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.

My Photo
Location: Mars Hill, NC, United States

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

Monday, July 30, 2007

Composite Decks: Questions, Concerns, and Information

In the mountains around Asheville, Mars Hill, NC, and Wolf Laurel Resort, decks are a popular feature. With the climate here, these outdoor havens are usable throughout a good part of the year, and hardly any new home is built without a deck of some sort. Thus, it is useful to examine some recent trends.

Composite decks have gained popularity. The market share for composites has grown by 25% annually, but just some cursory Googling reveals that this variety of construction is not without its questions, comments, criticisms, and concerns. The point here would be to proceed as one wishes, but to do so, armed with information, and to avoid surprises.

The outbound links below will illuminate a number of issues about composite materials in deck construction, which we will endeavor to condense here. Specifically it is mentioned from more than one source that composite decks are apparently not:

maintenance free, necessarily better than wood, cheaper than wood, necessarily meet building codes without additional requirements, free from expansion, qualify as building materials, free from mold and mildew, fade and stain resistant, nor do they last forever, except possibly in landfills.

The Biggest Questions: This is a somewhat lengthy article that gets high search results. The top of the page is a 2007 update from an original 2004 overview, which can be found in the bottom half of the page. It examines a wide range of the largest issues about composite decks that are mentioned above, and one might say, dispels a number of the early claims about the product. The overriding advice is not to eliminate composites from your options, but to understand what composites do, and cannot do.

From This Old House: This is a nice quick outline on deck materials including pressure treated wood, (PT), cedar and redwood, (qualify as their own category as superior but costly materials), and composites. Covers the pros, cons, availability, and installed costs/sq ft. A great resource to use in conjunction with some of the link above here.

There is apparently a "copycat" problem with composites: Think in terms of the discount house clothing that looks just like the designer editions and the essence of this article will be obvious. One gets what one pays for is the lesson put forth here.

From Do It Yourself: This is a Q and A format entitled "Deck Care Mysteries Solved".

From USDA Forest Products Labs: Always nice to include a non commercial, presumably unbiased resource.

From This Old House: A less specific analysis than the one cited above, and deals almost solely with aspects of installation and properties of composites.

From Ask The Builder: A HUGE resource that is simply "Everything About Decks".

Move forward, tread carefully, make your choices with information, and avoid surprises.

Thanks for stopping by,
Black Bear Realty Website
828 689 2055
Anti Spam Graphic: info AT blackbearre DOT com

Filed Under: Homeowner Tips - Buyers' Archive - Wolf Laurel Archive

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Staging a Home For Sale on $100


Today, an illustrative video to watch over coffee, and a good collection of resources.

After thinking about the dismal picture that the recent national housing statistics paint for sellers, it seems appropriate to once more review some information about staging a home for sale. Many claims are made by the industry, among the most popular are that implementation can reduce time on market by as much as 100 days, and as a bonus, result in a higher selling price.

Not to sound like a commercial for staging, but two things stand out about the process to our eyes. First, with little investment, the concept can yield financial returns, (ROI), and second, it does not have to cost tons of money. In fact, as we noted in this earlier posting on our blog, it is the small investments that result in the largest ROI's. But what exactly are the items that a seller should look at first, what is the cost, and what is the ROI?

Here are a series links of on staging:
From Our Blog: Staging overview, do it yourself items, and the amusing, yet effective idea of "faux staging".

General Concepts for any do it yourselfer on staging.

From A nicely detailed but easy read on the basics.

From Our Blog: Best and Worst ROI's, including little ways to save big.

From Our Blog: More favorable ROI suggestions.

From a Home Stager: Commonly cited ROI's for a variety of projects, including an average 7% increase in selling price over non-staged homes. Includes the all important idea that staging should occur early in the listing process. The basic argument here is to get the impact right away, as opposed to spending money on "an old listing". As the number of days on market rises for a home, that item becomes a factor for leverage against sellers.

From Personal Finance Advice
: Complete with charts, this article examines ROI's for a number of basic improvements in multiple markets across the country.

From A "Home Sale Maximizer" tool that calculates best ROI's for any items that might need attention within the context of staging.

And finally, the centerpiece, a Barbara Corcoran video on Staging for $100.00, from The Today Show.

PLEASE NOTE: Videos do disappear from the web from time to time. If this video should become unavailable, then please find more Barbara Corcoran staging videos at this location.

ENJOY ! 6 mins 6 seconds

Thanks for stopping by,
Black Bear Realty Website
828 689 2055
Anti Spam Graphic: info AT blackbearre DOT com

Filed Under: Sellers' Archive

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Friday, July 27, 2007

National Housing Statistics: "Just the Facts Ma'am, Just the Facts."


It was February, 2007 when we last summarized housing statistics. In that posting, we attempted to clear away the debris and the spin by reducing the national market to a simple picture of current supply and demand factors.

Most of us learned the law of supply and demand before exiting the eighth grade, so here goes with the numbers that came out this week nationally. Needless to say, it is still a buyers' market.

Supply Factors & Sellers' Collective Psyche:

Inventories: aka, number of homes on the market. Lots of inventory on the national market. For June, 2007, there were 4.20 million homes, representing an 8.8 month supply. The highs for 2006, (PDF file),were basically a toss up for July or October, with only 3.86 million homes representing a 7.4 month supply.

Thus, national inventories are 8.8% above last year's highs, while the number of months supply is 18.9% above 2006 peak numbers. Not good news for sellers who would like to see inventories decline.

Permits Starts and Completions: The most recent data, (PDF), is somewhat dramatic, and makes the point that builders are throttling back. This is probably a response to declining revenues, as well as an attempt to reduce inventories. June, 2007 showed 1.406 million new permits, which is 25% less than a year ago. Housing starts were at 1.467 million, or 19% less than last year, while completions came in at 1.470 million, 28% less than last year. Until completions outnumber the new starts, inventory levels will remain high.

DEDUCTIVE CONCLUSION: Inventories continue to rise, despite drastic declines in the permits indexes from the previous year. This must mean that demand continues to fall, but at a higher rate.

Demand Factors & Buyers' Behavior

Mortgage Rates: A new 11 month high. It has been more than three years since increases of this magnitude have been seen. One would expect to see a decline in mortgage applications from this data, a definite indication of falling demand.

Mortgage Applications: One always needs to look closely at this report. Sometimes applications will rise, making it appear that demand is doing the same. What needs to be considered however, is to remove the number of applications that are due to refinancing alone, and thus are not an indication of new buyers or higher demand. In 6 of the last 10 weeks, applications have been down or at best, unchanged. The most recent weekly report shows yet another decline.

New Residential Sales (PDF): From, June, 2007 showed 843,000 sales, down from a May, 2007 level of 893,000 and down 21.4% from 1,073,000 units in June, 2006.

Existing Home Sales: For June, 2007, these sales declined to 5.75 million units, and are 11.4% below the 6.49 million-unit pace in June 2006.

No amount of spin can call this anything but a very soft, buyers' market. Still, nationally and locally at times, we see that prices appear to have risen. The conventional wisdom on this fact is that current conditions have impacted entry level buyers to a greater degree than others. Thus, the homes that do get sold are at a higher price, so when averages are compared with a year ago, prices will "appear" to have risen.

Thanks for stopping by,
Black Bear Realty Website
828 689 2055
Anti Spam Graphic: info AT blackbearre DOT com

Filed Under: Buyers' Tips - Sellers' Tips - National Items

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Baby Boomer Fun: The Lovin' Spoonful 1965 - 1967

Thursday is Baby Boomer Day here, no real estate, so here we go...

The Lovin' Spoonful, (and 45 other acts), will be appearing in Asheville this weekend as part of the three day Bele Chere Festival. The Spoonful from that time has remained one of my favorite bands. These guys made a big run from 1965 - 1967 with such hits as:

Do You Believe in Magic?, You Didn't Have to be So Nice, Daydream, Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind, Summer in the City, Rain on the Roof, Nashville Cats, Darlin' be Home Soon, She's Still a Mystery to Me, and Six O'Clock.

The Lovin' Spoonful Website

Spoonful on Wikipedia

From Note the connection with The Mamas and the Papas.

Top Movies of 1965: Notable, Lee Marvin, Oscar for Best Actor in "Cat Ballou". The trivia is that he played two roles in the film, so is the only actor to win with the distinction of multiple roles in one Oscar.

The video below is a performance of "You Didn't Have to be So Nice", which peaked at # 10 in 1965.

PLEASE NOTE: Videos do disappear from the web from time to time. If this video should become unavailable, then find more Lovin' Spoonful performances at his location.

ENJOY 2 mins 19 seconds

Thanks for stopping by,
Black Bear Realty Website
828 689 2055
Anti Spam Graphic: info AT blackbearre DOT com

Filed Under: Baby Boomer Fun Stuff

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Asheville: Bele Chere Festival This Weekend Starts Friday

Bele Chere, (Yes, note the correct spelling), once more will occupy the streets of Asheville this weekend, Friday through Sunday. Often cited as the largest street festival in the South, the usual number mentioned for attendance is around 350,000 people.

Music, arts, and vendors of all types will assure something for almost any taste. If I am correct, I count 46 different musical acts to appear over the three days on whatever is the number of different stages that they are up to by now. It's big. Use any of these outbound links for complete Bele Chere information.

Main Bele Chere Website: Everything from food to volunteer opportunities.

Complete Bele Chere Music Lineup: As noted, 46 different acts, mostly free. Personally The Lovin' Spoonful on Sunday sounds great.

From The Asheville Citizen Times: Collection of articles and information on Bele Chere from their "Take 5" arts section, and photo galleries from past Bele Cheres.

From The Asheville Track Club: Info on the Saturday road race.

From Google Video: Bele Chere videos on the web. Obviously from previous editions of the festival.

Have fun, and thanks for stopping by,
Black Bear Realty Website
828 689 9075
Anti Spam Graphic: info AT blackbearre DOT com

Filed Under: Asheville Items - Wolf Laurel Items

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Asheville: Homeowners on Buying or Selling Golf Course Homes & Property


Asheville and Wolf Laurel are havens for golf communities and golf course homes. It is surprising though, how few real resources there are on the web that give information about buying golf course homes and lots. In fact, as this is written, (07/24/07), there are only 96 blogs devoted to "golf + real estate" in the Technorati Blog Finder.

Most of what one finds on this matter would be somewhat shallow articles on commercial websites with an overriding agenda to sell something. Our philosophy here, since the blog was launched has been to provide information alone, so here goes.

Let us turn to some insider impressions gathered from savvy local residents, some of whom have owned as many as five or six different golf homes throughout the Southeast:

-View From the Green:
For many it seemed that a home on the green was an ideal situation. One owner went so far as to say, "to be able to sit on your porch and watch the ball roll onto the green is the place you want to be, it's prime for us."

-View From the Tee:
For other owners the consensus favored living on the tee, which went something along these lines. "If you're a more social kind of person, then being on the tee is the place where you want to have your house."

-About Greens, Tees, and Cart Paths:
All agreed that dust and noise were potential considerations. Whether cart paths are paved or gravel will have an impact on both of these things around the home. As one owner pointed out, noise and dust are also issues with respect to course upkeep. "Not just carts, but leaf blowers around greens and fairways are definitely something to think about. For our home in South Carolina, we usually have the windows closed for the air conditioner, so it's not a big thing there, but in the mountains where people don't use AC, then you have to think about that."

About Buffers:
Buffers against noise or dust were considered essential. Let's simply listen to an experienced golf course homeowner. "You need buffers between the course and your home for noise and dust and all that. We have some big trees, and that really gives you the best situation for a home in my opinion."

About the Watering System and "Recycled Water":
The owners mentioned, surely a sign of the times, that "recycled water" is used for fairways and greens on some courses. What this means is that the water is only partially treated, and the possibility of an effluent-like odor is there. Sounds like a useful item to know.

We will visit more thoughts about owning a golf course home in future postings.

Thanks for stopping by,
Black Bear Realty Website
828 689 2055
Anti Spam Graphic: info AT blackbearre DOT com

Filed Under: Homeowners Tips - Buyers Archive - Wolf Laurel Items

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Asheville: Luxury Home "Must Haves"


Short Sunday fun...

Forbes Magazine has recently listed the "Ten Trophy Home Must Haves". Whether one sees these items as sublime or ridiculous, the list is interesting and a bit of fun. Check out the $800K computer screen, or for the audiophiles out there, the $1 million speaker system.

From Forbes: Article "Ten Trophy Home Must Haves", and how to acquire.

Must Haves in Pictures: This is a nice little slide show, and short text format featuring essential upgrades in most rooms of the house.

Thanks for stopping by,
Black Bear Realty Website
828 689 2055
Anti Spam Graphic: info AT blackbearre DOT com

Filed Under: Wolf Laurel Items - Asheville Items

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Asheville, Anywhere: Home Renovations & ROI Vol 2

Home improvement, and ROI, (Return on Investment), are parts of the equation for buyers, sellers, and homeowners, not only in greater Asheville, but anywhere. Therefore, we have visited a number of renovation ideas on this blog.

For this Saturday, we return to the topic and deliver just a short posting with an easy video, (3 mins 20 seconds), to watch over coffee. The specific area discussed is getting the most money back for a variety of common home improvements.

In the video, the inimitable Al Roker from The Today Show interviews a home stager who seems to get a lot of airtime in the media, Barbara Corcoran. Barbara examines and discusses the cost and the ROI for decks, fireplaces, laundry rooms, 2 car garages, and the kitchen. In some cases, and this is a statistic that is commonly cited, the ROI can be 2:1. Hard to argue with doubling one's money.

We have previously looked at some of these areas on our blog, here are the links for those interested: (Open in New Windows)
Home Improvement Scams
About Fireplaces
Five Home Improvement Fads
Best and Worst Home Improvement Ideas For Return on Investment

PLEASE NOTE: Videos do disappear from the web from time to time. If this video should become unavailable, then please find more Barbara Corcoran at this location.

ENJOY ! 3 mins 20 secs

Thanks for stopping by,
Black Bear Realty Website
828 689 2055
Anti Spam Graphic: info AT blackbearre DOT com

Filed Under: Homeowners' Tips - Sellers' Tips - Buyers' Tips

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Friday, July 20, 2007

Buying or Selling a Vacation Home: Matters of Timing


When is the best time to buy or sell a second home? Perhaps the answer derives from a couple of old sayings. First, real estate is cyclical, and second, real estate is local. Both statements have lessons for buyers and sellers in second home resort markets, such as greater Asheville and Wolf Laurel.

Sales of second homes or vacation property in Asheville follow the national cycle, for sure, but there are additional seasonal and local cycles in all resort markets. Amy Gunderson, second home specialist at The NY Times, often cited by us, uses these words about second home markets: (Registration Likely Required).
(locations)... with a predominance of second homeowners have seasonal quirks to their real estate markets. Sales activity is driven not only by the time of year when most visitors descend, but also by the season when potential buyers hope to get the most use out of their homes. Pinpointing when demand ebbs and flows is the first step in deciding when to put a vacation home on the market.
Therefore, to cite just one example, during the summers in Asheville or Wolf Laurel, one would see a fair number of golf course homes listed, and a corresponding rise in the number of golf course home buyers. In fall and winter, the same correlation applies, but the emphasis moves perhaps to ski properties. We give Amy no argument there, and indeed, these patterns are what one would expect intuitively.

What this means is, the selection will be best for buyers, when the seasonal utility of the home is at its peak, and for sellers, the greatest demand will occur at the same time. Seems a bit like stating the obvious, but yes, real estate is local and cyclical.

While these local seasonal patterns are real, at the same time we live under the larger influence of a national, even a global economy. Therefore, the actual number of buyers and sellers, the manner in which they interact, and the volume of sales, are also influenced by these fundamental economic indicators. So real estate is more than local. It seems to me, the details of these broad economic indexes are a lengthy matter, and best left for future postings here.

Additional Resources
These outbound links contain insights for both parties in a transaction.

From The Real Estate Insiders: Very general thoughts about factors influencing the choice of a second home.

From The Wall Street Journal: Second home archives, quite a number of articles. Although the content does not change very quickly, it contains a number of primers and occasional tax information.

Thanks for stopping by,
Black Bear Realty Website
828 689 2055
Anti Spam Graphic: info AT blackbearre DOT com

Filed Under: Sellers' Tips - Buyers' Tips

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Baby Boomer Fun: The Flintstones Brought to You By Winston


Thursday is Baby Boomer Day on our blog, so here goes, this week's selection.

The Flintstones premiered on prime time TV in September of 1960. Scheduled for Friday nights at 8:30 PM, it had the aura of an "event" for me. Viewing became a ritual in our house, my father would make popcorn, and all of us would watch the show, in glorious black and white, on our Magnavox TV. (Pictured at right through the magic of the internet).

To the best of my knowledge, the video clip below, (80 seconds), is the closing sequence for the show, and is quite a window into cultural standards at the time. Barney and Fred are the slacker husbands, while Wilma and Betty do the yard work. By the end of the day however, all is well as Fred affectionately lights up a Winston for Wilma.

The Flintstones on Wikipedia

The Flintstones Episode Guide:

PLEASE NOTE: Videos do disappear from the web from time to time. If this video should become unavailable, then please find more Flintstones clips at this location.

ENJOY! 80 seconds

Thanks for stopping by,
Black Bear Realty Website
828 689 2055
Anti Spam Graphic: info AT blackbearre DOT com

Filed Under: Baby Boomer Fun Stuff

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Asheville or Anywhere: Best and Worst ROI for Home Improvements


We have looked at home improvements on this blog before. Some of the areas examined included, the signs of home improvement fraud, while another posting looked at Money Magazine's nominations for the five biggest "fads" in home renovation.

Today we will look again, but with an eye towards ROI, that is, return on investment when it comes time to sell your home, or fix the one you just bought. These kinds of resources are popular in real estate literature right now as aids for a quicker sale, and a higher price. Nice claims in what is affectionately called, "a buyers market."

Here are three perspectives about improvements and ROI:

From Forbes: An article that looks at a number of home improvement ideas. Here is a small quote from the author that reminds me of that basic home buying maxim which states, "if resale and appreciation are factors, then never buy the nicest house on that street."
"If something isn't up to the standards of other houses in the neighborhood, investing in improvements will bring a big return. If it's already at that level, spending more may help you sell your home faster, but it won't have a high rate of return."
Not exactly a proprietary idea, but worth noting as an initial premise. The article is useful in my opinion, and uses such categories as "right away remedies" etc. Perhaps there will be some personal revelations for you. For example, I was a bit surprised that roofing was not a better ROI kind of project.

I wholeheartedly agree with the author's notions about staying away from the absolute latest in hi tech amenities. One need not think any further than perhaps the beta max and laser disc to understand this logic. On technology, with its rapid change, it seems best to wait things out and see which versions of any innovation will actually prevail, or if the new product will even survive.

Forbes Best and Worst in Pictures: With many Forbes online materials, one may have to click through the advertising. Pictures are however, a great way to make a point.

Money CNN takes a tactic that is close to my heart on this matter. Simply, that it is the little projects that have the biggest ROI. What seller or homeowner could argue with that?

From Money CNN: "Remodeling and Little Ways to Save Big". There are 10 areas of home improvement here, some with savings of as much as $40,000. This is a good quick read in an entertaining slide show kind of format. It has just a couple of paragraphs of text for each improvement. Reader's are walked through a home, and it covers projects from the front door to the bathroom. I think my favorite idea is "reuse existing materials".

Thanks for stopping by.
Black Bear Realty Website
828 689 2055
Anti Spam Graphic: info AT blackbearre DOT com

Filed Under: Buyers' Archive - Homeowner Tips - Sellers' Archive

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Asheville Outdoors: More Recognition, Notoriety, and "Best Of Lists"


We have just run a small series of postings on Asheville as a city of the great outdoors. So it is topical that Outside Magazine would have named Asheville to its list of America's "Best Outside Towns". The compilation places Asheville alongside such outdoor luminaries as, Boulder, CO, Bellingham, WA, Bend, OR, and Durango, CO.

From the print version the author writes, Asheville “serves up more than 2,000 miles of hiking and mountain-biking trails and some of the nation’s finest whitewater creeking.”

Here are a few added links about Asheville: Outdoor Destination Extraordinaire:

The Complete Asheville: Outside Magazine Online Archives on our fair city, including a #4 ranking for Warren Wilson College for "Top 40 schools where you can hit the books AND the backcountry".

NC Department of Tourism
: Outdoor activities page. Down the right hand side, select "mountains", and find links to anything from agritourism, to, biking, hiking, skiing, white water, and more.

NC Department of Tourism: The Asheville archives.

Our blog has previously visited a few of Asheville's many outdoor opportunities in detail, specifically:

Possibly more than 500,000 visitors per summer go on white water rafting trips within 90 minutes of Asheville. We have previously posted information on popular regional rivers for rafting. These have included links to real time water levels, and veteran suggestions about what that water data means, in order to help you get the trip that you imagined, even during dry weather.

From Our Blog - White Water Rafting Trips Vol 1: Looks at three rivers within 60 minutes of Asheville, and information about what current water levels mean for the excitement factor. The French Broad, The Nolichucky Gorge, and The Big Pigeon are covered.

From Our Blog - White Water Rafting, Vol 2: This post covers two dam controlled rivers, The Nantahala, which may well be the most rafted river in the US, and The Tuckaseegee. Water release schedules and minimum participant requirements are included here.

From Our Blog - Fishing and Fly Fishing: Everything from sate wide stream flows, to licenses, campgrounds and stream etiquette is covered here.

From Our Blog - Biking & Mountain Biking: An extensive posting on trails, clubs, best rides, maps, driving directions, difficulty, etiquette, and more.

Whether one calls it "The Paris of the South", or "The Moab of the East", whether favoring cultural opportunities, independent music, or the great outdoors, I have to say Asheville is pretty hip.

Other Asheville "Best Of" Lists, (The ones we know about):
Dated January, 2007: From our blog.
From Our Blog: Sperling's Best Places to Live at #8

Thanks for stopping by,
Black Bear Realty Website
828 689 2055
Anti Spam Graphic: info AT bleackbearre DOT com

Filed Under: Asheville Items - Buyers' Archive - Wolf Laurel Items

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, July 16, 2007

Renting Your Second Home: Revisited


A while back, we visited some items on attracting renters for your second home. Asheville and The Wolf Laurel area are second home, vacation rental havens, and the matter of rental income is important to some clients.

There is some indication in our county that second homes might account for as much as 80% of the market in certain niches. The data comes from a private study, but even so, is notable.

The previous post we did on these matters centered on making certain small investments in order to distinguish your home from an increasingly crowded vacation rental market. The list included a number of items ranging from 500 thread count Egyptian sheets, to making your second home more family friendly, say by adding an X Box 360, or a decent DVD collection.

We offered one caution to would be vacation landlords however, and that involved the pitfalls of bypassing the rental management company. Specifically, in our own experience, the point was made that the number of phone calls ranging from no heat, to cable TV problems is too easy to underestimate, and might be best left to a third party.

Nevertheless, the proliferation of such websites as Vacation Rental By Owner, (, or Home Away have definitely made being your own part time rental manager easier, in terms of finding tenants. Here is some more food for thought while pondering the idea of using a management firm, or going out on your own.

Amy Gunderson, who writes on second home matters for The NY Times, has a recent article that speaks to "The Hazards of Wayward Renters", (registration likely required). Just a few of illustrative high points for do it yourselfers:
-Spell out limits on the number of occupants
-Perhaps specifiy a minimum age, it seems that 25 represents a common industry threshold, and avoids "the spring break crowd", or in our part of the world, holiday ski weekends.
-Think about a policy on pets.
-Security deposits range from 10% to 50% of weekly rental.
-Have the house rules posted or personally delivered to renters upon occupancy.

Rental income is not an insignificant criteria for many second home buyers, tread carefully, and do so armed with information.

Thanks for stopping by,
Black Bear Realty Website
828 689 2055
Anti Spam Graphic: info AT blackbearre DOT com

Filed Under: Homeowner Tips - Wolf Laurel Items - Buyers' Tips

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Staging a Home For Sale: Quick Read


Just a short post for a Sunday...

Last month, we did a posting on certain aspects of having one's home professionally staged before selling. It included a set of outbound links to various resources and ideas about what might appeal to buyers. Here are some small additions to that body of thought.

5 Things to Avoid: A short, quick, but useful set of thoughts for sellers.

Video: 4 mins 9 seconds in length, worth watching if one is getting close to listing a home for sale.

Thanks for stopping by,
Black Bear Realty Website
828 689 2055
Anti Spam Graphic: info AT blackbearre DOT com

Filed Under: Tips for Sellers' Archive

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Asheville White Water Rafting: Finding the Best Trip in a Drought: Vol 2


It's the weekend, it's summertime, so let's continue in the vein of "stuff to do in Asheville's outdoors".

In this previous posting, we looked at three Asheville rivers for white water rafting. We talked about how free flowing rivers get low during dry weather patterns. The low water can create an unfavorable discrepancy between the white water trip that you imagined, and the one that might actually exist.

The earlier article contained outbound links for real time USGS water levels, and some veteran suggestions for when it is worthwhile to go ahead on a free flowing river, or when it might be best to drive to a location with a dam or hydroelectric plant instead.

Three popular Asheville area rivers were featured last time, The French Broad, The Nolichucky Gorge, and The Big Pigeon. If you are planning a trip to one of them, then by all means use that information. Maybe 200,000 people visit those rivers alone in a season, all are within 60 minutes of Asheville, and it is a good resource.

More Rivers
Today, we will look at some more Asheville rafting trips and provide first hand information to help you get closer to the trip you imagined, and the most for your money. Use the outbound links for real time water levels.

The Nantahala River: Dam controlled, and therefore almost entirely free of any low water problems. Look at the graph for cubic feet per second, (cfs). "The Nanty" is usually at 700 cfs like clockwork on a daily basis. A bit farther from Asheville, (closer to a 90 minute drive), and known for its very cool water in summer. (It comes from the bottom of a deep lake).

Quite easy, but still plenty of fun, with a complete array of boats and trip styles available. Rafts, with or without guides, duckies or inflatable kayaks rule the day here. To the best of my knowledge, the minimum participant under USFS rules is 60 lbs, or 7 years of age. The Nantahala might be the most rafted river in the US.

The Tuckaseegee: Another dam controlled river, with almost no issues about low water. Quite easy, and a step below The Nantahala in difficulty, with the same array of boats and trip styles. Rafts, with or without a guide, duckies and tubes are the norm.

"The Tuck" runs Tuesday-Sunday, and as the graph indicates, is a fairly predictable 400 cfs. To the best of my knowledge, minimum person requirements are 4 years of age or 40 lbs. Check with your outfitter. A bit closer to Asheville than The Nanty, probably 1 hour 15 mins by car.

More Asheville area rivers will be visited in future postings.

From Our Blog: Fishing, fly fishing, and trout fishing in drought, etiquette, licenses, stream flows, etc.

Thanks for stopping by,
Black Bear Realty Website
828 689 2055
Anti Spam Graphic: info AT blackbearre DOT com

Filed Under: Taste of Mountain Life - Asheville Items - Buyers' Info - Wolf Laurel Things To Do

Tom Ploski is a 35 year white water veteran, and has paddled or worked as a guide on most southern US rivers.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Friday, July 13, 2007

Biking in Asheville: The Hot Doggett 100 and More For The Weekend


I meant to include this in an earlier post on biking around Asheville. The Hot Doggett 100 Bike Race will be in Mars Hill, tomorrow, Saturday 07/14/07. This is the second time around for this event, which is expected to attract 500 riders, and I would think, is well worth seeing.

There are 4 different rides of varying distance and difficulty in the event, everything from hardcore to family fun. The distances are 100 miles, 100 KM, 25 miles and 11 miles. For the big one, there will be almost 10,000 of elevation gain over the course. From nearly anywhere in the county, there are vantage points from which to attend. Full information on the courses, accommodations, etc can be found at the main web site HERE.

Proceeds are used to fund scholarships for students of Madison County and for Rotary service projects.

From The News Record & Sentinel: More info for Saturday's race.

From The Asheville Citizen Times: The complete outdoor calendar for July including biking, hiking, running, water based events, and more.

Thanks for stopping by,
Black Bear Realty Website
828 689 2055
Anti Spam Graphic: info AT blackbearre DOT com

Filed Under: Asheville Items - Wolf laurel Items - Taste of Mountain Life

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Baby Boomer Fun: This Week's Installment - Barbara Lynn 1962


It has been said more than once that 1939 was Hollywood's greatest year, and there is indeed quite a list of films from that year to support the idea. See any of those movies, you won't be disappointed.

After looking around for this week's Baby Boomer Fun posting, I am tempted to say that 1962 was to rock and roll, what 1939 was to film. What a year for hit records. Just look at this week by week listing of the Cashbox #1 Song, every one dominated the airwaves, and stays with us to this day.

The tune we feature this week is from Barbara Lynn, entitled, "(If You Should Lose Me), You'll Lose a Good Thing". It clocked in at #72 for the year on Billboard. The song haunted the Top 5 during the summer and fall of that year, along with such classics as, "Soldier Boy", "Twist and Shout", "The Alley Cat", "I Can't Stop Loving You", "Roses Are Red My Love", "Locomotion", "Sherry", "Monster Mash", "Johnny Angel", "Mashed Potato Time", "The Twist", and "Big Girls Don't Cry", just to name a few. Whoa.

Barbara Lynn's performance here is precious, it is live, no lip syncing, unadorned by modern digital trickery, and is one of the great pieces of early 1960's video out there for me.

Billboard Top 50: 1962

Barbara Lynn On Wikipedia

"Lost Legends": From Blogcritics, a 2004 article on Barbara.

Barbara's "Comeback" She was 20, when this song hit the charts.

PLEASE NOTE: Videos do disappear from the web from time to time. If this video should become unavailable, then please find more Barbara Lynn, including the studio version of this song, and a great version of "What I'd Say", at this link.

ENJOY! 2 mins 57 secs.

Thanks for stopping by,
Black Bear Realty Website
828 689 2055
Anti Spam Graphic: info AT blackbearre DOT com

Filed Under: Baby Boomer Fun Stuff

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

More on SART: The Southern Appalachian Repertory Theater


Every region likes to brag a bit about their summer repertory theater companies, as we did about The Southern Appalachian Repertory Theater, (SART), in this previous posting. Still it is nice to see third party verification of local excellence, as with the following review from Mountain Express.

Review of "To Kill a Mockingbird": From the venerable observer, Cecil Bothwell, who has been a fixture on the airwaves and in print for as long as I can recall on such matters.
Now in its thirty-third season, SART continues to deliver some of the best stage performances in WNC in the intimate surrounds of Owen Auditorium at Mars Hill College.
Owen Theater is a wonderful venue, and the Town of Mars Hill has an ambiance that is worth experiencing. Treat yourself and go see any of the remaining SART productions listed on their website below.

SART Website: Support Live Arts

Thanks for stopping by,
Black Bear Realty Website
828 689 2055
Anti Spam Graphic: info AT blackbearre DOT com

Filed Under: Wolf Laurel Items - Slices of Mountain Life

AddThis Social Bookmark Button