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The 20 Best Places to Live in the U.S. – Raleigh, NC

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Americans will move across the country for just about anything - be it a job, to be closer to a loved one, or just to get a little more sun. While the initial reason for a move to a new city will vary from person to person, the location's job market, affordability and overall quality of life are a few of the characteristics to consider before the movers are called. The 2016 U.S. News Best Places to Live rankings examine ta variety of factors, from job market to quality of life, that ultimately determine which of the country’s largest metro areas would be more suitable for more people.

#4 Raleigh-Durham

Thanks to the likes of Duke University's nationally and regionally ranked health system, the Raleigh-Durham metro area has exceptional health care quality and availability. In addition to Duke, North Carolina State University, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and more than a dozen other colleges in the area make it a hub for academics and college-age residents, helping earn the area its title as the Research Triangle. Raleigh-Durham also has the second highest population growth from net migration of those cities in the top 10.

For more information on apartments in Raleigh, NC, contact Auston Grove.

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US News - Real Estate

Median Home Prices in Raleigh High than Nation

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Triangle's median home prices experienced increases from last year, beating the nation's median home prices, which reached a new all-time high in June 2016, according to new data.

The United States' median home prices are 1 percent above the previous peak in July 2005, following 52 consecutive months of increases, according to the data released by ATTOM Data Solutions, the new parent company of RealtyTrac. Single-family homes and condos across the nation sold for a median price of $231,000 in June 2016, up 6 percent from May and 9 percent from a year ago.

Raleigh had median home prices higher than the national median price in June, at $240,000, up 4 percent from $230,000 from last year. In Durham and Chapel Hill, the median home sales price was even higher at $307,000, with 277 counted sales.

Daren Blomquist, senior vice president of ATTOM Data Solutions, said the all-time high home prices nationwide are being enabled by historically low mortgage rates. “It is likely that some of the most interest rate sensitive local markets will see home price appreciation knocked down when the low rate rug is finally pulled out from under the housing recovery,” he said. “We are seeing signs of weakening appreciation in many bellwether markets already in spite of the rock-bottom rates.”

Raleigh home sellers experienced gains in June 2016, with average seller gains of $41,915 in June 2016, up 35.6 percent from $27,000 in June 2015. Homeowners in Durham and Chapel Hill also made profit as the average seller gain was $31,000 in June 2016, up 138.5 percent from $13,000 in June 2015.

According to CoreLogic, a California-based corporation providing financial, property and consumer information, cash sales accounted for 32 percent of all home sales in April 2016, down 2.8 percentage points year-over-year. Prior to the housing crisis, cash sales share of total home sales averaged approximately 25 percent. CoreLogic predicts that if the cash sales share continues to fall at the same rate it did in April 2016, the share will hit 25 percent by the middle of 2018.

Cash sales in Raleigh were up for the month of April, with a 1 percentage point increase compared to April 2015 and higher than the national rate. In North Carolina, cash sales were 23 percent of total sales.

For more information on apartments in Raleigh, NC, contact Auston Grove.

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bizjournals.com

Renting Versus Buying: Which One Is Better? – Raleigh, NC

Joseph Coupal - Friday, August 12, 2016

When it comes to the debate over whether it’s best to buy a home or rent one, both sides can make a compelling case. The truth is that this isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” discussion. The decision to buy or rent is very personal, and depends entirely on the individual. If you’re stuck in the middle and trying to figure out your next step, here are a few of the benefits that each choice offers.

The Benefits of Owning a Home

It could be a good investment. While the real estate market fluctuates in the short-term, the value of your home will most likely rise over time. This means that when you buy a house, it will become more valuable the longer you live in it. When you’re ready to move out and move on, you’re almost guaranteed some kind of return on your investment. Obviously, the longer you are able to stay in your home the better.

You’ll enjoy tax-deduction benefits. There are many tax deductions that apply to homeowners. You can deduct the mortgage interest from your tax obligations. And each year, you can deduct your annual property tax. These fees are fully deductible for income tax purposes.

You can create the home want.  When you own your home, you are free to create the living space that makes the most sense for your lifestyle and brings you the most satisfaction. You can replace appliances on your own schedule. Want to cut down a tree, pull up the carpet, or knock down a wall? When you’re paying the mortgage, you get to make those decisions. However, all of this also takes money.

The Benefits of Renting a Home

You have more freedom. When you’re renting, you can move whenever you want, within reason. If you get an amazing job offer three states away, you can accept it. If the city installs a brand new set of train tracks inches from your bedroom wall, you can sleep soundly knowing a new rental is right around the corner. If your career is still young or you haven’t settled into a long-term relationship yet, renting can offer more flexibility. In many cases, freedom can be the most valuable commodity out there.

You can call the landlord when something goes wrong. Do you know how to fix a leaking water heater? How much you’ll spend on a new roof? What the property taxes are in your state? While renting can be more expensive on a monthly basis, the extra money you pay means you don’t have to be the one who worries about getting things fixed, repaired, or replaced. Part of your rent pays for peace of mind, and that can be priceless.

You can’t afford a house yet.  Despite its many benefits, buying a home is a big responsibility and not something you want to rush into. If you can’t afford a house right now, there’s no shame in renting for a few years, saving up your money, and figuring out exactly where you want to live and what kind of house you want to buy down the road. If you haven’t taken those steps yet, then buying a house isn’t for you. Instead, enjoy your freedom and work hard so that one day, your dream home can be yours – no strings attached.

For more information on apartments in Raleigh, NC contact Auston Grove.

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wilmingtonbiz.com

Raleigh, NC is #14 Most Charming Capital City

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, August 03, 2016

There is little that is more charming than the feeling of the history of the past and the excitement of history in the making. For these reasons, our state capitals always have a special appeal that draws in the attention and pride of their entire state.

While every state capital has its share of charm, we were curious which one was the most charming. Using our Charm Index, we analyzed the charm scores of the capital cities of every continental state and threw Washington D.C. onto the list for good measure.

The Charm Index scores how charming streets and neighborhoods are using data on:

  • •The affordability of local businesses
  • •The ratings of nearby businesses
  • •Are they locally-owned? - are they corporate chains or local boutiques?
  • •How active the residence is and the density of nearby gyms, bike tracks, parks, etc.
  • •Crime statistics

The Charm Index stems from the belief that a charming neighborhood is created from flourishing local business combined with a residence that feels safe, is active, and has many opportunities to interact with other residents. Local shops such as bookstores, theatres, and restaurants that receive high ratings by residents tend to create very charming atmospheres, call us crazy. Meanwhile, neighborhoods that are not as charming have a higher percentage of chain stores, pawn shops, strip clubs, credit loan stores, crime, and do not have access to community institutions such as parks, town halls and flea markets.

Using the charm scores of every street for every capital, we found the overall charm score for each. Those that ranked highest received high charm scores across their entire city while those that ranked lowest had much fewer charming pockets. However, every city has its own pockets of charm, so we included information on which street and neighborhood is the most charming in each city.

How did your state capital fare?

#14: Raleigh, NC with a charm index of 72.82. The most charming street is Halifax Street.

For more information on renting apartments in Raleigh, NC contact Auston Grove.

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rentlingo.com

The Sad Truth About "Investing" in Homeownership – Raleigh, NC

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Settling down and buying a home is often painted as an integral part of the American Dream: You stop paying rent and own your destiny — with a great investment, to boot.

That message certainly seems to resonate with many Americans, at least according to the results of a new survey from Bankrate, which found real estate to be the most popular "investment" that respondents named, ahead of the stock market, gold and cash savings.

The problem?

While homeownership means you're no longer paying your landlord, your pockets won't necessarily be overflowing, either. As Robert Shiller — a Nobel Prize-winning economist who helped create a leading home price index — has cautioned, land and homes do not rise in value faster than inflation, at least over the long term. So not only does investing in real estate carry many costs and risks, but people have developed an exaggerated idea of how much their homes will appreciate in value.

Compared to, say, stocks, real estate is relatively illiquid, meaning that you can't easily buy it and sell it whenever you want; finding a buyer can take a long time. That can be dangerous for homeowners when housing prices take a sudden dive.

Properties also need to be maintained, whether the owner rents it out or lives in it themselves, which can be incredibly expensive: On average, these costs are between 1% and 4% of the home's annual value each year, an extra expense that young homeowners should not forget.

"If it's a home you purchase ... you have a mortgage plus any taxes, plus any insurance that you have to play yearly," said Alexa von Tobel, a certified financial planner. "When you step back and look at that, most people tend to overspend."

Many prospective homeowners underestimate upkeep costs for homes, to say nothing of bigger repairs.

There's a big difference between thinking of your primary residence as a "real estate investment," and actually being a real estate investor who buys and sells investment properties, which can be quite lucrative if you have the necessary capital to get started — provided you know what you're doing.

Over the last 100 years, the price of land has risen by an average of about 1% per year. By contrast, the S&P 500, which tracks the stock prices of major U.S. companies, has grown about 10% per year.

Now, if you are thinking of buying a home, there are plenty of good reasons to do so. The key is recognizing that the purchase is more of a consumption choice (like buying a car), than an "investment," which better describes how one should think of their retirement account.

For more information on apartments in Raleigh, NC, contact Auston Grove.

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Money

Reduce Stress of Apartment Hunting - Raleigh, NC

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, July 21, 2016

Moving is stressful in more ways than one, and it can be especially taxing when you are apartment hunting in Raleigh, NC for the first time. The first thing to do is, of course, relax. Thankfully there are a lot of steps you can take to ease the stress associated with hunting down your first apartment.

Know Your Needs

It’s important to know your specific needs when beginning your search for an apartment. Have pets? Make sure the places you are looking at are pet friendly. Know what your maximum budget is and figure out what exactly your deal breakers are. No laundry in unit or on site? If lugging your laundry to a laundromat on laundry day sounds like a nightmare to you, it’d be smart to look elsewhere. However, remember an apartment can’t have everything, so truly contemplate what you believe to be most important to your new living space and go from there.

The Initial Search

So you know what area you want to live in but aren’t sure of where to start. Well, there’s an app for that. Actually, there are a ton of applications you can download to your smartphone free of charge to make the search less exhausting and actually pretty fun. Two helpful apps are PadMapper and Zillow which both get the lowdown on listed apartments in your area. They have helpful filters so you can easily sort through the apartments that accommodate your specific needs.

Ask Questions

Most people have gone through this experience and would gladly give you the advice or information you need. Spread the word you’re moving into your first apartment and lend an open ear to people who are willing to share some of their helpful tips. One quick way to receive a large amount of feedback is utilizing your social media outlets.

Research

Do some research and learn your rights as a tenant. Just simply being informed with basic information will lessen the weight on your shoulders. Landlord-tenant law vary by state so it is important to get the information specific to where you plan on living. Knowing your rights will leave you feeling more confident and at ease when it comes to signing the lease and contract.

Details, Details, Details!

When viewing potential apartments, look at everything, and I mean everything. Look in closets, check sink and shower faucets, and even give the toilet a flush. It’s smart to take a few pictures to look back on too. If a place is in your price range, don’t sell yourself short. Don’t be afraid to ask the agent about things that are concerning such as typical utility bills or potential leaks. It would be smart to bring a trusted friend with you to a viewing so you can have support and an extra set of eyes to look over potential places.

Trust Your Gut

You know yourself best, and if something doesn’t feel right about a certain place don’t shove that feeling to the wayside. Sure, no apartment is perfect and not everything can always be in our control, but remember you are allowed to walk away from anything you don’t feel comfortable with.

For more information on apartments in Raleigh, NC contact Auston Grove.

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Empowher.com

Are You Throwing Your Money Away When You Rent? – Raleigh, NC

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, July 13, 2016

There are a number of reasons for wanting to buy a home over renting and most are valid. Some people want to buy because their current rental unit may have restrictions on owning a pet, while home ownership would, in most cases, not have this limitation. Others want to diversify their assets beyond the stock market. Still others may be pressured by friends and family – loved ones may claim you are simply throwing your money away if you rent, but with owning, you could be building equity every month.

Is this really true?

You Are Building Equity As A Homeowner, But…

It is true that you are building equity each month as a homeowner. However, the amount of equity you’re building is equivalent to the portion of your monthly mortgage payment that goes toward paying down principal.

Because most mortgages are structured to have a uniform monthly payment for the life of the loan, in practice, this means that your early payments will consist of more interest than principal. So while you are paying down principal and building equity, you may not be building as much as you imagined.

For example, let’s say you had a 30-year fixed rate mortgage with an interest rate of 4% and a starting loan balance of $500,000. Your monthly payment would be $2,387, but just 30% of this payment or $720 would go toward “building equity” during the first month. Over the first five years, less than 35% of your total mortgage payments go toward paying down principal.

Yes, equity can make you feel good, but it’s not really money you can use freely until you’ve sold the property. And if you end up selling in a down market, you may not end up realizing as much equity as you expected.

You’re Still Throwing Money Down The Drain As A Homeowner

While you are building some equity when owning a home, your monthly housing costs consist of much more than just principal payments on your mortgage. In fact, you could say that mortgage interest, taxes, homeowners insurance, homeowners association fees, and ongoing maintenance costs are all “wasted money” that you throw down the toilet as a homeowner.

People often say that buying a home was the best investment they ever made. The problem is that their return as investors is often worse than they think. When calculating how much they made on a home, most people do not include the out-of-pocket costs they incurred through things like replacing pipes, repairing roofs, or numerous other unexpected expenses that come up. As a tenant, your costs are fixed, but as a homeowner, you are on the hook for any repair that comes up.

The Transaction Costs Are Large For Buying!

The costs of buying and selling real estate are significant, and those costs don’t go toward building equity either.

Buying a house entails many transaction costs that add up to three, four, or five percent of the price of the home and sometimes even more. Many advise that homebuyers should have at least a five-year time horizon or they risk having those transaction costs eat into any gains they were hoping to get out of the sale of their home. Even worse, those costs can lead to a loss, if the local market is soft.

Buying involves commitment and generally, commitment has shown over many centuries to deliver great rewards. It makes sense to buy if you want to commit to a home and location for the long-term. Anyone seeking short-term rewards is better off renting.

Are You Telling Me I Should Rent?

In certain circumstances, it may make sense for you to rent over buy. It really depends largely on your time horizon, financial situation, future plans, and economics of your local area.

Whatever route you choose, just remember to take into account all relevant factors necessary to come to a thoughtful decision. And next time someone tells you you’re simply throwing away money by renting, you can hit him with some knowledge.

For more information on apartments in Raleigh, NC contact Auston Grove.

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Forbes

In Raleigh, NC Your Paycheck Goes Farther

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Are you considering relocating for a job or for a place where the dollar goes further? You may be wondering which major cities are providing employees with the most favorable combination of wages and cost of living.

Well, Forbes has published a list of the top 25 Cities Where you Paycheck Goes Furthest. To determine this list, job search and salary comparison site Glassdoor considered cost of living as determined by the ratio of median base salary to housing. Median annual base salary for each metro is based on a minimum of 1,000 salary reports shared by employees in that metro on Glassdoor over the past year, April to April.

No. 25 Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina
Median base salary: $62,000

For more information on apartment in Raleigh, NC contact Auston Grove.

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Forbes

Duke University on List of Highest Salaries After Graduation

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, June 28, 2016

College is an investment, so which schools make sure you get a return? With college costs and student-debt levels reaching an all-time high, it’s important–we’d argue necessary–to think about which schools produce the highest earning alumni. For some this is a practical matter, with big earnings as a path to quickly pay off any student loans. For others, it is a matter of life ambition to move up the financial and social ladder. FORBES researched and rounded up a list of the top 25 colleges where graduating students go on to earn the highest mid-career salaries, meaning they have worked for at least 10 years.

16: Duke University, Durham, NC

  • Mid-Career Earnings: $92,350
  • Overall Best Value Rank: No. 31
  • Top College Rank: No. 22

For more information on apartments in Raleigh, NC contact Auston Grove.

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Forbes

Best Cities for Recent College Grads - Raleigh, NC

Joseph Coupal - Monday, June 20, 2016

Finding a job after college is imperative for many college seniors and some cities offer more career opportunities than others. As we approach graduation season, NerdWallet crunched the numbers to find the best cities in the US for recent college graduates. Can you guess which city came out on top?

7. Raleigh, NC

Population between 20-29: 19.4 percent
Population 25 or older with a Bachelor's degree: 31.9 percent
Median earnings for Bachelor's degree holders: $45,495
Cost of living index: 93.6
Workers with management, business, science or arts jobs: 46.3 percent
Unemployment rate: 5.1 percent
Overall score: 69.81

Raleigh’s population is highly educated, with 31.9 percent of residents 25 and over holding a Bachelor’s degree—the third highest proportion of the nation’s 50 largest cities. Raleigh’s major industries include manufacturing, aerospace, biotechnology and green energy. Two of the top employers in the area are SAS Institute, Inc., which is headquartered in the region, and North Carolina State University.

For information on apartments in Raleigh, NC contact Auston Grove.

CS Monitor