Selling Season Is Coming!

It’s impossible to minimize what is transpiring around us as we all deal with the realities of the COVID-19 virus outbreak. It’s changed the way we live for now, but eventually, things will get back to normal. In the meantime practicing responsible social distancing has given us more time on our hands, so let’s use it!

If you anticipate putting your home on the market this year, use this time to take a hard look at it now from a buyer’s perspective.   Is it in tip-top shape and inviting to potential buyers? Does it say “buy me”? If you aren’t sure where to start, here are a few things you can be taking care of now during this slow time:

1. If there is anything that squeaks, creaks, or sticks, fix it. Even minor things in a home can create doubt in the mind of a buyer.

2. When was the last time you put a fresh coat of paint on the walls? If you are selling, this may not be the best time to express your love of magenta. Instead, stick to neutrals. Or visit decorator magazines and websites for inspiration.

3. Declutter. You may love all of Aunt Jean’s little nick knacks that you inherited, but too much of anything can create visual clutter and become a distraction for a buyer. This is especially true in the kitchen. Find a place to stow things away so your counters are clear.

4. Get outside and do some clean up in the yard. Tidy up from the effects of winter, think about the sunny months that are ahead and where you could add some colorful plants.

5. Call us for a market report. Knowing what is going on in your local market is an important part of your pricing strategy. We can help you with all of that so when it’s time, you can hit the ground running and get your home sold quickly!

If you are a buyer, this is a great opportunity for you to spend time on the computer researching homes in our market. This is especially important if you are out of the area and considering a second home or a relocation to the Brevard area. The very best way to stay on top of things is with a listing portal that we set up for you through our MLS. We enter your criteria and whenever a home that matches that criteria comes on the market, goes under contract, or is sold, you’ll get an automatic email about it. We also send a quarterly e-newsletter with a market report for homes and land that reflects trends in the various price categories, the list to sell ratio, and other helpful data.

If you would like more helpful hints and information or if you want to be added to our email list, drop an email at

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! We’d love to hear from you.

July 2016 Market Report


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.

$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.


March Market Report

2006 was, by any standard, a booming year for real estate here in the Brevard, NC area. Based on the first quarter sales this year, the market could meet or even surpass those 2006 figures.

Residential sales continue to be the strongest in the under $300,000 price range, but specifically, in the $150,000-$200,000 range. In this first quarter we have seen homes sell for asking the day the go on the market, multiple offers, and bidding wars that result in homes selling above asking. We have moved past the dark days of 2009 when our market bottomed out, so it’s exciting to see things moving from a buyers market to a sellers market.

What does this mean for buyers in that price range? Be ready! Be ready to go see a home the day it hits the market. Get pre-approved ahead of time. And be ready to pay closer to the asking price.

For sellers, it doesn’t mean you can relax and wait for buyers to come streaming through the door.

December 2105 Market Update

Welcome to the new year! What are your plans for the next 12 months? If they include buying or selling a home or a parcel of land, we would welcome the opportunity to help. We are actively seeking new sellers to meet the ever-growing buyer demand so if you, or someone you know, has a home they’d like to sell, please pass our name along or let us know and we’ll follow up.

The year 2015 ended on a high note for us, for our firm, and for the market. The market did well in 2015 with residential sales up 15% over 2014.  Land sales are still slow, but that means there are a lot of good deals out there. In fact, if you are thinking about investing in some land, this is the time of year to do it…when the leaves are down and you can see the surrounding area better.

Looking Glass Realty finished the year in the number 2 position for total sales in our Brevard market. Only one other firm sold more than than we did, but our small, seasoned group of brokers had more sales per agent than any of the other firm.  As brokers, the Clay Team took the 6th position out of 109 agents in the Brevard area.
We are excited about 2016 and look forward to helping more sellers get their homes sold….and to helping more buyers find their new home in the mountains.

January 2015 Market Report

It’s a new year and by all indications, it’s going to be a good one.  In the last few months we’ve found ourselves in several multiple offer situations and we’ve seen more and more properties closing at a higher percentage of the listing price which we believe is a direct result of sellers adjusting their prices to attract more buyers. The greatest challenge is for sellers in the $500,000- $750,000 price range. That price range has 64 months worth of inventory compared to 12 months for sellers in the $200,000-$300,000 price range. This is entirely consistent with the trend here over the last few years with the lion’s share of sales occurring in the $150,000 to $350,000 range. For buyers, this is important information because if you’re considering buying a home in that “sweet spot”, there is less inventory, more demand, and they typically sell around 95% of the asking price compared to 90% or less just a year ago.  It’s still a buyers market but that doesn’t mean it isn’t competitive and buyers with the best offers and best terms win out in multiple offer situations.  For sellers the best strategy is to price a home accordingly based on the condition, the location, and the overall market.

Land sales continue to limp along. Last month there were 7 land transactions compared to 8 that same time period last year.

If you have been on the fence about selling your home, contact us for a FREE market analysis. We can show you how to price your home and what you need to do to attract today’s buyers.  Buyers, ask us about how to receive regular updates on listings that fit your personalized criteria.

If you’d like to receive our monthly e-newsletter with the latest market information and things going on in the Transylvania area, just drop me a line at

2014 Year End Report

It’s the first week of January 2015.  For the most part, holiday decorations have been stored until next year and people are moving on and into the new year.  Before we get too far into this new year though, I’d like to take a look back at 2014 and what happened in our area this past year in the way of real estate.

For_Sale_StampResidential sales ended the year on a high note, showing a 19.4% increase in sales over 2013.  A total 486 homes sold in 2014 over 407 in 2013.  December itself was very active all on its own. In 2014, there were 51 homes sold compared to only 26 homes in 2013.

Look a little closer at the data and we find that the average list price in 2014 was $298,916 and the average selling price was $264,325. That tells us that homes sold for about 88% of the asking price. They were also on the market for an average of 253 days.  Unlike previous years, we saw more cases of homes selling quickly when they were priced appropriately and we also found ourselves in several situations where there were multiple offers.  In 2013, the numbers were a little different. That year, the average list price was $255,556 and the average selling price was $234,011 which calculates to about 91% of the asking price. But homes last year were also on the market 10 days longer than this year.  Are prices going up? It’s hard to say because our MLS includes the Lake Toxaway area where it is common to see million dollar or more price tags.  When those homes sell, and there have been a number that sold this year, it drives the overall average up.  Even so, the lions share of the homes that sold in Transylvania County this year continue to be $350,000 and less.

Land sales also saw a nice uptick this year. In 2014, 121 parcels sold compared to 112 the year before. The average list price this year was $117,072 with a selling price of $97,316 or 83% of asking. In 2013 the average list price was $145,947 and the selling price was $120,551 for about the same 83%.  Land listings are staying on the market longer which I believe is reflected in the lower average listing prices as sellers get more and more motivated.  In 2014 a listing was on the market an average of 480 days compared to 423 days in 2013.

So what’s ahead for us in lending?  According to Gina Breedlove, Mortgage Specialist at United Community Bank in Brevard, interest rates are predicted to stay low until the 4th quarter of this year and then predicted to go into the 5% range. At the moment, a 30-year fixed rate loan with no origination fee is only 3.875% at UCBI.

If you would like more information about the Transylvania County market, or details about the Henderson or Buncombe county markets, just drop us a line at or visit us online at




I Won’t Do An Open House. Period.

I’ll just say right up front that I’ve never been a big fan of Open Houses. They’ve always seemed like a colossal waste of time and money. Now and then, if we have a really special property, we’ll host a Broker Open imgHouse in the hopes that other Brokers will stop by for some free food and check out our listing. Ideally they will have just the right buyer and in a matter of months, we’ll all be sitting around the closing table together. I can assure you that has never happened. In fact, the only chance we have of getting local Brokers to come to an Open House is during the winter months when everyone’s business is a little slower and they are looking for a free lunch.

A public Open House is another story. Let’s look at the anatomy of one. When you do an Open House, you’re asking your agent to send flyers to the neighbors, put signs on the street corners, and maybe even run an ad in the paper inviting people you don’t know to come walk through your house while you aren’t home. You have no idea if any of these people are actual buyers and if they are, are they qualified by a lender. Do you know if these people have criminal backgrounds? Can you spot the ones who might be scoping out your house so they can break into it at another time when you aren’t home? Can you pick out the ones who might walk through your home and pocket a valuable piece of jewelry?  The answer is no. It’s been a long-standing fact that statistically, open houses are among the least effective ways of finding a buyer and when you factor in the risk, why in the world would anyone in this day and age encourage this type of activity.

As a Real Estate Broker we are placed in harm’s way more than you can imagine. Every time we meet someone to show a property or walk land with them we are at risk. Just recently an agent in Arkansas was murdered by a man she was showing a home to. Worse yet, it wasn’t a random killing. He set up the whole scenario and targeted her as a “a rich broker”.

There are certain cardinal rules in real estate that we should all adhere to to address the risks we have to deal with as part of the business.  For instance, when we are meeting clients for the first time, we always go together and we always meet at the office. To this day, I never take clients out on my own unless Robert and I have both spent time working with them together. The fact is, real estate is a dangerous business for anyone who works on their own, but especially women. So when you ask your agent to hold an Open House for you, remember that you’re not only putting yourself and your home at risk, you’re putting your agent at risk as well.

Personally, I think the days of Open Houses are numbered. There are far more effective ways to find buyers that don’t involve this kind of unneccessary risk.  There are a few die-hard agents in our market who continue to hold Open Houses and that’s certainly their decision.  But in my opinion, in today’s world, Open Houses have no place in the scope of services that we provide our clients.  So please. Don’t ask me to hold an Open House. I just won’t do it.

Small Town Politics and The Real World

The awful, crazy stuff going on in the world today makes me all the more thankful to live in a small town in the mountains of western North Carolina. That’s not to say that living here makes us immune or any less sensitive to what we hear on the news, but there is some measure of comfort knowing that because of where we live, we are buffered to some extent. Or at least I feel like we are.  I worry about my friends and family who live in big cities. I did it for most of my adult life and have no desire to do it again. I like living in a town where it takes me longer to do my grocery shopping because I’m always running into people I know. I like the notion that being behind four cars at a traffic light is considered a traffic hold up.  Like any town in America, we have our issues but the crime is petty stuff. There are no riots, no one is looting our stores and burning down businesses, putting innocent business owners in jeopardy of losing their livelihood. Our newspaper isn’t filled with that kind of news. Community sections ask for prayers because someone’s Uncle Roy isn’t feeling well this week and a child coming home from college for spring break will likely be celebrated at a pot luck supper.  It’s not to say that what happened at Vaughn Foods this week couldn’t happen anywhere, including our small town, but I can’t say that I live in fear of that here.

At the moment, the controversy in our community centers around whether our entire county should be allowed to sell alcohol.  For anyone living in a big city, it may come as a shock that liquor laws are even a point of discussion in today’s world. But it is Transylvania County. This is the south and this is the Bible belt so there are very strong opinions on both sides.  As it stands now, you can buy a drink if you’re in the city limits of Brevard, but head south to Cedar Mountain and you can’t.  I have my own opinion on the matter but the point is, while the folks of Moore, OK are reeling from the violence that has infiltrated their community and shattered their sense of security, we’re talking about whether people should be able buy a beer. Sorta gives you pause to consider what’s really important in life, doesn’t it.