How Homeownership Makes the Biggest Difference

If you’re looking for the most surefire way to build your wealth, become a homeowner. We’ve blogged about this in the past, but it really is one of the most effective (and simplest) ways to build your wealth for the long term.

The majority of homeowners take out a mortgage loan to buy their home. By paying off your home’s mortgage every month, you’re building your wealth. Although it feels like you’re paying somebody else (the bank) you’re actually putting money into a forced savings account.

And forcing yourself to save money pays off. Big time.

It Helps You Achieve the American Dream

A core part of what many consider “The American Dream” is owning a home. Owning your own home brings a myriad of benefits, both financial and non-financial.

Financially speaking, buying a home and becoming a homeowner increases your net worth. Every time you make a mortgage payment, your net worth goes up a little.

Here’s an example: in a study performed by The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, researchers found that the difference in net worth between homeowners and renters over 65 was 47.5 times greater.

In that study, nearly half of those homeowners’ net worth came from their home equity!

It’s a Huge Retirement Benefit

Studies show that homeowners over 65 are more financially prepared for retirement. Even if they choose to sell their home and downsize for retirement, they have the added bonus of owning their home for a long time—meaning their home has likely increased in value.

Now, when they choose to sell their home, they’ll make an even bigger return on their investment.

Although renting may seem like an affordable option short-term, it’s less lucrative in the long term. This is especially true when you consider that median rent prices have increased substantially every year.

Plus, It Has Emotional Benefits

You deserve to love where you live. That’s the biggest emotional benefit you get from owning your home: you get to put down roots and invest in a community that will improve your quality of life.

When you buy a home in a community like Raleigh and the NC Triangle, you’re signing up for an exciting, well-rounded lifestyle! The Triangle has plenty of small towns, gorgeous real estate options, and maybe even a major city or two.

Ready to Become a Homeowner?

We’re ready to help. Start building your wealth and guaranteeing yourself a more successful retirement by buying your dream home in the greater Raleigh area.

Just call us, Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, today to get started. You can use our free home-buying resources, easily search for homes in the area, and see popular Raleigh homes for sale.

Guess What? You Do Not Need a 20% Down Payment to Buy a Home in Raleigh!

Many people believe that they can’t afford to buy a home because they can’t afford the down payment. Time and time again, I hear would-be homebuyers resign themselves to a life of renting because a 20% down payment just isn’t feasible.

However, this is one of the biggest myths of buying a home! The truth is, you do not need to put down 20% to buy a home. There are plenty of options for buying a home without a hefty down payment!

What You Need to Know

According to a recent study called “Barriers to Accessing Homeownership,” 39% of non-homeowners and 30% of those who already own a home think that they need more than a 20% down payment.

But that just isn’t true. In fact, there are a number of loans available that don’t require a down payment at all or require a very small one.

Did you know that the median down payment on loans approved in 2018 was only 5%? If you’ve spent the last couple of years saving up for your down payment, chances are you already have enough saved to buy now!

The Lowest Down Payment Loans Out There

A family of three holding a pink piggybank with coins spilling out.Here are three loans that offer low to zero down payments. There are certain eligibility requirements for each, but don’t feel discouraged if they won’t work for you! Please give us a call at Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®!

Chances are, we know of the perfect solution to fit your unique situation in the Raleigh real estate market.

VA Loan

It’s no secret that the VA loan is one of the best mortgage loans out there. It is available to qualified veterans, active-duty service members, certain spouses, and other specific members of the National Guard and Reserves.

The VA loan features a 0% down payment and does not require mortgage insurance. It is offered through a local lender, but guaranteed by the government. The borrower does have to pay a funding fee (anywhere from 1.25 to 3.3%) that can be included in the total loan amount.

USDA Loan

Attractive kitchen with hardwood floors, marble countertops, and hanging light fixture.This loan is available for certain eligible buyers. It has restrictions based on household income, as well as certain credit and employment requirements.

It is designed for people looking to buy a single-family residence in a suburban or rural area. The USDA has maps with specific eligibility information, so you can easily see if your property is eligible!

The USDA loan is one of the most popular loans available, and it isn’t uncommon for the total fund to run out before the end of the fiscal year. If you’re interested in using a USDA loan to buy a home in the North Carolina Triangle, check your eligibility requirements and then give us a call!

Federal Housing Administration

The FHA loan requires a minimum down payment of 3.5% and is a great option for would-be buyers that have a low credit score or history of poor credit.

While it charges a low down payment, it does require the borrower to purchase mortgage insurance upfront with a premium of about 1.75% of the total mortgage amount.

Your Dreams of Homeownership are Within Reach!

We know you can do it! Please know that you have plenty of options when it comes to buying a home in Raleigh or another popular Triangle community.

When you choose to work with Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, you’re enlisting the help of the Triangle’s #1 real estate team. We have the resources and experience to help you buy the home of your dreams. No 20% down payment necessary!

Ready to begin exploring your home buying options? Please reach out to us today!

 

Want to Build Your Wealth? It’s Time to Buy a Home in Raleigh

The most surefire way to begin building your wealth in the NC Triangle? Become a homeowner.

Buying a home essentially forces you to build wealth. To purchase a home, you have to apply for a mortgage loan to pay for it. Then, every month, you pay off a percentage of that mortgage. Each mortgage payment brings you a little bit closer to fully owning the home on your own, and makes your equity a little big bigger. To be honest, your home is really just one big savings account.

So, owning a home and paying your mortgage every month builds your wealth for the long run.

Owning a Home Leads to Financial Security

A white table with a checkbook and small stack of money.According to many housing experts in the real estate industry, buying a home before the age of 35 leads to being better prepared for retirement at age 60.

If you’re a millennial in the greater Raleigh area, you may believe that you can’t afford to buy a home because of the massive down payment or the high mortgage interest rates. However, that’s not actually true!

If you can afford to pay rent every month, you can afford to buy a home. Plus, with so many different mortgage options available, it’s not always necessary to pay a huge 20% down payment!

Navigate the Triangle Real Estate Market

Cute interior decor.It’s never too early to begin planning for your retirement. And, the sooner you begin saving, the better off you will be when it’s finally time to retire!

It’s no secret that housing wealth is the largest single source of wealth currently available. Plus, the emotional benefits that come from buying a home are on the same level as the financial benefits!

If you’re interested in building your wealth by buying a home in the greater Raleigh area, then it’s time to contact Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®.

You Deserve a Successful Real Estate Transaction

When you choose to work with Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, you’re enlisting the help of an all-star team that will stop at nothing to make sure you achieve success in the Triangle real estate market.

As the Triangle’s #1 Ranked Real Estate Team, we know exactly how to help our clients find the perfect home. Give us a call today to explore your real estate options in the greater Raleigh area!

3 Reasons Why the Raleigh Area is a Great Place to Relocate

Relocate To Raleigh North Carolina

There’s a lot of buzz about “Best Places to Live” flying around the internet. Without a doubt if you Google “Hottest Housing Markets” you will see Raleigh, NC positioned in the top 10 on most lists depending on what criteria is used. So a safe bet (since you are reading this blog) is that if you are looking to relocate, Raleigh is one of the places you are considering.

What’s so great about the City of Oaks? Well, let’s take a look at why Raleigh continues to be a such great value. Most of these online rankings are based on things like employment opportunities, unemployment rates, average income estimates, housing values, and population growth. Some even take a look at lifestyle factors such as outdoor recreation, restaurants and entertainment, and higher education. So what does it all mean, really?

 

First, You Have to Bring Home the Bacon

Work In Raleigh

Let’s get serious. First and foremost you have to pay the bills, so employment opportunities rank highest on everyone’s list when it comes to relocating. The Triangle area has a reputation worldwide as one of the most progressive, hi-tech, finance, and healthcare hubs. IBM, Cisco, SAS, and Glaxo, Fidelity Investments, Wells Fargo, Lenovo are some of the largest employers in the area. The Triangle also boasts one of the largest entrepreneurial networks in the world with a 30-year track record of successfully nurturing startup companies. These are a few reasons why the unemployment rate is 3.6% – .5% under the national average.

 

Second, Can I Afford a Home in the Triangle?

Can I afford a home?

Yes, housing is tight all over the country. Median home values in the Raleigh area is around $266,000 according to Forbes. So much more affordable than the western part of the country and definitely cheaper than the northeastern part of the US.

Raleigh saw an appreciation rate of 5.9% last year but that’s estimated to level off to 3.7% this year keeping prices from skyrocketing as they have in other parts of the country. With a median household income of $84,288, the American Dream of owning a home is very achievable in Raleigh and the surrounding areas.

 

Third, Will I Enjoy Living in the Triangle?

Fun in the park.

Well, that all depends on your tastes and interests. If you like to be outdoors, enjoy moderate temperatures most of the year, like the beach or the mountains, then you will definitely enjoy this area. Here’s a link to things to do in NC which will help you connect with area offerings.

Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill each house top-ranked universities – NC State University, Duke, and the University of North Carolina. So what? Well, having three college towns means loads of restaurants, entertainment, and SPORTS!!! Where else can you enjoy all the benefits of THREE major universities all within 30 minutes of each other.


Need Help Relocating?

One of the favorite things our agents love about working here is being able to help people relocate to this area. Many have lived here for years; some have lived here all their lives and they have raised their own families here. Wouldn’t a person like that be someone you would trust to share their knowledge of the area with you; helping you to find just the right neighborhood and the right home for you and your family? Give us a call and talk to one of our relocation specialists today!

Sink or Swim – Diving into the Raleigh Housing Market?

Like any major investment, buying a home is all about timing.

Is now the best time to take the risk and jump into the home ownership pool? In the Raleigh market, 2018 certainly looks like the right time; but sooner rather than later because it could be quite a different pool you are jumping into if you wait until the latter part of the year.

Yes, the past couple of years or so have seen crazy upward movement in price appreciation and yes, there’s a shortage of inventory – record lows to be exact. While all that doesn’t seem too comforting to a buyer, there are other aspects to consider about the temperature of that housing pool you are about to dive into.

Even this early in 2018 we are seeing some home prices leveling off, and while inventory is still low, analysts say all that is about to turn a corner, especially in price points above $350,000. While 2017 saw home prices appreciating at a rate of 5.9%, these prices are expected to level out this year to around 3.7 in the Triangle area.

Three other factors could push you into the pool sooner rather than later:

  • Two – four more mortgage rate increases are predicted to happen this year. You could be looking at a rate of 5% by the end of 2018. Increased mortgage rates decrease the amount of home you can afford to buy.
  • While prices are not predicted to climb at the steep increase we’ve seen this past year, they are going to continue to climb.
  • Home builders are working hard to close that gap in inventory, however, construction labor is not getting any cheaper, land in the Raleigh proper market is scarce, and banks are getting tighter with building loans. These limitations slow the supply side of housing availability.

Buying is still a more desirable option than renting in the long-term.

Buying vs. Renting

Even if this competitive market makes it a challenge to find just what you want in a home, it is possible if you seek the right team of Realtors to help you.  If you are considering taking that plunge in the near future, it’s best to consult a Realtor who has years of experience in this market. Think of them as your personal lifeguard. Their knowledge and determination can be the difference between a refreshing dip in the housing pool or diving head first into the deep end without a floatation device.

If you think purchasing a home in this market is tricky, set up a consultation with one of our agents and let them guide you through the ins and outs of buying safely in this market.  Our 30+ years of helping people like you buy and sell homes in the Raleigh area gives us a vast amount of knowledge we are ready to put to work for you.

Are You Ready for Raleigh’s Favorite Free Sports Festival?

collage of Caniac Carnival activitiesIs there any better way to welcome hockey season than with food trucks, free admission to a scrimmage, and activities for all ages? On Sunday, September 25th, join us for a fun-filled afternoon at PNC Arena in Raleigh for the annual Caniac Carnival.

Between 10 AM and 3 PM, there will be activities happening in and around the arena. Live music, an autograph session with the Canes hockey players, a Red-White scrimmage game, and more than 15 food trucks are just a few of the day’s highlights.

Don’t forget to stop by the Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS® booth to spin our prize wheel!

The Caniac Carnival is a Free Event

Parking at PNC Arena, admission to the Caniac Carnival, and seating at the scrimmage game are free. You can find more Caniac Carnival information, including a list of the day’s activities, on our website.

It’s Almost Hockey Season in Raleigh

North Carolina’s professional hockey team, the Carolina Hurricanes, is based right here in Raleigh. The Caniac Carnival is an exciting kickoff event for the 2016-17 preseason. On Monday, September 26th, the Carolina Hurricanes will travel to the Verizon Center to compete against the Washington Capitals in their first preseason game.

Need Another Reason to Live in Raleigh?

Raleigh homebuyers in front of a houseRaleigh offers more than just free annual festivals and professional sports teams. As North Carolina’s capital city, Raleigh has plenty of affordable homes, a vibrant downtown, and many excellent communities.

For over 30 years, we have helped Raleigh home buyers find their ideal place to live. What are you looking for in a home? Let’s talk. Call us at 919-235-0007.

What to Expect in the 2016 Triangle Real Estate Market

laptop with graph of market changes

The 2015 real estate market saw low interest rates and a healthy supply of homes for new buyers. MLS reported a 9% increase in sales. In 2016, Wake County taxes are set to increase as well as home interest rates, but that should not deter serious home buyers from seeking out new real estate investments.

Wake County Tax and Interest Rates Will Rise

Wake County’s octennial tax reassessment goes into effect in 2016, raising property value and mortgage prices across the county. The Federal Reserve is also anticipated to raise fixed-rate 30-year mortgage rates to 4.2% (from its current 3.92%) by the end of 2016 due to the increase in job availability and economic growth.

Fortunately, both mortgage interest and property taxes are tax deductible every year for homeowners. You can calculate your monthly mortgage payments, as well as find out information about local lenders and mortgage prequalification, on our mortgage information page.

Advice for Closing on a Home Placed Under Contract in 2015

coin stacks increasing in heightIf you are in the middle of a home purchase and have not locked in your interest rate with your mortgage company or checked the new property tax liability against your qualification ratios, you may want to call your lender ASAP.

Mortgage payments are broken down into (PITI) — the Principle down payment, Interest from the lender, property Taxes, and Homeowner’s Insurance. If less than a 20% down payment is made, private mortgage insurance could apply depending upon loan type. Many mortgage programs require the PITI to be less than or equal to 28% of the borrower’s monthly income. If you barely qualified (say at 27%), the increase in property tax could disqualify you for eligibility.

Locked interest rates hold for an average of 60 days, giving you enough time to close without complications.

Outlook for the 2016 Wake County Housing Market

Despite the tax variance and increased interest rates in 2016, the housing market in the Triangle and Wake County looks to remain similar to 2015.

Choose Linda Craft & Team, Realtors

professional group photo of Linda Craft & Team, RealtorsAlthough rates are rising, it is a sign that the economy is doing much better than it has in previous years. The real estate market is stable and finding the home of your dreams will continue to be a solid investment for your future.

When you are ready to take the next step in purchasing a new home, let our experts at Linda Craft & Team, Realtors guide your way. As a team, we are able to fully assist you with all of your real rstate needs, 24 hours a day. Our efforts over the past 30 years have made us the #1 real estate team in the Triangle!

Contact us today at (919) 235-0007 and learn what home buying resources and services we can offer you.

Get Involved at Friday’s 6th Annual Sound Cartel Food Drive

cans of food at a food driveLinda Craft & Team, REALTORS® will again be supporting the 6th annual Food Drive held this Friday night, November 20th at Mosaic Wine Lounge on Jones Street in downtown Raleigh. Our team members will also be making donations and supporting this fantastic cause.

In addition to our team, it’s also being supported by GiGi’s Cupcakes in Brier Creek and 919 Magazine. The food collected and donations made will benefit Raleigh’s Food Bank and the Durham Rescue Mission.

If you’re out and about in Raleigh on Friday night, please stop by!

Support Your Raleigh Community with Sound Cartel

This event is organized by Sound Cartel, which is a house music group that was founded with social consciousness in mind. Marshall Jones and Nogui Aramburo (team member at Linda Craft & Team and also known as DJ Nugz on the side) have been involved in the dance music scene for more than 20 years combined.

Friends of many years, and driven by their passion for house music, they joined forces in 2009 to bring you quality music, quality DJs, and quality events. This is the sixth year in a row that they have organized this fantastic food drive.

Raleigh is a Caring Community

Sound Cartel’s annual food drive is certainly not the only opportunity to get involved in the Raleigh area. If you’re relocating to Raleigh, you’ll find countless ways that you can dedicate your time to serve your community, from volunteering at annual food drives and food banks to working with Habitat for Humanity and other local charities.

Our real estate experts are as invested in the community as you are, and can help your move to the area go smoothly by offering you an easy-to-use tool to search for your dream home and a whole library of home buying resources. Let us know how we can serve you as a future Raleigh resident — call us at 919-235-0007 or email linda@lindacraft.com; we would be happy to talk to you.

Find Your Dream Home in Raleigh’s Bedford at Falls River

sidewalk under tree in the fallAre you searching for a sense of community in a fantastic Raleigh neighborhood? Do you want access to the best amenities around?

Then consider a home in Bedford at Falls River, Raleigh’s premiere master planned community. Keep reading to discover why Raleigh residents adore this neighborhood.

Life is Good in Bedford at Falls River

Located in North Raleigh a few miles north of I-540, Bedford at Falls River is one of Raleigh’s most popular neighborhoods.

With its tree lined streets, front porches, parks, restaurants, shops and amenities, it is easy to see why so many people choose to call Bedford their home.

A Mayberry-Like Setting in North Raleigh

Driving through the subdivision you immediately realize this is not your ordinary subdivision.

Sidewalks line both sides of every road and you will see many of its residents walking through the Raleigh neighborhood, riding bikes or enjoying their front porches. Drive by one of the many parks and you will likely see families enjoying the playgrounds and picnic areas.

Stellar Amenities — Including a Giant Waterslide!

At the heart of this community is the clubhouse, pool and tennis courts. Here you will find two pools and lots of activity during the summer months.

Girl at pool splash zoneThe Olympic-size pool has separate lanes for lap swimmers and lots of room for all to enjoy. The children’s pool includes a splash zone area for young children and a giant waterslide named Mr. Gushmore. Two giant gas grills sit on each side of the pool as well and Bedford residents are welcome to bring anything they wish to grill when they visit.

The amenities also include 3 tennis courts, a sand volleyball pit, a playground and picnic area with grill. During the summer months, you can often find special events going on at the neighborhood pool including live music, movies and food trucks. There are tennis camps for kids in the summer, as well as private lessons available for all ages.

Green spaces are prevalent in Bedford at Falls River, and the Capital Area Greenway System runs through the neighborhood as well for your walking and bike riding enjoyment.

Welcoming Residents and Fun Social Activities

A thriving community lifestyle is apparent here and Bedford even has its own social director on staff. There are various social clubs meeting monthly at the clubhouse, including Toastmasters, The Bedford Wine Club and The Bedford Beer and Cigar Club (run by our very own Senior Listing Partner and Bedford resident, Steve Kruger).

All year long there are lots of community activities, including an Easter egg hunt, 4th of July parade and ice cream sundae party, haunted house and hot chocolate at the clubhouse for Halloween, father/daughter dance night, Pancakes with Santa, and more.

Everything You Want is at Bedford Shoppes

Bedford at Falls River is also home to the Bedford Shoppes, a collection of restaurants and shops designed for your enjoyment.

Here you will find a dry cleaner, Dog City Spa and North Raleigh Spa and Salon.

Café Buongiorno is where you can often find your neighbors enjoying coffe, paninis, fresh pastries and homemade Italian gelato. Right next door is Sushi Lulu, one of Raleigh’s highest rated sushi bars.

Rounding out the experience is The Bedford Bistro and Bar. Here you will find a family friendly restaurant with pizza, hamburgers, pasta dishes and more. The bar is full of flat screen TVs for enjoying the big game, and the patio is a popular spot in the evenings.

Award-Winning Life Begins in Bedford at Falls River

It’s easy to see why Bedford at Falls River is one of Raleigh’s most popular neighborhoods.

There are homes available for sale in Bedford in all price ranges and sizes. If you would like more information about the community or would like to take a tour, please give us a call at 919-235-0007 and we would love to show you all that the neighborhood has to offer.

2015 Triangle Real Estate News

What’s New in the Triangle Real Estate Market

Home ownership is the American Dream! A home provides shelter, safety, and an investment that forces savings and increases in value over time – allowing you to build personal wealth. Knowing how important a good real estate investment can be to your future, let’s take a look at how the 2014 Triangle real estate market performed and the outlook is for 2015.

Trends and hot topics will be discussed, and we will answer frequently asked questions.

Included in the topic lineup:

  • Available housing
  • Luxury market
  • Distressed properties (short sales and foreclosures)
  • Interest rates
  • Home values

Raleigh real estate marketHousing Supply in the Greater Raleigh Area

The inventory of homes for sale is low in most segments of Wake, Chatham and Durham Counties. If you are considering selling a home in the greater Raleigh area, now is the time to list and sell for top dollar while there is less competition.

Traditionally, sellers wait until spring to list properties, which means they will have more competition and their odds of selling for top dollar is reduced. Home prices rise as inventory shrinks, and it is currently down 20%. If you are buying a home, this shrinking inventory means you have less to choose from and could find yourself in competition with other buyers for a home.

When more homes enter the market in the spring, a small window of more choices is created for the buyer, but more competition among sellers. Bottom line…if you are selling a home, list it now. If you want to buy a home, prepare to act fast. When you see a home you really like, don’t wait, or another buyer may beat you to it. If the right home is not out there right now, wait until spring, and you may have more choices for 30 to 60 days.

The Triangle Luxury Market

The luxury market experienced a 24% increase in homes sold in 2014, according the Triangle Multiple Listing Service. The luxury market in the Triangle (Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill) is $750,000 and up.

  • 368 luxury homes were sold in the Triangle in 2013.
  • The highest sale price for 2013 was a house in Wakefield, which sold for $2,875,000.
  • In 2014, the Triangle Multiple Listing Service reported 470 luxury homes were sold.
  • The highest sale price in 2014 was $4,800,000, for a home located in Chapel Hill.

One of the reasons for the increase in luxury homes sold, is because it is currently much easier to qualify for jumbo mortgages. Jumbo loan amounts start at $417,000. We expect even higher sales numbers for luxury homes in 2015, as confidence in the real estate market continues to grow and lending is made easier.

Distressed Properties in the Triangle

Distressed properties, which are short sales and foreclosures, made up 15% of our inventory of homes for sale at one time. Now that home values have gone up, many people are once again finding themselves in a much better equity position. Distressed properties make up approximately 6% of our total current market.

However, even with great improvements, we expect it will be another 4 years before this segment normalizes. Many people are stuck in mortgages with high interest rates, or mortgage balances higher than they can sell for due to 100% financing, equity lines of credit, or loan modifications. If you are one of these homeowners drowning in debt, give us a call. Our staff is certified and experienced at finding dignified solutions for homeowners. You have options. Let us help you find the right one.

Interest Rates at an All-Time Low

Interest Rates remain at a historical low, and my expert lenders believe they will even drop slightly lower before they start rising again in the fall. Interest rates have been so low for so long that it is hard to wrap your mind around interest rates in the double digits. When I began my career in 1985, mortgage interest rates were at 16%. In fact, the national average for mortgage rates is approximately 10%.

These low interest rates are allowing home buyers to afford more housing than in years past. With money so readily available, now is the ideal time to buy a new home. Interest rates are low, and home prices are going up – a combination perfect for building future wealth if you buy now.

Wake County Home Values

In the Wake County area, home values went up in 2014. Most home owners realized a gain of approximately 4%. If you want to receive a value specific to your home and geographical area, contact Linda Craft & Team, Realtors for a free analysis, or sign up for our super cool online tool. This free online service will provide both a market value for your home, and a market trend report showing your homes future potential.

Considering Buying or Selling a Raleigh Home?

Contact Raleigh real estate experts, Linda Craft & Team, to set up a free consultation with a buyers specialist who can help you navigate the exciting Raleigh market. Call 919.235.0007 today!