New Home Raleigh

I flew into my birth town, Evansville, Indiana, to surprise my 77 year old mother for Mother’s Day this year. My brother picked me up at the airport on Saturday and he had invited Mother to meet him for dinner at 5 pm. (The time all elderly people seem to enjoy dining the most) I had sent her a card with a note stating that her present was coming in a separate delivery and to keep an eye out for it. She was totally surprised when she walked up to the table and saw me sitting there. It felt good to pull off such a big surprise and even better to see her so happy.. I spent all day Sunday “spoiling her” to quote my mom. We went to lunch on Sunday, shopping where we found several new outfits for her and then to dinner that evening where my brother joined us.. It was a wonderful 48 hour visit with her but, it was sad to see so many for sale signs and very few sold signs to go with them in my home town. I can’t help but, study real estate where ever I go. I love my mom but, real estate is my passion. Only 45 sales were reported in the local paper that week in Vanderburg, County. On the plane ride back to Raleigh, I sat next to a nice man from Michigan and he was sharing with me how bad the real estate market is in his area. It made me very thankful to live in Raleigh, NC where are market has only fallen a couple of percent and inventory is 3 months to 10 months in some zip codes with a great job market to absorb the over abundance quickly. Experts believe Raleigh will have the over abundance gone within 6 to 12 months and prices will remain relatively stable until then. I hope the experts are correct for Raleigh homes and that your area will bounce back soon too. New home construction has slowed down around the country and this will help re-sales have a better chance of selling faster.

 

I have some tips I tell my sellers to do to maximize buyer appeal and increase their chances of selling faster and for more money. Whenever you are trying to sell please email me and I would be happy to email them to you.  I hope my tips will help you too and that you had a great Mother’s Day as well.

Join Me In Supporting A Worthy Cause

Hi Everyone,

 

Many of you know one of my team members, David Toothaker.   He has been a valuable employee over the years and we have all agreed that we do not know how we could ever operate without him.  

 

David is very active in the community and is always helping people as he goes along.  One of the organizations he supports is the American Legion.  The local chapter of The American Legion Post One hosts a Memorial Day ceremony every year at the Raleigh National Cemetery.  Flags are used to decorate the cemetery and the legion is  looking for monetary donations to purchase new serviceable flags that are 5 X 9 1/2.  Many of the flags presently stored at the cemetery have become worn and must be replaced.   

 

The American Legion is one of our country’s truly great organizations and this fundraising effort will help renew one of our most patriotic ceremonies.  Please join me in supporting them if you can.  Donations can be mailed to American Legion Post One, P.O. Box 40097, Raleigh N.C. 27629.

 

Thank you for your support.

 

Linda

Free Fun This Weekend For Your Four Legged Friends

Hi,

I hope I will get to see you this coming weekend at Millbrook Exchange Park, 1905 Spring Forest Road. It is the 19th Annual Bark Around the Park event  Saturday April 26th 11 am to 3 pm. It is a lot of fun for the entire family. Including your 4 legged family members. You will see dog tricks, vendor booths, and Wake County Animal Care, Control and Adoption will be offering on site rabies vaccinations for $5.00 and micro-chipping for $10.00 beginning at 11am. There will be a lot of vendor booths where you can see the latest in pet care and pet spoiling. Something I know all dog lovers can do very well.

Our office,  Linda Craft and Team, REALTORS are one of the major sponsors every year. This year we have invited Stormy from the Carolina Hurricanes to be at our booth. We are also hosting 3 dog bone hunts where we will be giving out over 600 dog bones; setting up a DJ in the back of our moving van (in case of rain) and you can register at our booth for two Carolina Hurricane tickets in the Lexus Champions Club. The tickets include dinner and four drink vouchers. Our tent is the first one on the right as you enter the event. I hope you will stop by to say hello, register for the tickets and meet my two precious dogs Bandit and Katie.

Bandit is a 5 year old Shitzu and Katie is a rescue dog. We think she is around 13 years old. Katie is a Pitt Bull Staffordshire Terrier mix. She is as sweet as can be. Don’t let the Pitt Bull part scare you. Katie’s tail wags so hard her whole body wiggles. Years ago Katie was found eating out of garbage cans in Baltimore. She was skin and bones and very sick. Someone took her to a vet and had x-rays done. They found a bullet in her back hip and she also has a tattoo where she had been in the pound. Now she lives like a princess at my house. She gets groomed every week and has her toenails painted hot pink to match her bandana. Her bed came from Dogmopolitan (an animal print chase sofa just her size) Bandit was born in Smithfield, NC and he moved into my house as a puppy. I named him Bandit because one look at him and I knew he would steel my heart, take up my time and rob my bank account. He has lived up to his name because he has stolen my heart. I could tell you lots of Bandit stories but, I will save them for another time. I am sure if you are a dog lover like me, you have your own stories to tell. Please share them so people reading this blog will not think I am some sort of nut. Only dog lovers can relate and understand why a 53 year old successful business woman would spend time writing about how wonderful her dogs are. Help! Support me in telling the world how great it is to have a dog in their life.

 

Make it a great day!

Linda

Hard Real Estate Facts in a Changing Market

One of our lenders, Paul Fitts of CTX Mortgage emailed this information to our office yesterday. We thought you might want to take a look.

Make it a great day-

Linda

Put the facts on your side!

In today’s housing market, we all know how important it is to get buyers and sellers back into the game. Unfortunately, the media’s continued focus on negative real estate news is keeping many people solidly on the sidelines. But remember, these people aren’t getting the whole story. And the facts they’re missing can alter their mindsets. All we have to do is put those facts out there!

Fact #1: Some six million Americans are expected to buy a home this year. Six million people in the game make up a pretty big game. That’s a level of sales equal to the one we experienced in 1998—by all accounts, a pretty good year.

Fact #2: There is still over $23 trillion of value in u.s. housing stock. Home ownership continues to be the basis of our wealth in this country.

Fact #3: The housing market cannot help but grow. Our country’s tremendous wealth, liquidity, and entrepreneurship will continue to drive our economy. 70-100 million people will be added to our market in the next 40 years.

Fact #4: Real estate is cyclical. The biggest fear in good times is that the fair weather won’t last forever—because it doesn’t. But the reality of a cyclical real estate market also provides its brightest hope in bad times—foul weather won’t last forever either. What’s happening today is a market correction, severe in some places, but it’s not the end of the world. As shown by Fact #1, people are still buying and selling homes. The markets will stabilize.

Fact #5: 2008 is the best year to buy a home in 35 years. 1973 was the last time mortgage rates were this low in a buyer’s market. We had rates this low in 2001 and 2002, but those were strong seller’s markets with little inventory. The last two big buyer’s markets, in the early ’80s and early ’90s had much higher rates. Low rates and good inventory make 2008 the best year to buy in decades!

Fact #6: First-time buyers have a real advantage in today’s market. First-time buyers can buy at a reduced price without having to sell at one too. Higher limits on lower cost conforming loans also help first-time buyers purchase more home for their money. Today’s ‘starter’ homes can be pretty impressive.

Fact #7: First-time buyers lose money while they wait on the sidelines. First, renters typically pay more state and federal income taxes than homeowners with a mortgage deduction. Renters are also losing the wealth they could be accumulating as they pay down their mortgage and as their home increases in value over time (as it surely will). Lastly, renters who wait to buy will lose money if interest rates increase by the time they finally act. Higher payments from higher interest rates represent money buyers could have kept if they had bought earlier. Conversely, if they were willing to spend that amount of money earlier, they could have bought more home.

Fact #8: Homes sell when they’re priced right and show well. Buyers are looking for value in today’s market. When sellers make their home’s value obvious, they make a sale—it’s as simple as that.

Great New Restaurant in Raleigh

Hey Everyone, (in case you are not from Raleigh “Hey” is a southern thing, it means Hello)

savoy.jpg I wanted to let you know about a great new restaurant that opened recently in a small strip mall in North Raleigh. The name is Savoy. It is in the shopping center at the corner of Lead Mine Road and Sawmill Road. I had the best scallops I think I have ever eaten and my husband had duck and said it was fabulous. I also heard the steak was amazing. It is family owned and operated which I just love to support, prices are average for the menu, atmosphere is very nice and I hope you will check it out and agree. Please let me know your thoughts.

My all time favorite family owned restaurant is still Hayes Barton Café especially the filet, and VIC’S at city market is another one very high on my list and then there are a couple in Cary, and of course Durham, and we can’t forget Chapel Hill. Wow the RTP area sure has come a long way. I remember when the Charter Room, Swains, and Slugs were about the only fine dining in the area. People also brown bagged their wine because restaurants didn’t serve alcohol. Do you remember that? Seems like yesterday to me.

If you know of any great restaurant please share. We love to try new places.

Linda

Raleigh Real Estate Values Just Increased

For a second straight year Raleigh, N.C. has been awarded the number one spot for Best Places for Businesses and Careers by Forbes Magazine. Business costs are 14% below the national average, and the area boasts one of the most educated labor supplies in the country, with 38% of the adult population possessing a college degree and 12% holding a graduate degree. Raleigh’s secret is out, and people continue to flock to the area. 60% ofistock_000003250471small.jpg Linda Craft and Team, REALTORS buyer sales so far this year have been relocation. Every time we rank high on the best places to live list, it’s like putting money in the bank for you if, you are a homeowner. People all over the world read Forbes Magazine and many of them are looking for places to live and raise a family where the quality of life and employment opportunities are better. It never fails when and article such as this one hits the stand our relocation traffic increases. One of the reasons our home values have not plummeted like other areas is because of the buyers continuing to relocate here. Say thank you to Forbes because articles like this helps all of us. Now our part is to remember when someone moves into our neighborhood to greet them with southern charm and hospitality. When I call my closed buyers I love hearing them tell stories of how several neighbors came by and brought cookies, bread, pies to welcome them to the neighborhood. Did that happen to you when you moved in? It was certainly my experience in 1983 when I relocated to Raleigh and has been my experience every time I move to a new neighborhood in Raleigh.

Forbes has helped us out with positive national news again. On this blog you can help by telling the world your story too. If you love Raleigh and have a story to tell about your relocation please post it here. The world is wondering as they read Forbes if Raleigh is really as good as the magazines say it is. I know I had my doubts when I moved here. My REALTOR kept telling me how great the weather was and how friendly the people are in Raleigh. She was so right! 70’s and sun shining again in beautiful Raleigh.

Make it a great day!

Linda

The Heart of a Mansion

Last week I had the opportunity to tour the inside of the Governor’s Mansion for the very first time. What a beautiful home! I have driven by it many times and have always been impressed with the grounds, fencing and stately exterior appearance but, the inside is really a work of art. Have you ever seen the inside? If so, do you agree?

How I managed to tour the Governor’s Mansion was by accepting an invitation to a presentation by the American Heart Association called Go Red For Women. Have you heard of this? Go Red For Women is a new campaign they are launching to increase awareness of heart disease in women. Did you know that more women die of heart disease than all forms of cancer combined? They even have a free online assessment to help all of us take charge of our hearts and health. I hope you will go to GoRedforWomen.org and click on the heart check up. It will evaluate your risk for having a heart attack or other cardiovascular event within the next 10 years. Do it today. Don’t wait. I learned the main reason women die of heart disease is they stay so busy taking care of everyone else that they never make time to take care of themselves. Women ignore symptoms because we do not have time to be sick.

Last week I learned how beautiful the inside of the Governor’s Mansion is and I also learned that I have 2 out of the 5 risk factors. High blood pressure and heredity. My dad died of a heart attack the day after his 56th birthday. I am 53. Sound like time for a heart check up for me. How about you? Take time. You are worth it. GoRedforWomen.org

Linda

Foreclosures in North Carolina

Triangle Business Journal reported on February 26ththat foreclosures in North Carolina only increased by 14% in January 2008 compared to January 2007. This foreclosure rate was significantly below the 66.5% increase that RealtyTrac reported for all of 2007. Nationally the foreclosures increased 57% from January 2007. What does this all mean?

The North Carolina real estate market is not as bad as the media makes you think it is. We have such a good area for relocation we are going to bounce back faster than other parts of istock_000004833955medium.jpgthe country. My prediction is stable prices the rest of this year and prices starting to rise (slowly) next year. First increase will be in the prime locations of Raleigh and Cary, followed 12 months later in other areas. The further your home is from prime the longer the bounce back will take. Don’t worry however, in time it will be a sellers market and we will see 6% to 10% appreciation again.

Raleigh Home Buyers

It is a great time to buy. If you are thinking about a new home do it now! Interest rates are low and there are a lot of homes priced well to choose from. When the spring market hits, sellers who are not educated to this market will offer their homes for sale at traditionally higher spring time prices. So find your home now while winter pricing is still up for grabs.

Raleigh Home Sellers

You can sell but, you are not going to see any huge gains. In fact, your sales price today will probably be what it was worth in 2006. Your home has to be aggressively advertised, show well inside and be priced competitively or you are not going to sell. You have a lot of competition. It doesn’t matter what something sold for a year ago. It is all about today’s competition. If you are on the market now and struggling to sell, take action. Don’t sit. Try stagers, look at your competition online and drive by them. Remember new homes sell for 5 to 10% more than re-sales and buyers are looking for good values. Do everything to make yours one of the best, make sure they see it advertised and your sold.

Raleigh Foreclosures and Short Sales

I am seeing more short sales than foreclosures in the market right now and this is good. It means that sellers have learned that they have other options than foreclosure. If you are going to buy a short sale you will need to be patient. It can take 4 to 6 weeks to get an answer from the lender. If you are selling your home as a short sale you need to call your lender every day or two to speed the process up. When you call Loss Mitigation I want you to imagine a room full of people with many desk piled sky high with thousands of short sale requests. This is really what the Loss Mitigation department looks like. The file on top of their pile will get the most attention. Call them, call them and call them again. Every time you make a call your file is pulled out of the stack and it is back on top. Your request will get lost in the pile if you do not stay on top of this.

Hope you have a great weekend,

Linda

Real Estate with the Carolina Hurricanes

People ask me all the time “What is it likeHurricanes Game working with the Carolina Hurricanes”? My first thought is “It’s an honor”. But, I rarely respond with this answer because how I feel is not what they really want to know. They really want to know, what are the players like off the ice? They want the inside scoop. We all struggle imagining what a professional athlete or an actor must be like when they are not on stage. We are even tainted a little because of the negative media that follows anyone famous. And in our minds, we wonder…

I love watching the Carolina Hurricanes on the ice but, I have to tell you I love them just as much off the ice. They are real people with huge hearts. Patient, kind and everyone I have worked with have been devoted to their families and treat them with love and respect that is rare to find in most couples today. They care deeply about the happiness of their wife, children and parents. And yes, just like all wives, the hockey player’s wife makes the decision of which house to buy too! Kitchens are important because they cook! They like home theaters, fenced back yards for their dogs and nice guest rooms for their visiting parents. They play ball in the yard with their kids, read bed time stories, and love their dogs too. They have the same life needs and concerns that you and I do. Concerns such as; health, safety for the family, good neighborhoods and schools, finding quality time, and having a date night with their wife. Even with their big salaries they care about making wise real estate investment just like you do. They also feel the stress every time they relocate to a new area as well as the stress of leaving a vacant home that cost them money every month until it is sold. They ask the same questions you do when buying or selling a home. Is this a good investment? What is the appreciation rate for this area? Can you re-sale it in a year or two? I’m moving, what do I need to do to get this home sold?

This description may not be exactly what you envisioned. Especially when you read tabloids about other famous people and how self centered they make them seem. The hockey players may be tough on the ice but, they are gentle with their family and have their priorities in the right place. You can tell that they have been brought up in good homes where they were taught solid values early in life. They automatically do things like saying please, thank you, and they take off their shoes when they enter someone’s home. They also shock me by taking their time to show appreciation for my help by writing kind notes or delivering gifts to say thank you. They are simply some of the nicest people I have ever had the privilege to work with. Yes, they are amazing athletes but, I hope Raleigh can love and respect them for their talent while treating them like other good neighbors. The players tell me in Canada they can not have a real life. The media is all over them and they rarely write anything nice. Where they go, what they do it always makes the news. When they go to dinner they are surrounded by media and people wanting autographs. Because of this it is hard for them to enjoy a night out in a restaurant with their families. So far, all the players love Raleigh because the fans are very supportive and they tell me they like being able to go out in public and fit in to the community.

When it comes to buying and selling real estate emotions can get pretty high and true character always come out somewhere in the transaction. Let’s face it, real estate is a huge financial investment packed with emotion. It is about money, families and future. What a combination for heightened emotions. Stress of making the decision on what to buy, when to sell, physically moving, grief of saying good bye to friends and familiarity, and all the trauma that goes on with kids, pets and even prized positions being lost or broken. And, as a player you never know when you will be traded and have to start the stressful process all over again. Sometimes it is several times in one year. The players spend a lot of time in hotels and their wife’s spend a lot of time alone. When it is game day they have a regimented schedule that the entire family has to fit into. With all of this, it is amazing that they have impeccable character. If anyone has the right to be self centered, pompous or arrogant I believe the hockey players and their wives have earned this right and yet there is not one ounce of this in their behavior. They are amazingly good people and their wives are beautiful, supportive and extremely nice too.

What’s it like working with the Carolina Hurricanes….as the RBC Centura commercial says; “It’s giant to me” because they are just the best on and off the ice. Everyone I know who lives in their neighborhoods, goes to school with their kids or has met them socially always say the same thing. Have you had a similar experience? Help me tell the world how great these families are to have in our town.

Let’s Go Fans!
Linda

P.S. Don’t forget to register for free hockey tickets on my website, www.LindaCraft.com

Senior Citizen Faces Challenge of Leaving Home

I had a phone call about 9 months ago from an elderly man. His wife had passed away 10 years earlier and his children were grown and all living in other states. He said he called me because he had met me about 15 years ago through his wife. I had worked with his wife, (a former REALTOR) and remembered her well. Years later, he was living alone in the home they had built together and was trying to make the hard decision so many elderly people have to face. Is it time to sell the family home and buy a small condo or perhaps move into a retirement center? His children thought he should sell the home and move while he was in good health. He wanted my advice and an idea of what his home is worth. I was grateful he called me and really wanted to help him make the right decision.

The more we spoke on the phone that night I could tell by some of the things he was saying that he must have been an engineer or at least a high C personality. I ask him what he retired from and he told me he was an engineer. I was delighted once again by the gift I have of understanding people. It helps me help them to know how they process information because everyone is so different. With a keen understanding of his personality I told him he needed to take his time because this is a major life change and I have watched my clients over the years make really good moves and I have also been called numerous times to sell the town home or condo they bought in a hurry and was now miserable. I suggested he get more information. Taking your time and getting more information is music to the ears of this type of personality. And, it is also the only way he will ever be able to make a final decision and have peace about it. Here is what I told him to do. I hope the advice I gave him can help you too if you are facing the same dilemma yourself or with a loved one:

1. I told him to visit all the retirement centers in the area and learn what they have to offer. I also told him of a few that I personally knew of where people were very happy and suggested he start looking there.

2. I suggested he get quotes on what it would cost to improve his home so he could stay there. I gave him names and numbers of people that could help him with maintenance and remodeling needs he has now.

3. I gave him the name of someone who I know and trust that can retro-fit any home for handicap living and suggested he get a quote of what that cost would be should he need it in the future.

4. I offered to spend a few hours and show him what one story condos and town homes look like inside in case he wanted to go that direction.

5. I offered to give him names and numbers of people who were in his age group and living in condos or retirement centers so he could interview them.

6. And of course, I gave him a range of value he could expect his home to sell for.

A lot of this information that I gave him can be found on my web site.
Nine months passed and he called back. He had visited Cypress and was pretty excited about the newest retirement community in our town. He wanted to meet with me to get my advice. We met at my office and when I finally got to put a face with the voice on the phone I remembered him from years back. Who could forget him? He is the kind of gentle spirited man who has eyes that always look like they are smiling. You know the type? It is rare, and unforgettable. He reminded me of my grandfather that had the same eyes. He arrived with a big packet of information. I could tell he had taken my previous advice and had done his homework. He proudly showed me the floor plan, reviewed the cost and wanted me to tell him if I thought it was a good investment and if he would be happy there. I know of a few people who have already bought at the Cypress so I could share their experience with him. As far as investment, any retirement community is going to be a good investment. The baby boomers are living longer and developers can not keep up with the need. Supply and demand is the perfect recipe for all good investments.

We spent time together on the computer pulling up homes on the big flat screen monitor in my office. He was pleased that I could blow everything up so big for him to see and commented on how far technology had come. We searched homes in his neighborhood and surrounding areas so he could get an idea of the price range he could expect. We clicked on photos so I could give him staging advice for his home and talked briefly about how to get his home ready to sale. We only talk a little bit about this subject because I didn’t want to overwhelm him. We also researched the idea of sub-dividing his large lot and without a doubt that data showed he could put more money in his pocket to sell his house on a ½ acre and sell the other ½ acre separately. I ask him at the end of our appointment if our time together helped him. He said yes, he had gotten exactly what he needed. Now he just has to decide if he wants to trade all of this, as he pointed to his home on the big screen, for this, as he pointed to the tiny paper floor plan. I said Andy, I can assure you if you keep asking yourself that question, that way, and your answer will always come up no. You’re not trading real estate for real estate you are trading life style for life style. No one would ever want to trade a life time of memories in a home they built, raised a family in and are use to, for the unknown on a piece of paper. I couldn’t do it. Not if I thought about it that way. I suggested he start asking himself a different question. Ask would I like to trade a lifestyle of living alone for another lifestyle of living with others my age with many social activities to enjoy? If you don’t want to live alone it becomes easier to let go and start looking for what lifestyle fits you the best. It also helps you release the guilt of leaving a home full of memories. I told him to take his time and try to look at it as a lifestyle choice and see if that doesn’t help him know what to do. He said: “I hear what you are saying but, the Cypress is going to have a price increase next month”. I told him to not feel pressured because of a price increase. There will be another Cypress when it is the right time for him. With that he gave me a hug and was on his way to asking new questions. The memory of his hug will go down as one of my best days.

I have a team member named JoAnn who placed her mother in a retirement center 3 years ago. Her mother had been so sick and the family was overwhelmed by the responsibilities of daily care. JoAnn really thought she would never have another Christmas with her mother. By the time a condo at Magnolia Glen finally opened up, her mother could barely walk in the door. Now the two of them are out shopping for a “Senior Prom” dress for the party this month. If you ask JoAnn about retirement centers she would say it saved her mother’s life. JoAnn has said “My mother has so much fun; she now has something to live for”.

I am sure many of you are faced with these same situations right now or will certainly face them in the future. Take a moment to write if you will please. You may be able to help someone else by sharing your story. If I can help you in anyway please ask.

Yours Truly,
Linda Craft