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.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Autumn Leaves: Lingering Beauty and Looming Project

We have linked in the past to Tim Carter at Ask The Builder.com, on matters relating to the house and its upkeep. There are a bundle of Tim Carter videos that are useful to owners, but today we feature one that is timely; what to do about those soon to be falling leaves.

One of the nice things about living in a rural area like Mars Hill and Wolf Laurel, is that raking leaves from the yard is NOT something that is typically done. Surrounded by National Forest as we are, the exercise would be futile.

Around here, the leaves stay on the ground, and function as nature intended for the flora and fauna. Like everyone though, we do still have the issue of leaves that impact the home itself, and this is the subject of today's short, (2 minutes 10 seconds), video for this Autumn ritual.


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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Baby Boomer Thursdays: Clutch Cargo 1959

No real estate on Thursdays, so here goes...

In the category of long lost, but totally memorable cartoons, we feature Clutch Cargo, with his pals, Spinner and Paddlefoot. Remember those human lips that moved when they spoke?

Clutch made his debut on March 9, 1959, and by the following year could be seen on 65 stations nationwide. The stories were compiled as five chapters, and each chapter was 5 minutes in length. This allowed the local syndicating stations to show a chapter each day, with the thrilling conclusions on Fridays.

This was typical of the many local afternoon kids' shows in the US at that time. These featured a studio host, (like Bozo the Clown, etc), and an audience of Cub Scouts, Brownies, my 3rd grade class, and so forth. Serialized cartoons were a staple here.

The Essential Clutch Cargo Links:
Toon Tracker's Clutch Cargo Page.

Toonopedia's Clutch Cargo page.

Margaret Kerry, the movement and style behind Disney's Tinkerbell, provided the voices for both Spinner and Paddlefoot.

Hal Smith, who played town drunk Otis Campbell on The Andy Griffith Show provided the voice of Swampy. He can be heard at the end of the video clip below.

Paul Horn, a name known to jazz fans everywhere, provided the Clutch cargo theme, flute and bongos, kind of catchy in a Clutch sort of way. Don't remember the theme? It opens the video clip below.

Syncro Vox: The technique patented and used to impose those moving human lips onto cartoon characters.

Video: 1 minute and 14 seconds, Clutch lands on the moon to win the space race.
ENJOY!

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Early Mornin' Sunshine Around Asheville: Oct 20

"Early mornin' sunshine tells me all I need to know"
Allman Brothers, approximately 1974.

Real Time Photos: Took a drive early this morning, chasing mountain light. It's fall, it's gorgeous, the photos don't begin to convey, but we tried.


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Friday, October 19, 2007

Asheville Fall Colors: This Weekend C'mon Over

10/19/07
As we reported earlier at this location, this should be a pretty big weekend for fall colors in our area. Rain and 70 degrees today, but Saturday and Sunday will be clear and mid 70's. The photos below were taken on October 10 and October 17. If the clouds move out at all today, we will add new images.

By all means, don't forget The 25th LEAF Festival and the 60th Annual Craft Fair of The Southern Highlands.

We are located within a day's drive of almost half of the US population, so it would be a great weekend to come and experience approximately peak colors, and a couple of singular fall festivals. Should be fine next weekend as well. Follow the progress on this blog, and at The Foliage Network.

Lastly, check out this article from the NY Times, entitled "36 Hours in Asheville". We are "an Applachian Shangri-La". Nice. Here are the Asheville Archives from The Times.

Photos From 10/10-17/07, at The Wolf Laurel Resort


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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Baby Boomer Thursdays: "Every Boy Wants a Remco Toy...and So Do Girls"

Remember that slogan? Looking over this list of Remco Toys from Newark, NJ, they had pretty good market penetration in my neighborhood as a kid.

I remember the Crystal Radio, Flying Fox Airlines, Whirlybird Helicopter, Mr. Kelly's Car Wash, the Johnny Reb Cannon, the Tiny Tears Doll, Drive In Movie Theater, the whole bit.

I also came across this remarkable website by one Ira Gallen, who is preserving large portions of baby boomer TV history such as these advertisements. Amazing, appreciated, and worth a visit.

Now for the commercials...

PLEASE NOTE: If these videos disappear from the web, please find more Remco Toy commercials at this link, including a number of them with a young Patty Duke. Or visit Ira's website here.

Mostly For Males: 1959
3 minutes and 8 seconds, three Remco commercials for boys

Mostly for Women: Year Unknown
2 minutes and 8 seconds, the second commercial features Patty Duke.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Asheville and Bert Sperling
10/16/07

Who is Bert Sperling? Back in June, 2007 we wrote about Bert, when he named Asheville to yet another "Best Places to Live" kind of list. Bert is one of the national heavyweights in this kind of endeavor.

Sperling is a former accountant and engineer who runs algorithms, data, and a little street sense to come up with all manner of lists. The NY Times did a profile on him here.

Asheville has been named to so many of these lists, (more than 50 by now?), that it is difficult to keep up. Best places to live, to retire, best outdoor towns, and other categories ad infinitum. Organizations honoring Asheville have included AARP, MSN Money, Forbes, National Geographic, Outside Magazine, USA Today, Parents Magazine, and The Harris Poll among others.

Here is Bert's website, BestPlaces.net, and here is his designation for Asheville. For those interested, the video below is a 5min 55 second interview with Bert on things to consider about choosing places to live.


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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Asheville Fall Colors, Forecast & Weekend Events

Big weekend coming up for Asheville
, not only in terms of leaves and colors, but the region will also host a couple of our premier Autumn festivals. The Citizen Times gives us this report on colors.

This weekend in particular would be a great time to hop in the car, (we are a day's drive from almost half of the US population), and visit Asheville in all of its eclectic hipness.

The 25th Lake Eden Arts Festival
First up is something that is purely Asheville in character, The 25th Lake Eden Arts Festival, appropriately known as "LEAF". LEAF is indescribable as an event.

It is a feast for the senses, no matter what your tastes. Arrive early, stay late for, salsa, swing, contra, hip hop, cajun, zydeco, blue grass, old timey, arts, crafts, food, and a stellar list of performers in a dizzying array of venues from intimate to acceptably raucous. Tickets and directions can be located here.

Impossible to capture LEAF in all of its expansiveness, but here is a small piece of it on video, from Friday May, 18 2007 it would appear.

LEAF from OPP on Vimeo.

The 60th Annual Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands
If one is more a bit more sedate, then by all means check out this event run by the thoroughly respected Southern Highland Crafts Guild this weekend at The Asheville Civic Center. The Guild is available no matter where you visit in the mountains and runs a number of different retail locations in the region, including downtown Asheville.

Details are here for the fair itself including exhibitors in all manner of media, many with links to their personal websites. Thursday October 18 through Sunday October 21.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Thanks From Here In Asheville

If you have arrived here by way of the 63rd edition of The Carnival of Real Estate, then by all means welcome to Asheville! Special thanks to Benn Rosales at Agent Genius.com for moderating, and congratulations to all those who were mentioned.

We were honored to be among such esteemed company, in our second appearance in CoRE. This is a big deal for us, thanks again.

Here are the winners from the real estate blogosphere this week:
Gold Jacket?..Umm..Maybe By Jonathon Dalton

Craigslist Golddigger...A Good Investment? By Denny Oh

House Flipping Reality TV Shows: Good or Bad for Newbie Investors and Flippers? By Joshua Dorkin

The Causes and Consequences of the Subprime Mortgage Financial Crisis
By Silicon Valley Blogger

And Ourselves: What The Cleavers Teach Us About Real Estate and Rhetoric

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sunday Morning Videos: Two Views of the Housing Market

Friday, we posted an article on housing markets and rhetoric. Here are a couple of opposing views on the future of housing, about 8 minutes in total for Sunday morning coffee.

Both clips are within the last 60 days as this is posted.

From Coldwell Banker



From Goldman Sachs




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Friday, October 12, 2007

What The Cleavers Teach Us About Real Estate & Rhetoric

The Quasi-Sociological Part
The way we describe issues in our national dialog changes over time. This process can sometimes be a struggle about whether, (or when), to allow uncomfortable realities into the public discussion.

Let's think about the picture of marriage on television. Remember that Ward and June Cleaver had twin beds, and then turn on your television today. It's either quaint or scary. Or consider politics, where Social Security went from the realm of the profane to that of a protected right.

Examples like this abound, and certainly real estate is no exception as the industry, and the media wrestle with how to exactly handle...the bad news.

The Quasi-Historical Part
The housing market stumbled in 2006 as sales of new, (PDF), and existing homes, (PDF), declined notably. Even worse, production fell and supplies continued to rise.

Futures traders would say here that the fundamentals were very bearish, while a grammar school class in the law of supply and demand would conclude that prices needed to fall. It's all the same.

But the rhetoric of housing could not quite say that. Like the depiction of marriage on TV, this issue needed more time to admit what it really was, even when we might have known better.

The Age of Seduction
So, what followed in real estate instead of price reductions through most of Q4 2006 and 2007 was what we might call a phase of seductive and suggestive strategies. They were mostly known as buyer incentives.

One could define this term as advising sellers to do something, do anything, but don't lower the price. It's an incentive, not a price cut.

Like political talking points, the dialog and media reports on how to sell homes became a laundry list of things such as adding high end appliances, landscaping, a $10,000 shopping spree at Pottery Barn, a 2006 Porsche, the ever questionable bonus to the selling agent, and hardly a mention of lowering prices.

Dutifully, sellers for the most part, especially individual homeowners, did not budge. As The Chicago Tribune recently summed up, they appeared to be "in love with the old days, when home prices seemingly rose by the hour". Naturally, the supply-demand imbalance persisted, only more so, since buyers were anything but seduced.

More Quasi-Academia
The Cleavers morphed into Sex and the City, so too housing's national dialog has recently changed. We may look back someday though and call this the period of "the reaction".

When historians describe something as a "reaction", it is understood that the phenomenon includes elements of vigor and strength, an overreaction if you will. The national dialog now speaks openly and aggressively about lowering prices.

The Devil is in the Details For Homeowners
Lets look at some major arbiters of national rhetoric. Business Week, in their October 15 cover story, along with this feature from The New York Times outline radical price cuts, 30% or more, from some of the big national builders.

The Washington Post went so far as to call it "car dealer tactics". Or maybe it's the return of legendary New York retailer Crazy Eddie, slogan; "His prices are insaaaaane".

The subtext here is not that great for individual homeowners. The magnitude of builders' price cuts over many months, and their greater financial muscle to do so have created an anomaly in normal statistical patterns. Yup, on a national basis those new homes just might be more financially attractive to buyers than existing ones.

Where there was once a 20% premium for new home prices, we now see a dead heat with existing homes. Most families who need to sell cannot compete in that kind of a bear market.

So, happy are those who gave or received early advice to price "below the market", whatever that was or is. Could be a wild ride, if traders on The CME are correct. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Other Blog Posts on Real Estate and Rhetoric
Paper Economy Blasts The Boston Globe. And does it again here.
Inman Reviews NAR Rhetoric

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Baby Boomer Fun: Dusty Springfield

Thursday is baby boomer fun day here, no real estate, so here goes....

I had forgotten that Dusty Springfield, prior to her solo career, had been with us on our transistor radios as a member of The Springfields. Their biggest hit in my memory was Silver Threads and Golden Needles in 1962.

But Dusty herself, with 10 top 40 hits between 1963 and 1970, a voice that boomed yet retained clarity and pure tones, (without benefit of modern digital trickery), remains vivid with us to this day.

Complete Dusty UK Website

Nice Biography and Photos (B. 1939- D. 1999)

Article: "Dusty Springfield's Last Days"

PLEASE NOTE: If this video should disappear from the web, find lots of Dusty clips on Youtube here, or on DailyMotion here.

This Week's Clip: Live version of her first solo hit in the US, I Only Want to be With You, which peaked at # 12 in 1963.

2 mins and 19 seconds.
ENJOY !

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Asheville Foliage Forecast & Photos

Well, actually, from The Wolf Laurel Resort, today was so bright and blue, that we simply had to get some real time photos of the burgeoning fall colors.

Predictions:
Nice colors this weekend, more is evident every day, though pre-peak. Barring any great leaf drop, the weekends of October 20 and 27 should be huge in this part of the world.

Keep track of your favorite area, right here, or via The Foliage Network.
Photos Taken: 10/10/07 Mid Day.


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From Sears & Roebuck to Ikea and Lowe's

Broderick Perkins at Realty Times wrote about Ikea's marketing and shipping of flat packed, kit based homes in certain European markets. Here is some info on those homes, for interested domestic readers.

This is not really new news, as a 2005 artice from Tree Hugger demonstrates, Ikea has been at it for a while now. The comparison with the Sears & Roebuck Modern Home Series, sold in the US from 1908 until 1940 is unavoidable. Gotta love the prices, even when adjusted for inflation! Wikipedia has more for avid nostalgia buffs.

Our Western North Carolina region has several of these gems still standing, though it is Carlinville, IL, who lays claim to the largest collection of Sears & Roebuck homes. Make a note of that for your next Blue Highways driving tour.

Looking for architectural ideas? Links to most if not all of the Sears & Roebuck homes by year.

From The Old House Web, everything and more that you ever wanted to know about Sears & Roebuck kit homes of the past.

Lowe's has seen fit to get in on the act, a little bit, with what they call their Katrina Cottage series. It should be noted that this is not a kit home per se, but rather plans and materials.

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Baby Boomer Fun, Great Moments in Flight?

Thursday is baby boomer fun day here, no real estate. This week's edition, two kinds of flight, so here goes...

October 4, 1957, The headline says it all...

The space age began 50 years ago today when the USSR surprised the world.

The launch of Sputnik is usually portrayed as a blow to America's self image:
As a technical achievement, Sputnik caught the world's attention and the American public off-guard.
The United States would make it into space roughly 4 months later, on January 31, 1958. Sputnik is credited with the boom in engineering education here at home, and also with providing the impetus to create NASA.

On a related note, it was ten years later, in October, 1967, during a protest against the Viet Nam War that another type of flight was attempted:
....trying to exorcize the Pentagon. The brainchild of Abbie Hoffman, the plan was for people to sing and chant until it levitated and turned orange, driving out the evil spirits and ending the war in Viet Nam. The Pentagon didn't move.
Abbie Hoffman, whose sense of theater was large, though its impact was debatable, died April 12, 1989. Officially listed as suicide.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Some News to Ponder, A Little Fun & A Little More News

News from some various departments within our vast Asheville and regional real estate conglomerate that might be of interest.

From The Department of Nostalgia: Levittown,PA, the birth of modern, affordable middle class suburbia in post war America turns 60 years old this month. Cape Cods, there were 17,544 of them, originally sold for $6,990. It is said today, that a home here cannot be had for under $400,000.

From The Department of Credit, As many as 80% of credit reports in the US may contain errors. It has long been accepted that persons should check their credit reports annually for just such a reason. Go to the FTC website for how to get your free credit reports.

From The Department of Second Homes & Forecasting, a new bill is moving through committee in the House that may have a negative impact on second homeowners.

From The Department of Risk Management, Insurance on your landscaping? For some maybe so. This article has some questions to ask about your current policies to assess if any action needs to be taken.

From The Department of Media: This video from The Today Show has made the rounds in the real estate community. 5 minutes 15 seconds, of Jim Cramer from Mad Money, with Matt Lauer and Charles MacMillan of the NAR, who has a tough road ahead as 2008 President-Elect. Unfortunately, there's not much beyond minutiae to support him as things stand now.

Winning Quote:
Cramer (paraphrased): Charles has to sell people real estate, I have to save people's money, and I cannot do that by recommending buying real estate.



From The Department of History, Past headlines from NAR press releases and housing forecasts, basically what Cramer meant when he said NAR was irresponsible by having been "consistently positive in the worst market I've seen."

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Drought, Autumn, and Black Bears in Asheville?

Middle school textbooks in North Carolina teach that our part of the state is subject to periodic drought. At these times, every 5 to 7 years, we see more numerous reports of black bear sightings by humans. What is going on when we read about things like this?

Essentially our ongoing drought, combined with a late spring frost have made this year an interesting one for sightings and occasional encounters with black bears. In short, this weather related double whammy damages oaks, berries and traditional black bear food sources. As such, the bears are forced to extend the range in which they seek sustenance.

What to Do
Yep, that means closer to us, especially here in the high rural parts of Madison County. This is just a small aspect of living here, it is periodic, but one should be equipped with some simple information about a possible experience with the creatures.

The Wildlife Conservation Society offers this little treatise on coexisting with, and encountering black bears which certainly seems timely. The Western North Carolina Nature Center also offers a resource and background on proper behavior.

Useful stuff to know beacuse the same conditions that drive the bears to seek food closer to humans, are the reasons why the fall foliage forecast is brilliant. Bottom line is to understand the bears, and to treat a sighting with the respect and the wonder that it deserves.

Added Resources
Black Bear Facts, from NC Wildlife.org

Even more black bear facts, from bear.org

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