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Buncombe, Asheville property transfers for Oct. 24-28

Ibuyhomeslogo square v2The following transfers were filed in the Register of Deeds office Oct. 24-28.


Lot 58 section 1 St. Andrews Brookwood Community, $265,000, Kimberly M. and Vernon M. Welch III to Courtney Jones and Jefferson Winfield Asher Haynes


Units B-3, A-4 and Garage Space at Longchamps Condominiums, $755,000,George W. Krieger to Elizabeth F. Minor

Lot 547 block N Lake View, $541,000, Sallie Trippe (f .k. a. Whalen) and Claude U. Broach Jr. to Sean M. Bailey, Nancy E. Schwartz

16 Tryon St. (Lot 4 and portions of lots 1-2), $291,000, K & D Mountain Rentals LLC to Mary Carlisle Rankin

Lot GIII-10 Laurel Place Cluster Three Garden Homes, $283,500, Nettie J. and Thomas A. Colina to Francine Farthing

22 Stone River Drive (Lot 32 phase 1), $300,000, David Scott and Lissie I. Barnett to Justin and Jessica Hunter

Lot 34 SEC Villages phase II – The Thoms Estate, $578,500, Gated Communities Of Asheville LLC to Roy L. and Pamela V. Moore

Lot 1 Rankin Heights, $141,500, Sandra Lee Scott to McMaster Real Estate Group LLC

Unit 1102 (11B) Club Interest 7, $125,000, Suzanne Rosoff to Summit Hospitality 123 LLC

Lot 4 block 6 Wilshire Park Inc., $40,500, Marc Mullinax, Grace Elizabeth Boyer to Alelsandr and Pamela Isaenko

Lot 19 section 1 Deavermont Park, $85,000, Joseph M. and Teresa B. Bolick to Ashkat Realty LLC

Lot 7 Hudson Hills Subdivision, $161,500, Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity Inc. to Tera Marie Jabs

Lot 20 The Thoms Estate Subdivision phase II, $577,000, Gated Communities of Asheville LLC to Lee M. and Heather L. Aberle

Lot 32 Windy Hill Farms section 1, $195,000, Ameriprise National Trust Bank (Jane A. Snyder Charitable Remainder Unitrust) to Joshua W. and Felicia T. Tomberlin

Lot 7 section 2 Olmstead At Biltmore Park, $1,200,000, Jason E. Bergman, Connie Jo Herbst to The Perry & Fay Liivng Trust

Lot 11 block E Gracelyn, $324,000, Brian E. and Julie S. Merrell to Kate Chappell

17 Azalea Road (Lot 17 block D Rosscraggon), $154,000, John Stevenson to Jonathan Murphrey

Black Mountain

Unit 1009 Laurel Ridge phase II, $37,000, Allison J. Wall to Allan Franklin Pierce Revocable Trust

Buncombe County

192 Milksick Cove Road, $125,000, David Neal and Wanda Edwards Carter to Rolando Del Cid Rodriguez, Claudia I. Gonzalez Vasquez

340 Upper Grassy Branch Road, $168,000, Sharon Burnette Brown to MD Roberts Investment Properties LLC

5 Riddle Ridge Drive (1.34 acres), $170,000, Reverse Mortgage Solutions Inc. to Thomas and Marian Plaut

Unit 627 of the Gove at Appledoorn Condominiums, $132,000, David Everette Wilson to Kimberly Kessaris, Gabrielle Michel

Lot 2 Maplewood Village, $318,000, Barbara B. Bartley to Jason and Chandrea Bartley

Lot 15 Tudor Croft phase 1-B, $55,000, Summit Ave. LLC to Nathan A. and Gail P. Woodworth

Lot 1 New Leicester Highway, $146,500, Diana Celeste Gordon to William F. Bailey Jr.

86 Spivey Mountain Road, $60,000, Carol A. and James F. Andres to Charles Travis and Pamela Jean Dover

Lots 45-46 River Walk, $90,000, Lei Han Lao, Xiao Chun Yan to Paul Gavrilov

302 Donnybrook Drive (Lot 3 section 1 Bent Creek), $293,000, Joseph G. Allawos, Carson K. Dellinger to Kevin Richard and Mamie Jennifer Colburn

22 Warwick Place, $350,000, Shien-Lin S. Saber to Elizabeth Graeme Browning

12 Debra Lane (Lot 21 section 2 block A Echo Hills Inc.), $215,000, Christopher Todd and Judith Bolus Lanning (one half undivided interest), Brent Leslie and Victoria Norton Lanning (one half undivided interest) to Linda C. Saxon

223 Fennel Dun Circle (Unit 80 block A2 of Biltmore Lake phase 1), $386,000, Resi REO Sub LLC to John and Kathleen W. Mitchell

56 Lakeshore Drive (Lot 1 and a portion of lot 2 Lakemont), $250,000, 56 Lakeshore LLC to Jon Richard and Stephanie Ann Felsinger

106 Woodcreek Circle (Lot 45 Cherry Blossom Cove Subdivision phase 2A), $219,000, Sharon L. Horne to Office Furniture Distributors Inc.

0.76 acre on Brookdale Road, $750,000, Ricky D. Robinson to Asheville Community Yoga Center Inc.

Lot 190-A Depot St. (0.664 acre), $575,000, Kevin L. and Cleopatrick V. Green, Keith R. and Kishaun M. Green to David Frechter

Lot 24 Scenic Bluff Subdivision, $237,500, Joseph B. and Ashley B. Chapman to Shannon Leigh and Jason A. Chestnut

Unit CX-01 Creekside Condominiums, $140,000, T. Michael Jordan to Deborah A. Simpson

106 Rotunda Circle (Lot 702 Mt. Carmel Village phase 1), $141,000, Rachael Langley, Antonio Samuel Logan to Robert L. Allen

26 Ridge St. (Lot 6), $83,500, Henville S. and Irma M. Abraham to C 2 Holding Group LLC

Lot 6 Twin Lakes Subdivision (0.505 acre), $250,000, Michael J. and Elizabeth R. Sanders to Zachary D. and Giuliana Aguilar (a. k. a. Brown-Aguilar) Brown

Lot 22 Northern Horizons Phase III, $73,500,George E. and Dolores D. Brown to Brad and Sheena McKee

200 Hobson Branch Road, $125,000, Peter P. Gutillo, Susan T. Snider to Andrew T. Gregory

Lot 19 Mill Creek Townhomes Subdivision, $170,500, Mayfair Partners LLC to Jeffrey G. and Jennifer Hedges

Lot 12 Amber Knolls, $286,500, Mountain View Construction of WNC Inc. to Johan L. and Nancy M. Bentley


78 Walnut Drive, $18,000, Paul J. Caldwell to Janet Lynn McCargar


4 Heywood Road Unit D (Heywood Road Condominiums), $106,000, Amcourt LLC to Brenna Storm Cook

Lot 11 Quail Hollow phase 2, $425,000, Ed Holland Builders Inc. to Suzanne Premo

Lot 4 block 6 Skyland Springs, $300,000, Jeanne Shuford and Felix Francis Vaitekunas to AVL Holdings LLC


Lots 16-17 block 42 of E. W. Grovemont Lands, $188,000, W. David Myers Properties LLC to James Hutchins

114 Edwards Ave. (Lot 26 Beacon Manufacturing Co. Old Village), $169,000, Robbie E. and Tressa (f. k. a. Tressa M. Holland) Pierce to Christopher R. and Lindsey Cannon


Lot 26 Reems Creek Town Homes phase 4A, $210,000, Cedar Ridge Plaza LLC to Sean P. McConnell, Michelle A. Youngblood

49 Loftin St., $332,500, Serrus Creekside LLC to Virginia McKey

0.81 acre on Old Mars Hill Highway, $380,000, Michael C. and Sandi N. Annone to Flat Creek Holdings LLC


5.39 acres on Charcoal Road, $52,500, Gary J. Emory to Devin Morgan, Paige Schneider


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Retirees and real estate interests back Buncombe candidates

Ibuyhomeslogo square v2Cash for House –

The nine candidates for the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners altogether raised at least $280,000 through about 1,400 campaign donations, many of them from retirees, out-of towners, and building and real estate professionals, according to campaign finance reports.

The reports show residents of East and South Asheville have largely funded the races, while downtown and West Asheville residents contributed little, based on population.

The candidates must file quarterly campaign finance reports with the Buncombe County Board of Elections showing where their money comes from. Most contributors provide their names, addresses, occupations and employers.

About 425 contributions of $50 or less are listed as aggregate contributions, and no information about the donors is available. These contributions amounted to about $15,275, or just over 5 percent of the money candidates gained through fundraising.

People who listed themselves as retired collectively contributed the most to the commissioners race. About 360 people supplied nearly $80,000. People living outside of Buncombe County made up the second-most numerous group. About 120 people donated around $45,000.

Attorneys and property-related professions represent large groups of contributors. Ninety-three attorneys donated more than $21,000, and about 100 real estate agents, contractors and similar occupations contributed nearly $38,000.

The contributions show who has money to spend and which issues are important to voters, said Chris Cooper, a Western Carolina University political science professor. The reports underscore the importance of development in Asheville, he said.

“People think they’re going to get something for their money,” he said. “It says what types of issues people think will matter going forward.”

The Citizen-Times analyzed the commissioner candidates’ campaign finance reports, which run through Oct. 22, for this election cycle for occupational and geographic trends.


Democrat Brownie Newman and Republican Chuck Archerd got most of their campaign money through personal loans — $42,00 and $230,000, respectively.

Of money they raised, both candidates focused on local donors. Archerd raised $39,757, of which 91.5 percent came from Buncombe residents, and Newman raised $34,410, of which 97 percent came from Buncombe.

Archerd raised about 44 percent of his money from addresses in South Asheville’s 28803 zip code. Newman’s geographic base was broader. He raised 23 percent of his funding in North Asheville’s 28804 zip code and 17.5 percent in downtown’s 28801 zip code.

Retirees made significant contributions to each campaign, and donors’ occupations were generally similar.

Newman raised more money from educators than Archerd. He and Jasmine Beach-Ferrara topped fundraising among candidates in that area, with each listing 10 education-related donors. Archerd, Robert Pressley and Mike Fryar each had one donor who identified as an educator.

Archerd received a $1,000 contribution from the NC Realtors PAC in Greensboro.

Newman received more contributions from politicians than any other candidate. Donors to his campaign included state Rep. Brian Turner, state Sen. Terry Van Duyn, Sheriff Van Duncan, District Attorney Todd Williams and fellow commissioners David Gantt and Holly Jones, all Democrats. Asheville city councilwomen Gwen Wisler and Julie Mayfield also contributed to his campaign, as did Buncombe County Register of Deeds Drew Reisinger.

Weaverville punches above its weight in east Buncombe’s District 2

Democrat Nancy Nehls Nelson has challenged incumbent Republican Mike Fryar in east Buncombe, where voter registration numbers show the race is likely to be close.

If Nelson, a Weaverville resident, wins, she will likely thank her neighbors. The Weaverville zip code 28787 produced 62 contributions totaling $9,875 for Nelson, about 28 percent of the $35,018.20 she raised.

Fryar, who raised $43,204.30, received the most contributions from Fairview, where he lives, North Asheville and South Asheville, but no one area contributed as strongly for Fryar as Weaverville did for Nelson.

About 26 percent of Fryar’s donations came from real estate and building professionals. He raised more money in this category than any other candidate. Donations included a $1,000 contribution from the NC Realtors PAC in Greensboro.

He also performed comparatively well with healthcare professionals, raising $1,650 from seven sources. Beach-Ferrara was the only candidate who performed better in this category.

At about $127, Nelson’s average donation amount was relatively low compared with other candidates. She tied with Beach-Ferrara for the largest number of donations.

Democrats raise more than Republicans in west Buncombe’s District 3

Republican commissioners have controlled District 3 since it was created in 2012, but this year, they failed to raise more money than their Democratic opponents.

Democrat Ed Hay raised $21,376.06 to incumbent Republican Joe Belcher’s $15,493.25.

With $28,018.77, Democrat David King raised more than twice what his opponent Republican Robert Pressley raised, $13,856.11.

Pressley had the largest average donation — $945 — of any commissioner candidate, but with just 16 donations, those large contributions didn’t amount to much. Pressley had fewer donations and consequently raised less than any other candidate.

District 3 has the fewest voters of the three commissioner districts, according to registration numbers released in September, which could have made fundraising more difficult. No candidate proved particularly successful at raising money in Arden’s 28704 zip code, which yielded just $1,300. None of that went to District 3 candidates.

For Hay and King, Asheville and Biltmore Lake addresses contributed significant amounts. Belcher and Pressley didn’t receive the same boost from these areas.

Jasmine Beach-Ferrara forges her own fundraising path

Jasmine Beach-Ferrara went into the March primary with a fundraising advantage and defeated other Democrats vying for the District 1 seat, which represents central Buncombe. She is running unopposed in the general election.

She raised more money than any other commissioner candidate, reporting $49,640.33. About 61 percent of that money came from out-of-town donors.

The Boston and St. Louis areas, where Beach-Ferrara and her wife, Meghann Burke, have roots proved important. Donors in these areas contributed about 40 percent of the money she raised.

Beach-Ferrara said she was intentional about fundraising, perceiving potential barriers to her candidacy.

“As a first time candidate who’s also a woman and who’s also LGBT, those are a lot of potential challenges for a candidate on paper,” she said. “From the start, I knew that I needed to have the resources to run a really strong campaign.”

Although Beach-Ferrara was a prolific fundraiser, fewer of her donors were retirees than any other candidate. Just 5 percent of donors listed themselves as retired, whereas the average was 25 percent.


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Buncombe, Asheville property transfers for Oct. 10-14

Ibuyhomeslogo square v2The following transfers were filed in the Register of Deeds office Oct. 10-14.


Unit 208 building B Carrington Place Condominiums phase 1, $117,000,Richard F. Christy to Johne Hamiltonne Smith, Marleni Portillo Cantarero


2.0007 acres on Sweeten Creek Road, $285,000, Joel K. and Sue Ann Jensen to Lighthouses LLC

794 Haywood Road (0.38 acre), $535,000, Ellen E. Sherlin to Kville Investment Group LLC

235 Virginia Ave. (Lot 1), $110,000, Blue Asheville Investments LLC to RHW Investments LLC

42 Schenck Parkway Unit 302 (Building 4A of Biltmore Park Town Square – A Condominium (Parking space , Garage, & Storage Closet ), $460,000, James A. and Wanda Ray to Marvin R. and Elayne B. Taylor

Lot 14 Springtime Subdivision, $208,000, Glen Edward Chapman Revocable Trust to Phillip M. Orr

333 Hi-Alta Ave. (Lot 2), $104,000, Mitzi Lea Logan Bagarmary and Jamese Allen Odom, Zachary James and Tara A. Bagamary to Mitzi Lea Logan Bagamary and Jeffery Allen Odom

48 S. Griffing Blvd. (Lot 130 Griffings Kimberly Heights block K), $450,000, Marguerite P. Thompson to Raymond L. and Lana L. Tetzlaff

Lot GIII-01 Laurel Place Cluster Three Garden Homes, $395,000, David G. and Susan H. Cooper to Constance D. and Pauline Aridas

Unit 65 building 4C Biltmore Park Town Square – A Condominium, $380,000, Paula P. Lindrum to AIMAX LLC

Lot 63 Crest Mountain $485,000, Margaret J. and Hugh Holliday Paschal to The Bonnie L. Parker Revocable Trust

Unit J-4 Pine Cliff Condominiums phase 5, $190,000, Kent E. and Elizabeth C. Nelson to Susan W. Hiller

146 Dunwell Ave. (Lot 6), $172,000, Jack Michael Cannon to McMaster Real Estate Group LLC

Avery’s Creek

Lot 167 of the Cliffs At Walnut Cove phase 2, $505,000, Patrice M. and Thomas T. Teel II to Richard A. Stuckey

Black Mountain

19 Seldom Home Drive (1.55 acres), $228,000, Timothy Beams to Amanda G. Heermans

Buncombe County

Lot 4 Wilson Ave. (Block 12 E. W. Grove Grovemont Lands), $26,000, Kathryn Lee (a. k. a. Kathy Lee or Kathryn L. Woodhouse) Penley to Jerry Dean Robinson

Lot 35 Coventry Woods phase 3, $595,000, Dean E. and Elizabeth G. Hill to The Sean Patrick Katz “SLCC” Trust

8 Von Ruck Court (Lot 15), $265,000, Diane DeBruhl, Phil Thompson, Sierra Schoenheit & Roger Tinsley, Sam Schoenheit to Kathryn Elaine Blount, Joseph Benjamin Burrell

18 Moser’s Place (Lot 9), $188,000, Thomas David and Karen (f. k. a. Picou) Cochran to Leann Wright, Franklin Dorsey Parker III

5 Hampstead Road, $525,000, Mara L. and David K. Alexander to Patricia L. Abrams, Sarah E. Pedley

Lots 254-255 Reynolds Mountain Development LLC phase II, $615,000, Steven Schulman Family Trust to Beverly E. Belgya Revocable Trust

Lots 7-10 of Fox Run Drive, $20,000, Elliott (a. k. a. Elliot) Reed Seskin, Lori Shinn (a. k. a. Shin), Chelsea Cypress to Home Crafters of Western Carolina LLC

12 Memory Lane (Lot 1B), $80,000, Dickey P. (a. k. a. Dick Philip) McCanless, Mary Sue Hamlin, Sonja William & William Joe McCanless Jr. to J. Cure Properties LLC

Lot 41 Pinebrook Farms, $334,000, Pinebrook Farms LLC to Susan B. Stockman

41 Blackstone Ave. (Lots 27-31 Laurel Terrace Block 5), $187,000, Jakub and Kiersa Holy to Willard Properties LLC

Unit F-3 Pine Cliff Condominiums phase 3, $185,000, Suzanne C. (f. k. a. Conlon) and James S. Traub to Sandra J. Misage

Lot 613 Southcliff phase 2, $256,000, MRECV Southcliff LM LLC to Michael E. and Kimberly K. Rovinski

15 Holly Hill Court (Lot 15 Tiny Farms section 3), $454,500,Douglas and Debbie Cohen (a. k. a. Cohen-Moll) Moll to Timothy J. and Caroline S. Jacklin

411 Bowling Park Road (Unit 411 of the Residences At Biltmore), $255,000, Serrus Residences At Biltmore LLC to James N. and Diane S. Bacus

Lots 46-47 Ventana phase 2B, $460,000, Ventana Communities LLC (f. k. a. Philly Capital Partners LLC) to Gary Bunch

345 Pritchard Road (0.434 acre), $226,000, Brenda C. Kiser to Caroline C. Albright

Lot 70 of the Cliffs At Walnut Cove phase 1, $695,000, Barry A. and Shelly (a. k. a. Shelly) A. Kugel to Bart A. and Cynthia S. McLean

Lots 1-2, 37-38 Royal Pines block 30, $349,000, Paul Mark Pappas, Melanie Jeanne Olivier to Royal Pines Group LLC

Lot 14 Oakmont Subdivision, $173,000, Joseph Thomas Whittle to Elvis Enmanuel Echavarria Matos

1.079 acres on Chatham Road, $725,000, Kendal Bragg Minnich, Susan Fennelly to Raymond Lee, Terry Faulkner

68 Locust Meadow Lane (Lot 12 Forks of Ivy Acres), $270,000, Shirley Robinson Wright to Teresa M. and James J. Norconk III

4 Dundee St., $8,500, Robert Craig Simon to DDG Real Estate LLC

314 Bowling Park Road (Building 314 of the Residences At Biltmore Condominiums), $250,000, Serrus Residences At Biltmore LLC to Donna M. and Darryn D. Roasa


Lot 8 block C section 2 Blue Ridge Forest, $275,000, Kevin and Nicole Penland to Danny L. and Rose Ireland Metcalf


19 Bradford Vistas (Lot 10 Waterford Lakes), $750,000, Joseph Richard Tomkinson, Irene Jacobs to Ruth Veronique Saretsky


N.C. 63 Right of Way from Gilbert to Newfound Roads, $38,000, Evelyn M. and Richard Edward Carter to the North Carolina Dept. of Transportation


6 Peek Hill (Lot 2), $165,000, John P. and Thea M. Mueller to Nicole Chamberlain

Upper Hominy

Unit B building 42 Woodlands Trails Condominiums, $89,000, Jeanette Y. Hawkins to Darlene Hightower

3 parcels on Charity Lane, $158,500, Theodore W. and Darlene B. Haberer to Balloons Over Asheville LLC


14 Dula Springs Road (Unit 2 Garden Springs Condominiums), $141,000, Garden Springs Properties LLC to Enrique and Arlette Varela

51 Loftin St. (Unit 5 Creekside Village), $283,000, Serrus Creekside LLC to Lisa Hultman

Compiled by Citizen-Times News Correspondent Bonnie Black

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WBTV partners with NC Housing Finance Agency to help struggling homeowners

Ibuyhomeslogo square v2CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) –

WBTV partnered with the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency to help people who are struggling to make payments on their homes because of lost jobs or personal hardships.

According to CoreLogic, While the number of foreclosures in NC is declining, there were still 15,000 completed home foreclosures in the state in 2015. There have already been 14,272 foreclosure filings in NC so far this year through June. 30; 1,743 in Mecklenburg County.

The NC housing Finance Agency runs the NC Foreclosure Prevention Fund in which they use funds from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Funds were made available to North Carolina because of high concentration of unemployment at the beginning of the recession.

The purpose is to help homeowners who lost their jobs during the recession and recovery to avoid also losing their homes – strengthening their ability to recover and preserving local property values.

It has helped families like Lionel and Deborah Wellington. Lionel lost his job.

“The paint machines, I was building those and they laid me off,” said Wellington. “It is frightful thinking you are going to be in the street if you do not have a place to live.”

Not only did Wellington lose his job, but he also suffered three heart attacks. With those heart attacks came massive medical bills.

“When he had the heart attack that is what really hit. I was like, ‘we may be in trouble,’” said Deborah Wellington, Lionel’s wife.

The Wellington’s turned to the Housing Finance Agency for help.

“This is not just about rich people or poor people. This is about hard working people that just happened to fall into this position,” said Deborah Wellington. “Oh, the journey was easy for us.”

“They paid my mortgage and my HOA for 18 months which ended up being about $26,000 dollars,” said Wellington.

Below is more information on the Fund, the help offered, and who is eligible.

NC Foreclosure Prevention Fund:

  • Administered by the NC Housing Finance Agency using funds from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Funds were made available to North Carolina because of high concentration of unemployment at the beginning of the recession.
  • Purpose is to help homeowners who lost their jobs during the recession and recovery to avoid also losing their homes—strengthening their ability to recover and preserving local  property values.
  • Also assists homeowners struggling with mortgage payments due to a temporary hardship such as divorce, death of a copayer or illness that necessitates them finding a new job, and homeowners who have suffered a qualified hardship and are now re-employed but earning less or are now on a fixed income and unable to make mortgage payments as a result.
  • Provides special assistance for veterans transitioning to civilian life. Making the foreclosure assistance available for veterans is particularly important in North Carolina, which is home to 10 percent of all active-duty military personnel in the U.S. (102,000) and more than 775,000 veterans.
  • Since 2010, more than 22,000 NC homeowners have been assisted;  98 percent of those who have completed assistance and now make their own payments have successfully avoided foreclosure; more than $3.8 billion of  property has been kept out of foreclosure
  • No other program in North Carolina does this (makes mortgage payments on behalf of a homeowner)

Types of Assistance:

  • Mortgage Payment Assistance: For homeowners who have lost their jobs or who are recovering from a temporary hardship, the program makes mortgage payments of up to $36,000 directly to the loan servicer for up to 36 months while homeowners look for jobs or re-train.
  • Principle Reduction Assistance: For homeowners earning less or on a fixed income, the program can reduce the principal and recast the loan to make mortgage payments more affordable.
  • Funds can also be used to bring a mortgage current for a homeowner.
  • Veterans attending school on the GI Bill or participating in a VA-approved vocational training program are eligible for the maximum 36 months of assistance, as long as their mortgage payments exceed 25 percent of their household income.
  • Zero-interest deferred loan; repayment not necessary if homeowners remains in home for 10 years

Eligibility for Fund assistance:

  • Responsible homeowners who have lost jobs through no fault of their own.
  • Homeowners struggling because of temporary financial hardships that require them to find a new job.
  • Veterans must be separated from service on or after Jan. 1, 2008, provide a DD-214, have a VA-issued Certificate of Eligibility for the GI Bill and provide proof of enrollment in school or a vocational retraining program.
  • For mortgage payment assistance, must be looking for work or retraining.
  • For principal reduction and loan recast, must be re-employed or on a fixed income after a qualified hardship and earning less with an unaffordable mortgage.
  • Need to have good payment history before job loss or other hardship.
  • Must show ability to resume making own mortgage payments after assistance ends.
  • Don’t have to be delinquent on payments to apply.
  • Do have to show a need—mortgage and related payments are greater than 25 percent of household income.
  • Legal resident of North Carolina.
  • Job loss/financial setback must be after Jan. 1, 2008.

The process:

  • Apply through local HUD-approved counseling agencies statewide or online at
  • Final decision made by Fund staff at the N.C. Housing Finance Agency.

For more information:


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Property transfers Buncombe, Asheville for Oct. 3-7

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The following transfers were filed in the Register of Deeds office Oct. 3-7.


Lot 3 Brae Burn, $282,000, Roger A. and Jane A. Wallace to Jamie N. and Nicholas D. Van Dyke


32 Bideford Row (Lot 66 Devonshire Subdivision phase 7), $620,000, Laura S. Claiborne Richard to The Alexander Family Trust

83 Keasler Road (Lot 1, 1.278 acres), $285,000, Harold L. (a. k. a.) Howard L. and Mae M. Deel to Nery Galia Jeritski

Lot 1 Pinebrook Terrace, $238,500, Margaret McLean Bissell to Michael Patrick Hamel, Sarah Colleen Coury

407 Old Stone Gate Place (Lot 6 Reynolds Mountain Development phase 1), $985,000, Elliott N. and Valerie C. Exar to Bob and Sally Gremillion

114 Pebble Creek Road (Unit K-5 Pebble Creek Condominiums phase 8), $116,500, Terri Lynn Hornsby, Victor C. Garlock to Colleen K. Karen E. C. Cody

84 Saint Dunstans Road (Lot 2), $450,000, Donald R. and Ayako (a. k. a. Ayako Kega) Wilson to Eric William and Shawna Dee Hanson

Lot 32 Witchwood Acres, $109,000, Beverly A. Bell to Danielle T. Sheridan Bell (a. k. a. Sheridan-Bell)

17 Jeff Drive Unit 8B (Amber Sunset), $250,000, Aized Real Estate LLC to Jonathan Martin and Ricca Bartlett Ray

195 Edgewood Road (Lot 5), $427,500, Roger and Laurie R. Moser to Howard S. and Barbara A. Fiedler

38 Eastview Ave. (0.26 acre), $193,000, Adam H. and Katherine (f. k. a. Apt) Bannasch to Ryan Wade and Jamie Zane Brazell

Lot 1 building 37 Hawthorne phase 1, $137,000, January W. McSwain, Michelle and Scott Niemi to James L. and Susan C. Crowder

Avery’s Creek

Lot 52 section 1 of the Village At Avery’s Creek, $233,000, Mark R. and Sherri H. LaFever to Harold E. and Helga U. Zeltner

305 Piney Mountain Drive (Unit Q-1 Pine Cliff Condominiums), $205,000, Margaret E. Jones to Kandie Coggin and Frederick James Sparger III

Buncombe County

Lot 14 High Valley Estates, $53,000, Christina M. and James H. Carter Jr. to Boyd Robert Mintz

Lot 5 Country Subdivision phase VI, $135,000, Roland P. and Madeleine Joan Chabot to Christopher H. and Sarah D. Booher

Lot 19 Oakland Forest, $200,000, JXF Investments LLC to Benjamin David Swann, Katherine Swann, Elizabeth N. Swann

248 Saint Johns St. (Lot 2 block G Mountain View section 2), $189,500, Raymond L. and Renee L. Cagle to Derek and Kristina Olson

Unit 5 Sunset Park, $521,000, Glenn and Angela Cullen to Robert and Carla Fennelly

Lot 92-A Pinebrook Farms, $534,000, Pinebrook Farms LLC to Steven and Virginia Mannina

10 N. Delano Road, $185,000, Cedar Brook Properties LLC to 521 S. Front St. LLC

Lot 64 block C Riverview, $60,000, Dry Ridge Investments LLC to DeBord Enterprises LLC

Lot 77 of the Cliffs at Walnut Cove phase 1 (1.562 acres), $645,000, Urbana Cliffs RE LLC to Folkestone LLC

82 Woodcreek Circle (Lot 35 Cherry Blossom Cove phase 2A), $220,000, Robert L. and Michelle C. Colangelo to Ember Patrice Latrella

15 Pine Acre Blvd. (Lots 144-145 block H Lakeview Park), $890,000, Donald K. and Elizabeth R. Bagwell to Matthew Loos

75 Lakewood Drive (Lot 122 block B Kenilworth), $380,000, Vanessa Cram and John Homer Byrd III to Prospero Properties II LLC

181 Bear Creek Road (Lot 10 block G Malvern Hills), $390,000, Evan L. and Kelly R. Sluder to Christopher B. and Jessica T. O’Neill

48 Asher Lane (Lot 24 of the Cottages at Glenn Oaks, 0.23 acre), $282,000, R & D Ledbridge LLC to Randall Corbin and Stephanie Clouser

Lot 9 Lakeside Meadows, $240,500, Windsor Built Homes Inc. to Karen L. and Richard B. Southard

301 Theron Court, $292,500, Robert Adam and Ashlee Rainwater to George Robert and Jennifer Rainwater

Unit 92-B Pinebrook Farms, $510,500, Pinebrook Farms LLC to Richard J. and Susan Powers Spoering

96 Oakley Road (Lot 3), $249,000, Natasha X. Kush to Francois and Julie H. Gros

Unit B6 Longchamps Condominiums, $450,000, The Sharon G. Watson Revocable Trust to Janice Garrett McArthur

206 Forest Hill Drive (Lot 32 block D Kenilworth), $290,000, Frances C. and Jeffrey L. Norman to Brook Trail Properties LLC


21 Clifford Drive, $242,000, Edward C. and Brenda W. Pagan to Mary Ace and Edward Rey Baggot, David L. and Cecilia Baggott

135 Laurel Haven Road (2 tracts), $30,000, JPMorgan Chase Bank NA to Sandra Messer

French Broad

2 Twin Drive (Lot 7) $31,500, Randy M. Rice to Carolyn Rice


Lot 4 section 1 High Valley Forest, $242,500, Judith A. Adams, Nancy Christine Westfall to Amy and Joseph Stertz Jr.


Lot 16 Bee Tree Village Subdivision, $232,500, Estate of Lydia W. Ledford to Martha H. Moore

Upper Hominy

Lot 16 Challedon Estates, $62,000, The Greg Glance and Elizabeth P. Glance Living Trusts to Pavlo Heyko


103 Alaron Drive (Lot 7 Hamburg Place), $500,000, Terry L. and Katherine S. Poling to Richard H. B. and Marcy B. Woodrow

Lot 25 Chickwood Knoll, $229,000, Christopher T. and Alesia Michelle Gudger Whitfield to Robert D. and Kimberly M. Buchanan

Compiled by Citizen-Times News Correspondent Bonnie Black

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Home shortage skyrockets Asheville, Buncombe prices

With no new supply in sight, persistent low inventory means buying a house will become only more expensive.

Here are a few of the realities confronting homebuyers in Asheville and Buncombe County:

About the only housing-market category record that won’t be set this year is the lowest-ever inventory for houses priced at $1 million or higher.

Local homeowners looking to stay in the area and purchase a bigger place are better off building additions or renovating the houses where they live now – or move to a neighboring county.

Even if they sell their current residences at a profit, that money likely won’t be enough to find nearby homes with more space in their price ranges.

To put it simply, the number of houses available to buy continues to drop and “that’s driving prices up,” said Neal Hanks, president and principal owner at Beverly-Hanks & Associates Realtors in Asheville.

“That’s the big story,” Hanks said.

Despite mammoth demand that for months has spurred bidding wars for houses with asking prices up to $800,000, builders have not responded with large-scale new-home construction.

When housing inventory exceeds six months, home prices generally drop, said Mike Figura, owner and broker of Community Lifestyle Mosaic Realty in Asheville. When inventory tumbles below six months, prices generally rise.

Asheville inventory levels stood under six months at all price ranges below $700,000 as of the beginning of this month, according to Figura’s data. The figures ranged ranged from 0.46 months for homes that cost $100,000 or less and 5.39 months for homes that cost between $600,001 and $700,000.

All homes in Buncombe County, excluding Asheville, priced up to $400,000 as of Oct. 1, showed inventory levels below six months. Totals ranged from 1.84 months for those between $150,001 and $200,000 to 5.38 months for those between $300,001 and $350,000, Figura’s data showed.

“(Builders) aren’t willing to take on speculative construction because it’s a risk,” Hanks said.

Many spec builders went out of business, or watched colleagues go out of business, because of the Great Recession.

“That still stings,” Hanks said.

But Don Davies said spec construction might be the only way to avoid high home prices persisting into 2017.

The founder of Realsearch, an Asheville company that analyzes real estate trends, said ongoing low inventory could stall the local real estate market.

“We’ll be floating around those prices next year,” Davies said.

Land sales of 2- and 3-acre lots that have been on the rise could be an indication that people are looking at spec building, he said.

But if that doesn’t manifest, Hanks said it could be a result of builders knowing that the real estate market is cyclical.

The industry has been healthy for about four years now, he said.

“It can take four to seven months to build a house,” Hanks said. “A lot can change in the economy during that time. People are wondering whether we’re at the end of this cycle.”

That being the case, median days on the market for available houses have plummeted by 60 percent in Asheville and Buncombe County, said Steve Heiselman, a broker for Town and Mountain Realty in Asheville.

Median days on the market in Asheville dropped to 21 during this year’s third quarter from 53 during the third quarter of last year, Heiselman said.

For the same year-over-year comparison in Buncombe County, median days on the market plunged to 25 from 61, Heiselman said.

Davies said home-buying in Buncombe has become “like a frenzy.”

To those looking for their first house with a $200,000 budget, he said, “If you find one at that price in decent shape, you have to buy it that day, literally. You don’t have time to sit around and think about it or you’ll lose it.”

Asheville and Buncombe County’s steady march into an ever stronger sellers’ market is not new.

But some statistics within that phenomenon still may surprise local real estate professionals.

For example, Asheville’s median home sale price of $284,700 during the third quarter leapt 5.2 percent higher than the second quarter median price of 269,900.

“That’s a significant jump over three months,” Figura said.

Figura and Hanks offered different strategies for local homeowners who want more space.

Putting an addition onto an owner’s current house is a way to stay in Asheville and Buncombe County, Figura said.

Hanks, however, pointed out that the median selling price during the third quarter for a house in Haywood County was about $70,000 lower than one in Buncombe County.

“It’s not that far away and the quality of life is similar,” Hanks said. “People have shown all around the country that they’re willing to drive 25 to 30 minutes to get where they want to go.”


Some records set in the Asheville and Buncombe County housing markets during the third quarter of

  • Highest home sale median price in Asheville: $284,700.
  • Highest home sale median price in Buncombe County, excluding Asheville: $252,000.
  • Lowest average days on the market for homes in Asheville: 55 days.
  • Highest average asking price of all 1,413 homes in Buncombe County, including Asheville, as of Oct. 6: $600,889.
  • Highest average selling price of all homes in Buncombe County, including Asheville, during the first three quarters of this year: $309,497.
  • Highest average selling price of all homes in Buncombe County, including Asheville, sold during the last 12 months: $306,167
  • Highest median selling price of all homes in Buncombe County, including Asheville, during the first three quarters of this year: $252,250

Sources: Don Davies, founder of Asheville-based Realsearch; Mike Figura, owner and broker of Community Lifestyle Mosaic Realty in Asheville


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Buncombe, Asheville property transfers for Sept. 26-30

Ibuyhomeslogo square v2The following transfers were filed in the Register of Deeds office Sept. 26-30.


Lot 16 Pinecrest, $252,000, Michael Shawn Skulley to Randall Worthington Bullerdick


16-B Joshua Ridge, $20,000, Steven A. Butler to Ginger Lynn Cunningham

149 Clayton Road, $250,000, JD Rentals Inc. to East Coast Leasing Services LLC

111 Mulberry Court Extension (0.55 acre), $40,000, Robert Thomas and Patricia P. Gasperson to Myrtle Lee Ammons

35 Blake Drive (Lots 18-19 section 3 block 37 Royal Pines), $137,500, Stephanie G. (f. k. a. Stephanie N. Gaetano) and Christopher R. White to Charles and Sarah Davis

Lot 47 Mallard Run phase 2A, $253,000,Windsor Built Homes Inc. to Diego Augusto Schemel


Lot 8 Eastmoor phase 1, $265,000, The Herbert K. Holtzworth Jr. Residuary Trust to Wayne M. and Rhonda Christle Rautio

12 Starmount Drive (Lot 9 section 1 of Knollwood Subdivision), $197,000, Jeremy Scott and Amber Hamlin to Keli Bryan

22 Sayles Road (Lot 11, block D), $165,000, Diana M. Butler to Mary Kathryn Moore

68 Brookwood Road (Lot 19 block F-2 Sherwood Heights Subdivision), $580,000, Steve I. and Patricia B. Kutay to Rise Terry Hershoran, William E. Thompson

4 Wild Orchid Lane (Lot 6), $25,000, Robert M. and Billie M. Jones to James D. and Jennifer J. Redmon

1061 Sweeten Creek Road, $975,000, Sweeten Creek Realty LLC to JTP Holdings LLC

21 Oakhaven Terrace (Lot 37 of the Homes at Eastwood Village phase III), $340,000, Yavuz and Nevriye Koruk to Harry Steven and Victoria Robb Creech

25 Ora St., $90,000, Duroff McDonald and Louise Glover Manning, Tyrone and Tonya Jones Manning to Shaun McCullom

Lot 8 Eastmoor phase 1, $265,000, The Herbert K. Holzworth Jr. Residuary Trust to Wayne M. and Rhonda Christle Rautio

8 Ravencroft Lane (Unit 8 building A Ravencroft Condominiums phase II, $125,000, Craig E. and Kristin A. Garrett to Douglas P. and Evelyn J. Smith, Connor J. Smith

849 West Pointe Drive (Lot 38 Crowell Farms), $256,000, Loyd King, Sally Iannazzone-King to Pamela C. and Rudolph N. Rose Jr.

Lot 83 Botany Woods Subdivision, $285,000, Richard Lewis and Tammy Reynolds to Scott M. Fahy


10 Houser Road, $365,000, Charles R. Houser to Ahava H. Brooke, Thomas M. Bier

Biltmore Lake

Lot 122 Biltmore Lake phase 1, $895,000, Leslie Ted Prosser to John Aloysius and Maribeth Austing Rider

Black Mountain

Lot 7 Allen Mountain Ridge phase II, $55,000, Frohm B. and Judith Lutvack to Kimberly Anne Weeks, Tammy Lyshelle Kerlee

Buncombe County

300 Gap Creek Road (0.70 acre, portion of lot 1), $169,000, Kristi E. (f. k. a. Branham) and Cody M. Derrick to Nathan M. Cobb

193 S. Grove St. (0.1 acre), $155,000, Asheville Land Company LLC to William Richard Culbreath, Alicia Dawn Nichols

14 Harkins Lane (Lot 5 Pineywood Estates, .80 acre), $28,000, CitiFinancial Servicing to Joyce Diane Davis

Unit 30 block A2 of Biltmore Lake phase 1, $562,500, Mark T. and Erin M. Wells to Steven K. and Cynthia Salter

Unit 102 Forest Center Condominiums phase 1, $135,000, William H. and Carol I. Matthews, Family Life & Learning Center Real Estate LLC (one half undivided interest each) to Leonidas Holdings LLC

31 H G Buckner Meadows Road (Tract 1-A, 0.55 acre), $202,000, Chad and Leah B. (f. k. a. Solesbee) Carter to Sunny W. and Gary Brandon Ducker

11 Dixon Road, $155,000, Farmbound Holdings LLC to Shona Guevara

40 Sand Hill Lane, $35,000, Brandon and Brandy Allen to Maria Julia Ayala Guevara, Jorge Luis Hernandez Ayala

145 Clayton Road, $25,000, Johnny Edward Chapman, Revonda Lee Kelly, Katherine Margaret Ryder to Artex Carolina Inc.

39 Pacifico Drive (Lot 15), $363,000, Joseph C. and Sueako Difeo to Jeremy and Amber Hamlin

Lot 7 Mountain View Estates (Tipton Hill Road), $26,000, The Daisy Sophia Shumaker Living Trust to Bruce A. Crossman

25 Glen Crest Drive (Lot 10 Glen Crest Subdivision), $359,500, Christopher and Rebecca Y. Ewing to Derek and Jennifer T. M. Bouchard

Lot 22 Southcliff (Still Creek Loop), $72,500, MRECV Southcliff LM LLC to AMARX Construction LLC

Lot 3 Bear Creek Hills (0.729 acre), $344,500, Daniel Lee and Brandy Rogers Jenkins, Joshua Clay and Amanda Phillips Jenkins to Gregory Treaster

127 Shadowlawn Drive (Lots 512-513 block D), $57,000, Marie Ball Gibson to Asheville Land Company LLC

48 Rotunda Circle (Lot 407 Mount Caramel Village phase 1), $165,000, Belinda T. Wells to Carey Canipe and Linda Charlene Phillips

69 Smith Road (5.5 acres), $95,000, Theodore Michael Rogers to Gwendolyn Abeln Casebeer

Lot 70B Fitzgerald Townhomes, $385,000, Johanna M. Cressy to Lori A. and Robert J. Cottone Jr.

56 Ridge Creek Drive, $167,500, Robert C. and Joan K. Powers to Travis Lee Ferren, Delaney Jordan Harrigan

Lot H-1 The Vistas of Westfield phase 1, $343,000, The Vistas of Westfield LLC to Patricia Moore Smith

23 Huffman Road, $170,000, Michael A. Hancock to Maple Ridge Investments LLC

104 Summerglen Drive (Lot 191 section 4 Bent Creek subdivision), $200,000, Hinnenkamp Revocable Living Trust, Klaus R. Hinnenkamp and Peggy P. Hinnenkamp Revocable Living Trust to Benjamin Avivi

327 Old Haw Creek Road, $50,000, Equity Trust Co. Custodian FBO Colin Roberson IRA to Robert B. and Sudan H. Michael

Lot 5 Cherry Blossom Cove phase 1, $206,000, Jock A. and Whitney H. Brough to Julie A. and John K. Larsh II

Unit M-4 the Cloisters Condominiums phase 6, $131,00, Estate of Peter Micheale Hamm, Chris and Michelle Tydus, Anna M. Hamm, Alison M. and Steve Poteracki to Susan Clayton and David Beltz (Ninety-Nine percent interest), Lauren Elizabeth Beltz and Zane Bitter (One percent interest)

373 Merrills Cove Road (3.21 acres), $645,000, Christine D. Cook to Patrick Joseph and Elizabeth Paige Gerbic

Lot 24 Woodcrest At Biltmore Terrace, $235,000, Highland Property Group LLC to the Cheryl Wolfarth Revocable Trust

814 N Oconeechee Ave. (Lot 27 block 49), $240,000, NCI Properties LLC to Tracy A. Mousseau

8 Short St., $129,000, Scott Marshall Investments LCL to David Norman and Mary Lyons Stanley

Lot 3-B Myra Village phase 2, $280,000, Myra Properties LLC to Robert A. and Laura L. Kelso

39 Walnut Springs Drive (Building 7B Waterstone Place), $212,000, REO Properties Two LP to Katheryne E. Wright

238 Tipton Hill Road (0.66 acre), $235,000, William G. and L. Karon King to Anthony L. Gentry, Charity Norton

Lot 1 North Buncombe School Road (4686 acres), $235,000, Estate of Adelaide Daniels Key, Robert J. and Winnie Ziegler, David Daniels and Kathy Key, Jonathan Worth and Barbara Key, Gilbert Russell Key II, Emily Jones and Corey D. Smith, Adelaide Key Green to True Vista LLC

Lot 8 Sugar Hill Estates, $204,000, William Bradley and Ashley C. Martin to Anita B. Heinrich

Lot 40A of the Hills of French Broad Subdivision, $42,000, R & S Investments of WNC LLC to CMH Homes Inc.


86 Davis Chapel Road, $181,000, Amanda L. Hester to Katie M. Farrar, Gary L. Sizer II

Lot 23 A MC Acres section 3, $93,500, Nancy E. Fox to Sharon C. Bates


Lots 1-2 Joe Jenkins Road, $403,000, The Chapel Door to Mountain Shadow Properties LLC

Lot 21 Cane Creek Cove, $46,000, Christopher Mark Race to Patricia Amick and Jimmy Bascombe Guthrie Jr.


25 Enchanted Lane (Lot 9 Forest of the Unicorn), $316,500, David A. Maida, Laura Elizabeth Palermo to Walton James Holcombe, Laura Ann Goodman


8 Owens Cove Road, $24,000, Robert Jason and Samantha Owens to Oscar Ventura

70 Juno Drive (Lot 18), $264,000, Richard M. and Ronda Nallenweg to Shannon Michalka

96 Misty Ridge Lane (Lot 42 Country Place phase 5), $102,000, Clifford Boone to Edith Nayeli Zacarias Flores (a. k. a. Zacarias-Flores), Charles B. Ray

Lot 9 Sunset Heights section I, $277,000, Jerry R. King to Arthur Hart Dahlhauser, Hillary R. Holmes


40 Hallet Court (Unit 209 block E Ramble Biltmore Forest), $175,000, Ramble Biltmore Forest LLC to Robert M. and Sandra K. McKown

Lot 212 Ramble Biltmore Forest block E, $165,000, Ramble Biltmore Forest LLC to Matthews Custom Built Homes Inc.

Unit 46 building C-J of the Village At Bradley Branch phase I, $187,500, Harold E. and Helga U. Zeltner to Lisa E. Kay


Lot 86 Weaverville Village Walk, $280,000, Frank Michael and Jessica S. Boing to Bryson S. and Erica M. Young


Parcel 6A of Reynolds Mountain (8.84 acres), $840,000, REDUS One LLC to Skyfin Developers LLC

Compiled by Citizen-Times News Correspondent Bonnie Black

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Foreclosure Listings: Current Tax Foreclosure Sales!

Foreclosure Listings: Current Tax Foreclosure Sales!

Tax Foreclosure Sales

shutterstock_97306490The Foreclosure Listings are in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). If you are unable to view the file, you can download Adobe Acrobat Reader from the Utilities Download page.

Information regarding Buncombe County Tax Records is published to the web. Parcel information regarding foreclosures can also be found using thetax information system.

General Information about the Tax Collection Foreclosure Process

The Tax Department takes tax foreclosures very seriously. Before proceeding with any legal action, notice is given to the taxpayer by phone, letters, notices, etc. The Tax Department only forecloses if there is no response from the taxpayer after action is taken or if the taxpayer does not follow through with an agreed upon payment arrangement made with the Tax Department. A tax foreclosure can begin at any date after January 5th of the current year that is being collected.

Tax foreclosure sales may be processed by one of two procedures:

  1. In-Rem Foreclosures: The Tax Department and the County Attorney’s office will handle all aspects of the foreclosure proceedings. More defined information on this style of foreclosure can be found by reviewing the general statue (G.S.§ 105-375)
  2. Mortgage Style: The County will refer the account to an outside attorney who will handle all aspects of the foreclosure proceeds. The tax liens on real property in North Carolina are subject to foreclosure in a manner similar to . More defined information on this style of foreclosure can be found by reviewing the general statue (G.S.§ 105-374).

Other helpful information regarding Tax Foreclosures

  • Notice of Sale: All sales will be advertised in a news paper that meets the requirements of general circulation as required, prior to the sale date. Additional information may be posted to the County’s website to assist with advertising the sale and opening bid.
  • Location on Sale: Foreclosure sales will be handled by a public auction on the front steps of the county courthouse scheduled at the discretion of the assigned commissioner conducting the sale. Sales will be made to the last and highest bidder and each property will be sold “as is” and without warranty. Each sale may be subject to further outstanding taxes and any local improvement assessments against the property not included in the judgment.
  • Bidding on an auctioned property: You can bid on any property by attending the sale on the courthouse steps the day the sale is to take place. The price for each property has an Estimated Opening Bid set prior to the date of the sale. This is the approximate amount required for the opening bid. The person conducting the sale will announce the actual opening bid for each property at the time of sale. A deposit of up to twenty percent (20%) of the bid will be required following the sale, and the balance of the price bid must be paid at the end of the ten day period and confirmation of the sale.
  • Upset Bid process: A person interested in making an increased bid should go to the Office of the Clerk of Superior Court on the first floor of the Buncombe County Courthouse. The increased bid must exceed the current bid by five percent (5%) or $750.00 whichever is greater. To make an increased bid a deposit of five percent (5%) of the amount of the new high bid, or a minimum of $750.00, must be delivered to the Clerk of Superior Court by cash or certified check or cashier’s check satisfactory to the Clerk.

**North Carolina does not sell Tax Liens or Tax Certificates over the counter.


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Apartment occupancy dropping, but rents not budging yet

ASHEVILLE – Tell Marie Kerwin the city’s apartment occupancy rate has dropped a few notches – meaning a lot more units should be available – and she may beg to differ.

“There’s not a lot of options,” said Kerwin. “It took me months to find an apartment. I actually was calling every complex, every day.”

Kerwin and her husband, Christian, relocated to Asheville a year ago from Jacksonville, Florida, both taking jobs with the Earth Fare supermarket. Kerwin said they “got lucky” in finding a place at The Palisades, a 224-unit complex off Mills Gap Road in Arden that opened last summer.

For renters like the Kerwins, it might not seem like it, but the city’s apartment vacancy rate — famously pegged at 1 percent in a consultant’s report published a year-and-a-half ago that looked at Buncombe and three other counties — is easing, meaning more units are available. That also should mean, theoretically, rents will decline, but that hasn’t happened.

A tight apartment market has dominated local discussions about affordable housing and livability in the Asheville area for nearly two years. But while that vacancy rate is moving to a more livable range of around 6 percent, rents likely won’t fall over the next couple of years, experts say.

‘A very tight market’

“Typically, Asheville is a very tight market,” said Marc Robinson, vice chairman of Cushman & Wakefield, a global company that tracks apartment trends, including occupancy and rents.

Whether rents will drop with new apartments being built is “a hard call,” he added, “because on the one hand there is a supply entering the system, and that market has really seen lot of supply at one time — more supply than it would have historically seen. But in many markets, including Raleigh, Charlotte and Atlanta, absorption (of new units) has been better than expected.”

Robinson’s company, Multi Housing Advisors, now part of Cushman & Wakefield, issues quarterly reports on the apartment market. Its “MHA Market Insight” first quarter report for Asheville noted:

• “Properties built from the 1980s to the 2000s are maintaining an average vacancy rate in the 6 percent range, compared to 3 percent for properties built in 1970s or earlier.”

• “The average vacancy for properties built after 2009 is approximately 19 percent, which is skewing the vacancy rate upward,” in part because in a smaller market “additions to supply have an amplified effect.”

Robinson said his company’s figures from about two months ago show the Asheville area has “about a 3 percent vacancy, and in real time it may be a little higher.” In North Carolina, the rental vacancy in the first quarter stood at 8.2 percent, according to U.S. Census data.

By some estimates, the Asheville area, including surrounding Buncombe County and Fletcher, has had or will have in coming months about 2,200 new units coming online, well short of the 5,600 units the consultant recommended be built to meet demand.

“The pipeline of new construction (of rental properties) over the next three to five years will still not meet the forecasted demand so for the short-term we can expect to see the rental rates remain high, vacancy rates to remain at record lows,” said Greg Stephens, chief appraiser and senior vice president of compliance for Detroit-based Metro-West Appraisal Company.

Several firms track such information, including Real Data, a Charlotte-based real estate research firm. Using market surveys rather than sample data to compile its statistics, Real Data found the vacancy rate among apartment complexes with at least 30 units in Asheville, Buncombe County and Hendersonville was 6.9 percent in December.

Theoretically, all this should mean rents will come down, as people move from older apartments to newer ones, and apartment companies have to make concessions, such as lowering rents.


But this is Asheville, where millennials keep moving in and retirees are drawn to great weather, arts and restaurants. From March 2015 to March 2016, Asheville saw the highest spike statewide in the average cost of renting an apartment, a 7.6 percent jump.

For the first quarter of 2016, MHA Market Insight found the average rent for one-bedroom apartments in Buncombe, Henderson, Haywood and Madison counties was $821, representing a 6.2 percent one-year growth in rent. A two-bedroom went for $964, 4.3 percent growth.

Kerwin said she and her husband are paying $1,095 a month for their two-bedroom, two-bath, 1,125-square-foot apartment. In Florida they paid $1,100 a month for an 1,800-square-foot three-bedroom.

“It’s definitely more expensive to live here,” she said.

Rising vacancy rates combined with rising rents is a national phenomenon, said Jonathan Miller, the New York-based co-founder of Miller Samuel, a residential real estate appraisal company, and the commercial valuation firm Miller Cicero.

“New development that skews to high-end rentals has been overplayed,” Miller said. But moderate rental development stock “has remained largely static.”

A lot of building

That 1 percent vacancy rate was made famous by the report from Bowen National Research, an Ohio-based real estate market consulting firm that researched rental apartment vacancy rates in Buncombe, Henderson, Madison and Transylvania counties during fall 2014.

Its release in January 2015 helped push a spike in building, making apartment construction a common sight in and around Asheville.

No one company has put more units on the Asheville market than Will Ratchford’s Triangle Real Estate of Gastonia, which since 2011 has added or will soon add 1,136 units in Asheville, Buncombe and Fletcher. Most of their units carry rents ranging from $900 to 1,350 a month.

While Ratchford has seen one report suggesting the area will have 10 percent vacancy rate by 2020, he’s skeptical it will get that high.

Blake Breimann, a vice president at Georgia-based Fluornoy Development, is in charge of the Carolinas for his company, which has two apartment complexes in the Asheville area: The Aventine, just off Long Shoals Road in Arden, and The District, still under construction, in Biltmore Village.

The Aventine contains 312 units and The District will offer 309 units. Rent at The Aventine ranges from $990-$1,640 a month.

Rental rates have stayed steady since the Bowen Report’s release, Breimann said.

The Aventine, which opened in 2015, continues to accept applicants and is about 86 percent occupied. Within 30 days, Breimann projects that figure will hit 93 percent.

Breimann also closely tracks the competition, and he says the occupancy rate for some competitors in south Buncombe has dropped to about 94-95 percent, down from 99 or 100 percent in December.

“This is most likely due to the newer properties that have come on line in the last couple years,” he said.

Those include Palisades Apartment Homes and Ansley at Roberts Lake south of downtown Asheville and The Retreat at Hunt Hill by McCormick Field near downtown.

The equation for lower rents is not complicated, Ratchford said, as “it depends on how many people move in and how much supply gets built.”

While the Bowen report estimated 5,600 apartment units were needed to meet demand, Ratchford says that number depends on a continued growing economy and a steady influx of new renters.

Rents stubbornly high

So, the crisis is easing, and rents should come down, right? Nope.

“My personal gut feeling is the year-over-year rent growth (rate) will slow but not stop growing,” Robinson said. “I think it’s going to remain positive at between 3 and 5 percent.”

Rents haven’t dropped yet, but Ratchford said some cracks are beginning to show in the rental increase wall, mainly because of all the competition.

“You’re starting to see some concessions in the market,” Ratchford said, referring to rent deals. “At Seasons at Cane Creek, we’re doing an up-front special — $500 off the first four months rent. Everybody is trying to fill up at the same time, and when you input more supply in the market it’s taking awhile to fill up.”

Even though he makes his living in the apartment world, Ratchford thinks it might be nearing the end of a mini-boom cycle.

Rent increases may have plateaued in the luxury-apartment market. Rent ranges from $1,350 to $1,800 a month at the apartments at Biltmore Park Town Square, a complex owned by Biltmore Farms LLC, said Biltmore Farms Chief Financial Officer Paul Szurek.

The occupancy rate for those 120 units is about 99 percent, Szurek said.

Proprietary market analyses prepared for Biltmore Farms show Asheville’s citywide vacancy rates to be between 5 percent and 6 percent with flattening rents, Szurek said.

While the vacancy rates in those reports are consistent with other recent data, the leveling of rents is an observation that does not track the trend of other analysts.

Solutions far off

That is not what some members of Asheville City Council want to hear right now. Councilman Gordon Smith, who’s on the city’s Housing and Community Development Committee, said the city has formulated a comprehensive affordable housing strategy and has talked about an “all of the above approach.”

That includes increasing zoning density to allow more units per acre and encouraging developers to use city-backed incentives to build apartments.

The city is also in the midst of calling for a voter referendum on a $74 million bond issue, with $25 million of that potentially earmarked for affordable housing. If passed, it could include a $5 million addition to the existing revolving loan fund for private developers to build affordable rental housing, and $10 million for land banking or repurposing city-owned land, which would involve offering that land to developers for construction of affordable housing.

Rusty Pulliam heads Pulliam Properties, a commercial real estate firm that has become active in the apartment industry in recent years, building the 280-unit Weirbridge Village in Skyland and the 180-unit Retreat at Hunt Hill. This year the company also received approval to build a 272-unit complex on Mills Gap Road in Arden, which will include 41 units designated as “affordable,” a number Pulliam agreed to bump up at council’s urging.

Pulliam said he can still make money at the Mills Gap site because demand is so high that he can build a “premium complex” and charge high enough rents to make it work. But in the long run, he said, solving the apartment crunch does not require a Ph.D.

“If we were building middle-of-the-road apartments, we couldn’t do it. But until we put out there, as the Bowen report stated, 5,600 units in the marketplace, I don’t see that rents are going to come down, especially when see we’ve got a (3.5) percent unemployment rate and rents went up 7.6 percent, even when a lot of units did come on line.”

Unemployment in Buncombe County dropped to 3.5 percent in May, the lowest in the state.

People have always loved moving to Asheville, a trend that essentially never abates. Our region continues to grow not because of the birth rate but because of in-migration.

The U.S. Census Bureau projects Buncombe County’s population to grow to 300,000 by 2030, up from 253,178 in 2015. While the mountains are known as a retirement haven, millennials are coming here, too, with growth in that segment over the past five years outpacing that of baby boomers, people of ages 50 to 69, and Generation X, which includes ages 35 to 49.

In short, that’s a lot of apartment demand.

Other cities the challenge facing Asheville, said David Reiss, a professor of law and the research director at the Center for Urban Business  Entrepreneurship at Brooklyn Law School in New York.

“During the Great Recession nothing got built,” Reiss said. “The same thing happened in New York.”

Some economists believe that “when vacancy rates are below 5 percent, you have the ability to raise rents significantly,” he said.

The MHA Market Insight first quarter report noted that “fewer than 700 units are currently under construction at five properties” in Asheville, so we’re still a long way from that 5,600 units figure.

Reiss said a full-court approach such as the one Asheville is taking can be useful, but he also urged caution.

“Whatever they decide the solution is, it takes years to implement those ideas,” Reiss said. “Whether it’s a developer or the city government, it takes a long time to get a solution in place.”

Kerwin, who now works in management at a home improvement store, said she and her husband gauged rents at a few other places after moving into the Palisades, but everything they eyeballed was in the $1,300 to $1,400 range. She’s not expecting rents to drop anytime soon.

“Why would they?” she said. “As long as you have houses or apartments in such demand, it’s not going to come down.”


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