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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Holly Martin Named Top 100 REALTOR

2016 Top 100 REALTORS logo
Holly smallerBroker Holly Martin earned a distinguished spot as one of Asheville’s Top 100 REALTORS of 2016. PlumDog Financial, an Asheville area mortgage lender, releases this designation annually based on transaction volume data from the Asheville Board of REALTORS’ Market Share Report. They praised Holly and the other top REALTORS for their “hard work and dedication to our community development” and for providing  home ownership and satisfaction to thousands of Asheville area residents.

Holly was also DixonPacifica Real Estate’s Top Producer and Sales Leader for 2016. Says DixonPacifica owner, Tad Dixon, “We are so proud of all that Holly has accomplished this year,” which includes nearly doubling her 2015 sales volume, “and we look forward to supporting her as she continues to grow her business.”

 

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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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Market Report for November 2016

November is typically the slowest month of the year in the real estate industry. Clients find it challenging to make time for house hunting and keeping the home they’re selling pristine for showings during the holiday season. Because there are fewer sellers in the market, the months supply of homes is at the lowest it’s been this quarter, which means those sellers who do decide to list homes in November have less competition. We also saw that without as much inventory to choose from, the average days on the market ticked back down. That said, buyers don’t have it so bad either: the average sales price and the YOY change in average sales price is the lowest this quarter.

Asheville City Market Report

market-asheville-november-2016

Buncombe County Market Report

market-buncombe-county-november-2016

For more information on the Asheville real estate market, you can check out the reports for October, September, and August or give us a call at (828) 232-4030. We’re happy to go in depth about the trends we’re seeing generally or more specifically in your area of interest.

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Top 10 Reasons To Sell During The Holidays

BP pic

  1. Fewer homes on the market = Less Competition– Many home sellers like to wait until the “hot” selling season to put their home on the market. In Asheville, like most places, the big selling season is in early spring. But why not get a jump on the competition?  When housing inventory is low, buyers will appreciate a home that is competitively priced and in tip-top showing condition.
  2. Holiday buyers are serious buyers! You will waste less time showing your home to unqualified buyers, because buyers who look during the Holidays are serious about buying!
  3. Most people, including buyers, are happier during this time of year. Happy home buyers who need to move are attracted to homes that are warmly decorated and inviting.
  4. Holiday decorations will increase curb appeal. Many Asheville neighborhoods decorate and light up their entrances and their homes during the holidays.
  5. Your home may look its best during this time of the year. The Holiday smells & decorations of your home might invoke warm fuzzy feelings for a potential buyer.
  6. Some buyers may prefer to buy for tax reasons before the year ends!

  7. More time off to look at homes! Home buyers may be able to take a little more time off during the holidays to look at homes.
  8. Become a non-contingent buyer! If you sell your home during the holidays, you will be a non-contingent buyer – when it comes time to buy your next home! Few things hurt a home buyer’s bargaining power more than being a contingent buyer – meaning you must sell your current home in order to buy your next home.
  9. You are in control! If you are worried about selling during the holidays because you don’t want to move out of your house before the Holidays are over, you don’t have to. You are in control! If you don’t like the terms of an offer, you don’t have to sell your home. Or, even better,  you might be able to work out a rental situation so you don’t have to move until after the Holidays.
  10. Realtors® at DixonPacifica Real Estate are working during the holidays! We are WORKING during the holidays. Many buyers and sellers are purchasing during this time of year, so we make ourselves available.

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Just Listed! Downtown Asheville Condo

Slideshow

21 battery park

Just Listed! beautiful Condo in Downtown Asheville. 21 Battery Park Unit 408. MLS 549057. $409,000. Comes with parking and storage. Let us know if you know anyone who might be interested!

Eastern & Southern Light filled condo that has been recently updated with Porcelain tile in master suite, sunroom, laundry and bathrooms. Master suite has added pocket doors and glass block. Upgrades include powder room vessel sink separate from main bath, oversized kitchen sink, new lighting and abundant moldings. Condo comes with dedicated parking space, a storage room, roof terrace with amazing views, and a work-out room.

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Asheville Market Stats

August 7, 2013

The Inventory is dropping and the buyer activity is way up compared to last year. We are seeing a small recovery in some areas and price points, but like the rest of the country the recovery in WNC and Asheville is uneven and varies depending on neighborhood.

Buncombe - MOI August '13

Buncombe - Avg Med Price Aug '13

Buncombe - res unit sales Aug '13

Buncombe - Homes Sold Report Aug '13

 

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