Blog – Connestee Falls Realty http://www.connesteefallshomes.com Brevard, NC - Live Where You Play! Wed, 29 Nov 2017 16:49:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.4 SIX EASY WAYS TO PREPARE FOR HOLIDAY GUEST S S http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/six-easy-ways-prepare-christmas-guests/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/six-easy-ways-prepare-christmas-guests/#respond Wed, 29 Nov 2017 16:48:41 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6293 SOURCE:  Excerpted from an article by Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com “It’ll be here before you know it:  holiday season….probably time you started getting prepared…it will probably be easier than expected to get it into good shape.  Here are a few things you can do this weekend to get started. MAKE OVER YOUR GUEST ROOM.  In…

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SOURCE:  Excerpted from an article by Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com

“It’ll be here before you know it:  holiday season….probably time you started getting prepared…it will probably be easier than expected to get it into good shape.  Here are a few things you can do this weekend to get started.

MAKE OVER YOUR GUEST ROOM.  In many guest rooms, whatever furniture exists is often leftovers from other spaces, but that doesn’t mean it can’t look great.  If you’re not looking to add to or replace anything, get out that paint can.  How does the bed look?  Tired or drab?  You don’t have to spend a lot to get a great set of sheets, and top it with a graphic patterned comforter and a few pillows – voila!  On the night stand, a favorite book and a scented candle will make your guests feel welcome.  (A stack of pretty, fresh towels at the bottom of the bed makes a nice presentation.)

POLISH YOUR SILVER.  Several simple tricks (http://www.rd.com/home/cleaning-organizing/how-to-clean-silver) will have it look better in no time.  Our favorite:  ketchup!

MAKE IT  INVITING.  Discount home decor stores can be a goldmine for little, inexpensive items that can make your guests feel like they’re staying at a fancy hotel.  Stock up on guest soaps, hand towels, lotions, and (!) perhaps set out a new robe and slippers.

THINK ABOUT FUNCTION. While you’re making things look pretty, make sure you consider function.  Guests will need a place to put their things, so this is a perfect time to put away summer clothes or pack up a few boxes of giveaway stuff to create space in a closet.  Now…hit your coat closet.  Go through your closet or hooks by your door, and store away any extra jackets you may have hanging there.

CONSIDER THE LIGHTING.  While you are out shopping, hit the lighting aisle.  Even though you can navigate your home blindfolded, your guests can’t.  Make sure outside lights are working so they don’t trip on the way to your door.  Put motion-activated night lights in hallways, bathrooms, and bedrooms to ensure safe passage at night.

DO A SMELL CHECK.  Everyday scents, especially if you have pets, can get past us in our own home.  There is actually a science behind this…we adapt to smells very quickly.  Within the space of just a few breaths, we can lose our ability to detect new odors, It’s called olfactory adaption, and it’s the same reason you can’t smell your own breath, body odor or even perfume after a few minutes.

Outside of the typical tactics of cleaning and deodorizing, there are a few tricks that can help freshen up your home.  Fill two to four shallow bowls with fresh coffee grounds, depending on the size of the room.  Shut the windows and the door to the room, then leave the bowls overnight to let the coffee grounds absorb the odor.  Throw the grounds away the next day.  Repeat one more night with fresh coffee grounds for particularly stubborn odors.  Another quick fix:  Put about a cup of white vinegar in a sauce pan on your stove top and bring it to a simmer…it will release more odor-fighting power into the air, and if you let it go for awhile, it will deodorize your whole house.  It might smell a little vinegary at first, but after a while it won’t smell like anything at all….”

(Our own tip, which is especially easy over the holidays….bake cookies, breads etc. each day to keep the lovely aromas of holiday baking in your home.  And if you are in the process of selling your home, bake a loaf of bread every morning.  It’ll create a pleasant “greeting” when prospective buyers first enter your home!)

SOURCE:  Jaymi Naciri/realtytimes.com   IMAGE:  huffingtonpost.com

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AS LEAVES DROP, BIRD WATCHING IMPROVES http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/leaves-drop-bird-watching-improves/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/leaves-drop-bird-watching-improves/#respond Mon, 27 Nov 2017 16:26:41 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6289 Excerpted from an article by George Ellison for the Asheville Citizen-Times/USA Today Network “From now until the first ice storm in mid-January is a period that’s invigorating without being bitterly cold or slushy.  It’s always been a good time to get outdoors for some birding – or just watch them through the kitchen windows as…

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Excerpted from an article by George Ellison for the Asheville Citizen-Times/USA Today Network

“From now until the first ice storm in mid-January is a period that’s invigorating without being bitterly cold or slushy.  It’s always been a good time to get outdoors for some birding – or just watch them through the kitchen windows as they come and go at regular intervals.

Mid-fall is when we are on the lookout for those species that nest in the northern hardwood and spruce-fir regions of the Southern Appalachians – where they reach the southernmost limits of their breeding ranges – but come down to the lowlands in the fall to winter:  golden-crowned kinglets, winter wrens, black-capped chickadees, brown creepers, red-breasted nuthatches and juncos.  Of these, one of our favorites is the winter wren, a species found throughout temperate areas of the Northern Hemisphere, and the only wren species found outside of the Americas….

According to the online “Birds of North America” site (Cornell Lab of Ornithology) this species is unique among North American wrens in its association with old-growth forests.  It uses snags, downed logs, and large trees for nesting, foraging and roosting.  Some European populations inhabit highly human-modified habitats year-round and are known as garden birds.

The winter wren is noted for its song – a sparkling series of high-pitched bubbling warbles and trills – that may last for up to seven seconds and contain more than 100 notes.  Most singing occurs during breeding season, but it has been noted in every month of the year.  “On rare occasions the listener may be favored by antiphonal singing, when the refrain is carried on by two or more musicians – as soon as one utters his last note, another begins, round after round, so charmingly synchronized that the performance becomes a never-to-be-forgotten experience.” (Arthur Stupka/Great Smokies National Park)

In late fall and winter, the little bird’s presence is usually announced by abrasive “chirrs” or harsh “tik-tik-tik”cockced over its back, this species is unmistakable.  At high elevations, the tiny brown sprite creeps mouse-like through the forest at ground level, darting in and  out of hollow logs and tangles of vegetation.  In the lower elevations, it  is attracted to home sites, where it flits in and  out of the openings in stacks of firewood and ventures underneath structures seeking insects.

Winter wrens are without doubt our most inquisitive bird.  And for whatever reason, they are seemingly fascinated with human beings.  I have had them follow me along trails for several hundred yards, bobbing up at intervals to make sure I am aware of their presence.  They enter our house and inspect the premises when an open door or window allows access.  They are irresistible.”

SOURCE:  George Ellison is a naturalist and writer.  His wife, Elizabeth Ellison, is a painter and papermaker who owns a gallery in Bryson City, NC.

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2017 HOMEBUYER SURVEY HAS VALUABLE INFO… http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/2017-homebuyer-survey-valuable-info/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/2017-homebuyer-survey-valuable-info/#respond Wed, 22 Nov 2017 16:02:11 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6286 FOR AGENTS AND SELLERS… SOURCE:  Excerpted from an article by BOB HUNT for realtytimes.com “One of the most useful research projects of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) is their annual survey of homebuyers and sellers.  It is particularly useful because it shows sellers and their agents what works and what sources buyers use to…

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FOR AGENTS AND SELLERS…

SOURCE:  Excerpted from an article by BOB HUNT for realtytimes.com

“One of the most useful research projects of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) is their annual survey of homebuyers and sellers.  It is particularly useful because it shows sellers and their agents what works and what sources buyers use to find their new homes.

This is the 30th year that NAR has conducted an annual survey of those who have purchased and sold their homes.  The most recent became available in November of this year, based on answers to a 131-question survey sent to a random sample of 145,000 consumers who purchased a home between July 2016 and June 1017.  After accounting for undeliverable surveys, there was a 5.6% response rate.

In 2016, first-time buyers constituted 32% of the market, the lowest participation rate by first-time buyers since 1987 (30%).  This year, the first-time buyer rate was 34%  Geographically, the  highest percentage of first-time buyers was in the northeast (43%).  Over the years, the historic norms for the country have been in the 40% range.  As more low-down-payment mortgage programs come into the market, there may be a good chance of turning to these norms.

The most useful info for sellers and their agents came from the section on the home search process.  Recent trends continue.  86% of buyers said that they used the internet during the search process.  In 2003, that number was only 42%.  This past year, 55% of buyers used a mobile or tablet application…a newer and growing phenomenon.  68% of buyers said they frequently relied on a real estate agent for information.

Forty-two percent of buyers went to the internet as the first step in the home search process. 17% contacted a real estate agent first, and 6% began by driving through neighborhoods looking for homes for sale.  Driving around can be an option, because half the homes purchased were within 15 miles of the buyers’ previous residence.  Interestingly, 8% of buyers began the process by going to a bank or mortgage company.

Buyers use multiple sources of information in the process of looking for a home.  The most used sources are websites (95%), and real estate agents (89%).  Mobile or tablet apps have replaced yard signs as the third most used source.  Only 15% indicate they used newspaper ads as an info source, and only 2% garnered info from television.

Certainly the most relevant source has to do with where they actually found the home they ultimately purchased…this year that source was the internet (49%).  Next was agents, at 31%.  This is not to say that buyers actually bought their home through the internet.  The typical scenario is that a consumer sees the home on the internet, and then contacts his or her agent.  **88% of those who used the internet to search purchased their home through an agent.**

The differences in a little more than a decade are fascinating.  In 2001, 48% of buyers learned about their home through a real estate agent, and only 8% found their home on the internet.  The times – they have changed!

Some things, though, remain the same – or close to it. In 2001, yard signs persist as sources, but at a much lower percentage.  Print media may not be dead, but it has shrunk to insignificance…”

SOURCE: Bob Hunt for realtytimes.com.  The 2017 Profile of  Home Buyers and Sellers (https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/research-reports/highlights/from-the-profile-of-home-buyers-and-sellers) shows what works, and is a valuable resource.

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DIY SOLUTIONS TO YOUR FLOORING PROBLEMS http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/diy-solutions-flooring-problems/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/diy-solutions-flooring-problems/#respond Mon, 20 Nov 2017 15:32:34 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6283 SOURCE:  JAYMI NACIRI for realtytimes.com “True story.  The wood in our living room is scratched and worn, the dark tile in the kitchen imparts a sort of cave like feel, and there’s unfinished concrete in several of the bedrooms thanks to foundation repair that was done shortly after we bought the house…..The idea was to…

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SOURCE:  JAYMI NACIRI for realtytimes.com

“True story.  The wood in our living room is scratched and worn, the dark tile in the kitchen imparts a sort of cave like feel, and there’s unfinished concrete in several of the bedrooms thanks to foundation repair that was done shortly after we bought the house…..The idea was to get new floors in soon after, and, well, three years later…here we are.  Sound familiar?

While we have examined many, many options over the last couple of years, nothing has stuck well enough to get to it.  Part of the issue is that we don’t want to hand over the installation to someone else.  While that would probably be the most  practical option, it’s not the most economical, and we tend to like to do things by ourselves.  You too?  Then come with us on a journey to find the best DIY solution to our (and your!) flooring dilemmas.

PAINTED WOOD.  Frankly, anything that starts with sanding is an immediate turnoff. If you lose control of a big electric sander, major havoc ensues.  But – that nowithstanding, painted wood floors do look pretty cool.  SF Gate (http://homeguides.sfgate.com/paint-heavily-trafficked-wood-floor-33730.html) has a good tutorial for painting heavily trafficked wood floors that involves really good preparation (so if you’re a step-skipper, maybe this is not for you) and high-quality primer.  But honestly, we’re skeptical about smooth floors.  Dogs will scratch the surface, right?  But that would create a homey, rustic look — right?

We first saw blogger Remington Avenue’s tutorial for painted floors in 2015 (https//remingtonavenue.com/2015/08/the-girl-who-painted-her-tile.html) , which should tell you how long we’ve been tossing around ideas for our floors.  She crafted a stunning painted tile floor using chalk paint and a stencil that created a trendy Moroccan cement tile look.

Stencils have become more readily available and in greater variety since then, and her new tutorial is even more interesting (https://remingtonavenue.com/2017/07/how-to-paint-stencil-tile.html) because she used luster epozy paint, like you would use to paint a garage floor.  That spells greater durability and since multiple children and multiple dogs live in this house, finishes that can’t endure kid feet and dog paws are a NO GO.

FLOATING FLOOR.  This Old House’s take (https://www.thisoldhouse.com/ideas/8-easy-flooring-upgrades):  “it’s hard to imagine a house being cozy without the warmth of wood flooring.  The quickest way to get new wood underfoot is to install a floating floor.  Unlike traditional solid wood strips, a floating floor isn’t nailed down.  Instead, the plans are either glued or snapped together.  The planks go down fast, over virtually any material – concrete, plywood, sheet vinyl, even ceramic tile.

Now, our thoughts.  The advantage to using a floating floor is that it’s definitely DIY-friendly in comparison to numerous other options because it requires no demolition other than removing baseboards – something we wouldn’t have to do it we were painting the existing surfaces.  We would have to put down plywood on the concrete surfaces to make everything flush, but that’s not a big deal.  The continuity that would be created by laying down one surface throughout the first floor would be a dream given how broken up it currently is.  The downside:  it’s pricier solution than paint, and the price, not surprisingly, goes up with the quality.  Whether you are looking at using luxury-vinyl planks, laminate, or engineered wood, it’s an investment.

CARPET TILES.  We just haven’t been able to get rid of the idea of soft, cushy carpeted surface in the bedrooms, but we’re not about to try to put in wall-to-wall carpet on our own.  Just getting the carpeting into the room is a huge job.  Second, precisely cutting it to size takes experience – one wrong cut can ruin the entire piece.

The potential answer:  carpet tiles.  Carpet tiles have come a long way in terms of design.  New carpet tiles are beautifully textured with a great neutral color palette.  The best part is they’re super easy to install.  “One 3-inch-diameter dot is placed at each corner of a carpet square, with the sticky side up.  The next square is set in place right against the first square, and then it’s pressed down onto the adhesive dots.  In the end, the result is a floating floor of carpet squares all stuck together at the corners by adhesive dots.”  Actually, this may be the best part of all:  Remember those previously-mentioned kids and dogs?  They make stains.  If one area of your wall-to-wall carpet gets stained beyond repair, you’re out of luck.  If the same thing happened to a carpet, you rip it up and set an other one down.  Very  tempting.

SOURCE:  Excerpted from an article by Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com  IMAGE:  Pinterest

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WINTER WEATHER IN WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/winter-weather-western-north-carolina/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/winter-weather-western-north-carolina/#respond Wed, 15 Nov 2017 17:09:15 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6277 Excerpted from a study initiated by the State Climate Office of North Carolina When people drop in at our office here in Cedar Mountain, outside of Brevard, NC, they often ask….”what is the winter weather like in this area?”  Anecdotal information aside (that we generally have mild winters these days), there is always someone who…

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Excerpted from a study initiated by the State Climate Office of North Carolina

When people drop in at our office here in Cedar Mountain, outside of Brevard, NC, they often ask….”what is the winter weather like in this area?”  Anecdotal information aside (that we generally have mild winters these days), there is always someone who has lived here most of their life, and reels off stories about what terrible winters they used to experience – especially in the Asheville area.

Here’s a more scientific look at the winter weather in our area.  Caveat:  this study was done in the early 2000’s.

“Winter weather (snow, sleet, freezing rain) occurs with the greatest frequency in the norther latitudes (e.g., New England and the Midwest) and higher altitudes (the Appalachians).  However, such weather regularly affects the southeastern US as far south as Georgia during each cold season.  In fact, the impacts of winter weather in the Southeast have been recorded as early as the first week of October and as late as  mid-April. ”  (This year, particularly mild fall weather and plenty of rain kept the leaves on the trees, many still green, way past the usual color peak here which usually occurs around the middle of October.   And the fall, once it got going, lasted longer.  The mild weather turned cool/cold rather abruptly in the beginning of November, and a big wind & rain storm took down most of our leaves in one day!)

“…Each type of winter precipitation brings with it unique hazards.  Each precipitation type occurs with some regularity throughout the Southeast, and is due mainly to the topography of the region as well as its geography.  Continental polar air masses from Canada typically supply the cold air necessary for snow, while cold, dry air form New England entering the region can become entrained against the east slopes of the Appalachian Mountains, forming a dome or wedge of near-surface cold air.  The moisture necessary for precipitation is brought in from the nearby Gulf Of Mexico, where the thermal contrast between the cold land surface and the relatively warmer gulf waters provides a favorable environment for storm development and intensification.  If a cold dome is already in place east of the mountains, the warm frontal boundary and moisture associated with the developing storm may migrate northward over the cold dome, setting the stage for mixed precipitation….”  (There  is often a temperature differential of anywhere between five and ten degrees Farenheit between Brevard and the Cedar Mountain/Connestee Falls area.  This  is caused by altitude differential.  In easier terms to understand, this means that often we get snow, sleet and frozen rain in Connestee Falls, while Brevard – about 1,000 feet lower in altitude, gets cold rain.)

Natives will tell you that winters are much milder, with less freezing precipitation, than the winters of their childhood.  Still,  there is often concern about how quickly roads are cleared and safe for travel after a snow storm.   The State Department of Transportation is right on top of snow removal on US 276, which runs past Connestee’s Main and East Fork Gates.  And Connestee Falls has its own snow removal equipment, including snowplows and snow blowers – and can stay on top of the snow removal situation on our private roads.

SOURCE:  State Climate Office of North Carolina

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TRANSYLVANIA COUNTY, NC – ABOUT OUR COUNTY http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/transylvania-county-nc-county/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/transylvania-county-nc-county/#respond Mon, 13 Nov 2017 16:41:20 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6273 SOURCE:  Transylvania County, NC website & Land of Waterfalls website “Transylvania County is located in the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains of Western North Carolina, about half way between Asheville, NC and Greenville, SC.  The county seat is Brevard, NC.  The Transylvania County Courthouse, located in the heart of Brevard, is on the National Register of…

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SOURCE:  Transylvania County, NC website & Land of Waterfalls website

“Transylvania County is located in the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains of Western North Carolina, about half way between Asheville, NC and Greenville, SC.  The county seat is Brevard, NC.  The Transylvania County Courthouse, located in the heart of Brevard, is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Transylvania County is called the “Land of Waterfalls” due to the 250 waterfalls located throughout the county.  Whitewater Falls is one of the highest waterfalls in the eastern US.  Framed by the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, access to Pisgah National Forest, Gorges State Park and DuPont State Forest (the most visited state forest in NC) provides locals and visitors with opportunities for a range of outdoor activities – hiking, biking, camping, canoeing, tubing, picnicing and fishing.

There is also a rich cultural scene in the country.  World-renowned Brevard Music Center, Brevard Philharmonic, Brevard Little Theatre, Brevard Community Band, Paul Porter Center for Performing Arts at Brevard College, Transylvania Choral Society, Transylvania Community Arts Council – and more…”

“…Don’t be deceived by the easy pace and iconic Small Town America ambiance of Brevard – our charming, historic county seat.  There is probably something awesome going on right now in downtown Brevard.  It might be as simple as a new exhibit at on of the many small art galleries, a beer tasting at a local pub, or a truly spectacular, day-capping combo of a toy shop visit and a chocolate  milkshake.  Or it could be live music (which occurs with near-daily frequency in the warmer months), a bike or running race, or one of Brevard’s many beloved, family-friendly street festivals.

…wander through the one-of-a-kind local boutiques, grab a delicious meal at a wide variety of local eateries (both casual and upscale), stop by for a little bluegrass on the front porch of the Silvermont Mansion – or in winter, enjoy one of Brevard’s many cool weather and holiday attractions.

Downtown Brevard offers fine, relaxed accompaniment to wilderness exploration and a whole new sort of adventure for any and all inclined to follow their sense through one of American’s Coolest Small Towns…”

SOURCE:  Transylvania County/Land of Waterfalls websites.  Just Google Transylvania County, NC or Brevard, NC – or Land of Waterfalls for a variety of information…

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SOLUTIONS TO SAVING MONEY ON YOUR NEXT MOVE http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/solutions-saving-money-next-move/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/solutions-saving-money-next-move/#respond Fri, 10 Nov 2017 15:27:19 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6269     SOURCE:  Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com – Excerpts “Buying a house and moving in is gonna cost you…well, actually, there are ways to make it  not quite so painful.  A willingness to negotiate and put in a little work, plus a little inside info on special deals you can take advantage of can help…

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SOURCE:  Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com – Excerpts

“Buying a house and moving in is gonna cost you…well, actually, there are ways to make it  not quite so painful.  A willingness to negotiate and put in a little work, plus a little inside info on special deals you can take advantage of can help you cut some costs.  Here are eight ways to save money…

  1. DON’T TAKE IT ALL WITH YOU!  Furniture you no longer love?  Appliances in the garage?  These could be included in the sale….first time buyers might like to have them, and you won’t have to pay to haul it to your next home.
  2. LEAVE THAT FLAT SCREEN TV!  If it’s at least a few years old, consider leaving it behind.  The cost of taking it down and repairing the wall behind it plus the care involved in moving might not be worth it.  Flat-screen technology is always improving while costs are coming down, so it’s a good excuse to buy something bigger and better without spending a lot.
  3. NEGOTIATE EVERYTHING!  If you’ve been looking for a house or have bought one before, you are aware of closing costs…but are you aware of how much you can negotiate with your lender?  Shop around…when you receive your good faith estimate of closing costs, it will include lender’s fees, appraisal charges and title insurance premiums.  The lender charges some fees, and third parties charge others.  Find out which are loan origination fees and which are third-party fees.  Don’t guess – actually ask your lender or broker.  While some items are non-negotiable, like taxes, city and county stamps, recording fees, interest and reserves, negotiating on others that can be waived or reduced can save you money.
  4. BARTER FOR SERVICES!  Need a handyman, and have appliances or furniture you’re getting rid of?  You might be able to make a deal.  Ask about bartering during your first conversation.  You may be surprised about what you can get for what you’ve already got.
  5. MOVE SMART!  If you don’t want to move on your own, think of ways you can save by doing a “hybrid move.”  Do the packing/unpacking yourself.  Have everything on one floor (stairs can add to the cost of a move.)  Pare down – maybe you don’t need some of your stuff any more – sell it, if you can.
  6. CONSIDER MOVING AND STORAGE HYBRID OPTIONS.  A company like PODS or U-Pack might be a solution for you if you need self-storage.  The company drops off a mobile storage unit at your house and you pack it up yourself.  They then pick it up and move it for you.  You can tack on storage at the end if needed, making this a particularly good solution for those who have time between their move out and their move in.  This type of move can cost up to 35% less than traditional movers – but remember – you will be doing the labor, just not the driving.
  7. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SPECIAL OFFERS.  Move-in offers for cable, internet and phone service can save you a lot of money, but they often come with a catch that could cost you down the line.  Be careful.  Look out for special, limited-time offers – one year or six-month specials that expire, leaving you with much higher rates after the introductory period.
  8. DON’T RUSH THE RENOVATIONS.  Chances are, after you move in, you’re going to start receiving all kinds of junk mail asking if you want to renovate, redo your lawn, and apply for thousands of credit cards.  In this endless pile of junk mail will be come special offers for new homebuyers.  Look out for coupons from handymen, companies selling flooring and windows, home furnishings, and offers from landscapers with discounts for new clients.  If you’re planning to shop, renovate, or do some work on your interior or exterior, taking advantage of a few of these offers can help shave down the cost.

SOURCE:  Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com   IMAGE:  djbox.ie

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TIPS FOR GETTING YOUR HOME SOLD IN WINTER http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/tips-getting-home-sold-winter/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/tips-getting-home-sold-winter/#respond Wed, 01 Nov 2017 15:10:38 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6265 SOURCE:  Excerpted from an article by Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes “So you’ve decided to list your home this winter…no matter what is driving the move, you may be concerned about selling at this time of year.  But just because you missed the spring/summer selling season doesn’t mean you can’t get your home sold quickly and…

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SOURCE:  Excerpted from an article by Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes

“So you’ve decided to list your home this winter…no matter what is driving the move, you may be concerned about selling at this time of year.  But just because you missed the spring/summer selling season doesn’t mean you can’t get your home sold quickly and for a profit.  Here are a few tips…

 

  • Take photos early or late.  Take photos before the trees become barren and the grass goes dormant, if you can….except if you want to portray your home as a winter wonderland on a snowy day (with perfectly scraped walkways,  of course).
  • Go easy on the holiday decor. Sellers should be careful not to overdo it…adornments that are too large or too many can crowd your home and distract buyers.  Also avoid offending buyers by opting for generic fall and winter holiday decorations rather than items with religious themes.
  • Always mind the curb appeal.  Potential buyers won’t give you a pass on exterior upkeep just because it’s wintertime.
  • Safety matters.  Shoveling walks from the street to your home is necessary to make it reachable, inviting, and safe….so continually shovel to keep paths to your home clear.  Also footprints in freshly fallen snow will turn to ice if the temperature is low enough, so scrape the walk & sprinkle a layer of sand to assure stable footing.
  • Get an indoor mat.  This one super-easy move may not be noticed by visitors, but it sure will if it’s missing or not in good shape.  Little things like a $10 mat can give buyers the impression that your whole house is well cared for (or just the opposite).
  • Clear the front door clutter.  How does the coat closet look?  Make room for potential buyers to hang their winter coats while touring your home…plus, a tidy closet gives the impression that there is plenty of storage space in the home.  Winter wear and shoes that tend to stack up in the entry should be banished while your house is on the market.
  • Make sure everything functions.  Imagine you turn on the heater for the first time the night before your first showing and it doesn’t work.  Same for the fireplace in the living room.  As soon as you decide to sell your home, go through it room by room, checking all major appliances and home functions and looking for things that may escape notice on an everyday basis – cracked light switches, chipped baseboards, light bulbs that need to be replaced – so that your home is perfect for showings.
  • Light it up.  Shorter days with earlier sunsets limit the hours of natural light in your home.  Turning on all the lights before showings is more important in winter than in any other season.  Think about the exterior when it comes to lights…if you only have a porch light, you might want to consider adding some landscaping lighting which will help accentuate your outdoor space.
  • Listen to your real estate agent when it comes to price.  Will you be able to command top dollar for your home and get the same price you would have if you had listed in spring or summer?  That depends on many things, including your neighborhood, the available inventory, the condition of the home, and your listing price.  A trusted real estate agent will take all mitigating factors into consideration and use comparables in your area to develop a pricing strategy.

When it comes to offers, remember this tidbit from Realtor.com…”Just because your home’s on the market during the slow, chilly months doesn’t mean you have to accept a lowball offer.  If you make your home attractive in all the right ways, qualified buyers will come.””

SOURCE:  Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com    IMAGE:  linkedin.com

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HOME FOUNDATIONS AND WHY MATERIALS MATTER http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/home-foundations-materials-matter/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/home-foundations-materials-matter/#respond Tue, 24 Oct 2017 13:59:51 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6250 Excerpted from – Source:  Realtytimes.com Staff writers. “The typical single family home can weigh anywhere from 80,000 to 160,000 pounds.  Foundations provide a solid base for a home’s weight, help to ensure the house stays level and provides a base for construction to take place.  Foundations matter, and so does the material that they’re made…

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Excerpted from – Source:  Realtytimes.com Staff writers.

“The typical single family home can weigh anywhere from 80,000 to 160,000 pounds.  Foundations provide a solid base for a home’s weight, help to ensure the house stays level and provides a base for construction to take place.  Foundations matter, and so does the material that they’re made of.

Before buying or constructing your home, it’s important to be familiar with foundations to help you better understand how to prevent damage or make necessary repairs.

The most common material used is concrete – by far.  Typically poured or constructed with a series of cinder blocks, concrete is fairly inexpensive, easy to find and produce, and strong.  Although poured concrete is prone to cracking, these repairs are often affordable and easy to have done, especially if it is being done from the interior.  Drawbacks of concrete vary based on the type of foundation.  Cinder blocks may buckle over time and can involve expensive repairs.  Poured concrete requires a mixer on site to perform installation, possibly adding costs if a concrete facility isn’t close by.

Pre-built walls typically consist of of studded wall construction that’s been coated in a concrete layer.  It installs quickly, is always level and makes discovering problems easier.  However, pre-built walls are more expensive than other types of foundations.

Stone and Brick are commonly found in older homes.  Stone foundation usually aren’t equipped with the right type of drainage systems.  Brick foundations, though typically thick and adequate, tend to degrade over time and are also prone to mortar issues.

FOUNDATION TYPES:  Foundations don’t just come in many materials – they take different shapes.

  • BASEMENTS.  Cold weather climates are the most popular location for basement installation because the foundation of the home needs to exist beneath the frost level in order to sufficiently support it.  They’re typically made of poured concrete, and many also serve as a place where home appliances are located.  Occupants often take advantage of the extended headroom to turn the area into additional living space.  BUT…prone to flooding, fully underground basements can be costly if your yard doesn’t quickly absorb or drain rainfall.  Basement walls and floors are also susceptible to cracking, which require repair to keep moisture out and maintain structural integrity.
  • SLABS.  A slab is nothing more than poured concrete that exists on a grade of land.  Slab foundations are popular in warm weather climates, where water tables are higher.  It’s installed about a foot underground and usually reinforced with steel.  Slabs are a cheaper type of foundation and, unlike a basement, reduce flooding risk.  However, slabs are prone to cracking and can also provide difficulties for incorporating heating and cooling ducts into the home.
  • CRAWLSPACES.  Crawlspaces are foundations that exist beneath a home with limited headroom.  Though headroom is at a premium, it’s typically enough to store certain appliances, piping, ductwork, and more.  The majority don’t permit the additional living space of a basement because they’re approximately two to four feet high.  Installation is cheaper than a basement, but more expensive than a slab.  Other big disadvantages include susceptibility to moisture issues and serving as a favorite place for pests and rodents to seek shelter.  (And radon gas may accumulate).  The good news is that you can waterproof your crawlspace.

Worried that your foundation may be in need of repair?  Signs that your foundation may need attention include:  misaligned exterior doors and windows, cracks in stonework, sheetrock and floors, bulges in the floor, or interior doors sticking or jamming.  Consult a professional if you think your foundation is in trouble.

SOURCE:  realtytimes.com Staff Writers

 

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WINTER-BLOOMING PLANTS HELP BEES SURVIVE THE SEASON http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/winter-blooming-plants-help-bees-survive-season/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/winter-blooming-plants-help-bees-survive-season/#respond Mon, 23 Oct 2017 14:44:04 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6247 Excerpted and adapted from an article by Dean Fosdick for Associated Press/Asheville Citizen-Times “Winter and early spring are lean times for honeybees as they emerge from their hives, where food supplies are dwindling, to forage.  Adding clusters of winter-blooming plants around the yard will give them much needed  nourishment. Bees take in carbohydrates from floral…

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Excerpted and adapted from an article by Dean Fosdick for Associated Press/Asheville Citizen-Times

“Winter and early spring are lean times for honeybees as they emerge from their hives, where food supplies are dwindling, to forage.  Adding clusters of winter-blooming plants around the yard will give them much needed  nourishment.

Bees take in carbohydrates from floral nectar and protein from floral pollen.  Being aware of bloom times and providing flowers that over lap seasons are important for beekeepers who want to overwinter their colonies.  Some bees, including many wild varieties, begin searching for food as early as January, when sunny days can push temps up to 55 F or more. In the early spring, bees are going to need food to get their engines started again…solitary wild bees, honeybees and hummingbirds are just clinging to life.

So the preparation you do now is very important.  Early spring is a vulnerable time for pollinators.  Pollinator plants like crocus, primrose and snowdrops will bloom even when show is on the ground.  Threes and shrubs also are effective choices for feeding early emerging honeybees.

In early spring, it’s the trees that are most important.  Willows, maples, filberts and hazelnuts are some of the earliest sources of pollen you’ll find.  They’re easy to establish and grow.  Establish early-blooming plants in clusters to make it easier for foraging honeybees to spot and access them.  Bees are efficient pollinators – they really appreciate patches of flowers.  They can get from flower to flower easily, saving on their own low energy supplies.

Many winter-flowering plants grow in the wild, but pollinators generally don’t live near them…so that makes cultivating winter bloomers important when planning your garden.  Property owners should also leave suitable places for native bees to hibernate undisturbed.  Let turf grass grow long over the winter.  Avoid pesticides.  Reduce lawn size and turn instead to protective shrubs.  Even a small amount of habitat will be enough to sustain bees….they are tiny creatures, and a well-thought-out landscape can provide all the food they need in winter.  As a gardener, you can really help with that.

Some additional bee-friendly plants:

  • Oregon grape, an evergreen shrub that produces yellow flowers blooming for weeks.
  • Heath and heather, in shades of purple to copper to gold; these low-growing plants make a mat of color throughout the year, including winter.
  • Male willow plants, maples, apple, crabapple, native cherry.

Native trees, shrubs and other plants selected to feed bees are definitely part of the solution to declining bee populations.”

NOTE:  In WNC, the best time to plant trees and shrubs is in the fall, giving them time to establish their root systems over the winter.

SOURCE:  DEAN FOSDICK/ASSOCIATED PRESS/ASHEVILLE CITIZEN-TIMES

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