Connestee Falls Realty http://www.connesteefallshomes.com Brevard, NC - Live Where You Play! Mon, 23 Oct 2017 14:44:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.2 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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SIX SURPRISING BENEFITS OF BUYING OR SELLING IN THE FALL http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/six-surprising-benefits-buying-selling-fall/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/six-surprising-benefits-buying-selling-fall/#respond Wed, 04 Oct 2017 13:42:35 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6227 SOURCE:  Excerpted from an article by Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com “Seeing fewer for-sale signs now that summer is over?  This can be great news for buyers who are looking to score a new home and sellers who want to sell their place and move on.  If you think you missed the boat on making your…

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

“Seeing fewer for-sale signs now that summer is over?  This can be great news for buyers who are looking to score a new home and sellers who want to sell their place and move on.  If you think you missed the boat on making your move this year, here’s why buying and selling in the fall can work for you.

LESS COMPETITION.  There may be fewer homes on the market, but there are also fewer buyers competing for the same home you want.  That gives buyers an important edge.  Forbes says “…competition for houses drops off in the fall, a time many people consider to be off-season in real estate. But there are still homes for sale…” (And inventories in WNC are shrinking).  The benefit to sellers is that those buyers who are out there tend to be more serious, which means your real estate agent can key in on the real buyers without having to sift through the peepers.

TAX BREAKS.  If you’re a buyer who closes escrow before December 31, and you may get a nice write-off on your taxes…property tax and mortgage interest are both deductions you can take for your whole year’s worth of income, even if you closed on your home in December.  Payments made prior to the closing of the loan are tax-deductible.  This can make a serious difference in the amount you owe the government at the end of the year.  There are also potential tax breaks for home sellers…you can include all sorts of selling expenses in the cost basis of your house….increasing your adjusted cost basis decreases your capital gain because this is what’s subtracted from the sales price to determine how much of a gain – or loss – you’ve realized.  If you  have less of a gain, you’re  more likely to fall within the exclusion limit, and if you’re gain isn’t excluded, you’ll pay taxes on less.  And that’s just the beginning.  Closing costs and home improvements may also be write-offs for sellers.  Check out the full list here (http://www.thebalance.com/deducting-house-sale-expenses-3974006).

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS.  Buy or sell early in the fall and you could be nicely situated in your new home in time for the holidays and before winter weather hits.  Moving during a calmer time of year also means you may have better access to movers and other necessary resources than during the busier spring and summer seasons.

THE RIGHT PRICE.  …If you’ve made updates to your home to justify a higher price, you’re probably in better shape to get your (realistic) asking price in the fall.  If you’re a seller and you establish a smart pricing strategy, you could find your home standing out in the crowd and selling while others sit on the market under a blanket of snow.  Buyers also may have a better time getting a home that’s within their budget because when there is less competition for homes, there is less chance of bidding wars and over-asking-price sales.

GREAT DEALS ON STUFF TO FIX UP YOUR HOME?  (Our comment:  Probably not this year.  Why?  Because repair work on houses wrecked in the Texas and Florida hurricanes and the disaster in Puerto Rico are eating up building supplies at a rapid pace.  It may be more difficult throughout this fall and early winter to access renovation and building supplies as inventories of these supplies (like drywall) are drawn down.  Keep this in mind if planning to do or have work done on your home prior to listing it for sale.  Buy supplies early and often!)

SOURCE:  Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com    IMAGE:  realty4hire.com

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FIVE KEY QUESTIONS FOR HOME SELLERS http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/five-key-questions-home-sellers/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/five-key-questions-home-sellers/#respond Wed, 20 Sep 2017 15:05:35 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6222 SOURCE:  Excerpted from an article by PJ Wade for realtytimes.com “Are you having trouble deciding whether or not to sell your real estate – home, recreational property, investment property?  It’s not the length of time you’ve lived in or owned a property that determines when it’s time to sell.  There’s no magic number of ownership…

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SOURCE:  Excerpted from an article by PJ Wade for realtytimes.com

“Are you having trouble deciding whether or not to sell your real estate – home, recreational property, investment property?  It’s not the length of time you’ve lived in or owned a property that determines when it’s time to sell.  There’s no magic number of ownership years that triggers a move.

The reasons to sell are not the same for every seller nor for every property.  What is the same are the issues and decisions facing sellers as part of the decision.

The following FIVE KEY QUESTIONS FOR SELLERS summarize the issues and decisions involved.

  1. WHY NOW?  What is driving you to feel that you must sell now?  Is there one main reason you are considering a sale now….or do you feel that you “should” sell either to cash in on higher real state prices or because “at this age” that’s what is expected of you, or…?  These and other “shoulds” can be difficult  to handle alone.  The former requires expert input to arrive at an accurate market value.  The latter is an out-dated ageist viewpoint that should be ignored in favor of considering whether this real estate really suits your present and future needs.  Real estate professionals can offer practical suggestions and alternatives.  Add to this analysis an honest assessment of what you love about your current real estate and how it may limit (or not limit) your life – physically, financially, work-wise, location-wise, etc.
  2. WHAT’S NEXT?  Where will you move to?  Do you have the next step clearly set out in your mind, or are you juggling a few vague ideas?  Are you aiming for a mortgage-free lifestyle?  And who is directly involved in the move…decisions should be  made by those who will use the property and shoulder costs….”Aging in place”, or staying on your home instead of moving into assisted living or extended care, is the new trend for mature property owners.
  3. WHO WILL BE THE IDEAL BUYER?  Is this the ideal market for buyers most attracted to real estate like yours?  Identifying the best potential buyers helps place many decisions in context.  For instance, would a major renovation be a good investment or would cosmetic retouching be more cost effective?  Would staging be worth the cost, or would a simple de-cluttering be enough?  The answer lies not in what you would prefer to do, but in what ideal buyers would most favorably respond to.
  4. WHAT WOULD A “SUCCESSFUL SALE” INCLUDE?  How much do you need to net from the sale of your home?  Owners tend to have inflated views of the value of their home that are tied to pride of ownership.  If you are planning to purchase property with the proceeds of this sale, do you know how much you’ll need to sell for to buy that next property?  Will you need to sell your current property first to be sure exactly how much you have for the next step?  Or can you accept the risk of temporarily owning two properties or needing outside funding to purchase the next property before you sell the current ?  What do you need to achieve through the sale of your real estate?  Beyond financial concerns, what other factors will make this a successful sale?  Is there a particular moving date that holds value for you?  Which items do you want to take with you?  Appliances – stay, or go with  you?  Etc.
  5. WHO WILL HELP YOU ACHIEVE THIS SUCCESS?   Real estate professionals are trained to provide real market data that will put your expectations in the context of current market conditions and buyer alternatives.  The more effective you are at identifying the ideal set of real estate skills and experience necessary for your success, the more successful you will be.  And aren’t you (or both members of a couple) the greatest asset you have because you know your strengths and weaknesses better than anyone else?  You also have the most to gain and to lose, so improving your real estate savvy is well worth the effort.

SOURCE:  PJ Wade/realtytimes.com     IMAGE:  huffingtonpost.com

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10 KEY PROBLEMS TO LOOK FOR & FIX IN YOUR HOME http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/10-key-problems-look-fix-home/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/10-key-problems-look-fix-home/#respond Mon, 18 Sep 2017 14:34:48 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6219 Excerpted from an article by Mitchell Parker/Houzz for realtytimes.com “IGNORE SOME OF THESE SIGNS AND YOU MAY END UP WITH MAJOR ISSUES! Your home is trying to tell you all sorts of things:  the way it sounds…the way it smells.  And there are plenty of visual cues to tip you off to problems.  Everything is…

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Excerpted from an article by Mitchell Parker/Houzz for realtytimes.com

“IGNORE SOME OF THESE SIGNS AND YOU MAY END UP WITH MAJOR ISSUES!

Your home is trying to tell you all sorts of things:  the way it sounds…the way it smells.  And there are plenty of visual cues to tip you off to problems.  Everything is moving all the time, expanding and contracting…reacting to heat, rain and wind.  In other words, a house is something you’ve got to take care of.

Tapley Dawson at The Home Doctors recommends that you do a good walk around every fall before the raining season begins, checking for cracks, clogged gutters or anything that just doesn’t look right.  That way you can catch problems early.  If you own an older home, you should do a thorough check in the springtime as well, since those homes are prone to more damage.

THE BIGGEST ENEMY IN A HOUSE IS MOISTURE.  You want to keep it out, and nature is constantly trying to force it in.  It’s the cause of things like rotting wood, termites, cupping floorboards and mold and mildew.  “If you think about the materials in a home – wood, carpet, tile – they are meant to be inside the building envelope.  So most problems have to do with moisture or something getting into that envelope,” Dawson says.  Here are some problems to look for:

  • DARK SPOTS ON WALLS, CEILING OR EDGE OF CARPET.  Any dark spots on carpet that won’t vacuum up, or dark spots on drywall mean moisture is getting in and mold or mildew is forming.  You could have a leak somewhere, from the roof or from a window…If you have a north-facing wall without insulation, when warm, moist air from the inside hits that cool wall, moisture will form.  That’s why you should always run your fans when you cook and when you shower.
  • BUBBLING, FLAKING OR CRACKING PAINT.   Means moisture is somewhere in the wall, and should be addressed as soon as possible.  Some latex-based paint will actually balloon out, which is a big red flag…Trapped moisture can occur on ceilings, walls, around windows and on trim and molding…which means there’s a leak and water is getting into the spot, and can cause mold and wood rot.
  • DRIPPING FROM A SMALL PIPE OUTSIDE A MAIN LIVING WINDOW.  Dripping means there’s already a clog and the AC system is using its backup.  Then the pan will overflow, causing major problems.  If you see a lot of moisture anywhere around a furnace or A/C unit, there’s potential for water damage.
  • A LIGHT OR POPPED-OUT BUTTON ON YOUR SOCKET, AND AN APPLIANCE HAS STOPPED WORKING.  Often this is due to a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) which helps prevent electric shock from compromised wiring in electrical appliances.  Basically, when electricity is going where it’s not supposed to go, the fault circuit pops, shutting off electricity through the socket.  All you need to do is push the reset button.  If it doesn’t reset, then there’s something wrong with the outlet.  Keep in mind that many GFCI’s can control multiple outlets.  So if an outlet stops working, look for one with a GFCI nearby and hit the reset button.
  • FLICKERING LIGHTS.  This is not the same as when a light dims while you’re vacuuming or using a hair dryer, which is normal.  If you see pronounced dimming and brightening, make sure the bulb is screwed in all the way.  If that doesn’t work, it could also be a bad socket, which can be a potential fire hazard,
  • A BLACK LINE OPENING UP ON THE BOTTOM OF AN EXTERIOR WOOD DOOR.  This often occurs on an exterior French-style door where two portions of wood meet near the bottom.  Wind and rain can drive moisture under and into the door if it’s not properly sealed and installed.  The paint should be even on the door, with no spacing anywhere between the pieces.  If you see a space opening up, the door is on the road to failure.  Dawson says:  “Moisture goes in there, and it’s a domino effect.  Once moisture starts expanding and contracting, it breaks the joint, and the process starts.  Wood doors and wood windows are hell.  They require a lot of maintenance.”
  • WRINKLED WOOD. This could be an indicator of dry rot.  Wood should look smooth.  If you see wrinkled or wavy wood, or if your trim or siding looks different than other parts, it’s cause for concern.  This mostly affects the exterior.
  • INSECT WINGS ON WINDOWSILLS OR IN SPIDER WEBS.   Don’t panic, but this could be a sign of nearby termite swarms.  If you’ve already got moisture problems, you might want to call a termite specialist, because moisture attracts termites.  If you see any mud tubes coming out of the walls or on any pieces of wood, you’ve got termites.
  • BLACK STREAKS OR BLACK CIRCLES AROUND NAILS ON HARDWOOD FLOORS.  This most often occurs near doors.  If you have an older home with exposed nail flooring and you see blackness around those nails, chances are that you’ve got moisture getting underneath the door sill, and it’s corroding the nails.  If the wood is cupping up, the problems is bad.
  • A FOGGY WINDOW.  This happens on older dual-pane windows that have argon gas in the middle.  If the seal becomes broken, moisture buildings up and fogs.  You’ll likely need new windows…”

Ask your Connestee Falls REALTOR for recommendations of home repair specialists, electricians, etc. in our area.

SOURCE:  Mitchell Parker, Houzz/for realtytimes.com   IMAGE:  Pinterest

 

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7 EASY DIY UPDATES YOU CAN DO OVER THE WEEKEND… http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/7-easy-diy-updates-can-weekend/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/7-easy-diy-updates-can-weekend/#respond Wed, 13 Sep 2017 14:25:44 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6216 Source:  Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com “House giving you a little of the sad face?  You don’t have to overhaul the whole thing to make it feel fresh – nor do you have to take out a new loan.  With a little effort and a few bucks, you can breathe some new life into your home…

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Source:  Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com

“House giving you a little of the sad face?  You don’t have to overhaul the whole thing to make it feel fresh – nor do you have to take out a new loan.  With a little effort and a few bucks, you can breathe some new life into your home this weekend.

REDO YOUR FLOORS!  Not everyone will be able to get new floors in a weekend – if you have a large space, have to rip tile up or do a lot of measuring and cutting, it may take longer. But in many situations, changing out flooring is a relatively easy task that can totally change and update your space.  think floating floors.  They require no glue, literally snap together to “float” above your existing floors, and come in pre-finished wood, laminate and vinyl.  You can get a step-by-step instructions and materials needed on the This Old House website.

UPDATE YOUR BATHROOM!  Get new faucets, paint your cabinets, install new hardware, swap your your lights – all relatively easy tasks and inexpensive fixes that can have a huge effect on the way your bathroom looks.  If you’re not ready to rip out and replace your vanities or think about a new bath or shower, get in there and do a few easy DIY tasks to give your space a mini-overhaul that has maximum impact.

BEAUTIFY YOUR BACKSPLASH!  It is possible to do a (custom) backsplash by yourself in a couple of days, although it takes a little bit of diligence and patience to make sure you get everything installed right.  Otherwise, you’ll be looking at crooked lines and popping tiles for years to come.  If you don’t want to worry about that, there is a growing array of temporary tiles that go up in a cinch and look like the real thing.

FRAME YOUR WINDOWS!  Hanging drapes is so easy that the most challenging part of the process will probably be choosing between the thousands of options out there.  Take a good look at your room before heading out to the store so you have some sense of the color or pattern you’re looking for – and don’t forget to pre-measure.  Nothing kills you redecorating buzz like having to return the drapes you just bought because they’re too short.

MODERNIZE YOUR CABINETS!  Painting your cabinets is a big undertaking….but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it if you’re gung ho.  Just know what you’re up against.  And understand it’s also not a one-weekend job.  If you just want to bring in a little shine and make older cabinets look fresh, start with new hardware.  Get a cabinet hardware jig, and  installing the knobs and pulls will be a breeze.

DRESS UP YOUR WALLS!  Patterned walls continue to be popular, but you don’t need permanent wallpaper to take advantage of this trend.  There is an ever-increasing array of peel-and-stick options that go up easy and come down just as simply.  There are also painting tools like “Rollerwall” that simulate the look of wallpaper…”you can apply a complete faux-wallpaper look in any room in just one hour.”

PRETTY UP YOUR PATIO!  The end of summer is a great time to look for new outdoor furniture and accessories because they tend to go on sale at or near the change of seasons.  In many climates, you can still hang out in your backyard or on your front porch throughout the year, save for the harshest few winter months, so new outdoor dining or living set is a great option now if what you currently have has had it.  At the very least, bringing some color up to your front door with some new potted plants or flowers can bring a smile every time you drive past your home.”

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

 

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HELPING AGING PARENTS/RELATIVES TO DE-CLUTTER… http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/helping-aging-parentsrelatives-de-clutter/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/helping-aging-parentsrelatives-de-clutter/#respond Wed, 23 Aug 2017 15:50:50 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6211 SOURCE:  Excerpted from article by Patricia Lee/Houzz/realtytimes.com “When the child is the one charged with helping parents downsize, these guidelines can smooth the process.  Many seniors eventually need to downsize to a smaller space, whether to a retirement community, a nursing facility or a room in a family member’s home. If you’re the person faced…

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SOURCE:  Excerpted from article by Patricia Lee/Houzz/realtytimes.com

“When the child is the one charged with helping parents downsize, these guidelines can smooth the process.  Many seniors eventually need to downsize to a smaller space, whether to a retirement community, a nursing facility or a room in a family member’s home.

If you’re the person faced with going through an aging parent’s belongings, it may be tempting to rent a storage unit and just pack it all away.  However, that can be an expensive way to merely delay the inevitable…instead, you could start the process as soon as possible, and here are some tips to help you through it:

1. Acknowledge the true magnitude of the task.  Moving from a home filled with years of memories can be very emotional process.  Not only do they have to downsize the physical memories of as long as a lifetime, but moving may also summon unwanted reminders of their mortality.  For both parent and child, de-cluttering takes patience – and for the child especially it can be difficult to stay motivated, since you won’t directly reap the rewards of a tidier space.  Further, your decluttering standards may be different than those of your parents.  What you consider trash may be your parents’ treasures, and this can lead to friction.  It’s important to involve your parents in the decision making process rather than taking over completely.  Soliciting their input and accommodating their desires is a way to show them you value their decisions and respect their belongings.  So mentally prepare yourself for what is to come…

2. Schedule bite-sized work sessions.  De-cluttering is time consuming, and it can be tiring for aging relatives.  If time permits, space out your sessions so you can maintain the energy to complete the entire home….no more than three or four hours at a time, perhaps just two to three times per week.

3. Understand your parents’ lifestyle.  Getting a snapshot of how you’re parents plan to live in their new home will help you narrow down what they keep – with the goal of retaining only what they actually love or need.  Sit down and sketch out a few details that can serve as guidance as you sort.

Below are some questions you could use as a starting point for your discussion with your parents.  You could even use their answers to guide a first pass at eliminating irrelevant items on your own – leaving fewer decisions for your parents to make.

What type of clothing do you need (Daily comfort wear?  Weekly church outfits?  Occasional dress-up?)

What is your current range of clothing sizes?  Can other sizes be donated?

To what extent will you be cooking and baking?

Which suitcases and bags are no longer practical for travel?

Which books do you still read and which music do you still listen to?

4.  Start with the least sentimental items.  Practice makes perfect.  The decision to keep, toss, sell or donate becomes easier the more you practice.  Starting the de-cluttering with the least sentimental items such as linens and clothing, and working toward the most sentimental, such as photos and letters, can be a helpful way to ease into harder decision-making territory.

5.  De-clutter by category rather than room.  This will be helpful in terms of keeping your parents – and yourself – motivated and focused.  It’s easier to make decisions when items are grouped, as this helps you see all at once how many belongings you’re dealing with.  Also, you get a sense of accomplishment with the completion of each category.

6.  Keep only sentimental items that will displayed.  The truth is, some of these items have been buried in their houses for decades, so encourage them to keep only the items they’ll have out on display.  Memorabilia can’t be enjoyed while hidden away, and disposing of the items doesn’t diminish the memories associated with them.

7.  Take charge of your childhood items.  If your parents have saved all of your childhood memorabilia, they may be willing to turn those items over to you for sorting through.  This can be quite helpful for parents who are overwhelmed with culling their own possessions.  Now is also the time to remove any of your adult possessions that have been stored in their house.

8.  Remove unwanted items from the property.  Consider ordering a dumpster for trash, scheduling a charitable organization to pick up donations, and selling items at a consignment store or online.  It’s important to keep unwanted possessions moving as you continue the de-cluttering process, as storing them in the house may hinder progress.

9.  Treasure this quality time with your parents.  De-cluttering is undoubtedly hard work, and tensions often arise amid differing viewpoints.  So try to adjust your perspective when these moments inevitably come.  Instead of viewing the task as a chore, consider it a special time spent with your parents.  You may even hear some priceless stories about their youth and your childhood – especially if you maintain a patient attitude, and if you take the time to ask.

SOURCE:  Patricia Lee/Houzz Contributor/realtytimes.com  IMAGE: movelady.com

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SAVVY BUYERS SEARCH OUT FIXER-UPPERS! http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/savvy-buyers-search-fixer-uppers/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/savvy-buyers-search-fixer-uppers/#respond Wed, 16 Aug 2017 15:40:02 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6200 Excerpted from an article by PJ Wade for realtytimes.com “Instead of shopping for your dream home, why not search out your dream discount? First-time buyers, even experienced buyers, can be distracted by the superficial….enticed to pay more for dream-home fantasies or, encouraged to walk away from a hidden gem… Buy a home which was cleverly…

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Excerpted from an article by PJ Wade for realtytimes.com

“Instead of shopping for your dream home, why not search out your dream discount?

First-time buyers, even experienced buyers, can be distracted by the superficial….enticed to pay more for dream-home fantasies or, encouraged to walk away from a hidden gem…

Buy a home which was cleverly staged and marketed to make buyers rush to put in an offer, and you may be paying more for the hype and a distracting “veneer.”  Dismiss a property because it needs work and TLC without assessing its true value, and you may lose a lot more (a house you can really make your own).

A “visual disaster” (or fixer-upper) could be a solid, well-located home that  is structurally sound and in relatively good condition, but – and it’s a big but – it looks (and possibly smells) bad – and is selling at a significant discount.  Smart sellers and their real estate agents know the magic of fresh paint, the allure of staged interiors, and the appeal of cosmetic make-overs.  They understand which current “hot” features for which buyers are willing to pay more.

Buyers who would prefer to invest their money in the best possible location and a solid, sound structure,. – not superficial trimmings and flash done to someone else’s taste and standards – may benefit from shopping for a fixer-upper.

CAUTION:  Thorough home inspection, ideally by a structural engineer, is essential to verify the home is structurally sound without any super-expensive repair necessary.  Other experienced “eyes” – contractors, designers, renovation-experienced property owners, your real estate professional – will also be helpful when viewing these homes.

Tasteless decor, scary color schemes, extreme pet smells, overwhelming clutter…these are just a few ugly turnoffs that discourage buyers.  For savvy home buyers, these negatives may signal hidden value and money-saving opportunity.  Also, these properties may have been on the market for a long time, so there could be more room for negotiation.

Buyers who are ready to contribute “sweat equity” to their purchase can end up thousands and thousands of dollars ahead.  “Sweat equity” involves getting your hands dirty to uncover good bones and hidden value, or paying a professional to do the necessary design or physical work, or a combination of both approaches.

…New owners can decide to live with some or all of the “problems” for awhile – then hire professionals to make the necessary changes.  Having lived in the home awhile, owners discover what will really work for them.

Here are a few common visual disasters to keep an eye out for:

COLOR ME CRAZY…Learn to visualize beyond crazy decor to discover value.

TIRED AND SEVERELY DATED…a “refreshed” property – scrape away the grime, deal with paneling overkill, paint with your color choices, and refinish floors or add new carpeting – can really sparkle!

STINKY PREMISES…Animal smells and discoloration from long-term smoking are two definite buyer turn offs.  Many buyers can’t get past a dirty property.  Remove the carpet and have the building professional sanitized or tackle some cleaning yourself.  There’s value under all of that ugh.

WHAT-WERE-YOU-THINKING???-DESIGN…If it’s one bad feature and the home is otherwise sound, get a couple of quotes on fixing the problem.  Your real estate pro will understand how your offer can reflect this extra cost – either a lower offer price and you pay for it, or ask the seller to make the repair or at least share or credit you the cost.

STREET-SIDE UGLY…If the yard is a mess and the property is unappealing from the curb, many buyers will stay in their cars.  Concentrate on where the value lies:  location and structural soundness.  Get a quote or two on improving landscaping or correcting the street face to back up your offer price.  Later, you can decide how much to do yourself.

TALK TO YOUR REAL ESTATE PRO, FRIENDS, FAMILY, AND LOCAL CONTRACTORS TO GET A FEEL FOR WHAT MAY WORK IN YOUR AREA. 

COLLECT A FEW BALLPARK QUOTES FOR PAINTING, CLEANING, AND OTHER POSSIBLE UNDERTAKINGS TO GET AN ACCURATE FEEL FOR COSTS BEFORE YOU START LOOKING AT PROPERTIES. 

PULL TOGETHER A TEAM OF EXPERIENCED PEOPLE YOU CAN CALL ON FOR KNOWLEDGEABLE INPUT, SO YOU’LL BE READY WHEN A POSSIBLE FIXER-UPPER/GOOD VALUE APPEARS.”

SOURCE:  PJ Wade for realtytimes.com   IMAGE:  Pinterest

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BUDGET-FRIENDLY WAYS TO PERSONALIZE YOUR ENTRYWAY… http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/budget-friendly-ways-personalize-entryway/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/budget-friendly-ways-personalize-entryway/#respond Mon, 14 Aug 2017 14:38:30 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6197 Excerpted from an article by Lisa Frederick for Houzz “….The entry may be the first impression of a home…fortunately, jazzing up a front entrance doesn’t have to cost a fortune.  Try these eight strategies to create a showstopper entryway without blowing your budget. CREATE A MINI-ROOM….maybe a bench with cheery pillows can turn a  plain…

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Excerpted from an article by Lisa Frederick for Houzz

“….The entry may be the first impression of a home…fortunately, jazzing up a front entrance doesn’t have to cost a fortune.  Try these eight strategies to create a showstopper entryway without blowing your budget.

CREATE A MINI-ROOM….maybe a bench with cheery pillows can turn a  plain entrance into a sitting space without breaking the bank.  Mix and match furniture to suit your home’s architecture and style.

SPELL OUT A WELCOME…A stencil, a can of spray paint and presto! A plain concrete porch/doorstep turns into a hospitable howdy.  If you can’t or don’t want to paint directly on the doorstep surface, try stenciling a plain cotton or sisal doormat instead.

INVEST IN SHOWSTOPPING HARDWARE…Swap out bland doorknobs and knockers for instant pizzazz on the cheap.  You can search flea markets and architectural salvage stores for one-of-a-kind vintage models, but even home centers carry eye-catching styles these days.  Choose a knocker that offers a glimpse into your personality and interior style, whether it’s an equestrian motif for horse lovers, fishing motif, golfing, etc.

PILE UP THE PLANTINGS…Plants are one of the easiest and most affordable ways to give your entrance a polished look, and they can enhance any effect you’re going for.  Mass tumbles of old-fashioned blooms in weathered tin or tote tubs for a cottage – or stick with variegated greens and sleek containers in a more modern setting.  For a traditional house, create a symmetrical grouping of palms, ficus or roses in ceramic of terra-cotta planters.

LIGHT THE WAY…Why settle for boring outdoor light fixtures when you can hang a piece of eye candy?  Outdoor chandeliers are delightfully unexpected.  If you want to use it for illumination, look for a model that’s designed for outdoor use, but if you just want the decorative effect, you can mount an indoor fixture without wiring it.

PAINT THE DOOR AN UNEXPECTED COLOR…If the task of choosing a bolder hue throws you for a loop, try this trick.  Snap a photo of your house, then take it to the paint store so you can see how different colors work with your exterior.  Choose a shade that contrasts strongly with the primary paint color:  bright pink with pale gray siding, turquoise against rusty red brick, plum on khaki stucco.  Lipstick red in a field of crisp white is a classic, but branch out and try other colors, perhaps kelly green or Chinese yellow.

DECORATE THE DOORWAY SURROUND…Set off your front door and give it greater presence by adding a decorative frame.  If the architecture will accommodate such a treatment, line it with decorative tiles or a mosaic.  If not, you can achieve a similar effect with paint.

HAVE FUN WITH HOUSE NUMBERS…Forget hardware store numbers on the mailbox.  Make yours pop.  Fun colors, funky fonts, creative placement.  Just be sure that you don’t sacrifice clear  visibility and readability for the sake of visual interest.

SOURCE:  realtytimes/Lisa Frederick/Houzz

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ORGANIZERS OFFER TIPS FOR OLD PHOTOS http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/organizers-offer-tips-old-photos/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/organizers-offer-tips-old-photos/#respond Mon, 31 Jul 2017 14:28:41 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6190 Excerpted from Associated Press/Asheville Citizen Times “Take a survey of your home, and consider all the spots where you have old photos….baby pictures in albums in the living room, vacation snaps in tattered envelopes tucked into a bookshelf, milestone moments in old frames, and older relatives’ fading photos in dusty boxes in the basement or…

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Excerpted from Associated Press/Asheville Citizen Times

“Take a survey of your home, and consider all the spots where you have old photos….baby pictures in albums in the living room, vacation snaps in tattered envelopes tucked into a bookshelf, milestone moments in old frames, and older relatives’ fading photos in dusty boxes in the basement or attic.

They do take up a lot of space, and keep growing in numbers over the years.  When you want to organize them, you are doing yourself a favor, as well as the people who will inherit them from you.  (Stephanie Sisco, home editor for Real Simple magazine).

You can organize your photos and preserve your personal history either digitally, in photo-safe boxes, or both ways.  If you discard the originals after going digital, you’ll free up storage space around the house, which is always a good thing.

But…getting organized can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re staring down hundreds of thousands of loose, unorganized photos.  And reliving memories through photos can take a heavy toll, especially if you’re working on the project during an already emotional time like moving, helping a parent downsize, or dealing with an estate (or divorce).

“It’s one of the most challenging projects that people undertake in their organizational lives, because unless you’re starting from a really organized place, it’s difficult to even know where to begin,” Sisco says.

Prints are the most common photo item that people have – and have many of – in their homes.  You can spend an hour a day going through them, organizing the prints by decade, then narrowing them down further by year, or by person, or special event – like a wedding.  One of the hardest parts is throwing photos away, but do toss photos that are blurry, unflattering or duplicates.  And remember that over time, sunlight and humidity can cause photos to deteriorate.  In basements, photos can be damaged by flooding, humidity, mold and mildew.  In attics, heat and humidity can cause problems.  For these reasons, a digital archive is the best way to safely store photos and slides.  Having all images on a disc or thumb drive also makes it convenient to find and share images in person and online.

You can take photos on a thumb drive rather than carrying eight boxes filled with photo albums, and there’ less risk of damage to a small thumb drive than there is to photo albums or boxes of photos in your basement or attic.  Get a duplicate of the drive or disk and keep it somewhere secure, like in a safety deposit box or fireproof safe.

If you digitize photos, you can scan them into the computer yourself, pay for the service at a camera shop, or go through an online company like ScanMyPhotos.com.  If you keep the original photo prints, Sisco recommends storing them in clearly marked, archival storage boxes.  Place the acid-0free boxes inside a Rubbermaid container to keep out moisture and store them somewhere dry, dark and cool, like a closet…”

SOURCE:  Associated Press    IMAGE:  thefamilycurator.com

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WNC FARMERS OFFER CRUNCHY, JUICY, TASTY, FRESH SNACKS http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/wnc-farmers-offer-crunchy-juicy-tasty-fresh-snacks/ http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/wnc-farmers-offer-crunchy-juicy-tasty-fresh-snacks/#respond Mon, 31 Jul 2017 14:07:15 +0000 http://www.connesteefallshomes.com/?p=6187 Excerpted from ASAP article in The Asheville Citizen-Times “Vegetables at market aren’t just good for making meals; they’re also great for snacking.  Stop by farm vendors of area farmers’ tailgate markets to discover your new favorite mid-afternoon bites. Beans are a great snack food that packs protein.  Haricot verts (“fancy”green beans), and similar varieties, make…

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Excerpted from ASAP article in The Asheville Citizen-Times

“Vegetables at market aren’t just good for making meals; they’re also great for snacking.  Stop by farm vendors of area farmers’ tailgate markets to discover your new favorite mid-afternoon bites.

Beans are a great snack food that packs protein.  Haricot verts (“fancy”green beans), and similar varieties, make for a crisp snack eaten raw.  Other beans, such as greasy beans, edamame and others are a great snack once they’re cooked, which need not take long.  Boil them in salt water for 5-10 minutes, depending on the texture you want).  Drain them, and then add a little butter, a pinch of salt, and you have a perfect quick snack.

Beans are good cold, too.  You can cook them the night before and eat them on the go the next day.  Stop by Dreamy Bean Farm (West Asheville Tailgate Market, Asheville City Market) to learn more and pick up the beans of your dreams.

Mexican sour gherkins (tiny cucumbers) are a great snack ready-to-go…they’re bite-sized and wonderful for crunching down on between meals. Sleight Family Farm (at West Asheville Tailgate Market, Asheville City Market) has these gems now.

Watermelons and other melon varieties have made their debut.  A quintessential summer treat,  melons can be a great thirst-quenching snack in the middle of a hot  afternoon.  Orchard fruits are always a classic snack to fall back on, and right now Asian pears as well as plums, doughnut peaches, white and yellow peaches, blackberries and early apples are making their appearance.

Area farmers tailgate markets take place throughout the region.  As always, you can find information about farms, tailgate markets and farm stands, including locations and hours, by visiting ASAP’s online Local Food Guide at appalachiangrown.org.”

SOURCE:  ASAP/Asheville Citizen Times  IMAGE:  thefitfork.com

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