How to Sell Your Home (While Buying a New Home)

It’s a common real estate predicament: selling the home you currently live in while trying to buy a new one. So… what’s the most efficient way to go about it?

All in all, it depends on your situation. Are you willing to buy a second home without having sold your first one? Or are you relying on the payoff from your current home for the down payment on your new one? Are you relocating? Upgrading? Downsizing? Your reasons for selling will most likely dictate how you’ll go about the process.

So, here are four things to keep in mind when you’re buying and selling a home at the same time.

It’s All About Timing

Group of people consulting a calendar.What works best for you? If you’re selling your home because you’re relocating to a new area, it might more more sense to sell your current home first before buying a new home in a new market.

However, if you have enough money saved up for a down payment, it may be easier to buy your new home first, then sell your old home once you’ve moved to the new one.

So Do Your Research

A great place to start is by researching the market. If there are a lot of buyers and not a lot of homes, this is called a “buyer’s market”, meaning the conditions are ideal for buyers. Oppositely, if there are a lot of buyers and not a lot of homes, the conditions favor sellers (a “seller’s market”). If you’re buying and selling in two different markets, you’ll have to research both.

If you opt to buy before selling, make an offer on the new home with a sale and settlement contingency. You can then request an extended closing.

And Consider Your Money, Money, Money

A pile of money next to a checkbook with a pen.Look closely at your bank account; what is it telling you?

The answer to your current question (Should I buy or should I sell first?) most likely lies within. Begin by meeting with your financial advisor or mortgage lender. You’ll want to look at three main financial factors: a) The amount of money you have in liquid cash, b) The equity in your current home, and c) The amount of the new loan you qualify for.

A big part of this is knowing the resale value of your current home. It’s also a good idea to have a pre-inspection completed on your home, so you can take care of any maintenance issues that might deter potential buyers down the road… and maybe even bump up your home value a bit.

Your Equity is Also Crucial

To find the equity on your home, take its current market value and subtract what’s left on your mortgage.

Need to know the current market value of your home? Use our home evaluation tool! Please reach out to us to learn more.

Work With the Right Realtor

Even if you’re not buying and selling a home at the same time, the right Realtor can transform your real estate experience. A great local agent has the expertise and resources you need for a streamlined, stress-free, and successful real estate transaction.

If you’re in search of an expert agent in the area, we have the experience, resources, and area knowledge to assist you in your upcoming home sale and/or purchase. Give us a call today to learn more.

Home Buying Terminology: A Cheat Sheet

Buying a home shouldn’t be rocket science. You find the perfect home, make an offer to the seller, pay a couple of fees, and bam! You just bought a home.

However, buying a home actually has a lot of moving parts which include a number of funny real estate terms you’ve probably never heard before. Are Realtors and real estate agents even speaking English anymore?

To help you out, we’ve come up with a cheat sheet so you’ll know exactly what we are talking about when we explain the home-buying process.

Pre-Approval

Two adults meeting over a stack of paper.If you meet with an agent before you begin looking for homes, they’ll likely recommend you get pre-approved for a mortgage. Mortgage pre-approval is the best first step to buying a home, because it essentially sets your budget for you.

Pre-approval involves sitting down with a lender to discuss your financial portfolio. This includes your credit score, borrowing history, outstanding debts, annual income, and any assets you have. After reviewing all of this, the lender gives you an exact number: that’s how much the bank is willing to lend you.

Not only is your budget set, home sellers will take you more seriously because they know you can qualify for enough loan to support your offer.

Earnest Money

Two parents sitting with a child who is opening a piggy bank full of coins.Defined loosely, earnest money is the money you pay to confirm a contract. When you’re buying a home, this is essentially a good faith deposit. It lets the seller know that you’re serious—serious enough to go ahead and put money down.

This money sits in a joint account (called an “escrow” account) held by both the buyer and seller. When the home purchase is finalized, the earnest money goes toward the buyer’s down payment.

Due Diligence

A few bills next to a checklist that has home-buying items on it.Due diligence refers to the period of time after the seller has accepted a buyer’s offer. This is the time when you as the buyer can schedule inspections, confirm financing, and make sure that buying this home is in your best interest.

Now’s the time to do some research! Have the home inspected by a professional to ensure nothing is wrong with it, consult public records to learn more about its past homeownership, as well as any environmental issues in the neighborhood, and work with your lender to make sure this is a good financial decision.

So…. Are Realtors and Agents the Same Thing?

Yes and no. The primary difference between REALTOR®s and real estate agents is the National Association of Realtors, also known as the NAR. The NAR is a professional organization of real estate brokers that abides by a specific Code of Ethics that all REALTOR®s are required to follow.

A real estate agent works under a brokerage, but is not necessarily a licensed NAR member.

Let’s Find Your Dream Home Together

Young couple being handed the keys to their new home.We’ll never hide behind big words when it comes to helping you find the home that’s right for you.

Give us a call today to begin your home-buying journey.

Home Buying 101: The Service Providers You Need for Your Home Purchase

When it comes to buying a home, there are more things to consider than you may realize. After all, it’s a lot more complicated than walking into the grocery store to buy a gallon of milk!

Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases the average person makes. As such, you can expect there to be a lot of preparation, negotiation, and paperwork involved. In addition to obtaining a mortgage and signing the paperwork, there are a number of other tasks that need to be completed before you can open the doors to your new home.

Here’s a quick crash course in Home Buying 101: what service providers you need to hire while purchasing your new home.

Mortgage Lender

Man and a woman speaking with a bank lender holding pens.Ideally, you should start talking to lenders before you even begin looking for homes—and get pre-qualified for a mortgage as soon as possible.

Pre-qualification involves reviewing all of your finances, including income, expenses, and savings, with a lender.

Then, the lender will do some math and let you know exactly how much the bank is willing to loan you.

Home Inspector

Before you purchase the home, you absolutely must schedule a home inspection! This usually happens after you negotiate a price and sign the initial Purchase and Sale Agreement with the seller.

The home inspector will carefully go through every room of your new home (including basement, attic, and roof) to ensure everything is in proper working order. If the inspector finds any major issues, you can negotiate with the seller to get them fixed.

The average home inspection costs around $315, but it may end up being higher depending on the size of your home as well as any other add ons. For a larger home greater than 2,000 square feet, it may cost upwards of $400 or $500.

Appraiser

Woman at a computer explaining a home appraisal.After the home inspection comes the appraisal. Your lender requires an appraisal because they want to protect their investment by making sure the home is worth at least as much as they’re lending you.

The appraiser will take a close look at key features in the home and compare them to the features in other homes (and what those homes have sold for). If the appraiser values the home at less than the sales price, the bank will lower the amount of your mortgage to match it. If this happens, you have several options.

Depending on the contract you signed with the seller, you may be able to get your deposit back and walk away. You can also dispute the appraisal by talking with your Realtor about property values. Another option is to negotiate the price with the seller.

Title Company

Title insurance promises peace of mind when buying a home. Basically, when you purchase title insurance, a title company will come in and ensure the seller actually owns the home and the title is valid. This protects you down the line, in case any issues come up regarding past taxes, contracts, or prior mortgages with the home’s title.

It’s also a good idea to purchase owner’s and lender’s title insurance to protect yourself and your lender from any issues with claims to the title of your property.

The cost of title insurance depends on the size of your mortgage and your location.

Have any Questions? We’re Here for You

For even more information on how to navigate the purchase of your home, including all the fees, paperwork, and legal jargon, give us a call today. We’re always here to help.

So, What Does a Realtor Actually Do for Home Buyers?

If you’re actively looking for a new home to buy, it may be tempting to try and do it yourself, without a Realtor. After all, the agent isn’t really working for you, right?

Two-story suburban home made of brick and stucco.There’s a common misconception that real estate agents are only working for sellers, but that couldn’t be further from the truth!

When you’re buying a home, a real estate agent can help you make the right financial decision while maintaining your sanity.

Real estate agents live and breathe real estate, so they know how to navigate the market unlike anyone else.

The Right Buyers Agent Will Make All the Difference

An experienced Buyer’s Agent will keep you on top of the market, show you hard-to-find homes for sale, negotiate your buying terms, handle the bulk of your paperwork, and more. And it won’t cost you a penny!

In fact, here are the 4 things real estate agents do to eliminate stress from your home-buying process.

Help You Find the Right Home

Nice kitchen interior with bar seating and a chrome fridge.You don’t have to spend hours on Zillow wading through thousands of home listings in your area. Need a home with 2,000 square feet, at least two-and-a-half bathrooms, and a large backyard? Tell your Realtor!

Using your guidelines, they’ll provide you with a list of homes that meet your needs. Realtors have access to many homes that are not actively advertised on public sites like Zillow or Trulia.

Negotiate the Terms of Your Contract

In general, Realtors handle the bulk of the paperwork details so you don’t have to!

Contract negotiations are just one example of where it really pays off to have an experienced agent on your side. An experienced agent knows the rules and regulations of buying a home, so they’ll be able to negotiate a contract with the seller to ensure the best terms for you.

Prioritize Your Financial Wellbeing

When you enter into an agreement with a real estate agent, their job is to help you build your new investment in a smart way that ultimately protects your money and your interests.

Their obligation is to helping you decide whether a potential home will be a good, and affordable, financial investment for you.

In short, their primary responsibility is to protect you and your finances.

Answer All Your Questions

Let’s be real, buying a home is one of the biggest financial investments you’ll ever make! Naturally, you’re bound to have a couple of questions — both before and after the close.

Your Realtor will be there to clear things up, every step of the way.

Ready to Find Your Dream Home?

So are we. If you’d like help finding the perfect home, please give us a call.

We’re here to make your life, and your home purchase, as easy and stress-free as possible. Feel free to reach out to us so we can get started!

The Most Popular Features in Multimillion-Dollar Properties

Ever wonder why some homes sell for millions of dollars? As different as each listing might be, many share a number of common features that are known to bolster home values.

If you’re on the hunt for your dream home, some of these features could be yours! Don’t worry about breaking the bank; prioritizing your wants and needs can help you determine which of these luxury features will fit your lifestyle and your budget.

Here are 5 features of multimillion-dollar homes you can get at affordable price tags.

In-Ground Pool

In-ground pool with small cabana and water slide.Who needs a neighborhood pool when you could have your own?

Imagine spending those warm summer days cooling off by your own private pool.

It’s not uncommon to see multimillion-dollar homes outfitted with gorgeous entertaining spaces, all centered around a luxurious in-ground pool—but many homes in lower price ranges also feature great backyard pool areas, too.

Expansive Outdoor Entertaining Space

It’s often said that your home’s exterior is equally as important as its interior. That’s why we’ve been seeing more and more multimillion-dollar listings with extensive outdoor entertaining spaces.

Common features of outdoor entertaining areas such as these include built-in barbecue grills, full bars, and spa-like outdoor amenities. Multimillion-dollar condos and townhomes might come with a huge private balcony complete with breathtaking views of nearby scenery.

In more affordable homes, outdoor entertaining spaces may consist of patios, porches, and, as we mentioned before, private pools.

Luxurious Master Bathroom

Oversized shower with tiling.At the end of a long day, nothing beats kicking back and relaxing in a spa-like master bathroom. It’s really no surprise that two of the top selling points for a home are the master bathroom and the kitchen.

Oversized glass-paneled showers are a must-have for multi million-dollar properties, as well as soaking tubs and stylish backsplash. Homes in lower price ranges may also feature stylish master bathrooms with upgrades like these.

Guest House or In-Law Suite

Commonly referred to as a “casita” or simply a guest house, this is a smaller dwelling separated from your main home.

Casitas are becoming more and more popular because of their versatility. Use them as a pool house, guest room, or even a source of low-maintenance rental income.

Wine Cellar

Wine cellar with glass bottles.The creme de la creme of luxury listings is… the wine cellar. You know you’ve made it when your home comes with its very own wine room.

Bonus points if your wine room comes with temperature-controlled shelving.

While more affordable homes may not come with wine cellars, you can still find homes with extra space for an excellent home theater, study, mini-library, or game room.

Your Dream Home Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank

In fact, if you budget correctly, you can find the perfect home for you that has a number of special features. Correct prioritizing is key here. So, if you really can’t picture life without that in-ground pool, it may mean you won’t get an extra-special master bathroom or guest house.

Need some additional help working out the details in your home search? We’re here to help. Simply give us a call today to get started finding the home that’s right for you.

How to Make a Wants Vs. Needs List for Your Home Search

It’s spring, which means home buying season has officially arrived! If you’re on the hunt for a new home, chances are you’ve already thought about the features you’d like to have.

However, one important part of searching for homes is making a distinction between your needs and your wants. Needs are amenities or features you can’t live without, while wants are things that you’d like to have (but they ultimately wouldn’t affect your home buying decision too much).

Two-story suburban home with a large garage and grey shutters.Ideally, you’ll want to come up with this list of needs (e.g. 3 bedrooms, under $200k, close to schools) and wants (e.g. fiber internet connection, stainless steel appliances, walk-in closets) before you start looking for homes. This will save you time along the way as you browse dozens, maybe hundreds, of homes online or in person.

Here’s a guide for distinguishing between your wants and needs:

Your Needs

To begin, come up with a list of priorities. What are some features or amenities that are non-negotiable? Do you need a home with a certain number of bedrooms? Maybe it has to be in a specific location — close to public transit, near a popular attraction, or within a local school district.

Write your priorities down on paper or in a smartphone app to better visualize what you need in a home. Here are some things to consider:

Lot Size

Small black and white dog sitting on a green lawn with a wooden fence behind him.How much outdoor space do you need? This is one feature than tends to be at the top of home buyers’ minds.

If you have a dog or two, you may want a large fenced-in yard so they have plenty of space to run around. You might also be interested in starting a garden, or perhaps you just like the extra space for peace and quiet.

Home Size

Your specific needs determine how much space you need in a home.

Do you anticipate any future changes in your household size? If so, you should think about how much space you may require to accommodate those changes. The larger your household, the more bedrooms and bathrooms you’ll need (unless you want to spend mornings waiting for your turn to shower).

You may also consider if you’d like to have a large basement or bonus room to turn into a game room or home theater. If you’re an avid hobbyist, you may need an additional room for your workshop.

Location

Man driving a car with his hands on the wheel.Think about where you currently live. Are you close enough to conveniences like grocery stores, local employers, or schools? Do you dread driving home in the afternoons because of bumper-to-bumper traffic?

Make a pros and cons list about your current location and base your new list off of the features you like or wish you had.

Budget

When you’re coming up with your list of needs, one of the most important factors to consider in your home search is your budget.

A great way to set your budget is by meeting with a lender to get pre-approved. During this process, the bank will go over all your financial information and let you know exactly how much they’re willing to lend you.

Your Wants

Spacious open living room filled with natural light.Once you narrow down your list of needs (the biggest of which is your budget), you should tackle your list of wants.

Try focusing on amenities or special features that will increase your property’s resale potential (for when you decide to sell down the road).

Value-boosting home features can include dual-pane windows, additional “flex” rooms (such as a finished basement or in-law suite), and LED lights or other energy-efficient features.

Not only can these amenities increase your quality of life, they’ll likely get you more money in the long run when you decide to sell.

Prioritizing Your Wants and Needs

Smiling couple looking at a computer researching their budget.It can be challenging to find a home that has everything you need, everything you want, and is still within your budget.

Ultimately, you should prepare to make compromises along the way. (Which is more important, having a spa-like master bathroom or living less than 10 minutes away from the grocery store?)

Here are a few tips you can follow:

  • Consider any additional costs of certain home features and amenities. For example, if you want a bigger yard, make sure you have enough time to take care of it or the means to hire someone to maintain it for you.
  • Don’t always choose the latest upgrades. A number of different factors determine the cost of a home. Amenities like granite countertops and whirlpool tubs are likely to increase the price tag.
  • Adjust your list if necessary. You may realize during your home search that what you thought was a need is actually just a want.

Last on Your Checklist: The Right Realtor

Using your wants and needs list, a good Realtor can create a personalized list of potential homes that meet all your criteria.

That’s where we come in. Allow us to use our unique home buying expertise to help you find the home that’s just right. Give us a call today to get started.

What’s Your Style? 5 Popular Architectural Styles to Consider for Your Dream Home

Dream homes around the country have one thing in common: amazing architecture. From Greek Revival to Modern, we’re breaking down the most popular architectural styles in America to help you discover your own dream home.

A two-story Greek Revival plantation home with tall columns, wrap-around porches, and a grassy lawn.

1. Greek Revival Homes

Popular during the 1820s, ’30s, and ’40s, Greek Revival takes inspiration from the ornate temples of ancient Greek cities.

In America, you’ll find this architectural style sprinkled in cities throughout the country. Picture the magnificent columns and symmetrical design of historic Southern plantation homes, monuments like the Lincoln Memorial, and the White House itself, and you’re thinking of Greek Revival.

This architectural style exudes elegance and sophistication, which is why Greek Revival is one of the most popular housing styles in the United States. Many Greek Revival homes feature:

  • neutral exterior colors, particularly white
  • gabled roofs with a cornice
  • tall columns, either fluted or smooth

The Painted Ladies in San Francisco, a row of tri-colored Victorian houses with the San Francisco skyline in the background.

2. Victorian Homes

Fans of Full House will instantly recognize these colorful Victorian homes in San Francisco. The Victorian architectural style made its debut in America during the reign of Queen Victoria in the 19th century, popping up in small towns and big cities alike.

Victorian homes are often asymmetrical and ornate, and they typically include some or all of the following features:

  • bright, bold exteriors instead of neutral tones
  • elaborate trim and rooflines
  • towers with pointed roofs
  • bay windows

Two Tudor-style buildings, the one on the left with black timber in a criss-cross pattern and the one on the right with red timber in a criss-cross pattern.

3. Tudor Homes

In the late 19th century and early 20th century, homes started to take on the look of medieval European castles and inns.

The Tudor, or Tudor Revival, style is best recognized by the decorative timbers on the exterior of the house, but homes with this architectural style also feature:

  • steep gabled roofs
  • dormer windows
  • large decorative chimneys

A two-story brick Colonial house with dormer windows on the roof and two brick chimneys flanking both sides of the house.

4. Colonial Revival Homes

Arguably the most popular architectural style in the United States, Colonial Revival first came on the scene between the 1880s and 1950s. Dutch Revival and Georgian Revival are considered subcategories of the Colonial Revival style.

Like Tudor homes, Colonials often feature dormer windows and gabled roofs, but they can also have:

  • simple rectangular windows
  • symmetrical exteriors
  • covered center entrances

Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater House, a Modern three-story home with a stone chimney that is surrounded by trees.

5. Modern Homes

Also known as Mid-Century Modern, this architectural style was popular during the 1930s, ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s and valued simplicity over showy design. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater House is a great example of this popular home style.

Since Modern houses were also designed as a way to connect with nature, these properties tend to feature:

  • open floor plans that flow to outdoor spaces
  • large windows and sliding glass doors
  • ranch or split-level layouts

No Matter Your Style, We Can Find Your Dream Home

Have your heart set on a certain architectural style? We’ll help you find (or build!) your dream home with the look and feel you want. Contact us and let’s talk.

Costly Mistakes to Avoid After You Buy Your First Home

A single-level ranch-style house with a front porch, two-car garage, and well-maintained front yard.You’re smart. You’re doing your research about home buying and homeownership (like you are right now!), so you feel like you’re prepared to avoid common home buying pitfalls. But you’ll soon find that once you’ve moved in, there is a whole new list of common problems that plague unwary first-time homeowners.

To help you make the best buying and ownership decisions possible, we’ve outlined some of the the biggest blunders that first-time buyers make after closing on their home.

Investing in Too Many Upgrades

Not every home improvement project is worth the money or effort. Many first-time homeowners make the mistake of not considering a project’s return on investment, at least until it’s time to sell the house down the road.

If you want to know which home improvements are worth the investment, talk with a real estate agent or get a market report for your neighborhood. Give us a call and we’ll send one to you.

Ignoring “Minor” Maintenance Issues

Water dripping out of a long kitchen faucet and into the sink.As your home ages, seemingly minor issues may arise. But be careful: A dripping faucet, crumbling caulk, or slanting floors could spiral into much bigger headaches if you don’t take care of them quickly.

To avoid shelling out hundreds or even thousands of dollars down the road, tackle these maintenance issues as soon as you can.

We’re happy to provide local vendor recommendations if you need maintenance work. Just give us a call!

Choosing the Cheapest Repair Option

Quality comes at a price, especially when it comes to making repairs. Whether it’s picking up a cheap tool set or going with the lowest bid for a service provider, many first-time homeowners make the mistake of sacrificing quality for cost.

Contact us and we’ll be happy to recommend a high-quality local service provider.

Trying to DIY a Complicated Project

A large bathroom with white countertops, a white standing tub, white bidet, frameless glass shower, and orange walls.Some things can be done yourself. Think painting, hanging up shelves, or sprucing up the front entry.

But when it comes to stuff like plumbing, electricity, or structural engineering, think again. Hiring a professional will save you time and money — and keep you from starting a project you don’t know how to finish.

Need to talk to a contractor? Call us and we’ll give you recommendations.

Not Preparing for the Unexpected

A sudden job change, severe weather damage, or major maintenance problem can throw a wrench in your plans. Be sure that you budget accordingly for unexpected expenses as a homeowner.

We’re Happy to be a Resource

As local real estate experts, we have a wealth of information that can help you avoid many of these first-time home buying and homeownership mistakes. Contact us to learn more.

Your Rights In the Wake County Home Appraisal Process

Fight for Your Appraisal RightsIn the final installment of this series in how to understand and navigate the appraisal process, we’ll explore the most important piece of it all: your rights. “What are my rights in the appraisal process….” is one of the most asked questions that I field from my Wake County home buyers and it’s something that every home buyer needs to be aware of.

I’ve mentioned time and again that although appraisers are held to a very high standard and are accountable for the figures that they produce on an appraisal, they are still human and an appraisal is still an opinion of value. Because of these two factors, sometimes an appraisal will come in too low to meet the loan requirements.

When that happens, knowing what your next steps should be will save you a ton of stress and worry.

An Error Could Cost You The Loan

Because it’s the bank’s goal to limit their loan risk and exposure by requiring the appraisal, the result is that the appraisal must meet the agreed upon price and be justified. If this isn’t accomplished, the underwriter will not allow the loan to proceed. This can be disastrous at this point in the buying process.

An appraisal that comes back too low could be due to errors made in measurements, typos in data entry, use of incorrect comps, or simply a difference in the appraiser’s opinion of your property. The latter can be swayed a bit by making sure your home is staged well before the appraisal is to take place. So it’s always best to first control the easier variables such as making sure the property is clean and appealing to the appraiser.

Once you’ve done all that you can, it’s time for the appraiser to do their job. In doing so, if an error (or several) is made, the results can be an appraisal that fails to meet the bank’s requirements. This becomes a brick wall in the loan process and can cause you a ton of heartache.

Your Recourse When a Wake County Home Appraisal Mistake is Made

The good news is that you’re not without recourse when this happens. You have certain rights as laid out in Part 1 of this series, and you should do your best to work with the appraiser and bank to get beyond this part of the process.

A reputable appraiser will almost always reach out to the listing agent for assistance if the value is coming in too low. This is because the listing agent knows the property in and out whereas the appraiser mostly knows it only from the exterior. They can begin comparing measurements and amenities to see if something went wrong. Appraisers for my listings reach out to me routinely for this type of assistance and I’m so glad that they do.

When they don’t, it may be time to step in the ring. Be sure to be respectful of the appraiser when exercising your rights because no one’s perfect. There should be a mutual goal of all to move forward in the loan process. Most appraisers are happy to work with you to bring up a value.

The Fight Shouldn’t Be Yours Alone as a Wake County Home Buyer

When it comes to challenging an appraisal and knowing how to work through the steps that occur afterwards, one misstep could cost you a great loan. The best thing you can do for yourself is secure a skillful Triangle area agent who is very experienced in both home buying and home selling in the Greater Triangle Area.

Having an agent with the power of an established brand and work ethic goes a long way in making sure the entire process is efficient and worry free. Should something go wrong, Linda Craft & Team is here to fight for you to make sure it’s made right. Our goal is for you to reach yours. Feel free to search the thousands of listings on our site and when you’re ready to claim your new home, let us know and we’ll help you get there.

Have a great day!

Linda

Location and Size Are Two Keys For Unlocking a Strong Wake County Home Appraisal

Location Affects AppraisalsAs we near the end of the series in understanding and navigating appraisals, today we’ll take a look at two of the biggest drivers of a strong appraisal: location and size of the home. Not only are these key, but, there’s also nothing that you can do about them as a Wake County home buyer attempting to take ownership of a property.

Triangle area home sellers will have the ability to increase square footage on the property by simply adding on to the home, but, I don’t see this occurring if the home is already listed for sell. In essence, it means the size is the size. And the location is certainly the location. Barring the home being mobile, it’s not going anywhere. So, you are where you are.

 

A Look Through the Wake County Appraising Keyhole

Understanding that (for the most part) these are two variables that you have no control over at this stage of the process, we can begin to delve into how each of the two specifically feed appraisal figures.

1. Location

Generally, the appraiser begins with location. They will look for homes that have sold in the same neighborhood or the surrounding area. Typically within a one mile radius, however, if there are no sales present they’re allowed to go further out. The further the appraiser goes to find comps, the more explaining they’ll have to do to the bank.

Depending on the type of mortgage the Wake County home buyer is applying for there are rules that the appraiser must use a certain number of homes within a neighborhood and outside a neighborhood. Some homes have plenty of comps within the neighborhood to tell the value story. Other times they must look outside the neighborhood and comps are hard to find.

When they go outside of the neighborhood of the subject property they will look for other neighborhoods with similar characteristics and amenities. They will also research the comparison neighborhood back to the original build to see if these two neighborhoods sold for a similar price when they were new construction.  This is a test to make sure the development cost were similar and that they have truly found comparable locations.

2. Size of The Home (Buckle Your Seat Belts!)

Appraisers measure the house and look for other Triangle area homes similar in size, design and quality. Square foot measurements are taken from the outside of a home. Inside measurements are also taken to back out two story space such as foyers or great rooms. Stairs are counted only once. Knee walls are backed out if they are not 5 feet high. Square footage all on one level has the highest price per square foot value because that type of construction cost more to build originally.

All square footage is not equal. This is the biggest mistake non-appraisers make in determining value. Homeowners will find out what their neighbors house sold for, divide that sales price by the sold properties square footage and then take that number and apply it to their home. If your neighbor’s house was once two levels and you have a finished attic or basement that formula doesn’t work at all.

If your neighbor had a first floor master and you do not that formula also doesn’t work. It costs more to build a home with a first floor master because the foot print of the foundation is larger. The builder had to build out and not up to get that coveted first floor master suite.

But Wait…There’s More…

Calculated square footage without consideration of design is also one of the many mistakes Zillow Zestimates can’t possible correct. Zestimates are fun, but, completely unreliable because there are zero adjusments for differences. Zillow is a computer that depends upon inferior data. What does momma say: “garbage in garbage out”? The same holds true here.

Another huge error made in valuing a home is using one math calculation for all levels of a home. New Realtors and every home owner I have ever met make this mistake time and time again. I repeat all square footage is not equal. A split level home can’t be compared to a two story home. A third floor finished attic or a finished basement value is not equal to the first and second floor of a two story home. Appraisers look for like construction and design.

Don’t Navigate the Wake Count Home Appraisal Process Alone!

The appraisal process can be very detail intensive and there is no “one size fits all” calculation to figuring out what a home is worth. Because of this, appraisers are held to the highest standard. However, they are still human and opinions of value aren’t always in your favor.

Having battle-tested agents on your side like Linda Craft & Team will go a long way in making sure that your Wake County home buying process is smooth and seamless. We fight so that you don’t have to. Search thousands of beautiful homes in the Greater Raleigh area and when you’re ready to let us put you in your dream home, just let us know.

Have a great day!

Linda