Strong Investment Strategy: Why Real Estate is one of the Most Popular Long-Term Investment Choices

A man pointing to a graph representing the rise of the real estate market.

When it comes to investments, real estate proves to be one of the most successful and worthwhile in the long run. According to Gallup, real estate is the top investment choice among survey respondents—beating out stocks, gold, and savings accounts.

This has been the case for the last six years. During the time of the recession, specifically from 2008 to 2010, most respondents cited CDs or savings accounts as the best form of long-term investment. But with the economy, and the housing market, recovered, real estate has once again become the number one investment.

The Many Benefits to Investing in Real Estate

There are a number of benefits to investing in real estate over the stock market or gold. If you invest wisely, and in a market as popular as Raleigh’s, you may be able to set up a steady cash flow to supplement your income.

In addition to monthly cash flow, here are some of the best benefits to investing in real estate in Raleigh.

Financial Security

A woman holding several hundred dollar bills.

Owning a property and then renting it out to tenants may yield longstanding financial security. Once you purchase the property, you can use monthly rent collected from tenants to pay off the mortgage—building equity and wealth for yourself as the investor.

Given the market’s positive upward growth, your investment property is likely to appreciate in value over time—meaning a greater return on your initial investment.

Tax Benefits

Owning an investment property in Raleigh and renting it out may yield tremendous advantages come tax time. Rental income is not subject to self-employment tax, which can be hefty.

In addition, you may be eligible for tax breaks for property maintenance, depreciation, insurance, and other factors that come with being a homeowners.

Supplemental Income

A happy couple standing in front of their home.

Without a doubt, the best part of investing in real estate is the additional monthly income. After your property’s mortgage is paid off by your tenants, you’ll have a tidy sum of money to do with as you please!

Put it in a savings account, use it to perform maintenance or upgrades on your primary residence, or re-invest it back into the market! Make your money work for you in real estate.

Ready to Invest in Raleigh Real Estate?

Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® is here to help. As longtime Raleigh and Triangle-area real estate agents, we have years of experience investing in the market.

Give us a call today to explore your real estate options in Raleigh! In the meantime, check out our home-buying and local area resources.

Streamline Your Raleigh Home Search with These 6 Key Tips

A couple sitting at a computer, smiling as they look at the results of their research.

Buying a home can be challenging, especially when you factor in low inventory levels in top cities like Raleigh. High demand and low inventory have created something of a seller’s market, and while conditions are slowly improving for buyers, the market is still tipped favorably towards sellers.

But don’t give up! While finding a home that’s just right and within your price range can be tricky, it’s by no means impossible. Use these six tips to streamline your home search in Raleigh.

Have a question about buying a home and want to speak to an expert? Give us a call, we’re always here to help.

Tip 1: Get Pre-Approved Right Now

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage will save you so much time as you navigate searching for a home. Essentially, the pre-approval process works like this: you’ll sit down with a lender who will review all of your finances. The lender will crunch some numbers and then give you an estimate with an interest rate—that’s how much the bank is willing to lend you.

Look at this number as your budget, and then do some extra calculations on the side. Based on your down payment, interest rate, and loan length, are you comfortable with what those monthly payments look like? Adjust your budget as necessary until you hit your sweet spot.

Tip 2: Clearly Define Your “Must-Haves” and “Like-to-Haves”

A large luxury bedroom with a white bed and wood closet.

Balancing your needs and wants is tricky in any buying situation, but can quickly become overwhelming when you’re searching for a home. Think about your lifestyle essentials to determine exactly what you need in a home. This typically includes things like “three bedrooms,” “two bathrooms,” and “10 miles from Downtown.” These are your deal breakers.

“Like-to-haves” aka wants are nice to have in your potential home, but not deal breakers. These are things like walk-in showers, finished “man caves,” and farmhouse-style sinks.

Tip 3: Carefully Research Local Neighborhoods

In addition to finding a home that’s the right fit, you want to make sure the neighborhood has everything you need. Do some research to make sure any particular community has the amenities, features, and location that you need in a home.

We can help with that!

Tip 4: Stick to One Type of House

An aerial shot of multiple homes in a neighborhood.

Would you like one level of living (a ranch-style home) or something more like a Cap Cod with bedrooms on multiple levels? Assess your needs and narrow down your housing preferences to one specific style.

This will make it easier to find homes that meet your needs in the greater Raleigh area!

Tip 5: Write Everything Down and Take Pictures

As you tour multiple homes in Raleigh, document every visit so you can go back to them later! Jot down notes on your smart phone or a notebook as you walk around, and try to take pictures of things that you like and dislike.

Having thorough documentation will make it easier to sit down and make a decision—especially if you’re considering more than one home!

Tip 6: Work with a Professional REALTOR®

Having the right real estate agent on your side makes all the difference. If you’re searching for your dream home in the greater Raleigh area, then it’s time to call Linda Craft.

Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® are an award-winning team of real estate professionals serving Raleigh and the greater Triangle area. We have plenty of resources for you to choose from to help make your home search as easy as possible.

Low Inventory & High Demand are Shaping the Raleigh Real Estate Market

A two-story brick home with a green lawn and a red "for sale" sign out front.

It’s safe to say that the housing market in Raleigh, and the rest of the country, has all but recovered from the last housing crash. Home values are on a steady increase, while the number of foreclosures and distressed property sales are at an all-time low.

Additionally, economists and market experts predict that the market will continue to stay strong for the remainder of 2019! This is great news for homeowners, especially those looking to sell.

Here’s the Breakdown

Right now, the real estate market is considered strong and healthy for both buyers and sellers. According to economists at the National Association of Realtors®, the only factor that might affect the market is a lack of inventory.

It’s common for buyer demand to increase during the summer, one of the most popular times to buy a home in North Carolina. However, our current inventory levels cannot keep up with buyer demand.

Many predict that this discrepancy will cause home prices to rise further.

Why Now is a Great Time to Sell

Two professionals shaking hands.

Fewer sellers are wanting to deal with the stress and time of selling a home in Raleigh. However, if you’ve long been considering selling your home now is the time to act!

With demand so high in key cities like Raleigh, you stand to make an excellent return on your real estate investment. Chances are, if you list now, your home will sell quickly and for top dollar. In fact, it’s not uncommon to receive multiple offers on your property in a short amount of time!

Looking for a Sign to Sell?

This is it. Allow Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® to help you make the most of the current real estate market! With our resources, expertise, and local knowledge we can sell your home within your timeline and for the most amount of money possible.

Give us a call today to begin exploring all your Raleigh home-buying options!

Your Mortgage Matters: The Benefits to a 20% Down Payment

A person holding a stack of hundred dollar bills.

As you start saving for your next home, you may find yourself wondering: how much should I have for the down payment?

While 20% is the most common number thrown out for your down payment, it really depends on the type of mortgage loan you take out. Some loans require a down payment of just 3% while the military-specific VA loan doesn’t require a down payment at all!

However, if you have the means, putting 20% down for your home is a great idea. Here are some of the biggest benefits to using a 20% down payment to buy a home in Raleigh.

It Lowers Your Monthly Payments

The larger your initial down payment, the lower your loan will have to be. This guarantees a lower monthly payment than if you were to put down less than 20%.

In addition, that means there’s less money remaining on your loan to rack up interest!

You’ll Pay Lower Interest Rates

Two people pointing to a piece of paper on a desk.

Your bank will offer you an excellent interest rate on your mortgage loan if it feels confident that you are financially stable. Nothing demonstrates this quite like a heft initial down payment.

Say Goodbye to “Private Mortgage Insurance”

When you put down a lower payment for your home, your bank may be less confident in your ability to pay it back. In order to protect themselves, they may require you to take out Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI).

This is a policy that protects the lender in case you’re unable to pay off your loan. It is a monthly free included in your mortgage payments. Typically, PMI is required for down payments less than 20%.

Best of All, It Makes Your Offer More Competitive

A spacious, two-story single-family home.

Sellers are likely to be more confident in your offer when it includes a high down payment. You’ll be seen as a stronger buyer whose financing is more likely to be approved, making you stand out in the seller’s eyes.

Ready to Buy a Home in Raleigh?

Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® has your back. Give us a call today to learn more about buying a home in Raleigh, including your options for obtaining a mortgage loan.

Searching for a lender? We can help you with that, too. Check out our list of local lenders to find the mortgage lender who’s right for you.

The 5 Biggest Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Home

If you’re gearing up to sell your home, you’ve probably read tons of articles all about what you should be doing…but what about what you shouldn’t be doing? After all, selling your home is a huge financial decision, and a misstep could mean losing out on your hard-earned profit.

Don’t let something as easy to fix as not staging or pricing incorrectly throw off the success of your sale! Here are the top five mistakes to avoid when selling your home.

Setting an Unrealistic Price

A man looking at his laptop.

It might come as a surprise, but pricing a home is tricky. Not only do you have to take into account what homes around yours have recently sold for (or, in other words, what buyers are willing to pay), but you also need to know how to value any updates and improvements you’ve made. Plus, you want your home to be priced so that it pops up in as many online searches as possible. When it comes to finding that magic number, sellers’ emotions often cloud the ability to accurately price a home.

So you’ll just use an automatic estimator, and that’ll take care of things, right? Well, only if you’re okay with using outdated data and not taking into account any upgrades you’ve made. The best way to get a price that guarantees you’ll maximize your investment? Enlisting the help of an experienced local agent. 

Ignoring Major Repairs (or Making the Wrong Ones)

A man fixing a sink.

During the inspection process, your home will be reviewed with a fine-tooth comb. Any things you’ve been avoiding, like leaky faucets, outdated water heaters, or water damage in the ceilings, will be noted and shared with buyers. Additionally, if there are any major necessary repairs that you didn’t disclose ahead of time, you could find yourself in serious legal trouble—or with a cancelled sale on your hands.

Limiting Showings & Failing to Stage

An iPad sitting on a coffee table in a living room.

You’re selling your home, but you want to sell it on your terms. You don’t want to have showings every weekend or on short notice, and you don’t want to have to rearrange furniture or remove decor for staging. While changing your home or lifestyle to accommodate buyers might seem like a major hassle, being inflexible is only going to hurt you in the long run.

Buyers are going to want to see your home, sometimes more than once, and it needs to be looking its best if you want to get serious (and competitive) offers. In fact, staged homes have been shown to sell almost 90% faster and for a 20% higher profit than non-staged homes!

Letting Your Emotions Get in the Way

A woman and a child playing on a tablet.

You’ve made a lot of memories in your home, and the space likely holds indescribable value to you. So hearing people walk through the house and point out all of the flaws—then not make an offer—can be draining. A good rule of thumb for selling? Think of the process as a business transaction, and think of yourself as a salesperson, not a homeowner. Creating that divide will not only improve your emotional state, but it’ll also help you see exactly how your home can be better than it is.

Not Hiring an Agent

People meeting at a table.

Thinking of listing For Sale by Owner to avoid agent commission fees? In reality, selling FSBO can actually COST you money in the long run;. according to a 2016 study by the National Association of Realtors®, the average price for a FSBO home was around $185,000—which is $60,000 less than the average price of a home listed by an agent ($245,000).

Aside from pricing, there’s a lot more that an agent can help you with. They’ll come up with a marketing plan for your home, suggest personalized staging strategies, conduct open houses and showings for you, and guide you through any problems or roadblocks along the way, all of which will take a load of work and stress off of your shoulders.

Ready to List Your Home?

Feeling a little intimidated by the home-selling process? Don’t worry—we’re here to help! Not only can we give you a few more pointers on what you should and shouldn’t do, but we’ll also be around to guide you through every aspect of the sale, from listing to showings to closing.

Ready to learn a little more about what it takes to sell for top dollar? Just give our team a call to get started!

Why Now is the Best Time to Downsize

A simple kitchen with tile backsplash, wood countertops, and white paneled cabinets.

Searching for a smaller home? Chances are, you’re not alone.

Over the past few years, many “baby boomers” have experienced a sudden change. Their children have moved out and bought homes of their own, leaving their parents to dream about their own lives.

Oftentimes, such a sudden change in household size can be eye-opening. All of a sudden, that two story home with five bedrooms is too big. It’s costly, overly spacious, and hard to keep up with.

The solution? Downsizing.

Save Money & Improve Your Lifestyle

Downsizing your home is becoming a popular option for older generations. In the past, developers and builders focused on constructing huge luxury properties. But, just like the real estate market, that has shifted significantly.

In Raleigh, you’ll discover a wide variety of homes perfectly suited for smaller households. Two- or three-bedroom ranch style homes are increasingly popular, which is why you’ll find plenty of homes like this for sale in Raleigh.

Plus, unlike more luxury options, these homes are highly affordable.

Find Amenities Catered to Your Needs

A man standing on the golf course at sunset.

The best part about downsizing? You can find a neighborhood that offers all the amenities you’ve ever wanted! Don’t want to take care of your yard or home’s exterior? Search for homes in low-maintenance or maintenance-free communities!

Want to live right on the golf course? There are plenty of golf neighborhoods in Raleigh, as well as the greater Triangle area. When it comes to finding your dream home in Raleigh, you have every option right at your fingertips.

Downsizing is Highly Affordable

As the housing market throughout the United States remains consistent and reliable, you’ll notice a variety of single-family homes sold at lower price points.

According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), “The inventory of new homes for sale was 344,000 in March, representing a 6 months’ supply. The median sales price was $302,700 with strong gains in homes sold at lower price points. The median price of a new home sale a year earlier was $335,400.”

Looking to Downsize Your Raleigh Home?

Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® can help you find the perfect home in Raleigh. Give us a call today to explore all your Raleigh home-buying options!

Home Seller Perspective: The 3 Most Common Reasons for Selling

Two older adults holding hands.

Selling your home is a big decision. After all, it involves pricing your home, staging it to perfection, negotiating with the buyers, and executing the perfect sale. Plus, once you finish all of that, you’re tasked with relocating!

While moving can be challenging, it’s not impossible. And, oftentimes, a sellers’ reasons for listing their home far outweigh any of the stresses involved with selling and relocating.

Interested in knowing why so many homeowners are choosing to sell? Here are the top three reasons for selling a home, broken down by age.

Upsizing

According to the National Association of Realtors’ Generational Trends Report, younger homeowners (aged 29 to 53) cited needing more space as a reason for selling their home.

Eventually, your needs outgrow the size of your “starter home.” Whether you want to add in a home office, plan for a growth in your household, or adopt a dog, needing more space in your home as you get older is a common reason for selling.

Relocating for Work

Two adults shaking hands.

Finally, after years of applying and working, you’ve finally landed your dream job! The only catch: it’s in another state or city. For homeowners aged 54 to 63, this is the most common reasoning for selling one’s home.

Relocating for your dream job can be tricky. Let us know if you’d like help planning your upcoming move, or searching for homes in your new area!

Moving to Be Closer to Friends and Family

For homeowners over the age of 64, moving “to be closer to friends and family” is the most common reason for selling a home. Oftentimes, as homeowners grow older and enter retirement, they find that they don’t need quite as much space as they once did.

This, combined with the desire to be closer to extended family and friends, is a highly compelling reason to sell your home and relocate.

Tips for Selling Your Home

Interested in selling your Raleigh home? No matter your reasons, Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® is here to help. Give us a call today to learn more about our unique home-selling programs.

Need to sell in a hurry? We can help with that as well! Browse our site and check out our free home-selling resources today to learn more.

Home Buying Timeline: How Long Does it Take to Save Up a Down Payment?

A family holding a piggy bank.

Time and again, we hear from potential buyers that one of the most challenging parts of buying a home is saving up for the down payment.

Many people believe that they need a 20% down payment in order to buy a home, but that’s not really true. While 20% is a standard, it is by no means the only option for putting down a deposit on a home.

In fact, there are a wide variety of mortgage loans out there that may only require as little as a 3% down payment. If you’re still saving up for your home’s down payment, here are a few things to keep in mind about your buying timeline.

How Long Does it Take to Save up a 20% Down Payment?

This depends largely on your financial circumstances. How much you make in a year, your current debt and monthly expenses, and your saving patterns will largely dictate how much (and how quickly) you’ll be able to save.

Many financial advisors suggest saving around 20% of your monthly income throughout the year, and this is certainly a great place to start! However, if you want to buy a home as soon as possible, you may have to be a more aggressive saver.

It also depends on what state you live in. In fact, the number of years it takes a median-income earner to save up for a 20% down payment differs largely by state.

How Long Does it Take Buyers in North Carolina?

Two adults pointing at a tablet lying flat on a table.

In North Carolina, it generally takes someone around two years to save up enough money for a down payment. In other states, depending on median housing prices, this may be as high as 30 years, or as low as a little over one.

But that’s just for the 20% down payment option. If you’re eligible for a 3% down payment program, it may only take you about half a year to save up for a down payment.

All in all, it depends largely on your financial situation!

How Much Should I Spend on Housing in a Month?

The age-old rule for handling your income is the 50/30/20 rule. Half of your monthly income should go to necessities like housing, healthcare, and food. 30% should go towards discretionary spending, and 20% should go to savings.

Experts in real estate agree that of that 50%, no more than 30% of your income should go towards your housing expenses.

How Do I Navigate the Financial Side of Buying a Home?

We can help with that. Here at Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, we have years of experience helping home buyers from a wide variety of backgrounds find success in the greater Raleigh real estate market. Not only can we walk you through your many options as a buyer, but we can also connect you with professional lenders in the area.

Have a question about buying a home in Raleigh? Please don’t hesitate to give us a call or browse our free resources today.

As the Average Rent in Raleigh Increases… It Might Be Time to Look Into Buying

A beautiful kitchen with pots of fresh herbs in the window sill.

While renting has a number of unique benefits, it also has one big disadvantage in the Raleigh area: it’s skyrocketing.

While rent prices have gone up significantly every year since 2005, the average mortgage payment has actually decreased since then. In fact, according to Core Logic, the average rent has increased by 36% between 2005 and December 2018. In that same time period, the average monthly mortgage payment went down by 4%.

What does this mean for people living in Raleigh? It’s time to buy a home. Here’s why.

Rent Prices are Only Going to Continue Increasing

This goes without saying. For renters, there’s no assurance that your landlord won’t jack up the rent prices every year you continue living there. Landlords do this to keep up with inflation, but also because they can.

If you buy a home, however, you can expect payments that are both lower and set. Depending on the type of mortgage loan you take out to finance your home purchase, you can probably expect to pay the exact same amount every month during the term of your loan.

Is Buying a Home Really More Affordable?

A woman sitting at a desk, crunching numbers on a calculator with a small stack of papers in the other hand.

Yes. It all has to do with your mortgage. Your monthly mortgage payments depend heavily on your loan’s interest rates. Luckily, mortgage rates right now are some of the lowest they’ve been since 2005.

According to the Economists’ Outlook Blog, the percentage of income needed to purchase a home throughout the United States has decreased steadily since November of 2018. This is great news for potential buyers: it means that they’ll need less of their income to afford a home.

Want to Learn More About Buying a Home in Raleigh?

Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® is here to help. Give us a call today to begin exploring your home-buying options in Raleigh and the greater NC Triangle area. With our years of experience, in-depth market knowledge, and local real estate resources, we have everything you need to make a successful home purchase.

Less Time, More Money: The Benefits to Having an Agent Sell Your Home

A real estate agent showing a couple a home.

With steadily rising home prices and strong buyer demand in Raleigh, now is a great time to sell your home. If you’ve long been considering selling your home, the hot market conditions may even have you thinking about foregoing a professional agent to try and sell it on your own.

However, choosing to sell your home by yourself (otherwise known as For Sale By Owner or FSBO) has a lot of hidden pitfalls. The truth is, when you sell your home on your own you’re likely going to make less money and be using up a TON of your time.

Here’s why.

Selling a Home is Tough

Even in a market as seller-focused as ours, the mechanics of selling a home are still challenging to anyone without a lot of experience. Even if you’ve sold a home in the past with an agent, you likely weren’t seeing 100% of the things they did to sell your home.

The biggest challenge to selling a home? Negotiating. In order to sell your home for the best possible listing price, you have to be a highly skilled negotiator.

After all, you won’t just be negotiating with the buyer. In fact, here’s a list of everyone you may need to negotiate with to sell your home.

  • The buyer’s agent
  • The home inspection companies based on their findings
  • The buyer’s lender
  • The appraiser (if the value of your home is questioned)
  • The title company

Why Working with a Professional Agent is Worth It

Happy older couple standing in front of their home.

The right real estate agent will handle your home sale flawlessly—without letting you experience any of the stress or hard work typically associated with selling a home.

Additionally, your agent will be able to price your home competitively based on up-to-date market research, assist you in staging it and getting it ready to show, and handle all those home showings. Showing your home to potential buyers can be awkward when you’re the current occupant of the home. Plus, your real estate agent will have a lot of experience handling some of the tougher questions buyers typically pose during the home tour.

How Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® Makes All the Difference

Here at Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, we have years of experience helping home sellers throughout the greater Raleigh area sell their properties for a tremendous profit.

We’ll take the burden of selling your home off of you completely. Depending on your plans, we can even provide you with an instant cash offer for your home.

Interested in learning more about our home-selling services? Please don’t hesitate to give us a call.