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

A staged kitchen in a home for sale.

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 Well…only if you’re okay with the possibility of using outdated data and not having every upgrade and repair taken into account.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.

The Best Real Estate Advice for Millennials—from a Millionaire

If you’re a millennial, then you’re probably a little tired of hearing all the criticism towards your generation. Buying avocado toast instead of saving money, always texting instead of calling—they’re all pretty unfair generalizations.

Another common criticism of millennials? That they never buy homes. But actually, that couldn’t be further from the truth! In fact, millennials represent the largest portion of homebuyers in the market.

And according to millionaire David Bach, buying a home is one of the best decisions you can make for your future equity.

It’s All About Owning

A beautiful home.

Since you’re likely working with limited funds, your first home probably won’t be your dream home—but that’s okay. Getting your foot in the door and buying a home is the stepping stone to building wealth and equity, according to Bach. Even if your budget isn’t as high as you’d like, it’s best to buy as soon as you can!

In Bach’s opinion, you should start by crunching the numbers. You might think you can’t afford a home, but setting clear goals based on concrete numbers will help put things into a realistic perspective.

A good rule of thumb? Make sure your home payments don’t total more than 30% of your take-home pay.

David Bach’s Background

A person pulling money out of their wallet.

Why should you trust what Bach has to say? Well, his resume speaks for itself. A self-made millionaire, Bach has written nine consecutive New York Times bestsellers.

Not only that, but he’s also one of the only business authors to ever have four books on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, and USA Today bestseller lists at the same time. His book The Automatic Millionaire even spent 31 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list!

Additionally, Bach is considered to be one of the foremost authorities on finance, appearing as a contributor on NBC’s Today Show,  ABC, CBS, Fox, CNBC, CNN, Yahoo, The View, and PBS.

Why Now is a Great Time to Buy

A person holding up house keys.

If you’re all in on following Bach’s advice, then you should know: now is the perfect time to buy a home—and we’re not just saying that.

Mortgage rates are hitting near-record lows, and home prices are steadily increasing. Buying a home soon means saving on payments now and benefitting from higher prices in the future.

Ready to Get Started?

We understand that buying a home is a major decision. But with over 300 years of combined real estate experience, in-depth area knowledge, and a wide collection of resources, Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® are well-equipped to lead you to buying success.

Explore a few of our resources, kick off your home search, and give us a call when you’re ready to get started.

Boost Your Equity over the Next Five Years with One Important Decision

Dipping your toes in the waters of home-buying? Based on the latest numbers, you may want to consider jumping in. In fact, buying a home right now could lead to an equity boost of almost $50,000 in the next five years!

Take a look at a few numbers from the experts, see where home prices are headed, and learn how the Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® can help you today.

Home Prices are Steadily Rising

A computer with graphs and charts.

According to the most recent Home Price Expectation Survey (HPES), home values will appreciate by 4.1% by the end of 2019. That trend will continue well past this year, as well, with an average annual appreciation of 3.2% over the next five years. By 2023, you can expect a staggering 16.8% cumulative jump!

Maybe you’re thinking that those numbers are a little optimistic. We don’t blame you—but even the more pessimistic experts estimate a 6.7% cumulative appreciation over the next five years.

What This Means for You

A miniature house and key.

Assuming those numbers all pan out, buying a home right now could mean major profits in the future. For example: let’s say you find a home you love, you make an offer, and you close for $250,000. By next year, that home’s value will have jumped to $260,000. By 2022, it’ll be almost $275,000. And by 2025? You’re looking at $292,000, a $42,000 jump since your initial purchase.

These numbers might sound too good to be true, but they’re calculated by a panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts.

Gearing up to Buy a Home?

A house surrounded by trees and greenery.

Sold on buying a home? In all honestly, you won’t find a much better time than now. With mortgage rates still hovering at near-record lows and home prices steadily ticking up, you could buy a new home for a great price now and make an amazing profit when you list it later. Your future self—and future equity—will thank you.

Trust Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®

Buying a home is a big decision, and one that you want to be well-equipped for. Luckily, the professionals at Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® have over 100 years of combined real estate experience in the Triangle area. Not only can we guide you to the best listings on the market, but we can also offer a wide variety of resources along the way.

Are you ready to buy a home and boost your equity? Give our team a call today!

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

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

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

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

Interest Rates are Low…For Now

A man looking at numbers on a laptop.

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

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

Tariffs Could Drive up Prices

A construction area.

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

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

The Economy is Cooling off

A man carrying a newspaper and briefcase.

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

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

Ready to Buy Your Raleigh Home?

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

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