Raleigh, NC Ranked #1 on Forbes List

Good news for all of us who live and love Raleigh, NC. Forbes.com ranked Raleigh #1 March 25th, 2009, as the best place for business and careers. Durham ranked #3.

With wonderful publicity such as this, PLUS  UNC and Carolina Hurricanes both in the play offs for championships the Raleigh real estate market is getting a nice media boost.

As predicted the Raleigh real estate market is bouncing back faster than other areas around the country. Sales in all price ranges have increased. I have had multiple offers on several properties and other Raleigh REALTORS have reported this as well.

Raleigh declared one of the top places to live by Forbes.com

Many people are still waiting and trying to time the Raleigh Real Estate bottom. In the lower price points $300,000 and below, those that are waiting have missed it.

Inflation will drive up interest rates so if owning a piece of Raleigh real estate is in your future I would take action now. Rates are low today and Raleigh home prices are stabilizing and on the rise in some areas.

Please don’t be one of the people who look back 2 years from now with regret that you didn’t buy a Raleigh home or investment property when you had this incredible opportunity. It is really a great time to buy.

If you or any of your friends, families or co-workers have have questions about the the current Raleigh homes market, I am available by email or at (919) 235.0007.

Have a great day-

Linda

Pricing a Raleigh Home

It Takes Four Things For Every Homeowner to Sell a Raleigh Home:

1.   A Compelling Price

2.   Condition

3.   Access

4.   A good marketing agent

Many sellers today feel very beat up and out of control in this challenging and competitive Raleigh real estate market. Many Raleigh home sellers get mad at their real estate agents when their homes do not sell but, the truth is the REALTOR has very little control. As a seller you decide the list price, how easy or difficult you’re going to ake it for us to show; you decide whether or not you are going to put it in good showing condition; you decide whether or not you’re going to be cooperative on financing options and closing cost. Your REALTOR does not decide any of that and neither does the buyer. You’re in 100% control. Additionally, your REALTOR can’t make the buyer pay what you might want, any more than your REALTOR can make you take what they buyer offers. You’re in control- you have the final say over the sale of the house. Your REALTOR’S  job is to advise you, give you the truth about current market conditions, market your home aggressively to generate leads and follow up on every lead to create opportunities for an offer.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss strategies in this current real estate market, please give me a call at 919.235.0007 or send me an email.

Linda

5 Things to Know When You Are Trying to Avoid Foreclosure and Save Your Credit

Unemployment, divorce, job transfer, death, financial crisis is finding many Raleigh homeowner’s struggling to make their mortgage payments. Mortgage payments are due by the first day of each calendar month. They are late on the 15th day of the month. After 15 days a late payment reminder letter arrives, after 30 days it is mortgage default and the ugly phone calls begin from the collection department. The stress of not knowing how to make ends meet and combined with the threatening calls received daily leaves many owners of Raleigh homes wanting to lock the door, cancel their phone and run away to what they hope will be a quick fix; bankruptcy or foreclosure.

Everyday I talk to people who are in despair. The best answer is to sell their home, pay off the debt, and move to a smaller more affordable home. However, many Raleigh homes have not appreciated enough to satisfy the cost of selling and the mortgages owed. If you find yourself in this situation a short sale is your best solution. Mortgage lenders do not want to own real estate. They are eager to work with you on a short sale. So eager that I have many lenders calling me directly to tell me my seller has missed payments and they are willing to do a short sale. They request from me that I get the home owner to submit a pre-foreclosure short sale package. Why, because they do not want to foreclose and own real estate. They want to help find a win win solution.

For most home owners it very confusing and hard to believe that their mortgage company wants to help them when they are receiving threatening phone calls from the collection department. Those phone calls feel like they are only out for blood. And, in some ways they are, at least that one department. Every mortgage company has different departments with their own agenda. The Origination Department makes loans. They are the friendly sales force for the mortgage company who want to give you money. They are paid when you borrow. The collection department has only one job and that is to collect. Some would say; “collect by harassment.” When the Collection Department pressures you into paying they receive a bonus.  Loss Mitigation or Home Retention is another department at your mortgage company. They want to work with you to stop a foreclosure and encourage short sales and other solutions to avoid foreclosure. To learn more about the solutions to stop foreclosure visit LindaCraft.com

5 Things You Need to Know to Save Your Credit

and Avoid Foreclosure:

  1. When you call your mortgage company, make sure you get to the right department.
  2. There are thousands of short sale request daily so it takes a lot of time to get through. Be patient.
  3. The work load in Loss Mitigation is causing employee turn over to be very high. If you do not get the answer you want when you call in the first time, call back and talk to someone else. The employee turn over in the pre-foreclosure departments is so high that you may get a new employee that doesn’t know what they are doing. If you get someone new you may be told things that will make you want to run away again. You can always ask to speak to a Supervisor’s.
  4. Whatever you do, don’t let your Raleigh home go into foreclosure. There are other solutions. Foreclosure equals 10 years of horrible credit and every foreclosure reduces surrounding home values approximately 9%.
  5. A bankruptcy may seem like a quick fix to stop the harassing phone calls but, in the end you will have a bankruptcy and a home foreclosure on your credit report. Do a short sale first and a bankruptcy afterwards only if you still need to.

If you have any questions I can be reached at (919) 235-0007.

Linda

Should Buyers Buy in a Buyers Market?

Interest rates are below 5%, there is a surplus of housing which gives buyers unbelivable choices, sellers are motivated to sell and are pricing realistically and are still negotiating even lower than list price…Sounds like a fabulous buyers market to me and buyers should buy. Right? But, here it is January 2009 and buyers who really want to get a great house at an affordable price could do so right now and they are parralized by fear and waiting. Waiting for what?

When you ask them why they are waiting, they will say because they don’t want to pay too much. As a Raleigh residential real estate broker for 24 years it amazes me that in a sellers market where there are very few homes to chose from and buyers frequently settle for less, while paying top dollar because many buyers are in bidding wars and pay above asking price to get a home—buyers buy. They buy fast when prices are high and wait when prices are low? Fear causes them to pay too much in a sellers market and is now causing them to miss out on a great buy in a buyers market. Why do buyers buy in a sellers market when the prices are the highest and they will not buy in a buyers market when the prices have dropped and interest rates too. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Raleigh Real Estate Boasts Unique Homes

Most of the homes in Raleigh have very similar features; bonus rooms,      cul-de-sac lots, family rooms that open to the kitchen, neighborhood pools etc. But today, I wanted to share with you about a home that I have recently listed a home that is uncharacteristic for Raleigh homes. This Raleigh home is a rare treasure and a totally refreshing, surprise that I wanted to share with you. I have listed for sale an amazing 83 acre, mabrygated estate that features a private vineyard!  If you live in California this would not be unique but, in Raleigh, NC a vineyard is one of a kind for a Raleigh home.  Wine makers started moving to North Carolina several years ago because they discovered our mild winters and humid climate is very conducive for growing fabulous grapes. But, no winemaker thus far, has staked a claim to Raleigh real estate. This Raleigh home is an opportunity for you to be one of the first in the area to own your very own vineyard of Muscatine’s wines.  The property offers a custom built home with over 5,000 square feet, stocked pond, in ground swimming pool surrounded by several decks for outdoor entertaining and 8 car garage with one garage featuring a private office.  The gated estate could be subdivided, horses are also allowed and it is only 10 minutes from major shopping. Offering price is $2,100,000. If you would like to know more about unique Raleigh homes, please contact me for a private consultation and we will toast the Triangle together with fine wine and beautiful Raleigh homes.

Cheers!

Linda

Safety for Raleigh Home Owners

Today I heard that WRAL- Channel 5 -would be featuring a story on the potential danger home owners face when allowing strangers into their home when they are selling it themselves.   As Agents we take this matter very seriously.   Some of you may remember several years ago when a real estate agent in the Fayetteville area was shot and killed when showing someone a vacant home.   The North Carolina Real Estate Commission published a booklet for agents on safety and what people should and should not do when meeting strangers for the first time.   Our local Board of REALTORS and Triangle MLS requires all agents to sign a confidentiality agreement stating that they will keep all lock box codes, security alarm passwords and such matters confidential.  The fine for sharing any of this information with a non-agent can be as high as $1,500.   This is a very serious issues and I urge you to take as many precautions as you can before you open your home to strangers, including service providers and lawn care professionals.  Make sure that you know their true identity and ask for proof of driver’s license, business license, etc.  What ever may apply to help keep you and your family from danger.  

 Here are a few good tips to use:

Write down the color, make, model and license number of the car the person arrived in.

Tell someone you trust who are meeting, what time they will be at your house, what time they should leave.  Have them call you at a certain time to make sure you are ok.

Keep your cell phone in your pocket, not in a different room

Trust your instincts.  You have them for a reason

 Dress for safety- do not wear expensive jewelry

 Keep your valuables out of site- your laptop is included in this too.

For more information on how to protect yourself contact the Raleigh Police Department or an agency that offers self protection classes.

 Have a great day-

Linda

Raleigh Has A Growing Number of Homes in Foreclosure

Every day I watch and the number of new listings, price reductions and failed listing in the Raleigh real estate market. It is very concerning to me as I see our historically safe real estate market falling and our personal equity investment decreasing. Although Raleigh home prices have not fallen to the extent other areas have, we too have been touched by the forces in this economy.

The past two years have real estate values flat for some Raleigh homes and declining for others. One factor that has caused a decline in property values is the increasing number of Raleigh home foreclosures. We have a second wave of foreclosures postured for early 2009.

Many ask; “how long will it take for Raleigh home prices to return to the highs of 2005 and 2006”? Some believe a year, others think three to five. One thing I know for sure is it will not be this spring.

The mortgage crisis that started with subprime has become an economic snowball that is rolling down hill fast. Housing controls 40% of our economies fuel. Which means it’s no longer just the housing market that is struggling, every business has been affected. Unemployment is growing and people in all price ranges and in every walk of life is losing their homes to foreclosure.

If you know of anyone struggling to make their mortgage payments please have them contact me or any other REALTOR with a CDPE designation. There is help available but, in people in that situation do not know where to turn. Foreclosure and the terrible negative effect it will have for years and years can be avoided. A foreclosure on a credit report has the absolute worst consequences. It will affect their ability to rent a home, buy a car, get student loans for the children’s education and may even keep them from getting a job.

Every person that is saved from foreclosure helps Raleigh homes prices stabilize faster. If we can reduce foreclosures we will protect our own property values and the equity we all need for our future while helping someone else have a future too.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call me at the office- (919) 235-0007.

Linda

The Raleigh Real Estate Market is Causing Unbearable Stress and Heartache For Many Families.

The Raleigh Real Estate market is causing unbearable stress and heartache for many families. Many Raleigh homeowners’ are losing their homes to foreclosure because their anticipated income did not keep pace with their adjustable rate mortgages and inflation. Many people in this position call a REALTOR to help them sell their homes only to discover that the past two years of decreasing home values in Raleigh has left them owing more for their home than they can sell for. REALTORS will tell them if they sell now they will bring money to the closings table. Not having money to pay to get out of their house they tell the REALTOR they will have to wait. 6 to 12 months later they end up giving their homes back to the bank in foreclosure which ruins their credit and hurts our Raleigh Real Estate values even more. The story doesn’t have to end like this.

As of September 2008, it is reported that 1 out of 10 people with ALL mortgages in the US are now in default. This is a huge number on top of the 1 in 45 that is already in foreclosure. With more job loss on the horizon we are going to see more foreclosures in our Raleigh Real Estate market. What saddens me the most is that 7 out of 10 homeowners go into foreclosure with out hiring a REALTOR that has a CDPE Designation to help them negotiate with their Mortgage Company. Banks do not want to own real estate and they welcome the opportunity to have an experienced REALTOR assist with solutions.

If you know of anyone struggling to make their payments please have them call me at 919.235.0007 for a confidential consultation. I can help them avoid foreclosure and save the credit they need to have to re-establish their lives.  

Linda

Staging Your House to Sell

Many people ask me weekly “What do I need to do to sell my home?”  Buyers purchase homes with emotion.  So, one of the things you have to do is stage your home to capture emotions.  There is a big difference between staging a house to sell and decorating a home. When you decorate you fill space with personal color and design that apeals to your taste. When you stage for selling you remove everything personal and try to make your space more of a blank canvas.  A blank canvas allows the buyer to easily imagine themselves living in your home.  You also want a blank canvas that appeals to the largest sector of buyer profiles. Yesterday I met with a family that had been trying to sell their home for 6 months.  They had personally (not professionally) sponge painted two bedrooms. One was pink the other blue. They chose those colors because they had a boy and a girl. I advised them to neutralize the rooms.  They told me their decorator said to leave the colors because they added charm and since it was a family neighborhood having colors that appeal to both sexes would be good for a sale.   I told the homeowner that I disagreed with the decorator and her assumptions. I shared my concern and reminded them it is a buyers market where only 1 out or 14 homes sell and they are competing with new homes too. New homes do not use personal colors and they spend millions of dollars researching buyer preferences. Further more, even in a family neighborhood my experience is that the likelyhood of their buyer having both a boy and a girl that would appreciate  their personal handsponged painted blue and pink walls was very narrow. To sell your home it needs to appeal to the maximum number of people. I was certain I was telling her truth that would help them sell their home but, I don’t think I will get this listing.  They told me that they would have to get back to me.  By their body language, they clearly didn’t like my answer.

What do you think? Spend $50.00 and take away the blue and pink walls or take the chance the perfect buyer will come through the door that would actually want someonelse’s art project on their walls?

In real estate there is a saying: “It is always best to be the first born, second wife and third REALTOR.”

Maybe they will call me back- you know what people say -“The third time’s the charm.  I hate to loose.

Linda