Buyer Demand is Growing—Here’s How You Can Take Advantage of It

Typically fall—and especially late fall—isn’t an active time for the housing market. Buyers slow down around the holidays, fewer sellers list their homes on the market, and there’s a predictable lull before the New Year.

But this year, that’s not the case. In fact, buyer demand has grown in every region of the country, with the South in particular boasting the second-highest percentage of increased buyer traffic! Here’s how the numbers break down, and how you can take advantage of it as a seller.

Buyer Demand is Up

An agent leading buyers on a tour of homes during the late fall, a period of high buyer demand.

For the second month in a row, buyer interest is up in every region of the nation, including the Midwest, the South, the Northeast, and the West. This is likely largely due to low mortgage rates that have been present for most of the year, which makes buying in general more attractive and affordable.

Here in the South, we’ve generated the second-highest level of year-over-year buyer traffic growth, coming in at 6.4%—the largest jump in activity since last spring! The Western U.S. dominated the race at 8.9%, while the Midwest was lagging, but still in the game, with a .8% growth. Nationwide, the activity increase averaged out to 4.6%! For late fall and winter sellers, this is fantastic news

Buyers are Motivated

Home buyers on a tour of homes for sale.

One of the best things about selling during this time of the year? You won’t have to deal with buyers who are causally shopping. Instead, you can expect that most people out hunting for homes are hoping to move in before the new year—which works in your favor.

Since buyers will be on a timeline, they’re less likely to want long, drawn out negotiations. While they will probably be a little pickier about the home they choose, that just means that you have even more leverage—inventory is low, and if they walk away from your home, it could take them weeks to find another that they like.

Competition is Low

An aerial view of homes.

While spring and summer typically boast higher prices and more activity, that also means that other sellers are looking to capitalize on those benefits, as well. But in late fall and winter, seller activity takes a dramatic dip—and the limited listings on the market suddenly become much more attractive for motivated buyers.

There will still be other homes on the market, however, so don’t take this as an excuse to slack off on staging or marketing. In fact, staging and marketing are even more important during this time of year, since buyers are more selective in the homes they choose to tour!

Want to Bring Buyers to Your Front Door?

Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS® can help. We have over 350 years of combined experience, which makes us perfectly suited to ensure that your home sells not only quickly, but also for the highest price possible.

Want to add your home to our list of over 10,000 successful sales? Take some time to browse our resources, learn more about what we have to offer our clients, and give us a call when you’re ready to take the next steps.

Here’s The #1 Reason to List Your Home this Winter

Do a little research on the best time to sell your home, and you might think that it won’t be worth it if you’re not listing in the spring or the summer. While every season has its own unique benefits, that couldn’t be further from the truth!

It is true that spring and summer are traditionally more active months for buyers…but that also means they’re more active months for sellers, too. That’s why there’s one major benefit to listing your home in the winter!

The #1 Reason to List in the Winter?

A home surrounded by snow in the winter.

You can avoid that extra selling competition! Just because winter isn’t quite as busy as other months doesn’t mean buyers are completely inactive. In fact, while there may be fewer buyers total, the ones shopping right now are more likely to be highly motivated to make an offer!

If you’re hoping to capitalize on that motivation and the decrease in competition that the season brings, then November through January is the perfect sweet spot for listing. With inventory low, your home becomes a hot commodity—and captures the attention of serious shoppers before the spring inventory hits.

Inventory Trends

Home inventory trends for winter sellers based on data from the National Association of Realtors.

Assuming this year follows suit with last year, then December is looking like the prime time to capitalize on limited competition. Last year, inventory dropped by nearly 200,000 homes from November to December, then ticked back up by almost 100,000 come January.

And it’s not just the decrease in competition—it’s all about supply and demand, and the limited inventory of homes in the winter brings potential for higher prices. An added bonus for this year’s sellers? Mortgage rates are continuing to hover near record lows, meaning more buyers than usual may be motivated to hit the market!

Want to Make the Most of Your Sale?

A miniature white house sitting on top of a table surrounded by winter decor.

One of the keys to a successful sale? Pricing your home right. Not only will the right price ensure that you’re making as much as possible, but it’ll also bring the right type of buyer through your door.

If you want to find the most accurate and competitive price for your home, just get in touch with Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS®! Not only can we give you the most up-to-date number based on your home’s condition and local trends, but we’d also be more than happy to recommend a few value-boosting projects that can take your property to the next level.

List Your Home this Winter

Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t have to wait until spring or summer to get top dollar for your home. The winter season is full of benefits for sellers that are just waiting to be capitalized on!

If you’re thinking of listing your home soon, let Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS® help. With our years of local experience and vast array of resources, we’ll price your property, help you make it look its best, and answer any questions you may have along the way. Ready to get started? So are we. Just give us a call!

Online Home Searching is Good—But Here’s Why Using an Agent is Better

These days, it’s easier than ever before to search for a home online—and tons of buyers are doing it. In fact, 93% of buyers start their search on a website…but that doesn’t tell the full story. In addition to websites, 86% of buyers are also still using a real estate agent to find out more about homes for sale in the area.

So, with so much technology at our disposal, what is it about real estate agents that keeps people coming back?

 1. There’s More to Real Estate Than Finding a Home Online.

People pointing at homes for sale on a laptop screen.

Guess how many estimated steps you’ll take during the real estate process. Have a number in your head? It’s likely not high enough. In reality, there are around 230 possible actions that can take place in a successful real estate transaction, and the search process is just a drop in the bucket!

Touring homes, submitting an offer, getting in-depth info on a property, setting up an inspection—it’s a long list of to-dos, and not many of them can be taken care of online. You’ll want someone by your side who’s already been through it all!

2. Negotiations are Tricky.

People shaking hands in front of a white brick wall.

Want to save thousands on your home purchase? It’ll take some stiff negotiating. There are several places during a sale where there’s opportunity to open and reopen negotiations, from the initial offer, to the appraisal, to post-inspection. If you want to capitalize on the potential for a lower price, you’ll need to work with a real estate agent who knows exactly what to say and exactly when to say it.

3.  Your Offer Needs to Set You Apart.

People discussing an offer on a home.

You may not realize it now, but the offer you submit determines whether or not you make it to the seller’s next round of considerations. Are they offering a fair price? Should you offer over or under? Does it make sense compared to other local sales trends…or are they trying to get more than their home’s worth?

An offer is a lot more than just a number—it’s your entryway to the rest of the buying process. Working with a real estate agent who knows their way around market trends is the best way to confidently know that your offer is competitive enough.

Enlist the Help of Local Real Estate Agents

From the online search to the closing negotiations, you can trust Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS® to be there through every step of your buying journey. Don’t go into your real estate experience underprepared—let us help you find your dream home for a dream price.

Whenever you’re ready to get started, we’re just a phone call away!

The Numbers Are in… and Now’s a Great Time to Sell

This year’s real estate market has been shattering all sorts of expectations—and the latest numbers are no exception. While you might think that spring and summer are the most profitable seasons for selling, this fall has the potential to prove you wrong!

Here are the highlights from the  National Association of Realtors’ latest home-selling report.

Buyer’s Market vs. Seller’s Market

A "For Sale" sign in the front yard of a home.

Before we dig into the numbers, it’s important to provide a little context as to what they mean.

Buyer’s and seller’s markets are primarily determined by the amount of inventory available. If there’s less than 6 months’ worth of homes for sale, then prices will go up, leading to a seller’s market. On the other hand, when inventory tops 7 months, price tend to depreciate and the market swings in the favor of buyers.

With that in mind, let’s get to the numbers!

Sales vs. Inventory

A key in front of a miniature model of a home.

While sales have gone up, the most important takeaway from the report is the inventory. At the end of August, the total housing inventory sunk by 2.6% to 1.86 million homes for sale.

Unsold inventory is lower than the 4.3 month figure recorded last August, which represents a 4.1 month supply based on the current sales pace. With increased demand and limited supply, sellers are benefitting in major ways—namely, price increases.

Why the Increase in Buyer Activity?

People shaking hands over a real estate transaction.

Typically, buying slows down during the fall and winter months, but with mortgage rates remaining at near-record lows, it’s been hard to resist taking advantage of them. In fact, The Existing Home Sales Report also shows that 49% of properties were on the market for less than a month when they were sold.

The bottom line? If you’re planning on selling, now’s the perfect time to capitalize on ready, willing, and able buyers—and likely for a better price than usual.

List Your Home with Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to put off your home-selling plans until the spring or summer—the last few months of the year are shaping up to make for a stellar seller’s market.

Want to take advantage of these favorable conditions and sell your home before the end of the year? Then let Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS® help. With hundreds of years of combined local experience, we have the resources, expertise, and skill-set to ensure that your property sells for top dollar! Whenever you’re ready to get started, we’re just a phone call away.

Your Latest Course in Homebuying: The 5 Acronyms You Need to Know

You might think that since you’ve put some distance between now and high school and college, your days of memorizing vocabulary and learning new definitions is long gone. But if you’re buying a home, then you’re going to want to dust off those skills and start studying up.

Real estate comes with its own confusing jargon, and knowing what each term means makes you all-the-more prepared to tackle the process. Here are the top five homebuying acronyms that you should add to your vocabulary!

APR

Calculator

APR, or annual percentage rate, represents the annual cost of borrowing money based on your loan amount, interest rate, and other specific fees. The calculations for APR are a little confusing, but there are plenty of online calculators that can help you figure out what the number might look like for you!

FRM

FRM stands for fixed-rate mortgage, which is one of the most common types of mortgage. Luckily, this one pretty much means what it sounds like: with FRM, your interest rate will not change during the entire term of your loan.

DTI

A credit card.

One of the most important aspects of your finances that a lender looks at is your DTI, or debt-to-income ration. Your DTI is calculated by measuring your total monthly income against your total monthly debt payments. Ideally, you’d want to have around a 36% DTI.

PMI

If you can’t afford a 20% down payment, you’ll have to pay PMI, or private mortgage insurance. This acts as an added safeguard for lenders who work with you by ensuring that they’ll be protected from losses if you default on loan payments. Once you’ve paid off around 80% of your home, you’ll no longer have to pay PMI.

P & I

People at a bank.

P & I is just a fancy way of saying principal and interest, which are the portions of your monthly mortgage payment that go towards paying off the money you borrowed to purchase your home.

Ace Your Real Estate Experience

Of course, these five acronyms aren’t the only ones that’ll come up during your buying journey—but we’ll be around to make sure you can handle any other letter combinations that get thrown your way.

At Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS®, we’ve been working in the Raleigh real estate world for years, and we’d be more than happy to leverage our experience to your benefit. Get to know a little more about what we bring to the table, explore our resources for buyers, and give us a call when you’re ready to get started!

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!

5 Simple Steps to Decrease Your Buying & Selling Stress and Avoid Information Overload

The internet is an amazing tool, but sometimes, having easy access to all of the information we could ask for can be overwhelming—especially when facing a major decision like buying or selling a home.

Which season is the best for buying? How do you price your home correctly? What do you need for your mortgage application? Oftentimes, conflicting answers can complicate our decisions.

Avoid confusion, take a deep breath, and stay on the right track by following these five steps!

Calm Down

According to productivity expert Jeff Davis, the first and most important step is to recognize any stress or concern that might be building up, and stop it in its tracks before it leads to more panic.

Slow Down

A woman in a coffee shop.

Take a minute, and let yourself breathe. The pace at which you can find information gets quicker and quicker as technology improves, and it can often make you feel pressured by unrealistic time constraints. Stop for a moment and collect your thoughts!

Think

Why did you want to buy or sell your home? Why did you choose now? What are you hoping to achieve? Remind yourself of your goals, and recognize anything that might be impractical. Are you still focused on what’s most important?

Plan

A person journaling.

Now that you’ve gained some new knowledge, does anything about your search need to change? Do you need clarification on a few points, or are you worried about a certain outcome? Your agent is the perfect resource for any of your questions or concerns—that’s what they’re there for!

Act

Have you taken time to consider your options? Give it some thorough consideration before making any concrete moves, then meet with your agent and get the ball rolling.

Avoid Information Overload

Two women meeting around a laptop.

Don’t get stressed out about all of the conflicting information on buying and selling—and don’t overload yourself by not coming up for air! Instead of consulting the World Wide Web, take your questions to Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®. With over 300 years of combined real estate experience, we can give you the right answer to any and all of your buying and selling questions.

Ready to Get Started?

So are we. Get in touch with Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, and we’ll guide you through the confusing ins and outs of the real estate process. Get to know more about our resources, expertise, and local knowledge, and give us a call when you’re ready to explore all of your Raleigh real estate options!

How A Daily Latte Affects Your Real Estate Goals

With summer on its way out and fall just around the corner, it’s prime latte season. Pumpkin spice, maple pecan, salted caramel—some of the best seasonal flavors make their debut!

While it’s great to treat yourself to a cup of coffee every now and then, those small expenses can really add up—especially if you’re pinching pennies for a down payment.

The Latte Method

A person making a latte.

Recently, Realtor.com put together a report titled “A Latte a Day Keeps Homeownership Away.”

By calculating the average down payment and median home price for a number of major US cities, the minds at Realtor.com were able to figure out just how much you need to save every day in order to afford a down payment within the next five years, representing that number with the equivalent amount of lattes.

The title may be a little pessimistic, but when you take a hard look at the numbers, the results are undeniable.

Daily Savings

A person reading a book and drinking a coffee.

The average price of a latte fluctuates based on city, but typically hovers within the $3.50 to $3.80 range. Depending on your usual coffee order, that number could be even higher—for example, a tall pumpkin spice latte comes in at $4.25.

Here’s what you’d need to save daily to afford a down payment within five years:

  • Atlanta: 1.6 lattes
    • Average down payment: $10,450
    • Median price: $335,436
    • Daily savings: $5.72
  • Chicago: 2.9 lattes
    • Average down payment: $19,580
    • Median price: $312,098
    • Daily savings: $10.72
  • New York: 6.8 lattes
    • Average down payment: $45,717
    • Median price: $564,500
    • Daily savings: $25.04

Raleigh falls on the lower end of the range, coming in at 2 lattes a day, or around $7.30. When you break your down payment into these smaller numbers, you can see just how much a coffee day affects your overall budget.

Buying Your First Home

A person holding up several bills.

Figuring out your finances while buying your first home is a daunting process, but not an impossible one. If you need help creating your five-year plan, Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® can help. Start things off by figuring out what your extra daily expense might be—whether it’s a latte, lunch, or an after-work drink—and cutting it back. Then, use our mortgage calculator to get some concrete numbers!

Need Some Budgeting Help?

Trust in the expertise of Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®. With over 300 years of combined real estate experience, we have what it takes to not only help you save up for your new home, but also successfully lead you through the in and outs of the buying process.

Take a look at some of our resources for buyers, browse a few homes on the market, and give us a call to get started.