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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:

Needs Assessment

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.

Water Accessibility

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.

Pasture Quality

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 Thyself

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 julie@dixonpacifica.com to see how she can help you choose the best property for your needs.

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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.

 

 

 

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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

5. Volunteering.

“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).

 6. Indy scene.

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!

11. Community.

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 suzanne@dixonpacifica.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.

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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.

 

Tiny House Asheville Kenilworth Lake

 

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?

 

Tiny House Floor Plan Example Asheville

 

‘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 suzanne@dixonpacifica.com 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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Tubing the French Broad River

French Broad River tubing paddle boarding SUP - DixonPacifica

As recently as 10 years ago, you would have been hard pressed to find much recreational activity on the French Broad River in Asheville. City planning had not accounted for best and highest use of river front properties, leaving it less than scenic for river goers who may have wanted to canoe, paddle board, or tube.

Organizations such as River Link and River Keepers, as well as active community members, have worked hard to change that, and one of the results is hundreds of tubers enjoying a leisurely float down the river with the first signs of summer. Now, you can even stop along the way to grab some local beer or snack from a food truck.

There are many options for river “sports,” and I’ll use that term loosely as I’ll be focusing on tubing, which requires limited athletic ability or even energy. Rather, it’s a simple and relaxing way to enjoy a sunny day with family or friends.

Whether you choose a DIY option, go through an outfitter, or something in between, you’ll find you have many options.

There are multiple local outfitters offering a range or services from tube rental, shuttles, changing rooms and more. There are also numerous locations available for putting in and taking out your tube depending on how long you’d like to spend floating and where you’d like to end your trip.

Putting in at Hominy Creek and taking out at Amboy Road River Park typically lasts 2+ hours. For a longer float with a beer or food option, you’ll need to go a bit further to reach Wedge Brewing or The Bywater. Of course, the length of your float depends on the flow of the river at that time. For an accurate read on the current, visit American Whitewater and search for the French Broad. Don’t forget to check the water temperature while you’re there!

Some outfitters you may want to consider are French Broad Outfitters, Asheville Outdoor Center, and Zen Tubing. Prices range from $12 for a half day, walk, and tube to $20 which includes a shuttle and an extra raft for your cooler. For a thrifty but less convenient option, you can grab your own tube and either walk back to your starting point, grab a $5 shuttle, or leave a 2nd car at your final destination.

DixonPacifica - French Broad River - tubing

Some things you’ll want to have handy are river shoes, sun screen, a floating cooler with drinks (no glass), a sun visor or hat, a few bucks for beer or snacks, and towel and change of clothes at your stopping point. If you’re doing it on your own, don’t forget to account for your car key! I always bring a few ziplocks for keys and money and tuck them in a secure pocket.

However you choose to do it, just do it. There are few better ways to spend a hot summer day so get out and #movesmarter!

Written by Bethany Behrmann, Broker, REALTOR. Bethany had her first tubing adventure on the French Broad at age 10 and has logged dozens of trips since with family, friends, neighbors and countless exchange students. Whether you seek more recommendations for enjoying Asheville summers or information on riverfront property, Bethany can be reached by email at bethany@dixonpacifica.com.

 

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Market Report for March 2017

Buncombe County Market Report

Buncombe County Market Report March 2017

Asheville Market Report

Asheville City Market Report March 20172

For a more in-depth look at our market or to see what this means for your home or neighborhood specifically, call a DixonPacifica agent. They are happy to help and provide insight into local market trends!

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Helpful Tips for a Successful Move

Text: Move. Noun. A Change of place, position, or state. Verb. Go in a specified direction or manner, change position. Superimposed over a photo of labeled moving boxes.

When we learned we’d be moving to Asheville, our daughter, Helen, received a book from her babysitter… who also happened to be her kindred spirit. The book was the Dr. Seuss classic “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” Like most of the Seuss reads, it’s just as relevant to adults as it is to kids. Although it’s not a book about moving per se, it does lay out all the thoughts that can come to mind when considering a move.

 

You’ll be on your way up!

You’ll be seeing great sights!

You’ll join the high fliers

who soar to great heights.

I’m sorry to say so

but, sadly, it’s true

that Bang-ups

and Hang-ups

can happen to you

So how do you move your family (including the four legged members), and all your belongings without having a bang-up or a hang-up… and maintaining your sense of calm through the process?

 

Preparation

Yes, that’s the ticket. Physical preparation – boxing everything up in a labeled box – is an obvious one, but getting mentally prepared is just as important. One great way to stay on track is making a Moving Checklist. As soon as you know that a move is on the horizon, start a folder of things that will need to be done. These list items can be everything from address changes for bills to acquiring boxes and packing supplies. Realsimple.com offers an interactive checklist for a two month timeline and a quick search yields several other great resources on the web.

 

Moving Companies

If you’ll be using a professional moving service, start researching now. We found out the hard way that many of the expenses and pricing aren’t so straightforward. For example, movers either charge by weight or cubic feet of space in a truck. There are pros and cons to both methods. We chose a company that charged by weight because that seemed to be what most companies in our area were doing. Two different companies quoted around 7 to 9 thousand pounds of ‘stuff’ in our house. Who knew we had so much junk!  And as it turned out, even that was grossly underestimated. We had closer to 14 thousand pounds of ‘stuff,’ which in turn almost doubled our quote. We learned several important lessons from this experience:

  1. Be prepared for additional costs
  2. Don’t have so much stuff – Now is the time to purge!

Fellow agent Jen Woodward gave a simple synopsis on how to choose a mover here, and at the time of our move, this breakdown was very helpful to me.

 

Boxes

Labeled moving boxesIf after going through your checklist, you’ve decided you’ll be doing all the packing, you’ll need lots and lots of boxes. Probably more than you’d imagine! Boxes can be expensive if you’re buying them new from a moving supply or retail company. Prices vary, but can range from $3 to $12 each. However, if you’re up for doing a little research, you can find plenty of boxes for free. Start by checking with neighbors and friends, neighborhood social groups like Nextdoor and Facebook, or grocery and retail stores. Some recycling centers also offer free boxes, or will sell them for pennies, and perhaps now might be the perfect time to meet the new neighbors that just moved in and take advantage of all their boxes. Just remember, no matter how you got the boxes, label it with the contents AND where that box may go in your new home!

 

Kids, Pets and Plants

We made our move with a toddler, two cats, two dogs and a dozen plants. It may not be apparent at first, but the stress of a move is tough on everyone on this list, too. So, don’t let moving day creep up without getting everyone ready.

Our daughter was almost two at the time of our move and was generally into everything, so we gave her jobs to do. We would make daily piles of things we wanted to donate or give away and let her pack (and repeatedly unpack) those items , complete with her own roll of tape and crayons for “labeling.” She really enjoyed being able to “help.”

A toddler sits in a box coloring and is approached by her pet cat. The toddler's face is joyous.

The four-legged family members need to be prepped for moving day, too. My wife is a veterinarian, and she’ll tell you that when pets’ routines are disturbed, they can become stressed just like us humans. If you plan on moving them in crates, make sure they are comfortable and used to them well before moving day. If they will be in your home when the movers arrive, move them to a room that is already cleaned out and has a way to be closed off. This will relieve some of their stress (and yours) and is a great way to make sure no one escapes out of an open door.

 

As for plants, ours were small enough to take in our cars without much preparation.  If you have large plants or too many to take in your own vehicle, make sure to check with your moving company ahead of time. Many times, movers are not allowed to have plants in the cargo area of the trucks, especially if the move is across state lines. If you do have a significant number of plants, Atlas Van Lines offers a more specific list of tips on how to move them that you can find here.

 

Seek Help When Needed

With all these many things to keep up with for a move, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Our move was an excellent opportunity for our parents to spend time with our daughter and help when and where they could. We also created opportunities for willing friends that could help. We treated them to dinner or offered to watch their children when we got settled into our new home, and if you have the luxury of help and the time, get any painting done while the slate is clean. You’ll be glad you did.

 

Moving Day

When the moving truck finally arrives try to stand at the doorway when the movers start bringing everything in. You’ll be glad you labeled which room the boxes will be going in. If you labeled them well enough, the movers can start taking them to the appropriate rooms, or at least you can direct them easily.

 

IMG_4418


Continuing on the preparedness theme, have a travel bag or suitcase with a few necessities that will go in your car. Think about what you might take on an overnight trip. I say this because our movers’ truck broke down on the way to our new home from another state, so our delivery was delayed until the next day. Luckily we had an air mattress and few items to get us through the night. Although it was a setback, it was sort of nice to sleep on the floor in our new, empty, home!

 

If I can leave you with any takeaways…

  • Get prepared with your check list
  • Label the contents of every box AND where it goes (kitchen, basement, etc.)
  • Research your moving company
  • Give your kids a chore to help
  • Label your boxes!
  • Get your pets prepped
  • Ask for help
  • Enjoy your new home! (And label your boxes!!)

 

Broker Jeff Farmer moved to Asheville from Tennessee with his wife, Sara, their daughter Helen, two cats and two dogs. Jeff offers the lessons he learned from this move and from assisting buyers and sellers to help you make the transition to a new home as seamless as possible. Jeff can be reached at jeff@dixonpacifica.com.

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3 Simple Steps to Hiring the Best Moving Company

Hiring a mover can be a daunting experience especially when simultaneously trying to organize the other aspects of moving to a new home. After more than a decade of experience coordinating cross-country relocations and helping folks with local moves, I’ve developed a list of tips and interview questions to help you find the most professional mover so you have the best moving experience.

Three Simple Steps to Hiring the Right Moving Company with an illustration of a moving truck

1. Decide what type of move you need.

Intrastate or Local

For intrastate moves (moves within the same state) visit your state’s website for a list of licensed and insured movers.  In North Carolina, you can find carriers who are in compliance with the state’s regulations here.

Interstate or International

For moves across state lines (interstate) or internationally you can search carriers using the federal motor carrier safety administration’s site.

 

2. Determine how much assistance you want with your move.

There are a few different levels of service and pros and cons to each depending on the specifics of your move.

Full Service Move

Choose this option when you want the moving company to safely pack every item in your home, supply all the boxes, bubble wrap and packing paper, pad and shrink-wrap all furniture, load, move, unload the truck and unpack as many of the boxes as you want, wherever you want.

Simple Move

This is the most commonly requested service.  You pack and box your belongings. They pad and shrink wrap your furniture, load, move and unload the truck at the desired location.

Load & Unload Only

Movers can help you to load or unload your rental truck, storage pod, ABF truck, storage unit or garage.  This option is most useful to people who are able to drive a rental truck or who want to use a freight service.  While you can save money using this option, you take on the responsibility for your belongings while they are being moved.  The moving company, truck rental or Freight Company will not be responsible for any damage while in transit.

Eco-Friendly Move

Some companies will recycle boxes and packing materials after use. They can help you to obtain free, clean, sturdy and inspected recycled boxes or plastic bins to help lessen your move’s impact on the environment and your wallet.  Some moving company’s trucks also run on bio-diesel to reduce emissions.

 

3. Interview Your Mover.

Once you have determined the type of move you need and the service level you desire, there are a few questions to ask each mover you interview to ensure everyone is on the same page.

“Do you work for the mover or are you a broker?”

Brokers play an important role in helping customers match up with moving companies. Keep in mind, however, that a broker cannot give you a binding estimate and a broker is not responsible for loss or damage.

“Do you give binding quotes?”

A mover or broker may give you a quote over the phone, but those are generally not binding. Upon reviewing your items in person, a mover might then give a binding or “not to exceed” quote. However, brokers don’t typically give binding quotes.

“Does the quote include extra charges?”

For example – flight charges, long carry charges, appliance charges, parking charges, storage charges, fuel charges, awkward objects, etc. If you have a piano, you should let them know up front. Ask them if they have equipment to help with heavy and awkward items.

“Will my items be transferred?”

Long distance moves can sometimes require your items be transferred to another truck. This extra handling increases the chance that damage may occur.

“What forms of payment do you accept and on what terms?”

I do not recommend you hire a mover if they only accept cash. Be sure you are clear about the amount that is due on delivery versus the deposit amount, and whether deposits are refundable. Most companies that have a merchant account will accept credit cards, so be sure to ask if credit cards are an option.

“What type of insurance is included in your quote? What else is available to me?”

Basic coverage is 60 cents per pound but your moving company may offer an upgrade at a reasonable price. You can also work with third party insurance providers to cover the move.

“What is the process if something were to break or is missing? Who’s responsible?”

This is a follow-up to the previous question that clearly breaks down who is responsible for what. If you’re discussing a self-service move, you may not get reimbursed for something that you packed poorly. Wherever the responsibility lies, it’s better to know in advance.

 

No matter which type of move you are facing, a little planning and preparation can go a long way to reducing stress. Whether you are planning a local move or a long-distance move, using an independent local moving company, a national carrier or going DIY, these tips can make your move a smarter, safer and smoother experience!

Written by Jen Woodward, Broker, REALTOR with special thanks to Sean Lallouz, owner of Dry Ridge Moving and Transportation LLC. With more than a decade working in real estate and relocation, Jen utilizes her personal and professional moving experience to assist buyers and sellers in the Asheville market and beyond.








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What makes a home “green?”

A white paper cut out of a house sits on green grass.

A Brief History of Green Building

The green building trend began to take off as a reaction to the short-lived Oil Crisis of 1973-1974. Poor insulation and a lack of climate adaptation in buildings of this period meant homes were drafty and used fuel inefficiently. Meanwhile, fuel uncertainty caused prices to rise, however briefly, generating increased interest in both improved building techniques as well as wind and solar energy. The end of the Fuel Crisis restored low prices, decimating the alternative fuel industry. However, the over-insulated homes produced in the wake of the Crisis began showing troubling side effects by the 1980’s such as rotten wood inside walls, mold, sick building syndrome and fogged dual pane windows. As a result, building science took off so builders could make sense of and eventually prevent these issues while continuing to improve insulation and home efficiency.

Green Building Today

The original interest in green building has only grown, both as a reaction to the early 2000’s trend of large, inefficient homes and in light of growing environmental concerns. However, it’s the benefits of green building that have driven most of the industry’s growth and pushed even traditional builders to adapt some green building techniques.

Home Owner Benefits:

  • Lower Energy Bills: through energy efficient lighting, equipment, and appliances
  • Healthier and Comfortable Indoor Environment: consistent temperatures and reduced risks
  • Increased Market Value: higher resale value of a home
  • Financial Tax Incentives: state and federal tax credits for renewable energy and energy efficiency
  • Performance Report: third party verification quantifying the home’s overall energy score, annual energy cost savings, and pollution prevention
  • Reduced air pollution through energy efficiency

Most of the “green” certified homes in Asheville use the Green Built NC certification, which is a third party verified program. The home is tested and then scored on a check list.

Green Built NC

Green Built NC Homes is a statewide program in North Carolina that provides a certificate for builders who meet “green home” guidelines. These guidelines emphasize comfort, health, energy and water conservation, site preservation, and renewable energy use. This certification includes either ENERGY STAR certification, or a HERS Index of 85 or less and showing that the house is 15% better than the 2009 International Energy Code, plus inspection of additional items specific to the Green Built NC program.

    The Green Built NC program encompasses all aspects of environmental design and construction including:

  • Site and Landscape: healthy outdoors by using erosion control and saving existing trees
  • Water Efficiency: lower water bills by using high efficiency irrigation and plumbing fixtures
  • Building Envelope: lower utility bills by using high efficiency windows and insulation
  • Heating and Cooling Systems: higher comfort with efficiency equipment and sealed air ducts
  • Appliances and Lighting: lower utility bills by using Energy Star appliances and lighting
  • Indoor Air Quality: a healthy interior with non-toxic finishes and minimizing moisture
  • Materials: a low maintenance home using durable, local, and recycled content materials
  • Third Party Verification: reassures the home owners that your homes are reviewed by an independent team of high performance building professionals.

 
Energy Star
EPA’s ENERGY STAR Program was created to help identify the best ways to save energy. The little blue label says this product, this home, this building or factory is doing the right things to save energy. Energystar.gov offers the most comprehensive resource available for energy efficiency advice and information. ENERGY STAR certified homes are independently verified to meet strict guidelines for energy efficiency set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These homes save money on utility bills, provide a more comfortable living environment with better indoor air quality, and help protect the environment.

    Typical features to look for in ENERGY STAR certified homes include:

  • Efficient Walls and Windows, the levels of wall, floor and attic insulation properly installed designed to block drafts, and high-performance windows;
  • Efficient Air Ducts, so rooms get enough air to have consistent, comfortable temperatures throughout the house;
  • Efficient Equipment for heating, and cooling the house, helping you save money while staying comfortable;
  • Efficient Lighting and Appliances, including ENERGY STAR certified dishwashers, refrigerators, light bulbs and clothes washers.

Better energy efficiency and performance means lower utility and maintenance costs. Homes earning the ENERGY STAR label use 15-30% less energy than typical cow homes, and even more when compared to most resale homes on the market today.

    Based on national averages, ENERGY STAR certified homes built in 2015 are the equivalent of:

  • Reducing CO2 emissions by 141,952 metric tons
  • Growing 3,607,528 tree seedlings for 10 years
  • Avoiding the consumption of 330,131 barrels of oil
  • Removing 29,867 passenger vehicles from the road

 
HERS Score
The Home Efficiency Rating System (HERS) is the industry standard by which a home’s energy efficiency is measured relative to other buildings. It’s also the nationally recognized system for inspecting and calculating a home’s energy performance, similar to the Miles Per Gallon (MPG) rating for cars. The lower the HERS rating the more efficient the house. To calculate a HERS score, the variables under consideration include all exterior walls, flooring, ceilings and roof, foundation, windows, doors, vents and ductwork, HVAC systems, water heating systems, etc.

The current International Energy Efficiency Code (IECC) is a HERS score of 100. What does all of this mean to you? A low HERS rating can mean high resale value, lower utility bills, better air quality and lower environmental impact.

For more on HERS Scores and their meaning: http://www.resnet.us/hers-index-score-card

Written by LeAnn Bound, Broker, REALTOR. LeAnn and her husband James founded GreenCraft, a locally owned and operated green building company that focuses on energy efficient design and environmentally sound building practices. LeAnn uses her first hand knowledge of green building to assist buyers, sellers, and new home buyers.

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Market Report for December 2016

The market trends we saw in December strongly reflect the larger market trends for our area. While there were fewer new listings and closed sales overall, the sharp increase in median sales price in Buncombe County as well as the significant decrease in month supply of homes in Asheville and Buncombe County indicates that the market is “hot.” Fewer days on the market until sale and fewer days between list and close compared to last December further support this conclusion. Check out the data below for a more targeted look at our local markets.

Asheville City Market Report

Market December 2016 Asheville

Buncombe County Market Report

Market December 2016 Buncombe

If you’d like additional data about our market in general or even a specific neighborhood in the area, we’re happy to help. Send one of our agents a message or give us a call at (828) 232-4030. Happy New Year!

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