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

Higher Wake County Home Appraisals Are Typical of Refinances and HELOCs

Appraisals Can Be Higher On RefinancesAs I continue with this next piece in my series on appraisals, we will now take a closer look at other anomalies in the process: Refinances and Home Equity Lines of Credit.

Many times I meet with Wake County sellers who previously had their home refinanced or had taken out an equity line of credit and they will proudly present me with a copy of that appraisal. They do this so that I can see what the opinion of value for their home was back then. In almost every case it’s a higher appraisal versus a realistic sales price for today. How can that be?

Familiar Risk Is the Best Kind

Again, it all boils down to the amount of risk to the lender. When you went to your bank and asked them to refinance your Triangle area property or give you an equity line of credit, they immediately know your pay history. They can look into their records and see that you’ve paid on time so a lower interest rate on the refinance is a very low risk.

Your bank is in the business of loaning money and they will do their best to give you what you want. Helping you actually helps them keep a good paying customer in their book of business. Considering the reality of foreclosures, it behooves lenders to do whatever it takes to retain the loyalty of the better paying customers.

With a refinance or equity line of credit, the bank will allow the appraiser to know the number you both need to hit. They are very likely to let the appraiser be more generous with their adjustments and their opinion of value. They may even allow them to go outside of a geographical area or further back in time to hit the number you need.

Fair Warning to Wake County Home Buyers!

Because of the cost incurred for a refinance, which is typically added to the loan amount or paid out of pocket by the borrower, don’t refinance unless you can get an interest rate at least 1% lower than you have now.

You want to also be sure to look for lenders who offer no-cost refinances. Another helpful hint is to not refinance if you feel you’ll be moving in a year or two. Not unless you’re going with a no-cost loan. However, even those may have a pre-payment penalty if you do not keep the loans for a specific amount of time so read the terms closely.

If paying out of pocket be sure to calculate the cost of the refinance against the savings per month to determine how many payments it will take for you to break even. On average, it’ll take about 3 years. This is another reason to look for no-cost refinancing lenders.

Reduce Your Own Risk

At this point in the series, we’ve learned that both the bank as well as the appraiser will do whatever they need to as a means of reducing risk. One of the best ways that you can do the same and protect yourself is to avoid going through the home buying process alone or with a less experienced agent.

We at Linda Craft & Team have connected thousands of Wake County area buyers with their new homes with as little worry as possible. If you’re in or around the Greater Triangle area and still searching for your new home, contact us and let us partner with you to get you there.

Have a great day!

Linda

How Staging Your Wake County Home Affects the Appraisal

The Appraisal Value of Your HomeLast week I discussed on my blog and television segment how to better understand and navigate the appraisal process. Over the course of the next few weeks I’ll post a series of tips on what you can do as a Wake County home buyer to further help your chances in coming out of the process with a favorable result.

Remember, the goal of an appraisal isn’t to truly determine the value of your home. It’s to help the bank determine if the home is worth the total loan amount requested by you. Having that basic foundation of understanding is what we’re going to build on to help give you an edge in this process.

Staging your home will go a long way in helping to boost the appraisal figures.

An Appraisal Is An Opinion

An appraisal is an individual’s opinion of value. You could have 10 appraisers conduct an appraisal on the same property and you will find all of their opinions will vary to a degree. Square footage may vary. Comps used could vary. Adjustments for differences between homes may vary. The commentary on each comp may also vary.

Some of the variances can be attributed to differences in things such as the comps that were used. Because appraisers aren’t robots, there is also a possibility of human error in the appraisal. A simple typo on a figure or an incorrect listing of how many bedrooms or bathrooms are present (for example) can dramatically affect the figure the appraiser arrives at.

Show Up and Show Off

A key point to keep in mind is that because an appraisal is an opinion, the more positive an appraiser feels about the property, the higher the value will be. Like I said before, remember that they’re human. This is actually an advantage because it means they can be swayed by their senses.

You can help your value by making sure on appraisal day you have a clean, neat home that is well-staged to maximize emotional appeal. Turn the lights on, burn a scented candle, and do all the things you did to capture the buyer’s heart. This is important because you still have one more heart to win over: the appraiser.

It may seem trivial, but, I assure you it is not. If your home isn’t presentable when the appraiser arrives, it may have a very detrimental effect on how they “feel” about the value of it.

Don’t Go It Alone

The home buying process can be quite a task if you try to navigate the seas alone or with an individual agent. Here at Linda Craft & Team, we have years of knowledge and experience in the Greater Raleigh real estate market and we are ready to partner with you.

For more information about the appraisal process please feel free to reach out to us. If you’re still searching for your new home, take a moment to browse through the thousands of listings we have for the greater Triangle area and once your new home leaps out at you, we’ll be here to introduce the two of you.

Have a great day!

Linda