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.


Raleigh REALTOR Earns Certified Distressed Property Expert Designation


Linda Craft
Linda Craft

Linda Craft and Team REALTORS® announced today that Linda Craft has achieved the Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) designation from the Distressed Property Institute. Craft is the first and only REALTOR® in Raleigh to receive the designation, joining only 1000 agents worldwide that have earned the certification.

“Historically, a percentage of the real estate market has consistently been in distress,” said Craft. “With the recent challenges in the subprime lending market, this percentage has grown exponentially. I felt it was important to acquire the specialized knowledge needed to assist home owners in need.”

Rapid growth in what once was a niche market requires agents to gain specialized knowledge and learn new processes that will allow them to successfully assist homeowners in need. The Distressed Property Institute provides the tools and information REALTORS® need to help distressed homeowners avoid foreclosure and move forward with their lives.

To further enhance the ability to provide homeowners with every option available to find the best solution for their situation, Craft has established a new division to handle short sales and foreclosure properties in addition to her company’s Retail Residential Real Estate services. She and her team now have the expertise necessary to guide homeowners step by step through the review of 11 options available to avoid foreclosure and alternatives to preserve their credit history. In addition, they are prepared to help buyers trying to maximize their home buying budget through the often complex process of locating, evaluating and purchasing a foreclosure or short sale property.

About Linda Craft and Team

Linda Craft and Team, REALTORS®, the Triangle’s 4th ranked real estate team, has been helping individuals and families find a place to call home in all price ranges for over 20 years. A Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), Linda Craft has helped over 5,000 people maximize profits and minimize costs in the sale or purchase of a home. Whether you are looking for your first home or your dream home, planning to relocate, or need to sell for the highest value, the Linda Craft Team can help. For more information, please call 919.235.0007 or visit

Raleigh Homeowners Struggling With Their Real Estate Investment

My phone rings a lot with people who need to sell and have unbearable heartaches in their lives. Divorce, job loss, death, retirement loss, rising cost of living paralyzing cash flow and when you couple that with 2 years of a declining real estate market it has made me more than a REALTOR, I am now a counselor and consultant for many families. People ask me all the time; “How is business”? I could tell them it is full of opportunity, because it is. But, I usually just tell them the truth; “It is an emotional roller coaster”. I am still gratefully selling houses and haven’t missed a meal but, the sadness that I deal with daily caused by this declining real estate market is what makes my business so hard. This week I had several listing appointments and all had serious struggles in their lives. Last week one of my sellers had to bring $68,000 to closing to get out of their Raleigh home so they could get into their new home in another state.

Many families come to me whom are facing foreclosure. So many people I meet are “upside down” in their home and they can’t sell. Upside down is a real estate term for owing more for your home than it can sell for. We are always upside down when we buy a new car, diamond ring, furniture or most anything else in life but, we don’t expect it from real estate. My seller appointments are riddled with shock and sadness and my buyer appointments are so excited because they are getting more house than they ever dreamed of. My world can be an emotional roller coaster every day but, I know as a professional the best thing I can do for my home buyers and home sellers it to stay firmly planted on the ground for them. They need me more than ever to give them good advice.

Some advice I am giving is: BUY NOW it is a fabulous buyers market. If you don’t have to sell, don’t list now. It is not the time to try or test the market. Only motivated sellers have success. The rest fail. If you need to sell hire someone with a successful track record and extremely good Internet exposure. Follow their advice for staging and pricing. Every home is in a beauty contest and a pricing war. To sell in this market you need a business plan. “Let’s try it” mentality doesn’t work.

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

Hope you have a great week.


Saving Raleigh Homeowners From Foreclosure

One my best real estate days is when I can save a family from loosing their Raleigh home to foreclosure. Don’t get me wrong I love the natural high of negotiating a sale for one of my sellers or finding the right home for a buyer but, the family facing foreclosure is in crisis and their need for my experience makes 23 years of hard work priceless. This year I have had the opportunity to help a lot of people get out of trouble. One family called me and they had a job loss and a serious health issue that required long hospitalization. The medical bills were so high and they hadn’t made their house payment in three months. When the phone range my heart broke as they shared their struggles. This family like so many others needed help and didn’t know where to begin. It was a great day for all of us when I negotiated a short sale with their bank, with a full release, and saved them from the damage of a foreclosure.


With a short sale your credit report takes a small hit but, it can recover quickly. With a foreclosure it haunts your future for 10 years and makes a hopeless situation so hard to put behind you. When there is a foreclosure on your credit report people have a difficult time getting approved for rentals, credit for auto purchases, student loans, credit cards, insurance and it can even keep you from getting employment. There is nothing that damages your credit more than a foreclosure. Before you go down that ugly route please call a REALTOR like myself with a CDPE Certified Distressed Property Expert designation and discover your many options.


I hope that you stay warm today-


Raleigh Real Estate is Full of Great Deals

As of December 2008 the Raleigh real estate market has an average of 11 months absorption rate for homes in all price ranges. This means it is the absolute best time to buy because there are so many good homes to choose from. Right now Raleigh homes have very motivated sellers including: REO, short sales, foreclosures and builders sitting on a lot of inventory. Best of all the interest rates are very low and there is a $7,500 tax credit for first time home buyers. It just doesn’t get any better for buyers than right now.

If you are planning to buy a foreclosure or short sale keep in mind all offers are contingent upon bank approval and the process could take 90 days to get an answer from the banks. Also, the homes are sold “as is” and it is difficult to get REO companies to pay any mortgage closing cost for buyers. FHA short sales will not pay closing cost at all. It is important to know what type of mortgage the short sale seller has before you make an offer so you can structure your offer correctly. If you need closing cost paid you may want to negotiate on a builder inventory home or motivated seller to assist instead of shopping foreclosures and short sales. If you have questions give me a call.  My office number is 919-235-0007.   I have access to short sales, foreclosures, builder’s inventory and buyer incentives plus thousands of Raleigh homes for sale. It is a buyer’s market which means it is best to explore all of your options with a consultation first.

Have a great day-


30% to 50% of all Homes Sold in the US may be in Short Sale or Foreclosure

I was at a CDPE Certified Distressed Property Expert conference  recently and the trainer said; “30% to 50% of all homes sold in the US in 2009 will be in short sale or foreclosure. He also said most home owners do not know where to turn for help so they end up in foreclosure because they wait to long to start seeking help. 7 out of 10 homes that go into foreclosure have not enlisted the services of a REALTOR  to help them avoid the hardship of a foreclosure. Hopefully his percentages will not be that high in Raleigh since our real estate market did not have the large bubble that other real estate markets experienced. However, I know Raleigh real estate market will be affected significantly by the thousands of homes in foreclosure now and even more in short sale.
When working to avoid foreclosure pertinence is a must.  The time investment in negotiating with the banks and the paperwork required is labor intense. Wells Fargo is reporting 15,000 short sale request per day. Imagine what the loss mitigation departments at mortgage companies look like today. In the past they had a desk with files stacked high. Now there have truck loads of short sale packages arriving daily. Which package do you think stays on top and is processed quickly and which ones fall to the bottom? The packages with accurate paperwork have the best chance of getting through.
If you find yourself or know someone who is struggling to make their house payments contact a REALTOR that has the CDPE designation, Certified Distressed Property Expert. These REALTORS have had advanced training and are equipped to show you the many options available to avoid foreclosure. Did you know one out of every ten homeowner’s are in mortgage default right now. That is a huge number and with unemployment increasing daily it will probably get worse before it gets better.  We are all in very challenging times.
 When buying or selling a foreclosure or short sale keep in mind you must have time and patience when negotiating with a bank to avoid foreclosure. If the bank receives correct paperwork that tells a compelling story, your sale could take 90 days or more to complete. 
Here are very important items to include with your short sale package:
Hardship letter
2 year tax returns
2 month bank statements
2 pay stubs or P&L if self employed
Signed offer to Purchase Contract
HUD statement

If you have any further questions or know of someone who is behind on their mortgage payments, I can help.   My office number is 919-235-0007.

Hope you have a great weekend.


Problems That Arise From Overpricing Raleigh Homes

Never select a REALTOR based on price because there is no exact price for real estate. If a REALTOR tells you they can get X for your home they are either guessing or lying to get your listing. The market always determines value. Value is what a buyer is willing to pay. The only way to know what a buyer is willing to pay is to place your home on the market. The seller always sets the asking price and your REALTORS job is to advertise and then interpret the market for their seller. One thing that is true in every city around the world, an over-priced home will never sell and can cause you costly problems.

Problems that arise from overpricing:

  • Lack of showings
  • Minimal MLS participation
  • Lost advertising dollars
  • Lost time
  • Reduced advertising response, if any
  • Buyers are reluctant to make offers
  • Help sell your competition
  • Appraisal problems
  • Your personal selling goals delayed
  • Property becomes market worn
  • Property sells below market value
  • Property does not sell at all

Timing A Raleigh Real Estate Purchase

I have gone to a lot of Christmas parties this season and I keep having people ask me; “when I think they should buy real estate. Should they buy now, wait till spring or wait until 2nd quarter”? My answer is if you have a steady job and can afford a mortgage payment now is the best time to buy real estate in Raleigh. There is plenty of money to lend and it is easy to get a mortgage if you have a job and average credit. I know with all the media hype it is scary trying to figure out when to pull the trigger. No one wants to make a mistake but, if you miss the “perfect time” you will not miss it more than $10 or $20 per month. I will explain this one later, please read on.

The daily news is enough to make everyone worry and second guess themselves. Keep in mind the one thing the media doesn’t makes clear is that Raleigh real estate is not Miami real estate. Our local market did not have the highs of other markets and we have not had the extreme lows either. But, the biggest thing no one is talking about is the number of millionaires made after the great depression and again after the Savings and Loans crisis of the 80’s. More millionaires followed that real estate crisis than any other time in history. I was selling real estate during the Savings and Loan crisis of the 80’s. I remember when Preston Country Club and many other developments went into foreclosure. Oh how I wish I had bought some of those homes back then. Our residential mortgage crisis that started in 2006 is just like the commercial Savings and Loan crisis of the 80’s. Ask Mr. Goodnight if he has any regrets about buying Preston out of the S&L foreclosure. That is why I am so passionate and absolutely convinced your then is now and you need to buy Raleigh real estate today. I guarantee you some savvy real estate investor is going to snag Hasentree up fast.

I watch so many people continue to sit on the home buying fence trying to figure out the perfect time. You have an opportunity now while history is repeating itself for you to be the beneficiary of this cycle. Your time to build wealth in real estate starts today and here are more reasons why: Raleigh residential real estate sales are off 40% from this time last year. This means there are a lot of very motivated sellers out there that are ready to deal. Interest rates are below 5% and there are mortgage companies that will lock your rate at 5% and re-lock your rate if it goes down before closing. So you do not need to worry about rates. Lock and go with peace of mind. Motivated sellers and low interest rates is the formula for incredible buying power right now. If rates go up or sellers start to see positive signs your buying power drops immediately.

You know what is really sad 98% of the people waiting will miss the bottom. Think about it….how does anyone really know when the bottom happens? The only way to know is when prices start going back up. So the questions to ask yourself is; “Would I rather buy one day too early or one day too late?  Some people are waiting hoping the market will fall lower or interest rates will drop another fraction. Interest rates are so volatile right now they adjust 3 times a day. They could go up. They could go down but, how much money would you actually save if rates drop a quarter or half of a percent. Maybe $10.00 per month. Do you want to risk rates going up over $10.00?  Or another way to look at it is, do you want to lose the best house for you and your family over $10.00 a month? When you do the math and consider all possibilities it just doesn’t make sense to wait.

Oh, but there is more…every seller I know believes the new year and especially this spring will mean higher prices for them. If sellers believe they will get higher prices they will not negotiate a bottom price with you. They will start waiting too. Right now prices have dropped because sellers believe the market is bad. The best time to buy real estate is when a seller fears that tomorrow will be worse than today. That time is now but, it won’t last long. I really believe you need to get off the fence and start buying now or you may end up regretting that you didn’t buy… in this fabulous buyers market.


Raleigh Homeowner Rescues Senior Dogs

Hi Friends,

I have the privilege through my Raleigh real estate career to meet the most interesting people. This year I was blessed with a family who purchased a home from my Team and is now bringing love into many Raleigh homes. This family has a heart for homeless old dogs and they formed The Grey Muzzle Organization to benefit homeless senior dogs. Senior dogs are abandoned for many reasons: families move, owner’s won’t or can’t provide needed medical care, or they just aren’t “fun” anymore. Their goal is to create a world where no old dog dies alone and afraid. They are placing homeless senior dogs into new homes all around Raleigh and the Triangle. To learn more about The Grey Muzzle Organization visit

I have an old rescue dog in my home named “Katie,” and when she goes to doggie heaven, I would love to have another old dog just like her. She’s the best!

Have a great day-


Best Chili in Raleigh

Last Sunday I was ask to be one of the judges for the Rex Healthcare 2nd annual celebrity chili cook off at the RBC center. This event is held to bring awareness to Rex Heartburn Center. A large percentage of the population suffers from heartburn and most do not know that Rex Healthcare has a local facility to help.

Ron the Ref, of the NHL and Mark Thomas, of 99.9 the fan were also judges. The three of us tasted chili and voted on ten area restaurants. They each had very distinctive flavors to appeal to many different pallets. At the end of the judging we unanimously voted for the top three best chili’s in Raleigh. So, with the chill in the air if you are craving a hot bowl of chili to warm you up, here’s the list of competitors and the winners:

Carolina Ale House

Bella Monica


Dos Taquitos

East Village Bar & Grill

Irregardless Café

Rex Healthcare

Savor Hospitality

Tavola Rossa

Zely & Ritz

And the winners were: 3rd place, Bentleys2nd place Zely & Ritz1st place Bella Monica!

To learn more about Rex Heartburn Center call 919-784-BURN

Bon appétit!