Information for Home Buyers in the Raleigh, Cary, Holly Springs, Apex, Morrisville areas of Wake County in the Triangle, NC

Ahhh Fence-Sitters…


Ahhh Fence-Sitters…

Great question that RuthMarie Hicks challenged us with in her ‘Getting Buyers off the fence’ challenge this month. Chronic looking and forever fence-sitting clients are tough. I thought I’d try and answer how I specifically “deal with” them. It may not be the most profitable way… but it’s the best way for me.

I don’t have scripts, I don’t shake them into wanting to make a decision, I just let them be chronic lookers and forever fence-sitters if that’s what they want… Seem Odd?

My Clients Decision to Buy a Home is Their Own

In most cases, qualifying my prospective clients before agreeing to devote my undivided attention decisionsand time helps. Let’s face it some home buyers really aren’t serious about buying a home and there are those sellers ‘just wondering what they could get for their house’ without any real motivation to sell.

Let’s take buyers for example; if a buyer hasn’t gotten their finances together, spoken with a lender, and done the things we all know that serious home buyers must do, then I advise they do so FIRST. If there is hesitation or resistance then they’re probably not serious about buying a home.

Buying a home is a HUGE decision especially for a 1st time home buyer. And truth be told I don’t think there’s a perfect way to qualify a client in order to know for sure whether they’ll buy a home the 1st day or 100th. I myself have put in a LOT of home searching time with “home buyers” who ended up still to this day (years later) NEVER purchasing a home. Is it frustrating? YOU BETCHA!!

How do I deal with it?

After they’re qualified I like to take the time to meet in my office for an initial consultation. I have a buyers pack put together for them with all sorts of information including past blog posts I’ve written that explain the home buying process, what due diligence is etc. I also make sure they know that they need to have their checkbook in hand ~ first day out. Helping them understand that the good homes still go fast! I also ask the questions; if we do find the home of their dreams are they willing to make an offer TODAY.

They’ll usually answer honestly. By managing my time appropriately and by asking the right questions I’ve learned to cut out the frustrations that come along with chronic fence-sitters (usually!). However, even if they’ve done EVERYTHING RIGHT I still sometimes get the feeling their great intentions to buy a home just won’t be coming to fruition any time soon.

When that happens and it gets to be too much… I’ve learned to shake their hand, ask them to call me when they are ready to buy a home or even just want have a cup of coffee (we do make great friends during the home-hunting process don’t we?) and I really do wish them the best of luck.

Ultimately We Decide Who We Work With
If you feel that your client will never become a past client, it’s time to part; hopefully at least as friends – with your card in their hand should they change their mind – just be honest with them.

We run businesses; for our business to be healthy time management is key. We can’t make a client purchase a home… nor should we. We’re here to ease their fears, answer their questions and guide them through the process.

Beyond that the only thing we really control is our own time.

Let’s Find a Deal Together!

Let’s Find a Deal Together!

With interest rates low, the housing supply up, and a number of great home deals available, many individuals and families alike are making the decision to get into the housing market.  THAT IS GREAT ~ there’s some SMART people out there that know now’s the time to buy a home!

To keep smiling let’s discuss some misconceptions.

time to buy is now

The news on the national housing market these days to say the least isn’t always positive, we hear foreclosures are everywhere, we learn about friends and loved ones who are selling their homes for much less than they had hoped to.  We hear rumors of that guy getting a great deal or that lady paying $64,000 for the 3 bed, 2 bath in town.  These stories albeit are real, but are so hyped up in today’s media that the expectations it produces for what’s available within individual price ranges are not altogether realistic.

It’s a little like getting struck by lightening…

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll never recommend that you settle for less than you want and if a deal is what you’re looking for ~ we’ll find it!  But it’s important to know that in our market, on average in the Triangle area of NC, both historically and currently, homes on the market that close sell for between 96% – 99% of the list price  (97% – 98% being most common).

Buying a home in any real estate market can and should be exciting.

PARTICULARLY in THIS Real Estate market where interest rates are so low, inventory is healthy and unfortunately other agents are NOT advising their sellers appropriately, leaving many sellers THINKING they are at a disadvantage with competition being so steep.  Which means buyers are in an excellent position to get a great deal on a home that may have been out of reach just 2 years ago.

But let’s be realistic in home buying today too; we’ve witnessed a caveat for buyers who realize their expectations for a 6 bedroom, 5 bath, 5000 square foot home in the perfect school system may not be in their budget.

As Realtors®, we want you to be incredibly happy and feel ecstatic about:

  • Your experience throughout the home buying process
  • Your decision to choose the home you decide to purchase
  • Of course we want you to be THRILLED with US too!    
Just like in a sellers market (where the not so great homes are selling for top price), it’s important to have a good idea of what types of homes are available both in the areas you’re interested in and within your budget. It’s what I like to call managing your expectations!

Real estate markets are REALLY local. It’s not just a cliché…

Many of our clients come from locations where home prices are higher than comparable homes found in our Wake County real estate market.  That’s great right?!  Interestingly, we’ve found that this scenario can call for both:

  • buyers who are thrilled because they’re getting more for the money.
  • buyers who are disappointed because the perception of a great deal has been inflated to unrealistic levels.  
Be informed, ask your Realtor® tons of questions (none are too small and there’s no such thing as a dumb question in real estate) and arm yourself with information.  Doing this will help create an awesome home buying experience.

When you’re serious about buying a home, call me. I’ll know how and where to start…

It’s official! We’ve been going over the numbers & NOW is the time to buy a home.

It’s official!  The numbers say NOW is the time to buy a home

buying a home in Raleigh
First time home buyers and experienced buyers alike, if you’re on the fence you can’t keep ignoring the signs… you have a tremendous opportunity to own a home at a terrific price with amazingly low interest rates.  

Speaking of… let’s dive into detail on a topic that receives a lot of attention but is still often misunderstood or overlooked.  

I N T E R E S T   R A T E S

When financing a mortgage (or even refinancing a home) it’s important not to underestimate how much impact your interest rate will have on your monthly payment.According to mortgage finance giant Freddie Mac, the national average mortgage rates as of October 20th are:

Average National Interest Rates Oct. 20th, 2011For a more specific look at our Southeast region (defined as NC, SC, TN, KY, GA, AL, FL, MS, PR, VI) average mortgage rates for the same period are:

Average Regional Interest Rates Oct. 20th, 2011Quick explanation of some of the terms above:
* A point is a discount point charged by the lender at settlement.  One point equals one percent of the loan amount.
** A margin is a fixed amount added to the underlying index to establish the fully indexed rate for an ARM.
Visit our website for a comprehensive list of real estate vocabulary terms.

Bear with us here, those charts are a lot to take in…

But here’s where it gets interesting. If you’re sitting on the fence about whether or not now is a good time to buy a home you might be wondering…


How does the interest rate really affect my monthly payment as a borrower?

We want to show YOU just how much impact these interest rate adjustments have… so we did a little research and put this together so you can see for yourself.

For our sample we simulated a homebuyer (similar for a homeowner refinance) who:

  1. Financed $300,000
  2. At the average Sept. 2011 (October is not yet available) 30 year fixed interest rate of 4.11%.

We found:  Expected principal & interest payment =$1,451/month

We then calculated what the monthly principal and interest payments would be using average 30 year fixed interest rates from history.  

For the same $300,000 financed:

  • Sept. 2011, average rate 4.11%:  monthly payment = $1,451
  • Sept 2010, average rate 4.35%: monthly payment = $1,493
  • Sept. 2009, average rate of 5.06%:  monthly payment = $1,621
  • Sept. 2000, average rate of 7.91%:  monthly payment = $2,183
  • Sept. 1990, average rate of 10.18%:  monthly payment = $2,673
  • Sept. 1980, average rate of 13.20%, monthly payment = $3,366
  • Sept. 1971, average rate of 7.69%, monthly payment = $2,137

There was a time in our home owning years that Lee & I paid… are your ready for this? Our interest rate was 18%!!!!

Interesting how much farther money can go with low interest rates!*Please note the above calculations show principal and interest only and assumes 20% down.  Excludes property taxes, home insurance, mortgage insurance, closing costs, etc.  For a closer look at what to expect please check with your mortgage lender, or we are happy to refer a mortgage expert in the Triangle area.

Ready to consider getting off that fence?  IF you are convinced that now is an outstanding time to buy a home ~ CALL ME TODAY

Interest rates are a big factor for sure, but then take into consideration current market conditions and you have a perfect combination giving YOU as home buyers some great options and opportunities in the real estate market.

Want to play with numbers specific to your budget? Check out our home buying and selling tools complete with a mortgage calculator to get started.

Please don’t wait, fence sitting can get very uncomfortable… Contact us today we’re ready are YOU!

1st time home buyers; NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO SIT ON THE FENCE…

How to buy my first home

1st time home buyers; NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO SIT ON THE FENCE…

Sure, buying your 1st home can be a scary thought…

It’s a big investment.

It’s a commitment.

…and who knows what the future will be like right? 


Even with all the tumultuous real estate news out there these days, there really has not been a better time to buy a home in almost 50 years…  

If you are TIRED of paying rent, don’t wait!  Just arm yourself with sound advice and move forward and shed paying rent forever.  You’ll be glad you did!

Here are 6 ideas for you to consider as you start out…

1.  FIND THE RIGHT BUYER’S AGENT!  It’s sad but true – not all real estate agents are created equal.  As a 1st time home buyer you will become joined at the hip to your agent.  So be sure to feel comfortable with them.  Not only personality compatible but also confident in their ability to look out for your best interests during the entire process!  The home buying process isn’t rocket science but there are many little nuances that an experienced agent will be able to navigate around and help smooth the transaction.  

Results: a real estate relationship that will last for years to come.

2. UNDERSTAND THE HOME BUYING PROCESS.  1st time home buyers get so excited once they make up their mind to buy a home  that they just start surfing the web, heading out to open houses, and even calling the listing agent to view a home.  One of the reasons for finding the right buyer’s agent above is that your agent should take the time to consult with you FIRST and explain how the process works in your area to help manage your expectations..  

Results: one relaxed 1st time home buyer.

3. GET PRE-QUALIFIED!  It’s sad when anyone starts out without consulting a lender.  Here’s a situation that I hear all too often that really needn’t happen …  a 1st time home buyer jumps on the net – finds a home they just love and have to see!  They call the listing agent – get an appointment and they’re in love! That is until they talk with a lender and find that they either don’t qualify, don’t have enough for the down payment or closing costs, or just don’t want to spend that much per month…  

Results:  one very prepared 1st time home buyer.

4. ASK – ASK – ASK!  If you’re not sure about something ASK!  There is no such thing as a dumb question!  And this couldn’t be truer than for the 1st time home buyer.  Don’t be afraid to ask about the  upkeep, the taxes, and the insurance.  Take time to review the restrictive covenants…  especially for things like being able to put up that fence for Fido.  Who owns all that nice wooded area behind the home?  Will it stay nice and private…? AND especially ask about various places to live and/or if there is anything going up around the home that would affect its resale.

Results: one very thankful 1st time home buyer.

5. ACT QUICKLY!  Even though you’ve heard it’s a buyers market, hear me on this please; the good HOMES STILL GO FAST!!!  So once you’ve found the home that fits, DO SOMETHING!   

One of the biggest 1st time home buyer mistake is not acting quickly enough and someone else comes right behind you and buys the house. So don’t wait!

Results; one very happy 1st time home buyer.

6. MAKE YOUR OFFER STAND OUT!  Let’s face it 1st time home buyers don’t always have the ‘cash’.   BUT it’s not always about the highest price, or amount on pointdown – LTV (loan to value) that attracts a seller.  If the home you’re going after is a pearl – you can bet there will be others looking to purchase it as well.  So how do you as a 1st time home buyer make your offer look appealing to a seller?  One idea we’ve found that has worked is a letter from you to the sellers telling them in detail what it is that you love about their home and how you’ll take care of it.   It just might do the trick…

Results; one very satisfied 1st time home buyer!


Hope these tips help as you begin what I believe is one of the most exciting experiences in your life – buying your 1st home!  

Read to get started?  Call me.  I’m ready too…


School Information Resource for Wake County and Surrounding Areas

School Information for Wake County & Surrounding Areas

Have questions about school information for the Triangle area of North Carolina?

We’ve written about Wake County School bus safety and Wake County School Supplies, and we’ve covered tons of general information about Wake County Schools… what we want to offer now is a comprehensive resource for schools in and around Wake County, NC.


The Wake County School System is the 2nd largest in the State.  We get a lot of questions from clients with children of all ages wanting to explore options for education in the area, as well as specific questions about the Wake County school system.  No problem – but, we found ourselves searching dozens of sites for information.


In an effort to streamline that process we’ve created a resource on our website where you can find all the information you need for schools in and around the Triangle area.

We have links to information on:


  • Colleges and Universities in the Triangle
  • Private Academies and Schools
  • Charter Schools
  • Wake County Public Schools
  • Wake County Magnet Schools
  • Chapel Hill City and Orange County Public Schools
  • Chatham County Public Schools
  • Durham County Public Schools
  • Johnston County Public Schools
  • Home Schooling in North Carolina
  • and even Child Day Care

All conveniently listed in one location. Visit our Wake County School Information page for all the information you need to make informed decisions regarding education for the kiddo’s in your life.

Schools are often within the top 3 reasons people choose to relocate.  If this is a factor for you, we hope this helps with your researching schools homework.

If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Dependable… Reliable… Protected…

Dependable… Reliable… Protected – All About the Home Warranty

The average cost of a Home Warranty in Wake County, NC is roughly $400 – $650 annually.   Is it worth it to you to protect yourself from unexpected home repair costs? 

Home_Warranty Program Information

An argument can easily be made for or against maintaining a home warranty over the years of home ownership.  Maintaining one over the years isn’t the topic we’re focusing on today but since we’re talking about it, and for the sake of argument… if your home is new and you’re a diligent saver maybe you can get by without the annual expense; if your home is older and saving money is an issue then a home warranty may be a necessity.

For us, if you’re in the process of selling your home in Wake County, NC or buying a home in Wake County we almost always recommend a home warranty to our clients.

Here in Wake County, home buyers usually expect a home warranty to be included in the package and paid for by the sellers.

When you list your home in Wake County (or surrounding towns) with us, as Prudential York Simpson Underwood Realtors®, you are covered as home sellers (for no additional cost), for the duration of the time your home is on the market with us if you choose to offer your buyer a Home Warranty with HSA Home Warranty. included and paid for by the home seller.  Always a point of negotiation, but when one is purchased perks come for both the home buyer and seller.

Home_Warranty Program Information

This is a tremendous benefit… and here’s why:

  • As a home seller imagine:  You’ve worked hard preparing your home for sale, you list with your local Realtor®, excited the process has officially begun to move toward the next phase of life.  AND THEN, after having done everything right you discover you have to shell out thousands of dollars because your HVAC decided that NOW would be a good time to kick the bucket.  Grrrr….
  • As a home buyer imagine:  Such an exciting time, closing is done, the deed has been recorded, you have the keys to your new home, you’re moving in and making your new home your own. AND THEN discover that while the electrical system was fine a few weeks ago during the home inspection, the system decides NOW would be a good time to cash in the chips… requiring thousands to fix.  Grrrrr….

Worth paying for a home warranty?  Yes – as home sellers it not only provides coverage for you during the period you’re listed on the market (when you don’t want unexpected problems to force you to put more money in to your home), but a home warranty also gives your potential home buyers warm fuzzies.  That sense of security for your potential buyers gives you a competitive edge when comparing your home with the competition down the street that may not offer the same advantage.

Home Sellers:  Simply put, home buyers love warm fuzzies. You never know, it could be what makes your buyers put in the offer on your home instead of someone else’s.

Questions?  Just let us know how we can help.  We’re here to make your transitions as smooth as possible!

Moving to Wake County, North Carolina? Request your Guide on How to Avoid Paying Too Much.

Moving to the Triangle?  Wondering How to Avoid Paying Too Much?

We offer a FREE, no obligation guide to help.

If you’re feeling ready to start gathering information about Raleigh, NC and the surrounding areas, but aren’t yet feeling ready to talk directly with a Realtor®  that’s ok. 

With years of experience and expertise, we’ve gathered information to create a simple guide to help home buyers in and around Wake County, NC avoid paying too much for their home.

Home Buyers Guide for Wake County, NC

Simply put, paying too much can jeopardize the integrity of your investment.  We’ve included vital information to help you avoid overpaying for your home in this Wake County Home Buyers Guide on How to avoid paying too much for your home

If you’re interested in information about:

  • Shopping for a mortgage before shopping for a home
  • Cliché but…. location location location
  • Watching for yellow flags when evaluating a home’s pluses and minuses
  • Hiring a professional home inspector
  • Choosing a home with an eye toward future needs
  • Asking for a written comparative market analysis
  • Learning as much as you can about the Triangle home seller’s situation
  • Using time to your advantage
  • Not being afraid to negotiate
  • Knowing your hidden costs

And much much more, request your free Wake County home buyers guide.


If you’re interested in specific information, let me know and I’ll do my best to answer any questions you have.  If you’re still in the early information gathering phase, that’s OK, we understand you may not be ready to open up about who you are or your needs at this time.

Just let us know how we can help.  We’re here to make your transition to and from Raleigh-Cary and the surrounding areas as smooth as possible!


Request your no obligation free Guide on How to Avoid Paying Too Much for Your Home

Realtor® Designations – What They Mean and Why It’s Important


We’ve worked very hard over the years to earn the designations above.  But why and what does it mean?

We’re not performing surgery, but just like you want your surgeon to be an M.D., it’s important your real estate agent has the proper industry credentials as well.

What do Realtor® Designations Mean?

Let’s start by defining each:

CRS Designation

Certified Residential Specialist® / CRS®:  CRS delivers the education, resources and connections agents need.  Covering topics from listing, selling, pricing, technology, marketing and more.  CRS is considered the symbol of excellence in residential real estate.

GRI Designation

Graduate, REALTOR Institute® / GRIsm:  This designation, is for all real estate agents who want a solid foundation.  It provides the platform necessary to becoming a successful agent.

ABR Designation

Accredited Buyer’s Representative / ABR®:  ABR is instrumental for Realtors® who will be representing home buyers.  Providing exclusive resources specifically related to staying up to date on home buying issues and trends, this designation provides unique insight on how to best serve home buyers.


e-Pro Designation

e-Pro®:  Never more important than now, e-Pro provides the tools and resources necessary to keep up in an ever-changing world of technology.  The majority of home buyers begin the search online.  It’s important your real estate agent understand more than just the fundamentals.

           e-Cert:  e-Certified sales associates have in-depth knowledge of leading Internet marketing solutions, digital imaging and electronic communication.

eCert is specifically a Prudential designation.

Why do Realtor® Designations Matter?

It’s important because it means as a home buyer or home seller in or near Wake County, NC you are getting very experienced, knowledgeable and skilled Realtors® you can trust with what could be one of your largest financial transaction.

We put in extra hours annually to stay up to date on everything that’s current in real estate.  We are serious about providing the most excellent service to our clients.

Real Estate Recovery for Downtown Raleigh, NC Condos!

Real Estate Recovery for Downtown Raleigh, NC Condos!

One of the hardest hit real estate markets around the country was and is the condo market.  Jeremy Salemson, CEO of Corporate Investors Mortgage Group reported on WRAL’s Today in Real Estate that the sales for the downtown Raleigh condo market have recently “skyrocketed” year over year!  Indicating that “not only the real estate purchase appetite is returning, but an appetite for a niche portion of the market”. 

LOVE that the thriving niche is the downtown Raleigh, NC condo market!

Downtown Raleigh, NC


Downtown Raleigh itself is thriving, seems like every time Lee and I head to downtown Raleigh for dinner or entertainment we come across a new local Raleigh restaurant or shop!  Check out for a great list to get you started on things to do in Raleigh, NC.

Here’s the WRAL video report if your interested…


Raleigh home for sale - 3 bed, 2.5 baths tri-level townhome with cathedral ceilings!

If you’re thinking about moving to the Raleigh area or purchasing Wake County Real Estate there are tremendous opportunities available right now for home ownership in the Triangle. 

With interest rates at an all time low and the housing supply up… now is a great time to buy a home in Wake County.  Want a perfect example of a great deal on a Raleigh, NC home for sale?  Check out the townhome on the right, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths and over 1700 square feet available for only $119,900!

Real Estate Recovery? DEFINITELY! Labor Market Stats for Wake County

One of my favorite e-mails of the month came today… The Raleigh, NC Economic Development Monthly Recap from the Raleigh Chamber.

What did I learn?…

A new LEED Silver certified office building (LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is quickly becoming the new standard for green building and sustainable building practices) will be built in Cary, NC by LORD Corporation that will add 117 new high-paying jobs.

Due to growth, Raleigh based company, Longistics, is creating 52 new jobs.

According to the North Carolina Employment Security Commission, the number of employed people in Wake County in June 2011 compared with June 2010 rose by 2,470 jobs (from 419,830 to 422,300) and the number of people unemployed decreased by 1,543 (that’s terrific!).

You know what I LOVE about the above?  “Due to growth”, “new high-paying jobs”, “creating new jobs”, “LEED Silver certified” (investing in the health and well-being of occupants, the economy and the environment!), “unemployment decreased”, “employment rose by”… ahhhh, I love living in Wake County, NC!

5 Bed, 4 Bath Home for sale in Wakefield, Raleigh, NC

If you happen to be considering moving to Wake County, NC… there are terrific opportunities for home ownership! A perfect example of a fabulous Raleigh, NC home for sale is on the right. 

This gorgeous 5 bed, 4 bath home has 3665 stunning square feet and is located in desireable Wakefield Subdivision.  For more information, check out this home for sale in Raleigh, NC


Wake County & Surrounding Areas Map



Want to learn more about the areas in and around Wake County?  Click the map to the left for links to information on each town, as well as distances between towns in relation to Raleigh, NC.