The #1 Reason to List Your Home Right Now

Real estate is all about timing. If you want to make a good profit when you list your home, it benefits you to time your sale for when there’s a lot of buyer interest—and there are not a lot of competing sellers. And right now is actually that perfect time.

High Demand + Low Supply = The Perfect Time to List Your Home

the perfect time to list your home

Seller success is all about supply and demand. That means you have to look at how many buyers are searching in your area (demand) versus how many houses are available to buy (supply). If there are a lot of buyers but not a lot of sellers, there’s going to be a lot of competition amongst buyers—but not sellers—which is what you want!

And recent 2020 housing data shows promising results for sellers.

Buyer demand is extremely strong

excited buyers searching homes

Data from ShowingTime, a firm that compiles data from property showings, shows that buyer property showings has increased in each of the country’s four regions for five months straight.

That means buyers aren’t just casually looking—they’re scheduling showings, too!

Housing supply is historically low

list your home while supply is low

New information by Move.com shows that the number of homes currently for sale has declined rapidly and now sits at its lowest level in almost 10 years! In fact, in January, the national housing supply decreased 13.6%—the steepest year-over-year decline in more than four years.

Favorable financial conditions drive buyers

buyer calculating prices

Contrary to expectations, high buyer competition and low housing supply haven’t daunted buyers. Other favorable conditions, like low mortgage rates and stable listing prices, have kept buyer demand strong even in the highly competitive and fast-paced market.

Now Is the Time to List Your Home!

The real estate climate is perfect for listing a home! Buyer demand is high (so you’ll have lots of interest) and housing supply is low (so you won’t face a lot of competition). It’s the ideal situation for a speedy list with a good profit.

Thinking of listing in Raleigh? Contact us!

If you’re thinking of selling a home in the Raleigh area, it’s time to contact Linda Craft & Team. We’d love to put our 350+ years of combined experience to work to value your home and price it competitively.

3 Ways Pricing Your Home Right Makes a BIG Difference

The Raleigh area has been in a seller’s market for a while now, which is great news if you’re thinking of listing. Homes are in high demand and buyers are willing to pay for it. However, this does not mean you should price your home way above its value when selling.

Pricing Your Home Wrong Can Kill Your Sale

Because the market is so hot, and in listers’ favor, many home sellers incorrectly believe they can overprice their homes in hopes of making more money. Here’s why that’s not a good idea—even in a seller’s market.

The right price increases visibility

pricing your home to appeal to buyer searches

When you price your home at, or slightly under, market value, you actually increase the number of buyers who’ll see your home. Overpriced homes often end up in higher search brackets—competing with similarly-priced homes which, if correctly priced, will often also be higher-end or larger homes.

Correctly-priced homes will fall into search brackets with similar homes, where they’ll be seen by a greater number of buyers looking for such homes.

Correctly priced homes are exciting to buyers

excited buyer looking at a home

Seeing a great house at a great price is exciting to a buyer! And when a buyer is excited about a home, they’re more likely to want to take a closer look. More buyers getting excited about, and coming to look at, your home is great news—and could even lead to multiple offers!

Excited buyers are also the perfect environment for a bidding war—and the ability to drive a higher final sale price.

Incorrect pricing typically results in a correction

correctly pricing your home

Overpriced homes, because they’re often overshadowed by higher-end but similarly-priced homes, don’t typically attract a lot of buyer interest. That means they tend to sit on the market for a long time. And when homes sit on the market, they attract even less buyer interest. Usually at this point, sellers are forced to make a price correction.

The thing is, though, once a home’s been on the market for a while, even if the price is corrected, buyers are going to wonder why. What’s wrong with this home that no one’s wanted it and the price had to drop? The last thing you want is to give buyers any reason to be turned off!

Correct Pricing is Crucial to Home Selling!

The bottom line to successful home selling is that that right price is a critical first step! That’s why it’s especially beneficial to work with an experienced and local agent, one who’s going to be able to help you find that perfect selling price.

Selling in Raleigh? Let us help!

If you’re thinking of selling a home in the Raleigh area, let Linda Craft & Team help you find that price—and get the job done right. We’ll put our 350+ years of combined experience to work for you and your home.

Great News for Renters Who Want to Buy a Home!

For many renters, the dream of owning a home seems like just that—a dream. And with rental rates rising in recent years, saving for a down payment while continuing to pay more and more in rent has become almost impossible. But there’s good news on the horizon for would-be buyers!

Stable Rental Rates Mean More Savings for Future Buyers!

renters saving to buy a home

Recent studies from four major rent indices indicate that rental rates could be stabilizing in the near future… after years of constant increases. That means renters who’ve struggled to find extra money to set aside for a down payment may once again be able to contribute to a savings account.

Rents have been soaring in past years

increasing rental rates

Despite a rise in buyer demand and new construction homes, rental markets across the US have remained extremely competitive over the past handful of years. Vacancy rates are low, which has caused rents to climb at steep rates—soaring from a national average just around $1,300 to over $1,600 between 2012 and today.

Leveling rental rates are in the forecast

renters searching for a house

Four major rent indices—Zillow Rent Index, RENTCafe, CoreLogic, and The Apartment List National Rent Report—all predict there could be a much-needed slowdown in the rise of rent prices. In fact, all four have already shown a definite slowing in the increase of rental rates.

Spend less, save more

saving for a down payment

If you’ve been dreaming of leaving the rental life behind and buying a home of your own, good news is on the horizon. With rental rates stabilizing, you might not find yourself handing over the majority of your paycheck to your landlord—leaving you with more room to put aside money for your down payment.

Dreaming of Buying in the Triangle?

Have you been thinking of buying a home in the Triangle of North Carolina? Linda Craft & Team is here to help! With over 350 years of combined real estate experience, we’ve got what it takes to ensure you find the right home at the right price in the right location! Give us a call and let’s get started.

3 Reasons to Get Pre-Approved Before Buying a Home

If you’re thinking of investing in real estate, you might be wondering exactly where you should be starting your homebuying journey. Is it with a home search? A real estate agent? An open house? Actually, the answer might surprise you: it’s with getting pre-approved.

Get Pre-Approved, Start Your Homebuying Journey

get pre-approved with a local lender

It’s no secret: real estate is competitive in today’s day and age, especially in a hot market like the Triangle. For buyers, that means you’ve got to be prepared if you want to be able to beat out the competition for your dream home. And that’s where getting pre-approved comes into play.

Here are three reasons to get pre-approved before you start searching.

You know what you can borrow

Getting “pre-approved” essentially involves allowing a lender to take an in-depth look at your finances—your credit, income, savings, debt, and a few other things. One of the major advantages to taking this step is that you’ll learn exactly how much a mortgage broker or bank is willing to lend you, which in turn helps determine how much home you can actually afford.

You gain a competitive advantage

get pre-approved to get an advantage

Getting pre-approved isn’t just for your own benefit; it actually can make a big difference to sellers, too. When you submit an offer on a home, you’ll include your official pre-approval letter, which shows sellers that you’re serious about buying—and you can put your money where your mouth is.

You accelerate the homebuying process

closing on a loan

Pre-approval can also speed up the overall mortgage approval process. To get pre-approved, you’ve got to submit a decent amount of paperwork, and your lender runs your credit and checks for red flags. So by the time you make an offer on a home, most of the heavy lifting has already been done—leaving a lot less to worry about during the final stages.

Bonus: This can also be very appealing to sellers hoping to close on a tight timeline!

Getting Pre-Approved Is the First Step to Buying!

Getting pre-approved for a loan should definitely be your first step to buying! Need help finding a good lender in the Triangle area? Linda Craft & Team can help! We’d love to put our 350+ combined years of experience to work for you. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for your real estate goals.

4 Easy, Low-Budget Projects Buyers Will Love

If you’re getting ready to sell your Raleigh home, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to impress buyers. In fact, making just a few small changes can have a lasting impact and help you secure a sale. Here are four easy, low-budget projects you can do on your own—and buyers will love the results!

Updating Hardware and Fixtures

Faucet with running water

Does your kitchen feel a little drab? Is your bathroom still stuck in the 1990s? You probably don’t have to undertake an entire renovation to bring your space into the new decade—adding some updated hardware and fixtures just might do the trick! Today’s buyers are looking for modern yet timeless finishes, so oil-rubbed bronze, brushed nickel, or matte black are all great choices.

Start by checking out your light fixtures, faucets, or shower heads. Do they look dingy, worn, or out of style? If you’ve tackled a few DIY projects in the past, you can probably update them yourself. For an even easier change, try replacing the pulls on your cabinets—it only costs a few dollars.

Adding Some Fresh Paint

Paint roller

Adding a fresh coat of paint is an easy (and inexpensive!) way to update a room, but it’s crucial to choose the right color to enhance your space. While you might love bright hues or eye-catching wallpapers, buyers may feel differently. When in doubt, it’s best to go with a more neutral shade instead of something bold.

However, just because you’re repainting your home with more subdued tones doesn’t mean you’re limited to white or beige. In fact, grays, pale pink, light sage, and even steel blue are all considered “new neutrals.” It’s okay to experiment with a little bit of color, but be sure to ask your agent for a second opinion.

Maximizing Your Storage Space

An organized closet

Dedicated storage space is one of the most highly sought-after features in today’s market—and buyers are willing to pay a premium for it. Even if your home doesn’t have a lot of storage, you can still enhance what you already have with a few small tweaks.

Buyers often prioritize laundry rooms, closets, and pantries, so it’s best to focus on these spaces if you have them. First, start by decluttering and cleaning your storage areas to maximize every square inch. Adding some shelves, woven baskets, or wall-mounted organizers can create even more storage, too.

Improving Your Curb Appeal

Front porch with a plant

Want to make a great first impression? Don’t forget to update the exterior of your home, too! It’s crucial to wow buyers from the moment they drive up to your home—if they don’t like what they see on the outside, they might never make it inside.

If you want to up your curb appeal, start by taking a look at your home from the street. Do you see any peeling paint, cracked walkways, or overgrown bushes? These are all repairs that you can tackle during a free afternoon, and you won’t even have to enlist the help of a pro. For a really simple fix, try adding a potted plant or a new welcome mat to your porch.

Are You Ready to List?

Selling your home is no easy task…unless you have the right real estate pro on your side! We’re always here to help you navigate the selling process from start to finish, and we have plenty of staging resources to get your home looking its best. Feel free to reach out to Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS® with any questions and let us know if you’re ready to take your next steps.

Does “Aging in Place” Make the Most Sense?

Many homeowners nearing retirement age face a tough choice: to sell or to stay? For some, the decision is pretty easy—they’ve had their hearts set on Florida living or their empty nest is just way too much to care for. Plus, there are all kinds of interesting new 55+ and Active Adult communities out there. But for others, the thought of “aging in place” has more than a little appeal.

Aging in Place Certainly Has Its Benefits

happy seniors aging in place

If you’ve lived in your current home for a long time, the thought of moving might be more than a little daunting. You’ve likely accumulated a lot of personal belongings over those years (and if you have kids, there’s probably a whole lot more). Plus, you’ve made some good memories in your place, and you’ve grown comfortable not just with the home, but with your neighborhood, your neighbors, and your area.

So, the question is, why would you leave?

The Downsides to Aging in Place

an older home with a large backyard

Aging in place might be convenient—at least for now—but convenience is hardly your only worry when considering keeping your home after retirement. A recent report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University (JCHS) notes that 80% of homeowners aged 65+ live in detached single-family homes, the majority of which are at least 40 years old. And there are a few problems that come with an older home!

Older homes require more maintenance

repairing the roof

If your home is getting on in years, it’s likely in need of a little maintenance. And as you age, tackling those maintenance projects might not be as simple as they once were! You might find yourself calling for outside help on even small fixes—and that can start to add up. Not to mention that those larger repairs (think: a new HVAC system or roof) can definitely put a dent in your retirement.

Your home might be too large

an unused bedroom when aging in place

When you bought your home, how many people were in your household? If you had a couple of kids in tow, odds are, you’ve got a few extra bedrooms that aren’t doing much more than collecting dust. And while another room or two might not seem like much (as long as you don’t mind a little extra dusting), you shouldn’t overlook the extra expense of heating and cooling that extra space you’re not using.

Your home might not fit your needs

sitting in the backyard

Even if you don’t have kids, your needs when you first bought your home likely aren’t the same as they are now. You might’ve wanted a large yard with a pool or an out-of-the-way upstairs bedroom. But as you age, it might be more difficult to maintain that lawn, and climbing stairs could start to become a hassle.

Even the location might not be ideal anymore if you chose your spot to be close to schools, parks, or work.

What about renovations?

considering home renovations

Instead of selling their homes, many owners make aging in place more doable by remodeling—converting two bedrooms into a massive master suite, downgrading lawn maintenance with paving stones—but extensive alterations come with their own set of pros and cons.

For one, they’re expensive. For another, there’s really only so much you can change about a home, even with major renovations. And lastly, if you do eventually end up selling the home, odds are, you’re not going to recoup the same value you put into those alterations. In fact, you could even reduce the value by combining bedrooms!

So, Bottom Line: To Stay or Sell?

The bottom line about aging in place is one that’s not so unique in real estate—it really depends on the situation! For some homeowners, keeping your current home is the right move. For others, relocating or downsizing might be a more viable option. Either way, it’s important to carefully consider all your options, as well as the pros and cons of each.

Not sure which move is best for you? Ask us! Linda Craft and Team has over 350 years of combined real estate experience, so we’re pretty good at clearing up questions and concerns. And if you do decide to sell or downsize, we’re more than happy to put our expertise to work for you!

4 Tips to Ace Your First Home Purchase

If you ask a homeowner what it was like to buy their first home, they’ll probably mention a few things they’d change if they could do it all again. While it’s impossible to know everything about the home-buying process beforehand, you can still prepare yourself for what lies ahead—and figure out how to avoid some potential pitfalls. Not sure where to begin? Here are some key pointers to keep in mind before starting your search.

You’re Buying More Than a House

Neighborhood

We all know the phrase “love at first sight,” and it can certainly apply to homes, too! Even if you step inside a home and instantly fall in love, it’s crucial to step back and consider the whole picture before making a purchase.

When you buy your first property, you’re investing in more than just four walls. It’s worth paying attention to things like a home’s location, neighborhood, and physical condition, too. Even if you find that open concept kitchen you’ve been dreaming of, it might not be the right fit if it’s in the wrong community or if the rest of the house requires out-of-budget repairs. It’s best to stay realistic and listen to your agent’s (and home inspector’s) advice. Remember, this is likely one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make, so spend your money wisely!

Down Payments Are Different for Everyone

Piggy bank and house figure

So many would-be buyers are scared of homeownership for one reason: the down payment. Traditionally, you’d put down around 20% on a home and spend anywhere from 10 to 30 years paying your lender back. However, you actually have more flexibility than you might expect.

Depending on your credit history, location, and occupation, you could be eligible for loans that require as little as 0% down. However, making a larger down payment means you’ll pay less interest to your lender in the long run. Be sure to shop around for the right fit and reach out to your agent with any questions—they’re always available to help you out.

Prepare for Extra Expenses

House fund coin jar

Homeownership often comes with unexpected expenses, especially right after you move in. When you’re setting a budget for your big purchase, consider adding some wiggle room to allow for any additional and long term costs. You don’t want to realize that you can’t afford your home after you’ve purchased it!

Wondering what kinds of expenses can come up? Inspections, homeowner’s insurance, prepaid taxes and other various closing costs, HOA dues, and repairs are just a few possibilities. You’ll pay for some of these before or at the closing, but certain recurring costs will have to be factored into your monthly budget.

Get Pre-Approved Before You Start Searching

Tax forms with phone and coffee cup

Once you’ve made the decision to buy, it’s tempting to start looking at listings right away. However, you might want to press pause and complete an essential step before you start scheduling showings. Getting pre-approved for your loan will show sellers and agents that you’re serious about buying—and it can tell you exactly how much you can afford to spend.

Ready to start the pre-approval process? First, you’ll want to get your finances in order and shop around for the right lender. Be sure to have all of your important documents on hand, such as your W-2 tax form, paystubs, and social security card. Most lenders allow you to apply online, and within a few business days, you’ll know whether you’ve been approved or not, as well as the conditions of the loan.

Are You a First-Time Buyer?

Buying your first home is a big deal, and it’s important to have the right agent by your side throughout the process. If you’re ready to start your search, feel free to reach out to Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS® with any questions. We can’t wait to help jumpstart your journey to homeownership!

Housing Inventory Is Vanishing. Here’s How It Impacts You.

Real estate predictions for 2020 are looking pretty positive: interest rates sit at historic lows, prices are strong but stable, and demand is high. But there is one challenge to this optimistic outlook, and it’s a shortage of housing inventory.

Housing Inventory Is Shrinking

housing inventory in Raleigh

Inventory—the number of homes for sale, that is—isn’t just low. It’s actually shrinking. A recent report by Move.com shows that 2020 began with the lowest number of homes for sale in two years, thanks to the market’s largest year-over-year inventory decline in almost three years.

The US is now at its lowest inventory level since January 2018. But… what, exactly, does that mean for you?

For Buyers: Patience & preparation are essential.

searching housing inventory in raleigh

For a buyer, a decline in inventory isn’t really in your favor, though it certainly doesn’t mean that you can’t find a good home. You just might need to have a bit more patience and be ready to move forward quickly. Reduced inventory means a more competitive market, so getting preapproved is absolutely essential if you want to be able to make a competitive offer.

The good news is that once you buy a home, you’ll start building instant equity on it, thanks to the rising demand.

For Sellers: You’re in the driver’s seat.

selling a home in raleigh

A shortage of homes, plus increased buyer demand, definitely puts sellers in an advantageous position when it comes to negotiations. However, it’s important to understand that having the upper hand doesn’t mean you can start making unreasonable demands.

Why Is Inventory So Low, Anyway?

millennials buying a home

Why the plummeting numbers? The main reason is that many millennials are reaching an age, and a place in life, where they’re ready to enter the housing market. In fact, close to 4.8 million millennials will reach the age of 30 this year! And at the same time, older generations are choosing to remain in their homes for longer periods of time, rather than sell and downsize or relocate.

The Bottom Line

Despite the low number of homes for sale, the real estate outlook for 2020 is very optimistic. And whether you’re buying or selling, being prepared and knowing what to expect is essential to finding success in your endeavors.

Another big key to success? Finding a fantastic local real estate team to represent you! Here are Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS®, we have over 350 years combined experience, and we’ll put every minute of it to work for you! Contact us to learn more about what we can do for you.

4 Challenges That Come with Marketing Your Own Home

If you’re looking to list your home this year, we have some good news—2020 is forecasted to be a seller’s market, which means most properties will sell quickly and for a higher price than normal. Although buyers are scrambling to find somewhere to settle down, even the most desirable homes still need some marketing to attract a broader audience.

Thinking about selling without the help of an agent? Here are four challenges you might not have thought about—and why you should probably consider working with a pro instead.

Reaching Out to Buyers

Laptop and phone

Real estate is always evolving, and nowadays, most homebuyers are using the internet, apps, and more to do their research before scheduling an in-person tour. That means if you want to reach an even broader audience, you’ll have to look further than just Zillow. With so many new platforms to choose from, It’s hard to know where to promote your listing—but working with an agent will open the door to even more options (and mean less work for you!).

Not sure where to start? Working with a licensed real estate expert will give you access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which is the number one way that buyers search for homes. The right agent will reach out to their broad network of contacts, host open houses, take advantage of social media, and feature your home on top real estate apps.

Taking Professional Photos

Man holding a camera

Now that we’ve entered the digital age of real estate, it’s essential to get your space looking its best on a screen. Wondering how to make an unforgettable first impression? High-quality listing photos can help lure buyers into your home, especially if you highlight its best features.

Although smartphone cameras have come a long way, they still can’t hold a candle to the power of a professional photographer. If you want a picture-perfect listing, working with a pro is the way to go—they’ll use the right angles and lighting to make your home appear bigger and brighter. Agents can even create virtual tours and take aerial photographs, which allow buyers to get an in-depth look at your home from the comfort of their couch.

Perfecting Your Listing

Women using a computer

Want to craft a flawless listing? It’s not as easy as you might think. Most buyers prioritize price, square footage, and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms—and you should include all of these in your home’s description. However, there’s more to it than just mentioning the basics.

Because many buyers preview homes online first, a good description will set your listing apart from the rest. Highlighting special features, such as outdoor entertaining space or custom cabinets, will have potential buyers falling in love at first sight. If writing isn’t your forte, you might want to consider turning to an agent instead. They’ve probably crafted hundreds of listings in your area, so they’ll know how to appeal to prospective buyers.

Pricing Right the First Time

House figure with coin stacks and alarm clock

No matter how well you market your listing, even the most beautiful homes can linger on the market if they aren’t priced correctly. Unless you have plenty of real estate experience under your belt, you could end up making a costly mistake by setting a price without the help of a specialist. If you list too low, you risk losing hard-earned equity—but asking too much will drive buyers away.

If you’re feeling a little lost, you might want to let a professional crunch the numbers for you. The right agent will be familiar with what other homes are selling for in your area, and they’ll be able to figure out how you stack up against the competition.

Take Your Next Steps

Are you ready to team up with an agent and take the hassle out of selling? Let us do the heavy lifting for you! We believe there’s no such thing as too many questions, so feel free to reach out to Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS® to learn more about navigating the selling process, as well as our effective marketing strategies.

3 Selling Mistakes to Avoid in 2020

Selling your home is a big personal decision—after all, you’ll be letting go of memories in your old home and looking forward to more experiences in a new one. But it’s also important to not let your emotional attachments get in the way of what is, bottom line, a huge financial decision. Your home is likely one of the largest financial investments you’ll ever make, and it’s crucial to treat it as such. Here are three common selling mistakes to avoid when listing a home in 2020.

Overpricing your home

avoiding selling mistakes when pricing

Even in a high-demand low-inventory market like we’re experiencing in the Triangle right now, it’s important not to overprice your home. You might find a buyer willing to pay your price—and still end up in trouble after the appraisal. Remember, a bank isn’t going to lend a buyer more money than a home is worth, so if you overprice, you might wind up renegotiating.

Don’t let your love for your home cloud your judgement. Ask an experienced professional to accurately value your home.

Letting your emotions interfere

selling mistakes include emotional attachment

If you’re like the average American homeowner, you’ve probably been in your home about ten years (or more), and that means you’ve likely made some memories (good and bad) and shared a lot of experiences with loved ones while you’ve been there. It’s natural to have an emotional attachment to your house, but it’s important not to let that inhibit your sale.

Don’t let your love for your home get in the way of pricing, negotiating, or even staging and showing your home.

Not staging your home

selling your home with staging

Your home likely has a specific “look”—a color scheme, a certain type of furniture or style of decor, or maybe just that warm lived-in look of kids’ art and friendly clutter. You’ve grown to love it (or at least, you’re used to it), but don’t make the mistake of thinking that all your buyers will, too.

When selling a home, it’s highly beneficial to remove some of the “you” from your living spaces, giving them a lived-in yet impersonal look. This allows buyers to picture their own personalizations.

Avoid Selling Mistakes with Us!

If you want to make 2020 the year you sell your home for top dollar, Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS® is here to help! With our combined 350+ years of experience, we’ll ensure you price your home correctly, stage it beautifully, and keep your emotions out of the equation.