A perfect day in the mountains…for me.

I like sitting on my porch on a day like today when the the sky is that perfect North Carolina blue, the sun is warm on my face, but a spring time breeze is still cool enough to require an extra layer.  My preferred spot isn’t in on of the “directors” chairs we head to at the end of the day where we sit and enjoy the amazing view of the mountains and watch the sun set paint the sky in shades of blues and pinks. On days like today I much prefer my spot on the steps off our deck that leads to our back yard.  The wood has absorbed the heat of the sun and it shares it with me as I lean against the railing for support. I put my head back, close my eyes, and let my other senses take over.  We are blessed to live in a place where, on most days, the only sounds we hear are the rustling trees and the birds. On occasion there may be the sound of tires on a gravel road somewhere near by or of a plane passing overhead, but otherwise, this is the quietest most peaceful spot I have ever lived in my 60-some years. 

Here on my perch, I stretch out my legs as much as I can and use my bent knees to support a book or a favorite magazine. On this particular day, my choice is the latest edition of Garden & Gun, a magazine I never would have chosen on my own, based on the name alone. But I received it as a gift subscription last year and can now no longer do without it. The magazine is based in Charleston, South Carolina and its pages are filled with articles, recipes, stories, and all things southern.  I look forward to its arrival like an old family friend.

The sun glares off the white pages and since reading glasses are a necessity, sunglasses are not an option. I don’t mind really. For reasons unknown to me, I enjoy getting familiar with the contents of a magazine before I delve into reading it page by page.  It’s a lot like reading a restaurant menu.  I look at each offering deciding if it sounds like something I might like, how it is prepared, how many calories might be hiding in the dish, and what it costs. I do all this before considering the next item on the menu. Eventually I narrow down my options and make a choice. 

So it is with me and magazines. I love a good book and welcome those times when I can lose myself in a good story. But books pretty much force the reader to start on page one and follow each page in succession lest they lose the story line. Not magazines.  I can start on the back cover and work my way to the front without missing a thing. On this first pass I notice ads but I might be compelled to read an article if it is a short one or holds some immediate interest for me. More than likely I scan it quickly, making a mental note about the subject matter and file until I have the time an opportunity to read it. It isn’t until I have flipped backwards through all the pages that I decide what I want to read first, and not necessarily in any particular order.

One of the many things that I appreciate about Garden & Gun is the writing. The articles are more like short stories that waste no time grabbing my attention and holding it until the last word. Most issues have some story involving a dog so naturally I go there first. Today, though, my attention lingered in the recipe section where a fresh blackberry and peach cobbler recipe caught my eye. Peaches, juicy ripe berries, and luscious tomatoes are the only reason I tolerate summer and this particular recipe recalled me to my mother’s kitchen and summers growing up in the south. Peach cobbler was a staple in our house when peaches were in season. I can still remember the soft bite of a fresh peach swimming in sweet cinnamon laced juice, perfectly thickened and topped with flaky pie dough. A spot of butter or a scoop of vanilla ice cream made it all the better. My mom is passed now but seeing that recipe and remembering the days when the smell of peach cobbler filled her kitchen fills my heart with sweet memories.

I don’t know when I will have another chance to sit on my steps again like this and do nothing but enjoy the sun and while away my time reading.  Our life is pretty busy these days trying to balance work, projects around the house, and carving out some time for friends. But when I find the opportunity I will spend it on that familiar step looking backwards at a favorite magazine, and maybe a memory or two.

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.

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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.

It’s All About The View

When we first started talking about moving to North Carolina, I would have been happy with a little house tucked deep into the woods. But once we got here and I became more embedded into the area, I gained a better understanding of why homes with a view are so prized.

There is a lot to be said for a cabin in the woods and I’m not knocking it at all but there is just something about looking out the windows and seeing the mountains, the valleys, or the string of mountain tops strung together in a long range view. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you can find the trifecta and enjoy all three. Even with close in views, it’s mesmerizing watching the clouds rise up, seeing weather systems as they roll in, and it’s especially great to be able to watch the seasons unfold before your eyes.

That’s why I wanted to share two homes with you today. Both of these homes have spectacular views.

The first home is at 100 Sunflower Lane in Pisgah Forest Estates. It’s all one level living, has two workshops, and is perched on a point that gives you a wide view all the way to parts of South Asheville. And…it happens to include the jacuzzi!

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Deck-3.001

 

 

 

 

The second property is 1037 Glen Cannon Drive, also in Pisgah Forest. This is an estate size home with over 4,200 square feet of living space.  It has been recently updated with hard wood floors, a new master suite, and it has countless features that make it an energy efficient home to live in year round.

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Year Round Long Range Views

 

 

 

 

 

 

These homes are located just minutes from the beautiful mountain town of Brevard, North Carolina.   If you’d like more information call me at 828-551-6290 or drop me an email at carol@clayteamrealestate.com

 

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.

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!

 

 

 

Farm Fresh Markets Near Brevard

For some people, summer time means family vacations or a trip to the beach. For me, and other foodies, the summer months are when we can flex our cooking muscle with the freshest fruits and vegetables of the year. I’m not talking about tomatoes that were grown in California and shipped in or green beans Heartpotatothat have been transplanted from Ohio. I’m taking about vegetables with local roots that are so fresh you have to brush the warm soil off them. It may sound strange to anyone who has only known life in a big city where “fresh” probably means anything picked in the last 2 months, but there is a world of difference between a potato straight out of the field and the potato you find in your local grocery store. And don’t get me started on tomatoes. I feel a little sorry for anyone who has only known tomatoes from a grocery store.

As a child, being the product of a southern upbringing, summer was the time of year when beefsteak tomatoes and juicy cantaloupe shared our breakfast plates with the salty country ham, homemade biscuits, and fried eggs.  Come supper time, it wasn’t unusual for us to have a meatless meal of pinto beans, turnip greens, fried okra, a wilted salad, and a tall glass of iced tea. For anyone who grew up north of the Virginia line, a wilted salad is bibb lettuce and green onions picked fresh, topped with bacon, and then drizzled with warm bacon grease. I know, I know. But these were the days when kids played outside every night until the street lights came on or your mom called you in to eat. Worrying about what all that bacon might be doing to your arteries wasn’t on our radar. It was just the food my southern family was raised on.  Even today I can’t imagine summer squash without onions and bacon.

My grandparents in Louisiana were part of that self-sufficient generation that always had a garden. It was in my grandmother’s kitchen where I first learned to appreciate summer vegetables. Whatever wasn’t eaten during the growing season was put up for the winter months.  Everyone had a pantry lined with jars of green beans, corn, chow chow,  tomatoes, squash, and black eyed peas, ready to enjoy when the warm days of summer were long gone. It was what you had to do to keep food on the table. Even though both of my parents worked outside the home when I was growing up, and grocery stores were plentiful, they also managed to have something growing in our back yard.   Ideally, I’d have my own little back yard garden to satisfy my cravings for fresh vegetables this time of year. Ideally, I would have inherited not just the knowledge of how to grow things, but how to can them for the months ahead.  Sadly, I have neither so for the time being, I rely on local growers who do know how to do those things. Lucky for me, I live in an area where this time of year I can find just about any fresh vegetable I can think of.

The Transylvania Farmers Market in downtown Brevard is a great place to start if you’re looking for fresh vegetables, fresh eggs, locally grown beef, jams and jellies made with local berries, and a whole lot more. Most weekends, there’s live music to enjoy while you fill your basket with all these goodies.  To me, it’s the perfect way to spend a cool Saturday morning.

cornfieldJust east of us is another one of my favorites spots.  McCalls Farm is a family farm located in Penrose, about an 8 minute drive east of Brevard.  Going to McCalls is more than a stop for great farm to table food, it’s the total experience.  The last time we were there, there was a boy about 10 years old driving the tractor in from the field all loaded down with the best corn you’ll ever eat. I never buy corn in the grocery store. Why bother. It’s nothing like fresh picked corn. While you’re there you can pick up a mess of green beans, tomatoes, peppers and other farm fresh food for your family. McCalls is old school and doesn’t have a website, but you can find them on Crab Creek road, just off Highway 64.  Or you can call them at 828-884-4054.  Corn season started today, July 14 and will only run for a couple of months so get there and get you some while you still can.

For the mother load of farmers market, head to Asheville for the WNC Farmers Market. It’s part the NC Department of Agriculture. This is the same spot where local restaurants come to fill their own pantries and stock up local produce for their daily specials. It’s an amazing experience and you’ll want to take your time. It’s 38,000 square feet and filled with certified farmers who sell direct to consumers. It’s a scenic spot with easy access and it’s open year round.

I envy people who have the time, energy, and knowledge to grow things. In Transylvania County, it seems more people have some kind of garden than don’t. I keep saying “someday” and when that day comes I will happily pick my own home grown tomatoes, have green peppers at hand, and enjoy tender baby squash. And yes, now and then I will indulge my past with a wilted salad. Until that day comes, you’ll find me at the farmers market as often as possible.

 

 

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!

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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.

 

 

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 BrevardNCProperty.com, 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 BrevardNCProperty.com.
Email us at RobertClay@KW.com or CarolClay@KW.com.
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 BrevardNCproperty.com

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