First Quarter Market Report 2018
The first quarter of 2018 is in the books and the Asheville & Buncombe county real estate market continues to appreciate. Compared to the same period in 2017, Asheville closed sales declined over seven percent, but it may be attributed to rough weather in the early part of the quarter since pending sales are up five percent. For sellers the bright spot is that days on the market are down slightly and median sales price is up over nine percent. Buncombe county saw similar trends, but the median sales price was even stronger – up over 13%.
New listings in both areas were down slightly over the previous period and we see this continuing to be a sore spot for buyers. New home communities are continuing to build, but the pace is not keeping up with demand. Additionally, in existing neighborhoods, home owners with low three percent interest rates are expressing reluctance to relocate now that interest rates have pushed to 4.25% for a 30 year fixed.
Finding the Right Buyer’s Agent for You
So you are in the market to buy a home. Good for you! It’s an exciting time! It’s your HGTV moment!
Where to begin? Well, one of the most important things you can do is to select a Buyer’s Agent to work with. A Buyer’s Agent will help you with many aspects of the process. Of course, they can serve as “the key master,” getting you into those homes that you are coveting. But there are many other key ways they serve you including:
– Helping you understand the local market, how it ebbs and flows, and the current conditions. Is it a
buyer’s market? A seller’s market? That can vary based on the neighborhood, the price range, the season…it is a Buyer’s Agent’s job to know and share this with their client and to help them navigate through these market conditions.
– To help “sleuth out” your home – in a hot market a home can come on the market and be gone in days, sometimes hours! A good Buyer’s Agent is tenacious about staying on top of the market for their client so these opportunities are not missed.
– To help you negotiate the best price and terms for the home you purchase. It is not just about the purchase price, though that is probably the most important item you negotiate. However, other terms can help you win or lose a bid on getting a home – particularly in a multiple offer situation. A great Buyer’s Agent understands and will teach you the power of offering the right amount of Due Diligence, uncovering if the seller would like a fast close or seller possession, and other facets that can help YOUR offer stand out and be selected as the winning offer when more than one person is bidding on a home. They can also help you craft these terms to most benefit YOU – with home warranties, and seller paid closing costs, for instance, when there is need for a little more “negotiation room” on your behalf.
– To serve as your advocate during the home buying process, completing all the necessary forms and documents, performing negotiations on your behalf, and advising you on the professionals such as surveyors and home inspectors that can help insure you are making a solid financial decision with the purchase of your home.
– Which service providers and which services & inspections to use during the home buying process is up to the individual buyer, but a Buyer’s Agent can provide you with a pool of professionals to assist you. Good Buyer’s Agents often arrange all of these appointments for you and even attend these appointments in your place and convey all of the information garnered from these professionals.
WHAT ARE SOME THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN A BUYER’S AGENT?
You might talk to the agent’s RECENT CLIENTS. You can ask the agent for their client list from the past year with contact information and ask firsthand about how pleased the client was with the Agent’s performance. You might also check out the Agent’s Zillow Reviews or Facebook Page, depending on which social media platform they use.
Inquire about the Agent’s KNOWLEDGE OF THE MARKET. If you are from out of the area, this is tremendously important as you are relying on the Agent to guide you to the neighborhoods in town that most suit you, to explain the aspects of the market that affect the purchase of real estate, and often to provide you with above and beyond service from a distance as you go on living your life in your current location. For out-of-town home buyers, your Buyer’s Agent will also serve as a tour guide and an educational maven to the area, helping you learn the area, how to navigate it, and really LISTENING to help you discover how the area can best work for YOU. Even as a local buyer, you need a competent Agent that understands and can convey the “temperature” of the market at the time and can help you get the home you desire at the best possible price and terms.
In real estate, finding a Buyer’s Agent with great CHARACTER is important. Knowing that you are dealing with an honest person of integrity is paramount. In real estate, we have a “fiduciary responsibility” to our clients. This means that our clients come FIRST – no matter what. It is our job as a Buyer’s Agent to follow all lawful instruction of our clients, but you also want someone who is honest enough to guide you AWAY from making a decision that is not in your best interest and whose instincts and character you fully trust.
Like any good relationship, you want CHEMISTRY and RAPPORT with your Buyer’s Agent. Buying a home can be exciting and a lot of fun. But it is the biggest purchase most people make, and it can be a time of stress and intensity as well. You can spend many hours riding around the countryside in a car with your Buyer’s Agent, and then you will be communicating with your Agent through each step of the home buying process. In short, you should LIKE your Buyer’s Agent. You should feel comfortable and engaged. The whole process will be much more palatable if you feel this way.
So when you are looking for YOUR Buyer’s Agent, look around until you find that combination of experience, knowledge, competence, character and chemistry that can BEST serve you on YOUR journey to a new home. You’ll be glad you took the time. HAPPY HOME HUNTING!
Written by Julie Tallman, BROKER, realtor. Connect with Julie to see how she can make finding a home easier for you.
Spring Events Around Asheville
Check out our guide below to take advantage of all of the eclectic fun and events Asheville has to offer this time of year!
First, here are a few tips to make sure you make the most out of your time. Spring is a beautiful season in the mountains, but remember that the conditions and temperature can be a little unpredictable. To be prepared and stay comfortable be sure to wear layers and plan for rain.
Now, on to the fun stuff!
Biltmore Blooms: March 20 – May 24
Countless blooms burst forth in every color imaginable at the Biltmore Estate. You can expect to see orchids of all varieties, multi-colored tulips, and daffodils. As we progress into Spring, you can expect to see irises, roses, and azaleas.
Downtown First Fridays Art Walks: April-June (5 p.m. to 8 p.m.)
Discover Asheville’s vibrant art scene as you explore 20 galleries within a half-mile radius of the city center. You can expect to see an array of mediums and practices from fine studio crafts to glass, photography to folk art, and contemporary painting to metalwork.
Donut Festival: April 21st
The Donut Festival in Marion, NC will include all kinds of fun activities – from a half marathon to strolling around the various dessert booths, a donut pageant, and donut eating contest – there will be something for everyone’s sweet tooth!
Weaverville Art Safari: April 28-29 (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
Explore the art scene in Weaverville! This self-guided tour allows you to go behind-the-scenes with artists at your own pace. Get a sneak peek at the art during the preview party on Friday, April 27 from 6-8 p.m.
Carolina Mountain Cheese Festival: April 29th (12 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
Come prepared to taste delicious cheeses, meet the cheesemakers and local livestock, and participate in some friendly competitions at this day-long celebration at Highland Brewing.
Downtown After 5: May – Sep
Presented by the Asheville Downtown Association, this event occurs every month from May – Sep and includes a free concert, food trucks, and plenty of beer from local breweries. This popular event attracts about 5,000 people per event so be sure to plan for parking and remember no pups are allowed within the festival grounds.
Summer of Glass: May – Oct
Dozens of local glass artists, studios and galleries are creating events and exhibits across the Asheville area in conjunction with the Chihuly exhibition at Biltmore. Among other activities, you’ll have the chance to watch demonstrations of glass blowing, glass jewelry making, stained glass, enameling and working with glass beads.
Asheville Herb Festival: May 4-6
Celebrating 29 years as the largest herb festival in the US and Canada, the Asheville Herb Festival is a great opportunity to learn from growers and herbalists, experience various demonstrations, and take advantage of the various soaps, tinctures, and medicinals that will be for sale.
French Broad River Festival: May 4-6
Festival features regional and national recording artists a river raft race, and mountain bike race. Spend the weekend along the banks of the French Broad River in beautiful Hot Springs just 35 miles north of Asheville.
Asheville Bread Festival: May 5-6 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
Experience the newly-revamped Asheville Bread Festival, which offers you the opportunity to work with professional bakers, improve your baking skills and, of course, enjoy delicious breads! This year’s event has a theme of “A Celebration of Rye.” New Belgium Brewery hosts the bread fair event on Saturday with additional workshops and lectures happening around town. Sunday features a Master Class for professional bakers. A pre-festival tour of the Bread Wheat Trial plots will take place Friday, May 4.
LEAF Festival: May 10-13
Join together with thousands of music lovers gathered at beautiful Lake Eden in the nearby town of Black Mountain to experience powerful music, art and culture. This 20-year tradition takes place on the site of the old Historic Black Mountain College. The event is headlined by Ani DiFranco, Snarky Puppy and Rising Appalachia.
Montford Music & Arts Festival: May 19 (10 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
With tree-lined streets and historic homes, Montford Avenue provides the perfect stage for some of the best music, arts and crafts and food trucks together in one place for a one-day event. In this 15th year of the neighborhood festival, more than 20 musical acts will perform continuously throughout the day.
Mountain Sports Festival: May 25-27
Celebrate the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains with other outdoor sports enthusiasts, gear makers, and adventure companies. In addition to adventurous competitions, this free event also features live music and great food!
Asheville Beer Week: May 25-June 2
Cheers to this festival, which dedicates nine full days to celebrating all things beer. Taste great local craft brews, pair beers with a smorgasbord of delicious food, and learn about brewing at events around town. More than 40 breweries are on tap to participate. Beer Week closes with the popular Beer City Festival in Pack Square Park (June 2), which celebrates the local brewing industry with taps from dozens of breweries and plenty of live music.
Black Mountain Art by the Tracks: June 2 (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
More than 50 fine artists and master crafters join together on Sutton Avenue near the Old Train Depot in historic downtown Black Mountain for this 21st annual juried art show and sale. As you explore the art, you’ll also be able to enjoy live music.
VeganFest: June 8-10
Celebrate the vegan lifestyle at its best with plenty of delicious, healthy, plant-based foods. On Saturday, nationally-recognized experts will discuss the latest vegan trends. On Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., enjoy an outdoor festival with more than 75 vendors showcasing vegan food, beer and lifestyle products.
XPand Fest: June 9 (12-9 p.m.)
Expand your vision of all art disciplines during this free outdoor street festival in Asheville’s South Slope Brewery District. The festival is put on by XPand Your Vision, an Asheville-based non-profit organization dedicated to the arts.
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Apart from the numerous festivals, don’t forget to take in all of the natural beauty our mountain town has to offer! There are countless trails to explore, not to mention that we’re in the perfect place to access many national parks and forests like Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Pisgah National Forest and Nantahala National Forest. The Appalachian National Scenic Trail also runs through Asheville and provides lots of opportunities for single or multiday hikes. When hiking, bring sunscreen and/or bug spray – Western North Carolina is a temperate rain forest, which means you’ll likely experience humidity, varying temperatures, and wildlife.
Lover’s Leap Loop is a moderate 1.6 mile trail that steadily ascends Lover’s Leap Ridge in Hot Springs, NC. Panoramic views of the French Broad River and the town of Hot Springs make this a major attraction for hikers and visitors to the area. To access this trail from downtown Hot Springs, follow 25/70 East for .5 miles before turning left onto Silvermine Road. Take the first left to continue following Silvermine Road. Just past the bridge, you’ll see a trailhead for the Silvermine trail. Continue walking down the road, passing the Silvermine Trail, and get on the Appalachian Trail, which is marked with white blazes. Once on the trail, markers indicating Lover’s Loop will be easy to spot.
This 6.2 mile out and back trail sits at 927 feet and is rated moderate. Hikers can expect to see beautiful native flora and fauna all along the trail. To access this trail from Black Mountain, head southeast on Montreat Road toward E State Street. Merge onto NC-9 S and continue on this road for about 15 miles before turning Left onto Shumont Road. The trail head will be located on your right.
Bald Knob Ridge Trail is 2.8 miles up a ridge before reaching a summit which offers breathtaking and expansive views of the Black Mountains. Though the switchbacks on this moderate trail provide for a difficult ascent, the sight from the top is well worth the effort. To get to this hike from Downtown Burnsville, follow directions to Briar Bottom Trail. Instead of pulling in to the parking lot on Forest Service Road 472, continue on until you pass the Buncombe Horse Range Trail Sign. Bald Knob Ridge Trail is marked with a trailhead sign.
With 360 degree views, this 1.5 mile loop affords great views of downtown Asheville and surrounding peaks. Located in Pisgah National Forest, you can access the trailhead from the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Western North Carolina is also home to countless waterfalls so be sure to allot some time to go waterfall hunting. There are a variety that are easily accessible within a short walk from the car. Looking for more of an adventure? Don’t worry, there are also plenty of waterfalls that require a decent hike to get to – the end result is always worth the effort. Dip your toes into the cool waters at the base or on a really hot day go for a swim. Just keep a few things in mind to hike safely: since the rocks surrounding a waterfall are often wet, they’re usually slippery too, so don’t climb, swim or hike on, around or over a waterfall. The best time to visit is usually not after a recent rain: a high-volume waterfall can be dangerous and loses some of its picturesque beauty anyway.
Easy, dog-friendly hike just off of the Blue Ridge Parkway near Brevard. Sliding Rock, Moore Cove Falls, and Pink Beds are also in the area so if you’re going to be South of Asheville be sure to stop and see these beautiful wonders.
At barely a quarter mile, roundtrip, it’s more of a roadside attraction than our conventional definition of a hike. But it’s really, incredibly beautiful. The Dry Falls Trail wraps behind the 65′ waterfall, offering a unique behind-the-falls waterfall view.
It’s not a long hike. But at just over a half mile, round trip, this hike packs a ton of scenic beauty into a short stretch of trail. Hike to two overlooks on the trail to catch views of Upper Whitewater Falls as it tumbles and cascades more than 400 feet. It’s the highest waterfall in North Carolina, and simply stunning.
Rainbow Falls is 3.6 miles round trip. The falls tumbling down over a towering, 150-foot cliff in a single, dramatic drop. Hike this trail from Gorges State Park near Cashiers, NC to a series of spilling falls on the Horsepasture River and abundant summertime wildflowers.
This outstanding hike at DuPont State Forest visits an enormous cascade deep within the park, scoring some serenity at one of DuPont’s lesser-visited (but ultra-beautiful) waterfalls. Hike across a covered bridge over the towering High Falls, visit the banks of the glassy Lake Julia, and then view the unique drops, veils and tendrils of Bridal Veil Falls from a viewing platform and the blocky outcrops at the base of the falls.
Don’t forget about the many activities Asheville has to offer year-round:
Considered to be a ‘museum without walls’ the Asheville Urban Trail is a must-do for art and history lovers alike. This 1.7 mile trail takes you through the streets of downtown Asheville where you’ll experience Asheville’s history as told through 30 stops. Each stop boasts a public sculpture that functions as a landmark on your tour.
This guided tour will take you through downtown Asheville and focus on the diverse architectural history and styles and of area. Experience the impressive array of buildings and experience the city through a historical lens.
The 8,000 acre Biltmore Estate has an array of activities for the whole family including exploring the largest home in the United States, tasting the estate’s own brand of wine at the winery, enjoying the famous gardens, going horseback riding, and many others!
Here is a list of resources to keep you up-to-date:
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