Choosing Your Realtor
Of all the decisions we make, buying and selling real estate, are some of the most important and consequential. Many of the clients I have worked with had unpleasant experiences working with Realtors, as have I, previous to becoming a Realtor. Over the years I have come to realize that this may be partly due to the way we hire the realtors we work with. Many people will hire a friend, or someone they know from their social circles without properly interviewing them and getting the information they need. Usually first-time homebuyers are the most vulnerable since they don’t have experience dealing with such a transaction.
The first step I always recommend is to speak in-depth to at least a couple of Realtors. Interview them the same way you would for anyone that you would be hiring to work for you. In a real estate transaction you will be sharing your personal financial information, so one of the most important qualities to seek in a Realtor is trust. Sellers are often dealing with situations such as divorce or serious illness and you should have a Realtor that you feel comfortable with discussing these types of personal issues. Buying and selling real estate has a naturally built-in stress factor as with anything involving legal contracts, timelines, and usually lifetime commitments to large sums of money, so having a great Realtor on your side will help minimize these concerns and keep the transaction on track. If you feel comfortable with the professionalism and work ethic of a Realtor then the last bit of advice is to find someone you really like and feel comfortable with.
For buyers, purchasing a home is a very personal journey, and they trust you to understand their needs and guide them to purchase the best home for them within their parameters. With sellers you are helping your clients disengage from a home that usually holds memories and sentimental value. At the end of the day, Real Estate, is a service industry, so find a Realtor that loves serving their clients.
Written by Liz Jones, Broker. Connect with Liz at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how she can provide you with the best customer service during your real estate transaction.
Asheville & Buncombe County Real Estate Reports
The real estate market in Asheville is leveling off a bit from what we’ve seen during the first two quarters of 2018. Comparing the 3rd quarter of median home sales in 2017 to 2018, the median home sales in 2017 was lower than in 2018. However, that number remained relatively the same from the 2nd quarter of 2018. New listings and number of sales are down, which usually means prices are increasing. In this case, though, the median sales price decreased from July to September. We’re also seeing a decrease in inventory and, proportionally, a decrease in closed sales for Asheville. While homes are still not on the market for very long, we’re seeing more time on the market and as a consequence, more price reductions. Generally a market is considered to be a seller’s market if homes sit less than 6 months and a buyer’s market if homes are on the market for more than 6 months. Asheville and Buncombe County are still considered to be seller’s markets, but if sellers aren’t aware of the current market trends then they risk their home sitting on the market well into winter. If the price of a home is reflective of the market then sellers are more likely to be under contract quickly. Interested in learning more about Asheville and Buncombe County Real Estate Reports? Please contact us – we would love to help you Move Smarter.
New Listings in Asheville in the 3rd quarters of 2017 and 2018. New listings decreased significantly from Aug – Sep in both years.
Closed Sales in Asheville in the 3rd quarters of 2017 and 2018. While inventory decreased, the number of closed sales stayed relatively the same from July-Aug.
Median Sales Price in Asheville in the 3rd quarters of 2017 and 2018. Prices were highest in the summer and have steadily been decreasing as we approach winter.
New Listings in Buncombe County in the 3rd quarters of 2017 and 2018. Like Asheville, the number of listings decreased sharply from Aug-Sep, which perpetuates our already challenging inventory.
Closed Sales in Buncombe County in the 3rd quarters of 2017 and 2018. We’ve seen a steady decrease in the the number of closed sales from July-Sep.
Median Sales Price in Buncombe County in the 3rd quarters of 2017 and 2018. While median sales price has decreased slightly from Aug-Sep, the prices are still higher when compared to the same quarter of 2017.
Real estate is local and requires a high level of local knowledge. Our Agents understand the Asheville and Buncombe County markets and they know the best ways to help you Move Smarter. If you would like to learn more about our market insights or are interested in buying or selling a home, please don’t hesitate to contact us!
Mountain Biking in Western North Carolina
Mountain biking in Western North Carolina is a rider’s dream. As a mountain bike mecca, there are hundreds of miles of trails across a variety of terrain. Here in the Asheville area, we’re fortunate to have close access to Pisgah National Forest, Dupont State Forest, and Bent Creek Experimental Forest. We’re even within a close drive to trails at Tsali in Nantahala National Forest, Dark Mountain and Warrior Creek on the Kerr Scott Reservoir, or Paris Mountain in South Carolina. Trail terrain can be rocky, rooty, sandy, or muddy, and with levels available for beginners up to advanced, there is something for every rider. As the weather turns more cool and crisp with the changing seasons, the conditions become prime for some long Fall weather riding!
However, with all these trails to choose from, picking a route from the massive variety-pack of trail systems in this area can sometimes be a bit intimidating. I grew up near Hendersonville in the small town of Tuxedo. From a young age, my dad would take me riding in Dupont and Paris Mountain, and when I went to summer camp I enjoyed bike trips to Pisgah and Tsali. My passion for riding turned into a passion for racing, and I joined the Appalachian State Cycling Team in 2014. Though I have experience in road racing, all styles of mountain bike racing, gravel grinders, and even some cyclocross, my passion has always been with cross country style mountain biking. After graduating from App State, I returned to this area to continue to ride and train on what I consider to be some of the best concentrations of trails anywhere. I’ve pieced together some of my favorites routes in the Brevard/Hendersonville area for you to enjoy just a small portion of what this place has to offer.
As a side note, don’t forget to ride prepared: be sure to pack enough water and food to last you through the ride, and it’s always a good idea to have a map (a good rule of thumb for me is at least a bottle of water and a snack for every hour I plan to be on the bike). I also always carry a “flat kit” on rides in my saddle bag or just stuffed in my jersey pockets. This is usually just as simple as an extra tube, a tire lever or two, and a CO2 cartridge or mini pump to inflate a new tube in case of any flat tires. Though these route suggestions can get you started, they are hardly scratching the surface. I’d recommend going to your local bike shop for more trail suggestions, group ride info, and route advice. Enjoy!
Dupont Forest Beginner Loop
Highlights: skills area and Wintergreen Falls swimming option
Ride Profile: 7.5 miles, 758’ of elevation gain
This route begins at the Guion Farm parking lot where there is a great “kids loop” to work on skills before you hit the trails. It includes balance beams, a seesaw, log rides, and wooden bridges as well as an easy trail loop surrounding the area. It’s not just for kids! From there, you can ride the 7.5 mile loop around Dupont’s single track and gravel road mix, perfect for those just starting out or those who may not want a technical and challenging ride. Towards the end, I like taking the Wintergreen Falls trail off of Tarklin Branch for a quick out-and-back to cool off at the Wintergreen Falls swimming hole. Dupont is my favorite place for flowy, rolling, singletrack. It’s a smooth entry to trails for the beginner mountain biker, and it’s a fun place to string together a full day of trails for experienced riders as well.
Map of Dupont Forest Beginner Loop. Link to route info.
Bent Creek Sorba Beginner’s Loop
Highlights: a taste of everything, but still tame enough for introductory riding
Ride Profile: 6 miles, 650’ of elevation gain
This route is recommended by the Pisgah Area SORBA (southern off road bicycle association), and is a great route for the beginning rider with plenty of singletrack, creek crossings, berms, and fun rock sections to practice. It starts at the Hard Times trailhead off of Wesley Branch Road in Bent Creek. The route starts off by heading down the Homestead Connector descent, turns left onto Homestead, and then goes around a loop of Deerfield, Pinetree, and Explorer. After finishing back onto the Pinetree loop, you’ll come out onto a paved road that will take you back around to the parking area.
Map of Bent Creek SORBA Beginner’s Loop. Link to route info.
Dupont Forest Beginner/Intermediate Ride
Highlights: tour of waterfalls, ends with a Ridgeline descent, option to shorten route
Ride Profile: 13 miles, 1557’ of elevation gain
This route starts at the Lake Imaging Parking Lot in Dupont and combines some of my favorite trails. The route passes several waterfalls (Hooker Falls, Triple Falls, High Falls, and Grassy Creek Falls) that you either ride by or can quickly walk to nearby. There are some gravel roads, but the route is full of fun and flowy singletrack. There is an option to shorten the route by cutting out the Isaac Heath/Jim Branch/Hilltop loop, and one of the best parts about DuPont is how easy it is to change routes and mix up the trails you choose based on how you feel throughout the ride. You can also opt out of Hickory Mountain Loop (though that is one of my favorite descents so it is well worth the climb). The route finishes with a fast and fun descent down Ridgeline, one of the most popular trails in the forest.
Map of Dupont Forest Beginner/Intermediate Ride. Link to route info.
Pisgah Lower Black Mountain Loop
Highlights: gravel climbs that lead up to a technical and fun descent down lower Black Mountain
Ride Profile: Intermediate, ~9.5 miles and 1300’ of elevation gain
This is a fun Pisgah sampler that climbs gravel double track and descends a fun and technical section of the lower Black Mountain trail. Beginning at the Pisgah Ranger Station on 276, you turn right out of the parking lot and continue down paved 276 for a brief time (less than a mile). At the sign for the Pisgah Horse Stables, turn right onto the gravel forest service road 477 (Avery Creek Rd.) About a mile and a half in, you will veer right and go behind the horse stables, beginning the gravel climb up Clawhammer (5058). Take the first right and continue to climb up Maxwell Cove. This merges with the intersection of Turkey Creek and Lower Black Mountain, and you will turn right for the final technical climb section of the ride. After the peak, you’ll be rewarded with two miles of rocky, exciting downhill back to the Ranger Station. The end of Black Mountain opens up into the intersection of Thrift Cove and Stames Branch, and you’ll turn right down Stames Branch to descend back to 276. When you T into 276 again, look to your right and you’ll see the Ranger Station again, just down the road. Want to ride the Black Mountain descent again? When you come out of the trailhead at that final intersection, just turn left to climb up Thrift Cove instead of right to return to 276, and you’ll be back at the start of Lower Black Mountain in a couple miles.
Kitsuma Loop in Black Mountain Pisgah Area
Highlights: technical switchback climb that rewards with an awesome descent
Ride Profile : Intermediate, 9.7 miles, 1,824’ of elevation
For those of you closer to Asheville than Brevard, the Kitsuma and Point Lookout loop is one of the most popular routes in the Black Mountain Area of Pisgah. It begins with a singletrack climb, but the long descent is well worth the effort. The parking for the trailhead is right along I40/old hwy 70, but immediately leads you into a switchbacking climb up the mountain (with a great view at the peak to catch your breath). You’ll then follow the Kitsuma trail along the ridge and down a fun and technical descent into a picnic area. To return to the parking area, take a left onto old hwy 70 and climb back up the road (it turns into Point Lookout Trail and then back into hwy 70 by the top). Take the first left back onto Royal Gorge Road to return to the parking area.
Map of Kitsuma Loop in Black Mountain Pisgah Area. Link to route info.
Pisgah Gravel/Singletrack with Cove Creek and a Butter Gap Loop
Highlights : Cove Creek trail descent and the option to extend with a Butter Gap loop
Ride Profile : Intermediate/Difficult, 31 miles, 3000’
This is a longer ride, with a sample of gravel climbs, technical singletrack descents, flowing trails, and a small amount of pavement. Just like the Lower Black Mountain Loop above, after beginning at the Pisgah Ranger Station on 276, you turn right out of the parking lot and continue down paved 276 for a brief time (less than a mile). At the sign for the Pisgah Horse Stables, turn right onto the gravel forest service road 477 (Avery Creek Rd.). This time instead of turning right at the stables, you’ll continue straight and begin the climb up Avery Creek Rd. You have to settle into this one for about 5 miles, but the steady gravel never gets too steep, and the Cove Creek descent is well worth it later. Avery Creek crests and descends into 276, and you’ll turn left down 276 for less than a mile before veering right onto gravel again on 475B. After about a mile and a half, you’ll make a sharp right and then left to stay on 475B. The next turn will be a sharp right onto Cove Creek Rd, which continues into Cove Creek Connector, and finally Cove Creek Trail. This goes right by the Cove Creek Group Campground, and opens up onto the gravel road (Lower Cove Creek Road). As you fly down the descent, keep an eye out for the bridge on the left – this way you can cross the creek without getting wet. When you T into the trailhead/parking lot outside the Cove Creek campground, you’ll turn right and start the gravel climb up 475. If you feel like cutting it short here and knocking off 10 miles, you can turn left and head towards Davidson River trail (skip down to see the directions from there). Otherwise, 475 will climb for about 3 miles, and come to an intersection where you can take a sharp left (over 90 degrees) to continue on the gravel on Cathey’s Creek. Turn left and climb up Low Gap and continue toward Butter Gap, where you’ll be rewarded with a fun singletrack downhill. After the nearly 2 mile descent, turn left up Long Branch, and then take a right down Searcy Creek back to 475. After this loop, you’ll make a right back down 475 and pass the Cove Creek Campground trailhead again. Right after the road turns to pavement, there will be a Davidson River Trail on your right. This trail runs parallel to the road, but conveniently allows you to bypass the huge elevation gain by going around the climb on the road above. The trail will put you back on the road, and you’ll turn right and head down the paved road, past the fish hatchery, for about two miles until the intersection with 276. From here, it’s just an easy 3 or 4 miles of rolling paved road back to the Ranger Station, which acts as a great cool-down on the way back to the car.
Annie Pharr is a Pro Mountain Biker who grew up riding in WNC. To learn more about Annie check out her blog: Annie Rides Bikes
Haw Creek Neighborhood in Asheville
Imagine if you could live in a place where beauty is everywhere and the lines between work and play seem to blur. What if you could have mountains and nature intertwining with new and historic homes and have easy access to a charismatic and charming downtown? How about a choice of amazing food, great music, world class beer and outdoor activities that are only a stones throw away? Asheville is a place like that. So how does anyone decide where to live in a town with so many great neighborhoods? For most, lifestyle and proximity to work factor in largely. For my wife and I, we wanted a blend of great community as well as nature and privacy while still having quick access to all that we love downtown. That meant the Haw Creek neighborhood in Asheville.
Nature is wrapped up into every day living in Haw Creek.
Haw Creek is a beautiful valley on the east side of town that sees no thru traffic because of its natural mountain borders. The valley’s east ridge line is secured by the Blue Ridge Parkway. Piney Mountain, Cisco Mountain and Rich Knob separate it on the west and north sides while Tunnel Road creates a southern border and entrance.
There’s some great history with Haw Creek too. In 1902 F. A. Sondley, George Vanderbilt’s lawyer, built a beautiful stone house near the top of the valley. Back then the area was largely agricultural and, while over the years it has gradually been transformed to accommodate a growing number of families, there is still some of that same rural feel. In fact, we have neighbors who have horses and chickens. Yup, fresh eggs are good.
If you want nature just step outside and go for walk. There is a trail that leads up to the parkway from Haw Creek and if you cross the parkway you’ll run into the Mountains-to-Sea trail which blazes from Clingman’s Dome in the Smokey’s all the way to the Outer Banks. I can literally hike to the ocean from house. I haven’t found a weekend long enough to actually do that yet but it remains an option. In the meantime I like the views I’m afforded.
Baseball field where I love to take my kids to play.
In addition to location, nature and accessibility, we’ve fallen in love with Haw Creek for so many other reasons. We’re minutes from multiple playgrounds and a library. I drive by our neighborhood restaurant and coffee shop every day as I leave the valley. There’s a rec center that includes a pool and tennis courts and the three baseball fields off of New Haw Creek Road always seem to be in use. The two elementary schools within the valley, one public and one a charter school, garner strong reviews.
Penny Cup coffee in Haw Creek.
Clementine Danielsen, the manager at Penny Cup Coffee, really loves their Haw Creek location as it’s supported almost entirely by locals. “We know 98% of our customers. It’s a very kid and family-centric space” she says. This is a tune you’ll hear from many who live or work in Haw Creek. A bartender at Creekside Taphouse named Luke Brown says he loves working there because of the “Cheers effect.” Many of you will remember the theme song of the 1980’s tv show Cheers… “Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came…” To this point, a neighbor of mine, and a regular at Creekside, was in the hospital for surgery and after he was released it was a while before he could do much on his own. But he kept going to Creekside and they refused to charge him for the meals he ordered until he was healed and back to normal.
That story sounds just like Haw Creek and it makes me want to stay a while.
Written by Pete Anderson, Broker, REALTOR. Connect with Pete at email@example.com to see how he can make buying or selling your home in Haw Creek easier for you.
Best Places to Run in Asheville
Coming to Asheville and want to get a run in? You’re in luck because our area offers many outstanding options. Whether it’s road or trail, a gentle jog along the river, or a soul-crushing hill climb, we’ve compiled together some of the best places to run in Asheville.
Mountains-to-Sea Trail Marker
Up for an easy trail run and staying in downtown or Biltmore Village? There are several popular areas within 15 minutes of these areas. The Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) bisects Asheville from the Southwest to the Northeast and has three access points: by the North Carolina Arboretum, Hwy 25 South of Biltmore Village, and at Hwy 74-A. The Mountains-to-Sea Trail runs mostly parallel to the parkway throughout Asheville and crosses it in multiple locations. As you drive down the BRP you’ll notice well-worn spots off the road and typically a few cars at these where runners and hikers are hopping on the trail. Go either direction and run as far as you feel. The trail is marked with a white blaze so it’s easy to follow, even when it crosses the BRP, which it does frequently.
Another convenient trail running spot is the Bent Creek Experimental Forest located near the NC Arboretum and Asheville Outlets. Bent Creek has a mix of forest service roads and single-track. As you drive down Bent Creek Gap Rd. you’ll pass an information kiosk and Rice Pinnacle parking. Stay straight and park at the Hardtimes lot, the only one on the left, or continue up the gravel road to the right to access Ledford parking. We recommend these two areas because they have bathrooms and put you closer to the heart of the trails. Both have a trail map which allows you to plan a route. Trail junctions and roads are well-marked, but there are many “poach” trails, which are not. Stay on the main trails and you probably won’t get lost. A popular loop is to run downhill from the Hardtimes parking lot, turn right at the creek and then take your first left (by the concrete bridge) to go up South Ridge Rd. This is a gravel road, closed to vehicle traffic, that steps its way up the ridge before making a long, sustained descent. At your first major junction, about 1.3 miles from the parking lot, stay right and go around the gate to continue on South Ridge. If you stay on South Ridge for about four miles you will connect back to Bent Creek Gap Rd (FS 479) at a gate. Turn right on FS479 and you are about three miles from the parking lot. Total elevation gain for this 10 mile run is approximately 1,200’.
Be sure to head out with your trail guide.
Whether you are running Bent Creek, or another off-road destination like DuPont State Park or Pisgah National Forest, pick up one of the excellent WNC Trail Guides from Pisgah Map Company. These are sold at any area bike shop or outfitter. Locals are happy to point you in the right direction but venturing into our forests without a map is dangerous.
If a paved run is more your thing there are dozens of interesting routes around, but one of our favorites is the out-and-back which begins at Carrier Park. Run Southwest from the parking lot and you will cross through an RV campground and then hit a nice asphalt greenway which takes you along the French Broad River. Remember, don’t get concerned you are heading in the wrong direction. Yes, you’re going upstream and southwest; the French Broad is one of the few rivers in the world which actually flows north. Follow this flat path to its end a couple of miles up the river and turn around. You’ll pass back through the parking lot and if you want to go longer. On a training plan and need to get in speed work? The most dependable place with markers is the loop road at the Asheville Outlets. If you start at the stop sign between the Waffle House and Tesla charging station and run clockwise around the mall you’ll see markers every 100 meters. They need to be painted again, but it’s easy to make out the 200s, 400s, and 800s. The entire loop around the property is just a tick over one mile. It’s not as flat as a high school track, but around here there’s nothing level.
Enjoy your runs in Asheville and let us know if you need any specific recommendations. We are here for all of your needs, whether it’s real estate, restaurants, or outdoor recreation!
Neighborhood Spotlight – Biltmore Lake
Biltmore Lake is a scenic and active community centered around a 62-acre mountain lake and surrounded by lush forest. It’s located about a 15 minute-drive from Asheville. For new residents hoping to break into the neighborhood there are opportunities for resale and new construction.
Photo courtesy of Biltmore Lake.
Life is centered around the lake and residents play, fish, and swim there instead of a pool. Biltmore Lake staff performs a weekly water test and is committed to keeping the lake environment clean and healthy. A separate area is roped off for swimming, and there is a swimming platform located offshore for sunbathing and resting. Residents enjoy a sense of privacy, but also have the option of gathering with kindred spirits to participate in the ongoing social and recreational activities on the community calendar.
Photo courtesy of Biltmore Lake.
There’s no shortage of social activities at Biltmore Lake and new residents need not worry about finding camaraderie. Meet a friend in the Biltmore Lake Clubhouse, where you’ll find complimentary coffee and an exchange library, go for a run or take a hike on one of the beautiful trails. Game lovers will find Canasta, Bridge, Mahjong, and Bunco groups that meet regularly. If you enjoy swimming, Pickleball, tennis, or basketball you’ll be right at home. Music lovers will appreciate the weekly Summer concert series in the park-like setting by the lake. Residents can enjoy topnotch musical performances without the hassle of driving and parking somewhere else. Nearby golf courses beckon, although they are located outside the community. There is also a U.S. Post Office located in the community.
When you’re feeling playful, jog over to one of the tennis courts for a few rounds, shoot a basket, take the kids to the playground, or get out on the water. Boating on the natural lake is easy. There is a well-stocked boathouse with a fleet of kayaks, canoes, paddle boats and sailboats, and rental of boats is included in the HOA. Step into a paddle boat and “cycle” around the lake or take the sailboat onto the blue water. The views from the water are stunning.
Photo courtesy of Biltmore Lake.
In the mood for something more low-key? Park along Lake Drive and stroll down to the waterfront where you’ll find a lovely park complete with a clean sandy beach, picnic tables and a firepit, walking and cycling trails, and comfortable benches are arranged for conversing or just kicking back in the shade. Or you can take a drive in search of waterfalls to explore, or go for a morning hike on a trailhead, and still have time to return home for a refreshing swim in the lake after lunch.
Biltmore Lake offers a high quality of life, natural beauty, and an environment that supports fun and healthy activities to share with friends and family. Take it from someone who recently relocated to the community:
“I was very apprehensive at first, moving to a new community,” says one resident. “I moved here from New York, and didn’t know a soul.” When asked how she likes it now, three years later, she assures me she’s never been happier. While she stays in touch with dear friends, she’s made a whole new passel of friends, and never once looked back. “This is the best community, and I absolutely love it here,” she adds.
Written by Suzanne Arthur, Broker, REALTOR. Connect with Suzanne at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how she can make selling your home easier for you. To keep up with all of Asheville’s local happenings follow @suzannearthur_realtor on Instagram and check out her website suzannearthurrealtor.com.