Asheville Mountain Real Estate Blog

Asheville, NC real estate for sale. Information for buyers, sellers and mountain homeowners, without pressure. Rich content for those who are far away about what it is like to live here through the generous use of media. And some nostalgia with our, "Baby Boomers' Fun Stuff", Thanks for stopping by.

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Location: Mars Hill, NC, United States

A small, highly personalized real estate firm specializing in mountain homes and land in greater Asheville.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Asheville Region: Named to Many "Best Of" Lists for Boomers & Retirees
I moved to the Asheville - Wolf Laurel area in 1992. As an avid outdoors person seeking relocation, I have never regretted that decision. Still, I suppose it is nice to see affirmations of one's life choices, like those below.

On the Asheville Chamber of Commerce website recently, I noticed that the area had been named to no less than 42 different "best of" lists in the past 4 years. (Link is here, warning PDF file, a format I do not relish on the web).

So, what kinds of things led to this type of recognition from the likes of , AARP, MSN Money, Forbes, National Geographic, Outside Magazine, USA Today, Parents Magazine, and The Harris Poll among others?

For a quick answer, maybe AARP sums it up best with their criteria:
# Availability of jobs.
# Affordable housing.
# Culture and entertainment (from museums and opera to shopping and sports events).
# Access to outdoor recreation, from skiing and biking to walking and hiking.
# Safety—personal and property safety, and a generally secure feeling.
# Colleges or universities (for continuing education and a multigenerational vibe).
# Sense of community (often places with a vital and walkable downtown).
# Proximity to comprehensive, well-regarded health care facilities.
# Good public high schools, since many boomers still have teens at home.
# Ease of getting around (public transportation, traffic, access to an airport).
Asheville has long been called "The Paris of the South" for its cultural scene. I like the moniker "The Other Moab", for its 4 seasons of recreational opportunities. Again, I will turn to AARP Magazine, who perhaps summed it up best by saying:
7. ASHEVILLE, NC

The university town of Asheville sits in the spot where the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge Mountains meet. Its lively arts scene, short winters, excellent health care, and a dash of bohemian funkiness (lots of acupuncture and rolfing going on) have attracted boomers on the move. The downtown heart of the city (with an impressive collection of Art Deco buildings) has coffeehouses, antiques shops, bookstores, and galleries selling crafts (weaving, pottery) by mountain artists. And civic activism is strong; you'll find impassioned groups working to foster Appalachian music and to protect national forests from logging.

In a town with deep musical roots, the scene is hopping—you might catch live bluegrass one night and contra dancing (lots of promenades and allemandes) the next. But arts options go beyond bluegrass. The Asheville Symphony Orchestra performs September through June, and the Brevard Music Center puts on a summer program of jazz, pop, and classical concerts.

In spring, head to the hills. The Blue Ridge Parkway skirts the edge of town, offering a quick escape to mountain hiking, fishing, whitewater rafting—and views of the dogwoods in bloom.

Readers can catch a quick photo essay of Asheville here from AARP.

Tom Ploski
Contact me if you need help at:
Black Bear Realty Home Page.

Filed Under Categories: Asheville Info, Wolf Laurel Info

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Weekly Feature-
Fun for Baby Boomers:
This Week's Episode: Carole King Live, 1971

Who of us did not hear Carole King in our college dormitories or on the radio? The song here is the title tune from the album, Tapestry, and for me is an anthem for the era
Nice solo performance by Carole.
Enjoy!!



If this clip should be missing, then: Lots More Carole King TV and Concert Performances at this location.


Tom Ploski
Black Bear Realty, Inc
Mountain vacation Homes and land Near Asheville, NC

Filed Under: Fun for Baby Boomers Archive


For Buyers: Measuring Your Ratio of Debt to Equity is Essential But Not Complicated
01/30/07

Bankrate dot com is a website that I occasionally visit during my week. It offers general financial information, indexes, and trends beyond simple real estate. (Note: the site seems to be supported by advertising and "pop ups". The Firefox web browser is impregnable to such annoyances, I cannot speak for other browser experiences such as Internet Explorer, Netscape, etc).

Recently Bankrate revisited an oldie but a goodie from when I was in real estate school in an article entitled "Debt-to-income ratio important as credit score". Don't let the title scare you off, the concepts involved here go no farther than grammar school arithmetic, so anyone can come up with this measure of personal financial viability in the housing market in just a few minutes. This is nothing more than simple addition and division.

Simply put, your debt to income ratio can be defined as follows:
Divide all of your "recurring debt" by your total monthly income, the result is a percentage and loan officers mostly look for this number to be less than 36%. "Recurring debt" ONLY includes monthly payments such as mortgage or rent, (Mortgage should include PITI, that is, principal + interest + taxes + insurance), payments for home equity loans, minimum payments on credit card debt, student loan payments, automobile loans, and any other types of loans. Recurring debt does not include transportation, gasoline, food, entertainment, dry cleaning and other day to day living expenses.


Let's look at a couple who earns $125,000/year, which would be $10,416.66/month. If this couple has a mortgage payment of $1,600/month, plus two automobile loans which total $750/month, minimum credit card payments of $329/month, and student loans of $102/month, then their "recurring debt" would be $2,781/month. Their debt to equity ratio is then $2,781/$10,416.66 = 26.7%.

This is a healthy situation for our mythical couple because the majority of loan officers use 36% as an indication of risk on the part of the lender. Understanding this simple concept can be an aid when considering what kinds of homes one should be viewing in the case of a new purchase. Simply multiply your monthly income by 36%, and this number will be your maximum recurring debt. from here, it is a simple step to determine the maximum amount of mortgage payment that you can undertake, and in turn, the price range of homes that are within your reach as far as a lending instituion would be concerned.

Bankrate has a debt to equity calculator at this link, and whole series of financial calulators at this location.

As a final note on debt, should you or anyone you know ever need debt management, my advice is to follow this maxim: It is not necessary to pay money to a debt relief firm for help. There is nothing that anyone can do for you for money, that you cannot do yourself for free. The Federal Trade Commission offers a heap of consumer advice on this and other consumer topics at this link.

Tom Ploski
Thanks for reading, please feel free to visit The Black Bear Realty Home Page.

Filed in the: Tips for Buyers Archive


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Launch: The Asheville Real Estate Blog
01/28/07


Searching Google, Blogger, and Technorati for something like 20 minutes indicates that this site is possibly the first real estate blog to cover Greater Asheville and North to the Wolf Laurel area in Madison County.

This is the high country that impressively rises as one heads north from Asheville, a mere 25 miles or so, toward the TN border and reaches elevations above 6,000 feet. The photos in this post are from the back porch of The Wolf Laurel Country Club. The one above shows Big Bald Mountain in winter, (elevation 5,512 feet), while the photo below looks NW towards The Black Mountains of Mitchell County.

These are the highest mountains in the USA, east of The Missisippi River. The Wolf Laurel course is said to be the highest golf course in the eastern US, and the scenery in the photos is typical of what one sees when living, working, relaxing or recreating in this part of the world. Pretty impressive stuff.

My intentions for this blog are to first be a source of insights for people interested in what it is like to live here. Readers should therefore plan to see a softness on the sales side of the equation. What you will find instead wlll range from local arts and cultural happenings, to local government and political issues, to hard analysis and data on Western North Carolina's Mountain real estate markets.

How else can one really make an informed decision on their next real estate purchase? In short, what I hope you find here is the kind of information that goes beyond soliciting your business, but instead is a slice of life in the mountains and solid information on locaI markets, without sales pressure.

I believe these mountains to be one of the premier areas of the country for quality of life. I hope you find what you're looking for in making your decision, I will be glad to assist, and good luck.

Tom Ploski
Thanks for stopping by, feel free to visit The Black Bear Realty Home Page.

Filed Under Asheville Items & Wolf Laurel Archive

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Fun for Baby Boomers

Items Posted From Oldest to Newest

If You Like Our Blog, Come and Visit The Black Bear Realty Home Page

MUSIC FROM OUR LIVES
Aug 7, 1955: Birth of the Transistor Radio with The Everly Brothers
Death of Gordon Waller from Peter and Gordon
Carole King Video 1971, (3 Minutes)
Honoring the 50th anniversary of Stax Records in Memphis, TN.
Mashed Potatoes From 1962:
Resolving an International Trivia Debate:
Herman's Hermits:
Gary Lewis and the Playboys:
1962: (If You Should Lose Me) You'll Lose A Good Thing:
The Lovin' Spoonful:
1965 - 1968: The Turtles:
The Mamas and The Papas:
The Beach Boys - 1964:
Chris Montez - 1966:
Ricky Nelson, 1963:
Flashback - September 20, 1973:
Dusty Springfield 1963:
1960's Dance Crazes: The Orlons and The Wah-Watusi, from 1962.

TELEVISION & NEWS
The Flintstones Pushing Winston Cigarettes:
1960's Lessons About Gender Roles:
Miles' Nervine: What a commercial.
Flashback - September 20, 1973:
Flashback September 26, 1960: The Kennedy-Nixon Debates,
Two Great Moments in Aviation?:
Remco Toys: Slogan-"Every boy wants a Remco toy....and so do girls".
1959: Clutch Cargo Cartoon Clip: With his pals Spinner and Paddlefoot.
1960 Goodyear Tire Commercial: "Goodyear..for when there's no man around."

Taste of Mountain Life Archive

If you have enjoyed our blog, then please feel free to visit our website: www.blackbearre.com

Articles Posted in Categories

LIVING IN GENERAL
REI Opens New Store in Asheville, Mars Hill Gets New Radio Station
Election 2008: How Did The Mountain Counties Vote?

Asheville Slide Show: Just a quick shuffling of recreational & cultural opportunities in the Ashevegas, Wolf Laurel Area.

Asheville Walkability, Etc: Asheville has a walkscore of 95/100, it's the latest in hipness. A few weekend things to do while walking downtown.

Drought and Black Bears: yep, we get periodic droughts, and that brings black bears closer to humans in their search for food. Outbound links and advice for proper behavior.

SIGHTS & ATTRACTIONS
The Synchronous Fireflies of Elkmont, Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Mid June each year, one of the natural and rare wonders of the planet, seriously.

Weekend Stuff: Typical early November in Asheville. Two film festivals, a studio stroll and more.

Asheville on the Weekend: Periodic list of typical opportunities in the area for entertainment, recreation, etc.

Asheville Wine and Wineries Information: Much of NC's 10th ranked wine industry is centered in the mountains in and near Asheville. This is a collection of links and information about the wines, wineries, and wine tours in the area.

CULTURAL & MUSICAL ITEMS

Summertime Repertory Theater in Mars Hill, NC: A small look at The Southern Appalachian Repertory Theater, or SART, and the Summer 2007 calendar.

Theater Review: Just a nod to The Southern Appalachian Repertory Theater, (SART), on a recently published and highly favorable review.

Things to Do in Asheville: This is a specific notice of a Western North Carolina Jazz Society event with Monty Alexander, but includes outbound links for future reference. Includes 3:29 video performance.

Asheville on the Weekend: David Crosby, Graham Nash, and Fall Festivals With Video.

Dual Asheville Film Festivals: Drawing more than 35,000 visitors, an annual event.

RECREATION & OUTDOORS
Asheville Area White Water Rafting Vol I: Water levels in rivers get low in summertime. How to get the trip you pictured, and the most value for your dollar from a 35 year white water veteran. Information on age requirements, and different trip styles as they relate to you.

White Water Rafting Vol2, reviewing Asheville white water rafting trips, and finding the best options during dry summers. real time water data, and veteran suggestions about where are the best choices for fun.

Resources for Biking and Mountain Biking Near Asheville: Everything from local clubs, to etiquette, maps, and best local rides. Have fun.

Hot Doggett 100 Bike Race, and More: Second annual Hot Doggett event in Mars Hill on 07/14/07. This post includes links to The Asheville Citizen Times Outdoor Calendar as well.

FESTIVALS & EVENTS
Carolina Mornings to host MANNA Food Bank Holiday Event.
Summer Fling Things to Do: Destinations, and events for the weekend, including real time information and calendars.

Asheville Events: Focus on upcoming annual festivals for the fall.

The North Carolina Mountain State Fair: For two weekends each September, this posting contains information on Asheville's version of an American, Autumnal classic, the country fair. Complete with 3 min video from past fairs.
Asheville on the Weekend: David Crosby, Graham Nash, and Fall Festivals With Video.

Independence Day: Regional events and references.

FALL COLORS FORECASTS
Fall Color Forecast: Things look very optimistic for this years show of Autumn colors here in the Western mountains.

Latest Foliage Forecast: Includes real time slide show and forecast for coming weekends!

October 16, 2007 Fall Colors and Photos

October 19, 2007 Fall Photos and Festivals.

October 20, 2007 Fall Photos

National Market News

If You have enjoyed our blog, then please feel free to visit our website: www.BlackBearRE.com

News, Analysis, Our Perspective
Why Can't Real Estate Be Like Gasoline? Supply and demand remain dominant over all else.
Four Essentials For Buyers and Sellers: Basic thoughts to see the forest through the trees.
The Bailout: How much have we spent, what's it add up to?
Post Election: What's It mean For Real Estate?
What The Cleavers Teach Us About Real Estate and Rhetoric
Getting Behind The Headlines: Good illustration of how to navigate housing data and the media.
Un-Spinning the National Housing Statistics:
Pertinent News: Early 2009 On and Off The Radar
April, 2009: Bank Stress Tests Explained: Nifty 2 minute Wall Street Journal video
Things We Read: Economics Edition
Case-Schiller Index: Faint Praise for Prices
July, 2009 News Bits on Mortgages, Delinquencies, etc
Personal Consumption Expenditures: June, 2009

STATISTICAL & SUPPLY/DEMAND ANALYSIS
It is with some pride that we note our objectivity here, a commitment to information, as opposed to sales spin.
FEB, 2007: making Honest Sense of Housing Stats
JUNE, 2007 National Housing Statistics
JULY, 2007 National Market Video Review and Forecast
July 2007 National Housing Statistics
August 2007 National Housing Statistics:
September, 2007 National Market Numbers
October, 2007 Competing Views of the Market
September, 2007 Real Estate Statistics.
October, 2007 Real Estate Statistics
November, 2007 Housing Statistics
December, 2007 Housing Statistics
2007 Real Estate Recap
January, 2008 National Real Estate Statistics
February, 2008 Housing Statistics
March, 2008 Real Estate Data
April, 2008 Housing Data
May 2008 Housing Starts Up? Not Really
May, 2008 Real Estate Numbers
June, 2008 Real Estate Data
July, 2008 Real Estate Statistics
August, 2008 Housing Statistics
September, 2008 Housing Data
October, 2008 Real Estate Statistics
November, 2008 Market Data
December, 2008 Real Estate Data
January, 2009 Real Estate Market Data
February, 2009 Real Estate Statistics
March, 2009 Real Estate Market Data
April, 2009 Real Estate Statistics
Behind The Headlines: Housing Starts For May, 2009
Existing Home Sales, May 2009
New Home Sales, May, 2009
Pending Home Sales, May, 2009
May, 2009 Statistical Roundup
June, 2009 Housing Permits, Starts, etc
June, 2009 Existing Home Sales
June, 2009 New Home Sales

Graphically Speaking: A semi regular posting of big picture, economic graphs
Graphically Speaking: A Set of Big Picture Graphs to Guide The New President

MISCELLANY
Online Advertising Scam Uses National Association of Realtors
Ikea Now Sells Kit Homes
Mancave: Gender based ideas about rooms and space.

Asheville Items Archive

If You have enjoyed our blog, then please feel free to visit our website: www.blackbearre.com

Posted in Categories
01/28/07
Launching The Asheville Real Estate Blog: A few words about the area, and our philosophies, which pledge hard data and information above rhetoric.

Asheville Markets and Analysis
May, 2008: Building Permits Dive Locally By 50%
Finding The Mechanisms of Greater Asheville Real Estate
December, 2008: Reassessing Greater Asheville
Asheville Region, 2008 Market Summary
Asheville's List of 2008 Stories
Early 2009 Real Estate Trends
Feb 2009: Shadow Inventory in Greater Asheville
Economic Development Coalition: January, 2009 Update
Economic Development Coalition: February, 2009 Update
Feb. 2009 Asheville vs. National Statistics
March, 2009 National and Asheville Numbers
March, 2009 Economic Development Commission Report
April, 2009 Asheville Real Estate Market Data
Greater Asheville Market: Mid Year 2009
2009 Travel, Toursim, and Asheville's Real Estate Market
May, 2009 Economic Snapshot
Asheville in the Media: Aug, 2009

Mountain Weather, Geography, Topography
May 2009: Multi Year Drought Alleviating?
What is Walkability? Asheville's got It
Basic Primer: Why Mountain Weather Varies by Location
The Lapse Rate: A Special Factor of Mountain Life
Orographic Lift: The Higher You Go, The More it Rains
Microclimates: My neighbor can grow petunias and I can't?

ASHEVILLE'S "BEST OF" DESIGNATIONS
Best Trout Towns, and Southern Living Readers Poll
Best Dog Friendly Resorts, and Good Morning America
Two More Best of Designation: Arts and Business
Asheville and Its Artists
Enthusiasm, Asheville, and Economic Well Being.
Asheville Region Named to Numerous "Best Of" Lists For Boomers and Retirees
Asheville Area Makes Sperling's "Best Places to Live" at #8: Who is Bert Sperling?
Outside Magazine: Asheville Among "America's Best Outdoor Cities"
More "Best Places to Live Designations for Asheville
Interview With Bert Sperling: The man who chooses the best places to live.

RECREATION, ATTRACTIONS, FESTIVALS &...
May, 2009 Even More Festival Info
Spring Festival Calendar: 2009
Earth Day, 2009 in Asheville
Easter, 2009 Weekend Updates and Things To Do
Asheville, Arts and The River Arts District
Ski Conditions and The Drought; Looking Better 12/22/08
Best Times to Visit Asheville: from tourism industry insiders, tips on the benefits of visiting during the so called off-season.

Asheville Area White Water Rafting Vol I: Water levels in rivers get low in summertime. How to get the trip you pictured, and the most value for your dollar from a 35 year white water veteran. Information on age requirements, and different trip styles as they relate to you.

White Water Rafting and the DroughT Vol 2: reviewing Asheville white water rafting trips, and finding the best options during dry summers. real time water data, and veteran suggestions about where are the best choices for fun.

Bele Chere: The largest street festival in the south, Asheville's annual Bele Chere.

Things to Do in Asheville: This is a specific notice of a Western North Carolina Jazz Society event with Monty Alexander, but includes outbound links for future reference. Includes 3:29 video performance.

Asheville Events: Focus on upcoming annual festivals for the fall.

Trout Fishing: An important part of the Western NC economy, this posting is a collection of links on stream flows, licenses, campgrounds, and trout etiquette during dry periods.

Video Tour of Downtown Asheville: 4 minute video found on Google, with some relaxing music and a good number of architectural views, a feeling of what it is like to "be downtown" for those not familiar.

Asheville Wine and Wineries Information: Much of NC's 10th ranked wine industry is centered in the mountains in and near Asheville. This is a collection of links and information about the wines, wineries, and wine tours in the area.

Resources for Biking and Mountain Biking Near Asheville: Everything from local clubs, to etiquette, maps, and best local rides. Have fun.

Hot Doggett 100 Bike Race, and More: Second annual Hot Doggett event in Mars Hill on 07/14/07. This post includes links to The Asheville Citizen Times Outdoor Calendar as well.

Summer Fling Things to Do: Destinations, and events for the weekend, including real time information and calendars.

FALL COLOR FORECASTS
09/10/07
Fall Color Forecast: Things look very optimistic for this years show of Autumn colors here in the Western mountains.
10/10/07
Latest Foliage Forecast: Includes real time slide show and forecast for coming weekends!

LOCAL NEWS, DEVELOPMENT ISSUES & MISCELLANEOUS
June, 2009 News, Developments & Economics
Asheville and the Weekend: March 27-28-29
March, 2009 News Roundup
Jan, 2009 Local News Bits
Feb, 2009 News Bits, Bankruptcies, and The Weekend on a Shoestring
Energy in Asheville: World's largest use of residential solar, and other renewables in the region.
From Forbes Magazine: A fun list of "Ten Trophy Home Must Haves", ranging from copper bath tubs to an $800,000 computer screen, or $1 million stereo speakers.
Local News Bits: Just a few current topics and news stories involving subdivisions, alcohol sales, and life in the mountains.
12/26/08: No White Christmas This Year

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Wolf Laurel Items Archive

If you have enjoyed our blog, then please feel free to visit our website: blackbearre.com

Articles Posted From Oldest to Newest

01/28/07
Launching This Blog: A few words about the area, and my basic philosophies.

02/01/07
Asheville/Wolf Laurel Region Has Been Named to Numerous Prestigious "Best Of" Lists For Boomers and Retirees. Just a few quick links and observations about what life here is like.

02/15/07
A Closer Look at Home Valuation Sites Like Zillow or HomeGain in a Resort Micro- Market:A quick rundown and demonstration of the drawbacks to putting too much faith in valuation sites for sellers, or in the completeness of listings if you are a buyer.

06/10/07
Asheville Area Makes Sperling's "Best Places to Live" at #8: A quick look at the criteria and an invitation to peruse our media.

06/20/07
Another Look at Automated Valuations in a Mountain Micro Market: These tools remain plagued by incomplete and untimely data. These aspects are magnified in a small resort micro market. A human being remains your best bet for such questions.

06/29/07
Summertime Repertory Theater in Mars Hill, NC: A small look at The Southern Appalachian Repertory Theater, or SART, and the Summer 2007 calendar.

07/01/07
Asheville Area White Water Rafting: Water levels in rivers get low in summertime. How to get the trip you pictured, and the most value for your dollar from a 35 year white water veteran. Information on age requirements, and different trip styles as they relate to you.

07/03/07
Independence Day: Regional events and references.

07/06/07
About Log Homes: Just some introductory information and outbound links about topics ranging from basic mistakes, to wiring, to design evaluations.


07/07/07
Trout Fishing: An important part of the Western NC economy, this posting is a collection of links on stream flows, licenses, campgrounds, and trout etiquette during dry periods.

07/09/07
Asheville Wine and Wineries Information: Much of NC's 10th ranked wine industry is centered in the mountains in and near Asheville. This is a collection of links and information about the wines, wineries, and wine tours in the area.

07/10/07
Resources for Biking and Mountain Biking Near Asheville: Everything from local clubs, to etiquette, maps, and best local rides. Have fun.

07/11/07
Theater Review: Just a nod to The Southern Appalachian Repertory Theater, (SART), on a recently published and highly favorable review.

07/13/07
Hot Doggett 100 Bike Race, and More: Second annual Hot Doggett event in Mars Hill on 07/14/07. This post includes links to The Asheville Citizen Times Outdoor Calendar as well.

07/14/07
White Water Rafting and the Drought: Vol 2, reviewing Asheville white water rafting trips, and finding the best options during dry summers. real time water data, and veteran suggestions about where are the best choices for fun.

07/16/07
Thinking of Renting Your Second Home?: Considerations on how to avoid certain pitfalls when renting you second home on your own.

07/17/07
Outside Magazine names Asheville as one of "America's Best Outdoor Cities": Links to the text of the magazine's article, and reprises the outdoor activity articles that we have written on our blog previously. Includes white water rafting, fishing, fly fishing, biking, and more.

07/22/07
From Forbes Magazine: A fun list of "Ten Trophy Home Must Haves", ranging from copper bath tubs to an $800,000 computer screen, or $1 million stereo speakers.

07/24/07
Thoughts on Owning Golf Course Homes: A collection of thoughts from savvy area residents, and experienced golf home owners about everything from cart noise to fairway sprinkler systems.

07/25/07
Bele Chere: Information on the 2007 edition of the largest street festival in the south, Asheville's annual Bele Chere.

07/30/07
Composite Decks: A large primer on this growing material, includes numerous outbound links to separate reality from myth.

08/01/07
Mountain Landscaping: Discussion on the advantages of using native vegetation in terms of soil stabilization and ease of upkeep. Includes outbound links to plant selectors, light, and water considerations.

08/10/07
Buying a Second Home, The Basics: the purchase of a second home has a slightly different set of logic, questions and concerns than for a primary residence. Financing, taxes, timing your purchase, insurance, and the prospect of renting said home are covered here.

08/11/07
The Perseid Meteor Shower Visits: Annual event, with tips for viewing, times, etc. A must see from a light pollution free area such as Madison County.

08/15/07
Local News Bits: Just a few current topics and news stories involving subdivisions, alcohol sales, and life in the mountains.

08/18/07
Summer Fling Things to Do: Destinations, and events for the weekend, including real time information and calendars.

08/20/07
Best Times to Visit Asheville: from tourism industry insiders, tips on the benefits of visiting during the so called off-season.

08/21/07
Mountain Landscaping Ideas and Workshops: More on the wisdom of using native plants, including links to local landscaping workshops and online resources.

Tips for Sellers Archive

If you have enjoyed our blog, then please feel free to visit our website: blackbearre.com

Articles Posted in Categories

VALUATION
A Closer Look at Home Valuation Sites Like Zillow or HomeGain in a Resort Micro- Market:A quick rundown and demonstration of the drawbacks to putting too much faith in valuation sites for sellers, or in the completeness of listings if you are a buyer.

Another Look at Automated Valuations in a Mountain Micro Market: These tools remain plagued by incomplete and untimely data. These aspects are magnified in a small resort micro market. A human being remains your best bet for such questions.

STATISTICS & MARKET ANALYSES
All Real Estate Data, Statistics, and market analysis for sellers have been moved to this archive.

INSURANCE & RELATED ITEMS
Home Warranties: The Do's and Dont's
Resources for Buyers, Sellers, and Mountain Home Owners:
Resources for Buyers, Sellers, and Mountain Home Owners:

STAGING A HOME FOR SALE
Professional Home Staging: Worth Paying For?:
Staging a Home For Sale:
Staging a Home For Sale For $100:
Staging a Home on $500.00:
Staging a Home For Sale: From $100 to $5,000:
Fake Home Staging:

HOME IMPROVEMENTS & ROI, (Return on Investment)
Home Improvement Scams: Resources and references for spotting home improvement scammers in advance, including some little covered aspects pertinent to the mountains.

CNN Money: A look at five home renovation fads, and "the right way and the wrong way" to go about it. Includes other resources for readers.

ROI: Return on Investment in Matters of Home Improvement Projects: Some outbound links and analysis from the likes of Forbes, and Money CNN.

Home Improvements & ROI Vol 2: Ideas to double one's money in certain common areas, with short video from The Today Show. Projects include, decks, fireplaces, laundry rooms, 2 car garages, and the kitchen.

Manspace: Men of the house have always had workshops or studies that were there private enclaves. This posting looks at recent trends for such gender based retreats in the media.

MAINTENANCE & EFFICIENCIES
Fall Home Maintenance: Good set of resources and outbound links to remind ourselves of those "get ready for winter" items that might impact a sale.

Comparing Costs of Various Popular Heating Fuels: A pretty good tool for buyers or sellers to estimate the dollars it will take to heat that dream home. easy grade school arithmetic.

Fireplace Efficiency: Whether you heat with gas logs or wood, this is a good source of information on saving money through heat loss. Applicable to our mountain region.

ABOUT LOG HOMES
About Log Homes: Just some introductory information and outbound links about topics ranging from basic mistakes, to wiring, to design evaluations.

Log Home Maintenance for Fall: Covers some considerations about winter preparation for log homes in particular.

LANDSCAPING & YARDS
Mountain Landscaping: Discussion on the advantages of using native vegetation in terms of soil stabilization and ease of upkeep. Includes outbound links to plant selectors, light, and water considerations.

Mountain Landscaping Ideas and Workshops: More on the wisdom of using native plants, including links to local landscaping workshops and online resources.

MISCELLANEOUS
10/03/07
News Roundup: Tidbits and outbound links to items of curiosity, taxes, and market analysis from around the web.

Tips for Buyers Archive

If you have enjoyed our blog, then please feel free to visit our website: BlackBearRE.com

Articles Posted in Categories

FINANCE & VALUATION
Measuring Your Debt to Equity Ratio Made Simple: Grammar school arithmetic for anyone.

A Closer Look at Home Valuation Sites Like Zillow or HomeGain in a Resort Micro- Market
An Updated Look at Automated Valuations in a Mountain Micro Market

INSURANCE & SECOND HOMES
Home Warranties: The Do's and Dont's
Monitoring Your Second Home From Home
Resources for Buyers, Sellers, and Mountain Home Owners
An Overview of Home Insurance Resources:
Insurance and Your Second Home

STATISTICS & MARKET ANALYSES
All Real Estate Data, Statistics, and analysis for buyers have been moved to this archive.

BUYING SECOND HOMES & LAND
Buying a Second Home or Lot, The Basics: the purchase of a second home has a slightly different set of logic, questions and concerns than for a primary residence. Financing, taxes, timing your purchase, insurance, and the prospect of renting said home are covered here.
Building a Second Home?
Buying Mountain Land?
Matters of Timing When Buying or Selling Vacation Homes and Land

HOME IMPROVEMENT & ROI, (Return on Investment)
Does Granite Emit Radon?: Information to test.
Chinese Drywall, Odors, Corrosion and Human Health
Home Improvement Scams
Fireplace Efficiency
From CNN Money: A look at five home renovation fads, and "the right way and the wrong way" to go about it. Includes other resources for readers.
ROI: Return on Investment in Matters of Home Improvement Projects
Home Improvements & ROI Vol 2
Composite Decks Anyone?
Manspaces: aka Mancaves

LANDSCAPING & YARDS
Mountain Landscaping: Using native vegetation, plant selectors, light, and water considerations.
Mountain Landscaping Ideas and Workshops

RENTING SECOND HOMES
Considerations on Attracting Renters to Your Second Home
Thinking of Renting Your Second Home?

MAINTENANCE, ENERGY EFFICIENCIES & GOING GREEN
Comparing Costs of Different Heating Fuels: Several tools to assist in efficiency, upkeep, and the cost of running a home.

Going Green: Resources and discussion of the economics of implementing energy efficient devices into new or existing homes.

Fall Home Maintenance: Good set of resources and outbound links to remind ourselves of those "get ready for winter" items that might impact a home purchase.

Comparing Costs of Various Popular Heating Fuels: A pretty good tool for buyers or sellers to estimate the dollars it will take to heat that dream home. easy grade school arithmetic.

ABOUT LOG & GOLF COURSE HOMES
About Log Homes: Just some introductory information and outbound links about topics ranging from basic mistakes, to wiring, to design evaluations.

Log Home Maintenance for Fall: Covers some considerations about winter preparation for log homes in particular.

Thoughts on Owning Golf Course Homes: A collection of thoughts from savvy area residents, and experienced golf home owners about everything from cart noise to fairway sprinkler systems.

AREA ATTRACTIONS & RECREATION
Asheville Area Makes Sperling's "Best Places to Live" at #8: A quick look at the criteria and an invitation to peruse our media.

Asheville Area White Water Rafting: Water levels in rivers get low in summertime. How to get the trip you pictured, and the most value for your dollar from a 35 year white water veteran. Information on age requirements, and different trip styles as they relate to you.

White Water Rafting and the Drought: Vol 2, reviewing Asheville white water rafting trips, and finding the best options during dry summers. real time water data, and veteran suggestions about where are the best choices for fun.

Independence Day: Regional events and references.

Trout Fishing: An important part of the Western NC economy, this posting is a collection of links on stream flows, licenses, campgrounds, and trout etiquette during dry periods.

Video Tour of Downtown Asheville: 4 minute video found on Google, with some relaxing music and a good number of architectural views, a feeling of what it is like to "be downtown" for those not familiar.

Asheville Wine and Wineries Information: Much of NC's 10th ranked wine industry is centered in the mountains in and near Asheville. This is a collection of links and information about the wines, wineries, and wine tours in the area.

Resources for Biking and Mountain Biking Near Asheville: Everything from local clubs, to etiquette, maps, and best local rides. Have fun.

Asheville Images: Just a shuffling slide show of recreational and cultural opportunities in the greater Wolf Laurel area.

Outside Magazine names Asheville as one of "America's Best Outdoor Cities": Links to the text of the magazine's article, and reprises the outdoor activity articles that we have written on our blog previously. Includes white water rafting, fishing, fly fishing, biking, and more.

More "Best Places to Live Designations for Asheville: Asheville tops two more of these lists. This time accolades come from Outside Magazine and Relocate America.

Best Times to Visit Asheville: from tourism industry insiders, tips on the benefits of visiting during the so called off-season.

MISCELLANEOUS
10/03/07
News Roundup: Tidbits and outbound links to items of curiosity, taxes, and market analysis from around the web.

Attractions, Recreation, Etc

Items Arranged In Categories

SIGHTS & ATTRACTIONS
Pick Your Own: Greater Asheville's Organic Farms and Tailgate Markets
Local Food Resources in Asheville
Of Beer and Budgets
The Synchronous Fireflies of Elkmont, Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Asheville: Best Beer City USA and Review of Asheville Breweries
Asheville on the Weekend
Asheville Wine and Wineries Information

UNIQUELY ASHEVILLE ITEMS

Labor Day Weekend: 2009
Tomatoes, Organic Fest, and More
Bele Chere 2009
July 11, 12, 16, 17, 2009
July 4th Weekend Cool Stuff
Cool Things Thru June 7
Events Weekend of 05/29
Summertime Repertory Theater in Mars Hill, NC
Theater Review: A nod to The Southern Appalachian Repertory Theater.
Dual Asheville Film Festivals: Drawing more than 35,000 visitors, an annual event.

RECREATION & OUTDOORS
2009 White Water Rafting Resources
Asheville Area White Water Rafting Vol I:
White Water Rafting Vol2
Trout Fishing:
Resources for Biking and Mountain Biking Near Asheville:
Hot Doggett 100 Bike Race, and More:
2007-2008 Ski Season and the Drought

Home Inspections Archive


If you have enjoyed our blog, then please feel free to visit our website: blackbearre.com

Articles Posted From oldest to Newest

09/04/07
Intro to Home Inspections: Brief overview of the process, and the inaugural edition by guest poster, Don Miller of WNC Inspections.

Second Home Issues

Articles Arranged In Categories

Buying/Selling Second Homes & Land
Buying a Second Home or Lot, The Basics: the purchase of a second home has a slightly different set of logic, questions and concerns than for a primary residence. Financing, taxes, timing your purchase, insurance, and the prospect of renting said home are covered here.

Building a Second Home: Thoughts and resources that cover everything from searching for the land, to choosing and working with contractors, architects, and landscapers.

Buying Mountain Land: Collection of Links and articles that overview the process of buying raw land, including wells, driveways, septic systems and even "dowsing".

Matters of Timing When Buying or Selling Vacation Homes and Land: A look at the basics of seasonal cycles in resort market real estate sales. Insights for both parties in a vacation home transaction.

Insurance on Second Homes
Monitoring Your Second Home From Home: A little look into 21st century methods to monitor your mountain home from a distance.

Resources for Buyers, Sellers, and Mountain Home Owners: A First installment of information and links on topics ranging from second home insurance to monthly upkeep.

An Overview of Home Insurance Resources: Includes topics for second homes and empty nesters, as well as disaster tips

Insurance and Your Second Home: Find discounts, and tips for optimizing insurance costs and coverage for your second home.

Renting Your Vacation Home?
Considerations on Attracting Renters to Your Second Home: Stems for a NY Times article, with some first hand experience thrown in.

Thinking of Renting Your Second Home?: Considerations on how to avoid certain pitfalls when renting you second home on your own.

Vacation Home Rental Income in Western North Carolina: Looks at 3 basic rules and how this applies to making a profit or simply defraying costs of ownership.

Gasoline, Vacations, and Second Home Rentals: How rising costs for gasoline can be a boon for second home rentals.

Awards and Notices We Have Received

If you have enjoyed our blog, then please feel free to visit our website: BlackBearRE.com

The Carnival of Real Estate
The Carnival of Real Estate is a moderated event that judges the best writing in the real estate blogosphere each week.

12/22/08: Why Can't Gasoline Be Like Real Estate?: A look at the nature of supply and demand in two markets. Hopefully useful to buyers and sellers. The list of other winners in this edition can be found here.

Consumer Focused Carnival of Real Estate:
11/30/08: Our article on how to easily compare the costs of different heating fuels for home owners, buyers, or sellers.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Tips for Homeowners

If you enjoy our blog, then please feel free to visit our website: blackbearre.com

02/19/07
Monitoring

Insurance and Taxes
The Anomaly of Rising Property Taxes and Falling Values
Property Taxes Revisited: Falling State Revenues
The Funny Side of Property Taxes: Finally explaining how tax assessors work.
Monitoring Your Second Home From Home: 21st century methods to monitor from a distance.

Resources for Buyers, Sellers, and Mountain Homeowners

Insurance and Your Second Home: Discounts, and tips for optimizing insurance costs.

An Overview of Home Insurance Resources: Includes topics for second homes and empty nesters, as well as disaster tips.

HOME IMPROVEMENT AND ROI, (Return on Investment)
Does Granite Emit Radon?: Information to test.
Chinese Drywall, Corrosion, Odors, and Human Health

Home Improvement Scams

CNN Money: A look at five home renovation fads, and "the right way and the wrong way" to go about it. Includes other resources for readers.

ROI: Home Improvement Projects Vol 1
Home Improvements Vol 2

Composite Decks: A large primer on this growing material, includes numerous outbound links to separate reality from myth about composites.

Manspace: Men of the house have always had workshops or studies that were there private enclaves. This posting looks at recent trends for such gender based retreats in the media.

STAGING: It's Really Just Renovation of a Sort
Staging a Home on $500.00: Great tips for homes that tend to be dark, or have small rooms. Includes a staging video from The Today Show on NBC.

Staging a Home For Sale: From $100 to $5,000: Another in our series on staging a home, includes a Today Show video on what can be accomplished. Good insights for homes that are dark, using space, leasing furniture, and typical buyer perceptions.

THINKING OF RENTING YOUR HOME OUT?
Considerations on Attracting Renters to Your Second Home: Stems for a NY Times article, with some first hand experience thrown in.

Thinking of Renting Your Second Home?: Considerations on how to avoid certain pitfalls when renting you second home on your own.

MAINTENANCE & EFFICIENCIES
Comparing Costs of Different Heating Fuels: Several tools to assist in efficiency, upkeep, and the cost of running a home.

Going Green: Resources and discussion of the economics of implementing energy efficient devices into new or existing homes.

Fireplace Efficiency: Whether you heat with gas logs or wood, this is a good source of information on saving money through heat loss. Applicable to our mountain region.

Fall Home Maintenance: Good set of resources and outbound links to remind ourselves of those "get ready for winter" items.

Autumn Leaves: Video from "Ask The Builder" as to simple leaf removal.

GOLF COURSE HOMES & LOG HOMES
07/06/07
About Log Homes: Just some introductory information and outbound links about topics ranging from basic mistakes, to wiring, to design evaluations.

Log Home Maintenance for Fall: Covers some considerations about winter preparation for log homes in particular.

Thoughts on Owning Golf Course Homes: A collection of thoughts from savvy area residents, and experienced golf home owners about everything from cart noise to fairway sprinkler systems.

LANDSCAPING & YARDS
Mountain Landscaping: Discussion on the advantages of using native vegetation in terms of soil stabilization and ease of upkeep. Includes outbound links to plant selectors, light, and water considerations.

Mountain Landscaping Ideas and Workshops: More on the wisdom of using native plants, including links to local landscaping workshops and online resources.

Retaining Water in Potted Plants: Periodic droughts can stress house plants. This post links to a series of videos and information on home gardening.

Links About Living Here
The Largest Collection of Asheville/Wolf Laurel Links on the Web


My original plan was to have extensive links for in depth information about living here. to reside on this blog. As the construction process evolved, those links ended up on our Black Bear Realty Website on This Page. Lots of stuff, including many slide show images, hope it works as well for those of you who are far away as I intended.


Thanks For Stopping By,
Tom Ploski
Black Bear Realty, Inc Home Page
Anti Spam Graphic: tom AT blackbearre DOT com
828 689 2055