potential for a much higher sale price when you’re ready to list!

Don’t Put Off Starting Your New Chapter

A box packed full of things.

We understand how intimidating this step can be—not just selling your Triangle home, but making the move that comes along with it. But are your worries valid enough to put off taking this big life step?

When you work with Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS®, we’ll do everything we can to ensure that your questions are answered, your worries are relieved, and your home is sold for top dollar.

Ready to Sell Your Triangle Home this Winter?

Then Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS® is here to help. Our team boasts over 350 years of combined real estate experience—so we know what it takes to successfully sell a home. Take some time to browse our resources—including our home evaluation and home score tools—and let us know when you’re ready to to put your property on the market.

4 Quick Tips That’ll Get Your Triangle Home Sold Faster

Selling a home takes times. Oftentimes, if you’re listing, it means you’re relocating for a job, moving closer to loved ones, downsizing or upsizing, or making a number of major life changes…many of which are time-sensitive.

If you want to get your home sold fast (and not sacrifice profit), here are the top 4 tips you’ll need to keep in mind.

Make Buyers Feel at Home

According to the numbers released from the National Association of Realtors’ 2019 Profile of Home Staging, 83% of buyers agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to picture themselves in the space—which makes perfect sense. If your home is peppered with family photos and cluttered corners, it won’t exactly feel welcoming!

If your home is staged, then odds are it’ll also sit on the market for a shorter window of time. In fact, the report even mentioned that one-quarter of buyers’ agents said that staging a home boosted the offer anywhere from 1 – 5% when compared to similar homes for sale that weren’t staged! If you’d like some personalized tips on how to maximize the appeal of your Triangle home, our team would be more than happy to do a walkthrough.

Keep It Organized

An organized kitchen drawer.

Imagine walking into a stranger’s home and finding stacks of dishes in the sink, papers on the countertops, tables full of coats and bags…not a very inviting atmosphere, right? When you’re selling your home, that effect is amplified ten-fold.

According to the report mentioned above, the most important room to perfect is the kitchen. In addition to cleaning out the sink and scrubbing down the countertops, consider also baking fresh cookies or setting out a pot of coffee. Not only will it give the buyers something to enjoy during the tour, but it’ll also infuse your home with cozy smells!

Price It Right

Keys to a Triangle home for sale.

The right price is the key to a quick sale. Price your home too high or too low, and you risk having it sit on the market way past your desired deadline. So, you’ll just use an automatic estimator to get the job done, right? Well…only if you’re okay with the possibility of using outdated data and not having every upgrade and repair taken into account.

Want your home priced to sell ASAP? Let us help. Not only can we price your home, but we can also give you a sellable home score that details exactly what its strengths and weaknesses are—as well as how quickly we think it’ll sell.

Give Buyers Full Access

Keys in a door.

Limiting buyer access to your home is one of the biggest selling mistakes you can make. Although showings might not always be convenient, they’re the only way a buyer can truly get a sense for your property. By limiting them in any way, you also limit your buyer pool.

It may not always be ideal, but try to be as flexible as possible with showings. After all, buyers won’t wait on you forever, so they may move on to a new home if you don’t respond promptly!

Want to Sell Your Triangle Home Faster?

At Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS® , we have over 350 years of combined real estate experience—so we know what it takes to successfully sell a home. Take some time to browse our resources, learn more about what we have to offer our clients, and give us a call when you’re ready to take the next steps.

Online Home Searching is Good—But Here’s Why Using an Agent is Better

These days, it’s easier than ever before to search for a home online—and tons of buyers are doing it. In fact, 93% of buyers start their search on a website…but that doesn’t tell the full story. In addition to websites, 86% of buyers are also still using a real estate agent to find out more about homes for sale in the area.

So, with so much technology at our disposal, what is it about real estate agents that keeps people coming back?

 1. There’s More to Real Estate Than Finding a Home Online.

People pointing at homes for sale on a laptop screen.

Guess how many estimated steps you’ll take during the real estate process. Have a number in your head? It’s likely not high enough. In reality, there are around 230 possible actions that can take place in a successful real estate transaction, and the search process is just a drop in the bucket!

Touring homes, submitting an offer, getting in-depth info on a property, setting up an inspection—it’s a long list of to-dos, and not many of them can be taken care of online. You’ll want someone by your side who’s already been through it all!

2. Negotiations are Tricky.

People shaking hands in front of a white brick wall.

Want to save thousands on your home purchase? It’ll take some stiff negotiating. There are several places during a sale where there’s opportunity to open and reopen negotiations, from the initial offer, to the appraisal, to post-inspection. If you want to capitalize on the potential for a lower price, you’ll need to work with a real estate agent who knows exactly what to say and exactly when to say it.

3.  Your Offer Needs to Set You Apart.

People discussing an offer on a home.

You may not realize it now, but the offer you submit determines whether or not you make it to the seller’s next round of considerations. Are they offering a fair price? Should you offer over or under? Does it make sense compared to other local sales trends…or are they trying to get more than their home’s worth?

An offer is a lot more than just a number—it’s your entryway to the rest of the buying process. Working with a real estate agent who knows their way around market trends is the best way to confidently know that your offer is competitive enough.

Enlist the Help of Local Real Estate Agents

From the online search to the closing negotiations, you can trust Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS® to be there through every step of your buying journey. Don’t go into your real estate experience underprepared—let us help you find your dream home for a dream price.

Whenever you’re ready to get started, we’re just a phone call away!

The Numbers Are in… and Now’s a Great Time to Sell

This year’s real estate market has been shattering all sorts of expectations—and the latest numbers are no exception. While you might think that spring and summer are the most profitable seasons for selling, this fall has the potential to prove you wrong!

Here are the highlights from the  National Association of Realtors’ latest home-selling report.

Buyer’s Market vs. Seller’s Market

A "For Sale" sign in the front yard of a home.

Before we dig into the numbers, it’s important to provide a little context as to what they mean.

Buyer’s and seller’s markets are primarily determined by the amount of inventory available. If there’s less than 6 months’ worth of homes for sale, then prices will go up, leading to a seller’s market. On the other hand, when inventory tops 7 months, price tend to depreciate and the market swings in the favor of buyers.

With that in mind, let’s get to the numbers!

Sales vs. Inventory

A key in front of a miniature model of a home.

While sales have gone up, the most important takeaway from the report is the inventory. At the end of August, the total housing inventory sunk by 2.6% to 1.86 million homes for sale.

Unsold inventory is lower than the 4.3 month figure recorded last August, which represents a 4.1 month supply based on the current sales pace. With increased demand and limited supply, sellers are benefitting in major ways—namely, price increases.

Why the Increase in Buyer Activity?

People shaking hands over a real estate transaction.

Typically, buying slows down during the fall and winter months, but with mortgage rates remaining at near-record lows, it’s been hard to resist taking advantage of them. In fact, The Existing Home Sales Report also shows that 49% of properties were on the market for less than a month when they were sold.

The bottom line? If you’re planning on selling, now’s the perfect time to capitalize on ready, willing, and able buyers—and likely for a better price than usual.

List Your Home with Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to put off your home-selling plans until the spring or summer—the last few months of the year are shaping up to make for a stellar seller’s market.

Want to take advantage of these favorable conditions and sell your home before the end of the year? Then let Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS® help. With hundreds of years of combined local experience, we have the resources, expertise, and skill-set to ensure that your property sells for top dollar! Whenever you’re ready to get started, we’re just a phone call away.

Find Out Why More Than Half of Buyers are Wrong About Down Payments

True or false: if you’re buying a home, you need to have at least a 20% down payment? If you answered true, you aren’t alone—so did 62% of Americans.

But in reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth—and you don’t have put off your home-buying dreams just because you can’t come up with 20% down!

While a 20% down payment will help you avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI), it isn’t some sort of home-buying hurdle that you must clear in order to buy. In fact, it’s far from the most common amount that U.S. buyers put down!

Here’s the truth about down payments—and why you shouldn’t let that 20% number prevent you from reaching your buying goals.

The Truth about Down Payments

A piggy bank standing against a white background.

According to NerdWallet’s 2019 Home Buyer Report, around 6 in 10 Americans think you need a 20% down payment in order to buy a house. Because of this, they also tend to think that it takes several years to come up with the necessary funds for buying.

Unfortunately, this way of thinking unnecessarily postpones plenty of people’s home-buying dreams!

The truth? The most common down payment amount—put forward by around 32% of buyers—was just 5% or less. Put that in terms of concrete amounts, and it translates to just $7,500 on a $150,000 home or $15,000 on a $300,000 home.

Other Common Down Payment Amounts

A single dollar bill sitting on a wooden surface.

While 5% or less is the most common down payment amount, it’s still just one of the many options that buyers choose. Here’s how the rest of the numbers break down:

  • 16% of buyers put down 6 – 10%
  • 23% of buyers put down 11 – 20%
  • 18% of buyers put down more than 20%
  • 10% of buyers bought their home outright

A 20% down payment is a great goal, but you don’t have to feel locked into that amount! Instead, consider how much money you’d feel comfortable with putting down, then work from there.

Buyers are Optimistic

A woman packing up her home and writing on a cardboard box.

Despite prevailing misconceptions about down payments, buyers are still feeling optimistic about the market. Around 42% of Americans feel better about their home-buying prospects this year, which is up almost 20% from last year.

Additionally, 44% of people say that the current economic and political conditions make them more likely to buy in the next year, which is around a 10% increase from last year.

Long story short? Now’s a great time to buy!

Find Your Dream Triangle Home

Buying a home is major step, so it’s important that you have trusted and experienced professionals on your side. At Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, we have over 300 years of combined real estate experience, making us well-equipped to provide you with everything you need to find home-buying success.

Take some time to explore our resources for home-buyers, learn a little more about what our past clients have to say, and use our specialized search tool to narrow down your options. Once you’re ready to get started, we’d love to talk details!

Your Latest Course in Homebuying: The 5 Acronyms You Need to Know

You might think that since you’ve put some distance between now and high school and college, your days of memorizing vocabulary and learning new definitions is long gone. But if you’re buying a home, then you’re going to want to dust off those skills and start studying up.

Real estate comes with its own confusing jargon, and knowing what each term means makes you all-the-more prepared to tackle the process. Here are the top five homebuying acronyms that you should add to your vocabulary!

APR

Calculator

APR, or annual percentage rate, represents the annual cost of borrowing money based on your loan amount, interest rate, and other specific fees. The calculations for APR are a little confusing, but there are plenty of online calculators that can help you figure out what the number might look like for you!

FRM

FRM stands for fixed-rate mortgage, which is one of the most common types of mortgage. Luckily, this one pretty much means what it sounds like: with FRM, your interest rate will not change during the entire term of your loan.

DTI

A credit card.

One of the most important aspects of your finances that a lender looks at is your DTI, or debt-to-income ration. Your DTI is calculated by measuring your total monthly income against your total monthly debt payments. Ideally, you’d want to have around a 36% DTI.

PMI

If you can’t afford a 20% down payment, you’ll have to pay PMI, or private mortgage insurance. This acts as an added safeguard for lenders who work with you by ensuring that they’ll be protected from losses if you default on loan payments. Once you’ve paid off around 80% of your home, you’ll no longer have to pay PMI.

P & I

People at a bank.

P & I is just a fancy way of saying principal and interest, which are the portions of your monthly mortgage payment that go towards paying off the money you borrowed to purchase your home.

Ace Your Real Estate Experience

Of course, these five acronyms aren’t the only ones that’ll come up during your buying journey—but we’ll be around to make sure you can handle any other letter combinations that get thrown your way.

At Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS®, we’ve been working in the Raleigh real estate world for years, and we’d be more than happy to leverage our experience to your benefit. Get to know a little more about what we bring to the table, explore our resources for buyers, and give us a call when you’re ready to get started!

The Biggest Reasons Why Homeowners are Happy… and Renters Aren’t

Coffee or tea? Cake or pie? Rent or buy? Life is full of big questions—some a little harder to answer than others. But in the case of renting versus buying, there are a few big reasons why ownership still wins the battle.

Thinking about making the jump from renting to owning? Here’s how your life might change.

Does Owning Make You Happier than Renting?

A family with pets.

That’s the big question posed by the most recent Bank of America Homebuyer Insights Report. The answer? A resounding yes. In fact, out of the modern homebuyers interviewed, 93% of respondents said that owning a home made them happier than renting, and 83% said that they would never go back to renting after owning.

It doesn’t just end with happiness, though—79% of homeowners believe that buying their own property has changed them for the better and 88% say it’s the best decision they’ve ever made.

On the flip side, according to the latest Zillow Housing Aspirations Report, 45% of renters regret not buying, with the biggest reasons being lack of customization opportunities, high rent payments, and lack of private outdoor space.

The Effects of Owning a Home

A grandmother and granddaughter.

You hear a lot about the financial equity of owning a home, but Bank of America’s survey sought out information on the “emotional” equity of ownership—which brought up some interesting numbers.

When asked if they viewed the home as a place to make memories or a financial investment, more than half of respondents chose the former. After buying, more than 76% of people pursued new hobbies—including landscaping and gardening, cooking and baking, and interior design.

And it’s not just the individuals: family relationships also benefited. Homeownership allowed 49% of respondents to entertain more often and 24% to bring the entire family under one roof.

Current Homeowners versus Prospective Homeowners

A house.

If you’re still on the fence about buying a home, consider these numbers:

  • Time spent pursuing hobbies
    • Current homeowners: 82%
    • Prospective homeowners: 63%
  • The quality of social life
    • Current homeowners: 78%
    • Prospective homeowners: 58%
  • Financial well-being
    • Current homeowners: 77%
    • Prospective homeowners: 42%
  • Quality of life overall
    • Current homeowners: 88%
    • Prospective homeowners: 70%

Ready to Become a Homeowner?

Owning a home comes with a myriad of benefits—both financial and emotional. If you’re ready to take the leap into homeowning, then congratulations!

At Linda Craft & Team REALTORS ®, we’re dedicated to not only finding you the best Triangle-area home for your wants and needs, but also ensuring that your journey is seamless and stress-free. Browse some of the resources we have to offer our buyers, and use our specialized home search tool to narrow down your options. Once you’re ready to get started, just give us a call!

Why Owning a Home is One of the Most Effective Saving Strategies

Over the past few months, we’ve talked a great deal about the benefits of owning a home—and why today’s market is one of the best windows to buy.

With a new set of numbers released on home equity, we’ve got another major reason why owning a home pays: it forces you to save, and in the process, those savings only appreciate.

It’s All About Equity

A jar of coins.

As you pay off your home, you start building up your equity—which is, in short, the difference between the current value of the home and what you still owe on the home. As your home appreciates in value and you chip away at the payments, your equity increases. Think of it as a “forced savings account.”

During the housing crisis and recession from 2006 to 2008, it was common for homeowners to dip into their equity and pull out money for other big ticket purchases, which ended up spelling major trouble for their personal finances.

Since your equity is technically an asset, it’s part of your net worth. The greater your equity, the greater your net worth, the better your chance of building future wealth.

The Latest Numbers

A person paying off their bills.

According to a recent report from CoreLogic, the average homeowner gained a staggering $65,000 in equity over the last 5 years. Not only that, but another study from the Urban Institute found that 37.1% of all homes in the country are totally mortgage-free. Of the remaining 63% of homes, about half of them have at least 50% equity—and that number is only going up.

Crunch the numbers, and you’ll find that just over 50% of all homes in the country have at least 50% equity. That means a whole lot of homeowners are continuing to pay into that “forced savings account” and are setting themselves up for major future wealth in the process.

The Importance of Equity

A house.

By building up your equity, you’re ensuring that you have a firm financial base to stand on in the future. It does, however, take time to accumulate. That’s why it’s important to take advantage of current market conditions, and begin your journey to increased equity.

Ready to Invest in Your Savings Account?

Buying a home now means building your equity sooner and ensuring a stable financial future. Now’s the time to jump in! If you’re ready to get started with the buying process, the Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS® is here to help. Take some time to browse our resources, use our specialized search tool to narrow down your options, and give us a call to get started.