Applying for a Mortgage? DON’T Do These 7 Things!

Three adults meeting at a table to discuss their mortgage loan.

If you’re currently searching for a home to buy in Raleigh, chances are you’ve already thought about applying for a mortgage.

Obtaining a mortgage loan is a huge part of the buying process, as it has an enormous impact on how much you can afford and how much your monthly payments will be.

As such, it’s important to be extra cautious with your finances—and your credit—while you’re applying for a mortgage in Raleigh. Time and time again, we hear from clients about the mistakes they’ve made while waiting for their mortgage loan to finalize. We want you to make decisions that guarantee financial success—which is why we want to share with you the following list of things to avoid after you’ve applied for a mortgage:

Don’t Change Jobs or Get a Demotion at Work

While this may sometimes be out of your control, do everything in your power to maintain consistent employment during the approval process.

Changing from salary to commission, or deciding to go freelance, should really wait until after you’ve closed on your home.

Avoid Depositing Large Sums of Cash Into Your Account

Hand pulling several hundred dollar bills out of a wallet.

Cash is untraceable, and during the approval process your loan officer will be taking a close look at your checking account.

They want to make sure your cash flow is accounted for and traceable, so if you do need to deposit cash into your checking account make sure you talk it over with your bank first.

Do Not Make Any Huge Purchases

This includes buying a car, expensive furniture, or anything else that’s going to put you in any more debt! Hide your credit cards from yourself if you must.

If you go into too much debt during the approval process, you may no longer qualify for that loan amount. This happens if your ratio of debt to income becomes too debt-heavy.

Don’t Volunteer to be a Cosigner

A man about to sign a stack of paperwork.

When you cosign on someone’s loan, you’re then obligated for their loan if they default. This affects your debt-to-income ratio which may then disqualify you from the loan that you’ve applied for.

Don’t Change Bank Accounts

Remember, your loan officer needs to be able to track your sources of income and spending. Having a consistent bank account and transactions makes this ten times easier.

Don’t Apply for New Credit Cards or Loans

A pile of money next to a checkbook.

Don’t apply for any new credit accounts! Hard inquiries on your credit may negatively affect your FICO score.

If your score drops too much in a short amount of time, you may no longer qualify for your loan.

Don’t Close Any Accounts

Closing a credit account also negatively impacts your score! Your credit score is based upon both the length and depth of your credit history.

Closing an account affects that depth. Your credit score is essential to your mortgage loan interest rates, so it’s critical to keep them as high as possible when applying for a mortgage!

Still Shopping for a New Home? Our Team is Here to Help With That

From showing you “Coming Soon” listings that haven’t even hit the Raleigh market yet to offering guidance and advice on applying for your mortgage, Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® are here to help.

Give us a call today to discover your home-buying options in the greater Raleigh area!

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.

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.

Working with Us, Versus the Competition, to Sell Your Raleigh Home

Selling a home is a complicated, and time-consuming process. When done correctly, however, it can transform your life for the better and help you build long-term wealth.

As such, we believe that it’s important to work with a certified expert to sell your home in the greater Raleigh area. That’s why we’d like to take a minute to show you the proven benefits to working with our team.

Our Experience Shines

White home entrance with luxury features.When you tally up the experience of every single person on our team, you get more than 350 years of direct experience selling homes in the Triangle.

Compare that to 50% of Triangle area agents with less than 5 years of experience.

Plus, our experience includes:

Negotiating

This is a big part of selling real estate! You have to know how to negotiate with the buyer for the best possible outcome. Our team has negotiated and closed over 10,000 real estate transactions.

According to the National Association of REALTORS®, the average Realtor sells about 6 houses per year.

Pricing

Our Exclusive Listing Partners specialize in pricing homes all day, every day. We specialize in focused expertise, which is why each of our listing specialists is able to close 20 times more homes than the average agent.

We list and sell over 100 homes each year, and have correctly priced and closed over $2 billion in real estate.

Handling Contracts

A stack of papers sitting on a desk that reads "Real Estate Purchase Agreement."It’s no secret that selling a home comes with a lot of paperwork. Luckily, at Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, our 30+ years of experience handling more than 10,000 contracts in the Triangle gives us the expertise to help you with all the disclosures and paperwork necessary in today’s heavily regulated environment.

An In-Depth Understanding of Market Conditions

When it comes to any business decision, we firmly believe that knowledge is power. That’s why we aim to empower our clients with a pre-listing consultation in order to fully understand today’s market conditions and the best ways to succeed in the Raleigh real estate market. Over the past 30+ years, we have used our in-depth market expertise to help our clients win during the toughest times in history (think the Savings and Loan Crisis, the Dot Com Bust, and the devastating Mortgage Crisis of the 2000s).

In a good market we leverage all our past experience and knowledge to assure the best results for our clients. Our team wins when our clients win!

Here’s a Breakdown for You

Of all the advantages that come from working with our team, Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®:

  • Experience of over 30 years in this area
  • Proven track record of bringing their clients success with over 10,000 homes closed
  • Unsurpassed world wide marketing causing their listings to sell faster
  • Expert negotiations that net our sellers higher returns on one of their largest investments
  • Dedicated closing manager so no detail is missed that could cause closing delays
  • Free staging advice from a professional home stager
  • Professional photography and drone photography
  • Appraiser for accurate square footage and compliance
  • Free moving truck, notary service, and shredding service
  • Vacant home service by a trained and dedicated team member
  • Fix and Flip interest-free financing
  • When you choose Linda Craft & Team you are supporting a local, woman-owned business
  • Invitations to client appreciation events all year long
  • Referrals to home-care professionals offering discounts

Ready for Real Estate Success in the Triangle?

We’re ready to help. Give our team a call today to learn more about your options for selling your home for top dollar in the Greater Raleigh Area.

A Quick Study Guide on What “Affordability” Means in Raleigh Real Estate

A calculator next to an outline of market trends.When we talk about “affordability,” a lot of definitions may come to mind. For real estate specifically, affordability is something of a hot topic.

While it is true that buying a home is less affordable today than it was at any other time in the past decade, that has a lot to do with the real estate market crash of 2008.

If you’ve been in the real estate game for a while, you probably remember the flood of distressed properties that hit the market at this time. Due to the poor state of the economy, foreclosed and short sale homes were going for a huge discount. This rush of distressed homes actually damaged the value of other homes within a neighborhood.

Lucky for everyone involved in the real estate industry, things have since changed!

The Market Has Changed Since Then

A woman holding a tablet and looking at how the market has shifted over the past 10 years.Over the past decade or so, the market has recovered and prices have gone up right along with it. This isn’t a bad thing! A strong economy is good for everybody, especially those trying to sell their home for what it’s worth in the Triangle.

As such, both home prices and mortgage rates have increased. To make the best possible decision in the Raleigh real estate market, it’s important to have plenty of resources to rely on.

So Mortgage Rates Have Shifted

An open door with a set of house keys hanging from the key hole.When most buyers think of a home’s “affordability” they’re picturing two things in particular: the listing price of the home and the mortgage rate they’ll have to pay.

According to a CoreLogic report written by Andrew Lepage in late January, the “typical mortgage payment is a good proxy for affordability because it shows the monthly amount that a borrower would have to qualify for to get a mortgage to buy the median-priced U.S. home…”

While mortgage rates are slowly increasing, they are nowhere near the gargantuan rates of the 2006 housing boom (think an average monthly payment of $1,275…)

By the end of 2019, experts have projected the typical monthly mortgage payment to be about $963.

What Does That Mean for Buyers and Sellers?

Whether you’re thinking of buying or selling a home in Raleigh, please know that this is one of the most advantageous times to invest in real estate!

At Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, we have the market expertise necessary to help you make a highly valuable transaction in this area. Please give us a call today to learn more about your Raleigh real estate options.