Staging Your Home To Sell It Faster and For More Money

In today’s competitive real estate market I know it is important for my sellers to put their best foot forward. Buyers have a lot of choice and they make that choice on how they “feel” about a home. Buying is emotionally driven. Therefore your home is in a beauty contest competing against a lot of other homes trying to capture the heart of the same buyer. There are four key elements in selling. One of them is “presentation”.

Research shows that well-staged homes sell 50% faster than non-staged homes and at 3 to 10 percent more. Staged homes get better offers because they simply create positive emotions. Buyers are looking for the perfect home and will keep looking until they find one. Staging helps make a home look perfect. Buyers are also looking for the best price and home staging supports the value of a home and encourages top dollar with very little cost to the seller. With staging a small home which has an unconventional floor plan can be showcased to maximize the property’s unique features. And, home staging is designed to keep potential buyers in the home longer. The longer potential buyer tours a home, the more likely they will make an offer. Professionally staged homes also show better than other homes in the same neighborhood which gives your home leverage with buyers looking in a particular area.

I am so impressed with the stagers I use to prepare my listings. I use to go out to sellers homes and tell them what to pack, paint, where to place furniture and what to get rid of. I actually thought I was pretty good until I started working with a true professional. Oh my gosh—what a difference! Stagers know how to maximize presentation. So before you take any pictures, virtual tours or bring the first buyer across your threshold make sure you are really ready. I encourage all of my sellers to slow down. Don’t rush to get a sign in the yard. Let’s get the house ready first. We only have one shot at a good first impression and the first few buyers through the door will be the most motivated and qualified. We do not want to lose them to a house down the street that invested an hour or two with a stager.

Give me a call if you need a referral to a good stager. They can also come in after you buy your new home to help you place furniture and hang all those pictures you can’t figure out what to do with. My office number is 919-235-0007.

Hope you have a great day!


Wedding Anniversary

My husband and I are linda_jay_final.jpggetting ready to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary in October. This is a big deal since we have both failed at marriage before. We have now broken all records by four years and still really love each other and like being together. That in itself is amazing and it is time to celebrate big! We both agree we need to go somewhere special but, I have a really hard time taking off of work. A weekend feels like a week and a week feels like a month for me. I can take off an afternoon and feel like I have had an entire weekend to refresh. I get bored really easy and love being busy. He’s thinking we should get away for two or three weeks and I am starting to have a panic attack at the thought. I know I need to get over it and just do it and I will, but where to go and what to do. Do you have any ideas?

Jay also reminds me regularly that we have never gone on a vacation. I disagree. We travel two to four times per year to wonderful cities like New York, Las Vegas, Orlando, and San Francisco because we get to go together to real estate conferences several times per year. We always take an extra day or two to play while we are there. He says that does not count? What do you think? Is he right? I think it is a vacation with a legal tax write off and I love it. It fits right in to my practical nature and multi tasking personality. I want to be busy and he wants to have no plans and is happy doing nothing this is why the thought of two or three weeks is throwing me into a panic.

When we have this discussion about vacations and who is right and who is wrong I made the mistake of reminding him that our honeymoon was a vacation. We went on a 7 day cruise and spent several days in Florida at Disney World. He was quick to remind me that the cruise also had 8 hours of Continuing Education that we both attended so I could write off our honeymoon. Then he adds that we also visited my mother while we were in Florida too. I was speechless because I knew he was totally right on that one. I really believed our honeymoon was a vacation.

One place I know we have to go is Italy. Jay loves Italian food and wine and he has taught himself Italian from tapes. (I am not kidding; he used tapes in his car) He speaks Italian very well. With the dollar being so bad it doesn’t seem like a wise time to go overseas. Then Jay comes home this week from his Continuing Education class and hands me a flyer on a Mediterranean cruise to Italy and Spain. It departs in October and has 8 hours of Continuing Education being taught on the ship again. Wow this seems very tempting to me. 10 years later we could take another cruise where we get our CE, I get a tax write off, Jay goes to Italy and a cruise allows me to be busy and Jay do nothing if he chooses. What do you think? Do we book it? Is this a win win for both husband and wife? Or do we go to Hawaii or Bermuda, some lost island I have never heard of. What do you think? Help me plan a great 10 year anniversary for October. I think I can handle 10 days to 2 weeks without needing drugs and a straight jacket. It is mindset and I am getting there. Your thoughts are greatly appreciated.

Linda Craft Team Moves to Six Forks Location

We are so excitsix_forks.jpged to be in our new office at 7300 Six Forks Road. All the months of planning and the exhausting move itself is finally over. We now feel like we are at home. Everything is in place, the pictures are hung and life has begun for the Linda Craft Team in our new location. For those of you who have moved recently you know that feeling very well. I always tell everyone on my Team we all need to move frequently so we can relate better to our clients and their total exhaustion on moving week.

This move combined fitting out an office building, repaving a parking lot, bringing in a new phone system and updating all the wiring to accommodate our phones and computer need, moving a server, setting up 19 computers, installing flat screens in the conference rooms, plus all the desks, chairs and files and normal things you think of in an office.

Our move began at 5:00 on a Friday and by noon on Saturday every desk was in the office and set up for business. We actually accomplished all of this with only having our phones shut down for one hour. I also sold two homes Saturday morning and my sellers raced into the office to see who would get to go down in history as the first sale in the new office. They were troopers climbing over boxes to find a place to sit down and sign the contract. Oh by the way…the winner was a seller in Cary.

One of the things that really helped this move go so smoothly was the Team itself. They all pitched in and played a vital part. Brenda had the forethought to hire our appraiser to draw the floor plan and desk configurations and she had each desk placed in the room the way it was to sit. She then numbered each desk, credenza, chair etc. The movers, (Marrin’s Movers) said this really made it easy for them. All of our desks are cherry so I am sure it would have been really confusing to them if it wasn’t marked so well. Debra and Christina volunteered to set up the kitchen. Everyone else packed their own desk and unpacked them. It was a busy day that was ended with an exhausted Team and their spouses enjoying pizza and a champagne toast at the end of a very long day moving day.

I am sure you have some moving experiences or organizational ideas of your own. Please share them with us. If you are in the neighborhood please stop by and see our new home. We will serve you a cold bottle of water or a hot cup of coffee from our Internet Café conference room. 7300 Six Forks Road Raleigh. The corner of Six Forks and Newton. If you get lost call us: 919-235-0007

Are You Wondering How to Contest Your New Wake County Tax Appreciation?

If you are wondering how you can contest your new Wake County tax value here are some tips:

First go to the Wake County webite, Click on Tax, Property & Maps. Print your entire tax report and look for errors. I find errors on every Wake County property report. Keep in mind that the Wake County tax assessor does not come out and physically enter homes. They do not measure every home. I would be shocked if they even drove down the street where your home is located. Trust me; there are errors on your tax record. But be careful so you do not report the errors unless they help you. If they say your square feet is 2,000 and you know you have 2,500 your taxes will go up higher if your report that type of error. The square footage on the tax records are wrong 95% of the time. If your home is smaller than the posted square feet, your tax value will come down. Look for bathroom count. If they have you listed with more bathrooms than you actually have, this will be another adjustment.

Next look at the most recent sold properties in your area. All sold properties can be found on the same web site mentioned above. Click on real estate data to see the value of homes sold around yours. Keep in mind their square feet will not be right either but, if the tax office report shows a home similar in size to yours that sold recently and at a price lower than your new tax value, you have a strong case to get your value reduced.

Last, if you have a recent appraisal of your home that shows a lower value you can also use this. If you refinanced, got an equity line or purchased your home in the past couple of years that appraisal will have a lot of merit for your battle. If you did not get a copy of your appraisal call the lending institute you worked with. They should be able to get you a copy. After all you paid for it so you are entitled to have a copy.

These are all tried and true tips that have worked in the past. I hope they will work for you too. Remember you only have 30 days to appeal so do not procrastinate or you will be stuck with the new tax value for the next 7 years.

The last idea I have (but I do not know if it will work) is to try to talk Wake County tax office down by using Wake County appreciation rates. We know that the past 7 years Wake County as a whole has averaged approximately 4.% appreciation. Some areas have been higher and the tax office will know how will your Township has preformed. Your Township is listed on your tax record. Different Townships have different appreciation rates so if you are going to pull out that card make sure you have the answer. Please email me for a township appreciation rate chart.

I hope this helps you fight the good fight.

The Raleigh Real Estate Tax Assessment

Shocking New Raleigh Real Estate Tax Re-Evaluation!Raleigh Home

No doubt about it, the recent hot news in Raleigh real estate has focused on the new Wake County property tax valuation. Are you wondering if your home could really be worth the tax value the Wake County Tax Office has assigned to your property? If so, you are not alone. My phone has been ringing off the hook and my email box is jammed with messages from people who can’t believe the new tax value Wake County has assigned to their property. If you have questions too, click or call me. I would be happy to help you.

Meanwhile Here is What I Know

I have been selling real estate in Raleigh for many years and I have experienced this phenomenon three times in my career as a Raleigh real estate agent. Every 7 years the Wake County Tax Office re-assess all property tax values. On the 8th year the tax values change. Many other areas change tax values each time a home is sold. The system adopted by the Wake County Tax Office is not in-line with true market values. Here is the problem, our Wake County tax system can be very confusing because many people tend to believe tax value equals market value and it doesn’t. It’s a bit shocking for everyone when they get hit with a 7 year increase in tax value. Here is the “good news”- your tax rate will come down in June and your new tax value will remain the same on your home for another 7 years. It doesn’t matter what price you sell your home for in the next few years, it will not change the tax value. If you’re wondering how much your Raleigh home is worth in the current Wake County real estate market, learn more here.

The Wake County Tax “Fuzzy Math”

Before you break out the calculator and start to crunch the numbers on your new tax value against the current tax rate, keep this in mind. Every seven years the tax value typically goes up while the tax rates actually comes down. This means that even though you will now be paying more due to the increase in value this will be offset by a lower property tax rate. Allow me to offer an example. Let’s assume your original tax value was $300,000. With the current tax rate of 1.113%, your property tax liability was $3390. But now your new tax value is $350,000. But remember, the tax rate is projected to decrease from 1.113% to 1.05735%. Hence $350,000 times the new rate of 1.05735% will be $3700 per year. Unfortunately any way you compute it, your property taxes will increase. If you have an escrow account, count on receiving an adjustment notice early next year.

Stay-tuned! Help is on the way!

On my next Blog I will offer you some timely tips how to fight the new tax value assessment. In the meantime, tell me about your experience with your adjusted tax bill. How bad were you hit by the increase? Have you thought about appealing the new assessed value?

Wishing you all the best,


Don’t forget the Raleigh Christmas Parade!

Come out and join us tomorrow downtown as we join over 60,000 people for the Raleigh Christmas Parade.   Our team has been busy preparing our moving van today which will pull our float tomorrow.   Linda will be on the float along with others from our team.   The Parade starts near the corner of St. Mary’s and Hillsborough Street  and will start at 9:30 am.   Hope to see you there!

We’ve Moved!

Hi everyone,

We are so excited to announce that our team has opened it’s own RE/MAX One Satellite office.  We are now located on the corner of Six Forks Road and Newton Roads in Raleigh.   Feel free to stop by and see us!   Our official office open house will be in December.

10 Reasons To Have Your Home For Sale Now

10. You’ll get a jump start on the marketing and advertising for your home. You can get ahead of other sellers waiting until January or springtime to list their homes.

9. You can sell now but specify a delayed closing date or extended occupancy if agreeable to all parties.

8. Showings can be restricted during personal and family events.

7. January is typically the month for transfers. Transfers cannot wait until spring to buy a house. Your home must be on the market now to capture the attention of these buyers.

6. Many people want to buy before the end of the year for tax and financial reasons.

5. Buyers have more time available to look for houses during the holidays. People have more time off to look and move into a new home.

4. Buyers are more emotional during the holidays and often base their decision on the warmth and good feeling they receive when viewing your house.

3. Houses show better when decorated for the holidays with the bright lights, festive colors and pleasing smells associated with the season.

2. Serious buyers have fewer houses to choose from during the holidays, so properties on the market have less competition, including yours…

1. People who look at property during the holidays are serious buyers and more ready to make a decision.

If you are interested in listing your home please contact me at 781-9298. We have qualified buyers who are looking for homes.

Hope you have a safe week!


Thank You!

Hi everyone,

I was very excited and grateful to hear that our team has recently moved up to the #17 RE/MAX Team in the US.   With our ever changing current market we have seen a drop in home sales since August.  However, thanks to all of my clients and people who help support us our team has contined to remain strong.    Thank you for all of your referrals and repeat business.   We appreciate you!