Tag Archives: buying a home

Real Estate Market Report – July 2015

Home Sales Rise While Land Stays Flat

Although the number of home units sold in July was slightly lower than Junes report, July did see an increase in comparison with July of 2014.  This is good news in that the overall market does show promise.  While sales may not compare with many other ares around the nation, it does offer hope that our market is showing positive signs. We are actually heading into the more promising months in sales. Will this growth continue? In looking at “Pending Sales”, that is homes that are under contract moving towards closing, there are around 100. However, some of these may fail due to inspections, financing, etc.  Still, it looks like much is in the works for homes.

Land is looking flat, and we’re not talking about the topography. In looking at the chart below you will see that land sales remain relatively non existent. This may be due to the fact that there are so many homes in inventory. You can easily find a move in ready home without having to develop land.  This is also a determining factor in keeping the value of land low.

(Click on Chart to see Larger Image)
Recent homes sold in Highlands/Cashiers area.
July Homes Sold in Highlands and Cashiers Area



Total homes listed in Highlands/Cashiers MLS: 1386

Homes Sold This Month:  50 – This is for the entire MLS  for the Highlands/Cashiers Board of Realtors (BOR).  There are approximately 73 offices in our BOR.

Average Sales per Month 1 Year Average: 46 –  Unchanged

Inventory: 28months – This is a slight decrease, which is good news for sellers. A healthy market is considered by many to be less than 6 months.

DOM: 438 – This number has continued to drop. The continued market increase in sales has helped to lower this number.

Average DOM (YOY): 463 – Sellers should not expect their home to move quickly, unless it is very well positioned.

Median Sales Price: $200,000 – This was a substantial drop in previous numbers. It just shows where the “middle” of the market is hovering.

Average List/Sell Ratio: 89.94 -This helps us to appreciate that most buyers are getting properties for about 10% less than the asking price. Homes priced above the market typically stay on the market longer. Sellers should check with their broker and see if they feel they are priced correctly.  In looking at this ratio it may be in the Sellers best interest to consider lowering the price of their home.  Your Listing Broker will be able to assist you in looking over your information.


The following chart shows home sales in Jackson, Macon and Transylvania Counties, NC. Notice the ratio between listing price and closing price as compared to tax assessment (click to see larger image):

Assessed value versus selling price.
Listing Price versus Sold Price


Synopsis: Continued growth is expected. This is the “busy” part of the Sales Season. Pricing is crucial to meet the market and to position for a sale during the season.




Land Units Sold: 17

Total listed in all MLS: 1275

Average Sales per Month YOY Average: 16 Unchanged.

Inventory: 80 months.

Average List/Sell Price Ratio: 51% Overall prices may be above what the market will sustain at this point.

Synopsis: There continues to be no real demand for land. This will continue to keep prices down. With large inventory, anyone expecting to sell their land soon may have to consider stronger incentives/lower prices to encourage purchasing.


Overall Market View:

42% of home sales ranged from $160,000 to $400,000.
26% of home sales ranged from $400,000 to $1,000,000.

Sellers should carefully consider their pricing to take advantage of a sale this year.

Buyers should not hesitate. Increase in sales and overall market growth encourage price increase.
If you’re considering listing your home for sale or purchasing a home in NC,  please feel free to contact a local agent.  He will make a specific report for your area in 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.

Buying a Home With Asbestos Siding

Asbestos – The Forbidden Word

Asbestos has been around since the beginning of time. While it had been previously used in many products, it was found that some of these would release asbestos particles into the air. This created health hazards such as cancer to lung tissues and mesothelioma. As a result, fear is invoked into the minds when we hear the word, “asbestos”, and rightly so. However, one must realize that not all products containing asbestos release those particles into the air. This can be the case when buying a home with asbestos.

Buying a home with Asbestos
courtesy Michelle Meiklejohn & free digital photo.net

Friable Versus Non-Friable Asbestos

These two terms are applied when considering health risks of asbestos. It’s important to understand these terms if you’re buying a home with asbestos siding or other materials.

  • Friable – “…may be crumbled, pulverized, or reduced to powder by hand pressure.” (http://www.epa.gov/reg3wcmd/faq.htm)
  • Non-Friable – “Category I non-friable ACM are asbestos-containing resilient floor coverings (commonly known as vinyl asbestos tile (VAT)), asphalt roofing products, packaging and gaskets. These materials rarely become friable. All other non-friable ACM are considered category II non-friable ACM.” (http://www.epa.gov/reg3wcmd/faq.htm)

According to the above information, what should one do? “Asbestos-containing materials that aren’t damaged or disturbed are not likely to pose a health risk. Usually the best thing is to leave asbestos-containing material alone if it is in good condition.” (http://www2.epa.gov/asbestos/protect-your-family#whattodo


Buying a Home With Asbestos and What to Do

So, are you considering buying a home with asbestos siding? Asbestos siding is considered “non-friable”. It is “not likely to pose a health risk.” (see above)  This is especially the case if it has been encapsulated. This can be accomplished by putting vinyl siding over it, painting or other methods. As in the case of all asbestos, leaving it undisturbed is best. The same can be true with insulation containing asbestos. In fact, there are many commercial buildings that may still contain such insulation and are considered safe according to National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPS)

Asbestos is a hazard, as are Electromagneitc Radiation (coming from appliances and power lines), gasoline fumes, etc.  However, we have learned to live with such hazards, safely. According to the EPA Standards and Guidelines, we can handle asbestos without the need of going into a panic. Again, the safest method is to leave it undisturbed, much like we would a sleeping lion. If we feel we must do something, the EPA has several websites with information about asbestos abatement. There are also contractors trained in the safe handling and disposal of this product. However, if the home you  are buying just has asbestos siding, there should be little to no concern over this.

So, if I found a house with asbestos siding or insulation would I live in it? Absolutely.
Would I be afraid to sell or buy a home with asbestos siding? No.
Would I sell a home that contained asbestos to my children or grandchildren? Yes.
Is having asbestos in the home a health risk? MDH says, “No.” (http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/asbestos/faq.html)
Should you be concerned if a home you want to buy contains asbestos? That is a personal question that only you can answer.


Asbestos is still in some products. It will not be eliminated. Still, we know gas fumes are dangerous, but we continue to pump it into our vehicles every day. The minimum exposure from such is nominal. Such can be the case with Asbestos. If you understand the difference between Friable and Non-Friable, you may well find that your home containing asbestos may not be a problem. Here are a few more resources with information on homes containing asbestos.

Consumer Product Safety Commission -Asbestos In The Home

EPA – Asbestos – Protect Your Family

EPA – Asbestos – Frequently Asked Questions

MDH – Asbestos in the Home not a health risk

“Kick the Tires” – Why Do I Need a Real Estate Agent?

Why “Kick the Tires”?

Why Use Real Estate Agent
Courtesy debspoons and freedigitalphotos.net

In the early days, one would “kick the tires” because older tires may have had imperfections and were manufactured in many different ways.  “Kicking the tires” could reveal a defect, alerting the potential buyer of flaws. Today, “kicking the tires” is not enough to make an informed decision. The same is true if you’re planning on buying a home. A real estate agent can help you “kick the tires” on a home.


Why Use a Real Estate Agent?

It is in your best interest to have a “Buyers Agent” when looking at Real Estate. Why?

Some buyers think they can get a better deal without an agent. They feel they save money by not having to pay commissions. Truth is, the commission is usually already figured into the sellers side. So for the buyer, not only do they not pay any commissions, but they are getting representation at no cost. This is just the beginning of the benefits of using a real estate agent for the home buyer.

Just like “kicking the tires”, much remains to be unseen. Having a qualified professional look over things and assist you can save you potential heartache and problems down the road. For example, a seasoned real estate agent will make sure the seller has all documents in place. In NC, this includes a Residential Property and Owners Association Disclosure required by ALL sellers of real estate, even if it is a FSBO (For Sale By Owner). However, without having someone on your side, things can be missed. An agent is also familiar with the market and can help make sure you’re not paying to much for a property. He may be aware of similar properties to what you are considering for less. He will also check to see what other assessments, liens, encroachments, easements, etc. may be attached to the property. In other words, he will be looking for all the hidden factors that are often overlooked are not considered by many home buyers. A buyers agent has an obligation to make sure he is protecting your best interests. He knows how to look up what is owed on a property and other considerations to help you negotiate a good price.


Real Estate Commissions

While most real estate agents do earn a commission, this is often misunderstood by many in the general public. Because an agent earns more if he sells at a higher price, some feel the agent is trying to get the most he can out of a sale. However, this is not in the agents long term best interests. A good agent will do all he can to help a buyer save as much as possible. The buyer will then appreciate the agents efforts and tell their friends to use that agent. So it is the buyers referrals that are of benefit to that agent. By doing a good job he gets more work.  It’s the same in most professions. Referrals are the best source of income.



“Kick the Tires and Look Under the Hood”

How to Buy a Home
Photo courtesy of ponsulak & freedigitalphoto.net

So as we’ve considered, kicking the tires may not be enough. Even if you look under the hood, unless you know what you’re looking at this may all be of little benefit to you. If you could have

someone put your vehicle up on a rack and look it over to give you their professional opinion, at no cost to you, would you do it? Then why not get a buyers agent to help represent you? The seller is paying to have this done for you, so why not take advantage of those services? It really serves your best interests.