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 email@example.com 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.
First Quarter Market Report 2018
The first quarter of 2018 is in the books and the Asheville & Buncombe county real estate market continues to appreciate. Compared to the same period in 2017, Asheville closed sales declined over seven percent, but it may be attributed to rough weather in the early part of the quarter since pending sales are up five percent. For sellers the bright spot is that days on the market are down slightly and median sales price is up over nine percent. Buncombe county saw similar trends, but the median sales price was even stronger – up over 13%.
New listings in both areas were down slightly over the previous period and we see this continuing to be a sore spot for buyers. New home communities are continuing to build, but the pace is not keeping up with demand. Additionally, in existing neighborhoods, home owners with low three percent interest rates are expressing reluctance to relocate now that interest rates have pushed to 4.25% for a 30 year fixed.
Finding the Right Buyer’s Agent for You
So you are in the market to buy a home. Good for you! It’s an exciting time! It’s your HGTV moment!
Where to begin? Well, one of the most important things you can do is to select a Buyer’s Agent to work with. A Buyer’s Agent will help you with many aspects of the process. Of course, they can serve as “the key master,” getting you into those homes that you are coveting. But there are many other key ways they serve you including:
– Helping you understand the local market, how it ebbs and flows, and the current conditions. Is it a
buyer’s market? A seller’s market? That can vary based on the neighborhood, the price range, the season…it is a Buyer’s Agent’s job to know and share this with their client and to help them navigate through these market conditions.
– To help “sleuth out” your home – in a hot market a home can come on the market and be gone in days, sometimes hours! A good Buyer’s Agent is tenacious about staying on top of the market for their client so these opportunities are not missed.
– To help you negotiate the best price and terms for the home you purchase. It is not just about the purchase price, though that is probably the most important item you negotiate. However, other terms can help you win or lose a bid on getting a home – particularly in a multiple offer situation. A great Buyer’s Agent understands and will teach you the power of offering the right amount of Due Diligence, uncovering if the seller would like a fast close or seller possession, and other facets that can help YOUR offer stand out and be selected as the winning offer when more than one person is bidding on a home. They can also help you craft these terms to most benefit YOU – with home warranties, and seller paid closing costs, for instance, when there is need for a little more “negotiation room” on your behalf.
– To serve as your advocate during the home buying process, completing all the necessary forms and documents, performing negotiations on your behalf, and advising you on the professionals such as surveyors and home inspectors that can help insure you are making a solid financial decision with the purchase of your home.
– Which service providers and which services & inspections to use during the home buying process is up to the individual buyer, but a Buyer’s Agent can provide you with a pool of professionals to assist you. Good Buyer’s Agents often arrange all of these appointments for you and even attend these appointments in your place and convey all of the information garnered from these professionals.
WHAT ARE SOME THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN A BUYER’S AGENT?
You might talk to the agent’s RECENT CLIENTS. You can ask the agent for their client list from the past year with contact information and ask firsthand about how pleased the client was with the Agent’s performance. You might also check out the Agent’s Zillow Reviews or Facebook Page, depending on which social media platform they use.
Inquire about the Agent’s KNOWLEDGE OF THE MARKET. If you are from out of the area, this is tremendously important as you are relying on the Agent to guide you to the neighborhoods in town that most suit you, to explain the aspects of the market that affect the purchase of real estate, and often to provide you with above and beyond service from a distance as you go on living your life in your current location. For out-of-town home buyers, your Buyer’s Agent will also serve as a tour guide and an educational maven to the area, helping you learn the area, how to navigate it, and really LISTENING to help you discover how the area can best work for YOU. Even as a local buyer, you need a competent Agent that understands and can convey the “temperature” of the market at the time and can help you get the home you desire at the best possible price and terms.
In real estate, finding a Buyer’s Agent with great CHARACTER is important. Knowing that you are dealing with an honest person of integrity is paramount. In real estate, we have a “fiduciary responsibility” to our clients. This means that our clients come FIRST – no matter what. It is our job as a Buyer’s Agent to follow all lawful instruction of our clients, but you also want someone who is honest enough to guide you AWAY from making a decision that is not in your best interest and whose instincts and character you fully trust.
Like any good relationship, you want CHEMISTRY and RAPPORT with your Buyer’s Agent. Buying a home can be exciting and a lot of fun. But it is the biggest purchase most people make, and it can be a time of stress and intensity as well. You can spend many hours riding around the countryside in a car with your Buyer’s Agent, and then you will be communicating with your Agent through each step of the home buying process. In short, you should LIKE your Buyer’s Agent. You should feel comfortable and engaged. The whole process will be much more palatable if you feel this way.
So when you are looking for YOUR Buyer’s Agent, look around until you find that combination of experience, knowledge, competence, character and chemistry that can BEST serve you on YOUR journey to a new home. You’ll be glad you took the time. HAPPY HOME HUNTING!
Written by Julie Tallman, BROKER, realtor. Connect with Julie to see how she can make finding a home easier for you.
Spring Events Around Asheville
Check out our guide below to take advantage of all of the eclectic fun and events Asheville has to offer this time of year!
First, here are a few tips to make sure you make the most out of your time. Spring is a beautiful season in the mountains, but remember that the conditions and temperature can be a little unpredictable. To be prepared and stay comfortable be sure to wear layers and plan for rain.
Now, on to the fun stuff!
Biltmore Blooms: March 20 – May 24
Countless blooms burst forth in every color imaginable at the Biltmore Estate. You can expect to see orchids of all varieties, multi-colored tulips, and daffodils. As we progress into Spring, you can expect to see irises, roses, and azaleas.
Downtown First Fridays Art Walks: April-June (5 p.m. to 8 p.m.)
Discover Asheville’s vibrant art scene as you explore 20 galleries within a half-mile radius of the city center. You can expect to see an array of mediums and practices from fine studio crafts to glass, photography to folk art, and contemporary painting to metalwork.
Donut Festival: April 21st
The Donut Festival in Marion, NC will include all kinds of fun activities – from a half marathon to strolling around the various dessert booths, a donut pageant, and donut eating contest – there will be something for everyone’s sweet tooth!
Weaverville Art Safari: April 28-29 (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
Explore the art scene in Weaverville! This self-guided tour allows you to go behind-the-scenes with artists at your own pace. Get a sneak peek at the art during the preview party on Friday, April 27 from 6-8 p.m.
Carolina Mountain Cheese Festival: April 29th (12 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
Come prepared to taste delicious cheeses, meet the cheesemakers and local livestock, and participate in some friendly competitions at this day-long celebration at Highland Brewing.
Downtown After 5: May – Sep
Presented by the Asheville Downtown Association, this event occurs every month from May – Sep and includes a free concert, food trucks, and plenty of beer from local breweries. This popular event attracts about 5,000 people per event so be sure to plan for parking and remember no pups are allowed within the festival grounds.
Summer of Glass: May – Oct
Dozens of local glass artists, studios and galleries are creating events and exhibits across the Asheville area in conjunction with the Chihuly exhibition at Biltmore. Among other activities, you’ll have the chance to watch demonstrations of glass blowing, glass jewelry making, stained glass, enameling and working with glass beads.
Asheville Herb Festival: May 4-6
Celebrating 29 years as the largest herb festival in the US and Canada, the Asheville Herb Festival is a great opportunity to learn from growers and herbalists, experience various demonstrations, and take advantage of the various soaps, tinctures, and medicinals that will be for sale.
French Broad River Festival: May 4-6
Festival features regional and national recording artists a river raft race, and mountain bike race. Spend the weekend along the banks of the French Broad River in beautiful Hot Springs just 35 miles north of Asheville.
Asheville Bread Festival: May 5-6 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
Experience the newly-revamped Asheville Bread Festival, which offers you the opportunity to work with professional bakers, improve your baking skills and, of course, enjoy delicious breads! This year’s event has a theme of “A Celebration of Rye.” New Belgium Brewery hosts the bread fair event on Saturday with additional workshops and lectures happening around town. Sunday features a Master Class for professional bakers. A pre-festival tour of the Bread Wheat Trial plots will take place Friday, May 4.
LEAF Festival: May 10-13
Join together with thousands of music lovers gathered at beautiful Lake Eden in the nearby town of Black Mountain to experience powerful music, art and culture. This 20-year tradition takes place on the site of the old Historic Black Mountain College. The event is headlined by Ani DiFranco, Snarky Puppy and Rising Appalachia.
Montford Music & Arts Festival: May 19 (10 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
With tree-lined streets and historic homes, Montford Avenue provides the perfect stage for some of the best music, arts and crafts and food trucks together in one place for a one-day event. In this 15th year of the neighborhood festival, more than 20 musical acts will perform continuously throughout the day.
Mountain Sports Festival: May 25-27
Celebrate the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains with other outdoor sports enthusiasts, gear makers, and adventure companies. In addition to adventurous competitions, this free event also features live music and great food!
Asheville Beer Week: May 25-June 2
Cheers to this festival, which dedicates nine full days to celebrating all things beer. Taste great local craft brews, pair beers with a smorgasbord of delicious food, and learn about brewing at events around town. More than 40 breweries are on tap to participate. Beer Week closes with the popular Beer City Festival in Pack Square Park (June 2), which celebrates the local brewing industry with taps from dozens of breweries and plenty of live music.
Black Mountain Art by the Tracks: June 2 (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
More than 50 fine artists and master crafters join together on Sutton Avenue near the Old Train Depot in historic downtown Black Mountain for this 21st annual juried art show and sale. As you explore the art, you’ll also be able to enjoy live music.
VeganFest: June 8-10
Celebrate the vegan lifestyle at its best with plenty of delicious, healthy, plant-based foods. On Saturday, nationally-recognized experts will discuss the latest vegan trends. On Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., enjoy an outdoor festival with more than 75 vendors showcasing vegan food, beer and lifestyle products.
XPand Fest: June 9 (12-9 p.m.)
Expand your vision of all art disciplines during this free outdoor street festival in Asheville’s South Slope Brewery District. The festival is put on by XPand Your Vision, an Asheville-based non-profit organization dedicated to the arts.
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Apart from the numerous festivals, don’t forget to take in all of the natural beauty our mountain town has to offer! There are countless trails to explore, not to mention that we’re in the perfect place to access many national parks and forests like Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Pisgah National Forest and Nantahala National Forest. The Appalachian National Scenic Trail also runs through Asheville and provides lots of opportunities for single or multiday hikes. When hiking, bring sunscreen and/or bug spray – Western North Carolina is a temperate rain forest, which means you’ll likely experience humidity, varying temperatures, and wildlife.
Lover’s Leap Loop Trail
Lover’s Leap Loop is a moderate 1.6 mile trail that steadily ascends Lover’s Leap Ridge in Hot Springs, NC. Panoramic views of the French Broad River and the town of Hot Springs make this a major attraction for hikers and visitors to the area. To access this trail from downtown Hot Springs, follow 25/70 East for .5 miles before turning left onto Silvermine Road. Take the first left to continue following Silvermine Road. Just past the bridge, you’ll see a trailhead for the Silvermine trail. Continue walking down the road, passing the Silvermine Trail, and get on the Appalachian Trail, which is marked with white blazes. Once on the trail, markers indicating Lover’s Loop will be easy to spot.
Hickory Nut Gorge
This 6.2 mile out and back trail sits at 927 feet and is rated moderate. Hikers can expect to see beautiful native flora and fauna all along the trail. To access this trail from Black Mountain, head southeast on Montreat Road toward E State Street. Merge onto NC-9 S and continue on this road for about 15 miles before turning Left onto Shumont Road. The trail head will be located on your right.
Bald Knob Ridge Trail
Bald Knob Ridge Trail is 2.8 miles up a ridge before reaching a summit which offers breathtaking and expansive views of the Black Mountains. Though the switchbacks on this moderate trail provide for a difficult ascent, the sight from the top is well worth the effort. To get to this hike from Downtown Burnsville, follow directions to Briar Bottom Trail. Instead of pulling in to the parking lot on Forest Service Road 472, continue on until you pass the Buncombe Horse Range Trail Sign. Bald Knob Ridge Trail is marked with a trailhead sign.
With 360 degree views, this 1.5 mile loop affords great views of downtown Asheville and surrounding peaks. Located in Pisgah National Forest, you can access the trailhead from the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Western North Carolina is also home to countless waterfalls so be sure to allot some time to go waterfall hunting. There are a variety that are easily accessible within a short walk from the car. Looking for more of an adventure? Don’t worry, there are also plenty of waterfalls that require a decent hike to get to – the end result is always worth the effort. Dip your toes into the cool waters at the base or on a really hot day go for a swim. Just keep a few things in mind to hike safely: since the rocks surrounding a waterfall are often wet, they’re usually slippery too, so don’t climb, swim or hike on, around or over a waterfall. The best time to visit is usually not after a recent rain: a high-volume waterfall can be dangerous and loses some of its picturesque beauty anyway.
Looking Glass Falls
Easy, dog-friendly hike just off of the Blue Ridge Parkway near Brevard. Sliding Rock, Moore Cove Falls, and Pink Beds are also in the area so if you’re going to be South of Asheville be sure to stop and see these beautiful wonders.
At barely a quarter mile, roundtrip, it’s more of a roadside attraction than our conventional definition of a hike. But it’s really, incredibly beautiful. The Dry Falls Trail wraps behind the 65′ waterfall, offering a unique behind-the-falls waterfall view.
It’s not a long hike. But at just over a half mile, round trip, this hike packs a ton of scenic beauty into a short stretch of trail. Hike to two overlooks on the trail to catch views of Upper Whitewater Falls as it tumbles and cascades more than 400 feet. It’s the highest waterfall in North Carolina, and simply stunning.
Rainbow Falls is 3.6 miles round trip. The falls tumbling down over a towering, 150-foot cliff in a single, dramatic drop. Hike this trail from Gorges State Park near Cashiers, NC to a series of spilling falls on the Horsepasture River and abundant summertime wildflowers.
Bridal Veil Falls
This outstanding hike at DuPont State Forest visits an enormous cascade deep within the park, scoring some serenity at one of DuPont’s lesser-visited (but ultra-beautiful) waterfalls. Hike across a covered bridge over the towering High Falls, visit the banks of the glassy Lake Julia, and then view the unique drops, veils and tendrils of Bridal Veil Falls from a viewing platform and the blocky outcrops at the base of the falls.
Don’t forget about the many activities Asheville has to offer year-round:
Asheville Urban Trail
Considered to be a ‘museum without walls’ the Asheville Urban Trail is a must-do for art and history lovers alike. This 1.7 mile trail takes you through the streets of downtown Asheville where you’ll experience Asheville’s history as told through 30 stops. Each stop boasts a public sculpture that functions as a landmark on your tour.
Asheville by Foot
This guided tour will take you through downtown Asheville and focus on the diverse architectural history and styles and of area. Experience the impressive array of buildings and experience the city through a historical lens.
The 8,000 acre Biltmore Estate has an array of activities for the whole family including exploring the largest home in the United States, tasting the estate’s own brand of wine at the winery, enjoying the famous gardens, going horseback riding, and many others!
Here is a list of resources to keep you up-to-date:
Real Estate Market Report for 2017
What a great year for DixonPacifica Real Estate and the WNC housing market! Our market built upon a strong 2016 and we continued to see improvements in median sales price and price per square foot. We’ve rebounded well above pre-crash levels.
In Asheville, the median sales price rose to $290,000, a 7.4% improvement over 2016. In December the price per square foot for single-family homes pushed to $204, the first time it’s been over $200 all year. In several other categories the Asheville numbers are flat to slightly down due to limited inventory. Closed sales fell 2.3% and days on the market were down 1.8%.
In Buncombe county the median sales price increased to $275,000, a 8.6% improvement over 2016. In December the price per square foot for single-family homes climbed to $182. Like Asheville, the Buncombe numbers in other categories are slightly down. Closed sales fell 2.2% and days on the market were down 4.9%.
Our outlook for 2018 is that the number of sales will continue to slip which will push the price per square foot higher. Inventory availability is a challenge across the nation and we are not immune. There are new construction homes coming to the market across WNC, but we believe demand will outstrip supply, especially in the hot in-town neighborhoods. Over the last few years developers have been building on any in-fill lot available and usable land is becoming expensive. That said, we do see opportunities for buyers. If you are willing to remodel and update it’s possible to find quality homes in the most popular areas. And, lenders are becoming more aggressive on rehab loan products. Real estate is local, if you would like more information about a specific neighborhood we’re more than happy to help.
All of us at DixonPacifica would like to thank our clients, partners and other Brokers for helping us see amazing growth in our number of transactions and sales volume. We appreciate the trust you put into working with our outstanding group of Brokers, and look forward to many great things for all of us in 2018.
9 Steps to Prepping Your Home to Sell
Your home is your castle, as the saying goes. You spent time and money, goodness knows, to make it just right. And now you’re moving on. What’s the first step?
Pulling up roots and planting a For Sale sign in the yard can challenge even the least sentimental among us. So making a mental and emotional adjustment may be the first step. You look around and see your family everywhere in your house. Even the trees in the yard have become personal!
Plan ahead to help smooth the course of change. Keep your focus on your new and exciting goal. Decide on the terms you want. Selling your house is the end of one journey and the beginning of the next.
Ask yourself: Does your house invite buyers to imagine themselves living in it? Bear in mind, finding a new home is not unlike falling in love. Buyers want to be swept away at first sight. And at some point, one will step through your doorway, take a look around, and hear bells ring.
But first, they will analyze your decor, criticize your wall color, and judge your housecleaning skills. Buyers are discerning, and well they should be. They are about to make the investment of a lifetime. What impression will your house make?
Take these steps to prepping your house to sell:
1. Make it sparkle. Clean and polish everything, inside and out. Go beyond surface cleaning. Deep cleaning has never been so crucial. People will open your closets, peek inside your pantry, and pull out your drawers. They will eye every nook and cranny. Empty everything so the buyer can contemplate what they would put there.
2. De-clutter. Clear surfaces such as countertops, desks, and tables. Scrutinize all storage spaces and donate, recycle, or toss unused items. Clutter is a buzz-kill. Don’t empty your closets only to fill the garage with boxes—buyers will wonder if the house lacks enough storage space. Rent a POD or find temporary storage in friend’s basement for items you want to keep. Sweep the floors in the garage, attic, and basement
3. Make small repairs. Fix bent or torn window screens. Put fresh batteries in smoke detectors. Replace every lightbulb in the house. Buyers turn on lights, and the brighter the better. Call a handyman if needed, to repair plumbing or electrical issues.
4. Paint and clean the exterior. If you don’t plan to paint the whole house, at least give the front door a fresh coat. Choose a bright contrast to the main color. Clean out and repair roof gutters. Pressure wash the driveway and siding. Put out a new welcome mat.
5. Freshen interior walls. Putty nail holes, sand rough spots on interior walls. Spot-cleaning and touching up is more likely to highlight spots. Paint the entire wall for an even, clean look. Choose grays and milky whites. As much as you enjoy the orange wall in the study, a neutral palette reflects light and will open up the space, giving the appearance of more space.
6. Remove personal items.The family photos in the hall help make your house a home—for you. Now is the time to store them. Personal items distract. Allow the buyer to imagine her own family living there. How good are you at viewing things objectively? Most of us grow used to our surroundings and blind to what a buyer would see.
7. Banish odors. What odors, you say? Wash the dog’s bedding, and anywhere else she sleeps. Your nose may not detect it anymore, but other noses will. Wash bed clothes, and sprinkle baking soda over carpets and rugs before vacuuming to freshen daily. Freshen the air naturally, by rubbing a few drops of orange, eucalyptus, or juniper essential oil inside the vacuum cleaner.
8. Curb appeal. First impressions count, and for not a lot of money, your entryway can be a pleasing invitation to step inside and see what else the house has to offer. Trim and tidy bushes and trees, and keep the lawn mowed. Look at Pinterest and the cover of home and garden magazines for ideas. Heed the best advice when designing a fresh look: Keep it simple.
9. Interview real estate agents. An agent can give you helpful feedback about your property. Ask questions—we see all sorts of properties and can offer a practical sounding board for your concerns. You might set up a schedule for discussing finances, home repairs, and opening your house to buyers. An agent can help you manage the process of selling in your preferred timeframe.
You have some control over the way buyers perceive your home. Take the buyer’s perspective, and it will be a win-win. The buyer gets their castle, and you stand a good chance of selling on your terms.
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.
Due diligence in North Carolina
One of the most common questions our Brokers receive pertains to due diligence and how it works. We thought it would be helpful to explain the due diligence process and what it means to a buyer and a seller. In 2011, the North Carolina Real Estate Commission introduced a revised Offer to Purchase and Contract in which a new term called “due diligence” was introduced. Due diligence is a process by which a buyer gives the seller a non-refundable fee in order to have time to inspect, appraise and do their “due diligence” in determining if they will close on the home.
Please don’t confuse the due diligence fee with an earnest money deposit, though. Earnest money is a second part of the typical Offer to Purchase. Like the due diligence fee it’s also negotiable, but a big difference is the earnest money is refundable if the buyer terminates the contract during the due diligence period.
In our market, a buyer typically performs a home inspection, pest inspection, radon test, property survey, and obtains a loan during the due diligence period. But, the buyer is not limited to those items. They can do air testing, lead-paint testing, underground storage tank tests, mold testing, etc. It’s the buyers time for any and all inspections. It’s also a time when you can negotiate with the seller for inspection items, bring in contractors for quotes, and meet with the homeowners’ association to ask questions. Should the buyer wish to terminate the contract during the due diligence period they can with written notice. If this occurs the buyer would receive their earnest money back, but would lose their due diligence fee.
Should a buyer complete the transaction, the due diligence fee and earnest money will be credited towards the purchase price. These credits would appear on the Closing Disclosure provided by the buyer’s lender and attorney.
Below we outline more details about due diligence and how it works during a real estate transaction.
Q: What is “Due Diligence”?
A: “Due Diligence” is the buyer’s opportunity to engage in a process of further investigation of the property and the transaction as described in the Offer to Purchase form within a period of time agreed to by the seller and buyer.
Q: What might the buyer investigate during “Due Diligence”?
A: The buyer will want to inquire about anything bearing on a decision to either move forward with the contract or to terminate it. Paragraph 4 of Form 2-T outlines many, but not all, common considerations of the “Due Diligence” process such as home, pest, and septic inspections, property survey, appraisal, title search, loan qualification and application, repair negotiation, etc.
Q: How much time is allowed for the “Due Diligence” Process?
A: The amount of time is negotiable but the period begins with the effective date of the contract. Paragraph 1(j) of Form 2-T will state the period’s agreed upon ending date. Buyers should be certain to negotiate enough time to fully complete their inquiries – especially as related to appraisal and loan approval and any repairs discovered during property inspections.
Q: What is the “Due Diligence” Fee?
The fee, if any, is negotiated and paid by the buyer to the seller for the right to conduct “Due Diligence”. The amount of the fee may be influenced by such matters as the market for the property, number of days on the market, personal circumstances of buyer and seller, and the length of the “Due Diligence” period.
Q: Is there a limit to the repair items the buyer can ask the seller to perform?
A: No. The buyer is free to ask for any number of things; however, the seller is not obligated to agree to any of them. Repairs, if any, are completely negotiable.
Q: If the buyer is not satisfied with the seller’s response, or lack thereof, to repair requests, what can the buyer do?
A: The buyer can terminate the contract or agree to move forward without the repairs.
Q: Must the repairs be completed by the seller before the end of the “Due Diligence” period?
A: No, but the seller is required to complete any repairs in a good and workmanlike manner prior to the settlement date. Failure by the seller to complete the repairs could result in a breach of the contract. (See paragraph 8(k) and (l) of Form 2-T).
Q: Must the seller allow the buyer to inspect the property to verify the repairs have been completed even if the “Due Diligence” period has expired?
A: Yes. The buyer has the right to verify the repairs have been completed satisfactorily, during or after the “Due Diligence” period. The buyer also has the right to do a final walk-through. The seller’s failure to permit the buyer to verify repairs or to do a final walk-through is a breach of the contract.
Q: What happens at the end of the “Due Diligence” period?
A: The buyer must make a decision to move forward with the contract or to terminate, so it’s a good idea to discuss progress with the buyer as the end of the period approaches. There is a “Warning” to the buyer in paragraph 4 of Form 2-T advising termination if the seller does not agree to a requested extension of the “Due Diligence” period. The buyer’s loss of the right to terminate for any or no reason then places the earnest money at stake. To avoid any misunderstandings, provide any extension agreed to by the seller to the buyer in writing.
Q: If the buyer decides to terminate the contract under the “Due Diligence” clause, must the seller agree?
A: No. It is the buyer’s sole decision to make, assuming it is made during the “Due Diligence” period and not afterward. The termination is a notification to the seller, and must be in writing, but the buyer does not need the consent of the seller. It is a unilateral decision made by the buyer for any reason or no reason at all. The buyer typically gets back the earnest money but not the “Due Diligence” fee, unless otherwise negotiated.
If you have any questions pertaining to any part of a real estate transaction please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us – we would love to help you!
Information sourced from North Carolina Real Estate Commission.
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