Sellers Corner – The Power of Marketing

About a month ago, we got a call from some folks who had been trying to sell their home. Evidently, it had not been going well with their existing agents and they wanted to talk to us about making a change. So we met them at their property and immediately fell in love with the entire package. It was an attractive, well maintained home in a great (actually fabulous) setting. The home was priced a little lower than we thought it could be, but otherwise their current listing sheet had a sufficient number of photos, room measurements were there, and there was an adequate, though not particularly compelling, description of the property.  So why hadn’t such a great property sold? The piece of the puzzle that was missing and the reason it hadn’t sold was marketing.

When we list properties we look for a “perk” –  something that screams for attention and makes buyers sit up and take notice. Not every property has a perk and sometimes it’s hard to find something special to hang your marketing hat on.  But that wasn’t the case here. This was a great home with wide river frontage, 15 minutes from some the best fly fishing and kayaking in the area, in a nice country setting, with views of the mountains. Any one of those things would be enough to work with but this home had it all and we recognized the potential and more importantly, we knew how to capitalize on it.

Several days later, we got another call from the sellers letting us know that the other agents had agreed to let them out of their listing agreement and they were ready to get started with us.

IMG_9636B&W_peSMRobert and I, along with Ace our real estate dog,  spent the better part of a day shooting new pictures and a video. The location was off a dirt road, along the river, and in the country, so we decided to do an “Andy of Mayberry” sort of opening.  The approach we took was to focus on the lifestyle. The house had a lot going for it, but it was the setting that was going to sell this property.  Finding a home in this price range (even after we raised the listing price $15,000) with this much river frontage isn’t something that comes along every day and that was the hook. We carried that theme into the description of the property on the listing sheet and in various print ads. When it was all said and done, the video went out on You Tube, onto our listing, and out to the world.

Fast forward 22 days after signing the listing papers with us.  The sellers have entertained 2 offers and are now under contract with one of them.  Plus, by using our pricing strategy they not only sold quickly, they sold for more money than they would have at the lower listing price.  They will close in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, our phone continues to ring with inquiries from other agents and buyers who have seen the video and have an interest in the property.

There is a reason why companies large and small spend so much money on marketing….because it works. Real estate is no different. The minute you sign the listing papers, your home becomes a consumer product and just like the car you drive, the clothes you wear, or the ketchup you put on your french fries, your home will stand a better chance of selling if it is marketed properly.  Just ask these sellers!




In Town Living in Brevard, NC

I wish I had a dime for every buyer who said “I want an in town home in Brevard”.  People just want to be a “townie” in Brevard and with good reason.  When you live in town you can either walk or drive a short distance to an amazing array of art galleries, cool shops, restaurants, fantastic bakeries, and of course all the essentials like grocery stores and health care. It’s a life style that is well suited for anyone who enjoys the feel of a small town like Brevard, North Carolina.

FrontCropThis home for sale is at 86 Southview Drive and it is a great choice for anyone who wants the experience of living in town but still wants to be near state and national forests including Pisgah National Forest, Dupont State Forest, and Gorges State Forest where they can enjoy the vast and varied outdoor activities that this part of western North Carolina has to offer.

The home is a 4 bedroom, 3 1/2 bath ranch with a split plan. The large master suite is located at the back of the home overlooking the back yard and features dual bathrooms. The are three additional bedrooms and baths, a spacious kitchen, and living room with a cozy fireplace adjacent to the dining room.  The lower level of the home is well suited as a play area, home office, or just extra sleeping space when unexpected company shows up. One of the most desirable features of this home is the large, flat back yard. It is fenced and includes a four season workshop. This heated and cooled space is perfect as an artist studio, a woodworking shop, work out area, play house, you name it!

Brevard, North Carolina is convenient to Asheville and Hendersonville and about an hours drive from the Greenville, SC area. In recent years, this part of western North Carolina has been recognized as one of the best small towns in America, one of the best places to raise outdoor kids, one of the best places to retire, and one of the best places for mountain biking and fly fishing.  For me, it’s just the best place to be and I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

Learn more about Brevard, North Carolina and this fantastic home with by visiting us today at  Or give us a call at 828-551-6290. We look forward to seeing you here in the mountains real soon.

Understanding Due Diligence

If you are buying or selling property in North Carolina you need to understand the ins and outs of Due Diligence.  It’s a wrinkle in the Offer to Purchase brought to us a couple of years ago by the good folks in Raleigh.

In the most general of terms, whether you are buying a home, a car, or a stock, “doing due diligence” is thought of as the time you do your research about whatever it is you are buying. But in real estate, it means a lot more and has real implications.
Before the real estate commission changed our contract, an Offer to Purchase was usually contingent on a buyer getting financing and on inspections.  Typically a buyer and seller would agree that a buyer could bail on a contract if the buyer was unable to get financing with the terms they were looking for or if the repairs exceeded a certain dollar amount. The repair contingency was especially problematic. There was a list of things that a buyer could expect a seller to repair, but 99% of buyers ignored that list and asked for anything and everything. The seller wasn’t required to do the repairs…..but the buyer didn’t have to buy, either.

Today’s Due Diligence feature allows a buyer to bail out on a contact for any reason at all as long as they do it before a certain date, time being of the essence. 
Whereas the escrow amount is held in a trust fund and credited back to the buyer at closing, a due diligence fee is money that the buyer pays directly to the seller which they keep regardless of whether the property closes or not. But too many buyers agents don’t include any due diligence fee in the offer.  From a buyer’s perspective, this all means that if they wake up one morning and decide they don’t like the color of the house, they can decide not to buy it and they have nothing to lose. In today’s vernacular, they don’t have any skin in the game. Our Offer to Purchase was already a very buyer friendly contract and with this new due diligence feature it’s a love fest.  But for the seller…..not so much.

From the seller’s perspective, due diligence creates a number of challenges that favors the buyer and leaves a seller in a precarious position. It starts when the contract is signed.  The MLS status is changed to “In Due Diligence” and the home no longer shows up as active. Anyone doing a search would not see that the home is “technically” still on the market or that the seller would likely entertain back up offers so more than likely showings stop. Plus, the time frame for a buyer due diligence period is entirely negotiable. It could be two weeks for a cash deal….it could be 45 or 60 days. It’s whatever the two parties agree to. But here’s the catch for sellers.  They have no guarantee that their buyer will go through with the deal at the end of this due diligence period.  Meanwhile, their home is off the market, and their future is in limbo.

Recently an agent I know had her seller’s home under contract.  It was a 45 day due diligence period and as that deadline approached, the sellers moved all of their belongings out of the house in anticipation that they would be moving. The due diligence deadline came and went. A week before the closing, the buyers walked. Luckily this savvy agent had gotten a hefty due diligence fee written into the contract and the sellers received some compensation along with the escrow amount. It doesn’t always work out that way. In another case, involving a land purchase, the buyers wanted the seller to do a variety of things that cost the seller a good bit of money. The seller, moving forward in good faith did all those things. A few days before the end of due diligence, the buyers walked and in this case, there was no due diligence fee for the seller.

Some agents are also writing contracts where the due diligence period ends one day and the closing is the next.  Shame on any seller’s agent who allows their seller to accept this as part of the contract because it creates an impossible scenario. If you are a seller, how fast are you willing to move out, knowing that the deal may fall through. What if you do, and the deal falls through? Then there are the attorneys. There is title work to be done before a property can close and no attorney I know would be willing to do that before the due diligence period has run out and there is some reasonable expectation that the property will close.  Expecting a property to close the day after due diligence is simply ludicrous and no home seller should sign a contract like that.

For the most part, the NC Offer to Purchase does little to protect the seller and if asked, I would tell the real estate commission that they need to do more.  Why are sellers treated so differently than buyers?  If a buyer can bail out for any reason, then shouldn’t a seller have that same option? If the buyer can walk because they found a house they like better, shouldn’t a seller be able to walk if they find another buyer with a better offer? Frankly, I don’t think any party should have a carte blanche pass for walking out of a contract without a really good reason and without compensation to the other side.  I don’t know if a mandatory due diligence fee equal to some percentage of the offer price is the right idea, but it’s a place to start.  I’m sure the real estate commission thought they were making things simpler by eliminating the financing and repair contingency. In some respect they have, but at what cost to the seller.   In the meantime, if you are selling your property in North Carolina,  make sure you understand the implications of due diligence and how to protect your interests.

2011 Market Report – Brevard, NC Real Estate

2011 is now just a vision in our rear view mirror but before we get too far down the road and into a new year, we wanted to give you a brief look back at the local real estate market here in the Brevard, NC area and the various ups and downs that happened during this past year.  There is so much on the news about real estate (and don’t we all wish for a speedy and full recovery!) but real estate is a regional, even local issue so here is what has happened here in our back yard.

So which way did the market go? The good news is the number of residential sales in our area was up for the second year in a row. There were 308 single family homes sold in the Brevard area during 2011, up by 20 over 2010 and up by 66 over 2009. The average list price was $281,000 which is about a 4.5% decrease compared to 2010 and the average selling price was $247,000 or roughly a 7% drop. The bulk of sales for the last two years has consistently been in the $100K-$300K price range.  We are still a long way off from the “rock and roll” days of 2006, and we may never get back to those days, but at least these are encouraging signs and hopefully indicative of good things to come.

When the housing industry began it’s decline, it took over a year for us to feel the real effect here. And when it did reach us, the adjustments needed have not been as great as they have been in other parts of our country, primarily because our market was not grossly overpriced and “bloated” like other markets.

The one area that has not shown signs of snapping back quickly is in land sales. That segment of the market is dramatically different than it was back in 2006. As such, it’s a difficult time for sellers, but a very good opportunity for buyers who are interested in buying land, even if it’s to hold onto for the future.

For a closer look at all the numbers, visit us at, or give us a call at 828-551-6291.

Find Foreclosure Properties Here!

Find Foreclosures Here!There’s just no heads or tails about it! Banks have hundreds of foreclosure properties in the Asheville, Cashiers, Brevard, Hendersonville area that they want to sell. Large mountain tracts with glorious views, development lots, small homes, million dollar homes…they’re all available for pennies on the dollar.

Contact the Clay Team today and tell us what kind of property you’re looking for. We have the experience of working with the banks and will guide you every step of the way!


Visit us online at
Email us at or
Call us today at 828-551-6291 or 828-551-6290.

Things to do in Brevard NC

It’s not too early to start making your plans for the Labor Day Weekend.  Two events you should absolutely include when you are in the Brevard, NC area are the 2010 Farm Fair and the 2nd Annual Founders Day. Both events will be held on Saturday, September 4.

Farm Fair is sponsored by the Brevard/Transylvania County Chamber of Commerce and it’s a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the rich and diverse farming community in the area. Enjoy events, tastings, and demonstrations from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm at the American Legion Hall.

Founders Day is sponsored by the Transylvania County Heritage Society and celebrates the areas founding families.

Friday night, the 2nd SC Rifles Re-enactment group will set up an authentic Civil War camp. Then on Saturday morning from 9-10 am, a docent will lead a walking tour of Historic Uptown Brevard, $10 per person, reservations suggested, call 884-2347. Starting at 10 am, craftspeople will demonstrate their skills and sell their wares in the old-fashioned arts, like spinning, weaving, patchwork, woodcarving, and more, with many dressed in period costumes. Antique cars will be on display.

Also from 11 am to 5 pm, the Main Stage will present area musical talent including: Lynn Goldsmith & Jeter Mountain; Rabon Creek Bluegrass; Bobby & Blue Ridge Tradition; East Fork Gals; and Transylvania Troubadours. Forge Mountain Cloggers will perform at 12 noon, and Sylvan Squares at 2:30.

The Museum will showcase Founding Family displays with descendants on hand to discuss the lives and legacies of Transylvania’s settlers. Special pioneer crafts will be available for the kids to do.

With all this activity, people will be hungry and thirsty, so Marco’s will be selling pizza by the slice and the Hobnob restaurant will have “food that would have been eaten during the Civil War but better!” Top that off with items from the Museum’s bake sale booth or some Kiwi Gelato to complete a wonderful day.

Both events are real down home fun for the entire family! Don’t miss it!

For more information about the Brevard area, things to do while you’re here, or for places to stay, visit

Event information provided by the Chamber of Commerce and the Transylvania County Heritage Museum.

Home for sale in Straus Park, Brevard NC

Straus Park, with its stylish upscale homes and condos and first-class community amenities, has long been considered one of Brevard’s finest neighborhoods. Living in Straus Park also means you’re only minutes from shopping and health care and all the things that make Brevard, NC one of “America’s Coolest Small Towns” according to a recent poll conducted by Budget Travel.

Straus ParkThis 4 bedroom, 3 bath home for sale in Straus Park is tastefully designed and features a well thought out floor plan with all the primary living areas on the main floor. A few of the highlights include the updated kitchen with granite counters that opens to a cozy living room with a gas fireplace.  It’s the perfect layout for entertaining. For outdoor entertaining, you’ll enjoy the spacious open deck that overlooks lush, uninterrupted green space.

The master suite is a sanctuary of peace and relaxation. Large windows fill the room with natural light and the high ceilings enhance the feeling of open space. The spacious master bath includes a garden tub and separate shower, two sinks and ample storage space. Just off the master bedroom is a private screened porch, a perfect retreat at the end of the day.

Other features of the main floor include a guest room and full second bath, a formal dining area, and a study with built ins.

The finished lower level includes two additional bedrooms, a full bath, and family room. Perfect for visiting friends and family!

Other extras include a large garage workshop, exceptional storage, and an invisible fence for the pets.

For more information about this home for sale in Straus Park, visit us online at, or call us at 828-551-6290 or 828-551-6291.

Or…Take a virtual tour of this home right here!

Mountain Cabin for Sale – Brevard, NC

Think of the mountains of western North Carolina and many people think of a cabin in the woods where they can enjoy the four seasons in a quiet natural setting. This cabin for sale near Brevard, North Carolina is all that and more. Newly built with loads of charm and character on 2.5+ acres.  Rustic but sophisticated, this home in the woods is easy to love with special touches like native laurel wood railings, spruce floors, and vaulted ceilings.  Everything for every day living is on the main floor. But when company comes, and you know they will, there is an extra bedroom, bath and living area below. Or you can utilize the loft for even more sleeping and play area.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For fishermen and women, it just can’t get much better! This home is less than 3 minutes away from the East Fork river and some of the best flying fishing in the southeast. And if you like to tinker in the yard, you’ll appreciate the beautiful landscaping with hundreds of perennials and native plants.

If you would like more information about this cabin in the woods, or other properties for sale in the Brevard, North Carolina area, call the call the Clay Team at 828-551-6290 or 828-551-6291. You can visit us anytime online at

Condo for sale in golf course community – Near Cashiers, NC

Sometimes, you just want to get away. Right? Maybe it’s for a change of scenery or maybe it’s to escape the summer heat in a relaxed setting where you can play some golf.  If this sounds like you, this is an opportunity you don’t want to miss.  This light, bright, and furnished 2 bedroom 2 bath condo is in Burlingame at Sapphire Lakes, an upscale but comfortable country club community that’s located in the mountains of western North Carolina between Brevard and Cashiers.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The main floor of the condo includes a huge master suite, spacious kitchen, open living room with a cozy fireplace, and a large screened porch as well as an open deck where you can kick back and listen to the sounds of the Horsepasture River. Downstairs is another bedroom, full bath, and private deck for your visitors. Best of all, the only long drive you’ll be making is on the fairway! Just step out your front door and the country club and all the amenities are just a short walk away.

When you live in Burlingame, whether it’s year round or seasonally, there’s plenty to do! Between the world class golf, the tennis, working out in the state of the art fitness center, relaxing by pool, or participating in the varied social groups, you can stay as busy as you choose to be. At the end of the day, if cooking isn’t on your mind, you can enjoy the fine dining in the club house or just grab a burger at the grill. It’s a great lifestyle and a warm welcoming community where you’ll feel right at home.

For more information about this condo for sale, or other property for sale in the Cashiers or Brevard area, call the Clay Team at 828-551-6290 or 828-551-6291. Visit us online any time at

Condo in the Mountains for sale – Near Cashiers, NC

If you have been looking for a great place to spend time relaxing…maybe to escape the summer heat, how about a fully furnished, move-in ready condo in the mountains of western North Carolina?

This 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo for sale in Burlingame Country Club is located about 30 minutes from Brevard, NC and about 15 minutes from Cashiers, NC.  It’s a short walk to the club house where you can enjoy golf, a state of the art fitness center, or just lounge by the pool. There’s fine dining in the club or casual dining at the grill. And if you enjoy tennis, walk out your front door and you’re at the tennis center and the beautifully groomed clay courts. But you may want to stay home on the large screened porch and enjoy the lake and mountain views.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

However you choose to spend your time, life at 3,000 ft elevation is good! Cool summers, spectacular spring flowers, eye popping colors in the fall, and mild winters.

For more information about this condo for sale or other homes and condos for sale in the Brevard, NC area, contact the Clay Team at 828-551-6290 or 828-551-6291. Visit us online at!