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Reasons to Move to the Raleigh, N.C. Area

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Discover what makes the City of Oaks and its nearby communities the best places to live...

Raleigh, N.C. is known to residents as the "City of Oaks," a name that makes sense when you visit downtown. Oak trees line the streets and sidewalks, making shady spots for window shopping, coffee drinking and patio dining. East of Raleigh is the beautiful coast, and west are the Blue Ridge Mountains. Beyond this, here are more reasons to move to the Raleigh area.

1. Raleigh combines modern, urban living with traditional Southern flair.

Folks often move to Raleigh looking for urban living with a Southern touch. It is easy for residents to bike to the local farmers market, walk to a new restaurant or bar, or visit the State Capitol Building.

2. There are lots of options for delicious food in Raleigh, from barbecue to vegan.

When it comes to good food, Raleigh offers many options. You’ll find restaurants with diverse dietary preferences, including those who are vegan or vegetarian. If you want a night on the town you’ll find everything from the drinks and meal to dessert.

3. Huge First Friday.

On the first Friday of every month, local galleries, studios and museums keep their doors open late. Galleries display new artworks, artists talk about their latest creations, and you can find handcrafted gifts for family and friends.

4. Many Raleigh area's restaurants serve locally grown food.

Local farm-grown ingredients are a specialty, and there are ever-changing seasonal menus which means there's always something new and delicious to try.

5. Several colleges ensure opportunities for education and a college town culture.

Educational Opportunities: Many folks move to the Raleigh region for educational opportunities. North Carolina State University is the largest four-year university in the state, and it is nationally renowned for programs in engineering, biology and agriculture. Duke University is located in Durham, and it is a prestigious private research institution known for its medical school and medical center. And the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is best known for its programs in business, government, law and public health.

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

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livability.com

It Cost More Than You Think to Buy a Home – Raleigh, NC

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, April 28, 2016

Every for-sale home has a price tag, but there’s much more to the actual cost of a home, both when you buy and every month after. Before you sign on the dotted line, it’s important to keep in mind the hidden costs of homeownership. Here are a few of the most prominent — and pricey.

Mortgage payments

These monthly payments are the most predictable cost associated with buying a home. The one mistake many first-time buyers make is thinking that, like rent payments, the mortgage is the total sum they owe each month — as you’ll see below, that’s not the case.

Closing costs

When buying a home, your down payment is the big number that will make your head spin, but at least that becomes part of your equity. Closing costs, though, are another major figure that can catch many people by surprise, and it’s money that you don’t recoup.

Closing costs are lender and third-party fees paid at the close of a real estate transaction. For a $300,000 home, you can expect to pay $6,000 to $10,000 in closing costs. These costs can include one-time fees like the following:

  • Appraisal fee: the professional estimate of the home’s value.
  • Survey fee: the cost for verifying a home’s definitive property lines.
  • Wire transfer fee: the charge to wire funds to purchase the home.
  • Underwriting and origination fees: the charge associated with evaluating, verifying and processing the loan application.
  • Document prep fee: the cost associated with prepping your loan documents for processing.
  • Discount points: paid at the time of the deal to lower the interest rate on your mortgage.
  • Credit report fee: the charge for pulling your credit history and scores.
  • Title insurance: a must-get policy that protects you in case the seller doesn’t have full deed and authority to the property.
  • Recording fees: government fees for entering new property records.

Real estate agent commission

Agent commissions are typically 6%, split 50-50 between the buyer’s agent and seller’s agent. Buyers don’t need to concern themselves with commissions, since they come out of the seller’s funds. Commissions are negotiable, so as a seller, it’s always worth asking for a lower commission before signing a listing agreement. For a $300,000 home, agent commissions will cost the seller about $18,000.

If you’re one of the many Americans who sell one home before buying another, know that about 6% of the sale price will go to the agents’ commission.Find the best real estate agent

With the one-time transaction costs taken care off, homeowners still have ongoing costs, in addition to mortgage payments. Here are some of the main ones:

Property taxes

The tax man usually comes calling twice a year, but property tax laws and policies vary by state and county. Your real estate agent should be able to give you a rundown before you buy. Be aware that local governments can raise property taxes to cover municipal projects or expenses, so don’t assume that they’ll stay steady. Increases in the home’s assessed value, whether due to renovations or overall market conditions, also cause property taxes to rise.

Homeowners and hazard insurance

Just like taxes, these two types of insurance vary by state and region. Your homeowners insurance bill can be anywhere between $500 and $2,000 a year. Hazard insurance costs will also be determined by the risk factors in your area. In earthquake-prone California, you may have different costs than someone in Florida or Oklahoma. You can usually keep your costs lower if you bundle homeowners with your auto or life insurance policies.

Private mortgage insurance

If you don’t put down at least 20% of the purchase price, you’ll have to pay private mortgage insurance, which can be up to 1% of the loan amount annually. PMI protects the mortgage lender in the event you default on the loan. Many first-time homebuyers pay PMI; payments are made each month, lumped in with your loan payment, until the remaining principal balance on the mortgage dips below 80% of the home’s value. Your lender should automatically cancel PMI charges when you owe 78% of the principal or less, but until then, this is an extra cost to factor into your monthly budget.

Homeowners association, co-op or condo assessment fees

If you’re buying in a planned development with shared spaces, or a condo or co-op, you’ll have a monthly assessment on top of your mortgage payment that pays for improvements to the entire complex, such as landscaping or painting, or building-wide utilities such as electricity. In pricey urban areas, condo assessments can rival mortgage payments, so pay close attention to those costs before buying.

Utilities

This one usually shocks first-time homebuyers, especially those moving from apartments to single-family homes. Utilities can be $200 to $600 or more each month, depending on the size of the home. It takes a lot more energy to heat or cool a larger home, plus you’ll likely have to start picking up the bill for water and trash services. Ask your agent for an estimate of a property’s monthly utility costs before you buy to ensure you’re still within your budget.
It’s a serious financial endeavor to purchase a home and run a household. For the sake of your financial health, carefully consider the one-time costs and ongoing monthly maintenance before you head to the closing table.

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

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Nerd Wallet

Most Educated Cities – Raleigh, NC

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Which cities are the bulk of the nation’s most educated calling home these days?

To determine the Most And Least Educated Cities In America, financial site WalletHub took a look at the 150 largest metros in the U.S. and ranked them according to nine weighted metrics, including percentage of adult residents with a high school diploma, associate’s degree, graduate or professional degree, or above; public school system rankings; average quality of universities; and differences between percentages of black and white B.A. holders and male and female B.A. holders.

No. 10 Most Educated City: Raleigh, North Carolina

Raleigh is known as the City of Oaks for its many oak trees. The capital city is part of North Carolina’s Research Triangle, one of the country’s largest and most successful research parks and a major center in the U.S. for high-tech and biotech research. The surrounding area is home to a number of colleges and universities including Duke University, North Carolina State, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Wake Forest University.

These schools have a notable economic impact on the area. The North Carolina Museum of Art, occupying a large suburban campus on Blue Ridge Road near the North Carolina State Fairgrounds, maintains one of the premier public art collections located between Washington, D.C. and Atlanta.

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

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Forbes

Raleigh is One of the Best Cities for Young Professionals

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Recent college graduates face better job prospects these days than they did in the midst of the Great Recession–but they also are typically saddled by debt. Seven out of 10 graduating college seniors had student loans in 2014 (latest data available), with average debt loads of $28,950, according to the nonprofit Institute for College Access & Success.

That’s why new grads–as well as young professionals only a few years out of school–would be wise to consider carefully where to start their careers. To find out which cities offer the best overall prospects for college-educated workers with five years of experience or less, we crunched data on job growth, unemployment rates, pay and cost of living in America’s largest 100 metro areas. The result is our 2016 list of The 20 Best Cities For Young Professionals.

The cities that made the Forbes list generally fall into two categories. The first is job-heavy economic powerhouses where the pay is high and the cost of living is too.

When it comes to starting a career, everything is a trade-off. Workers need to consider which places make the most sense for their particular industries and career paths. But they also should look realistically at what pay v. cost-of-living trade-off they’re willing to make.

Raleigh, NC came in #3 on the 2016 list of Best Cities For Young Professionals.

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

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Forbes

Apartment Hunting in Raleigh, NC – We Have What You are Looking For

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Our 2 bedroom apartments are 1001 Sq. Ft., or 1118 Sq. Ft with a sunroom, of luxurious living. You will enjoy outstanding apartment homes in a community environment with unmatched amenities, upscale interior finishes, and a location that provides easy access to dining, retail, recreation and the beauty and excitement of downtown Raleigh. Live among beautiful maple wood cabinets, signature kitchens, full size washer and dryer, an open floor plan, and the list goes on.

Come by and take a tour of our apartments in Raleigh, NC. Come see a 1 or 2 bedroom apartment model and discover why Auston Grove received the ApartmentRatings.com “Top Rated Apartment Award” for 2013 and has recently been recognized as HHHunt’s Community of the Year for 2014.

Some other amazing amenities that we offer our residents are:

Apartment Amenities

  • Convenient and secure on-line rental payment options
  • Quality Craftsmanship you must see to believe!
  • Sunrooms with full picture windows to fill your home with natural light
  • Expansive 9 foot ceilings with triple crown molding for a light, open feel
  • Chair rails perfect for painting an accent wall
  • High speed Internet access with wireless capabilities
  • Cathedral Ceilings available
  • Over-sized walk-in closets with six shelves
  • Multiple phone lines
  • Washer/dryer connections
  • Faux granite countertops
  • Signature HHHunt Kitchens with preferred GE appliances
  • White-on-white kitchen and bath cabinetry with brushed satin hardware
  • Discounted Digital HD Cable including Showtime plus Wireless High Speed Internet Package

Community Amenities

  • Bark Park
  • National award-winning customer service
  • Cutting Edge fitness center
  • Internet Café with free wifi
  • Clothes care center
  • Relaxing swimming pool with wireless Internet access
  • Playground
  • Covered car care center
  • Package acceptance and delivery
  • Detached garages and storage Units available
  • Free DVD library
  • Pet friendly
  • Short-Term Furnished Apartment for Family and Friends
  • Resident socials
  • Two hour turn around on service requests

For more information, contact Auston Grove.

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Best States for Business - Raleigh, NC

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Americans want change. They are fed up with real personal incomes barely climbing each year and with the share of unemployed and underemployed workers still north of 10%.

But there are parts of the U.S. that are thriving thanks to strong workforces, low business costs and pro-business regulatory environments. With that in mind, Forbes embarked on its annual look at which states have the best business climates.

Forbes’ Best States for Business ranking factors in 40 data points across six main areas: business costs, labor supply, regulatory environment, economic climate, growth prospects and quality of life. Business costs, which include labor, energy and taxes, are weighted the most heavily. We added several new criteria this year, including the number of millennials as a percent of the population. We relied on 14 data sources.

North Carolina moves up one spot to rank second, and North Carolina is the only one to appear in the top five every year of our Best States study. North Carolina has the smallest union workforce in percentage terms in the U.S., which keeps costs down. Labor costs are 10% below the national average and fifth lowest in the U.S. The state also boasts a strong labor force and business-friendly incentive, legal and regulatory environments.

North Carolina attracted more new facilities and expansions in 2014 than any other state. The influx has continued in 2015 with multiple major expansions. Novo Nordisk  announced plans in August to invest more than $1 billion for a bio-manufacturing facility and more than double its workforce in North Carolina with an additional 700 jobs.  A month earlier software firm Interactive Intelligence detailed plans to create 200 new jobs in Durham. Both companies cited the benefits of the Research Triangle Park area with its wealth of technical talent and strong universities.

Best States: #2 North Carolina
2014 Rank: 3
Gross State Product: $483 billion
5-yr annual GSP growth: 1.4%

North Carolina has the lowest union workforce in the U.S. at 1.9%. The low rate contributes to labor costs that are 10% below the national average.

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

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Forbes

Best Places For Business And Careers – Raleigh, NC is #2!

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The U.S. continues its slow slog out of the Great Recession of the late 2000s. There are pockets of the U.S. thriving thanks to attractive workforces and reasonable business costs.

Forbes crunched the numbers on the 401 metropolitan statistical areas in the U.S. to gauge the best and worst business climates. The result is our 17th annual list of the Best Places for Business and Careers.

Raleigh, N.C., is second this year after ranking first in 2014. The Raleigh-Cary metro area is a steady performer, ranking in the top three of our Best Places list for more than a dozen years. Migration into the area has been the eighth fastest in the U.S. over the past five years as people gravitate to the area with large employers like corporate giants BASF , Biogen, Cisco Systems CSCO -0.49%, Fidelity Investments ,GlaxoSmithKline , IBM IBM +1.05% and others. All have a large presence in Raleigh or the nearby Research Triangle Park. These employers benefit from business costs 15% below the national average and a labor force where 44% hold a college degree.

For this ranking we looked at the 200 largest metro areas by population in the U.S. We rated them on a dozen factors related to employment, costs (business and living), income growth, quality of life and the education of the labor force. Forbes used data from Moody’s Analytics.

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

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Forbes

Craigslist is Rife with Rental Scams: 4 Clues to Avoid Them - Raleigh, NC

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, March 16, 2016

What about rental scams when finding an apartment? Renters have a lot to worry about. Craigslist is one of the most popular resources that renters use to find places available near them, but due to its nature of allowing anyone to sign up and post, it is riddled with sketchy postings — and according to a new study, the site does a poor job of catching and removing a large amount of these scams. What types of scams are most common, and how can you avoid them?

Craigslist barely catches half of the scams posted to its site

A study was conducted on Craigslist rental scams, analyzing more than 2 million rental listings on the site over a period of five months. The findings determined that more than one half of rental scams posted to Craigslist are missed entirely — 53% — and suspicious posts often remain posted for at least 20 hours before removal. This gives the scammers creating the posts plenty of time to lure unsuspecting, naive apartment seekers into their traps before getting shut down. They analyzed a number of different types of scams, from those involving clicking on links to purchase credit reports or provide sensitive personal information to ones that steal the word-for-word copy of a legitimate ad and place it at a cheaper price then talk would-be renters into sending a deposit upfront.

How to spot and avoid Craigslist rental scams

Here are the top identifying clues that you should be watching for the next time you use Craigslist to hunt for a new place to rest your head.

It sounds too good to be true

No matter whether you live somewhere that has reasonable rent prices or in a big city where they’re higher, everyone loves to save money. If the average price for a one-bedroom apartment in the area is $1,000/month, then a similar apartment listing priced at $700 or less should raise your hackles. Similarly, if you can’t find a one-bedroom apartment for less than $1,000/month, chances are that listing for a three-bedroom with a hot tub and other amenities is not all it’s cracked up to be.

If information about deposits, utilities, extra fees, the exact address and open house times is missing and no photos are provided, proceed with caution. Asking key questions can be a good way to weed out a scam, as scammers are unlikely to want to discuss hard details like utilities.

You are unable to see the place in person

Pictures might be worth a thousand words, but nothing beats getting a chance to tour your prospective home before you sign a lease or pay a deposit. A majority of rental scams are run by people who are making the whole thing up, but as mentioned above, one popular scamming method in this game is to steal the information and photos for a place that really is for rent elsewhere and post their own faux listing. Cunning scammers are prepared with details about the neighborhood and have pictures to show, but you can easily poke holes in their story by pushing for a viewing of the place itself. If you get an excuse such as they are out of town or the apartment is currently occupied and can’t be seen until after you’ve signed, back away immediately. For those who are apartment hunting in a new city/state, it can be difficult to see an apartment in person before signing a lease — in this case, you can rely on Google to help weed out some scammers.

A search of the address on Google Maps can show you what the house or building looks like, Additionally, utilizing Google’s reverse image search function can be helpful in catching scammers in their tracks — this tool will search for any image you upload or provide a URL for, looking for the same photo or similar on other web pages.

The Craigslist post is flagged for removal

Many apartment hunters bookmark prospective listings as they conduct their search, and even if you forget to do so, emails sent through Craigslist will provide a link to the original listing for your reference. If you’ve been interacting with someone and go to check back on the listing and see that it’s been flagged for removal, that’s a huge sign you’re dealing with a scammer.

Money is requested directly and upfront

A hallmark of scams is the demand for immediate, upfront payment. When it comes to renting an apartment, you will come across legitimate rentals that ask for a rental application fee (usually to cover the costs of pulling your credit reports), but anyone requesting a deposit before the signing of a lease or letting you come and see the place is likely up to no good. Although the apartment rental business is competitive and fast-paced, you should avoid anyone who pressures you to make an immediate decision or payment.

Craigslist rental scams, like any other kind of scam, can be easy to spot if you are diligent and follow your instincts. Remember not to jump into something because it sounds like a good deal, and pay attention to the classic hallmarks of scams.

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

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nextadvisor.com

Reasons Not to Buy a House – Raleigh, NC

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, March 10, 2016

For many, homeownership represents the ultimate American Dream. But in reality, homeownership is not all rosy. There are countless costs involved in owning a home, not to mention the time and effort it takes to maintain it. While some argue that buying is a far more economically sound than renting, owning a home has its drawbacks. And apparently a lot of people agree, because homeownership in the U.S. has been on the decline in recent years.

Here are a few reasons why owning a home may not be the best financial move for you.

1. It's not the safest investment

Real estate is relatively illiquid, as selling a home, especially in today's market, is no easy feat. Many real estate experts agree that you generally have to live in a home for at least five years before you're in a position to make money off of it -- but even the infamous five-year rule is far from a guarantee. Home prices in the U.S. usually rise about 3.5% per year. That might sound like a lot, but when you factor in inflation, maintenance, repairs, and closing costs, your home might have to appreciate a lot more than 3.5% a year for you to recoup your money, let alone make a profit.

Your maintenance costs could end up being the equivalent of the premium you'd pay to rent, so with regard to standard maintenance alone, you could still come out ahead by owning. But if you get stuck with a major repair, and that repair doesn't add value to your home so much as keep it functional, then you face the possibility of forgoing profit when the time comes to sell. And let's not forget that most people require the help of a real estate agent to sell their homes, which means forking over about 5% of the sale price in commission charges.

All in all, you could actually lose a great deal of money on the sale of your home. Granted, the stock market is also considered pretty risky, but if you wind up having to sell off some stocks at a loss, it can at least serve as a tax deduction. On the other hand, if you sell your home at a loss, you won't see a dime in tax benefits.

2. You'll spend a lot on mortgage interest and taxes

You need to live somewhere, so let's assume that if you didn't have a mortgage, you'd be shelling out the equivalent of your principal payment in rent. But when you factor in the amount you're paying in mortgage interest plus real estate taxes, well, that's a whole lot of extra cash you're allocating to housing costs. And yes, unlike a rental, a home is an investment, but it's also an expense.

3. That mortgage interest deduction may not last forever

You know that mortgage interest deduction we just talked about ? Don't count on being around forever. Currently, homeowners save about $70 billion a year by writing off their mortgage interest, which means that's $70 billion the government doesn't get its hands on. As such, critics of the current system have been pushing to reduce or eliminate the mortgage interest deduction, claiming it doesn't do enough to encourage homeownership and really only benefits the country's highest earners. While there's no predicting what the future will hold, signing up for a mortgage means taking the risk that one day, you may not reap the same benefits offered to homeowners today. Remember, most people who finance their homes take out 30-year mortgages, and a lot can change over 30 years, for better or for worse.

4. You're stuck in one specific place

Imagine getting a phone call saying your dream job is suddenly available in another part of the country. If you own a home, picking up and moving is easier said than done. Whereas most rental agreements can be broken for a one-time fee, when you own a home, you're on the hook for that mortgage for as long as your name is on the deed. This means that if you're looking to go elsewhere, you'll need to sell your home, find a renter, or deal with paying your mortgage on top of whatever housing expenses you incur at your new residence. Of course, for most people, the latter simply isn't feasible, but selling a home can be a long, drawn-out process, and renting out your home comes with certain risks, like landing a tenant who doesn't respect the property or pay rent on time. And while owning a home isn't the only thing that might prevent you from pursuing new opportunities, career-related or otherwise, it's certainly a limiting factor.

For many people, buying a home is a great decision, and there's certainly something to be said for the pride that comes with having a place to call your own. But before you make the leap into homeownership, consider the costs and sacrifices that come along with it -- because once you sign those mortgage papers, it's not so easy to turn back.

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

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Motley Fool

Reasons It's Finally Time To Live In An Apartment in Raleigh, NC, NC

Joseph Coupal - Monday, February 29, 2016

The establishment of North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park was aimed at reversing the “brain drain” of graduates from the area’s top research universities seeking science and engineering jobs in the Northeast and elsewhere.

Beyond providing jobs for North Carolinians, the expansion of IBM into the Park set the stage for an influx of highly-trained workers attracted to the state’s moderate climate and inexpensive housing on large, green lots.

With the weather allowing near-year-round golfing, one will still hear the lifestyle descriptor, “Tees, trees, and PhDs.”

It’s no surprise now that the Park is now home to 170 companies.

The sprawl of cities across the three cities that comprise “the Triangle” – Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill – made RTP a work destination for nearly 40,000 people who would then spend most of their earnings near their homes. Why not? RTP is such a central location: 9 to 11 miles from downtown Durham, 12 to 14 miles from the center of Chapel Hill and the University of North Carolina, and 18 to 21 miles from the state capital of Raleigh. Plus, RTP’s early development plan never included housing or retail.

Over the last decade or so, the downtown areas began attracting young professionals back to the cities with redevelopment of old warehouses, mixed-use developments, and a revitalized arts, culture, and restaurant scene. A market began to emerge for more dense and convenient living that continues to expand.

Living and light rail?

The foundation that manages central North Carolina’s 7,000-acre research and technology park acquired a central, 100-acre parcel that is the geographic and figurative center.

The area will also include humanities attractions. Yes, an attempt to make RTP not just a place to live and work, but a place to go.

There is also an anticipated $2 billion in investment with the potential to add up to 100,000 new jobs to the Park. The plan also includes a long-overdue rail path that will connect Park Center with the three vertex cities of the Triangle.

Many predict that Park Center and the other Research Triangle Foundation development plans will work.

Why?

  1. People *love* Research Triangle Park.
  2. Some people who made it in the Park are now older and richer.
  3. A truly central location.
  4. Beautiful environs and existing bike and exercise paths.
  5. The young energy is already coming there after work hours.
  6. Low hassle factor for anticipated cultural events.
  7. People will really live in RTP if they can.

For a convenient and luxurious place to work, click here for more information on apartments in Raleigh, NC down the road from Raleigh and the Research Triangle.

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Forbes