Why Owning a Home is One of the Most Effective Saving Strategies

Over the past few months, we’ve talked a great deal about the benefits of owning a home—and why today’s market is one of the best windows to buy.

With a new set of numbers released on home equity, we’ve got another major reason why owning a home pays: it forces you to save, and in the process, those savings only appreciate.

It’s All About Equity

A jar of coins.

As you pay off your home, you start building up your equity—which is, in short, the difference between the current value of the home and what you still owe on the home. As your home appreciates in value and you chip away at the payments, your equity increases. Think of it as a “forced savings account.”

During the housing crisis and recession from 2006 to 2008, it was common for homeowners to dip into their equity and pull out money for other big ticket purchases, which ended up spelling major trouble for their personal finances.

Since your equity is technically an asset, it’s part of your net worth. The greater your equity, the greater your net worth, the better your chance of building future wealth.

The Latest Numbers

A person paying off their bills.

According to a recent report from CoreLogic, the average homeowner gained a staggering $65,000 in equity over the last 5 years. Not only that, but another study from the Urban Institute found that 37.1% of all homes in the country are totally mortgage-free. Of the remaining 63% of homes, about half of them have at least 50% equity—and that number is only going up.

Crunch the numbers, and you’ll find that just over 50% of all homes in the country have at least 50% equity. That means a whole lot of homeowners are continuing to pay into that “forced savings account” and are setting themselves up for major future wealth in the process.

The Importance of Equity

A house.

By building up your equity, you’re ensuring that you have a firm financial base to stand on in the future. It does, however, take time to accumulate. That’s why it’s important to take advantage of current market conditions, and begin your journey to increased equity.

Ready to Invest in Your Savings Account?

Buying a home now means building your equity sooner and ensuring a stable financial future. Now’s the time to jump in! If you’re ready to get started with the buying process, the Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS® is here to help. Take some time to browse our resources, use our specialized search tool to narrow down your options, and give us a call to get started.

Ace Your Real Estate Experience: A+ Reasons to Hire an Agent

In a lot of ways, buying and selling a home is like a test. You want to make sure you study up on all of the materials and have the right supplies before you get started.

But maybe most importantly, you want to make sure you have a teacher that can guide you through the material in a way that’s easy to understand and sets you up for success.

If you’re on the fence about hiring an agent to help you buy or sell your home, here are a few ways we can help you ace the process.

Decode Contracts

Paperwork.

During the real estate journey, you’re going to have to deal with a lot of paperwork. Sometimes it’ll be easy to understand, but other times, all of that jargon will probably look like a foreign language—especially if it’s your first time.

We’ll make sure you’ll know exactly what the papers say, why they’re necessary, and what they mean for you.

Breeze through Negotiations

People shaking hands across a table.

If you aren’t used to negotiating, then this step in buying or selling a home can be tough to handle—especially since you’ll be emotionally invested in the process.

When you work with an experienced realtor, we’ll act as a buffer between you and the other party. Not only will we work to get the best deal possible for your wants and needs, but we’ll also provide a level-headed perspective.

Understand Pricing

People pointing at a laptop screen.

If you’re selling your home, then finding the right price is the key to success. Price too low, and you won’t maximize your investment. Price too high, and you’ll miss out on buyers—and maybe even have to bring your price down.

Luckily, we can make sure you have the right price from the get-go. With our home valuation, we’ll take into account all of the local and national real estate trends, as well as any updates you’ve made to your property.

When it comes to buying, we can also help you figure out whether you’re getting a fair price for your purchase. The last thing you want to do is spend your hard-earned money on a home that isn’t worth it!

Translate Market Conditions

People in a meeting.

Did you know we’re in a period of nearly unprecedented drops in mortgage rates? That home prices have been steadily ticking up this year? That more and more millennial buyers are entering the market?

We know all about the intricate details that make up the market conditions. These details can help decide everything from how high you can price your home to how long it’ll sit on the market. Before you even list or start searching, we can breakdown what the current conditions mean for your experience.

Benefit from Experience

People getting keys to a home.

Above all, we know the ins and outs of buying and selling. We’ve been around the block more than a few times—after all, our team does have hundreds of years of combined experience in real estate—so we know exactly what it takes to be successful.

You might have other options when it comes to real estate professionals in the Triangle, but if you get to know a little more about our team, you’ll start to understand why our clients swear by us.

Don’t Flunk Your Real Estate Journey

If real estate is like a test, then we think we can help you ace it. At Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, we have years of experience with buying and selling homes in Raleigh—meaning we know exactly how to handle whatever the market throws at us.

Take some time to explore our resources, whether you’re buying, selling, or just exploring the area, and give us a call when you’d like to get started!

Nervous About a Recession? Here’s Why You Don’t Need to Worry about a 2008 Repeat

If you’re getting ready to buy a home soon, then you’ve probably heard whispers of an imminent recession—and the real estate market and recessions don’t have a great track record. Although it’s hard not to be plagued by memories of the 2008 recession and the housing market crash, you need to know: the conditions of 2008 will not happen again.

Here’s what makes this year’s market different, and why you shouldn’t be nervous about buying a home.

Even Though People are Wary…

People talking around a laptop.

It must be addressed that the events of 2008 are enough to give any buyer some PTSD. In fact, a recent survey from realtor.com found that 53% of buyers (both first-time and repeat) believe a recession will occur this year or next, and 57% believe it’ll be worse than 2008. On top of that, 55% said they would cancel their plans to move if a recession did occur.

While these people are certainly right in their prediction that a recession could soon hit, it won’t have nearly the same effect on the housing market that it did ten years ago.

…The Housing Market Won’t Resemble 2008

A large house.

Jeff Tucker, a Zillow economist, sheds a little more light on this point. In a recent article, he outlines how unusual the 2008 housing market was—largely because of risky borrowers taking unpredictable, adjustable-rate mortgages when they may not have been financially prepared. This year, however, the market is mostly made up of buyers with great credit scores taking out predictable, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages.

George Ratiu, a senior economist for realtor.com, echoes Tucker’s sentiments, adding that a recession now would likely be much shorter than the one we saw in the past.

2001 vs. 2008

In the recent history of our country, there have been two major recessions: 2008 and 2001. While most people vividly remember the almost 20% drop in home prices during the 2008 recession, not many remember that homes prices actually went up almost 7% during 2001’s.

When it comes to the next recession, you can expect conditions to be more similar to 2001, not 2008.

Still on the Fence?

People shaking hands.

It’s true that no one can predict the future, and the state of the economy could greatly change over the next 12-24 months. While it’s great to be cautious, it’s also important to keep a realistic mindset—and listen to the experts.

If you’re hoping to buy a home soon, you should know that you don’t have to worry about 2008-like conditions. The current and future market are still great for buying!

Start Your Buying Journey

Ready to get started with your home search? Then Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® is here to help. Get to know more about our expertise and local knowledge, explore some of our resources, and give us a call when you’re ready to explore all of your Raleigh real estate options!

Waiting to Buy Your New Raleigh Home? Here’s How Much It’ll Cost You

Buying a home is a big decision, one that requires plenty of thought and deliberation. While it’s important to take your time and feel confident in your choice, you might want speed up the process.

Why? Well, within the next year, buying is about to become significantly more expensive. Take a look at the breakdown of the numbers, and get started with your search soon!

Costs Are Rising

Graphs and charts on a laptop.

Right now, mortgage interest rates are lower than they’ve been in years—even lower than experts had predicted. Over the next year, though, they’re only expected to rise.

Not only are interest rates ticking up, home prices themselves are growing as well. Add those two factors together, and you’re also looking at increased mortgage payments.

Concrete Numbers

A man pulling money out of his wallet.

Let’s put those numbers in perspective. According to Freddie Mac projections, current interest rates are around 4.3%. Next year, they’ll reach 4.5%. While that might not seem like a big jump, when you’re talking about big ticket purchases—like homes, for example—.2% can mean a major difference in cost.

As far as home prices go, CoreLogic estimates around a 4.8% jump. Again, not huge at first glance, but when you start looking at the numbers—like, for example, $250,000 versus $262,000—that’s a difference of over $10,000!

Put interest rates and home values together, and you’ll find that mortgage payments are following suit. Considering the current numbers, your average mortgage payment would be $1,231.60. Next year, that number looks more like $1,321.04.

How Much Will Waiting Cost You?

A man holding a Starbucks coffee.

Bottom line? Waiting to buy may not seem like a big deal at first, but those increased costs will add up quickly—especially in a competitive market like Raleigh’s.

Say you buy that home you’ve had your eye on, but you don’t do it until next year. You can expect to pay an extra $89.44 monthly—around the same cost as your daily coffee or weekly sushi. Per year, you’re looking at $1,073.28—around the same cost as a cushy weekend getaway or the balance on those credit card statements.

Within 30 years? You’ll be paying an extra $32, 198—and when it comes to other ways we’d rather use that money, we can think of about a thousand.

Don’t Wait to Buy Your New Home

If you’re on the fence about buying, just know: waiting until next year is going to cost you big. About $32,000 big. Don’t put off buying your Raleigh home—let Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® help you get started today.

Browse our buying guides and resources, narrow down your options with our specialized search tool, and give us a call to start scheduling showings today!

Spring into Home Maintenance

Spring is always the time for fresh beginnings and setting your “house in order.”  Part of that is getting to that To Do List and making sure regular maintenance is done. Here’s a list of regular maintenance (split into exterior and interior) projects that you may need to put on the schedule either as a DIY (Do It Yourself) projects or to hire someone to help.

EXTERIOR

Since these tasks are somewhat weather sensitive, let’s look at them first!

House Surfaces:

  • Repair glazing, caulk, and weather stripping around windows and doors
  • Repair cracked bricks and missing mortar
  • Repair freeze/thaw cracks in drives and walks
  • Repair, prime, and paint areas with peeling paint
  • Search for signs of colonized insects or pests

Man fixing roof

Roof:

  • Check your roof for damage or missing shingles
  • Check for cracked flashing or damaged caulk seals
  • Trim branches and trees away from the roof

Structure:

  • Check basement and foundation walls for cracks
  • Check your chimney for cracks and leaks
  • Check your crawl space for moisture

Man cleaning the gutter

Water Control:

  • Clean your gutters and window wells
  • Extend downspouts away from your foundation
  • Make sure grading flows water away
  • Test your sump pump for proper operation, if applicable

Fuel Services:

  • Check your gas/oil tank for odors and leaks – or have it check by a professional

Power washing

Property:

  • Treat your lawn with fertilizer and pest control
  • Power wash and seal your deck and patio
  • Remove your outdoor furniture from storage and clean
  • De-winterize and service your lawn sprinklers, if applicable
  • Remove debris from yard and high traffic areas
  • Test your lawn mower and trimmer

 

INTERIOR

On those days when outdoor projects are not possible because of weather, try tackling some of these indoor tasks.

Women cleaning a window

Windows and Fans:

  • Clean and lubricate your window channels
  • Clean glass on windows and doors
  • Reverse ceiling fans to direct heat upward

Insulation and Ventilation:

  • Check your attic for proper insulation
  • Clean your dryer vent
  • Check vents for birds, squirrels or other pests
  • Test your dehumidifier, if applicable

Electrical Systems:

  • Test all smoke and CO detectors, replace batteries!
  • Test and reset your GFCI and AFCI outlets/breakers

Man opening air conditioning filter in ceiling

HVAC:

  • Change your filters
  • Hire an HVAC contractor to service your system
  • Install window AC units and ensure proper fit. If applicable

Plumbing:

  • Check all fixtures for leaks
  • Check tile joints, grout, and caulking
  • Remove hoses from storage and open spigots
  • Check faucets and valves for leaks or damage
  • Check washing machine hoses for cracks or loose fittings

Bouquet colorful tulips at home

Identify which spring maintenance projects you are willing to DIY and which you’d rather have some help accomplishing. We have a whole list of Triangle area home care professionals that we can recommend. From HVAC to gutter repair and cleaning, we have a professional for every maintenance need. Call us today to get a copy of the whole list – 919-235-0007. And, when you get ready to tackle interior cleaning, don’t forget about our FREE Shred Event – May 12th from 10am – 2pm at 7300 Six Forks Road in Raleigh.

4 Reasons to Buy A Raleigh Home Before Winter

imagesAre you a Raleigh area homebuyer who needs advice on when to purchase a home? Keeping Current Matters is one of our go-to resources for up to date market trends and news. Here, they share the top 4 reasons to purchase a Triangle area home now instead of waiting for the end of the year.

It’s that time of year, the seasons are changing and with them bring thoughts of the upcoming holidays, family get togethers, and planning for a new year. Those who are on the fence about whether now is the right time to buy don’t have to look much farther to find four great reasons to consider buying a home now, instead of waiting.

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

The Home Price Expectation Survey polls a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts. Their most recent report released recently projects appreciation in home values over the next five years to be between 11.2% (most pessimistic) and 27.8% (most optimistic).

The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase

Although Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have softened recently, most experts predict that they will begin to rise later this year. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors are in unison projecting that rates will be up almost a full percentage point by the end of next year.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. Your housing expense will be more a year from now if a mortgage is necessary to purchase your next home.

3. Either Way You are Paying a Mortgage

As a recent paper from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains: “Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return. That’s yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting.”

4. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise. But, what if they weren’t? Would you wait? Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide whether it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe it is time to buy.

Bottom Line

If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home in Raleigh this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings. – KCM Blog

Here at Linda Craft & Team, we are gearing up for a fun holiday season with our annual pie day and Santa Day! We would love to spend that time with you! Call us today for a free consultation whether you are buying or selling your Triangle home.

For additional market information please visit LindaCraft.com or KCM Blog