Is a Home Inspection Really Necessary? Why You Shouldn’t Skip This Important Step

Picture this: you’ve finally found the home of your dreams. It’s got all the features you’ve been searching for, and it’s in the perfect neighborhood. There can’t possibly be anything wrong with it…right?

Though technically optional, a home inspection is highly recommended by most realtors, as it can save you thousands of dollars—or even prevent you from making a costly mistake all together. Here are some reasons why you need a home inspection before you move in—even if you don’t see anything wrong on the surface.

You Could Avoid Expensive Repairs

Person making repairs with an electric drill.

This is probably the biggest advantage of a home inspection. Certain problems can cost thousands to fix and may not be immediately visible. Wondering what kind of issues a home inspector can find and how much they’ll cost? Here are some of the biggest issues uncovered during home inspections (and typical costs to fix):

HVAC replacement: $4,000 – $12,000

Leaky roof: $300 – $2,000 for basic repair, $4,000 – $20,000+ for advanced repair

Foundation issues: $4,000 – $10,000

A great home inspector will fully sweep the home and point out any problems or potential issues. If there are any big-ticket expenses, you may want to reevaluate your purchase.

You’ll Protect Your Wallet

Person calculating expenses and creating a graph.

Buying a home is one of the biggest investments you can make, and a good investment will generate more capital than what you initially paid. While a well-maintained home in a prime location can be a fantastic investment, expensive repairs can turn it into a financial disaster.

Once you have an inspection report detailing all of the issues with the home, you can evaluate the cost of repairs to determine if it’s a good deal. If you aren’t satisfied, you can walk away without losing much money.

You Gain a Negotiation Tool

People with laptop exchanging a folder.

While not all properties will require major repairs, even new construction homes may have issues you’ll want to take care of before moving in. You can use your inspection report as a negotiation tool to potentially lower the price of the home.

There are a few directions you can go from here. One option is to ask for money off of the price of the home so you can complete the repairs yourself. On the flip side, you can also ask the sellers to make the fixes as a condition of the sale. Either way, you’ll be saving yourself money in the long run.

You Get the Full Picture

Roof of red house with window.

While you may be in love with a home, it’s hard to know what potential issues to look for if you’re not a licensed professional. Think of a home inspection like a check-up, and the home inspector like a doctor—it’s the perfect opportunity to learn about the health of a home, from the roof down to the foundation.

The inspector can diagnose all kinds of problems and tell you what needs to be fixed (and for how much). After the inspection, you’ll be handed a comprehensive report that gives you a full picture of the home’s condition, allowing you a more realistic look at the details that you might not have noticed before.

Ready to Buy Your Next Home?

Buying a home can be a difficult decision, so make sure you have the tools you need to make a well-informed decision. For tips on smooth sailing during the buying process, give us a call so we can chat. Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® have got the resources you need to make the right choice.

Haven’t started the buying process yet? Check out our specialized search tool to find the home of your dreams, and let us know when you’re ready to get started.

5 Simple Steps to Decrease Your Buying & Selling Stress and Avoid Information Overload

The internet is an amazing tool, but sometimes, having easy access to all of the information we could ask for can be overwhelming—especially when facing a major decision like buying or selling a home.

Which season is the best for buying? How do you price your home correctly? What do you need for your mortgage application? Oftentimes, conflicting answers can complicate our decisions.

Avoid confusion, take a deep breath, and stay on the right track by following these five steps!

Calm Down

According to productivity expert Jeff Davis, the first and most important step is to recognize any stress or concern that might be building up, and stop it in its tracks before it leads to more panic.

Slow Down

A woman in a coffee shop.

Take a minute, and let yourself breathe. The pace at which you can find information gets quicker and quicker as technology improves, and it can often make you feel pressured by unrealistic time constraints. Stop for a moment and collect your thoughts!

Think

Why did you want to buy or sell your home? Why did you choose now? What are you hoping to achieve? Remind yourself of your goals, and recognize anything that might be impractical. Are you still focused on what’s most important?

Plan

A person journaling.

Now that you’ve gained some new knowledge, does anything about your search need to change? Do you need clarification on a few points, or are you worried about a certain outcome? Your agent is the perfect resource for any of your questions or concerns—that’s what they’re there for!

Act

Have you taken time to consider your options? Give it some thorough consideration before making any concrete moves, then meet with your agent and get the ball rolling.

Avoid Information Overload

Two women meeting around a laptop.

Don’t get stressed out about all of the conflicting information on buying and selling—and don’t overload yourself by not coming up for air! Instead of consulting the World Wide Web, take your questions to Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®. With over 300 years of combined real estate experience, we can give you the right answer to any and all of your buying and selling questions.

Ready to Get Started?

So are we. Get in touch with Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, and we’ll guide you through the confusing ins and outs of the real estate process. Get to know more about our resources, expertise, and local knowledge, and give us a call when you’re ready to explore all of your Raleigh real estate options!

How A Daily Latte Affects Your Real Estate Goals

With summer on its way out and fall just around the corner, it’s prime latte season. Pumpkin spice, maple pecan, salted caramel—some of the best seasonal flavors make their debut!

While it’s great to treat yourself to a cup of coffee every now and then, those small expenses can really add up—especially if you’re pinching pennies for a down payment.

The Latte Method

A person making a latte.

Recently, Realtor.com put together a report titled “A Latte a Day Keeps Homeownership Away.”

By calculating the average down payment and median home price for a number of major US cities, the minds at Realtor.com were able to figure out just how much you need to save every day in order to afford a down payment within the next five years, representing that number with the equivalent amount of lattes.

The title may be a little pessimistic, but when you take a hard look at the numbers, the results are undeniable.

Daily Savings

A person reading a book and drinking a coffee.

The average price of a latte fluctuates based on city, but typically hovers within the $3.50 to $3.80 range. Depending on your usual coffee order, that number could be even higher—for example, a tall pumpkin spice latte comes in at $4.25.

Here’s what you’d need to save daily to afford a down payment within five years:

  • Atlanta: 1.6 lattes
    • Average down payment: $10,450
    • Median price: $335,436
    • Daily savings: $5.72
  • Chicago: 2.9 lattes
    • Average down payment: $19,580
    • Median price: $312,098
    • Daily savings: $10.72
  • New York: 6.8 lattes
    • Average down payment: $45,717
    • Median price: $564,500
    • Daily savings: $25.04

Raleigh falls on the lower end of the range, coming in at 2 lattes a day, or around $7.30. When you break your down payment into these smaller numbers, you can see just how much a coffee day affects your overall budget.

Buying Your First Home

A person holding up several bills.

Figuring out your finances while buying your first home is a daunting process, but not an impossible one. If you need help creating your five-year plan, Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® can help. Start things off by figuring out what your extra daily expense might be—whether it’s a latte, lunch, or an after-work drink—and cutting it back. Then, use our mortgage calculator to get some concrete numbers!

Need Some Budgeting Help?

Trust in the expertise of Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®. With over 300 years of combined real estate experience, we have what it takes to not only help you save up for your new home, but also successfully lead you through the in and outs of the buying process.

Take a look at some of our resources for buyers, browse a few homes on the market, 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!

Kicking Clutter to the Curb: Transform Your Home with These 4 Decluttering Tips

We’ve all been there. One day, you look around your house, and there’s just So. Much. Stuff. Stuff in boxes, stuff on the walls, stuff in the corners—just…stuff. If you’re gearing up to sell your home, you’re going to have to deal with all that accumulated clutter eventually. Luckily, there are plenty of simple strategies for getting the job done!

Arm yourself for the Crusade Against the Clutter, and use these top tips to transform your home before selling.

Start Early

A to-do list.

If you aren’t prepared, things can quickly get overwhelming. After all, you’re not only getting your home ready to sell, but you’re also packing things up, finding a new home, and dealing with your finances. It makes sense that decluttering your home isn’t first on your list, but it’s one of the most important steps!

Before you list your home, you want the space to be ready to wow buyers from the second they walk through the door. If you kick off your decluttering months in advance, you’ll be in much better shape come listing time.

Expand Your Storage

An organized silverware drawer.

For many people, clutter accumulates simply because they don’t know what they actually have. An easy way to fix this issue and make your home more organized is by coming up with an intentional storage solution.

Hit the store and pick up some sliding storage and plastic tubs, then label each unit and keep it stored anyway until needed. That way, you’ll know exactly what you have and where it is. Never worry about misplaced holiday decorations or a surplus of school supplies ever again! Plus, a lot of your stuff will already be neatly packed away come moving time.

Take It Little by Little

A man and woman carrying boxes.

Decluttering can be a long process, filling up nights and weekends and free time—especially if you put it off until the last minute. Luckily, if you start ahead of time, you’ll have the luxury of taking it little by little. And not just one room at a time—we mean really little, like an hour or two hours spent on just the kitchen cabinets or bedroom closets.

You can even make it fun! Get everybody in the house together and play a game of 12-12-12. The rules are simple: walk through the house and find 12 items you want to keep, 12 items you want to get rid of, and 12 items you want to sell/donate. You’d be surprised how quickly you can reduce your clutter after a few rounds, and it only takes a couple of minutes!

Make it FAST

Clutter.

For the last tip, we’ve gotten the inside scoop from professional organizer, Peter Walsh. Walsh says that decluttering is as simple as remembering this short acronym:

Fix a time. Plan ahead, and find a time that works for everyone in the house—and make attendance mandatory!

Anything not used in twelve months. If you haven’t used it in a year, then you probably don’t need it. Ask yourself a few questions: Do I need it? Is it valuable to me? Is it worth the space it’s taking up? If no, then kick it to the curb.

Someone else’s stuff. Still have that borrowed tupperware? Give it back. Holding onto things that family members have left behind? Send it their way. If it’s not yours, find a new home for it!

Trash. It’s easy to get sentimental and hold onto things that are well past their expiration date (metaphorically speaking). Don’t be afraid to take the plunge—and maybe even go overboard—and trash some of your older belongings. If you don’t want to go full in and trash it, then you can always donate it to a good cause.

Get Your Home Ready to Sell

Decluttering is just one small step in the selling journey—albeit a fairly time-consuming one. Luckily, we’re here to help you carry the load! Give us a call to learn a few more tips for getting rid of your clutter and staging your home for success.

In the meantime, feel free to explore our additional selling resources, like our neighborhood sold report and Comparative Market Analysis, and let us know when you’re ready to get started!

The 2 Biggest Buying Myths—And Why You Shouldn’t Believe Them

Buying a home is a major decision—one that you should spend plenty of time thinking about. But for many people, that thinking stage quickly becomes filled with anxieties—about money, about mortgages, about lenders—and they may decide to postpone their buying plans.

At Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, we want to break some of the negative stigma around the buying process. Here are the top two myths that scare away buyers and why you shouldn’t believe them.

Myth #1: The 20% Down Payment

Professionals meeting at a bank.

While a 20% down payment is preferred, it’s far from required—even though 22% of renters and 31% of homeowners believe that it is! In fact, buyers often overestimate how much they need for a home—so much so that it delays their plans.

A recent report from Freddie Mac found that if a 20% down payment was actually required, 70% of people planning on buying the next three years would delay their purchase. Not only that, but 30% of buyers said they would never be able to afford a home under those conditions.

In reality, there are a number of programs available to buyers that help lower your down payment, from VA loans to FHA loans. Give us a call, and we can help you figure out what you qualify for.

Myth #2: The Stellar Credit Score

A person holding out a credit card.

Many people think a “good” credit score is right around 780—and that you need a “good” credit score to qualify for a loan. But according to Ellie Mae’s Origination Insight Report, that number is way above average. In fact, over 50% of approved mortgages had credit scores anywhere between 600 to 749—way below what most people consider “good.”

Even if you don’t have an outstanding credit score, odds are, it’s still good enough to snag the right financing. Need some tips on upping your credit score? Just reach out to my team, and we’ll help you out!

Don’t Let Buying Myths Hold You Back

Buying a home is certainly a tricky process, but it’s often more attainable than people think—especially when you work with a professional. At Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, we have over 100 years of combined real estate experience around the Triangle, and we’d love to leverage our skills to help you find your dream home.

Take some time to explore our resources for buyers, and give us a call when you’re ready to learn more about your buying options!

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!

Waiting to Buy Your New Raleigh Home? Here’s How Much It’ll Cost You

Buying a home is a big decision, one that requires plenty of thought and deliberation. While it’s important to take your time and feel confident in your choice, you might want speed up the process.

Why? Well, within the next year, buying is about to become significantly more expensive. Take a look at the breakdown of the numbers, and get started with your search soon!

Costs Are Rising

Graphs and charts on a laptop.

Right now, mortgage interest rates are lower than they’ve been in years—even lower than experts had predicted. Over the next year, though, they’re only expected to rise.

Not only are interest rates ticking up, home prices themselves are growing as well. Add those two factors together, and you’re also looking at increased mortgage payments.

Concrete Numbers

A man pulling money out of his wallet.

Let’s put those numbers in perspective. According to Freddie Mac projections, current interest rates are around 4.3%. Next year, they’ll reach 4.5%. While that might not seem like a big jump, when you’re talking about big ticket purchases—like homes, for example—.2% can mean a major difference in cost.

As far as home prices go, CoreLogic estimates around a 4.8% jump. Again, not huge at first glance, but when you start looking at the numbers—like, for example, $250,000 versus $262,000—that’s a difference of over $10,000!

Put interest rates and home values together, and you’ll find that mortgage payments are following suit. Considering the current numbers, your average mortgage payment would be $1,231.60. Next year, that number looks more like $1,321.04.

How Much Will Waiting Cost You?

A man holding a Starbucks coffee.

Bottom line? Waiting to buy may not seem like a big deal at first, but those increased costs will add up quickly—especially in a competitive market like Raleigh’s.

Say you buy that home you’ve had your eye on, but you don’t do it until next year. You can expect to pay an extra $89.44 monthly—around the same cost as your daily coffee or weekly sushi. Per year, you’re looking at $1,073.28—around the same cost as a cushy weekend getaway or the balance on those credit card statements.

Within 30 years? You’ll be paying an extra $32, 198—and when it comes to other ways we’d rather use that money, we can think of about a thousand.

Don’t Wait to Buy Your New Home

If you’re on the fence about buying, just know: waiting until next year is going to cost you big. About $32,000 big. Don’t put off buying your Raleigh home—let Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® help you get started today.

Browse our buying guides and resources, narrow down your options with our specialized search tool, and give us a call to start scheduling showings today!

Is Moving in with Your Family the Latest Real Estate Trend?

Moving back in with your parents after a few years? You’re certainly not the only one!

Maybe your loved ones are growing older, and you want to spend more time with them, or they need a little extra help around the house. Maybe finances are tight, and you’re saving up for your own place.

Whatever your reasoning may be, multigenerational households are on the rise—and they provide some major benefits.

The Basics of Multigenerational Housing

A grandmother, grandson, and daughter sitting by the water.

The only qualification for a home to be multigenerational is, well, there’s more than one generation under the roof—whether it’s parents and adult children, adult grandkids and their grandparents, or any other combination.

Until recently, multigenerational households hadn’t been popular—or even common—since the 1950s, when around 21% of the population lived in a multigenerational home. That number continued to tick down over the years, but as of 2009, it’s been on the rise.

Currently, around 20% of the population lives in a multigenerational home, making it the second-highest percentage in recent history!

Reasons Behind Multigenerational Housing

Grandparents holding their grandchildren.

There are several major reasons why people have started moving back in with older family members. The most common reason is to take care of aging parents (26%), closely followed by spending time with parents in general (14%). Previously, adults ages 85 and older were most likely to live in multigenerational homes. Now, the title goes to young adults ages 25 to 29.

Additionally, growing diversity may play a part in those numbers. According to the Pew analysis, Asian and Hispanic populations—both of which have grown rapidly—are more likely than others to live in multigenerational homes, coming in at 29% and 27% of the population, respectively.

Lastly, student loan debt might be a big factor in multigenerational homes. For people ages 22 to 35, 83% blame their student loans for preventing home ownership. Seeing as how the average borrower owes over $30,000, they might be onto something!

The Surprising Benefits

A daughter and mother sitting on a park bench.

Not only do multigenerational households make financial sense for many people, they also boast a number of benefits. According to a study from the University of Oxford, children who grow up close to their grandparents often have fewer emotional and behavioral problems and can cope with traumatic events better. Also, researchers from Boston College found that when adult grandkids have close bonds with their grandparents, both groups report reduced depressive symptoms.

Understanding the benefits helps put into perspective why a staggering 41% of Americans are now in the market to buy a multigenerational home!

Linda Craft on Multigenerational Housing

Find Your Multigenerational Home in Raleigh

Raleigh has a wide variety of large, private homes for sale, perfect for multigenerational housing. If you’re looking to make the move with a few family members, then Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® is more than happy to help.

Explore all of your home-buying options in Raleigh, browse our helpful resources, and give us a call today to get started!