Friday, June 29, 2012

Raleigh Real Estate Market Update for June 2012

Data from the Triangle MLS .  Information accurate but not guaranteed.

Here is a snapshot of the sales in the Raleigh real estate market from Spring through the beginning of Summer 2012.  The average sold price for a home in Raleigh was $274,517.  The average days on market until sold was 119 days.

Raleigh Foreclosure of the Week

243 Waterville St. Raleigh NC - Raleigh Home For Sale  243 Waterville St., is a great 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath home for sale outside the city limits of Raleigh.  This home is a bank-owned foreclosure and a great buy at $256,500.

Triangle Luxury Foreclosure of the Week

2415 Glenwood Ave, Raleigh NC

2415 glenwood ave 2415 Glenwood Ave, Raleigh is the Triangle Luxury Foreclosure of the Week.  This Raleigh home for sale is sure to impress with 5 bedrooms, 6 bathroom, and 7,540 square feet.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Five Tips for Selling A Home Faster

Agents, we hope you will find the tips below helpful.  Don't forget that with the marketing suuport system we provide our preferred realtors, you get a full virtual tour at no extra cost to you!  Contact The Murray Group today to learn about how we support our realtors while offering the #1 Mortgage experience in the Triangle.

 The Murray Group provides marketing support to real
estate agents we work with daily. Find out how you can
become a Murray Group referral agent today!

Tip # 1
Always have a virtual tour. In today’s world, this is not an option, it’s a must. We find that is the most viewed section of our single property websites we provide our realtor partners. What this does for you, is, it has more people viewing your home. More people viewing = a faster sale and more money.

Tip #2
It’s critical that you let people know the neighborhood that your home is in. What schools are nearby? What stores are close? Or brag about how quiet and rural it is.

Tip #3
Showing an aerial picture of your house will help buyers connect to your home.

Tip #4
It’s critical to have full information of your home available 24/7. Today’s buyers will not sit and wait for a phone call, even at 6:00am Sunday morning. The internet has trained them to have immediate information. If they can’t get it, they just simply move on.

Tip #5
Buyers need to be able to get information and pictures of your home from their phone 24/7. Text use is up 500% and still growing. Yes, we offer this service to our agents as well.  The snapshot of your homes information, as well as the agents contact information, is priceless to offer potential buyers!

Friday, June 22, 2012

How Low Will They Go?

Mortgage rates hit new lows this week, still searching for a bottom after pausing last week from six consecutive weeks of declines. 

If you or your clients are looking for a new mortgage loan soon - don't wait til you find the house to start working on the mortgage end of things.  Contact The Murray Group today to learn about our Lock and Shop program and other great low interest rate loan options! 

Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages (FRM) averaged 3.66 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending June 21, down from 3.71 percent last week and 4.50 percent a year ago, Freddie Mac said in releasing the results of its latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey. That's a new low in Freddie Mac records dating to 1971.

For  15-year fixed-rate mortgages, rates averaged 2.95 percent with an average 0.6 point, down from 2.98 percent last week and 3.69 percent a year ago. 

Rates for 15-year loans -- a popular refinancing option -- hit an all-time low in records dating to 1991 of 2.94 percent the week ending June 7.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Track Out Camp Directory for New Residents to Raleigh

Agents, print this list out or copy and paste in a word doc to retain hyperlinks and email to your relocation clients that have kids ages K to 8th grade. High Schoolers, who are all on traditional calendars, may be interested in summer camps if they are not getting a summer job.

Here is a listing of a few track out camps - there are over one hundred to choose from. The average full day camp fee is about $225 per child, some cost less and a few, more intense camps, charge more.  Many offer sibling discounts. For a more complete online listing of track out camps, visit Carolina Parent.  Also visit Raleigh Parks and Recreation as they offer a nice, low cost track out camp program at multiple centers in our area.

List provided courtesy of The Murray Group - home of Raleigh and the Triangle's #1 Mortgage Experience.

Carolina Trackout Camp

1000 Bearcat Way, Ste. 104
Morrisville, NC  27560
Wake and Durham calendars. Academics, science, math, Spanish, arts and crafts, field trips and more. Sibling and multi-week discounts available.

$225/wk    Ages: 5-15 yrs    

Clubworx Track-Out and Summer Camp

100 S. Fitness Dr.
Fuquay-Varina, NC  27526
Wake calendar. Weekly themed camps.

Call for fees    Ages: 5-11 yrs

Coble Water Ski and Wakeboard Camp

60 Coble Lakes Estate
Lillington, NC  NC
Wake, Durham and Orange calendars. Water skiing and wakeboarding instruction. Day and overnight camps available.

$695/session    Ages: Call for ages   

Dance Dynamics Track-Out Time

123 Capcom Ave., Ste. 107
Wake Forest, NC  27587
Wake calendar. Singing, games, arts and crafts and daily dance classes.

$200/wk    Ages: Grades K-5   

Girl Scouts North Carolina Coastal Pines

6901 Pinecrest Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27613
Wake, Durham and Orange calendars. See website for sessions. Camps help girls discover themselves, connect with others and more. Also open to non-Girl Scouts.

See website for fees    Ages: 5-17 yrs    

Golf Camp for Juniors

8515 Falls of Neuse Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27615
Wake and Durham calendars. Golf instruction and etiquette for beginning and intermediate players.

$199/wk    Ages: 8-16 yrs   

Gymcarolina Gymnastics and Tumble Track-Out Camp

9321 Leesville Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27613
Wake, Durham and Orange calendars. Gymnastics. Sibling discount available.

Call for fees    Ages: 5 and up 

Hoops City U

4300 Emperor Blvd., Ste. 250
Durham, NC  27703
Wake, Durham and Orange calendars. Basketball, volleyball, indoor tennis and soccer, shuffleboard, ping pong and dodge ball. Sibling discount available.

$199/wk    Ages: 5-14 yrs 

Royal Tiger Track Out Camp
Royal Tiger Academy
10450 Durant Rd Suite 102

Raleigh, NC 27614

 (919) 840-8144

Our Raleigh Track Out Camp at Royal Tiger Martial Arts Academy is an exciting and safe environment for children and teens to explore the outdoors, build self-esteem, develop interpersonal skills and make friendships and memories that last a lifetime.
Grades: Kindergarten-8th
Drop Off – 7: 45 am to 8 am (Monday – Friday)

Martial Arts Lesson – 4 pm (Monday – Thursday)
Pick Up – By 6 pm (Monday – Friday)

At Royal Tiger Raleigh Track Out Camp, your child will make new friends and learn valuable lessons that they will use throughout life. Master Saykosy and Mrs. Saykosy are always involved with the campers activities, overseeing their safety and behavior. Here at RTA, we focus on buildiing a strong relationship with you and your family. We don’t experience the turn over of teachers and students like at some other camps which is important in building trust and helping children reach their full potential. Activites include martial arts, fishing, games, arts and crafts, swimming and more.

Town of Apex Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources

53 Hunter St.
Apex, NC  27502
Wake calendar. See website for sessions. Games, arts and crafts, movies and outdoor activities.

Call for fees    Ages: 6-11 yrs    

Town of Cary Nature Camps

2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC  27518
Wake calendar; half-day programs. See website for sessions. Nature, wildlife, hikes, activities and crafts.

See website for fees    Ages: 5-12 yrs    

YMCA Kerr Family

2500 Wakefield Pines Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27614
Wake calendar; full-day program. See website for sessions. Indoor and outdoor activities, games, arts and crafts, swimming, field trips and playground time. Financial aid and multi-week discounts available.

See website for fees    Ages: Grades K-8    


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Helpful Tips for Realtors to Provide Their Out of Town Clients

In your business, the real estate agent works with clients that are both from the local market and those that are relocating to our Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area.    Very soon the "out-of-towner" will discover a lot of wonderful reasons why the Triangle will be the best place they have ever lived.  

Why not help them out even quicker by adding a sheet about the area to your Buy Side Client Kit?  Be sure to include the following information, above and beyond the standard utility listing you most likely already provide:

1.  How to Get your New Driver's License.  Include location of closest DMV office to their new home and this other important information.  VISIT THE N.C. DIVISION OF MOTOR VEHICLES FOR ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT:
2. Listing of Parks and Lakes - Wakem,Durham, and Orange County Parks and recreation sites offer a great resource.  Be sure to include dog parks for those with canine best friends.

3.  Track Out Camps - A one pager printed from the Wake County Public School system site would be helpful for introducing the year-round school concept - and then list a few track out camps for them to contact. (we will have a track out camp listing compiled for you in tomorrow's post!)

4.  Museums Downtown Raleigh and Around the Triangle - our area is packed with museums and other cultural centers that offer a great experience for all ages.

5.  List of local restaurants within 5 miles of their new address - this is helpful as they may need to eat out a lot while unpacking the new home.

There are literally hundreds of things you can include on your recommendation sheet.  Go ahead, get creative and provide your clients something their previous realtor didn't do - a crystal ball into their new city, town and neighborhood! 

Read more here:

Friday, June 15, 2012

Our Father's Day Tribute for 2012

It's two days before Father's Day.  As a tribute to all those dad's out there - new and old, on heaven and on earth - today's post speaks about either being a father or having a father.  We hope you enjoy! 

Tribute Quote: 

"You need 3 things in life to be happy: 1. Something to do 2. something to look forward to and 3.  Someone to love.    Quote in Remembrance of a Wonderful Dad by Author: MY DAD: JAMES H. McBURNEY Sr.


 Top Seven Things to Do With Dad this Father's Day:

1.  Go fishing

2. Take him golfing (reserve an early tee time - this is THE MOST crowded golf day of the year!)

3.  Invite him to a movie with just you!

4. Go watch a Durham Bulls Game (do it early - they play away on Father's Day) 

5. Invite him for a cup of coffee and just talk.

6. Surprise him with a family party in similar fashion to a surprise birthday party.

7.  Tell him you love him.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Will the price of gas go back up if Obama is re-elected? Trump says "Yes."

Today's story is courtesy of  While we typically would shy away from politically charged articles, this one caught our attention today because it deals with something that realtors rely on every day - the price of gas.  This is a big expense in a realtor's business, when driving around to show properties to clients.

Donald Trump is speaking out, boldly, about how Obama's policies are affecting gas prices, and how it would  be affected should he get re-elected.  Read below - this is an interesting article.  For a breakdown of how each dollar you spend on gas is spent - scroll down to the bottom of the article...

Story From Money
OPEC member Saudi Arabia has been pumping hefty amounts of oil to lower prices and do what it can to ensure that President Barack Obama is re-elected this November, says billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump.

Saudi Arabia has ramped up production this year to offset any supply disruptions that could result from a military conflict between the West and Iran.

The U.S., Israel and Europe accuse Iran of enriching uranium to develop a nuclear weapons program, a charge Tehran denies.

Disputes earlier this year escalated to the point Iran threatened to close off the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow waterway connecting oil-rich Persian Gulf nations with the rest of the world, which sent oil prices soaring.

Iran has agreed to talks with delegates from the U.S., U.K., China, France, and Russia and Germany, which has brought prices down to around $82 today from over $110 earlier this year.

"I think Saudi Arabia is doing Obama a big favor. I think he is saying 'look, you have to do me a favor, I have to get elected, and you can't keep doing like you've been doing the last three years driving it up to $150 because that's where it was going,'" Trump tells CNBC.

"I think Saudi Arabia is doing Obama a big fat favor. I think he asked for the favor and prices are coming down, but also the economy's going bad so maybe it won't help that much," Trump adds.

Trump has criticized the Obama administration in the past of not doing enough to address OPEC influence on prices.

If Obama wins reelection, expect the Saudis and other OPEC nations to curtail production in order for prices to rise.

"Assuming if Obama got elected, you're going to see something with oil like you've never seen before, it will go through the roof. The favor will be repaid many times over," Trump says.

Read more: Trump: Saudis Pumping More Oil to Lower Prices, Re-elect Obama

Breakdown of Gas Prices

oil traders
Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images
Traders work in the crude oil options pit at the New York Mercantile Exchange, April 22, 2008. Oil posted a then-record high of more than $118 following oil demand from China and supply concerns from Russia and Nigeria.
When you pump $30 into your tank, that money is broken up into little pieces that get distributed among several entities. Gas is just like any other consumer product: There's a supply chain and several groups who are responsible for setting the price of the product. The media can sometimes lead you to believe that the price of gas is based solely on the price of crude oil, but there are actually many factors that determine what you pay at the pump. No matter how expensive gas becomes, all of these entities have to get their slice of the pie. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, here's an approximation of where each dollar you spend on gas goes:
  • Taxes: 13 cents
  • Distribution and Marketing: 8 cents
  • Refining: 14 cents
  • Crude oil: 65 cents

Monday, June 11, 2012

Nearly 23 Percent of Borrowers are Underwater on their Loans, Virtually Unchanged from 2009

Three years ago, when President Barack Obama unveiled his plan for solving the U.S. housing crisis, one in five borrowers owed more on mortgages than their homes were worth, banks were repossessing 74,000 homes per month and sale prices had plunged 30 percent from their 2006 peak.

“All of us will pay an even steeper price if we allow this crisis to deepen -- a crisis which is unraveling homeownership, the middle class, and the American Dream itself,” Obama told the audience gathered at a high school in Mesa, Arizona, an area with one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country.

The crisis did deepen.

Home prices continued to fall in most states during the Obama administration. Nearly 23 percent of borrowers are underwater on their loans, virtually unchanged from 2009, according to real estate data firm CoreLogic.

Obama didn’t deliver on his vow that day to avert as many as 9 million foreclosures. While his plan was undermined in part by the weak U.S. economic recovery, it also lacked broad and aggressive measures. Relief programs have tinkered around the edges of the housing finance system because Obama’s advisers chose early on not to expend political capital forcing banks to forgive mortgage debt. Instead, they created homeowner aid programs with voluntary participation by lenders and strict rules to avoid rewarding speculators or irresponsible borrowers.

‘Not Bold’

“They were well-intended, but they were not bold enough,” said Steven Nesmith, a former vice president at loan servicer Ocwen Financial Corp. (OCN) who served as an assistant secretary in the Department of Housing and Urban Development during the administration of President George W. Bush. “They should have gone bigger and bolder with a robust plan to deal with housing, not just trying to stabilize the broader financial-services system and the banks.”

Some critics say the administration’s mistake was intervening to stop foreclosures in the first place and that home prices should have been left to hit bottom on their own.

“We would have been better off letting the market heal itself,” said Anthony B. Sanders, professor at George Mason University. “The recovery would have been quicker.”

Long-Term Uncertainty

At the same time, expecting that the market would have improved by now, the administration didn’t push to eliminate uncertainty that hinders long-term planning by private players in the business. Lenders have tightened credit while they await details of new housing finance rules and a plan for winding down government-owned mortgage companies Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac.

While interest rates are at historic lows, would-be buyers of troubled properties are finding it difficult to get loans. 

“We’re three years into the administration and six years into the decline in housing,” said Jonathan Lieberman, head of residential mortgage securities business at the Angelo, Gordon & Co. investment firm. “It’s important to have some rules.”

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Lazy OR Crazy Summer Days Ahead?

I don’t know about you, but even as an adult, I still operate under the assumption that the days of summer will be filled with more free time, fewer deadlines and a generally slower pace than during those other nine months of the year. As an adult, however, the summer months have become one of my busiest times at work.

Despite these realties, there is still a long-held belief, reinforced by years and years of enjoyable experiences, that summer is a time of relaxation, rejuvenation and fun. Unfortunately, for many parents and adults, summer no longer represents this idyllic scenario.

For working parents, a category that encompasses the majority of parents these days, summer can represent a time of increased stress and demands. Finding camps, financing summer activities, and juggling childcare needs are just a few of the challenges that families face during this time of year.

If a family is able to schedule a vacation, long hours of travel and changes in routine often leave young children and their parents feeling tired, cranky and irritable. 

What are we to do? 
How do we find ways, even with our busy and hectic schedules, to enjoy this time of year and to appreciate the change in routine and pace? While I may not have the answer to those questions, I may have found a little help:

List of Summer Camps Around Raleigh

10 Great Day Trips around Raleigh:
Try a day hike at Pilot Mountain near Winston-Salem.

1) New Bern is a fun day trip, if a little far away. Very cute old town atmosphere, and it has a beach too! The best way to go for a day trip is on 264 all the way through Greenville to Little Washington, and then shoot down 17/43 to New Bern.

2) Historic Yates Mill County Park. A day at Historic Yates Mill County Park offers visitors an “Escape from the Daily Grind,” with experiences that interpret and preserve our agricultural heritage, environmental resources and history through educational programs, events and exhibits. The park is a wildlife refuge and an environmental research center, thus dogs (except service animals) and other pets are not allowed. They have all sorts of special events such as Night-time Museum Mystery, and you can watch a live demonstration of traditional woodworking techniques and explore some of the foot-powered equipment that has traditionally been used in a woodworker’s workshop.  Visit their website to check times and dates.

3) Charlotte – Only 2.5 hours, and there are enough great restaurants and fun shopping to really make this worth the trip. Concord Mills for outlet shopping, and just driving around the Queens neighborhood, especially when trees are in bloom, is just absolutely gorgeous. You could also hit up the Natl Whitewater Center during the summer for a GREAT time with some friends.  Visit their website they are much more than water activities - they have concerts there and many land adventures too!

4) Washington D.C. – The drive is a little long and you will want at least one overnight, but this is our closest huge city and it has everything.

5) Wilmington – Beach central. Great college atmosphere. Wilmington is one of my favorite places to go as a mini-vacation. Front Street is BEAUTIFUL. I love their downtown so much!

6) Tons of State Parks - For any waterfall junkies and there are several state parks within a two to three hour drive of the Triangle with great hiking and waterfalls. Three of the closest are Hanging Rock State Park, Stone Mountain State Park and South Mountain State Park.  About a 45 minute drive from Raleigh, is to Harris Lake County Park in New Hill. It’s a beautiful park they’ve built around the reservoir near the nuclear plant, there’s a 2-mile hiking trail that follows the peninsula, and about 10 miles worth of mountain-bike trails and disc-golf. 

7) Baseball fans tired of the Bulls and Mudcats can check out the Kinston Indians (single A), 1.5 hours southeast.  In addition, the Coastal Plains League ( is one of the lesser known gems of the region, with some of the top college baseball players in the nation playing in small towns in the summer. It is growing to rival the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League and Alaska Baseball League. Check out teams in Edenton (2.5 hours), Fayetteville (1 hour), Gastonia (3 hours, near Charlotte), Thomasville (1.5 hours), Wilson (50 mins), and Wilmington (2 hours). Edenton is a very historic small town, and Wilmington, as mentioned before me, has the beach. To baseball fans, there is nothing better than a day at the beach, and a night at the ballpark.

8) The zoo in Asheboro (1.5 hours) is also worth a visit, and it will take a whole day if you want to do both sides (Africa and North America). You can also check out the Asheboro Copperheads if you’re visiting in the summer.  Polar bear exhibit was under construction in April - may be done by now.  Not sure...

9)  Winston-Salem’s Old Salem historic district. They have tours, shops, an historic tavern (Washington slept there), wood-fire bakery, and much more. Definitely a good way to spend the day if you’re into colonial-era history.  Or you can try taking a morning hike on Pilot Mountain and then hitting the Winston-Salem Arts District for shopping and lunch.

10)  Camp out with your family in the back yard.  Smore's, campfire in a firepit, ghost stories or just plain relex to guitar music - taped or live. Ahhhh, the simple things in life.

Checkout some local attractions and maybe you’ll find some new, fun and affordable ways to enjoy the summer with your family!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Raliegh Real Estate Market Trends as of June 4, 2012

  • The average property in RALEIGH as of June 03 2012 has been on the market for about 193 days. 
  • The median single family home price as of June 03 2012 for RALEIGH is $249,573.  
  • The median price per square foot for homes in RALEIGH as of June 03 2012 is about $112
  • There are about 2,626 properties on the market in RALEIGH as of June 03 2012.  

Other Useful Tidbits:
The Raleigh market is buoyed by a young, educated population that grew a whopping 41.8 percent from 2000-2010, making it the fourth fastest-growing metro in the nation during that period, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The area's population is expected to rise another 35.7 percent -- faster than any other metro -- by 2020, according to population projections by data analysis firm ProximityOne. The firm expects Raleigh-Cary's population to grow 3.4 percent between 2011 and 2012 -- by far the fastest estimated growth rate among the 10 markets. 

We have a high concentration of advanced-degree holders, which can help with job security and job opportunities. We also have many large employers and universities in the area, which creates a large pool of people relocating to the Raleigh area.

Says Local Raleigh Realtor Sheri Moritz, "The market is picking up tremendously.  We are again experiencing multiple offers on properties that have been on the market for months and homes selling within 30 days if priced right."

Our rental rates have (increased) nearly 10 percent over the past year, and as rentals become more expensive and housing affordability remains stable, more and more buyers are becoming encouraged to purchase while discouraged with rental availability at similar costs.

Use Zillow's great tool for finding comps on recently sold properties.

Continuing Education for NC Real Estate Agents - click here for locations and details.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Does the MLS industry needs one national MLS public website?

Article Intro:
The majority of buyers still use real estate agents when buying a home, and 99.99% of all real estate agents use the MLS. What is changing is that over 87% of all buyers today are using public MLS websites in their search process. Most buyers today search online and provide a list of properties for their agent to schedule showings. Others call listing agents for more information and showings. 

The bottom line is that the MLS is the real estate market, and listing in MLS is essential for selling a property for the best price in the shortest timeframe.

The Rest of Today’s article contains excerpts from Cameron M. Paine’s (CEO, Connecticut MLS) white paper on the topic of a National MLS system.  He brings some very interesting points to the table – even how Wall Street is capitalizing on the MLS system. 

While there has been some debate over the years, the evidence supporting the benefits of MLS public websites has become overwhelming for even the most hardened skeptics. Still, there are flaws in both the idea and the execution by MLSs that limit the potential of MLS public websites to truly compete – and win – in the search engines of Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.

Don’t think for one second that the wealth potential has been missed by Wall Street; for anyone who thinks a national MLS is too big to work  consider the fact that several non-broker/non-MLS national sites already accept direct listing entry. 

If I were them, I’d cut a deal with the large parent corporations that own many of the top nationwide brands to “reverse the stream” by mandating listing entry directly into the national site then passing data downstream to the MLS. 

It makes the broker/agent life easier because they have one listing entry regardless of how many MLSs they might belong to. Brokers, in turn, save time and money by having one common data feed for their national brokerage websites. 

How effective are local MLS sites against the national ones?
When you Google “CT homes for sale,” 6 of the top 10 organic search results are non-broker or MLS websites. Assuming that most users never look past the first page of search results, it is clear that non-brokerage/non-MLS companies control fully 60% of the lead traffic in Connecticut.

The fact is that national sites already have as much or more information than many MLSs and my guess is that the national site(s) would provide some sort of profit sharing or subscription fee split with participating brokers. 

Ultimately, the only question remaining for brokers and agents will be, “Why do we pay for an MLS?”  

The Connecticut MLS recently completed a total redesign of our website We’ve done some very cool things and we did them for less than $40,000, which is pretty inexpensive. I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished, but I would trade it in a heartbeat to be more competitive with the non-MLS/non-broker sites currently dominating our market – I hope that every MLS would be eager to do the same. 

The point is simple: Separately, MLSs don’t have enough resources to compete successfully with the Zillows, Trulias, or Realtor.coms of the world. 

How can we possibly compete…? 

I propose the creation of a single national MLS public website that participating MLSs would fund instead of their own individual sites (alternatively, the few MLSs that DO dominate their market area could do both, with the cost for participation in the national MLS site at a reasonably affordable $10,000). The combined resources would go much further and the combined traffic would significantly benefit organic search results.

To read Mr. Paine's entire article, click here.

What is your biggest challenge when listing a new home?