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Aggressively Blunt Homeowner Tries to Sell House on Craigslist

1. “You can jam your loud ass kids in the basement.”

Photo by Asa Rodger on Unsplash

Oftentimes honesty is indeed the best policy, and although that’s not typically a rule that people trying to sell houses abide by, it could land one homeowner in West Asheville, North Carolina a buyer, . Because, provided prospective buyers aren’t scared off by a little bad language, he makes a fairly compelling argument (via Craigslist) for his house, which includes a basketball court and a dead end street for bike riding, “so if you want your kid to be a shitty bike rider, and suck at basketball, then buy something in Montford.” Other good points.

2. “The floors are freaking bamboo. If it is good enough for a koala, then surely it is good enough for you.”

3. “If you can’t think of anything good to do with a giant mirrors in your bedroom, then you should probably buy in Montford.”

4. “Go look at it, and if you don’t like it, then screw you, but I think you will like it.”

5. “Did you know you can’t build a pool in Montford? Well you can build a pool on Scottsdale Drive. You could build two pools in this yard, because it is huge.”

We’re not sure what or where Montford is, but we are definitely not buying a house there.
· $224900 / 4br – 1848ft2 – 3Bath, West Asheville, Don’t let your kids suck (22 Scottsdale Drive) [Craigslist, via Lighter Side of Real Estate]


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Neighborhoods with Distressed Homes find New Life

Well known in Asheville for over a decade, I Buy Homes LLC revamps distressed homes into workable, newly rehabbed homes for new families. We’re supporting the fight in the housing shortage in the Asheville area!

Please, let us know if there’s a distressed home in your area; our Cash for House program may be able to buy the home and turn it into a nice family home! We give a $100 Reward for a purchased home if you recommend it!

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      Tax Rate: Wait and see.

      ASHEVILLE – Fast-rising real estate prices and local political decisions are expected to drive up property tax bills this year.

      That’s because some things are known about the formula used for figuring taxes – and some things aren’t. There are two near-certainties. The first is that city property values went up an average of 29 percent since the last time the government assessed them in 2013. The second is taxes will be needed to start making payments on $74 million in voter-approved bond borrowing.

      The unknowns are tax rates, which are set by the city and Buncombe County and combined for Asheville property bills.

      Bills could inch up even more depending on a City Council debate over public transit funding.

      Mayor Esther Manheimer said she’s not personally “shut the door” on additional funding for programs such as energy-efficiency initiatives or buses but is also concerned about tax bills.

      “I’ve heard real concerns from people about affordability,” Manheimer said.


      The annual tax bill for city property owners is actually a combination of tax bills.

      Those are a county tax, a city tax, and in most cases, an Asheville City Schools tax.

      The city rate is set by the council. The Board of Commissioners sets the county rate. Commissioners also set the schools rate after getting a recommendation from the school board.

      The two elected bodies vote on those rates before the start of each fiscal year.

      For most city property owners, those three rates are added together. For those outside the city schools district, only city and county rates are used. A property’s value is divided by 100 then multiplied by the combined rates.

      Normally rates stay the same or go up. This year, they’re expected to drop.

      But that doesn’t mean bills will also drop.

      That’s because of new county-assigned property values, something that happens about every four years. This year, those values jumped in an eye-popping way.

      In the slowest-growing part of the city, South Asheville, property values rose a combined 17 percent, according to the county tax office. Meanwhile, in downtown there was a 44 percent increase in the value of land, homes and other buildings.

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      Asheville gentrification: When Pearson’s Store was lost

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      She came home for work one day and it was gone. Everything, even the foundation. As if it had never been.

      This is how we were told about the destruction of Pearson’s Store, of how the city came that day without warning and demolished the small grocery store that E.W. Pearson had opened in the Burton Street neighborhood in the early 20th century.

      While telling us the story, Vivian Conley’s demeanor remained calm and endearing, but she warned us that she couldn’t speak too much about the community’s experiences without the pain and sadness rising.

      I am with eight other people on a tour of the Burton Street neighborhood in West Asheville. The tour began at the Burton Street Community Center — once the segregated Burton Street School — made a stop at the site where the store once stood and concluded in the Peace Garden behind the school.

      To place the loss of the store into some sort of perspective, we might consider the importance of Pearson to the history of Burton Street, to the history of Asheville as a whole and, in fact, to the history of the nation.

      As a young man, E.W. Pearson was a member of the Buffalo Soldiers, the segregated 9th Cavalry unit of the U.S. Army that fought alongside Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders in the Spanish-American War. When he moved to Asheville in 1906, he used his real estate training from his studies in Chicago to create subdivisions for African-Americans in West Asheville, including in 1912 the Burton Street neighborhood.

      In 1914, he organized the Buncombe County and District Agricultural Fair, which ran for 33 years, coming to an end the year after his death in 1946. Thousands of people attended this fair, Ms. Conley told us on the tour. Blacks and whites together, she said.

      Two years after establishing the fair, he organized the first African-American semi-professional baseball team in Asheville, the Royal Giants. He had loved to watch baseball but wasn’t allowed into whites-only games in the city. In 1921, he helped to found the Blue Ridge Colored Baseball League and became its first president. The league brought together teams from North and South Carolina: Charlotte, Asheville, Spartanburg, Greenville, Gastonia, Concord, Winston-Salem, Rock Hill and Anderson.

      Then, in 1933, he established the Asheville branch of the NAACP and became its first president as well. E.W. Pearson, in other words, was a leading force in the community, along with his wife Annis Bradshaw Pearson, who often joined in his efforts and was herself involved in various community and civic organizations.

      I think about the store, about this man who ran it, photographed again and again in his three-piece suits and fedoras, the man who was known for the catchy phrases he created for the fair. I think of the store that sat across the street from the Burton Street School and a stone’s throw from the 1890 Wilson Chapel A.M.E. Church, two other monuments to African-American leadership and community.

      I imagine the people who entered the store on a daily basis, maybe to buy a cool drink, maybe just to say hello to neighbors, maybe to see what Pearson was up to that morning, this man was who had done so much to create community in his world, the sort of man who had brought fair rides and baseball and penny candy into the neighborhood, even as he addressed the pressing social justice issues of his day.

      I think of Pearson’s son, the man known as Professor Bop, who in the early 1950s became the first African-American disc jockey at WLOS Radio and who later turned the store into the Blue Note Casino, a music hall established in that historical moment when rock ‘n’ roll, with its deep and rich African-American roots, was about to explode on the national scene.

      And I think of Vivian Conley, an activist who has worked diligently to hold together her neighborhood. I think of the shock she must have felt on that day she returned home from work to find the store not only demolished but missing, carried away by some rapid and unfeeling, if not hostile, force.

      The day after our tour, I returned to the vacant lot. I walked up the remnants of a driveway, now broken asphalt that turns to cracked red dirt. Black walnuts litter the dry grass. A hemlock tree covered in vines attempts to survive at the edge of the lot. Off to the left, someone has nailed a sign to an old telephone pole. The sign is faded, horribly weather beaten, but you can still make out the name Jesus.

      The calls of the tree frogs compete with traffic noise from the increasingly encroaching highway. The city has chosen an aggressive plan for widening Interstate 26, a plan that will roll over the old Wilson AME church, now known as Community Baptist. It will also take out Ms. Conley’s home. When this plan is implemented, it will be the third time the neighborhood has been devastated by highway construction.

      I walked to the back of the lot, where someone had dumped a truckload of trash, including a broken white-picket fence. The day before, when our second tour guide — artist and poet DeWayne Barton — saw the trash, he broke into sad and solemn song. As the rest of us listened and watched, he raised his closed eyes to the heavens and voiced both lament and hope.

      As it turned out, that lament represented one of the ways that community lives on in Burton Street. And I don’t mean that the community survives only in the vibration of song and broken dreams. I mean that DeWayne and his wife Safi Mahaba have created a peace garden behind the school, one they made from trash left at the site.

      When our group visited, we were viewing the garden in the cool shadows of evening, and some of what makes the garden remarkable was lost on me. I laughed at the paintings of Fat Albert and Fred Sanford. I felt awed by the paintings of Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, Harriet Tubman, Malcolm X and other leaders in the civil rights movement.

      Still, it wasn’t until I returned the next day, in the harsh afternoon light, that I looked closely at the images, at the meaning being conveyed by this garden. It overwhelms the senses — and the imagination — and the mythological stories wrapped into the history of the United States. It is sophisticated art in the genre of junkyard.

      Though the artists’ final message is one of hope, peace and love, not for one moment do they shy away from presenting truths about racism, environmental degradation, the despair of war or the inequities of capitalism. Plastic Santa Clauses are mixed with skulls and gas masks, with crosses and tattered currency.

      One particular scene in the garden took my breath away. At the base of a tree, you see a bomb half-buried in the dirt. Leaning dead against the tree is the bloodied representation of the body of an African-American woman dressed in white. Long strands of pearls hang around her neck. An Army helmet lies crooked on her bent head. An African-African child lies under her.

      Yet overseeing these scenes are the icons of African-American leadership, those portraits of Tubman and King and Parks that give order to the chaos and violence. They stand in peaceful contrast to the images of Reagan and Nixon scattered among those places of the garden where wasteland is paramount.

      As I was leaving, I passed a smaller exhibit. This one warned of the impact of drugs, but it also connected the loss of black life to the process of gentrification. And it’s here that I find myself at a loss, knowing that I am a part of the gentrification process of Asheville — in my case, of the African-American community of Shiloh in South Asheville, a community originally displaced by George Vanderbilt when he built Biltmore Estate.

      I don’t yet know how to react to my role in gentrification, but I’m glad I took the Hood Huggers Tour of Burton Street. I hope it will make me a better neighbor.

      Dr. Darlene O’Dell has published three books, including the most recent “The Story of the Philadelphia Eleven” (Seabury Books, 2014). She has appeared on NPR and has taught at Clemson University and the College of William and Mary. Contact her at [email protected] or visit


      Hood Tours offers driving and walking tours of 90 minutes to 2 hours. Learn more at or call 828-275-5305. 

      Driving tours run at 1 p.m. most Thursdays and at noon or 3 p.m. Saturdays, or by appointment for groups of 5-9 people. Driving tours typically begin at the Stephens-Lee Recreation Center, 30 George Washington Carver Ave., Asheville. The cost is $25/person.

      Walking tours of  the Burton Street Community (West Asheville), East End Valley Street (downtown) and Shiloh (South Asheville) are available for groups of 5-25 people. The cost for a walking tour is $20/person.

      Tours incorporate history, art, poetry, music, community green spaces, local voices and more to relate the past, present and future of African-Americans in Asheville. Tours are led by artist, poet and community activist DeWayne Barton.

      According to its website, “Hood Tours is a social enterprise that provides opportunities for young people while helping to spark more grassroots economic development in these resilient communities.”


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      Spec homes return to WNC’s landscape

      But Asheville builders and bankers say increased activity spans the spectrum, from “affordable” to high-end homes.

      For the first time since the Great Recession, spec-home construction and lending is up in the Asheville area, some builders and bankers say.

      Sparse inventory, combined with high demand for houses, caused some financial institutions about nine months ago to free up funding for spec homes.

      “It’s important that the building community is able to offer new homes for people who need a move-in-ready home now,” said Brandon Bryant, president and owner of Red Tree Builders in Asheville.

      A spec home is one contractors build on speculation, without a confirmed buyer. Developers typically build those types of homes only in areas where they believe a profit will occur.

      “Having a healthily balance of new homes and resales balances the market for buyers,” said Bryant, the Asheville Home Builders Association first vice president and a national director for the National Association of Home Builders in Washington, D.C.

      “Currently, home buyers have to grapple with the lack of inventory,” Bryant said. “Banks allowing spec loans does allow builders and developers to respond to the demand out there.”

      The number of houses in Buncombe County for less than $300,000 is the lowest in roughly a decade, said Don Davies, founder of Asheville-based Realsearch, a company that analyzes real estate trends. Just 441 with an average asking price of $213,106 existed at the beginning of the month, he said.

      “We opened up a little bit in the more affordable range at $350,000 and lower about six to nine months ago,” said David Kozak, Asheville Savings Bank executive vice president and chief credit officer.

      “That’s what we, as a community, need for working people,” said Kozak, who added that industry analyses and market-share studies showed consumers couldn’t find homes in that price range.

      He cautioned, however, that the bank green-lights loans for up to 10 spec homes at any one time.

      “We’re not going hog wild on this,” Kozak said.

      In other words, a few dozen spec homes coming on the region’s market is not going to solve Asheville’s ongoing affordable housing crisis.

      A Nationwide report published last month concluded the Asheville metro area’s housing market has reached unsustainable levels.

      The study’s authors ranked the metro area market as the nation’s sixth unhealthiest because of the widening gap between the region’s housing prices and wage levels, said David Berson, Nationwide senior vice president and chief economist.

      Finite buildable land is another reason housing costs continue to climb, said Jamie Dose, president of Old Northstate Building Co. in Swannanoa. Because what land is available exists in a mountainous region with rivers, contractors must grapple with complex situations like steep slopes and flood plains, Dose said.

      “The dynamics of the (Appalachian) mountains make it a very complex situation,” he said. “People can get more for land because there’s not much of it.”

      Dose and his company work with Asheville Savings Bank exclusively, he said.

      Old Northstate was the first builder the bank restarted spec-home lending with, Dose said Asheville Savings officials told him. Other companies now are obtaining such loans from the bank.

      Dose predicted spec-home lending practices would “continue to expand” across the community because “we’re going to have to have the release of capital to meet the demand.”

      The higher-end market for spec-home construction lending freed up even earlier, said Robert Sulaski, a principal and cofounder of Sulaski & Tinsley Homes.

      That Asheville-based design-and-build company constructs homes ranging from roughly $475,000 to $1.8 million, said Sulaski, whose company helped develop Biltmore Park.

      “Within the last eight to 12 months — the bulk of which are between $650,000 and $900,000,” Sulaski said, describing when the spec-home loan environment shifted.

      “We’re consistently building 12 to 14 spec homes,” he said. The buyers “come from other cities.”

      Sulaski acknowledged those residences don’t fit into the affordable category, but he said the people who purchase them are a boon to the local economy nonetheless.

      They often are small-business owners who “instantly reinvest” in the community, he said.

      They bring parts of their businesses to town, buy cars and other products from Asheville-area companies, and bring in revenue by attracting friends who spend money on expensive hotel rooms and restaurants, Sulaski said.

      Richard Whitney, president of Whitney Commercial Real Estate in Asheville, concurred.

      “That’s exactly my position,” Whitney said. “The money’s coming in.”

      Consumer confidence continues to rise, he said. “I don’t suspect problems for years.”

      Plus, more people are buying houses, said Peter Best, senior vice president and head of Capital Bank’s Asheville commercial team.

      “We’re doing more lending in the speculative market because we’re really centered on the rebound in the housing market,” Best said. “But we’re looking for partners, not whales. We’re not going for home runs. We’re looking for builders with whom we can build relationships.”


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      NC Senate bill targets squatters using foreclosed homes

      A state Senate bill filed Tuesday would toughen penalties for people who take up residence in foreclosed homes and file fake legal documents to stay there.

      Sen. Stan Bingham, a Davidson County Republican, said he’s proposing Senate Bill 754 in response to news reports about “sovereign citizens” who move in illegally and refuse to leave.

      “Nuts, I call them,” Bingham said. “They’ll use the legal system to benefit themselves and move in properties.”

      The Charlotte Observer wrote about such an incident last year. A group of people affiliated with a Moorish Nation group that doesn’t recognize state, federal or local laws moved into an $800,000 foreclosed home in the Piper Glen neighborhood.

      The woman claiming ownership was evicted and arrested, but she kept coming back and filing nuisance legal claims against local police and the homeowner’s association.

      “It’s a big problem in Mecklenburg County, I don’t know why,” Bingham said. “They’re going in these homes, eating nice food, running the refrigerator, running up the power bill.”

      Bingham’s bill would make it a felony for someone to file false liens on property or occupy property they’d previously been evicted from. The penalty would include a fine of at least $1,000.

      “This will give (authorities) a little leeway and prevent this thing from happening,” he said.

      Read more here:


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