It’s Apple Season

It’s Labor Day weekend and that means one thing here western North Carolina. It’s apple season! And what better way to kick off the season than an Apple Festival.

The North Carolina Apple Festival is held in downtown Hendersonville, NC.  It starts today and runs through September 1. The festival has been celebrating all things apples for more than 60 years for a reason.  Apple growing has been a part of the agricultural make up of the area since the 1700s. Today there are over 200 growers in the area and the crops bring in an average of $22 million dollars a year. North Carolina is the 7th largest producer of apples in the US and 65% of the apples are grown in Henderson County.

Here are a few fun facts about apples that you can ponder while you’re pie is in the oven:

  • It takes about 36 apples to create one gallon of apple cider.
  • Apples account for 50 percent of the world’s deciduous fruit tree production.
  • The old saying, “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away.” This saying comes from an old English adage, “To eat an apple before going to bed, will make the doctor beg his bread.”
  • Don’t peel your apple. Two-thirds of the fiber and lots of antioxidants are found in the peel. Antioxidants help to reduce damage to cells, which can trigger some diseases.
  • The science of apple growing is called pomology.
  • Apples have five seed pockets or carpels. Each pocket contains seeds. The number of seeds per carpel is determined by the vigor and health of the plant. Different varieties of apples will have different number of seeds.

 

Hendersonville is located in western North Carolina, just south of Asheville and east of Brevard.  With a population of approximately 110,000, it’s small enough to have that small town feel, but large enough to have all the conveniences you’re looking for.

If you like more information about the real estate market in Hendersonville or the surrounding areas, drop a line at ncclayteam@gmail.com! We’d love to hear from you.

$10.00 Holes and Other Thoughts on Gardening

My dad used to say you could grow anything. All you needed was a $1.00 plant and a $10.00 hole.  Translated, that means you don’t need to spend a lot of money on the plant; you just need to make sure the hole you dig for it is filled with quality soil. Both of my parents just knew how to grow things – there were always flowers in our yard and we always had a vegetable garden.
FamersMarketApparently the instincts and knowledge of how to grow things wasn’t passed down in my DNA.  Just this week I bought a basil plant, put it in a pretty pot with good soil and began dreaming about all the ways I’d cook with it. In only two days, my basil plant is wilted along with my optimism.

Thankfully, our area is chock full of people who DO know how to grow things and I can reap the benefit every Saturday morning at the Transylvania Farmers Market.  It opened for the season a couple of weeks ago and is open every Saturday from 8:00 am – noon.  A wide range of local farms are represented, including Pitch Pine Farm pictured here.  You’ll find all sorts of vegetables and herbs; dairy farmers with artisan goat cheese; and several booths sell farm fresh eggs. Then there are the artisan bakers, crafts people, and of course gardeners selling all kinds of plants that call out to me.  This year there are a couple of caterers with great food and most weekends there is music courtesy of local musicians.  Aside from the envy I feel as I go from table to table marveling at the gorgeous plants and vegetables, I know that what I’m buying is locally sourced, supports small farming businesses in our community, and that I can find a wonderful assortment of organic food that our local grocery stores don’t have (and probably never heard of!)

If you are in the Brevard, North Carolina area some Saturday, I encourage you to head down to the corner of Johnson Street and Jordan Street.  Be sure to bring your appetite and a big basket so you can carry home all the amazing goodies you’ll find.

Maybe I’ll see you there. It’s very likely I’ll be looking for a new victim basil plant.

 

April Real Estate News

The news this month is all about the Brevard/Pisgah Forest market and the current “buying” season. One of the indicators that we consider when we talk about how the market is doing is how long it takes for homes to sell. You’ll see that number indicated in listings as CDOM (cumulative days on market). The contrast between this year and last year is startling.  In the Brevard/Pisgah Forest area last April, the average days on market was 386.  April this year, that number dropped dramatically to 170.  We are seeing the most activity in that ever-popular price range $150,000 to $250,000 price range. It’s back to being a seller’s market in that price point with multiple offers and very few days on market.  There were 36 residential properties sold in Transylvania County last month and 25 of them were under $250,000.

In April 2015 homes were selling for 95.2% of the list price. This year, that number is down slightly to 93.5%.

Land sales held stable from the previous month but are still lagging behind over last year.

If you are considering buying or selling a home in the Brevard, North Carolina area, give us a call at 828-551-6291 or 828-551-6290.

Lace up those hiking boots

HighfallsSpring With winter coming to an end, thoughts of getting outside are filling our heads. Native laurels will be in bloom soon and with the day time temperatures hovering comfortably around the 70 degree mark, staying inside just isn’t an option for lots of us.

For hikers and mountain bike enthusiasts this area of western North Carolina is ideal.  DuPont State Forest, Gorges State Forest, and Pisgah National Forest are all right here, filled with hiking and biking trails, stunning views, and waterfalls.  Transylvania County is known as the “Land of Waterfalls” for a good reason. With more than 300 waterfalls dotting the landscape there is no shortage of spectacular sights and hiking trails to get you there.

So how do you start? You could grab a bottle of water and a power bar and head out on your own, but it’s really better (and safer) to plan ahead. It’s important to have the right gear, of course, but it’s also important to understand where you are going and what you can anticipate on your hike.  How long is the hike? How difficult is it? What is the terrain like? These are important questions to ask ahead of time.

To start your planning, I suggest you visit a website created by a friend of mine, Brenda Wiley. I doubt there is a trail she hasn’t hiked in this area and her website is chock full of great information. Another good resource is this website about the top 10 hikes around the Asheville area.

If you have considered relocating or buying a vacation home in Transylvania county or the surrounding area we’d love to hear from you!  Call us at 828-551-6290 or visit us online at www.BrevardNCProperty.com.

Happy hiking!

 

Rails to Trails

When I bought my first house in Florida, a railroad track ran more or less parallel to the back of my property. We were separated only by a small bit of undeveloped land. Beyond the track was the intercostal waterway so I enjoyed the relative privacy in an otherwise busy area. The railroad had been active for many years but shortly after we bought the house it was closed down like many others across the country. In some strange way I actually missed the sound of the train as it rumbled past our back yard to who knows where.

The Florida Department of Transportation eventually bought the right of way from CSX and seven years later the County Commissioners approved the funding to create a bike trail on the 34 miles of abandoned rail road including the section that ran behind my house. In the years that followed, I watched as the trail grew, linking parks and people in small communities. It became a part of the landscape and part of my life style. I logged hundreds of hours riding my bike past the palmetto bushes and under the overhang of live oaks draped with Spanish moss. When my mother was diagnosed with cancer, I had long conversations with God as I walked along the trail at sunset on so many nights. The trail taught me that no matter how hard I tried, I was not cut out for in-line skates but it was the quickest bike route to a nearby ice cream shop. I have never been a runner and I find walking a little tedious but a ride on the trail gave me a chance to get a little exercise as well a quiet place to collect my thoughts.  I eventually sold my first house and moved but I never lived far from any section of the trail and I enjoyed it for many years.

It’s been a decade since I lived in that part of Florida but I am seeing a similar opportunity for a “rails to trails” project cropping up here in the Brevard area utilizing a 19 mile stretch of track that travels from Hendersonville to where the Ecusta paper plant used to stand near Pisgah National Forest. After years of service, the rail road was closed in 2002 and has since changed ownership. The group Friends of the Ecusta Trail (FOET) is hopeful that the new ownership will get on board with the plan of converting the unused rail to a bike friendly path for walkers, runners, and riders.

trailHaving a trail like this is a natural fit for Transylvania County. Our area has long been known for the quality of life and the bountiful options of outdoor activity. DuPont State Forest is known throughout the southeast as some of the best mountain biking around. The French Broad river is there for paddlers and hiking trails are everywhere. According to the winter newsletter for the North Carolina Rails-Trails organization, “some people say there’s no place on earth quite like Transylvania County for outdoor recreation, especially bicycling and hiking. And the French Broad River – meandering alongside and under the proposed Ecusta Trail – has 100 miles of dam-free paddling including designated put-ins and campsites every few miles along the entire route. ”  I couldn’t agree more.

This trail idea is a slam dunk for our community. As the newsletter explains, not everyone wants the heart pounding rush of mountain biking, especially some of us baby-boomers. We’re looking for a safe place to get some exercise outside and enjoy the incredible beauty that surrounds us. If anyone has any doubts about what a trail like this can do for an area we only have to look south of us to the Swamp Rabbit trail in Travelers Rest, South Carolina or north of us to the Creeper Trail in Abington, Virginia for two great examples.  I haven’t ridden the Swamp Rabbit trail, but I can attest to the amazing beauty and accessibility of the Creeper Trail.  I’ve ridden it twice now with a group of gal pals from the area and can’t wait till I can go again.

I’m hopeful that the folks who make projects like this a reality will see things the way I do.  If you want to get more information, or get involved start with Friends of Ecusta Trail visit their website EcustaTrail.org.

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!

 

 

 

Tips For Hiking With Your Four Legged Friends.

Hiking is an extremely popular activity in the Brevard area. The Dupont State Forest, Pisgah National Forest, and Gorges State Park are all here in our backyard and they offer up great trails and spectacular scenery.

If you hike on a regular basis, you probably already know the basics….wear good shoes, take plenty of water, dress for the weather, pack a map, and always let someone know where you are going. In this part of western North Carolina there is the added advice to stay off of the waterfalls.  There are over 260 waterfalls in Transylvania County and they are all beautiful, but they are also dangerous and every year people die from venturing too far out. So when it comes to waterfalls, admire them from a distance, please.

What if you like hiking with your dog? What are some things to remember to make it a fun adventure for both of you?

Stay cool. Take plenty of breaks
It’s a lot easier for you to stay cool than it is for your dog. The only way dogs can stay cool is by panting. Give yourself and your pup plenty of opportunities to stop and sit in the shade, especially during the summer months. There are also vests that you can buy that help your best friend stay cool. You soak them in water and it cools your pet while he’s wearing it. While you’re out, watch your dog for signs of over heating like panting more than usual, lethargy, or vomiting.

HanesKeep the bugs off
Ticks can be a big problem for dogs, and they like to hang out in the tall grasses. Minimize the chances of getting ticks by staying on the trail.  Monthly flea and tick medicines will also help keep those little suckers off your dog. Don’t forget to check yourself and your dog for ticks when you get home.

Carry plenty of fresh water
That seems pretty logical doesn’t it. But there is another reason. Some pets may experience upset stomach from drinking water in rivers and ponds because of the naturally occurring bacteria.  If you live in an area like we do and you hike a lot or take your pets to rivers to swim, talk to your vet about a vaccination that combats any contamination found in the water. Let’s face it…wild animals also enjoy the rivers and animals will do what they do in the water and that can cause problems when the water is ingested by your dog. We have our three dogs vaccinated every year.

Consider a Bear Bell
If you hike with your dog off leash, consider outfitting him with a bear bell. It’s a bell with a small velcro band that you attach to your dog’s collar. That way, if they get out of your sight, you can still hear them.  The noise made by the bell is also a good warning to snakes and other wild animals.  Check your favorite pet store or outdoor stores like Cabela.

Bring the Benadryl
Bugs bite dogs as well as their humans and plants that can make you itch can also make your dog itch so pack some Benadryl for both of you. Check with your vet first so you know how much Benadryl you can give your dog and when to give it. Dogs metabolise the drug very differently than we do so it is important to know the right dosage for your dog.

The Brevard area is a terrific place for getting outside and enjoying all the great scenery and natural surroundings. So get out there with your best friend and have some fun!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          ####

Image

Ace, pictured here, is one of our three dogs that we have rescued over the last few years. He’s 97 pounds of pure love and the best real estate dog on the planet.

Above is our friend Hanes Hoffman and his best friend Hops. They spend a lot of time together on area trails. Hanes is also the owner  Bluewater Copper Works.

 

 

Snow Skiing in Western North Carolina

DSCN1462JPEGIf you’re thinking about doing a little snow skiing this winter, be sure to include western North Carolina in your planning.  It’s a different kind of skiing experience than what you’ll have in Utah or Colorado, but if you’re on a budget, just learning, or you simply don’t have the time to make it out to the big ski resorts out west, North Carolina has some great alternatives.

Just 30 minutes west of Brevard, or an hour from the Asheville Regional Airport, you’ll find the Sapphire Valley Resort at about 3500 ft elevation. It’s inexpensive and a terrific place to learn without the crowds typically found at bigger ski resorts. There is one main slope that is 1600ft with a 200ft drop, a bunny slope, a tube hill, and an onsite school for all ages. If you don’t have the gear, you can rent everything you need including skis, snow boards, boots, and bibs. When you aren’t on the slopes, you can grab a bite to eat at the on site restaurant.  There are a number of accommodation options in the area including a Hampton Inn that is just outside the entrance to Sapphire Valley. You can reach the resort at 828-743-7663 or visit online at www.sapphirevalley.com.

For the more adventurous skier travel another hour or so west and visit Cataloochee. This is a much bigger ski center with over 50 acres of skiing options on 12 different trails depending on your skiing ability. Cataloochee is at about 5400 ft. elevation so it is one of the first resorts to open each season.  They have a full rental program, school, and tons of different events going on throughout the winter months.

North and northeast of the Asheville area, in the higher elevations are Wolf Ridge, Beech, and Sugar Mountain. Most ski resorts offer packages this time of year so be sure to visit their websites for additional information.

Western North Carolina is a great place to visit any time of the year. This winter grab the family and discover what winter is all about here in western North Carolina.

Life in the slow lane

I love living in a small town. I just do. For more years than I care to recall, I lived in a hot, sprawling, crowded (and getting more crowded by the minute) area on the west coast of Florida. The only thing that got me through it all was my plan to eventually relocate to the mountains of western North Carolina. Finally, all the stars aligned and we made the move in 2005. I’ve never regretted it for a nanosecond. We keep in touch with our friends in Florida who continue to extend invitations to come see them but its getting hard to come up with creative excuses for not accepting. The truth is, I don’t like Florida. I am quite happy here at 3,500 feet elevation, far away from the car-sized bugs, the heat and ever-present humidity that causes a chemical imbalance in my head and my clothes to stick to my skin, not to mention the sheer number of people and cars every where you try to go.

There are a lot of things about living in a small town that I love and some things that, for some people, can be bothersome, like when you need to have work done around the house. If you’re used to hiring people to do work on some kind of a set schedule, you have to get over that idea or at the very least keep your sense of humor. There is this thing called “mountain time” and if you want to hold on to your sanity while you’re enjoying the spectacular views and amazing climate, you have to learn to roll with it the best you can. One day a friend of ours who was up from Florida backed his truck into a shallow ditch and he needed a tow. He was able to reach someone through AAA and when he explained the situation, the man with the tow equipment answered…”Well, I could do it….(long pause)…but I’m kinda tired”.  OK, I personally find that hysterical. If it was my car that was stuck in the ditch I suppose I wouldn’t find it so funny, but it’s the notion that this guy had worked hard all day and dang it all, he just didn’t want to do any more work that day that I appreciated.

Today I called a local nursery to see about buying some azaleas to get in the ground before winter sets in. We live in an area that has four distinct seasons and most locally owned nurseries do the bulk of their business in the spring and summer, but they stay open year round with “winter hours” this time of year. When I called I got their answering machine and the friendly voice explained what their winter hours were but what came next made me laugh out loud. After informing callers what days they could expect the nursery to be open, the friendly voice says “But if it’s rainy, windy, cold, or snowing, we’re not open”.  Call me crazy, but even though it means I better call first to make sure the weather conditions are just right I find their relaxed attitude and approach to the world to be refreshing. For lots of folks around here, there’s a lot more to life than just working everyday.

I spent a good bit of my adult life in an area that never seemed to rest. No matter what time of night it was, there was the constant drone of automobile traffic in the distance. Grocery stores stayed open all night (and did a lot of business after midnight), there were fast food restaurants where you could get a hamburger at 3 in the morning and everyone I knew tried to cram 25 hours into a 24 hour day.

Where we live now, it’s at least a 15 minute drive to the nearest grocery store and 30 minutes to town. But I can work from home and any time I want to, I can walk out on my front porch and all I will hear are the sounds of the river across the street. We had out-of-town company one time who stood on our back deck admiring the mountain view for the longest time before turning around and saying with what can only be described as reverence, “It’s so quiet!” And they were right. It’s quiet, it’s peaceful, and we live in a place where people ask how you’re doing, not to be polite, but because they really want to know. It’s the kind of place where kids still have soap box derby’s and people line the streets to welcome home a fallen soldier. It’s the kind of place where you can walk into the hardware store and have a conversation with the owner who also happens to be the Mayor. College football stadiums hold more people than the population of our entire county. And you know what? I like it that way.

Sometime over the next day or so, I will head down the mountain past the waterfalls and trees. I may see a car or two….I may not. I’ll watch for that special place where the clouds hang just below the mountain tops creating a horizon that never fails to make me smile. And if the sun is out and the sky is clear, I’ll turn towards town and see if I can get some of those azaleas.

_