Category Archives: Selling a Home

For Sale By Owner, or using a Real Estate Agent. Information provided here is to assist in how to value and market a home for sale.

Temperatures Fall, As Do Home Sales

“Gray Skies, but Hot Homes Selling”

Yes, home sales have declined. Hey, it’s November! They always drop off. Still, the over all indicators show that 2018 is our best housing market in 5 years! As the trend will most likely tend to slow down through January, sells will start to creep back up again, soon. What can you do to be ready for the next big selling season?

Continue reading Temperatures Fall, As Do Home Sales

Bumpy Road – No Cause for Panic

Home Sales Worst Since 2015

While this statement is true, it’s no cause for alarm. Overall market trends and signs for the Highlands/Cashiers Real Estate Market have many positive indicators. Many more homes are currently under contract and inventory is reducing. Let’s take a closer look at the market before we make any drastic decisions.

Continue reading Bumpy Road – No Cause for Panic

Highlands Cashiers Real Estate Holds Promise for 2017

Best Real Estate Season in Years!

Highlands and Cashiers have seen great sales in real estate for 2017! In fact, it appears to be the strongest since the market fell off in 2006 & 2007. What many people don’t realize is that its lowest was 2012 (Case-Shiller Home Price Index). But before you get too excited, make sure you understand what this increase means. Continue reading Highlands Cashiers Real Estate Holds Promise for 2017

Real Estate Market Holding Steady

Single Family Home Sales Statistics
Land Sales Statistics
Overall Market View


No Extraordinary Sales Expected

While the Highlands/Cashiers area real estate market is coming back into its busy season, statistics show the market as status-quo.  In layering the sales data from 2014 until March of 2016, we see no major changes in the market. In fact, we see 2016 starting a little slower than 2015. What does this mean?

For Buyers, this is still a great time to buy a home in the mountains. It also means that buyers are in the drivers seat.

For Sellers, it means that expectations to sell their home should not be set too high. High expectations can result in homes staying on the market for longer periods of time (DOM or Days On Market).

Recent homes sales Macon and Jackson Counties
Market Outlook for Real Estate – Click for LARGER IMAGE.


Be reasonable. Look at the chart below. This shows the number of homes sold in March 2016 as compared to the inventory available. You might say, the blue area is your competition.

Inventory of homes in Highlands, Cashiers, Macon County
Price Competitively to Sell – Click for LARGER IMAGE

Now realize that the ORANGE SLIVER represents the 32 homes that did sell. So, divide the ORANGE SLIVER into 32 equal pieces. That one small section you end up with of the 32 is equal to your home. So, how do you compete? How do you  plan to get your home sold?

Believe it or not, your Broker wants the same thing you do; To sell your home for the most money they can get. However, your Broker is in the best position to tell you what the Market is doing. They watch the Market continually to offer you advise. While it is true you may “feel” your property is worth more or that you may have paid more for it or put a lot improvements into it, COST ≠ VALUE (Cost does not equal Value).

Be “IN” the Market, Not “On” the Market

While Market Data will state that homes sold for 90% of there List price, this does not paint a real picture.  This percentage is based upon the List price at the time it sold. In reviewing the “Original” List price, we find these homes sold for about 69% of the “Original” list price. Take a look at this graph to see what that looks like:

List to Sell Ration
Original List Price vs. Sold Price – Click for LARGER IMAGE

After many Days On Market (DOM) Sellers were forced to reduce their prices to get their homes sold. The mentality of many is, “The buyers are going to beat us up on price, so we’re going to price high so we can give a little,” is not a good strategy. Why not?

If you are overpriced, buyers are not going to look at your property. They will go look at properties that are closer to their budget. For example, if you’re priced at $495,000, buyers looking in the $400,000 – $450,000 range may never see your listing. If your home is not “In the Market” for what they are looking for, you are overpriced. The competition for the Market is tough and you have to be priced right to sell. Buyers know the market and they simple will not consider properties that are priced to high.

If you’re not getting many views on your home, chances are good you are priced too high. If you want your home sold during this upcoming selling season, you need to develop a strategy now.



Total homes listed in Highlands/Cashiers MLS: 1159 – This number is expected to rise as many Sellers desire to take advantage of the selling season. This number is expected to rise to around 1500.

Homes Sold This Month: 32-Less than the 2015 model, as seen in chart at top.

Average Sales per Month 1 Year Average: 47 (Unchanged)

Inventory: 24 months – This is determined using the Average Sales Per Month, as this market is very seasonal. Remember, a healthy market inventory is considered to be 6 months or less.

DOM: 533

Average DOM (YOY): 460

Median Sales Price: $243,500– This is a more significant number than “Average Selling Price.” This helps us to see where the middle of the market is selling.

Average List/Sell Ratio: 90.03% -Take into consideration this is not the “Original” List Price, as mentioned earlier. This continues to show that homes are overpriced. Sellers need to be aggressive in pricing to stir competition for their home. Pricing aggressively is what creates more lookers and more offers.

Synopsis: As we are coming into our Selling Season, Sellers should want to take advantage and be aggressive. As we go further into the season, if there is a lack of lookers, Sellers should want to consider their pricing and adjust accordingly before the season wanes.



Land Units Sold: 8

Total listed in all MLS: 1188-This number should continue to increase, which is not good for Sellers.

Inventory: 84 months. That’s 7 years of inventory. Some sellers have given their land away if the buyer covered the closing fee’s. Land is moving, but there is no real demand.

Synopsis: No demand means prices for land remain very low, compared to former pricing.


Overall Market View:

31% of home sales ranged from $200,000 to $499,999. This is the major portion of market sales.
15% of home sales ranged from $500,000 – $749,999. This was a significant rise in homes in this price range.
12% of sales were above $1,000,000. Unchanged.

Sellers, you should not expect top dollar for your home. If this is what you desire, you may want to remove your home from the market, temporarily.

Buyers, as we head into our busy season, good buys don’t last long. You need to be on top of any listings that pique your interest and be ready to move on them.



If you’re considering listing your home for sale or purchasing a home in NC, please feel free to contact a local agent or REALTOR®.  They  will make a specific report for your area of our MLS (Sapphire, Norton, Glenville, Highlands, Toxaway, Clear Creek, Breedlove, etc). You can then make an informed decision on how to sell or buy your home.



This material is based upon work performed by Rick Creel, Broker. It is intended to provide an overall view of the real estate market for Highlands, Cashiers and surrounding areas of the Highlands/Cashiers Board of Realtors. It is composed of data from the HCBOR and NAR for this MLS only. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations are those of the author and do not reflect the views of any others. There can be no assurance that this information is complete, accurate, or includes all available market data; all information is subject to change. Users of this information are advised to consult with their financial experts about the interpretation and usefulness of information contained herein. It is unlawful to duplicate or distribute the information contained in these reports. For more information or to consider listing your home with an agent or buying a home CLICK HERE.

Mold and Musty Odors and Selling Your Home

CLICK HERE for mold companies in Highlands/Cashiers area.

A Smelly House – Mold/Mildew

Ever walk into a home and had that strange odor hit you? I’m not talking about the garbage that wasn’t removed nor the old fish that was prepared the night before. I’m talking about that musty odor. For those of us with allergies and asthma, it’s a dead give away. There’s a mold problem in the house.

Mold spores are everywhere. However, homes that have been closed up for some time seem to gather them. Also, if the home is under tree’s or has some moisture problems this will help the spores to propagate.

This mold and mildew attaches itself to just about everything.

mold remediation
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at

Drapes, cabinet doors, sheet rock (especially in closets) concrete blocks and other surfaces are breeding grounds for these odor causes.

The Problem with Musty Odor’s

If we’ve been away from home for a while  we may enter the house and notice the odor, but dismiss it as “normal” or “to be expected.” However, home buyers see it from a different perspective.

If you’re a buyer you may want to leave the home faster than when you entered. You are conscious about the health risks  associated with mold and mildew. You’re also aware that this indicates a moisture problem and you don’t want to be responsible for the cleanup. You’re also not sure that  it can be fixed. If it could be fixed, then why didn’t the current owners do something about it? If the current owners didn’t care enough to take care of this health hazard, what else have they allowed to happen with the home? And, with other homes on the market without this problem, why would a seller expect a buyer to choose his home? Would you buy a home that already has roof leaks?

What to Do About Musty Odors

Mold and Water Problems in Home
Image courtesy of koratmember at

You can clean it up yourself. Most people use a little bleach and water to wash down the surfaces. They may even have their carpets and drapes cleaned. However, this is only a temporary fix. Often, within just a couple of months, the mold is back and so are the odors. So what’s the solution?

Eliminate the source of the problem. There are mold remediation companies that will inspect your home for free. They will let you know where your problem originates and help you find the solution to correct the problem. After the problem has been corrected then the cleanup can begin. Problem solved.

Find Mold Remediation Company

In our area, we live in the woods and receive a lot of rainfall each year. If you’re having a moisture problem in the Highlands, Cashiers, Glenville, Toxaway or Sapphire Area, contact Rick. He’ll be happy to let you know what companies are in our local area to help you solve your mold, mildew and moisture problems.

 Get Help With Mold Here

Open House Benefits


Not really, but I bet we got your attention! Still in some markets, open houses are better for the brokers and agents than they are of benefit to the seller.  In our area, more brokers attend open houses than buyers. Many open homes are not attended by either. Why?

“Back in the day” the Internet did not exist. I know, it’s hard to believe. How did we ever survive such primitive times? But we did. I am a survivor and the stories I can tell. Still, during that era, the only way many of us new about homes for sale were when we read it in a paper, talked to a real estate agent or picked up a MLS catalog with page after page of hundreds of homes. We then had to set up appointments, drive all over the country to view homes or look for the “OPEN HOUSE” signs. The OPEN HOUSE was much easier because you didn’t need an appointment. What about today?

Open House in Highlands Csahiers area.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Ah, the Internet! What a wonderful tool. We can browse online for almost anything and have it delivered to our doorstep. Well, maybe not a house, but we can still look at homes that are of interest to us. We then contact a top agent in our area to have him set up appointments and help us find the best deals.

How to Search for a Home

It’s all there. The photo’s, number of bedrooms, size of the lot, association fee’s and so much more. Searching for homes to buy on line is the tool that the majority of people use to find a home. Here are a few of the statistics for 2014 (source – NAR 2014 survey):

  • 92% of buyers used the Internet in a home search
  • 98% of buyers used an agent while searching for a home
  • 43% of buyers 1st step was looking on line

This raises a valid question. Is an Open House worth it? Depends.

Open House Highlands
Keep Spaces Open

Open House Comments

For some markets like San Francisco, New York and Houston, they work. Rural areas do not fair as well. In our area homes located in a country club or near town may see a few buyers, but mostly agents.  Those in outlying areas will often have “0” in attendance, regardless of advertising and effort.  Notice these quotes:

  • “…open houses are less useful than ever for selling a home.” –
  • “The truth is, open houses are a waste of time.” – Chrystal Caruthers – Chicago native and a former Realtor, TV news producer, and newspaper reporter.
  • “Most sellers think holding open houses increases the market exposure of their house. The reality, … is that 95 percent of buyers are using a broker. So they can get in every home any day of the week at a time that’s convenient for them. The majority of the prepared marketplace doesn’t need the open house.” – Angies List, Press Personal Real Estate Support Services
  • “What may be a real shocker is the fact that less than two percent of all homes sold nationally are a direct result of a buyer visiting an open house…” – House Call

… and the list could go on.

Open House Not For Everybody

In all fairness, Open Houses do work (in some areas). Your broker should know what works best in his real estate market. Don’t get caught up with “puffing” that some agents may do to make themselves look better. Find an agent that is from the area, knows the real estate market and is willing to show you the data to support his comments. You don’t need a salesman to sale you just so he can get your listing. You need an agent that is honest and will tell you what you can expect in reality.

Click Here to read more on  Pros and Cons of an Open House

Top Listing Agent Highlands, Cashiers

“Highlands, Cashiers, Glenville Top Listing/Selling Agent”

Top Listing Agent” is a search term often used by those wanting to list their property.  They may feel that if they can find the one that is selling the most, this is what will get their home sold quickly. But what qualifies as “the most?”

Guidelines for “Top Agent”

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has a “Code of Ethics” and criteria that a REALTOR® must abide by. This is to the benefit of the general public. In fact, many members of the public do not know that a REALTOR® is not the same as a Real Estate Broker/Agent.  All REALTOR’s® are Real Estate Agents, but not all Real Estate Agents are a REALTOR®. Confused?

REALTOR® is a registered trademark. Agents that choose to be a REALTOR® must abide by a higher code of ethics. Agents that are not a REALTOR® do not have the same requirements. This “Code of Ethics” also applies to how agents present themselves.

Meaning of “Top Agent”

mountain_viewsThis can change from month to month, year to year, etc.  A “Top
Agent” can be a person that has the most listings, has sold the most number of units, has sold the most in dollar volume or any number of many other variables. It is because of these factors that a  REALTOR® must specify in their advertising “what” makes them the top and “when” (dates) this was a qualifying term.

For example, an agent may have sold 2 – $1,000,0000 properties, giving him a sales volume of $2,000,000.  Another agent may have had more sales in units, say 6 at $300,000. This means his sales volume is only $1,800,000. Which is the top agent? It depends on what criteria is used. One sold 3 times as many units whereas the other sold more in revenue. And it is most likely neither of these that actually listed any of the properties. However, without knowing criteria, any of them could say they are the top agent.

How to Find the Top Agent

Here are a few tips and questions that may help you find your top agent:

  • Are they local, from the area? In other words, how much do they really know and understand about the region and this market?
  • How much marketing experience do they have or do they leave all that up to the firm?
  • Are they web savvy? Just do a simple search and see how often their name shows up and for what? Is it real estate related?
  • Are they Social Media Active? Today’s buyer has to find a broker. If yours can’t be seen in Social Media, how are others finding them?
  • Interview. Have an agent show you data that shows why they price your home at a certain market. This calls for caution. Here is an interesting article about agents and listings. It’s really a must read:  “Why Real Estate Agents Take Overpriced Listings


Sell Your Home

Bottom line is you want to sell your home. You would like to find the top selling/listing agent in your area.  A good listing agent knows how to market your home. Typically, it then becomes part of the MLS. You now have many agents that can see your home on the market. It now becomes a matter of pricing correctly and having the right agent that knows how to market.

Please add your comments below on this article or how you look for a Top Agent.

Home Value

How Much is My Home Worth?

To determine the value of your home you should contact a real estate agent. However,  it’s not “Rocket Science”.  Still, you need to know the determining factors for a  Current Market Analysis. The key word here being “Current”.

How to Determine Current Market Value

Housing Index Rising
Image courtesy of cool design / FreeDigitalPhotosdotnet

The “Sales Comparison Approach” is probably the simplest method to determine the value of your home.  However, this requires having access to current data and knowing how to interpret trends. Here is some information you will need:

Comps – This is just short for “comparisons” or “comparative”. In other words, you try to find a home that is similar to yours, the “subject property”. Unfortunately, unless you live in a “cookie cutter” subdivision chances are pretty good you’re not going to find a home just like yours.  Also, these need to be “sold” comps, not those currently listed on the market. This is what real estate agents and appraisers use from the MLS.  DO NOT COMPARE YOUR HOME VALUE TO LISTED PRICES.  It is the “sold” price that determines what knowledgeable  buyers are willing pay.

Adjustments – Once you have found a comp similar to your property, it’s time to start making adjustments. Things to consider are:

  • age of home
  • condition of home
  • number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • square footage
  • garage/carport (attached, detached)
  • size of lot (wooded, cleared)
  • frontage (views, lake, street, etc)
  • location (near town, country club, remote, gravel or paved road, HOA, etc)
  • landscaping
  • other improvements (generator, a/c, etc.)

You can use a Uniform Residential Appraisal Report to help you see how determine the value of your home.  However, unless you are familiar with these values and their differences it may be unwise to try to make such adjustments.

Unfortunately, sentimental value carries no monetary value. This is where most homeowners have a hard time separating their feelings from the reality of what a home buyer is willing to pay.

Tax Assessment – This IS NOT a good factor in determining the value of your home. For example, here in Macon and Jackson Counties of NC, property tax does not have to be re-assessed for every 8 years. Property values may rise or fall and current assessment can be quite different from the current market values. Macon County just raised their tax rate in 2015. Jackson County may also show an increase in millage rate coming soon.

Real Estate Market Trends – You should know the current market trend. Is it rising, falling or holding steady.  This, too, will help you determine the current value of your home.

Motivation – Why are you wanting to sell? How soon do you want your home sold? These are factors to determine as well.

Selling Your Home

Finding a good real estate agent
Image courtesy of ddpavumba at

Your Real Estate Agent is the best source for helping you to determine the value of your home. Remember, they’re not your enemy. They want to sell your home for as much as possible. Their salary and profession depend upon that. However, an over priced home does no one any good. It sits on the market, becomes known as an overpriced home and other agents may not show it. It wouldn’t be fair to their potential buyers. So what do you do? Hire a Professional.

A Real Estate Agent is here to help you. Their knowledge and activity in the Real Estate World is what helps you get your home sold. Yes, they do charge a fee for their services, but think of it this way; you can hire a professional painter to paint your house or you can get your neighbor to do it and maybe save some money. However, which would give you the better and/or desired results?

Hire a real estate agent to help you determine the value of your home.

Please share your comments below on how you determine the value of your home.


Salesman or Agent, Is There A Difference


Lisitng Agent
Image courtesy of Mister GC at

We’ve seen the ads. In walks the man with the smirkish grin wearing penny loafers with no socks, shirt unbuttoned a third of the way down with a wooly mammoth chest, wearing a flashy gold chain around his neck and other gaudy accessories (large expensive watch, big rings, etc) and his hair slicked back. When he speaks he likes to tell you of all his accomplishments and what makes him so great. He likes you to know what makes him better than the rest. He is also willing to tell you just about anything you want to hear so you will buy his spiel and product. So let me ask you, are you impressed?

This is often the image invoked upon our minds when we see a salesperson. As we see them approaching we like to avoid them, if possible. If they’re persistent, we tell them we know what we’re looking for and already have someone helping us. We thus avoid awkward and uncomfortable moments. Truth is, we don’t like to be pressured. Such tactics often force us to do whatever just to get rid of such a person, even if it does mean buying something just so they will leave us alone. But is this the way with all salespeople?

What Is A Salesperson?

Truth is, we’re all salespeople. People are either selling their services or their products. This goes for doctors, painters, house cleaners, the people at the register, corporate executives and even an employee has to sell their abilities in order to be hired. In Real Estate, we’re all salespeople, like it or not. So, perhaps the better question is, what “type” of salesperson is your agent.

Say you want to sell your home. Do you choose the agent that likes to brag about his accomplishments or do you choose an agent that  will tell you how he is going to sell your home? Do you choose an agent that will list for the price that you would like to have or do you choose the agent that shows you the figures and why your home may or may not bring what you think? Agents that will bend to their client’s demands are sometimes referred to as “buying” their clients. They will do whatever their clients tell them. This may be OK in some respects, but a real agent is a professional. They will show their client the best action to take, what is in their client’s best interest and have the research and documentation to back it up.  Let’s look at it another way.

You have something serious going on with your health. You go to your doctor and tell him what you want. He informs you he can’t do anything until he performs an examination and perhaps some tests. You tell them they don’t know what they’re talking about and you just need a prescription of a certain medicine. Let’s just say that they would do that, but then your health continues to deteriorate. So, where’s the problem? You actually have 2. First, your doctor didn’t stick to his responsibility to perform his duty as he should. Before prescribing anything there should have been and examination and documentation to show what you needed. Second, you chose a professional that would tell you what you wanted to hear. And so it goes when finding a good real estate agent.

Finding A Good Agent

Finding a good real estate agent
Image courtesy of ddpavumba at

So ask yourself a few questions; “Does my agent listen to me?” “Is my agent willing to tell me what I may need to know (good or bad) to make an informed decision?” “Does my agent seem to be in a hurry to get me to buy something, or does he tell me the negatives as well as the positives?” “What am I looking for, a salesman or an agent?” While we are all salespeople, an agent will have his client’s best interests at heart. An agent knows that if he takes care of his client he will make the sell or get the listing. As an agent, you are a representative of your client.

So we’re back to our original question, “Salesman or Agent, Is There A Difference?” Perhaps the better question would be, “Which do you prefer?”

Contact The Agent