City Council approves a new Rail Station in Downtown Raleigh

Downtown is gearing up for big city living…The proposed “Union Station” is one step closer to being a reality and it appears the hub will be located on Martin Street. Next stop…NC DOT for their approval.

A vacant warehouse located in downtown Raleigh, currently known as the Dillon Viaduct Building, will be retrofitted for the train component of the new “hub”.  The comprehensive plan is for the site to operate multiple transportation modes, such as the Capital Area Transit bus service; Triangle Transit’s regional bus service; long-distance bus service (Greyhound); Amtrak rail service; and future local and regional rail transit, including high-speed rail services.

To learn more, check out the Triangle Business Journal article.

Selling your home this Spring? January’s “to-do” list…

As we all tend to hibernate in January, the next several weekends are great for indoor home projects. Remove wallpaper, declutter, replace switch plates, hardware, etc is time well spent… see full list.

When I meet with homeowners in January to discuss selling their home in the Spring, I always tell them that they need to start preparing their home now.  With January typically being a cold and dreary month, it is a great time to focus on the inside of the home. If you live Inside the Beltline or in an older home in Raleigh, focus on repairing plaster walls, repairing water stains, and any other cosmetic repairs that have accumulated over the years.  Regardless of the age of your home, here are a few tips to get your home ready for sale in Raleigh.  But, don’t stop here…

  • Remove unnecessary furniture that make the room feel smaller
  • Remove personal photographs from tables and walls
  • Rearrange closets in an orderly manner
  • Patch holes in walls, clean walls and paint rooms that are not neutral colors
  • Remove wallpaper
  • Replace kitchen and cabinet hardware
  • Replace switch and outlet plates
  • Caulk molding
  • Replace light fixtures and ceiling fans

Homes that are properly prepared for the market tend to sell quicker and for more money.  Many items can be addressed on a small budget.  However, you may need to spend a little bit more to give the home the facelift that buyers expect in this market.

To get more ideas, this is a great article to read.  Go to How Can I Prepare my Home for Sale on a Budget?

Wilson Crow, Realtor has over ten years of real estate experience in Raleigh, NC. He specializes in helping home buyers and sellers with their real estate needs in the “Inside the Beltline” area and greater Raleigh area.  Feel free to call (919) 810-8665 to speak with him directly

How to de-80s your home…

So skinny jeans certainly came back, but make no mistake…popcorn ceilings, Hollywood dressing room lights, fake brass hardware are not coming back. Here are a few projects that make a difference.

Let’s just say, the 80s had its place in time.  But, maybe those days should remain in the photo album and not in your home decor.  Replacing cabinet and door hardware, swapping out light fixtures, repainting (and I’m talking about ceilings too…that water stain from the toilet leak 5 years ago is a red flag) are all weekend projects that make a huge difference when you sell your home in today’s market.

Thinking about selling your home in Raleigh, take a look at these tips for freshening up your home.  Please call me if you would like to discuss how to prepare your home to sell in Raleigh.

Its official…Red Hat is moving to downtown Raleigh

The software company Red Hat is moving its headquarters to the Progress Energy building. Need I say, it’s good to have high paying jobs in Raleigh (psst…”avg. salary for software developer is $94,180!”).

Progress Energy and Duke have been working on a merger that would relocate most of Progress Energy’s employees to Charlotte.  While the merger has not yet been approved, Progress has already agreed to sublease their office space to Red Hat.  Meaning, Progress will be vacating this space regardless of the merger with Duke.

Let’s just say, this is a victory for Raleigh.  Any city would love to have a tech company set up their headquarters in their downtown district.  Not too mention, a software company that employs high paying jobs.

What I’m watching…and it’s good news!

Jobless claims. Real Estate is directly linked to employment. Last week, the number of applicants for jobless claims dropped to the lowest level since April 2008. Awesome news for real estate!

If you would like to read the Bloomberg report, go to jobless claims report.

Your home has a “walk score”…curious what it is?

I gave it a test drive for my house and it seemed about right. The site is getting a lot of web traffic as many home-buyers are using it to find “walkable” neighborhoods. To find out a home’s (or your own) walk score, you can go to the walkscore website here.

For home buyers looking to buy a home in a “walkable” neighborhood in Raleigh, most of the older walkable neighborhoods will be found Inside the Beltline or near the North Hills Area.  In recent years, several new neighborhoods have been constructed to create a walkable feel as well.  Brier Creek, The Heritage in Wake Forest, Bedford at Falls River are some of the most notable.

When the National Association of Realtors did the buyer survey for 2010, one of the highest ranking influences in a buying decision was “convenience”.  While Raleigh is considered a mid-sized city, it continues to gain national attention because of the “big city” amenities.  With great schools, shopping and entertainment in Raleigh, many home-buyers focus their neighborhood search efforts on being located around these amenities.

If you have any interest in learning more about real estate in “walkable” communities, please contact Wilson Crow call me at (919) 810-8665

Want the cliff notes for Wake County NEW school assignment plan?

Is your little love bug attending kindergarten in the coming years? Or, is your family relocating to Wake County? Check out these links to learn about the new guidelines and find out your school choices.

If you want to the fact sheet for the new assignment plan, click here.

If you want to find out which schools you will be able to choose from, click here.

The superintendent of Wake County Schools will be presenting the new plan to the Realtors in the area on December 16th, 2011. From the looks of the new plan, Realtors will no longer be able to market homes based on school districts.

Want 10% off coupon for Lowe’s?

Got a big home purchase or project coming up? Well, you know I carry big weight at Lowe’s Home Improvement. If interested, let me know and I will email you a 10% coupon. Don’t say I never did anything for you…

Home-buyers should know this…

Congress wants their money back from their 2008 bailout…and a little premature if you ask me. But, Home-buyers, here me now…loan fees will go up. Congress is likely to approve a fee hike to recoup an estimated 38 Billion.

All signs point to Congress approving an increase for fees that Fannie  Mae and Freddie Mac charge to banks to guarantee loans.  These fees will ultimately be passed on to the home-buyer.  Being that the rates are historically low to begin with, I doubt that the hike will seek much opposition.

Yet, the big debate is that this increased revenue for the government will not go back to support the housing industry.  Instead, this money will be used to keep the payroll tax cut.  And after speaking Nick Timiraos with WSJ, I learned that Congress is structuring this deal in such a way that these fees will not be considered a reimbursement of the 150 billion dollar bailout.  So, let me get this straight…the Treasury is going to take 38 billion from Fannie and Freddie, but they are not going to write down their loan?  Answer: yep.

To read more about this new policy, check out Diana Olick’s article.

What is short about a “short sale”?

It is certainly not the time it takes to close…patience is a virtue. A “short sale” is where a home sells for less than the existing mortgage. Therefore, the proceeds fall “short” of paying off the mortgage. Commonly used as an alternative to foreclosure, sellers should consult a Realtor before proceeding down this road.

Sellers- Considering a short sale?

I have helped homeowners in Raleigh through the short sale process. The process can take several months and the earlier I can get involved helping the seller, the better. To begin with, banks will not approve a short sale just because you owe more on the home than a buyer will pay. The seller must apply for a short sale with their current mortgage holder and show financial hardship. Therefore, one of the most important aspects of the short sale process is putting together a complete short sale package for the mortgage holder. A Realtor who is familiar with short sales can be invaluable to a seller going down this road. If you are considering a short sale in Raleigh, contact me so we can explore your best game plan.

Buyers- Want to buy a short sale?

Your patience is about to be tested! A short sale can take up to 6 months and I have heard stories of even longer. Before you venture down this road, a prospective buyer must understand that the bank’s negotiator does not care about your time frames, demands, etc. On my last short sale, the bank did not acknowledge my client’s offer for 45 days. Meaning, the negotiator did not acknowledge, reject, counter or accept…no communication. Often times, a bank will not order an appraisal until they receive an offer and that process alone can take up to 2 weeks. Therefore, there is a lot of “hurry up and wait” times as a buyer of a short sale. Yet, when a short sale is approved to close, the buyer must be ready. If the buyer misses the closing date for any reason, the deal is dead!

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