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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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As housing inventory gets even tighter, prices spike

In the red hot local real estate business, it’s a little taboo to use “the B-word.”

That’s mainly because everyone has painfully fresh memories of the last housing bubble, which burst with a near-nuclear detonation in 2008, leading to a worldwide recession with impacts that lingered for years.

So pardon professionals like Mike Figura, founder of Mosaic Community Lifestyle Realty and a local market analyst, who is dancing around the B-word in light of the first quarter real estate report. It shows record sales in the city of Asheville and housing inventory levels that are so tight that everything priced under $1 million fits in the “less than six months”

The real estate market remains super hot in the Asheville area, according to two reports out that track real estate sales.The Citizen-Times

Inventory refers to the number of months it would take for all homes currently for sale to sell, based on monthly sales volume. When inventory is tight, prices just keep climbing, and that can lead to, well, let’s not say the word out loud.

“It’s getting a little frothy out there,” Figura said, noting that he opened his company in 2005. “When I started, it did feel similar to what’s going on now, in terms of bidding wars and setting new records each quarter.”

In short, the first quarter of 2017 indicates a fantastic seller’s market, with 327 homes sold in Asheville and 510 in Buncombe County. In Asheville, the median home sales price also set a record, at $275,000, and the county was close to one set last year, at $243,450.

Getting outbid is common

Asheville native Janis Turner, 40, knows exactly what that hot market means for buyers. A mental health clinician, Turner sold her West Asheville home three years ago and moved away, but she recently returned.

After living in an apartment “for the first time in forever,” she started looking for a house about a month ago.

“In that month, I put in three offers on three different homes,” Turner said. “Within 24 hours of my offer, I would get a call from my real estate agent saying they had numerous offers and they were calling for ‘first and best.’ Two times I got outbid, in less than a month.”

The third time was the charm, and Turner is closing on a three-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bath home in Candler. She’ll pay about $200,000 for the 1,800-square-foot home, which dates to 1920 but has been completely renovated, and she feels like she’s getting a good deal.

“The housing prices are significantly higher than when I moved from the area three years ago,” Turner said. “I sold my home in West Asheville right off Haywood Road three years ago for $155,000. It was a two-bedroom, two bath. I kick myself.”

Kent Wolff, senior loan officer at Mountain Lifestyles Mortgage, is handling the mortgage for Turner. Her story has become commonplace.

“We consistently have clients who make full-price or over full-price offers on one, two or in some examples, even a third home, only to lose to people bidding even higher,” Wolff said. “Many home buyers are understandably becoming more frustrated or increasingly discouraged with the limited level of inventory available in the Asheville. It’s really a challenge for everyone, minus the sellers.”

Don Davies, whose firm RealSearch conducts market studies, traced several records in the first quarter for Buncombe County, all related to that seller’s market:

  • Median asking price of all homes for sale, at $399,995.
  • Average selling price of all homes (including single-family, condos, town homes and mobile homes), at $314,172.
  • Average selling price of all homes in the last 12 months, at $315,163.

“The inventory is low, and that drives prices up, and the number of sales is very strong,” Davies said. “They have not slowed — they’re actually about 1 percent higher for this time of year, and last year was a record-setting year.”

So, dare he utter the B-word?

“I don’t know if we’re in a situation where we’re creating bubbles, but we are seeing appreciation in selling prices of about 10-12 percent (a year), and I’m not sure if that’s sustainable,” Davies said.

Lack of speculation

He and Figura temper their comments by noting that one key element of the previous bubble is absent today: speculative buying, in which investors were snapping up properties strictly to flip them for a profit.

“What’s different in this case is there is real demand,” Figura said. “People are actually buying homes for themselves.”

For homebuilders, times are good, but they too are treading lightly, the specter of 2008 always hovering over the job site.

“Growth wise, our business has just exploded since the downturn,” said Jody Guokos, founder and president of JAG Construction, a green home building company. “Last year, we grew more than we had grown in any of our previous years. We’re seeing year over year growth that continues to beat the previous year — 40 percent in the case of last year.”

So, he should be happy, right? The B-word should not be a factor in his life.

And yet, he thinks about the painful image of a market bubble bursting “every day of my life.”

“When every story you see is about the inventory is even lower and the median home price is up, you just start to get nervous,” Guokos said. “Just when you think things can’t get worse again, they can. I’m starting to feel like we’re at the point. The bottom is going to drop one of these days.”

He quickly walks that back a bit, though, noting that if a correction comes, he suspects it will be nothing like the last one, mainly because the speculation element is missing. For the most part, he’s building homes in the $400,000-$500,000 range, whereas three or four years ago that figure was about $100,000 lower.

“It’s not so much people building bigger homes, it’s that they want more bells and whistles,” Guokos said. “What we’re seeing is people are feeling the last eight years they had decent income, and they’ve started to look at their mortgage payments, saying, ‘I can afford a little more, I can afford an extra $600 a month to add that $80,000 to the value.'”

Another issue driving the tightness of the market inventory and ensuing rising prices is the lack of spec homes on the market. During the previous boom, builders and investors would build subdivisions or homes before they had a seller locked in, or on speculation.

And they were selling the homes pretty quickly. But after the bust, banks tightened lending on such projects, and wary home builders stopped building unless they had a buyer locked in.

Davies said one developer he knows who’s building a small subdivision told him point blank, “I’m going to build one at a time, instead of 10 at a time, so I can make sure it sells.”

Figura and his business partners are building a 45-home development in West Asheville called Craggy Park, and they are building all spec homes, in part because of the high demand for homes in that area and the shortage of buildable land. The homes will range from 1,600-2,400-square feet and likely sell in the mid-$300,000 range to the high $400,000’s, Figura said.

He’s seen personally how tight the market is for buyers.

“It takes a lot of planning and patience, depending on the price range your’e in, especially homes in the lower price ranges and on up to $600,000,” Figura said. “You’ve got inventory of less than three months in some of those case, so you’re competing with a lot of other buyers.”

A little relief may be coming, as Figura points out in his report that the average “days on market” for homes in Asheville increased from 55 days in 2016 to 68 in the first quarter. In Buncombe it rose from 77 to 82 days.

That, Figura says in his report, “is likely due to more sellers pricing their homes higher than market value, causing the homes to take longer to sell.”

In-migration a driver

But, the buyers keep coming, drawn by what has brought them here for decades — beautiful scenery, a vibrant city and prices that may seem high to locals but are way cheaper than northern states, Florida, Texas or California.

Tom Tveidt, founder of Syneva Economics in Asheville, looked at Census data covering 2010-2016, and it shows that for the four metro counties — Buncombe, Henderson, Haywood and Madison — “essentially all of the net population change is due to new people moving in.” Of that influx, 95 percent of the newcomers are from the U.S., the rest international.

Buncombe did have a gain of 884 people from births outpacing deaths, but the other three counties had negative numbers in the “natural gain” department.

“So only about 3 percent of the net population growth in the metro was due to the local population increasing; the remaining 97 percent are newcomers,” Tveidt said. “This has been the case for at least the last decade.”

That comes as no surprise to Turner.

“I think my fear is that people with money are moving in and pushing out local people who may not have the money,” Turner said. “I feel like it’s definitely going to change the culture in the area.”

By the numbers:

Total number of residential homes, condos, townhouses, mobile homes available as of April 5: 1,134.

Number of homes put on the market since Jan. 1: 1,260.

Median asking price: $399,995 (new record high).

Number of homes sold Jan. 1-March 31, 2017: 837.

Median selling price: $255,000 (new record).

Average selling price of all homes sold in the last 12 months: $315,163 (new record).

Source: RealSearch, Don Davies. Number derived from MLS data and may not reflect all real estate activity in the market.


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Home values up 35% from 2013 (AVL); taxes could increase

The last countywide appraisal was done in 2013, when the market had bottomed out but stabilized, according to Keith Miller, real estate manager at the Buncombe County Real Estate Assessment Office. Miller said actual property taxes and the bills don’t go out until June and are not calculated yet. But he said Asheville homeowners will likely see their property taxes go up, although it’s not clear by how much.

Miller said the county tax rate is being adjusted, which will prevent drastic increases.

“I think some will have sticker shock,” Miller said. “I think many of our citizens don’t keep up with the real estate market.”

The office has released maps that indicate specific neighborhoods have seen significant increases in home values from 2013. Montford home values on average have risen 38 percent, while home values in North and West Asheville have had an average increase of 40 percent.

Oakley has posted increases of 31 percent. And a pocket of downtown Asheville has seen condo sale prices rise by 40 percent.

Alternatively, some areas in the county could see property taxes go down because the overall tax rate will be adjusted countywide for property owners. Fairview homeowners have seen home prices rise by 15 percent, but Sandy Mush homes have increased overall by 3 percent.

Jeff Greiner has owned a home in South Asheville for more than 15 years. He’s using equity in his home for his business.

“I certainly have seen our property value go up in a recent appraisal that we had on our property,” Greiner said.

“It’s inevitable that our taxes our going to go up,” said Terry Tincher, real estate manager at Sotheby’s in Biltmore Village. But Tincher hopes property taxes won’t increase so much that it discourages buyers.

“A lot of people coming into this area, say ‘I’m coming from New Jersey and I want to come into the Asheville market because I don’t want to pay those rates,’” Tincher said.

Miller said the new interactive map goes live online on Thursday. The site will show parcels and recent sales of homes and lots and commercial properties. Home appraisals will go out next week in the mail. Tax bills will go out this June. Homeowners are welcome to appeal tax bills but must present convincing evidence to show the value is incorrect. The website will also have information on the appraisal process.

Property Appraisal Information:

  • Home Appraisal website (goes live Thursday 1/26/17)
  • Buncombe County Real Estate Office: 828-250-4940
  • Address: 94 Cox Avenue Downtown walk-in customers welcome (park in lot across the street)

via by Kimberly King Wednesday, January 25th 2017

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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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Property transfers Buncombe, Asheville for Oct. 3-7

Do a Smart Search at THIS SPECIAL LINK using the GUIDE below:

Specify Property Type
Select Multiple by holding CTRL or SHIFT
Select Real Property and Search.

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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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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Cash for House 290 new apartments, 29 houses planned in South Asheville

Program –

Developer says first resident could move in as early as Halloween 2017.
ASHEVILLE – An Atlanta-based developer proposing to build 290 apartments in South Asheville expects the City Council to vote on the plan in July.

“If all goes well, the first resident will move in by Halloween (2017),” said Nick Hathaway, partner and director of development at Hathaway Development in Atlanta.

The four-building complex, called Skyland Exchange, would be located at 55 Miami Circle and 70 Allen Ave., according to documents from the Asheville Planning and Urban Design Department.

It already has received approval from Asheville’s Technical Review Committee and Planning and Zoning Commission.

Hathaway said he and his colleagues adjusted project plans after Buncombe County Schools officials raised some concerns.

Those included worries traffic congestion would increase at nearby Roberson High with an apartment complex vehicle entrance and exit at Miami Circle — particularly during peak morning hours, Hathaway said. Miami Circle is used as the main entrance road to the high school for drop-offs.

To remedy that potential problem, Hathaway executives eliminated the Miami Circle entrance and exit.

School district officials also recommended moving amenities, such as an outdoor pool, away from the parking lot of Roberson High, which would be next to part of the complex, Hathaway said.

Doing so would make it more difficult for students to jump in the pool, Hathaway said district officials told him.

School officials also suggested connecting the apartments with only one sidewalk, rather than multiple, to reduce the likelihood of students going to the complex, he said.

Tim Fierle, Buncombe County Schools assistant director of facilities and planning, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Skyland Exchange would include 29 apartments, or 10 percent, designated as “affordable housing,” Hathaway said. City officials made that request, he said.

The complex would include one-, two- and three-bedroom units, Hathaway said. Some also would have a room envisioned as a home office, he said.

Projected rents would range from $850 to $1,350, Hathaway said, but could be adjusted depending on the market when the apartments are ready for move-in.

Miami Made LLC, an Asheville company, owns the 11.39 acres on which the project will be developed. Eddie Dewey, the registered agent for Miami Made and founder of Dewey Property Advisors, an Asheville commercial real estate company, could not be reached for comment.

Wes Reinhart, president and co-founder of Altamus LLC, a property management firm that is Dewey Property Advisors “sister company,” according to the Altamus website, also could not be reached.

City officials also are reviewing a separate project that would build 29 single-family homes in a subdivision at 70 Allen Ave.

Farmbound Holdings LLC, an Asheville property development company, owns the 3.73 acres where those homes would be built, according to Asheville Planning documents. A phone call to Farmbound seeking comment was not immediately returned.


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Buncombe, Asheville Property Transfers for April 11-15

Buncombe, Asheville Property Transfers for April 11-15

The following transfers were filed in the Register of Deeds office April 11-15.


34 Coventry Wood Drive (Lot 17 Coventry Woods phase 2), $595,000, Alan L. and Lisa B. Dobbins to Kristin B. and Anthony Greer


Unit 625 of the Grove at Appeldoorn Condominiums, $107,000, Jack Bryson Bradley to Michael Schlesinger

12 Shaker Court (Lot 40 of the Grove At Haw Creek), $,000, Boulevard Development Group LLC to Susan Mandelkern

Portion of lot 11 Hillside Park (0.0921 acre), $310,000, Rosemarie Vardell, Deborah J. Cassidy to Amy Bircher

9 Kenilworth Knoll 105 (Unit 105 Beaucatcher House Condominiums), $129,000, Beau Holdings Inc. to Equity Trust Company Custodian FBS John Watson IRA

340 Camelia Lane, $60,000, Deborah C. and R. Thomas Sofield Jr. to Jose A. Cordova

115 Norwood Ave. (Lot 61 Norwood subdivision), $365,000, Jeff and Amy Benedict to Monique J. John S. Collins Jr.

Unit O-2 Beaverdam Run Condominiums, $425,000, Gabriela J. Landau Living Trust to Sandra G. Folken, Roger E. Boundy

Lot 29 section 4 Richmond Hill Park, $185,000, Bonnie Hurst to Scott and Carol May

82 Springbrook (Lot 36), $18,000, Robert Michael Jarvis to Hi-Alta Investments LLC

Avery’s Creek

Lot 7 Ashley Wood subdivision phase 1A (0.252 acre), $385,000, John and Susan Ihne Yenne to William J. and Shannon G. Smith

Lot 51 block I sheet 3 of High Vista Country Club, $8,000, Mark A. and Virginia L. Shirey

Black Mountain

15 Jane Jacobs Road Unit 102, $160,000, Lakey Creek LLC to Knox Commercial Holdings LLC

Buncombe County

Lot 13 Village Park, $435,000, The Patricia Harrington Schreiber Revocable Trust to Mark T. Lundblad

182 Old Farm School Road (Lot B), $153,500, Rachel and Steven S. Rowlinson to Matthew I. Gaston

Lot 1 Hawthorne building 37 phase 1, $136,500, Steven L. Obremski to January W. McSwain, Michelle Neimi

Lot 1 Ridge Brook Estates, $301,000, Kimberly Garrison Fisher to Kimberly Clark

378 Haywood Road (0.406 acre), $345,000, Stonehouse Associates to East Haywood LLC

Lot 34 Ashewood Subdivision, $70,000, Ashewood Development LLC to Danny W. Allman

Lot 8 Lakeside Meadows, $309,000, Windsor Build Homes Inc. to Amy J. and Marc Suben

Unit 25 Mill Creek Townhomes, $160,000, Mayfair Partners LLC to Amy M. Moretz

Lot 26 Sovereign Oaks (1.08 acres), $150,000, Andana LLC, The Andrew C. Baker Living Trust to Nathan and Rebekah Owings

Lot 13 Evelyn Acres, $27,000, Erica Lynn McKinney to Homecrafters of Western NC LLC

Lot 36 Ashewood Subdivision phase 4, $50,000, Ashewood Development LLC to Phillip L. and Lisa T. Rahn

Unit 8 of City Homes on State Street Condominiums, $222,000, Paige O. Werhan to Robin Kane

Lot 43 of the Ridge subdivision, $50,000, Leicester Ridge Holdings LLC to Asheville Mountain Homes LLC

Lot 43 of the Ridge subdivision, $397,000, Asheville Mountain Homes LLC to Scott Chandler and Amanda Brice Reames

Lot 11 Tudor Croft, $36,500, Summit Ave. LLC to Scott P. and Marian A. Cook

North Louisiana Avenue property, $30,500, Sybil Beck Spivey to Moss Real Estate Holdings LLC

38C Queen Road (Unit C building 38 of Woodlands Trails Condominiums), $82,000, Branch Banking and Trust Company to Cecilia Taylor and Carol Caldwell Christianson Jr.

1338 Hemphill Road (Lot 4), $35,000, Donna W. (a. k. a. Donna W.) and D. Keith Prinz to CMH Homes Inc.

Lots 3-4 Beverly Hills block U, $235,000, Lorrayne S. McKinney and James Ramsey to Quick Solution Property Group Inc.

Lot 28 Scenic Bluff subdivision, $170,000, Tammy Lee Rollins to Wendy and Kristi Epley Rogers (a. k. a. Epley-Rogers)

2 Pheasant Drive (Lot 2A), $265,000, Curtis L. (a. k. a. Curtis I.) and Valerie P. Canty to Richard S. Yaffin

Lot 62 block A-1 Ramble Biltmore Forest, $867,000, Kristianna F. Nichols, Jeffrey R. Nichols to Mark J. and Angela M. Fletcher

11 Caleb Drive (2 acres), $26,000, Real Estate Properties of the Carolinas LLC to Mayley Cruz Martinez

11 Bohemian Lane, $430,000, Steven S. and Rachel J. Rowlinson to Victor Holliger Jr., Wayne Charles Leonhardt

14 May Hill Place (Lots 13-14 Highland Hills), $270,000, Betty Ann Gilbert to Anne M. Thomas

Lot 7 Miller Cove, $285,000, James and Judy Grob to William Robinson and Kathrine Lynne Heroy

Lot 922 Laurel Ridge phase II, $39,500, Mildred Anne and Bryan Grimes Jr. to Barry A. and Cherie L. Stout

2.83 acres on Garrison Branch Road $550,000, Crystal Jean Ponder or Ponder Hopkins to Serota Mars Hill LLC

155 S. Lexington Ave., Unit B203 (Lexington Station Condominiums), $235,000, David Hastings Beard to Dosia Smith

56 Alabama Ave., $160,000, Estella Virginia Raby Christopher to the Curry Family Partnership LLC

Lot 287 section VI Bent Creek subdivision, $243,000, Linda Powell Smith to Moses Nehemiah and Amber G. Soto


20 White Pine Circle (Lot 8 White Pine subdivision), $285,000, David A. and Debra S. Kuykendall to Sarah Blocher (a. k. a. Blocher-Steiner) and Jaison A. Steiner,


Lot 44 Whispering Pines section II, $265,000, Alan and Judy Turco to Keith A. and Luz Goerz


Lot 11 block 6 Mount Royal, $45,000, Richard C. and Judy S. Allen, Carolyn E. Allen to Douglas M. and Mary C. McLean


16 Mackenzie Way (Lot 5, 1.00 acre), $25,000, Linda V. and Stanley C. McMahan to CMH Homes Inc.

Compiled by Citizen-Times News Correspondent Bonnie Black via


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Cash for House · Sell for Cash Now · Greater Asheville & Western NC

Selling a Mobile Home? We’ve Got You! (Hablamos Espanol Tambien)

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    We are not depending on a bank for the money or an appraisal. It will truly be a cash purchase on the home, delivered directly at closing. No strings or contingencies on financing, as we don’t use a bank; so we can bypass the approval process which kills many normal home deals. Versus a bank where you wait painfully for 60 to 90 days only to find out that the bank cannot invest in the house.

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