First Comes Love… then Comes Your First Mortgage Payment!

Every year, the National Association of Realtors® conducts a survey to determine the profile of home buyers and sellers across the country.

The 2018 profile is interesting because the majority of recent homebuyers (a whopping 63%!) are married couples!

The Majority of First-Time Buyers are Married Couples

A married couple standing on the porch of their new home.

It’s true! According to the NAR, 54% of first-time buyers in 2018 were married couples.

However, if you’re still single, there’s no need to worry. 18% of first-time home buyers in 2018 were single women, while 10% were single men. In addition, about 16% of these buyers were unmarried couples.

Homeownership is Within Your Grasp!

Spacious living room with beige sectional sofa and a coffee table.

Even if you haven’t saved up an enormous down payment, you likely still have plenty of options for buying a home in the greater Raleigh area!

Many homes for sale in Raleigh, and the Greater Triangle area, qualify for loans that don’t require huge down payments. You may be able to use an FHA loan or a USDA loan to purchase a home in one of Raleigh’s orbiting cities—in communities like Angier, Fuquay-Varina, and Apex.

These loans are popular because they only require a down payment that’s 1 – 3% of the home’s overall price. And, if you’re in the military, you have even more options!

Let’s Buy Your Dream Home Together

A hand holding a pair of house keys in front of a home.

If you’d like to explore your home-buying options in the greater Raleigh area, please give us a call at Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or looking to invest in your fifth real estate property, we have the resources and expertise to assist.

Let’s set up a time to talk about your plans! In the meantime, feel free to explore the Greater Raleigh area with our free home-buying guides.

Working with Us, Versus the Competition, to Sell Your Raleigh Home

Selling a home is a complicated, and time-consuming process. When done correctly, however, it can transform your life for the better and help you build long-term wealth.

As such, we believe that it’s important to work with a certified expert to sell your home in the greater Raleigh area. That’s why we’d like to take a minute to show you the proven benefits to working with our team.

Our Experience Shines

White home entrance with luxury features.When you tally up the experience of every single person on our team, you get more than 350 years of direct experience selling homes in the Triangle.

Compare that to 50% of Triangle area agents with less than 5 years of experience.

Plus, our experience includes:

Negotiating

This is a big part of selling real estate! You have to know how to negotiate with the buyer for the best possible outcome. Our team has negotiated and closed over 10,000 real estate transactions.

According to the National Association of REALTORS®, the average Realtor sells about 6 houses per year.

Pricing

Our Exclusive Listing Partners specialize in pricing homes all day, every day. We specialize in focused expertise, which is why each of our listing specialists is able to close 20 times more homes than the average agent.

We list and sell over 100 homes each year, and have correctly priced and closed over $2 billion in real estate.

Handling Contracts

A stack of papers sitting on a desk that reads "Real Estate Purchase Agreement."It’s no secret that selling a home comes with a lot of paperwork. Luckily, at Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, our 30+ years of experience handling more than 10,000 contracts in the Triangle gives us the expertise to help you with all the disclosures and paperwork necessary in today’s heavily regulated environment.

An In-Depth Understanding of Market Conditions

When it comes to any business decision, we firmly believe that knowledge is power. That’s why we aim to empower our clients with a pre-listing consultation in order to fully understand today’s market conditions and the best ways to succeed in the Raleigh real estate market. Over the past 30+ years, we have used our in-depth market expertise to help our clients win during the toughest times in history (think the Savings and Loan Crisis, the Dot Com Bust, and the devastating Mortgage Crisis of the 2000s).

In a good market we leverage all our past experience and knowledge to assure the best results for our clients. Our team wins when our clients win!

Here’s a Breakdown for You

Of all the advantages that come from working with our team, Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®:

  • Experience of over 30 years in this area
  • Proven track record of bringing their clients success with over 10,000 homes closed
  • Unsurpassed world wide marketing causing their listings to sell faster
  • Expert negotiations that net our sellers higher returns on one of their largest investments
  • Dedicated closing manager so no detail is missed that could cause closing delays
  • Free staging advice from a professional home stager
  • Professional photography and drone photography
  • Appraiser for accurate square footage and compliance
  • Free moving truck, notary service, and shredding service
  • Vacant home service by a trained and dedicated team member
  • Fix and Flip interest-free financing
  • When you choose Linda Craft & Team you are supporting a local, woman-owned business
  • Invitations to client appreciation events all year long
  • Referrals to home-care professionals offering discounts

Ready for Real Estate Success in the Triangle?

We’re ready to help. Give our team a call today to learn more about your options for selling your home for top dollar in the Greater Raleigh Area.

A Quick Study Guide on What “Affordability” Means in Raleigh Real Estate

A calculator next to an outline of market trends.When we talk about “affordability,” a lot of definitions may come to mind. For real estate specifically, affordability is something of a hot topic.

While it is true that buying a home is less affordable today than it was at any other time in the past decade, that has a lot to do with the real estate market crash of 2008.

If you’ve been in the real estate game for a while, you probably remember the flood of distressed properties that hit the market at this time. Due to the poor state of the economy, foreclosed and short sale homes were going for a huge discount. This rush of distressed homes actually damaged the value of other homes within a neighborhood.

Lucky for everyone involved in the real estate industry, things have since changed!

The Market Has Changed Since Then

A woman holding a tablet and looking at how the market has shifted over the past 10 years.Over the past decade or so, the market has recovered and prices have gone up right along with it. This isn’t a bad thing! A strong economy is good for everybody, especially those trying to sell their home for what it’s worth in the Triangle.

As such, both home prices and mortgage rates have increased. To make the best possible decision in the Raleigh real estate market, it’s important to have plenty of resources to rely on.

So Mortgage Rates Have Shifted

An open door with a set of house keys hanging from the key hole.When most buyers think of a home’s “affordability” they’re picturing two things in particular: the listing price of the home and the mortgage rate they’ll have to pay.

According to a CoreLogic report written by Andrew Lepage in late January, the “typical mortgage payment is a good proxy for affordability because it shows the monthly amount that a borrower would have to qualify for to get a mortgage to buy the median-priced U.S. home…”

While mortgage rates are slowly increasing, they are nowhere near the gargantuan rates of the 2006 housing boom (think an average monthly payment of $1,275…)

By the end of 2019, experts have projected the typical monthly mortgage payment to be about $963.

What Does That Mean for Buyers and Sellers?

Whether you’re thinking of buying or selling a home in Raleigh, please know that this is one of the most advantageous times to invest in real estate!

At Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, we have the market expertise necessary to help you make a highly valuable transaction in this area. Please give us a call today to learn more about your Raleigh real estate options.

You Should Be Building Your Own Wealth… Not Your Landlord’s

There’s no doubt about it: buying a home is a daunting task. In fact, many potential buyers are nervous about the commitment and obligation that comes with buying a home.

If you’re more comfortable renting because you think you can’t afford buying a home, we should talk. The truth is, even when you’re a tenant, you’re still paying a mortgage. Unless you live completely rent-free with a relative, you’re helping someone build their equity and pay off their mortgage with your rent money every month.

You’re paying your landlord’s mortgage, and giving them a little extra for themselves each month. Wouldn’t you rather be building your own wealth?

If You’re Serious About Your Finances, You Should Buy a Home

Stacks of coins growing consecutively in size until they reach a large pot.Buying a home is one of the most surefire ways to build wealth for the long-term. Additionally, it gives you significant benefits to your credit score, as well as a sense of security.

When you own your home, you’re not at the mercy of your landlord—who may raise your rent whenever they see fit. Plus, owning your home means you can decorate and renovate it to match your unique tastes! You have complete freedom over what goes in and what comes out.

In Fact, It’s a Great Time to Buy in Raleigh

A white kitchen countertop with red flowers and a candle.The spring home-buying season is shaping up to be a good one. Interest rates are still historically low, while inventory only continues to grow. That means this spring will be a wonderful time to buy a home in Raleigh.

Get a head of the competition by beginning your home search today! Do some research and come up with an idea of what kind of home you’d like to buy.

If you need any help locating potential homes for sale in the area, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. At Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, we have the inside scoop on the area’s best new listings.

Join the Home-Buying Ranks

It’s never too late (or too early!) to buy a home in Raleigh. Trust us, if you can afford to pay rent every month, you can afford to buy a home.

Plus, there are plenty of mortgage options out there that require little to no down payment! There’s no excuse not to take advantage of excellent market conditions and become a homeowner.

The Real Benefit to Buying a Home in the Triangle

When it comes to real estate, it can be easy to get bogged down by the numbers. How much money are you going to spend on a home? Are you going to be able to build substantial equity over the years? If you decide to sell before your mortgage is paid off, will you have to renegotiate with the bank?

While the financial side of buying a home is important, what’s possibly even more significant is its emotional aspect. Buying a home has many intangible benefits; home is where you look forward to returning at the end of a long day. It’s the one place you can truly feel at peace and be yourself. It’s a place where you feel safe, loved, and protected.

The purchase of a home is unlike any other purchase you’ll ever make in your lifetime.

Owning a Home Brings Stability

Two parents teaching their daughter how to ride a bike.

When you buy a home, you’re not simply purchasing a property. You’re choosing to invest in a unique community that’s going to shape your way of life.

That’s why we’re so excited you’re exploring the Triangle as your new home. With its many different neighborhoods, towns, and cities, the Triangle offers a wide variety of different communities to choose from.

You Have Total Freedom Over Your Space

Unlike with renting, owning a home means having near-unlimited possibilities to customize your space as you see fit! Want to install a fire pit in the backyard? Interested in transforming your extra bedroom into a home gym? Eager to paint a wall in your kitchen with inspirational quotes? When you own a home, you have all the options in the world.

You’re also free to adopt pets, install Pinterest-inspired light fixtures, and do whatever else it takes to make your house feel like home.

There’s No Place Like Home

Adults clinking their drinks together over a lavish dinner spread.

The biggest reason to buy a house? To make it a home.

Create a space where you and your loved ones can come together to celebrate and to take care of one another. Set up a guest bedroom for when company visits, decorate your dining room for the holidays and the big events, and get excited about your new life in a community as charming as the Triangle!

Ready to Buy a Home in the Triangle?

We’d love to help you along. At Linda Craft & Team REALTORS®, we understand our buyers’ unique needs and expectations in a real estate transaction. As leading Triangle REALTORS®, we’re more then prepared to guide you towards a successful, lucrative, and emotionally fulfilling home purchase.

Get in touch with us today to learn more. In the meantime, browse some of our most popular Triangle homes for sale.

Still Renting Your Home? There Are Better Options Available!

2018 is quickly drawing to a close, which means it’s time to start planning for the new year. If you’re still renting a home in the Triangle, please know that you have better options available!

Have you been dreaming of becoming a Triangle homeowner? You’re not alone! This is a wonderful area to invest in, and an ideal time to buy a home. Home values in the Triangle are expected to increase over the coming years. This makes now the time to act!

Take a look at our complimentary home-buying tools to get an idea of your options in the Triangle. Oftentimes, it’s less expensive to pay a mortgage every month than it is to keep up with annual rent increases, and all the other fees associated with leasing!

What Do You Dislike About Renting?

Young couple thinking and looking at a laptop computerAccording to a 2018 Bank of America Homebuyer Insights Report, 75% of millennial renters plan on buying a home in the next 5 years, and 38% are planning to buy in the next 2 years!

Those surveyed were also asked what they disliked about renting. 52% said rising rental costs were their biggest reason. Other factors included “not building equity,” “feeling like I’m paying my landlord’s mortgage,” and “not being able to have pets.”

There’s plenty of merit to that concern, as the median asking rent has risen steadily every year since the 1980s.

Common Misconceptions About Buying a Home

Bright living room interior with huge windows.If you plan out your budget every month, you’ve probably heard of this rule “don’t spend more than 30% of your monthly income on housing expenses.” Did you know that almost half of all renters surveyed in the Bank of America Report spend much more than that on their monthly rent?

When asked what was stopping them from buying a home, many responded that they “weren’t able to save the 20% down payment.”

However, this is one of the biggest misconceptions about buying a home! It is possible to buy a home without putting 20% down.

Ready to Explore Your Triangle Home Buying Options?

Allow our team of experienced Triangle real estate agents to guide you through the process. For more information about what kind of homes are available in the Triangle, and what your options are as a buyer, please get in touch.

As the #1 Real Estate Team in the Triangle, Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS® are fully prepared to find you the home of your dreams and negotiate an excellent price on your behalf.

Full-Service Real Estate – Linda Craft & Team, REALTORS® and Craft Commercial

We are all very fortunate to live in an area where the entrepreneurial spirit is very much alive and flourishing. Raleigh and the Triangle area continue to be a hotbed for creative new business owners with fabulous product ideas they want to introduce to the world marketplace.

Because of this unique market, it makes sense for a real estate company to adopt a business plan where clients can one-stop-shop for both residential and commercial real estate needs. If you are starting a new business venture or are moving an existing company to the area, not only will you need commercial space, but you will also need a place to live.

Linda Craft & Team REALTORS have been the experts in residential real estate for 30+ years. Our Team has over 350 years of combined experience in local real estate. In 2015, Linda had the idea to go above and beyond by creating Craft Commercial.  The team has grown over the past few years and now has combined experience of 200 years in commercial real estate in the Triangle.

Here’s Linda explaining the advantages of full-service real estate provided by our Residential and our Commercial teams.

 

There’s so much to be said for building strong client relationships in real estate versus pushing through transaction-based deals that provide little to no long-term involvement between a broker and a client. The smart business model is one based on developing relationships to ensure that clients will rely on your services year-after-year for all their real estate needs.

Linda explains this concept of communicating effectively and often with clients by providing them with exceptional client support.

 

Whether you are in the market for a home for your family or a home for your business, the teams of Linda Craft & Team REALTORS and Craft Commercial are ready to help you with all your real estate needs. Just go online at lindacraft.com or craftcommercial.com or call us at Linda Craft & Team REALTORS 919-235-0007 or Craft Commercial 919-466-5000. We’re all about providing exceptional service to our clients!

 

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

Relocate To Raleigh North Carolina

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

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

 

First, You Have to Bring Home the Bacon

Work In Raleigh

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

 

Second, Can I Afford a Home in the Triangle?

Can I afford a home?

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

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

 

Third, Will I Enjoy Living in the Triangle?

Fun in the park.

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

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


Need Help Relocating?

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

Sink or Swim – Diving into the Raleigh Housing Market?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buying vs. Renting

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

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

Our Favorite North Raleigh Parks

raleigh parks

The Best North Raleigh Parks (Part 1)

Our team loves taking advantage of Raleigh’s parks. So many of them are connected to great neighborhood with a variety of amenities and services. Here are some of the team’s favorite North Raleigh parks, along with some nearby neighborhoods. We had so many that we’ll make another post highlighting more soon. What neighborhoods are within walking distance to parks? Which ones are your favorites? Find them all at parks.raleighnc.gov

Durant Nature Park 8305 Camp Road –Recommended by Chandra Green, Team Assistant
What’s there: Hiking, biking, playground, organized activities.  Close to Bedford at Falls River and Durant Trails neighborhoods

Lake Lynn 7921 Ray Road -Recommended by Kim Crump, Broker
What’s there: Walk or run around the lake, ride your bike, take your dog. There is also a playground, community center, baseball field, and tennis courts.  Close to Greystone Village

Millbrook Exchange Park, 1905 Spring Forest Road–Recommended by Steve Kruger, Listing Partner
What’s there: Tennis courts, dog park area, city pool with splash area for kids, recently updated playground, baseball fields.  Close to North Ridge Country Club and neighborhood

Laurel Hills, 3808 Edwards Mill Road –Recommended by Jennifer Hicks, Seller Closing Manager
What’s there: huge playground, walking trails, basketball courts, picnic shelters. Close to Laurel Hills Neighborhood

Linda Craft & Team is a locally owned real estate company where every dollar earned proudly stays in the community. Our Team is celebrating its’ 30th Anniversary and leading the Triangle in 2014 as the #1 Team for previously owned homes SOLD! We would love to help you too! Please call our office today to set up a free consultation with one of our expert team members.