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 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.
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 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.
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.
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:
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.
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 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.
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.
(828) 232-4030 | 26 College St. | dixonpacifica.com
A Horse Lovers Guide to Buying Property
If you are a horse owner, or even just somebody who has dreamed of owning their own horse, I bet that you have fantasized about having your horse on your own property. I have owned horses on and off (mostly on) for the past 36 years. The times when I have been able to sit on my front porch and see my horse grazing peacefully in an adjacent pasture have been some of my favorites!
If you are purchasing property for your horses, there are a lot of variables to consider. Here are some tips on what to look for when you are searching out your perfect horse property:
Your current needs are important, but remember to think long-term, too: Give some thought to what your current property needs are and how those needs can evolve. Are you looking for a property with pasture where your horses can graze and take shelter under the natural windbreak of trees or a run-in shed? Will you be looking for a property with a barn or building a barn? Do you need a riding arena? Are you looking for trails you can get to on horseback or will you be planning to trailer to your riding destinations? Is the property for pets, pleasure riding, performance animals, or breeding? Decide how you want your property to function so that you can select a property that will have some longevity for your vision.
Location Location Location
Location is everything, especially for the horse owner. In Western North Carolina, there are some locations that, while rural and beautiful, may be very difficult to drive a horse trailer to. Pay attention not only to the physical location, therefore, but to the potential drive to and from the property. Will you be riding on your property? On nearby roads? Adjacent trails? Will you be trailering to and from some of the beautiful trail systems that we have access to in Western North Carolina? You might consider purchasing property that gives you easy access to Dupont State Forest, Turkey Pen, The Biltmore Estate, or Coleman Boundary so that, once the truck is hitched to the trailer, it is a short and stress-free drive to your ultimate riding destination.
Are you pasturing your horses? If so, a reliable creek running through the property can be a god send – it provides a constant source or water to your horses, is in contact with the earth so remains warmer, meaning it is far less likely to freeze over. When water freezes over or gets very cold, horses can drink less and their chances of a deadly colic episode increase dramatically. If your horses are going to be stalled – or if the pasture does not offer a natural water source – is there city water or good well water (with a good well water pressure) readily available. Hauling buckets of water from your home to the barn is difficult, time consuming and can get old fast.
Speaking of water…if you are pasturing your horses, you will want to consider the water drainage of the property you are considering. Pay attention to flood plains and flooding patterns. Is there higher ground where your horse can get to if the streams and rivers start overflowing their banks? Is there a grade to the pasture that allows natural runoff of excess water? You will want to find a pasture graded with some run off but still flat enough that it is usable. What is the soil like? Very rocky soil can be a challenge to good pasture land. Do you have enough land for the number of horses you plan on grazing there? Unless you are planning on supplementing with hay, the general rule is to allow at least two acres of grazing for the first horse and one acre for each horse or pony after that. Provision also needs to be made for every part of the pasture to be rested for at least six weeks, twice a year. Ideally you set your pasture system up in a way that you can rotate horses from one pasture to another to allow recovery time to each pasture.
Know Your Community Ordinances
Remember to research what can be done on your property. Is livestock allowed? How many buildings can be built on your property per the local zoning laws and ordinances? Are you planning on running an equine-based business out of the property? What are the zoning regulations in regards to that? Be careful that you learn how your vision aligns with the local laws and ordinances before you become financially invested in the property.
Buy? Build? And Great Expectations
It might be tough to find just the perfect property with both your dream home and your dream barn. If you find a property that “has it all” but is not what you had envisioned, assess the bones of the property. If the basic structures are in good shape, it might make financial sense to consider renovating that property. This takes the ability to “put on your future goggles” and see the property for what it COULD be. If you find the right property with either the right home or the right barn, it may be worth building either a home or a barn in order to have the property you desire. In a perfect world, all the stars align and you find just the right place with everything you need at a doable price. Rarely is it a perfect world scenario, so be prepared to think out of the box.
Know your budget before you begin your process, and keep a wary eye open for properties that might require a lot of extra investment after purchase that will take you far beyond your budget and delay your dream. It can make more financial sense to spend more up front on a property that is ready for use than to buy a piece of land that costs little initially but requires a lot of investment when it comes to adding roads, driveways, utilities, correcting drainage issues, building structures and fences… In short, make sure to be looking at the BIG PICTURE when assessing a property.
Don’t Go It Alone
There is a lot to consider when purchasing your horse property. A qualified real estate broker will be a great partner for you on your quest for the property of your dreams. They will be able to connect you with properties you will otherwise miss, alert you to the strengths and weaknesses of a property and be able to advocate for you so that you get the best possible price on the property. Choosing a Broker who knows the area and is an experienced rider / equestrian will give you a big advantage as they will be able to recognize properties that are good fits for your dreams and will be able to steer you away from properties that should be avoided. Don’t be afraid to research and interview your broker to be sure they are the professional you are hoping for and that they are a good personality match for you as well. You will be spending some time together as you find your property – you may as well enjoy the process!
Julie and her horse, Hershey.
Written by Julie Tallman, Broker, REALTOR. Connect with Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how she can help you choose the best property for your needs.
Real Estate Market Report – Third Quarter
Every market is unique, yet the national sentiment has given rise to the notion that housing markets are stalling. Although interested buyers are out on an increasing number of showings, there remains a limited number of desirable listings. And although mortgage rates have remained enticingly low, home prices have reached unaffordable levels for many new entrants into the housing pool at exactly the same time that established owners are proving to be less interested in moving.
New listings were down in the North Central Mountains region 13.9 percent to 1,066. Pending sales increased 6.3 percent to 922. Inventory shrank 15.6 percent to 5,040 units.
Prices moved higher as Median Sales Price was up 18.6 percent to $255,000. Days on Market held steady at 83. Months Supply of Inventory was down 17.3 percent to 6.2 months, indicating that demand increased relative to supply.
Last year at this time, the national storyline was about how high demand was propping up sales and prices despite low inventory and months of supply. That has actually continued to be a familiar refrain for many months in 2017 and now for the past couple of years. But with the likes of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, different employment outlooks, disparate incomes, varying new construction expectations and potential housing policy shifts, regional differences are becoming more prevalent and pronounced.
If you found this data helpful and would like a more detailed look into a specific neighborhood or zip code, contact one of our agents or call the office at (828) 232-4030. We are happy to provide you the information you need to Move Smarter.
11 Reasons to Retire in Asheville
Looking for a place to enjoy your retirement and get real value for your investment? Consider the vibrant culture and natural beauty of Asheville.
“Asheville is a great place for retirement,” says Susan Wilson, of the Council on Aging for Buncombe County (coabc.org). “You can swim in a warm pool, play tennis, enjoy the nice summers and great year-round climate. There are a lot of things to do here if you like being outdoors, such as boating, hiking, camping. And of course, this is a foodies’ dream with the restaurants!”
Susan adds that in addition to the wonderful 55+ communities for active adults, there are a number of services available as people prefer to age in place and are dealing with more significant needs. COABC offers a wide-ranging array of practical services and resources for all seniors, no matter their income level.
Cultural and educational enjoyments such as Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (olliasheville.com), magnificent views, lower property taxes, and a reasonable cost of living are some of the draws to this bustling, creative city in the mountains. Equally so are leaving behind hot, humid summers and heaps of snow that needs shoveling.
Here are 11 reasons:
1. Active population.
Find your peeps! Active adults find it easy to stay fit and healthy in Asheville and the surrounding towns. Countless hiking trails with scenic views are easily accessible. If you like boating, camping, or fishing, you will be delighted with the rivers and lakes in and around the region. There are quite a few championship golf courses and resort and municipal courses that offer a challenging mountain environment. Fitness, yoga, and dance studios nurture healthy activity as well as community.
2. Street festivals.
Year-round arts and craft fairs dazzle the senses, including juried art shows set up in downtown parks, where locals and visitors are entertained by music and dance performances at Vance Memorial Park and Pritchard Park. Bands play and craft beer abounds at Downtown After Five on select Friday nights in summer. Cars are re-routed from downtown streets and pedestrians rule.
3. Historical architecture.
Downtown Asheville has an eclectic mix of architecture with styles ranging from Neoclassical to Beaux Arts. Downtown Art Nouveau buildings second in number only to Miami, FL. Among the must-sees include the Basilica of St. Lawrence, the Grove Arcade, and Ellington’s Art Deco city hall.
The Grove Arcade, downtown Asheville, photo courtesy of thegrovearcade.com
4. Eating and Entertainment
Foodies and craft beer lovers rejoice! Asheville features countless restaurants and world class chefs. Natural food restaurants like the Laughing Seed and Rosetta’s Kitchen and The Buchi Bar serve up healthy dishes with a farm-to-table mindset. More into cooking at home? No problem because Asheville has plenty of farmer’s markets and co-ops around town to satisfy even the pickiest home chef. Asheville has the most craft breweries per capita in the US, and was first named Beer City USA in 2009.
Asheville has no shortage of entertainment and destination venues including the Moog Music Factory, Biltmore Estate, and the numerous museums and art galleries in the area.
Moog Music Factory, downtown Asheville, photo courtesy of tripadvisor.com
“Help one another. There’s no time like the present, and no present like the time.” – James Durst
What makes for a happy retirement? Meaningful pursuits that enrich not only our own lives, but the lives of others. Volunteer opportunities here are plentiful, creating instant communities as people join forces to mobilize for a common cause. Not sure where you might like to lend a hand? Start by checking out the calendar of activities at Hands On Asheville Buncombe (www.handsonasheville.org).
Asheville is the place to be for all of the culture lovers out there! The area boasts a vibrant Indy art, music, and movie scene. Numerous galleries and many local artists make their living in the area. The River Arts District is a great place to check out over 100 artist studios and galleries. Plenty of music venues around town like The Orange Peel, The Mothlight, The Altamont Theater, Isis Music Hall, and Asheville Music Hall bring a variety of acts and musicians to the area. Be sure to take advantage of the wonderful theaters in the area including the Fine Arts Theatre and Grail Moviehouse.
7. Locally owned businesses.
Asheville supports a vibrant culture of independent businesses. Stroll through downtown Asheville or down Haywood Road in West Asheville to visit unique shops and boutiques. Pop into Malaprop’s independent book store downtown, enjoy a sip of wine at Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar, or stop in and try some small batch chocolate at the Chocolate Fetish. Each business adds its own quirky personality to the Asheville community.
8. Lakes, rivers, and waterfalls.
Launch your canoe, kayak, or paddle board into the Swannanoa or the French Broad Rivers, which bears the distinction of being the third oldest river on earth. There are many entry points to the river including Hominy Creek Park in West Asheville, Carrier Park, and Jean Webb River Park. Many riverside businesses offer and encourage river access, including Asheville Outdoor Center, Asheville Adventure Rentals, and 12 Bones BBQ.
Asheville is bypassed by the unique Blue Ridge Parkway, with plenty of overlooks and turnouts that offer spectacular mountain views. Trailheads abound offering hikes of varying difficulty from the novice hiker to the most seasoned. Be sure to spend some time at one of the numerous waterfalls in the area including Looking Glass Falls and Moore Cove Falls.
Looking Glass Falls, photo courtesy of visit waterfalls.com
9. Eclectic activities.
Whether your thing is mountain biking, shooting the rapids, antique-collecting, volunteering, making art or music, taking classes to expand your understanding and your skill set, or sampling the wares from an impressive number of craft breweries, you can find kindred folks and a place to feel at home here. Oh, and don’t forget the chocolate. We’ve got some of the finest!
10. Natural beauty.
Asheville is situated amongst some of the most spectacular natural beauty our country has to offer. From the Pisgah National Forest, the proximity to other National Parks, and access to the Blue Ridge Parkway there is no shortage of natural wonder in the area. The North Carolina Arboretum is nestled into the eastern edge of the Pisgah Forest, as is the grand Biltmore Estate. Depending on the time of year, waterfalls and rushing rivers abound, we do live in a temperate rainforest after all!
Vibrant neighborhoods are made up of people who get to know one another, take an interest in each other and celebrate together, and give each other a hand when needed. Many of Asheville’s neighborhoods work toward creating that neighborliness and community feeling that makes up the heartbeat of a place, and makes a place a home. Some of Asheville’s medical facilities are considered topnotch throughout the state including Mission Hospital, health spas, and care facilities.
“Aging is not ‘lost youth’, but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” — Betty Friedan
Written by Suzanne Arthur, Broker, REALTOR. Connect with Suzanne at email@example.com to see how she can make retiring in Asheville 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.
Tiny House, Big Idea
Hand to chin, Jennifer eyed the space where her silver SUV was parked.
“Could I build a tiny house right here?”
Last year, she fell in love with the house in Kenilworth and its view of the lake. After moving in she added an outdoor room — the perfect playroom for her two-year-old grandson.
Gazing from this room at the pines reflected in the water below, she smiled. “Blissful.”
But living here could be even better, she mused, if her daughter, son-in-law, and baby grandson were right next door.
She makes a good point.
With scant rentals available, and costs prohibitive for many first-time homebuyers, a tiny house may be a smart option. Costs can be kept low, around $15,000, but quickly rise with the quality of materials used.
Smaller homes are catching the imagination of many, including downsizing Boomers and Millenials just starting out.
Where did tiny houses start, and just how tiny are they?
‘Wee Houses’ began in 2003 as affordable alternative housing.
In North Carolina, a tiny house must be at least 120 square feet, but anything under 500 square feet is considered tiny. A typical storage shed is 100 square feet.
City of Asheville rules allow homeowners to build a small house next to the main one. However, zoning regulations, HOA bylaws, environmental, and other restrictions apply, so if you’re thinking about building a tiny home, do your homework and ask your real estate agent for more information.
Tiny houses can be site-built and made to be “grow-able,” to accommodate the homeowners’ changing needs.
For Jennifer, building a tiny house at the top of her driveway would mean a visit from her grandson could be only steps away, not a half-hour drive. And that could create a living arrangement to benefit the whole family.
Written by Suzanne Arthur, Broker, REALTOR, and Kenilworth neighbor. Connect with Suzanne at firstname.lastname@example.org to see if a tiny house may be a good (and legal) choice for your property, and keep up with all of Asheville’s local happenings by following @suzannearthur_realtor on Instagram.
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