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

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

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

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

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

The Market Has Changed Since Then

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

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

So Mortgage Rates Have Shifted

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

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

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

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

What Does That Mean for Buyers and Sellers?

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

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

How to Make Your Raleigh Home Sale “Spark Joy”

Ask any homeowner what the most challenging part of selling a home is, and they’ll likely respond: decluttering.

Decluttering is a huge endeavor. It takes time, patience, good judgment, and stellar organizational skills. It also requires follow-through. Decluttering does you no good if your clutter sits in trash bags by the front door waiting to be donated.

Luckily, there’s a new and trendy way to declutter your home. It’s called the KonMari Method, and it’s changing lives!

Meet Marie Kondo

Small white table with a journal and two potted plants on top.The woman behind the KonMari method is a Japanese consultant and writer named Marie Kondo. Author of the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up that inspired a new Netflix show, Marie has some amazing tips for, well, tidying up.

Her philosophy is simple: “Keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy.”

Both her Netflix show and book are full of amazing tips for decluttering your home. If you’re getting ready to sell your home in Raleigh, we highly recommend checking them out!

The KonMari Method

Small bar cart with glasses of water and a plant on the top in a white hallway.Sort your possessions into categories, and start from there. Instead of going room by room, eliminate your clutter by category. Start with your clothes.

Pick up an item of clothing and take a long hard look at it. Does it spark joy? Does it make you feel happy, or remind you of a wonderful memory?

For the less sentimental of us, here’s an alternative way to look at it: when’s the last time you wore this? Try it on now: does wearing it make you happy? I you answered “no” to any of the previous questions, it’s time to get rid of it!

Marie Kondo advises us to “thank the item for its service, then let it go.”

Tidy Up Your Home Sale

Clean and bright kitchen.Marie Kondo’s method is time-consuming, but effective. Not only that, you’ll end the process feeling good about all of your belongings.

You’re increasing the amount of space in your home, decreasing your belongings, and making your upcoming home sale and relocation easier.

Now that’s something you should feel good about!

Sell Your Home for More in Raleigh

When you’re selling your home, first impressions are key! That’s why staging your home for the Raleigh market is essential. And, you can’t begin staging until your home is thoroughly decluttered.

By using the KonMari method, you’re ensuring that your new home will be filled only with items that spark joy.

If you’re ready to list your Raleigh home, please give us a call at Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®. We would love to utilize our area resources to help achieve a home sale that sparks joy in you!

Make Buyers Fall in Love with Your Home with These Easy Staging Tips

Love is in the air! We’re not talking about Valentine’s Day — we mean all of the buyers falling in love with your home thanks to these easy staging tips.

From simple DIY projects to decor and decluttering pointers, these effortless staging tips will wow the next buyers that step through your front door.

And, when you’re ready to list, don’t forget to request a free home evaluation from Linda & Craft Team REALTORS®!

Clean, Clean, Clean

A woman mopping her kitchen floor.The single most important step for staging success? Clean. Break out those rubber gloves and scrub every corner, crack, and crevice that you can find. Not only will a clean home convey to buyers that you take good care of your space, but it’ll also ensure less work and fewer problems when they move in.

The home-staging cleaning process is more than just regular vacuuming, dusting, mopping, and scrubbing; you’ll need to go the extra mile. We’re talking waxing the floors, deep cleaning the carpets, polishing all of the handles and doorknobs, and more. Make an extensive list, and devote a whole weekend to tidying up.

Tackle Any Unfinished Projects

A toolbelt on a roofDo you have a notoriously leaky faucet that you haven’t gotten around to fixing, or a stain on the floor that you’ve been covering with a rug? Now is the time to take care of it.

Take an inventory of any unfinished projects you’ve accumulated. Whether it’s repairing a lighting fixture or patching a hole in the roof, ticking off pending projects is critical in the staging process. The last thing a buyer wants is to inherit problems from a home that they could’ve avoided.

Try Small-Scale DIY

A man rolling a paint roller in a tray of yellow paintYou don’t have to add an extra room or install an in-ground pool to make your home stick out to buyers. There are plenty of simple and affordable DIY projects, from decor improvements to easy upgrades and repairs, that’ll make your home pop!

Need some ideas to kickstart the process? Try putting a fresh coat of paint on the walls, replacing outdated lighting, upgrading cabinet handles and doorknobs, or de-popcorning your ceiling — just a few of the many easy ways to elevate your home’s look.

De-personalize and De-clutter

A row of succulents against a white wall.While decorating plays a big role in catching a buyer’s eye, there’s a fine line between standing out and overdoing it. While you might like your style of decorating, buyers could find it off-putting, so keeping it neutral is key. Using house plants and seasonal greenery is always a solid option for filling empty space!

While you’re putting up that new decor, you’ll want your space to be clutter-free and open. If you have any old couches, outdated decorations, or unnecessary accent pieces, take the opportunity to get rid of them before showings start.

List Your Home with Local Experts

From helping you get your home ready to sell to handling the complicated closing paperwork, our team is dedicated to helping you have a successful and stress-free real estate experience.

Are you ready to get started on selling your home? At Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, we have a proven track record for selling homes in Raleigh for top dollar. Give us a call today to learn more.

You Should Be Building Your Own Wealth… Not Your Landlord’s

There’s no doubt about it: buying a home is a daunting task. In fact, many potential buyers are nervous about the commitment and obligation that comes with buying a home.

If you’re more comfortable renting because you think you can’t afford buying a home, we should talk. The truth is, even when you’re a tenant, you’re still paying a mortgage. Unless you live completely rent-free with a relative, you’re helping someone build their equity and pay off their mortgage with your rent money every month.

You’re paying your landlord’s mortgage, and giving them a little extra for themselves each month. Wouldn’t you rather be building your own wealth?

If You’re Serious About Your Finances, You Should Buy a Home

Stacks of coins growing consecutively in size until they reach a large pot.Buying a home is one of the most surefire ways to build wealth for the long-term. Additionally, it gives you significant benefits to your credit score, as well as a sense of security.

When you own your home, you’re not at the mercy of your landlord—who may raise your rent whenever they see fit. Plus, owning your home means you can decorate and renovate it to match your unique tastes! You have complete freedom over what goes in and what comes out.

In Fact, It’s a Great Time to Buy in Raleigh

A white kitchen countertop with red flowers and a candle.The spring home-buying season is shaping up to be a good one. Interest rates are still historically low, while inventory only continues to grow. That means this spring will be a wonderful time to buy a home in Raleigh.

Get a head of the competition by beginning your home search today! Do some research and come up with an idea of what kind of home you’d like to buy.

If you need any help locating potential homes for sale in the area, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. At Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, we have the inside scoop on the area’s best new listings.

Join the Home-Buying Ranks

It’s never too late (or too early!) to buy a home in Raleigh. Trust us, if you can afford to pay rent every month, you can afford to buy a home.

Plus, there are plenty of mortgage options out there that require little to no down payment! There’s no excuse not to take advantage of excellent market conditions and become a homeowner.

Guess What? You Do Not Need a 20% Down Payment to Buy a Home in Raleigh!

Many people believe that they can’t afford to buy a home because they can’t afford the down payment. Time and time again, I hear would-be homebuyers resign themselves to a life of renting because a 20% down payment just isn’t feasible.

However, this is one of the biggest myths of buying a home! The truth is, you do not need to put down 20% to buy a home. There are plenty of options for buying a home without a hefty down payment!

What You Need to Know

According to a recent study called “Barriers to Accessing Homeownership,” 39% of non-homeowners and 30% of those who already own a home think that they need more than a 20% down payment.

But that just isn’t true. In fact, there are a number of loans available that don’t require a down payment at all or require a very small one.

Did you know that the median down payment on loans approved in 2018 was only 5%? If you’ve spent the last couple of years saving up for your down payment, chances are you already have enough saved to buy now!

The Lowest Down Payment Loans Out There

A family of three holding a pink piggybank with coins spilling out.Here are three loans that offer low to zero down payments. There are certain eligibility requirements for each, but don’t feel discouraged if they won’t work for you! Please give us a call at Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®!

Chances are, we know of the perfect solution to fit your unique situation in the Raleigh real estate market.

VA Loan

It’s no secret that the VA loan is one of the best mortgage loans out there. It is available to qualified veterans, active-duty service members, certain spouses, and other specific members of the National Guard and Reserves.

The VA loan features a 0% down payment and does not require mortgage insurance. It is offered through a local lender, but guaranteed by the government. The borrower does have to pay a funding fee (anywhere from 1.25 to 3.3%) that can be included in the total loan amount.

USDA Loan

Attractive kitchen with hardwood floors, marble countertops, and hanging light fixture.This loan is available for certain eligible buyers. It has restrictions based on household income, as well as certain credit and employment requirements.

It is designed for people looking to buy a single-family residence in a suburban or rural area. The USDA has maps with specific eligibility information, so you can easily see if your property is eligible!

The USDA loan is one of the most popular loans available, and it isn’t uncommon for the total fund to run out before the end of the fiscal year. If you’re interested in using a USDA loan to buy a home in the North Carolina Triangle, check your eligibility requirements and then give us a call!

Federal Housing Administration

The FHA loan requires a minimum down payment of 3.5% and is a great option for would-be buyers that have a low credit score or history of poor credit.

While it charges a low down payment, it does require the borrower to purchase mortgage insurance upfront with a premium of about 1.75% of the total mortgage amount.

Your Dreams of Homeownership are Within Reach!

We know you can do it! Please know that you have plenty of options when it comes to buying a home in Raleigh or another popular Triangle community.

When you choose to work with Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, you’re enlisting the help of the Triangle’s #1 real estate team. We have the resources and experience to help you buy the home of your dreams. No 20% down payment necessary!

Ready to begin exploring your home buying options? Please reach out to us today!

 

How Going “FSBO” Costs You More Money in the Long Run

If you’re selling your Raleigh home, chances are you’re trying to maximize your profits. It’s normal for homeowners to look for ways to sell their home for the most amount of money possible, while limiting all of their costs.

However, time and time again, I see new sellers opting to list their home as “FSBO” in order to save a few dollars. Listing your home as “FSBO” means going “For Sale By Owner,” or choosing to sell your home without hiring a real estate agent.

While listing as “FSBO” means not having to pay an agent’s commission, it has a lot of hidden costs and pitfalls and will actually cost you more money in the long run!

An Agent is a Professional in the Real Estate Industry

A professional reviewing graphs.Did you know that a home sold with an agent typically nets 6% more than one sold as “FSBO”?

That’s because an agent knows the real estate market really well—it’s their job after all! They’re an expert in their field, which means they know all the tips and tricks for selling homes.

In addition, it’s their job to stay on top of market trends, housing inventory, and sales prices. An agent knows how to price your home for the market you’re selling in.

Sure, you could rely on an automatic home value estimator to price your home, but those services are famous for being highly inaccurate.

All the “Hidden Work” Agents Do

If you’re choosing to sell your home without an agent, be prepared for a lot of work. After all, when you work with an agent to sell your home, you have them by your side to negotiate on your behalf.

As you sell your home, you’ll probably have to negotiate with:

  • The Buyer
  • The Buyer’s Agent
  • The Buyer’s Bank
  • The Appraiser
  • The Inspection Company
  • The Title Company

And an agent’s work doesn’t stop there! Your real estate agent is your guide to the world of real estate. They’ll be able to provide you with home-selling resources, advice on how to stage your home, an effective marketing strategy, and emotional support during a busy time.

Agents Know How to Reach Buyers

Two people sitting side by side on a couch, one is one a computer and the other is on a tablet.More than 50% of buyers find their home on the Internet. As such, if you’re going to sell your home you need to have a thorough online presence for your home.

A professional real estate agent is more likely to have a comprehensive Internet marketing strategy, as well as a top-tier website where buyers can search for homes.

Selling Your Raleigh Home? Let’s Talk

Here at Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, we want you to make the most amount of money possible when you sell your home. That’s why we offer an array of complimentary home-selling resources, and a specialized marketing plan designed to give your property maximum exposure.

Don’t just take our word for it! Check out our home-selling track record, and see what our clients have to say. There’s a reason we’re the Triangle’s #1 real estate team: we sell homes quickly and for more money, and we’ll help you achieve all of your real estate goals.

Interested in learning more? Give us a call today to get started.

The Pros & Cons of a Buyer’s Letter: Standing Out in a Busy Market

Imagine, after weeks of searching, that you’ve finally found your dream home. It’s in the perfect location with the right features and exactly the amount of space you need. But after requesting more information, your agent informs you that there are already several offers made on the house. How do you stand out in a busy market and snag your dream home?

When buyers are looking to make a lasting impression on sellers, they often opt to submit a letter to the seller. In fact, a recent study found that buyers who submitted letters were 9% more likely to have their offer accepted.

A Buyer’s Letter can work both with you and against you, so it’s important to understand what they are and when you should use one.

What is a Buyer’s Letter?

A man typing on a laptopA Buyer’s Letter is pretty much what it sounds like — a letter written by the buyer for the seller in order to stand out in a busy market. The letter is your chance to make a case for why you should get the home over other buyers.

Many people opt to write about how they envision their lives in the home, how well they would take care of it, how much owning this specific home would mean to them, and similar sentiments.

You might also use this space to talk yourself up, bringing up steady finances, your down payment, and job security — things geared towards making the seller confident in choosing you.

Advantages of a Buyer’s Letter

A man and a woman shaking handsA Buyer’s Letter sets you apart from the crowd and makes you more than just an offer on a sheet of paper — it allows you to connect with the seller on a personal level. In a constantly growing and changing market, being able to stand out or connect puts you a big step ahead of other buyers.

Is the home close to a golf course? Does the seller have bikes in their garage? Are there signs of pets in the home? If you notice you have common interests, including them in the Buyer’s Letter can elevate your standing.

When you choose to forgo a Buyer’s Letter, you miss out on the chance to advocate for yourself, which can go a long way in the seller’s final decision.

Disadvantages of a Buyer’s Letter

A woman writing in a notebook. While there are plenty of pros to using a Buyer’s Letter, there are also pitfalls to consider. Making your case is great, but it does give the seller leverage. If you really love the house as much as you say, then what’s to stop the seller from raising the asking price?

Maybe the seller accepts your offer, and you move to the home inspection stage. If issues turn up, then the seller might refuse to make costly repairs, assuming that you’ll buy the house no matter what.

Another unexpected con of a buyer’s letter? It can be tricky for sellers to navigate around discrimination issues. If a seller picks a buyer of a certain race, religion, gender, or family status instead of another, they could face backlash. Be aware of this when writing your letter so as to not put the seller in an uncomfortable position.

Need Help Standing Out?

If you’re kicking off the home-buying process and need help standing out, we’ve got you covered. When you work with Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, you’re enlisting the help of the Triangle’s #1 real estate team. We know exactly how to help you purchase the home of your dreams.

Get in touch with us today, and we’ll help you secure your dream home, and answer any and all of your questions in the process.

You Don’t Have to Wait Until Spring: Sell Your Raleigh Home for Top Dollar Now

There’s a common misconception that spring and summer are the only times to buy or sell a home. However, when it comes to selling your Raleigh home, that couldn’t be further from the truth!

The thing is, the price of any item is determined by the theory of “supply and demand.” If a lot of people are looking to buy an item, and the supply of that item is low, the price will increase.

Still not catching our drift? Let’s go more in depth.

The Raleigh Housing Inventory is Low

Luxurious dining room with lots of open space.Statistically, during the first few months of the year, the inventory of homes for sale in Raleigh is very low. That number picks up drastically come springtime—because sellers think that’s the most advantageous time to list their home!

However, if you’re looking to sell your Raleigh home, there’s no better time than the present. In fact, waiting until the spring may end up hurting you!

Now is the Time to List

A professional going over a brief on his computer.If you want to sell your home for top dollar, and within your timeframe, then it doesn’t make sense to wait. Buyers are highly motivated to buy a home right now, and there’s no way they’re going to wait until the spring.

Selling while the inventory is low, but the demand is high, is the most surefire way to make an incredible return on your investment in the Raleigh real estate market.

So, Are You Ready to Sell?

Allow our team to help make you the most amount of money possible in your home sale. There’s a reason Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® are the #1 ranked real estate team in the North Carolina Triangle. Our home-selling resources are endless and our success record is unmatched.

From pricing your home correctly to marketing it effectively and making sure closing day goes off without a hitch, Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® are here to help.

Want to start achieving all of your 2019 Raleigh real estate goals? Please reach out to us today.

 

Want to Build Your Wealth? It’s Time to Buy a Home in Raleigh

The most surefire way to begin building your wealth in the NC Triangle? Become a homeowner.

Buying a home essentially forces you to build wealth. To purchase a home, you have to apply for a mortgage loan to pay for it. Then, every month, you pay off a percentage of that mortgage. Each mortgage payment brings you a little bit closer to fully owning the home on your own, and makes your equity a little big bigger. To be honest, your home is really just one big savings account.

So, owning a home and paying your mortgage every month builds your wealth for the long run.

Owning a Home Leads to Financial Security

A white table with a checkbook and small stack of money.According to many housing experts in the real estate industry, buying a home before the age of 35 leads to being better prepared for retirement at age 60.

If you’re a millennial in the greater Raleigh area, you may believe that you can’t afford to buy a home because of the massive down payment or the high mortgage interest rates. However, that’s not actually true!

If you can afford to pay rent every month, you can afford to buy a home. Plus, with so many different mortgage options available, it’s not always necessary to pay a huge 20% down payment!

Navigate the Triangle Real Estate Market

Cute interior decor.It’s never too early to begin planning for your retirement. And, the sooner you begin saving, the better off you will be when it’s finally time to retire!

It’s no secret that housing wealth is the largest single source of wealth currently available. Plus, the emotional benefits that come from buying a home are on the same level as the financial benefits!

If you’re interested in building your wealth by buying a home in the greater Raleigh area, then it’s time to contact Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®.

You Deserve a Successful Real Estate Transaction

When you choose to work with Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, you’re enlisting the help of an all-star team that will stop at nothing to make sure you achieve success in the Triangle real estate market.

As the Triangle’s #1 Ranked Real Estate Team, we know exactly how to help our clients find the perfect home. Give us a call today to explore your real estate options in the greater Raleigh area!

When’s the Best Time to List Your Home? NOW!

If selling your home is at the top of your New Years Resolutions, then it’s time to get started. Although the market is thought to “slow down” during the cold winter months, that doesn’t mean it’s not an advantageous time to sell your home.

In fact, now is the best time to sell your Raleigh home! Want to know why? Because homes are highly in demand, and inventory is at an all time low.

It’s a Seller’s Market

A luxurious outdoor pool with two red lounge charis.While the number of buyers has decreased over the past few months, inventory has been at an all-time low since November of 2018. Truthfully, there just isn’t enough inventory to satisfy what buyer demand there is.

For the last five months, the number of homes for sale has decreased substantially.

According to the National Association of Realtors, the number of homes for sale in the country decreased by about 190,000 from June to November of last year. While demand for homes has decreased slightly over the years, it still far exceeds the current inventory available.

What’s the Bottom Line?

Two professionals reaching across a table to shake each others hand.Now is the time to sell your home! Across the board, the best time to sell your home is when there’s less competition. In a market as competitive as the Triangle, where motivated buyers far outweigh current sellers, now is an incredible time to sell your home!

Selling your home during a “seller’s market” typically guarantees you a better price for your home, fewer hassles in the transaction, and a stress-free selling experience.

Ready to Sell Your Raleigh Home?

Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® are ready to help. We offer a number of different home-selling programs, designed to meet your unique needs as a seller.

Want to receive an instant offer on your Raleigh home? We can help with that, too. You can also research the market, see what homes are selling for in your neighborhood, and get specific home staging tips to make your home sell even faster.