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
Name:
Location: Mars Hill, NC, United States

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

Friday, November 30, 2007

Second Homes & Ski Season Rentals

The NY Times, (registration maybe required), ran an article recently that looks at second home rentals as ski season approaches. The major points there have all been addressed by our blog in the past, but a recap might well be in order.

As a primary issue, The Times looks at location. This is elementary enough, and simply means "being on or near the slopes". The article continues:
Once you’ve got the location down, consider the extras. Your renters will. Multiple bedrooms, a hot tub and a fireplace are big draws in the ski market. “The traveling public today wants more amenities,” said Ken Libby, who owns Stowe Realty in Vermont. “They want flat-screen TVs, hot tubs, big bathrooms. So if you’ve got an older house and expect to make income with it, you have two choices: fix it up or accept less money.”
We wrote about the importance of amenities and second home rentals back in June, 2007, looking at many of the most popular improvements that will set your second home apart in the market.

As final matter, The Times discusses the good and the bad regarding property/rental managers. This is a big impact on annual income from a second home, as much as 50%. Using a rental firm or not would vary if one is seeking income vs. simply defraying the costs of second home ownership.

Our blog recently addressed the basic economics of Asheville second home rentals, potential income, and property managers at this location. Do it yourself landlords would be well served to take a peek at this prior article from Black Bear Realty.

Check out our full archives of second home issues and insights including tips for insurance, security and many other topics, and keep track of Western North Carolina ski conditions, here.

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

Filed Under: Second Home Issues & Insights

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Baby Boomer Thursdays-Johnny Rivers: 1964

Baby boomer fun, a day early for the holiday...

Most artists who had their first hits in the early 1960's did not survive into the latter part of that decade, let alone through the British Invasion and psychedelia. Johnny Rivers managed just that.

With 17 Top 40 Hits from 1964 to 1977, Johnny Rivers used his talents as a writer, singer, and guitar player to cover the waterfront of popular music from originals, to folk, soulful ballads, and in retrospect, was a master at covering popular tunes from other artists.

Johnny Rivers on Wikipedia

History of Rock site: Johnny Rivers retrospective.

This week's video clip is the song, Mountain of Love, which peaked at #9 in 1964.

If this video should disappear from the web, then please find plenty more Johnny Rivers performances at this location.

ENJOY ! 2 minutes, 36 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

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Quick Sunday Video: Cutting Heating Costs

Just a quick posting today, as this blog will pretty much be on vacation until next Sunday. As the first hard freezes hit the mountains around Asheville, what better topic than a quick video over Sunday coffee, on cutting the cost of heat.

From ask the builder.com, one of a whole bunch of home improvement videos:
1 minute and 36 seconds


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

Filed Under: Homeowners' Tips

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Asheville Ski Season & The Drought

We have written about the Western North Carolina drought here in the past, with respect to white water rafting, fly fishing and any number of ways that we are impacted. Today, we will look at the possible effects on ski season.

A ski slope DOES NOT exist in Western North Carolina without man made snow. Sure we get those glorious days with 24 inches of fresh powder, but typically, natural snowfall disappears here in a matter of days. Man made snow is therefore essential for slope survival, and as such, so is a source of water.

Rainfall in Asheville is close to 30% below normal for the year, with cities state wide talking drought strategies. With ski slopes, the main factor, closely related to rainfall, will be stream flows. It is those babbling mountain brooks that fill the ponds, which in turn feed the snow guns.

Lower stream flow means slower refills in the ponds, and some of these are easily emptied in 48 hours without adequate rates of refill. So what does this mean for our favorite area slopes this winter?

The French Broad River, our major waterway for this part of the world has hovered for months at a mere 40% of normal flow. 500 cubic feet per second, when the norm is closer to 1,400 cfs for this time of year.

The graph above shows this, and the effect of a recent 0.5 inch rainstorm. In response, some ski slopes have expanded water holding capacity.

The definitive industry pronouncement thus far:
Of the resorts that we have spoken with thus far, ALL report that making snow will NOT be an issue for the coming season. Some are more "water-rich" than others, but all seem to be in good shape. A couple DID mention that while they would have no problem making enough to get open, they did add that they may have enough to make snow for three to four days at a time, and then they would have to see how quickly their ponds "recharged" or refilled with the streams that feed them. Streams that flow substantially slower than normal will obviously take some time longer to refill holding ponds.
Definitely a case of reading between the lines there. No worry, keep track of all of them here, current conditions and a non commercial presentation.

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

Filed Under: Sights, Attractions, Recreation

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Friday, November 16, 2007

Second Homes & Rental Income in Western North Carolina

As ski season descends upon Asheville and the mountains, rental properties for tourists will experience increased demand. But, how much demand is enough to consider turning your second home into income? Predictably, the answer varies.

Let's look at some of the basic arithmetic if one is looking towards a vacation home as a source of revenue. MSN's Liz Pulliam Weston outlines 3 basic rules if one's goal is to actually make money from a second home:
1) Vacation homes need to be rented 15 to 17 weeks/year in most areas to break even.
2) Internet advertising is essential.
3) Owners need to cut out the middlemen.
Item #1 is an assertion that involves simple arithmetic. It derives from determining one's total obligation for ownership, the mortgage, tax, insurance, utilities, and so forth. For the vast majority of Western North Carolina properties and owners, these items, especially #1, make a vacation home as a profit center difficult to attain.

In our opinion, to think of renting a vacation home here for 105 to 120 nights/year, is pretty much something that will not just happen on its own. Instead, any would be landlords would have to turn their attention to the second rule in order to do anything more than defray the cost of ownership. The question also arises, if one would be willing to give up prime time weeks, in order to cover all costs.

Rule #2 speaks to merely one aspect of pursuing rental income and customers. We have written in the past about attracting renters to your second home, by way of certain added amenities to distinguish your home from the crowd, as well as the new wave of vacation rental websites.

Obviously, #3 represents the overhead involved if one is to be an absentee landlord. Management companies in our area can take 25% to 50% of gross rental income. If 33% were the fee involved in your particular situation, this would raise the required occupancy by renters to 20 to 26 weeks per year.

The NY Times' Amy Gunderson wrote some time back about certain tips and questions for finding a good rental management firm. For some, perhaps, do it yourself landlord or the website mr landlord will prove useful for those up to the task of eliminating those middlemen. Our own blog also addressed some common pitfalls for would be landlords.

For most owners who decide to enter the rental market, the strategy in our part of the world will not be one of profit, but instead to defray costs.

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

Filed Under: Issues for Second Home Owners/Buyers

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Baby Boomer Thursdays: Wah-Watusi & 60's Dances

Thursdays are baby boomer fun days here, no real estate so here goes...

The early 1960's were filled with dance crazes. Recalling this, it almost seems like they were one after the other. These dances were almost always accompanied by an eponymously named single.

In no particular order we saw, The Twist, The Pony, (both from Chubby Checker, who also gave us The Limbo Rock), The Mashed Potato, The Frug, (born from The Chicken), The Monkey, The Swim, The Jerk, The Watusi, The Locomotion, The Boogaloo, and a whole bunch more.

The Orlons, came out of Philadelphia, and simply stormed the charts for a brief period. With 9 charted records, and 3 top fives from 1962 to 1966, they were a powerhouse of sound, and one of my favorite groups at the time.

Video of the old Orlons is sadly, a little tough to come by, but here is the tune The Wah-Tusi, checking at # 22 for the year 1962, one of the most prolific years ever for American rock.

2 minutes and 32 seconds
ENJOY!


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, November 07, 2007

Asheville Hosts Dual Film Festivals Thurs-Sunday

Film buff or not, Asheville hosts dual, though not dueling film festivals for the next four days, Thursday November 8 through Sunday November 11, 2007.

The 4th Asheville Film Festival
The one with most of the ink is the 4th edition of The Asheville Film Festival, which has seen the likes of folks such as Ken Russell and Jennifer Tilly in past events. Films will be screened at a variety of downtown venues, including Pack Place, Diana Wortham, and The Fine Arts Theater. Ticket information can be located here.

The event will screen a total of 93 films, including 14 from film makers in and around Asheville. The full 4 day schedule is here in PDF format. Here is "an insider's guide" from Mountain Express.

The 2nd Asheville REJECTS Film Festival
As the name implies, Asheville REJECTS is the festival for any independent films that have been rejected from any other events, an idea that is pure, unadulterated Ashevegas. The event will also run from Thursday, November, through Sunday, November 11, 2007.

24 films are on tap running the gamut from documentaries, to shorts, what co producers call "truly independent films". Long time film maker Lloyd Kaufman will receive a Lifetime Achievement award.

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

Filed Under: Slices of Mountain Life

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Gender Spaces: The "Mancave"

Back in August, we wrote about the gender based "manspace":
...the private or semi private place where the man of the house hangs out, relaxes, maybe pursues his hobby, determines its character, and is the gatekeeper as well.
The topic has popped up in major media all year. The most recent mention however is not as a private phenomenon, but as part and parcel of a marketing effort. Yep, the male space, by whatever name, has now become a bone fide product in the housing market.

Todd Carpenter writing at Inman News picked up on the idea as marketed by DR Horton:
As the market continues to slow, builders continue to look for ways to generate more interest in their developments.
Enter, "mancave", by D. H. Horton. The latest in home sales inducements and appointments. With more and more builders attaining junk status, or filing for bankruptcy, who knows what the impact will be, but it's a fun concept.

Essential Manspace/Mancave Links
Definition via wordspy.com
Manspace of the Month, via manspacesite.com

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

Filed Under: National Items

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Baby Boomer Thursdays: Get a Man or Get Goodyear- (1960)

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

Vintage TV commercials are sometimes a fun window into ideas about gender roles, and how to advertise a product. We have looked at gender and advertising on a previous baby boomer posting. Today, a new one.

Before AAA and cell phones, for that matter before women knew how to change tires... what protected females alone on the road? Goodyear Tires, "for when there's no man around".

ENJOY ! 1 min 23 seconds.


If this video should disappear from the web, plenty of 1960 commercials can be found at this location.

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

September, 2007 Housing Statistics: The Roundup

Each month we round 'em up here in one place.

The Quick Summary
For months builders have slashed production by more than 20%, and now by 30%. Recent weeks have seen what can only be called fire sale prices. Nevertheless, the national market remains drastically oversupplied for new homes.

Because of this, individual sellers have nearly lost any price advantage over new homes that has existed historically. Even without the credit crisis, it will be a lengthy combination of lower prices, less production, and increased demand before anything approaching equilibrium returns.

**Supply Factors: Once Again, Bloated Inventories Despite Production Cuts**
New home inventories, (PDF): Cash strapped builders, after months of reductions in permits, starts and completions, often in excess of 20%, have finally made a small dent in their bloated inventories.

September, 2007 saw permits at 26% less than last year, while starts and completions registered 31% decreases. The current 8.3 month's supply of new homes however remains 22% above last year.

The builders' outlook is summarized by way of the latest National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. The HMI, released October 18, "fell two more points to 18 in October, its lowest point since the series began in January of 1985."

Inventories of existing homes (PDF), have risen every month since January of 2007, and now stand at a 10.5 month supply. This is 62% higher than inventories FYE 2006. A market is equilibrium is commonly cited as a 6 month's supply as a market in equilibrium. We are 75% above that level.

**Demand Factors**
Sales of new homes, (PDF), came in 23.3% less than last year. Any market that gives up 23% of its volume is big news, and for builders it has been like this for months. CNN Money takes a closer look, and calls the new home market, "even worse than it appears", because of anticipated statistical corrections and other factors.

Average prices rose slightly, but without recognition of incentives offered by the industry, so the numbers are skewed. Nor does the most recent data reflect builder fire sales, or as The Washington Post called it, "car dealer tactics".

Sales of existing homes (PDF), a whopping 8% less than August 2007, and 22% less than FYE 2006. CNN Money reports these numbers as the lowest annual pace ever, and "the steepest one-month and annual drops on record."

The pending home sales index ...offers little in the way of any quick surge in buying.

Conclusions & Forecasts Anyone?
Drastic cuts in production and selling prices by builders have done little to lure buyers and remove the inventory glut. Individual sellers are hard pressed to compete, so the inventory of existing homes for sale will likely persist longer than for new homes.

The consensus is building with an eye towards early 2009 in the opinion of the mortage bankers and the builders. This isn't the lightning pace of the futures market here, it will take time for lower prices, less production, and elusive buyers to shake this thing out.

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

Filed Under: National Items

AddThis Social Bookmark Button