builders

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!

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.