BUY

PAYING FOR LAND

For most people, buying a house is a major undertaking. When it comes to buying land, the process can be even more overwhelming. There are numerous things to consider and additional inspections and processes that must occur during the buying process. It is imperative that you work with a Realtor who understands the ins-and-outs of the land-buying process.

The first consideration is the same as buying a house. How are you going to pay for your purchase? Most banks and lenders do not give loans on land. If they do, the down payment is usually large and the interest rate may be more. It is usually local lenders who understand the area that have land-lending programs. Be sure to ask you Realtor for recommendations. Occasionally, sellers may be willing to owner-finance provided the buyer can give a large down payment.

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PLANNED ECO VILLAGES

These types of communities are referred to by several different names. They may be Pocket Communities, Front Porch Communities, Cottage Communities, or ECO Villages. Regardless of the name, they all have a common goal. The intent is to create a community of houses with a shared space and a common intention. These planned villages differ from typical subdivisions centering around a golf course or swimming pool as they are designed to promote friendly interaction and shared responsibilities.

The more successful projects have a lower number of people and houses, which allow each other to get to know their neighbors. Many of these groupings share walking trails, gardens, as well as a community building that may or may not be a central area for everyone to meet on a regular basis. More than just passing each other while enjoying the amenities, the community works together to help with the upkeep, ensuring that they know and help their neighbors.

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QUESTIONS FOR A REALTOR WHO SPECIALIZES IN GREEN HOMES

BUYERS AND SELLERS

  • Do you have special training in Green Homes?
  • Do you have certifications? Are they up to date?
  • How long have you been specializing in Green Homes?
  • How many Green Homes have you sold or helped buyers with in the past year?
  • Do you have a list of preferred Green Builders?
  • What organizations are you a member of that relate to Green Building?
  • What types of Green Home Certification are available in this area?
  • How do you know if a house is certified?
  • Do you know any Raters?
  • What Green Communities are in the area?
  • Are all homes that have solar Green?
  • What does Energy Star certified mean?

SELLERS

  • What will you do differently than a standard Realtor to market the Green Features of my house?
  • Attachments—certifications, checklists, appraisal form, cost savings?
  • Information sheets on items around home?
  • Special websites?
  • Riders?
  • Tours?
  • Educate other Realtors?

QUESTIONS FOR A BUILDER

  • What’s your definition of Green building?
  • What rating systems (Green Built NC, LEED, etc.) have you used and how does building a certified home differ from your normal building methods?
  • Who are your sub-contractors and how long have you been working with them?
  • What makes your homes energy efficient?
  • What makes your homes durable?
  • What type of windows do you recommend?
  • What heating and cooling systems do you use?
  • Can you make provisions for future PV installation?
  • What decisions will I need to make and when?
  • Who will be my main point of contact?
  • How do you charge for your time - contract price? Allowances? Cost plus? Change orders?
  • Do you always check references and look at jobs in progress and their past work?

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WHAT IS BUILD GREEN REAL ESTATE?

Build Green Real Estate is an educational collaboration between the Asheville Home Builders Association, Land of the Sky Association of Realtors and Greenbuilt Alliance. By attending this class, you’ll be able to apply the knowledge and best practices directly to your business for building and selling green real estate. In an effort to educate industry professionals on construction-related material from codes, energy efficiency, green appraisals and lending to green homes - this course has been created by professionals for professionals! The course is offered several times throughout the year. Be sure to check back often for updates! 

WE UNDERSTAND REAL ESTATE INVESTING BECAUSE WE ARE INVESTORS

We have a unique understanding of real estate investing because we have personal experience with property management, flips, new construction, and renters at our personal home.

Throughout the years, we have created a TEAM of handypeople, contractors, subs, attorneys, tax accountants, and more. We are members of CREIA and Bigger Pockets, and yes, we have also taken those courses promoted by those TV personalities.

Our goal is to create a long-term relationship with you as an investor and provide you information and insights that become invaluable. When you think about investing in real estate, you will automatically call Love The Green.

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    ASK THE WIFE

    We like to talk, so for Deb and me it is often easier to create a video. Be sure to visit our YouTube channel!

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      WINTER TIPS AND REMINDERS

      At heart, I’m a good ole' country girl. I lived on a big farm growing up and was very familiar with the numerous tasks involved during the winter months. Later in adulthood, I moved to Long Beach, CA and the thought of freezing pipes and well pumps faded from my memory. 

      Now that I’m back home in the mountains, I sometimes laugh at the questions my warm weather friends and clients ask. However, I understand the uncertainty that the winter months can bring.

      There are some common sense practices that you can do at the beginning of the winter. So with that in mind, I offer these suggestions:

      • ONCE NIGHT-TIME TEMPERATURES ARE IN THE 30S OR BELOW, CLOSE YOUR CRAWLSPACE VENTS.
      • ONCE NIGHT-TIME TEMPERATURES ARE IN THE 30S OR BELOW, EMPTY YOUR RAIN BARRELS AND WATER HOSES, THEN STORE IN A DRY AREA.
      • COLLECT YOUR FLASHLIGHTS AND BATTERIES AND STORE THEM IN AN EASY TO FIND LOCATION.
      • HAVE AN ALTERNATE HEAT AND COOKING SOURCE OTHER THAN ELECTRIC.  If you have a fireplace, wood stove or corn pellet stove, be sure you have a good wood or corn supply located close to the house. If you have a kerosene or propane heater, make sure your fuel source will last at least 72 hours. It is a good idea to have a second propane tank for your gas grill.
      • WELL WATER REQUIRES AN ELECTRIC PUMP TO GET THE WATER TO YOUR HOUSE. IF THE ELECTRICITY IS OFF, THE WATER WILL BE TOO. If you see the lights start to flicker during a storm, it is a good idea to fill up jugs of water. Also, have several buckets of water to flush toilets. You can pour the bucket directly into the bowl, or pour it into the back tank and then flush. You can also fill buckets with snow, set them into your tub to melt, then use later for flushing toilets.
      • BE PREPARED BEFORE YOU GO OFF TO WORK. Every now and then, we will have a snow event, and depending on the location, there can be a great difference in the road conditions. What is at your house may not be the same as what is on the road, driveway, or parking lot elsewhere. Many times the snow is light and melts by mid-day and our main roads are usually in good driving condition. However, secondary roads and especially driveways may not be clear for several days. If you live up a big, winding road, think about parking your vehicle at the bottom and walking up.  When the police advise not to get out unless you absolutely have too, please listen. Remember, there are always people on the road who have never driven in snow. While you may be a great snow driver, you don’t know what is going to happening down the road.  If it is an ice storm, stay put. I don’t care who you are, no one does a good job of driving on ice.  Be sure to have water, food, flashlight, boots and extra coats or blankets in the vehicle. The winter is also a good time to practice keeping the gas tank full.  Sometimes the road can be blocked for hours, and it gets cold if you run out of gas.
      • DON’T LET YOUR PIPES FREEZE.  OK, first thing, if your neighbor or cousin Ed told you to put a heater in the crawl space, DON’T!!!!!  Now for the logical recommendations - if the night-time temperatures will go below freezing, it is a good idea to let all faucets drip slightly. Hopefully your water pipes already have insulation around them. If not, you will need to make sure that is done. If you are leaving town for a few days, go ahead and leave the water dripping and keep the temperature around 50. If you are gone for the entire winter, it is best to “winterize” the property, which includes draining the water heater, water line and toilet lines.
      • PETS Hopefully, you already know that pets are supposed to live indoors and I don’t have to ask you to bring them inside if the weather is freezing. What you may not think about is that the snow level may be higher than your dog, so keep a shovel close by to clear off an area that will allow them to do their "business".  If you have a dog like our Tyler, then he/she will need a coat because the underbelly is more skin than fur.  Also, if your bigger dogs like to romp through your yard, it is a good idea to use snow booties to prevent cuts from garden decorations and fencing they might not see in the snow.
      • WHEN THE WEATHERMAN SAYS IT IS GOING TO SNOW!!  Go to a local grocery store and enjoy watching people buy milk and bread. Personally, I recommend buying chocolate - lots of chocolate!

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        2020 Real Estate Projections

        World and national economics affect the housing industry, so we’ll start with the National Association of Realtors (NAR) forecast, then look at our local market.

        Across the nation, there is still a housing shortage, which means new construction will continue to grow. However, new construction costs more than existing homes and we already have an affordable housing crisis. Mortgage rates are predicted to stay low, yet buyers’ wages limit loan qualification amount.

        The consensus at the NAR Forecast Summit is that at best, there will not be a recession, at worst, a 29 percent chance.

        Markets to Watch According to NAR:

        • Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill
        • Winston-Salem, NC
        • Charlotte, NC
        • Charleston, SC
        • Columbia, SC
        • Chattanooga and Memphis, TN
        • Tampa-St. Petersburg, FL
        • McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX
        • Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
        • Columbus, OH
        • Fort Collins, CO
        • Colorado Springs, CO
        • Tucson, AZ
        • Las Vegas, NV
        • Ogden, UT
        • Boise, ID
        • Rochester, NY

        So what does all of this mean for us? Well, pretty much the same thing.  The greater Asheville region will continue to have an affordable housing shortage. The average sale price for an existing 3 bedroom/2 bath home was $265,000, and $325,000 for new construction.  While these numbers may seem low to people moving into the area from larger cities, our local residents have a current living wage of $13.65 an hour, which makes it almost impossible to buy a house. The same holds true for most of the aforementioned hot markets.

        Most buyers will either be second-time home owners or moving here from a large city.  Sometimes, out-of-state buyers are shocked by our prices. Houses $350,000 and under will go fast, so be prepared to make an offer as soon as you find one you like.  If you are looking for a home that doesn’t need any remodeling or repairs, be ready to pay $275,000 or more. Once you are in the price range of $400,000 - $600,00 and above, you have a little more time to make up your mind. That price point stays on the market an average of 50-60 days. The issue is that there is significantly less supply because many of the active listings are new construction and have not yet been built.

        All of this should mean good news for sellers. However, the market is shifting.  We have leveled off on extreme price increases. The condition of the house critically affects the price.  No longer can you stick a sign in the yard and get a crazy amount for a pig with lipstick.

        Buyers expectations have changed in the past 12 months.  New construction is often the competition, so existing homes need to be in generally good condition and ready to move in.  If you plan to sell your house for more than $275,000, you will need to do some upgrades and repairs.  Otherwise, buyers will be subtracting those improvement costs when they make an offer.

        A noticeable trend is that many people are moving more than 20 minutes from downtown Asheville.  More of my clients are stating that they don’t want to live in town due to high prices and traffic. The same is true for Hendersonville.  Towns like Weaverville, Marshall and Mars Hill are becoming attractive due to price point, the sizes of homes and lots, and a “small town feel”.  Another trend is that investors have expanded their “sweet spot” locations to as far as an hour away for their home base.

        Ironically, all of this means that it is the prefect time to both buy and sell in the greater Asheville area.  Historically, this area has continued to appreciate at 3+%. This means that house prices will always be going up, so if you want to buy, now is the best time.

        For sellers, the factor to consider is that new construction will continue to come online and buyers will almost always buy new construction if the price is the same.  So now is the time to make those improvements and get top dollar for your house.

        Real estate is cyclical and change will happen. Eventually, there will be a slow down in the market and interest rates will rise. Right now, 2020 looks like a good year for both buyers and sellers.

        View the Real Estate Trend Indicator for Buncombe County for 2019 here.
        View the Real Estate Trend Indicator for Henderson County for 2019 here.

        If you would like more information about our local market, please contact me at mary@lovethegreen.org.

        Common Q & A for Buyers

        Buyers usually have many questions about the process of buying a house. Love The Green Real Estate Consulting Firm offers detailed information on our website in the Buy Section and on YouTube. Today we thought we’d answer some of the most common questions.

         

        What is the difference between a Realtor and an Agent?

        Although both must be licensed to sell real estate, the main difference between a Real Estate Agent and a Realtor is the latter is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®. A Realtor must subscribe to the Realtor Code of Ethics which includes 17 articles. Many consumers only want to work with a Real Estate Agent who has sworn to treat all parties fairly and honestly.

         

        When can I start looking at properties?

        Several things need to happen before we start looking at properties.  First, if you are getting a loan, you need to meet with a lender (we can recommend some for you) to find out how much you qualify for.  Next, we will meet and talk about the home buying process in NC, and your wants and needs concerning your future purchase. Then you need to provide all the paperwork necessary to be pre-approved.   At this point if you are ready to buy in the next 90 days, then we will start looking at houses.   

         

        If I call or email a Realtor about a house I saw online, who is the Realtor working for? 

        If you have not signed a buyer agency agreement, the Realtor is working for the seller.

         

        Can I work with more than one Realtor? 

        It is possible that you may have some part-time or inexperienced Realtors who are willing to show you a few houses without requiring you to sign a Buyer Agency Agreement. However, they may not be working for you – they may be working for the seller.

         

        How do I know if the Realtor is working for me? 

        You will sign a Buyer Agency Agreement that states the time period and who you are working with. This agent or team will be your contact point for all homes you want to know more about, call for information on “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO) properties, and stay in touch with you.

         

        How does a Buyer's Agent get paid? 

        Realtors are usually paid on commission at the close of the sale of a house. In most cases, the Buyer’s Agent is paid by the seller as part of the listing agreement. Top professional buyer agents and teams usually request a retainer fee from the buyer since real estate is their full-time business and are not in the learning stage. It is possible for Buyer Agents to be paid by the buyer at the beginning of the search.  This is part of consulting services and is often used by experienced investors.

         

        Visit our YouTube channel.

        WEEKLY MARKET UPDATE ASHEVILLE REGION MARCH 8 2020

         We are all adjusting to the demands and uncertainty of Covid 19.  At this moment the best we can do is live one day at a time and be kind to everyone.   I am a stat junkie. I like to review past trends to predict future ones.  However, since there has never been anything in our lifetime like this, looking at the past data is mainly for information.  So with that in mind, I wanted to share what has been going on in the real estate market in our area. 

        On March 26, 2020 Buncombe County issued a Stay Home Stay Safe Declaration that was stricter for Realtors than the state mandate.  During this time period Realtors are not allowed to physically show the property to buyers. Virtual showings have become the new normal.  The fact that a buyer can not physically view a property will have an impact on pending sales, new listings, and closed sales if the mandate continues. 

        These stats are for last week (since it takes 30-45 days to close. Real Estate stats are taken from past week and past month.)

        • New Listings decreased 28.9% to 244

        • Pending Sales decreased 32.4% to 167

        • Inventory decreased 18.2% to 3,782

        Now while this shows there is a slow down, when compared to last year this same time, overall the numbers are better than last year.  Our market was set to sky rocket at the beginning of March.

        We don't know how long our #staysafestayhome orders will last so predictions are just that.  However, one thing that is assured for at least the next few weeks. Cash is king. A cash deal with fast close will be what most sellers are looking for.  So it is possible that some great buys could happen in the next few weeks.  

        For a video update visit our YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBQCN_u2AkiOflAQYGGjJ7libhuBVKwYz

        If you would like a detailed analysis for this week please email mary@lovethegreen.org 

        Stay safe and be kind to one another.