Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
May peace break into your home and may thieves come to steal your debts.
May the pockets of your jeans become a magnet for $100 bills.
May love stick to your face like Vaseline and may laughter assault your lips!
May happiness slap you across the face and may your tears be that of joy.
May the problems you had forget your home address!
In simple words ............
May 2010 be the best year of your life!!!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
As a Realtor I am asked quite often what should you do with your crawl space vents? Leave them open or close them?
As I thought about itI would have thought the obvious would be to close them. Think of all the water lines that may be in the crawl space and a cold winter night with a bone chilling 20 mile per hour wind. Common since says to close them. So lets go to the experts and see what they say. Below is a question and answer from a home inspector and I agree in the fullest!
I have a question about the Winter Check list article. One of the things the checklist said to do was close the vents to the crawl space (especially near plumbing).
In the past, I have heard not to block the vents unless it is going to be below freezing for a long period of time. I was under the assumption that venting under a foundation, and an attic was just as important in the winter as it is in the summer. Am I wrong?
You are correct, it is important to keep from building up excessive moisture in the crawl. It is also important to keep the pipes from freezing. This is always a source of confusion when we talk about venting in the cold weather.
In attics, you have the heat rising up from the house meeting with the cold air of the attic, and creating a condition for moisture if not properly vented. This makes the cold months the ones that create the best conditions for having moisture problems in the attic.
The summer months create the best condition for moisture in the crawl space. However, anytime you have two different temperatures getting together you have moisture concerns.
I recommend leaving the crawl space vents open until the temperature gets below freezing. This will keep pipes from freezing. But, make sure to re-open them when the temperature gets above freezing.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Seller is very motivated and says sell this home. Owners have used it as a week end home every few months so is like new. Furniture is available if desired.
This large custom-built mountain homeis on a quiet and secluded 5-acre site just 15 minutes from town. The views are unlimited, and the home has been built and designed to capture the views from the large open living area as well as the two porches on the view side of the home. The home also features a two-car oversized garage, emergency generator, gas log stone fireplace, much more. The 5 acres lot next door can be purchased if Buyer desires.
The home sits atop a private knoll at a 3000+ foot elevationand on a secluded 5-acre site that's only 15 min. to town. Just over 7 miles to Historic Downtown Brevard. Paved roads and drive as well as a circular drive at the main level and lower level features and over sized 2 car garages with shop area.
The Views are Spectacular!Not only Long Range Mountain views to the Blue Ridge Parkway, but you are blessed with a view of the largest lake in "Connestee Falls". The views are totally spectacular!
The owners designed and custom builtthe home to by one of our top area builders, to capture the expansive views from nearly every room. The free flowing open floor plan & living areas accented by a grand living room that features custom built-ins, a soaring 22' ceiling, Windows with electrically operated shades. rock fireplace with gas logs (wood burning also), & Oak Hardwood floors.
In the grand living room is a custom designed and built staircase that leads to a larges sitting-reading area with views, full bath in a quest suite style bedroom.
The Gourmet kitchen features top of the line appliances with granite tops and once again a view that will captivate any chef.
There is extensive decking systems including a screen porch. There are so many features call or e-mail me for the floor plan and further details as I could go on and on about this extremely well priced mountain home.
For more pictures and other listing click here: http://ping.fm/XFaDn
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
RISMEDIA, December 16, 2009—For many Americans, a home is still where the heart is during the holiday season. According to a recent survey conducted by Weichert, Realtors, a new house was the most popular item on consumers’ holiday wish list and the home was the place they most wanted to spend their time during the holidays.
The study of Weichert.com visitors found that 51% would choose a new house if they could have just one holiday wish granted this year, while 21% would wish for a new car. Surprisingly, despite today’s challenging job market, only 14% had a new job at the top of their list.
When asked where they would most enjoy spending the holidays, it was clear Americans still equate the holidays with home. A majority of respondents, 55%, said they would most enjoy spending the holidays in their own home, 27% opted for time at a relatives and 3% preferred to visit with close friends. Still, the holiday is seen as a time to get away and vacation for 14% of Americans. However, only 1% of respondents felt they would most enjoy spending the holidays at a restaurant.
“The home often serves as the backdrop for many warm holiday memories,” said James M. Weichert, president and founder of Weichert, Realtors, one of the nation’s largest independently owned real estate companies. “From a mantle to hang the stockings to a roof to display the lights to a dinning table to gather around, a home offers many ways to celebrate the holidays and share special moments with family and friends.”
The survey also revealed that the joy of giving remains the best gift of all during the holiday season. Nearly nine out of 10 respondents said giving a gift that makes someone’s day is more satisfying than getting a gift that lets you know someone cares.
Spring is typically a good time for homeowners to start preparing to sell their homes because families interested in moving will often look now so that they can buy a home just in time for the kids to go on summer break.
Landscaping and curb appeal are among the top areas that buyers notice first. In fact, some studies show that good quality landscaping can increase the value of a home from 5 to 11 percent. Elements such as curving flowering beds and design sophistication attract buyers more easily than just rectangular boxes filled with flowers. Plant size and the diversity of plant material are also important to buyers. And colorful plants that often don't cost much to put in such as annuals can really brighten the look and the appeal of a yard.
That's why as the country gradually starts to thaw out, many sellers start to spiff up their homes and gardens to make them irresistible to buyers but these things can bring unwanted guests as well. If you don't plan carefully, you could be building an attractive garden that leads a trail of ants right inside your home.
"If you build a beautiful mulch garden around your home, you want some sort of a concrete barrier or some other material besides wood between the mulch area and your home," says Nic Izatt, branch manager for Antac Pest Control.
Izatt says it's very important to not have any earth-to-wood contact. He says that having a garden too close to your home without any barrier can encourage ant and termite colonies to develop.
So while you may be looking to create value and appeal give consideration to things that might not only attract insects (which can be a minor or major problem) but also consider how the overall landscape is working in a yard.
The American Society of Home Inspectors cautions buyers and sellers that, as they are enjoying the pretty landscape, they need to be sure to give a careful check on how the elements all function together. For instance, are the plants healthy? Is the placement of large trees, the garden or lawn in a hazardous position or sloping toward the home? Is foliage too close to the home? Again, this can become a breeding ground for insects. Taking note of these types of possible landscape issues can help to ward off future headaches.
Here are a few things to watch for when either getting your yard ready for sale or when looking to buy.
Get to the root of it: while seeing exactly where trees roots are located can be a bit difficult, spotting any obvious signs of lifting or cracking sidewalks or driveways can be an indication that there is a root problem. The opposite also poses a problem. If you see areas where the yard is sunken in, that could indicate a leaking sewer line resulting from a root interference problem.
Know the topography: understand potential risks such as if you're located at the bottom of a hillside. In heavy rains the water will flow downward toward the foundation of your home, possibly causing flood.
Limb control: notice if tree limbs are out of control, branching out in every direction and touching the roof or interfering with power lines. Watch out for tree limbs that are hanging over chimneys as animals can climb down the chimney but also the branches could block the draft, creating higher carbon monoxide levels in the home.
Close-up look: closely examine plants in your yard and be sure that you don't see mushrooms or fungus growing at the bottom of the trees as that can be a warning sign of a health issue.
Landscaping that's been thoughtfully created and taken care of will be a huge benefit to both the seller and the buyer.
RISMEDIA, June 4, 2008-June is Internet Safety month. With hundred of millions of teens, pre-teens-and adults-around the world using social networking sites, there’s no better time for parents to be aware of the fun, the benefits, the powerful attractions, and the potential risks that MySpace, Facebook and other similar sites offer their children.
InternetSafety.com, a leader in Internet safety solutions, has assembled a list of practical tips parents can use to ensure a safe networking environment for kids:
1. Show Interest - Ask questions about how your child’s preferred social networking site or sites work. Kids are generally happy to demonstrate their knowledge if you show genuine interest. You can even ask your teen to show you how to set up your own social networking site-a great way to visit your child’s page and see what’s been posted there.
2. Encourage Instinctive Responses - Kids often can instinctively do the right thing, which makes them their own first defense against those who may take advantage online. Encourage your children to avoid contact with people they “feel funny about.” Tell them to not reveal anything online they would not want a stranger to know. Limit the posting of pictures and remind them that once something is placed online, it can never be taken back.
3. Know Your Kids’ Passwords - If your child changes his or her password suddenly and refuses to share it with you, that’s trouble. Insist on knowing how to access his or her accounts-then keep their confidence by not sharing the information with their friends or siblings.
4. Set Hours for When Kids Can Access Social Networks - Late nights are the favorite time for predators to seek out their adolescent prey. Set firm limits not only for the time of day, but also the total amount of time, that your children may access social networking sites.
5. Be Aware of Alternate Access Points - Kids don’t have to access their social networks at home. Libraries, friends’ houses, even cell phones make the Internet easy to reach today. Keep up with what’s happening on your child’s social networking page and be aware when changes have been made despite the lack of access from home.
6. Exercise Your Parental Right to Supervise - There’s a difference between being snoopy and ensuring safe activity. You don’t have to read every last word of a personal message your son or daughter sends to a friend. But you do have the right-and the obligation-to see who your kids are talking to, and to know the general subject matter.
7. Check for Photos - By clicking on the Windows “Start” button, you’ll find the “Search” tool. Click on “Pictures, Music or Video,” the box next to “Pictures and Photos,” and finally “Search”. Ask your child to identify any photos of strangers, or any other pictures you find questionable.
8. Install Filtering Software - PC products like Safe Eyes allow parents to block or record Instant Messenger chats, limit e-mail use to prescribed addresses, block objectionable websites (including peer-to-peer file sharing programs that often expose kids to inappropriate material), and receive alerts when kids post personal information on social networking sites.
9. Watch for CyberBullying - Encourage your children to tell you immediately if they are being harassed online. Children also need to know that it is not acceptable to be a party to cyberbullying-or to remain silent when they know others are being harassed.
10. Don’t Lecture - Finally, if you should find reasons for concern, don’t browbeat, insult or condescend to your child. Have a discussion about values and why they are important. Respect your child but be firm. And most of all, lead by example. Parents have a powerful ability to influence their child’s behavior-and nothing is more powerful than someone who not only talks values, but lives them.
“Parents should never feel that their level of involvement in their child’s social network activity is excessive. Since 1998, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s CyberTipline has logged over 33,000 tips about children being enticed online for sexual acts,” said Shane Kenny, President and COO of InternetSafety.com. “Better that the parent error on the side of intrusion, rather than bear the consequences of doing nothing.”
For more information, visit http://www.internetsafety.com/.
The K9 above is Brutus, a Military K9 at McChord. He's huge - part Boxer and part British Bull Mastiff and tops the scales at 200 lbs. His handler took the picture. Brutus is running toward me because he knows I have some Milk Bone treats, so he's slobbering away! I had to duck around a tree just before he got to me in case he couldn't stop, but he did. Brutus won the Congressional Medal of Honor last year from his tour in Iraq . His handler and four other soldiers were taken hostage by insurgents.
Brutus and his handler communicate by sign language and he gave Brutus the signal that meant 'go away but come back and find me'. The Iraqis paid no attention to Brutus. He came back later and quietly tore the throat out of one guard at one door and another guard at another door. He then jumped against one of the doors repeatedly (the guys were being held in an old warehouse) until it opened. He went in and untied his handler and they all escaped. He's the first K9 to receive this honor. If he knows you're ok, he's a big old lug and wants to sit in your lap. Enjoys the company of cats. K-9 Congressional Medal of Honor Winner Thought you'd find this interesting.. Talk about animal intelligence and bonding with humans! Remember that they can't do a lot of things for themselves and that they depend on you to make their life a quality life!
A PET'S TEN COMMANDMENTS.........
1. My life is likely to last 10-15 years. Any separation from you is likely to be painful.
2. Give me time to understand what you want of me
3. Place your trust in me. It is crucial for my well-being.
4. Don't be angry with me for long and don't lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your friends, your entertainment, but I have only you.
5. Talk to me. Even if I don't understand your words, I do understand your voice when speaking to me.
6. Be aware that however you treat me, I will never forget it.
7. Before you hit me, before you strike me, remember that I could hurt you, and yet, I choose not to bite you.
8. Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I'm not getting the right food, I have been in the sun too long, or my heart might be getting old or weak.
9. Please take care of me when I grow old. You too, will grow old.
10. On the ultimate difficult journey, go with me please. Never say you can't bear to watch. Don't make me face this alone. Everything is easier for me if you are there, because I love you so.
~Take a moment today to thank God for your pets. Enjoy and take good care of them.
Life would be a much duller, less joyful experience without God's critters.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
As a member of the planning board for TransylvaniaCounty I can attest to the huge task we had before us to come up with the first ever zoning in the County. Not completed yet as we still have the CountyCommissioners to approve and adopt. Tonight we have a meeting on Brevard with the CountyCommissioners as well as the Pisgah Forest Community to discuss the proposed map and ordnance.
The Planning Board and staff finalized a draft zoning ordinance for the PisgahForest area at their November 19th regular meeting and identified the properties that should be zoned. This has been an exceptional and lengthy process that has required a tremendous amount of time and energy by board members and staff (particularly Mike Thomas and Trish Hamilton). Trying to develop an ordinance that meets the diverse needs of the citizens living in the PisgahForest area, the City of Brevard Council Members and the CountyCommissioners was a challenge. The Planning Board members have worked hard to craft a document that seeks the right balance – looking particularly at “community” and restrictions that focus, as noted in the initial study committee’s recommendations, on future growth along the US 64 and NC 280 corridors. The draft is currently on-line at http://econdev.transylvaniacounty.org
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Home prices rose for the second consecutive quarter this year, according to Freddie Mac's recently released quarterly national Conventional Home Price Index (CMHPI) Purchase-Only Series, adding evidence the nation's housing market is warming up.
The government mortgage entity's home-price-growth index rose 0.9 percent in the third quarter, following an upwardly revised 2 percent pickup in the second quarter. The increases of the past two quarters made up for about two-fifths of the declines registered during the final quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009. U.S. home-sale prices were down 3.9 percent year-over-year.
"The home-price gains of the past two quarters reflect improving existing-home sales over that period. Sales volume was up 15 percent between the first and third quarters of this year," said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, in a statement.
"The lowest average fixed-rate mortgage rates in a half-century, lower house prices, incentives to encourage first-time buyers, and loan modification efforts to stem foreclosures have worked together to support sales and reduce the inventory of unsold homes."
Seven of the nine U.S. Census divisions saw increases in prices in the third quarter, although "prices are still down relative to their peaks in most markets," Nothaft said.
"Values in the New England, East North Central and Pacific divisions are at 2004 levels, on average, and the South Atlantic, West North Central, and Mountain states' home values are at 2005 levels.
"In contrast, average values in the West South Central area have tied their previous peak from the third quarter of 2008, while average home values in the Middle Atlantic and East South Central states have reached 2006 and 2007 levels, respectively," he added.
The biggest gains came in the Pacific region, which jumped up 3.9 percent in the third quarter of 2009, followed by the Middle Atlantic region, up 1.1 percent.
The South Atlantic region rose 0.6 percent, and the West North Central region rose 0.5 percent. Both the East South Central and East North Central regions rose 0.2 percent. The West South Central region saw the smallest growth at 0.1 percent.
Two regions saw decreases in home prices. The Mountain region decreased 0.6 percent, and the New England region fell by 0.7 percent.
Warming trends in the housing market are also evident in a Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index report, which also showed a second consecutive quarterly increase in the third quarter, albeit a rosier 3.1 percent increase.
Freddie Mac's Conventional Mortgage Home Price Index Purchase-Only Series is constructed from observations of actual sales prices or appraised values of the same homes over time.
The index excludes all refinancings in its calculations. It includes transactions on one-unit detached and single-family townhouse properties serving as collateral on loans originated through the third quarter of 2009 and purchased by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae by Oct. 31, 2009.
Source: Inman News
1974 Pisgah Forest Farms / Estates was established on Black Knob Mt in 1974 and was then known as ‘Pisgah Forest Farms Community Development'. It was created by a Mr. Red Belcher who lived in Florida and was the owner of the Belcher Oil Company. Mr. Belcher, his wife and his butler, William Byrd, would spend a few days here throughout the year. His home was the big house against the mountainside (on the left as you turn in off Hart Road).
1975 In July Mr. & Mrs. Tom Smith moved here from New York and managed this land for Mr. Belcher from 1979 until 1987. Pisgah Forest Dr was paved from Hart Rd to Falcon Rd and it was gravel from Falcon Rd up to the top and around to the back. There were six homes here then, all below the power lines. They were owned by Tom and Kathleen Smith, George and Virginia Spahn, Wendell and Lois Hill, Mr. & Mrs. Camp, Mr. & Mrs. Heller and Mr. & Mrs. Steve Lamphier. Billy Parker was the property manager at the time and Tom Smith took over in 1979.
c1978 Mr. Belcher deeded Pisgah Forest Farms, Inc to Brevard College.
1980 The first Restrictive Covenants and Bylaws were created and approved.
1982 Brevard College sold Pisgah Forest Farms, Inc to Brevard Trust, Inc - a group of 15 Florida investors. The Reed property, which is adjacent to the SW edge of Pisgah Forest Farms / Estates, was granted access to Pisgah Forest Dr.
1987 Mr. Belcher passed away.
1989 When Mr. & Mrs. Quillen moved here there were 24 homes on the mountain and we have added an average of two homes a year since.
1990 A developer by the name of Robert Re purchased Pisgah Forest Farms / Estates from Brevard Trust, Inc.
1995 Mr. Re brought in Line Runner, a North Carolina General Partnership created by Mike R Meany. It was at this time that the Restrictive Covenants were amended and revised to reflect the partnership of Robert Re and Mike Meany.
2007 Pisgah Forest Farms / Estates was admitted to the Firewise Communities/USA program by the National Wildfire Coordinating group - a part of the US Forest Service.
2008 The Restrictive Covenants were again amended to reflect the fact that the community is now completely home & lot owner owned and controlled.
2009 There are now 62 homes in this mountain community. Mrs. Kathleen Smith has lived here 34 years - the only remaining community ‘pioneer'... Mr. Tom Smith passed away 21 years ago - a result of cancer.
There are 2 other mini communities within the development called The Pinnacle and Forest Park For further information visit www.HomeINBrevard.com
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
First of all, we have had two fires on our mountain in 2009 - fortunately small but both were avoidable... The first could be avoided by soaking fireplace or wood stove ashes for 24 hours in a steel bucket (such as item # 291653 from Lowes) before dumping them outdoors. The other by not leaving a debris fire burning unattended - as a contractor did recently. Little River VFD and NCDFR rangers responded promptly to both fires.
In order to effectively protect your home from loss during a forest fire (wildfire) you need to understand two main concepts: one is the ‘Home Ignition Zone' and the other is ‘Defensible Space'. The home ignition zone extends out 100 to 200 feet from your home (depending on degree of slope) and is actually composed of three zones.
Zone 1 extends out 5 feet from your home, deck and out buildings and is the most critical - in this zone anything flammable should be removed. This would include leaves, pine straw, pine bark, mulch, firewood, volatile shrubs, trees, etc. It would also include removing leaves and pine straw from your roof and gutters. The reason that this is so important is that a fire brand (burning ember) can travel a mile or more from the fire. If it lands in this ‘fuel' it will likely start a fire that could spread to your home. This would be true as well if a fire reaches your property but more homes are lost due to flaming embers than actual contact with the wildfire.
Zone 2 extends 10 feet out and can contain a well kept lawn, widely spaced trees and very low volatile shrubs.
Zone 3 extends 30-100 feet but the first 30 feet are the most important here - no leaves or twigs on the ground, no firewood stored, 10 feet between trees and no limbs below 10 feet from the ground (these are called ‘ladder fuel').
If you have done all of this you have created a Defensible Space where firefighters can work to save your home.
In a recent article in the fall 2009 City of Brevard Newsletter there was an article with the question "What happens to your glass"???
Here is an excerpt of what was in the article that I found quite interesting. Here in Brevard NC you can recycle and a company called GDS will pick up recyclable materials. The article states the Green, brown and clear glass is recycled each week on the curb in special containers. I applaud everyone that recycles! Not only is it easy but it saves the ever so valuable landfill space and the high cost of lining the landfills to created more space.
Last year the City of Brevard recycled nearly 82 tons of glass. Amazing how much glass we use in or daily lives. Once glass reaches the recycle center it is first separated form all the other recyclables like cans, plastic and paper products. It is then transported to manufacturers for processing to individual vendors specifications in Raleigh NC and Atlanta Georgia. The glass travels a longs ways but it is well worth it!
Then the contaminants are removed from the glass and jars with labels on them are usually crushed into what is called cullet. Then the crushed glass is melted down in a super hot furnace and naturally all the labels are burned off in the process and this glass is used to make new glass. Maybe your next windshield or salsa container just might be from your efforts. Naturally this process takes less energy than starting from scratch making new glass and we not only reap the benefits of lower waste but less expensive glass that gets passed on to the consumer.
According to GDS, your clear and green glass are processed and sold to Owens Corning, who then uses the glass as fiberglass insulation. Interesting that Brown glass is reprocessed back into brown bottle only.
Bottom line... recycles and save energy, our countries precious resources and best of all create American jobs. It doesn’t take much time and energy to do you part!
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
* Minimize the chances of spontaneous combustion by temporarily storing work rags and other flammable waste in a fire -resistant container until they can be can properly disposed.
* To reduce water hammer, a banging noise in water pipes, shut off the incoming water to your home. Open the highest and lowest valves, often a bath valve and an outdoor hose bibb. Drain all water from these pipes, to restore air cushions in the plumbing system. Turn the incoming water back on. Open each faucet in the house, which may release air before water flows. this should eliminate or diminish the noise.
* Clean a garbage disposal, by grinding up two trays of ice cubes made from a mixture of one half cup white vinegar to one half gallon of water. Be sure to clearly label them so no one tries to use them.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
This months is one that is a bit of a follow up of what I wrote on about Winter Depressions and very timely.
With the holidays here and the economy as such, the "holiday blues" may try to consume your life. Many factors can attribute to the "holiday blues": shorter daylight hours, fatigue, financial constraints, communication, and the inability to be with ones' family and friends during the holidays. There are several steps you may take to have a happy holiday season:
◦Set realistic financial and time goals. You may have a limited amount of holiday spending funds. Remember, it is the thought that counts, not the price you pay. Often a home made gift, or a hand-me down gift is more cherished and less expensive than a purchased item. List and prioritize your seasonal activities. Do only the ones at the top of the list and that you have time for. Let others share the responsibilities of holiday tasks. Make time for yourself.
◦Volunteer to help others.
◦Avoid or limit your consumption of alcohol. Alcohol is a chemical depressant.
◦Spend your holiday time with supportive and caring people. Reach out and make new friends, or contact someone you haven't heard from in a while.
◦Some people suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) as a result of the shorter daylight hours. Phototherapy, a treatment involving a few hours of exposure to intense light, is often shown to help alleviate the systems from SAD.
◦Acknowledge your feelings. Sometimes it is okay to feel sad and grieve. It is okay to take time to cry and/or express your feelings. You can't force yourself to be happy just because of the holidays.
◦Live in the moment and enjoy the present.