Asheville Real Estate Blog

I live in a vibrant town nestled in the mountains where two beautiful rivers converge. I love my life and my work here in Asheville, and I hope you'll enjoy my posts. I write about what’s happening in and around the city, and my interests include art + design, photography, architecture, music, people, dining, gardening, books, real estate trends, hiking, and dogs. 

Thank you for popping in. Always feel free to comment, leave me a message, or just say hi!

Renters for a Weekend or a While: What’s the Best Use of Your Investment Property?

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The residential rental market is now the fastest-growing segment of the housing market. In the United States, the demand for single-family rentals, defined as either detached homes or townhouses, has risen 30 percent in the past three years.
And in Canada, rental units now account for nearly one-third of the country’s homes, with particular demand for multi-family units, including apartments and condominiums.

At the same time, the short-term, or vacation, rental market is also booming. The popularity of online marketplaces like Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO has helped the short-term rental market become one of the fastest-growing segments in the travel industry.3

Now, more than ever, there is an abundance of opportunity for real estate investors. But which path is best: leasing your property to a long-term tenant, or renting your property to travelers on a short-term basis?

In this post, I examine the differences between the two investment strategies and the benefits and limitations of each category. As the City of Asheville has restrictions that apply to rentals, give me a call and I’ll be happy to look into your specific situation and answer any questions you may have.


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How to Avoid the Top 8 Home Inspection Mistakes

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It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of buying a home. Once you’ve had an offer accepted on your dream house, you’ll probably be anxious to move in. However, before you make a significant financial commitment, it’s best to know exactly what you’re buying.

When you hire a home inspector, you get a professional, in-depth examination of the property’s structures and systems. It’s a worthwhile investment that can save you money in the long run, either by warning you away from a bad purchase or by providing a list of deficiencies you can use to negotiate with the sellers.

The inspector’s report will also list minor repairs that, if made, will help to maintain your home over the long term. Additionally, a good inspector can often predict the standard life expectancy of your roof, HVAC, and other big-ticket items so you can start planning for their eventual replacement.

However, many buyers make mistakes during the inspection process that cost them time and money and lead to unnecessary stress. Avoid these eight common buyer blunders to minimize your risk, protect your investment, and give yourself peace of mind and confidence in your new home purchase.


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Real Estate Relocation Guide: 7 Steps to a Seamless Move

Relocate to Asheville with this handy dandy guide

Whatever your reasons are for relocating to a new area, the process can feel overwhelming.
Whether you’re moving across across town or across the country, you’ll be changing more than your address.

Besides a new house, you may also be searching for new jobs, schools, doctors, restaurants, stores, service providers, volunteer opportunities, and more.

And you’ll be meeting new people and cultivating new friendships. We don’t live only in our homes, our nests. We live in our communities—and in our relationships with friends and loved ones.

A bird, a nest; man, friendship. - William Blake.

Of course you’ll need to pack, make moving arrangements, and possibly sell your old home. With so much to do, you may be wondering: Where do I start?

Here are seven steps to help you get prepared, get organized, and get settled in your new community. My hope is to alleviate the hassle of relocating—so you can focus on the exciting adventure ahead!

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10 Staging Secrets From the Pros for a Quick Home Sale at Top Dollar

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According to the National Association of Realtors, staging a home prior to listing it can result in a faster and more profitable sale. In fact, the Real Estate Staging Association estimates that professionally staged properties spend 73 percent less time on the market, receive more foot traffic, and typically sell for more money.

Following are 10 tips you can use to get your home “show ready” prior to hitting the market. These easy and cost-effective ideas will help your house look its best—and help buyers visualize themselves living there. Even if you’re not currently in the market to sell, you can use these tactics to breathe new life into your existing home decor.

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House Care Calendar

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A Seasonal Guide to
Maintaining Your Home


From summer vacations to winter holidays, it seems each season offers the perfect excuse to put off our to-do list. But be careful, homeowners: neglecting your home’s maintenance could put your personal safety—and one of your largest financial investments—at serious risk.

In no time at all, small problems can lead to extensive and expensive repairs. And even if you avoid a catastrophe, those minor issues can still have a big impact. Properties that are not well maintained can lose 10 percent (or more) of their appraised value.1
The good news is, by dedicating a few hours each season to properly maintaining your home, you can ensure a safe living environment for you and your family ... and actually increase the value of your home by one percent annually!1 You just need to know where and how to spend your time. Use the following checklist as a guide to maintaining your home and lawn throughout the year. It's applicable for all climates, so please share it with friends and family members who you think could benefit, no matter where their home is located.

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The Home Buyer's Guide to Getting Mortgage Ready

What if you had to move tomorrow … would you be ready and able?

According to a recent study by the National Association of Realtors, one of the top limiting factors preventing buyers from closing on a home is difficulty in obtaining mortgage financing.

Whether you plan to buy a house in the next few months or years, it’s never too early to start preparing financially for your next home purchase. Wherever you are today, it's helpful to look ahead and plan your short-term and long-term goals.

Even if you have no plans to move, it’s always a good idea to be prepared. You never know what surprises life has in store!
That’s why I’ve attached our latest report: The Home Buyer's Guide to Getting Mortgage Ready.

It outlines three simple steps to help you lay the groundwork for your future home purchase.

Looking for even more information? Check out the full article for additional tips and insights.

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Home Design Trends to Watch in 2018

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I frequently get questions from clients who are taking on decorating and remodeling projects and want to ensure their dollars are invested wisely.

Which looks will last for years to come, and which ones will feel dated quickly? What colors and styles are most popular among buyers in our area? How can I add the most value to my home?

So I have rounded up some of the hottest trends in home design to help guide you through the process. Whether you’ve planned a simple refresh or a full-scale renovation, making smart and informed design choices will help you maximize your return on investment … and minimize the chance of “remodeler’s remorse” down the road.

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11 Reasons to Retire in Asheville, NC


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!”

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9 Steps to Prepping Your House 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 your yard have become personal! 

Plan ahead to help smooth the course of change. Keep your focus on your new and exciting goal. Selling your house is the end of one journey and the beginning of the next.

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Walking trails in Asheville

Did you know that according to fitness experts, walking is one of the best ways to maintain your health and fitness at any age? Asheville offers retirees easy and enjoyable ways to stay fit and strong. 

Walking is one of my favorite exercises whether I’m alone, with a friend and lost in conversation, or with my dogs on a romp through the woods.

Asheville has over 3,000 miles of hiking trails nearby, all free and open to the public. This includes trails through the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway offer hundreds of miles of beautiful hiking opportunities.

Walking trails in Asheville are easy to find, and many of the 55+ communities offer miles of pathways that wind through green spaces or alongside forest streams or mountain lakes. 

For scenic views, take a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway and park at an overlook or locate a trailhead for a walk in the woods. Hiking outdoors nourishes your heart and lungs, casts a rosy glow on your skin, and lifts your spirit. Asheville’s scenic landscapes are inspiring, and the rhythm of your steps can help regulate the body’s systems and encourage a good night’s sleep.

Aside from the physical workout, walking can help improve your memory—at least for some things. Every day on my walk with the dogs I run into neighbors whose names have slipped my mind but whose dogs’ names I will never forget. 

Speaking of dogs, of course you don’t need one to go for a walk, but if you’re up to having a furry best friend they certainly help you get outside to move your booty every day! Scientists have recently said that, probably due to the regular exercise, it looks as though dog owners live longer, according to a
Swedish study

In town, the Botanical Garden at UNC-Asheville offers a peaceful, easy trail next to a stream that will make you forget you’re actually right downtown. 

The Biltmore Estate is another centrally located, well-loved resource for tourists and locals alike. The grounds near the house, through the gardens, and down by the lakes offer 23 miles of easy to moderate scenic trails. 

Click the link for a list of easy, moderate, or strenuous trails accessible from the
Blue Ridge Parkway.
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Game on!

well played asheville
Have you ever looked around Asheville and thought:

“All this beer and wine and amazing food is nice and everything, but wouldn’t it be great if there was a cafe with hundreds of games to choose from, someplace with comfy booths and a nice selection of snacks?” 
You’re in luck. The Well Played Board Game Cafe is here.

Well Played is North Carolina’s first board game cafe, and it’s right downtown on Wall Street. Your first clue that it’s not just any old cafe is the giant red pawn on the patio table, and an oversized Jenga stacked up and ready to fall. 

Inside you’ll find a friendly crew (and non-judgmental -- they won't snicker a bit if you've never heard of
Cosmic Encounter), and an intriguing library of over 500 games, some familiar, some not so much. 

Sounds fun, but haven’t got a clue where to start? 

Games are organized by category and level of difficulty, and roaming game-masters are on hand to cheerfully (I say this from personal experience) help you set up and learn any game you choose to play. They’ll also help you pick out a game that matches your skill level and interest. Trust me, these guys are good!

You can find family games like
Ticket to Ride, classics such as chess, and oldies-but-goodies like Rock’em Sock’em Robots. Experienced players will be happy with the options, and appreciate having a way to try new games without the high cost of purchasing. 

Booths and tables fill up with players of all ages and game-taste. For a five-dollar cover charge, it makes for a fun date and something different. Wait staff will not only help you set up and play a game, for a charge they'll also serve you goodies if you wish, such as beer, kombucha, hummus and veggies, or popcorn. 

http://wellplayedasheville.com/

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Fun things to do: Model train museum


I remember as a kid, that moment every summer night — right after dinner -- the train in the distance would blow its long low whistle of approach. 

A kind of universal call to adventure.

We’d leap onto our bikes and trikes and race to the end of the sidewalk, a gaggle of kids with half-eaten popsicles, craning our necks to be the first one to spot the train. 

Don’t you love the sound of a distant whistle? 

Maybe its because trains evoke a simpler era. A way of travel that seems both futuristic and nostalgic all at once. 

Or maybe the rumble or pitch of the whistle taps into a longing for freedom, speaks to our inner-gypsy who’d love nothing better than to jump onboard and just see where it leads — while the world glides past like a scene from a movie.

Western North Carolina has a long, rich railroad history. 

You might not know, but one of the best railroad museums in the country is located right outside of Asheville, in nearby Hendersonville. 

The museum is operated and run by the Apple Valley Model Railroad Club. The clubhouse is in the original railroad depot built in 1902. Members work continually on their hobby, and the results are obvious in their precisely running engines and gorgeous scenery. 

Every Saturday, members open their doors to the public. 

My family loves to stop in to watch the trains, and listen in on the shop talk of the members. They’re always on hand to answer questions about the hobby, about train history in WNC, and show you what they’ve been up to. It’s interesting to watch them tinkering with the tracks and making small repairs to their layouts. 

At one end of the clubhouse is a Thomas the Tank train that kids love, set up at kid-height for the little ones. In the summer, be sure not to miss the outdoor garden trains that wind past dense green herbs such as rosemary and thyme, perfectly scaled as miniature shrubbery.

So file it under
Fun Things to Do In and Around Asheville. The club welcomes donations but there is no entry fee, so it’s a fun family date that doesn’t cost a thing, yet fuels the imagination for days to come. 

It makes me feel like a kid again, listening to the soft, hypnotic
chug-chug-chugging of the trains as wind their way through the beautiful WNC scenery that members have artfully constructed. 

Now all I need is a popsicle.

Apple Valley Model Railroad Club

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Tiny House, Big Idea

Tiny House Asheville
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 a knowledgable 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.
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Signs from the past

Kennilworth Signs of the past: Asheville
Hidden gems
The community of Kenilworth, just a mile south of downtown Asheville, is an intriguing place full of winding streets based on paths trodden by horses. 

Walk the streets here beneath oaks, poplar groves, bamboo, and pines, and you'll see old houses and new. A couple of large Spanish Revival homes, a number of Arts and Crafts gems, and lakefront homes with modest docks and a few kayaks waiting by the water's edge. 

Many people don't even know there is a small lake shimmering at the heart of this neighborhood. Nor would they guess at the marvelous history behind the Kenilworth Inn at the top of the hill. 

These gems are all but hidden to the rest of Asheville. Ask any of the neighbors and they'll tell you. You really have to walk it to know it.

Signs from the past
While preparing to paint his 4-story apartment house on Forest Hill Rd Tom found these old wooden street signs inside his garage wall the other day. 

At first glance he thought they were just a pile of boards stacked up behind some old electrical wiring. 

The signs are in great shape, dusty yet sturdy and uncracked. His guess is that they're from the 1920s, but who knows how long they've been sitting in the garage.  

Spring chores like painting and gardening might yield more goodies than expected! You never know what mysteries you might unearth.
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Open House - Sunday, Jan 29

West Asheville is the new Asheville. 

And Haywood Road, with its cafes, shopping, and entertainment venues, is hip and happening.

This lovely home is located just a block off Haywood Rd, on one of the nicest, most coveted streets in the neighborhood: Brucemont Circle.

Stroll by and take a tour on Sunday between 2 - 4pm!

Brucemont Circle Asheville NC
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Banish the winter blues with indoor greens

With a couple of grow bulbs and the Japanese art of kokedama, you can bring your favorite plants inside for winter. I love bringing small ferns inside and using the healthy, vibrant green moss that grows naturally here in Western North Carolina.

Kokedama translates as "moss ball," and is also known as the poor man's bonsai. They're simple to make and satisfying to watch grow.

Green inside lifts people's moods. Many indoor plants are helpful in clearing the air of VOCs and giving off oxygen, so gardening in winter can help keep your household healthy.

Make a kokedama to place in a sunny window or beneath a grow bulb.

moss-kokidama-asheville-garden
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