July 2016 Market Report

Front.Sml

3400 East Fork Road – Home, guest apartment, and 21 acres. Click here for details.

 

We saw a significant jump in residential home sales in Transylvania County during the month of July.  A total of 63 single family homes/condos sold this month compared to 55 this same time last year.

The “sweet spot” of our market continues to be the $150,000-$250,000 price range. Last month, 24 of the total sales were found in that range, followed by 13 sales under $150,000 and 12 over $250,000.  The market continues to be on track for record breaking numbers. So far, we are already roughly 10% ahead of the sales in the prior year.

Land sales were up by only one sale, but year-to-date, sales are still lagging behind last year.

For more information about the real estate market in our area, give us a call at 828-551-6290 or 828-551-6291.

What you need to know about radon.

Once a home is under contract, the inspection process begins.  A typical set of inspections include the home inspection, septic, water, termite,  and radon.  Over the years I have found that most people get a blank look on their face when we start talking about radon.  They’ve never heard of it, they don’t know what it is or where it comes from,  and they don’t understand the health risks. So let’s go over the basics.

Radon Element SymbolRadon is an invisible, odorless, tasteless gas that comes from igneous rock and it is considered the second leading cause of lung cancer.  Radon levels can vary greatly depending on where you live, but in North Carolina we recognize the Surgeon General’s recommendation that a test reading should not exceed 4 pCi/l.  In most cases, if the reading is over 4 pCi/l buyers will go back to the seller to request a mitigation system.  Depending on the size of the home, access to a crawlspace, and other factors, a mitigation system runs about $2,000.  While a reading of 4 pCi/l or less is the accepted level, it’s not uncommon to see readings much higher than that but those readings can be affected by several factors, including the weather.  If a radon test result comes back unusually high, we recommend a second test. The tests are inexpensive and worth your peace of mind.

When a radon test kit is placed in your home, it’s extremely important that windows and doors remain closed during the testing period, which is usually 48-72 hours. If you are living in the home, it’s perfectly fine to come and go as you normally would but leaving windows and doors open will compromise the test results.

Radon mitigation is something any buyer should consider whether you are buying an existing home or building a new one.  In our area most new home builders automatically include one in the building process, but not always, so be sure to ask.

Even if you aren’t in the market to buy or sell a home, it’s a good idea to understand radon and the risks associated with it. There are a number of good resources for in-depth information about radon, but this article from the Transylvania Times here in Brevard, North Carolina sums it up nicely.

(source: Transylvania Times, Brevard, NC)

January is National Radon Action Month and the U.S. Environmental Agency (EPA) encourages Americans around the country to test their homes for radon, the second leading cause of lung cancer.

Each year about 21,000 Americans die from lung cancer caused by exposure to radon. Testing is the only way to know if your home has an elevated level of radon. The U.S. Surgeon General and EPA recommend taking action to fix your home if the radon level is 4 picocuries per Liter of air or more. “Testing your home for radon is one of the easiest ways to help keep your family safe and healthy,” said Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “Radon exposure is preventable. Test kits are inexpensive and readily available. Reducing exposure protects families, saves lives and avoids the health care costs of radon-caused lung cancer. Everyone who takes action helps to make America’s homes and schools safer for future generations.”

Affordable do-it-yourself radon test kits are available online, at many home improvement and hardware stores and are easy to use. You can also hire a qualified radon professional. If your home is found to have a high radon level, a professionally installed radon reduction system, using a vent pipe and exhaust fan, will remove the radon from beneath your home and discharge it outside. These systems are affordable, especially compared to the risk of lung cancer.

Taking action to reduce your exposure to radon is a long-term investment in your health and your home.

A working mitigation system is a positive selling point for homes on the market ; in many areas a radon test is a standard part of real estate transactions. If you’re building a new home, work with your builder to include radon-resistant construction techniques.

Radon reduction strategies are included in the National Radon Action Plan, which was launched in November 2015 by EPA, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Health and Human Services and nine national non-governmental organizations. This partnership will help coordinate radon reduction efforts and resources with the goal of preventing 3,200 lung cancer deaths annually by 2020, through increased collaboration and consumer awareness strategies.

For more information on testing and obtaining a radon test kit, contact the state radon office at 1-800-SOS-RADON.

———————————————————————————————————-

If you are buying or selling a home in western North Carolina, call the Clay Team today at 828-551-6290 or visit us online at BrevardNCProperty.com.

Five Things You Can Do To Help Sell Your Home This Year.

Winter is just about over and most people I know are looking forward to the color and warmer temperatures of spring.  It’s also about the time of year that people start thinking about putting their homes on the market.  Typically, our peak season runs from Memorial Day through Thanksgiving.  So, for anyone thinking about selling a home this year, now is the time to get serious about it. There are things that you can be doing now to maximize your chances of selling so when the season starts, you’ll be at the head of the class.screwdriver

So where do you start?  

What needs repair? Fix anything that drips, squeaks, or doesn’t work the way it should.  It could be something simple like tightening up a loose door knob, repairing some screening, or figuring out why that one door always sticks.   Other things like electrical and plumbing may require a professional.  If you don’t think you can be objective enough, ask a friend to go around your home with you to help you see things as a potential buyer would.  Take a walk around the outside of your home as well to see what may have been damaged during the winter months. Look for things like damaged siding, cracks in the driveway, loose or missing shingles on the roof, and peeling paint.

Are all systems a go?  Make certain that your HVAC system has been serviced and in good working order. Check your water heater to make sure there are no leaks.  Replace all filters.

Freshen up a bit.  In most areas it may be too cold to paint outside, but if the inside of your home needs freshening up, this is a good time of year to do it. If you decide you want to repaint, Rustic_Flower_Pots_zpsc9258b10keep it neutral. You may be mad for magenta, but your potential buyer probably isn’t.  Clean your carpets and give your hardwood floors some love. Don’t forget the outside of your home. When temperatures are right, take a hard look at your decks and see if they could use a fresh stain or a coat of paint.  Give your front door some extra attention too.  A great many of us enter our homes through our garage and rarely do we enter through the front door so it’s an area that be easily overlooked. If it’s been a while, give it a fresh coat of paint or stain. Consider adding a seasonal wreath or fun door knocker for some interest. Replace that worn out door mat while you’re at it. Then when all those gorgeous spring flowers start showing up in your favorite garden center, create a pot or two to put by your freshly painted front door.

One thing I can’t say enough about is how important it is to have clean windows. I know. Cleaning windows isn’t my favorite thing to do either. But trust me when I tell you that cleaning your windows will make an enormous difference.  While you’re at it, be sure to get rid of cob webs, dead bugs, leaves or anything else that has found a home on your sills, and don’t forget the screens.  If you can’t reach your windows or simply don’t have the time, hire someone to do it for you. It will be money well spent.

Clear out the clutter.  Face it, most of us just have too much stuff.  As winter winds down, take stock of your closets and storage areas.  Consider donating or disposing of anything you no longer need or haven’t used in the last year.  Clutter is something that can stop a buyer in their tracks because they struggle to see the unique character of your home when there is “stuff” everywhere.  Clutter is also a signal that there may not be sufficient storage….something most buyers covet.

Consider a pre-emptive approach.  In North Carolina, once you enter into a contract with a buyer, they are given a period of time to do their “due diligence”. This is when they perform any and all inspections on your home.  If there are lots of things that need repair it’s likely they will come back and ask you to make those repairs or provide them with a credit.  One approach that some sellers take is to have a home inspection done prior to putting their home on the market so that any issues can be identified and taken care of ahead of time.  The cost is typically $350-$500 or more depending on the size of your home. A licensed home inspector will identify issues with plumbing, electrical, HVAC, water leaks, termite damage, faulty construction and a whole lot more.

For more helpful tips on getting your home ready to sell this year, call the Clay Team at Looking Glass Realty in beautiful Brevard, North Carolina.  Visit us online at BrevardNCProperty.com, or give us a call at 828-551-6290 or 828-551-6291.

 

 

The Perils of Too Much Information

There is no denying the impact that social media has had on our lives.  Websites like Twitter, LinkdIn, and Facebook make it possible to communicate with people 24/7 no matter where we are in the world. All of these sites all have their places in our lives and our businesses and they can be a fun diversion….when we use a bit of common sense.

Facebook in particular has become a hot spot for all sorts of information sharing and I admit to spending more time there than I should some days.  I learn things, I pass along information that I think my friends would like, and I enjoy the occasional debate over hot topics. But sometimes I’m amazed at what people post about their relationships, their jobs, and frankly the intimate details of their lives. Some posts make me outright uncomfortable because it is just TMI – too much information. In one case, I decided to “unfriend” a woman who posted daily details and photos of her young child’s progress at potty training.  There are just some things I don’t need to know.

This same tendency for “over sharing” can be the un-doing of many a job applicant.  Think those pictures of you having way too much fun at a frat party won’t hurt your image or your chances of landing that job you want? Think again. Today’s employers consider a search on Facebook just another stop in vetting job applicants.

Social media has it’s benefits, though, and can be an effective way of carrying a message to a wide and varied group of people.  So how can Facebook and other social media outlets be used to help you sell your home? Here are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind.

• If your Realtor has produced a video or a virtual tour for you, DO get the link and post it on your timeline.  Ask your friends to share it with their friends. Just make sure there is appropriate contact information so anyone who is interested knows who to talk to.
• If you don’t have a video, DO ask for a link to your Broker’s website where your home is featured, and share that link.
(Side note: If your Broker doesn’t do videos or virtual tours and doesn’t have a website, you should consider hiring a different Broker)

BlahDON’T use Facebook as a place to vent about your home’s short comings. As a seller, you are required to disclose what you know about your home such as any trouble you have had with the HVAC, or a roof leak. But the place for that is on a Property Disclosure form provided to you by your Broker.  Facebook is NOT the place to talk about how you cleverly patched that hole in your roof so no one can see it’s damaged and it’s NOT the place to talk about how steep your driveway is or how loud your neighbors are. At least not if you’re trying to sell your home any time soon.
• If you’ve already moved to a new location DON’T tell the world of Facebook that the home you are selling is now vacant.  It’s the same reason you don’t announce that you’re leaving the next day for vacation.  That kind of information is dangerous in the wrong hands.
In today’s information world, you don’t have to be the FBI to find out pretty much anything you really want to know about a property including how much some one paid for it, whether or not there is a mortgage, or how many times it’s been on and off the market. It’s all out there somewhere if you know where to look for it. The same is true for  a lot of your personal information.  Now, in addition to public records, today’s savvy buyers are using Facebook and websites like it to gain more information about sellers including the home they are selling.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to using a little common sense. To paraphrase that now famous slogan for Las Vegas…what you post on the internet stays on the internet.

So there is more than one offer…now what?

In the past month, we have found ourselves in two multiple offer situations.  In one case, there were three offers on one home.

Before the real estate market took a nose dive back in 2008, multiple offers were fairly common.  So were higher listing prices, higher selling prices, and fewer days on market.  Things were different then and while I don’t think we’ll see the “hey day” of 2006 again any time soon, I see definite signs of a shift in the market. Homes are selling for more and the number of days on market is getting shorter. Even so, it’s been many years since we’ve been in a situation with multiple offers and now it’s happened twice in the past month. What the heck is going on here?

Personally, I’m not a fan of multiple offers. Homes can end up selling for more than any reasonable comp which means buyers can end up paying more than they really should.  In most cases the seller has the edge but it’s a tricky situation no matter what side you are on.

So what should you do? What are the pit falls to avoid?

If you are a seller, it is admittedly a “luxury” problem to have.  If your home has been priced right and marketed properly, you should expect to get offers. If you have multiple offers and they are close how do you choose? My first piece of advice to any seller is to remember that just because you have more than one buyer presenting an offer doesn’t guarantee you will end up with either.  Demand too much from buyers and they could just walk away. More than likely, the buyer has been looking at other homes and if yours doesn’t work out, most buyers we work with have a plan B.  So compares all offers, but be fair because an offer doesn’t guarantee a closing.  Look at all aspects of the offer, not just the price.  Is one offer cash and the other contingent on financing?  Does one offer have a 45 day closing and the other has 60?  Is either buyer asking you to pay their closing costs or include furniture in the deal? There many twists and turns in an offer so make sure your Realtor explains them all.  If you just can’t decide or if neither offer is entirely to your liking, you can respond to the buyers with a request for their “highest and best offer”. But be careful.  The offer you got may have been their highest and best, or signing contractthey decide they don’t want to be in a bidding war and one or both could walk away from the deal all together.

If you are a buyer, our advice is simple. Get your financing in order before you start looking at homes so you don’t waste any time. If you know you’re going to need a loan, get pre approved before you even start looking.  If you are paying cash, make sure you have quick, easy access to it.  A cash deal and quick closing is usually music to any seller’s ear.  If you find the home of your dreams but you learn there is another offer on the table give it your best shot, but be prepared to walk away.   This is not the situation where you can get on the dance floor with a low offer and hope to negotiate to a figure somewhere in the middle.  Make your offer as attractive as possible from the start, but know your limits.  If you’ve ever been to an auction and bid on something you really want, you understand that sense of urgency and competitiveness that comes over you when that guy on the other side of the room is also bidding on that same item. Don’t fall into that trap.  Know what your budget is including the cost of making any repairs, and stick to that.   All that being said, the biggest shift I’m seeing is that good homes that are priced right don’t stay on the market long so be prepared to act quickly if you know this is the home for you.

Is this a good time to sell?  Is it still a buyer’s market? For more information about what is going on the market here in western North Carolina, give us a call.

 

 

October Market Update

Everyone has their favorite season. For us, that season is fall.  Usually towards the end of August I start thinking about the fall colors, the cooler temperatures, and the corduroy pants that are waiting to come out of storage.  By September, I’m mentally willing fall to get here and relieve us of the last signs of summer. I’m happy to say that fall is officially here.  There have been mornings when a sweater was called for and some nights where an extra blanket was needed. Pumpkins, mums, and corn husks are everywhere and just the other day I caught a whiff of the first wood smoke of the season coming from a neighbor’s fireplace. The big show, the changing leaves that people come to see, has started and for the next month or so, the colors throughout western North Carolina will be at their best.  Reports vary, but the middle of October is expected to be the peak. It’s been our experience, though, that weather permitting, we will enjoy the colors through Thanksgiving.

In terms of real estate, the year is winding down, but it’s far from over.  In fact, for anyone who is thinking about buying land, fall is the ideal time of year to look. As the leaves are falling, it makes it easier to see the topography of the land and what’s around it. Plus, the cooler temperatures makes hiking around more fun than during the warmer months.  The land market is coming back slowly but it hasn’t seen the recovery that home sales has. That means land prices will continue to be accessible for just about any budget.

Here is a look at home and land sales for the month of September in Transylvania County. You’ll notice that home sales have had a nice increase, even in the higher brackets. Research is showing that home sales will continue to do well. In fact, just this week, I found myself in a “bidding war” on a home that was priced higher than the comps and had only been on the market 22 days.

If you have any questions about this report feel free to give us a call at 828-551-6290 or drop by our website at BrevardNCProperty.com for a closer look at specific properties.

autumn_fall_nature_57384_l
How is the Transylvania Residential market doing? 
Total Residential Properties Sold in September 2014 –  48 Total Residential Properties Sold in September 2013  – 37
Total sales year to date 2014 – 361
Total sales year to date 2013 – 317
Prices
Sept. 2014 Sept. 2013 # Currently on the market
$0 – $150,000
17 11 118
$150,001 -$250,000
11 10 200
$250,001 – $350,000
5 6 154
$350,001 – $450,000
6 5 88
$450,001 – $600,000
7 3 83
$600,001 – $1M
1 1 90
$1M +
1 1 67
 
How is the Transylvania Land market doing? 
Total Residential Properties Sold in September 2014 –  10 Total Residential Properties Sold in September 2013  – 13
Total sales year to date 2014 – 80
Total sales year to date 2013 – 71
Prices
Sept. 2014 Sept. 2013 # Currently on the market
$0 – $25,000
2 5 164
$25,001 -$50,000
2 3 180
$50,001 – $75,000
0 1 116
$75,001 – $100,000
1 1 108
$100,001 – $250,000
3 1 195
$250,001 – $500,000 1 2 84
$500,001 – $1M
1 0 25
$1M +
0 0 21

September Market Update

Homes and land sales continue to be higher than the same time last year, especially homes. In 2013 280 properties sold compared to 313 this year and we attribute that to two things – great mortgage rates and price adjustments. In 2013, a look at homes listed year to date show a median price of $314,500. During the same time this year, the median price range had dropped to $279,000. (Note: any average or median price range can vary significantly due to very high end properties in our market) The greatest number of homes sales continue to fall where they have the last several years and that is under the $350,000 price range. Land sales are also slightly ahead of last year and prices continue to adjust. As we go into the fall months, if you are considering buying land, this is a good time of year to do it. The temperatures will be cooler and as the leaves start falling, it’s much easier to see the land and surrounding properties.

For a complete breakdown of the market and a more detailed looked at the various price ranges, sign up to receive our FREE e-newsletter. It’s chock full of information about the Brevard NC area as well as the most up to date information about our market. Sign up today!