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!

Find Out Why More Than Half of Buyers are Wrong About Down Payments

True or false: if you’re buying a home, you need to have at least a 20% down payment? If you answered true, you aren’t alone—so did 62% of Americans.

But in reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth—and you don’t have put off your home-buying dreams just because you can’t come up with 20% down!

While a 20% down payment will help you avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI), it isn’t some sort of home-buying hurdle that you must clear in order to buy. In fact, it’s far from the most common amount that U.S. buyers put down!

Here’s the truth about down payments—and why you shouldn’t let that 20% number prevent you from reaching your buying goals.

The Truth about Down Payments

A piggy bank standing against a white background.

According to NerdWallet’s 2019 Home Buyer Report, around 6 in 10 Americans think you need a 20% down payment in order to buy a house. Because of this, they also tend to think that it takes several years to come up with the necessary funds for buying.

Unfortunately, this way of thinking unnecessarily postpones plenty of people’s home-buying dreams!

The truth? The most common down payment amount—put forward by around 32% of buyers—was just 5% or less. Put that in terms of concrete amounts, and it translates to just $7,500 on a $150,000 home or $15,000 on a $300,000 home.

Other Common Down Payment Amounts

A single dollar bill sitting on a wooden surface.

While 5% or less is the most common down payment amount, it’s still just one of the many options that buyers choose. Here’s how the rest of the numbers break down:

  • 16% of buyers put down 6 – 10%
  • 23% of buyers put down 11 – 20%
  • 18% of buyers put down more than 20%
  • 10% of buyers bought their home outright

A 20% down payment is a great goal, but you don’t have to feel locked into that amount! Instead, consider how much money you’d feel comfortable with putting down, then work from there.

Buyers are Optimistic

A woman packing up her home and writing on a cardboard box.

Despite prevailing misconceptions about down payments, buyers are still feeling optimistic about the market. Around 42% of Americans feel better about their home-buying prospects this year, which is up almost 20% from last year.

Additionally, 44% of people say that the current economic and political conditions make them more likely to buy in the next year, which is around a 10% increase from last year.

Long story short? Now’s a great time to buy!

Find Your Dream Triangle Home

Buying a home is major step, so it’s important that you have trusted and experienced professionals on your side. At Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, we have over 300 years of combined real estate experience, making us well-equipped to provide you with everything you need to find home-buying success.

Take some time to explore our resources for home-buyers, learn a little more about what our past clients have to say, and use our specialized search tool to narrow down your options. Once you’re ready to get started, we’d love to talk details!

The Biggest Reasons Why Homeowners are Happy… and Renters Aren’t

Coffee or tea? Cake or pie? Rent or buy? Life is full of big questions—some a little harder to answer than others. But in the case of renting versus buying, there are a few big reasons why ownership still wins the battle.

Thinking about making the jump from renting to owning? Here’s how your life might change.

Does Owning Make You Happier than Renting?

A family with pets.

That’s the big question posed by the most recent Bank of America Homebuyer Insights Report. The answer? A resounding yes. In fact, out of the modern homebuyers interviewed, 93% of respondents said that owning a home made them happier than renting, and 83% said that they would never go back to renting after owning.

It doesn’t just end with happiness, though—79% of homeowners believe that buying their own property has changed them for the better and 88% say it’s the best decision they’ve ever made.

On the flip side, according to the latest Zillow Housing Aspirations Report, 45% of renters regret not buying, with the biggest reasons being lack of customization opportunities, high rent payments, and lack of private outdoor space.

The Effects of Owning a Home

A grandmother and granddaughter.

You hear a lot about the financial equity of owning a home, but Bank of America’s survey sought out information on the “emotional” equity of ownership—which brought up some interesting numbers.

When asked if they viewed the home as a place to make memories or a financial investment, more than half of respondents chose the former. After buying, more than 76% of people pursued new hobbies—including landscaping and gardening, cooking and baking, and interior design.

And it’s not just the individuals: family relationships also benefited. Homeownership allowed 49% of respondents to entertain more often and 24% to bring the entire family under one roof.

Current Homeowners versus Prospective Homeowners

A house.

If you’re still on the fence about buying a home, consider these numbers:

  • Time spent pursuing hobbies
    • Current homeowners: 82%
    • Prospective homeowners: 63%
  • The quality of social life
    • Current homeowners: 78%
    • Prospective homeowners: 58%
  • Financial well-being
    • Current homeowners: 77%
    • Prospective homeowners: 42%
  • Quality of life overall
    • Current homeowners: 88%
    • Prospective homeowners: 70%

Ready to Become a Homeowner?

Owning a home comes with a myriad of benefits—both financial and emotional. If you’re ready to take the leap into homeowning, then congratulations!

At Linda Craft & Team REALTORS ®, we’re dedicated to not only finding you the best Triangle-area home for your wants and needs, but also ensuring that your journey is seamless and stress-free. Browse some of the resources we have to offer our buyers, and use our specialized home search tool to narrow down your options. Once you’re ready to get started, just give us a call!

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.

6 Key Real Estate Graphs that You Need to See

No matter what capacity you’re entering the Triangle area real estate market in—whether it’s buying, selling, or investing—it’s crucial to be prepared. By knowing all of the latest numbers on mortgage rates, median sales price, and average days on the market, you can gain a major advantage over your competition!

Since we want to ensure that each and every one of our clients is well-equipped to reach their goals, we wanted to give you a quick snapshot at all of the trends you need to know.

Here are the top 6 real estate graphs that you should study up on.

The Strength of the Current Market

Key takeaways:

  • Keeping an eye on the current status of the housing market is one of the best ways to make powerful and confident decisions when buying or selling a home.
  • Mortgage rates remaining near historic lows and houses selling in an average of only 29 days are just two key elements driving the strength of today’s market.
  • With the national data shown here, make sure to also determine what’s happening in your local market so you are fully informed when you’re ready to make your next move.

Navigate the Market with Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®

At Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, we know the ins and outs of the local and national real estate market—and we’re more than happy to share that knowledge with you. Whether you’re buying and looking for a little help or selling and hoping for top dollar, our track record of satisfied clients shows that we have what it takes to lead you to success.

Ready to get started? Feel free to give us a call!

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!

The Best Real Estate Advice for Millennials—from a Millionaire

If you’re a millennial, then you’re probably a little tired of hearing all the criticism towards your generation. Buying avocado toast instead of saving money, always texting instead of calling—they’re all pretty unfair generalizations.

Another common criticism of millennials? That they never buy homes. But actually, that couldn’t be further from the truth! In fact, millennials represent the largest portion of homebuyers in the market.

And according to millionaire David Bach, buying a home is one of the best decisions you can make for your future equity.

It’s All About Owning

A beautiful home.

Since you’re likely working with limited funds, your first home probably won’t be your dream home—but that’s okay. Getting your foot in the door and buying a home is the stepping stone to building wealth and equity, according to Bach. Even if your budget isn’t as high as you’d like, it’s best to buy as soon as you can!

In Bach’s opinion, you should start by crunching the numbers. You might think you can’t afford a home, but setting clear goals based on concrete numbers will help put things into a realistic perspective.

A good rule of thumb? Make sure your home payments don’t total more than 30% of your take-home pay.

David Bach’s Background

A person pulling money out of their wallet.

Why should you trust what Bach has to say? Well, his resume speaks for itself. A self-made millionaire, Bach has written nine consecutive New York Times bestsellers.

Not only that, but he’s also one of the only business authors to ever have four books on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, and USA Today bestseller lists at the same time. His book The Automatic Millionaire even spent 31 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list!

Additionally, Bach is considered to be one of the foremost authorities on finance, appearing as a contributor on NBC’s Today Show,  ABC, CBS, Fox, CNBC, CNN, Yahoo, The View, and PBS.

Why Now is a Great Time to Buy

A person holding up house keys.

If you’re all in on following Bach’s advice, then you should know: now is the perfect time to buy a home—and we’re not just saying that.

Mortgage rates are hitting near-record lows, and home prices are steadily increasing. Buying a home soon means saving on payments now and benefitting from higher prices in the future.

Ready to Get Started?

We understand that buying a home is a major decision. But with over 300 years of combined real estate experience, in-depth area knowledge, and a wide collection of resources, Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® are well-equipped to lead you to buying success.

Explore a few of our resources, kick off your home search, and give us a call when you’re ready to get started.

Boost Your Equity over the Next Five Years with One Important Decision

Dipping your toes in the waters of home-buying? Based on the latest numbers, you may want to consider jumping in. In fact, buying a home right now could lead to an equity boost of almost $50,000 in the next five years!

Take a look at a few numbers from the experts, see where home prices are headed, and learn how the Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® can help you today.

Home Prices are Steadily Rising

A computer with graphs and charts.

According to the most recent Home Price Expectation Survey (HPES), home values will appreciate by 4.1% by the end of 2019. That trend will continue well past this year, as well, with an average annual appreciation of 3.2% over the next five years. By 2023, you can expect a staggering 16.8% cumulative jump!

Maybe you’re thinking that those numbers are a little optimistic. We don’t blame you—but even the more pessimistic experts estimate a 6.7% cumulative appreciation over the next five years.

What This Means for You

A miniature house and key.

Assuming those numbers all pan out, buying a home right now could mean major profits in the future. For example: let’s say you find a home you love, you make an offer, and you close for $250,000. By next year, that home’s value will have jumped to $260,000. By 2022, it’ll be almost $275,000. And by 2025? You’re looking at $292,000, a $42,000 jump since your initial purchase.

These numbers might sound too good to be true, but they’re calculated by a panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts.

Gearing up to Buy a Home?

A house surrounded by trees and greenery.

Sold on buying a home? In all honestly, you won’t find a much better time than now. With mortgage rates still hovering at near-record lows and home prices steadily ticking up, you could buy a new home for a great price now and make an amazing profit when you list it later. Your future self—and future equity—will thank you.

Trust Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®

Buying a home is a big decision, and one that you want to be well-equipped for. Luckily, the professionals at Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® have over 100 years of combined real estate experience in the Triangle area. Not only can we guide you to the best listings on the market, but we can also offer a wide variety of resources along the way.

Are you ready to buy a home and boost your equity? Give our team a call today!

The 2 Biggest Buying Myths—And Why You Shouldn’t Believe Them

Buying a home is a major decision—one that you should spend plenty of time thinking about. But for many people, that thinking stage quickly becomes filled with anxieties—about money, about mortgages, about lenders—and they may decide to postpone their buying plans.

At Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, we want to break some of the negative stigma around the buying process. Here are the top two myths that scare away buyers and why you shouldn’t believe them.

Myth #1: The 20% Down Payment

Professionals meeting at a bank.

While a 20% down payment is preferred, it’s far from required—even though 22% of renters and 31% of homeowners believe that it is! In fact, buyers often overestimate how much they need for a home—so much so that it delays their plans.

A recent report from Freddie Mac found that if a 20% down payment was actually required, 70% of people planning on buying the next three years would delay their purchase. Not only that, but 30% of buyers said they would never be able to afford a home under those conditions.

In reality, there are a number of programs available to buyers that help lower your down payment, from VA loans to FHA loans. Give us a call, and we can help you figure out what you qualify for.

Myth #2: The Stellar Credit Score

A person holding out a credit card.

Many people think a “good” credit score is right around 780—and that you need a “good” credit score to qualify for a loan. But according to Ellie Mae’s Origination Insight Report, that number is way above average. In fact, over 50% of approved mortgages had credit scores anywhere between 600 to 749—way below what most people consider “good.”

Even if you don’t have an outstanding credit score, odds are, it’s still good enough to snag the right financing. Need some tips on upping your credit score? Just reach out to my team, and we’ll help you out!

Don’t Let Buying Myths Hold You Back

Buying a home is certainly a tricky process, but it’s often more attainable than people think—especially when you work with a professional. At Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, we have over 100 years of combined real estate experience around the Triangle, and we’d love to leverage our skills to help you find your dream home.

Take some time to explore our resources for buyers, and give us a call when you’re ready to learn more about your buying options!

Checking in on the Trends: The Positives and Negatives of Today’s Housing Market

Real estate trends are prone to change. After all, there are many factors that play into home prices and mortgage rates, and as the economy changes, the real estate market follows suit.

If you want to get the best possible outcome to your real estate endeavor, staying updated on current real estate trends is crucial to your buying and selling success.

Here are the three biggest changes currently happening in the housing market—and what they mean for buyers and sellers!

Interest Rates are Low…For Now

A man looking at numbers on a laptop.

Interest rates play a huge part in the overall cost of your home, and right now, they’re the lowest they’ve been in years. As of June, rates are hovering right around 3.8%. Back in March, they were as high as 4.4%!

According to the latest info from Freddie Mac, those numbers could be here to stay for a while, but with the current unpredictability of the housing market, there’s no guarantee. So the sooner you buy, the better.

Tariffs Could Drive up Prices

A construction area.

What could tariffs on China possibly have to do with the housing market? Well, many of the tariffs will affect building materials like lumber and steel—and the National Association of Home Builders estimates that around $10 billion worth of those supplies come from China.

With an already low inventory of homes, the increased of cost in building a new home will likely further exacerbate the problem. The tariffs began in June, so the effects may not be fully felt for a little while—meaning now is a great time to buy.

The Economy is Cooling off

A man carrying a newspaper and briefcase.

Previously, many economic experts thought we were headed for a recession this year. While that estimate has been pushed back, three leading surveys (the WSJ Survey of Economists, Duke University Survey of CFOs, and NABE Survey of Members) predict that it’ll happen sometime in the next 18 months.

That doesn’t mean there’s any need to panic, but it does mean that the current economic conditions might be the best that they’ll be for a while.

Ready to Buy Your Raleigh Home?

If you’re on the fence about buying or selling, the current housing trends indicate that now is the time to make some moves. Find your real estate success, and trust in the expertise and years of experience that Linda Craft & Team REALTORS® can provide.

Browse our buying resources, see what homes in Raleigh we love, and give us a call to get started!