Memorial Day Weekend Events in HendersonvilleMonday, May 31st, is Memorial Day, a day we honor those who have served our country and lost their lives.  Some Memorial Day weekend events in the Hendersonville area include:

Music on the Rocks Concert Series Presents Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Greatest Hits – May 30-June 1, Flat Rock Playhouse (2661 Greenville Hwy, Flat Rock, NC), Second Stage, 8pm.  Tickets are only $19 each.  For more info, please visit the Flat Rock Playhouse website or call 828-693-0731 or 866-732-8008.

1st Annual BBQ Expo – May 29, Hendersonville High School Field.  Gates open at 10am.  In addition to great BBQ, there will be live music and entertainment.  Proceeds from the BBQ benefit the Henderson County Education Foundation.  For more info, please call 828-693-3461.

Bua, Traditional Irish Music – May 29, Diana Wortham Theatre (2 South Pack Square, Asheville, NC).  For more info, visit the Diana Wortham Theatre website or call 828-257-4530.

17th Annual Garden Jubilee Festival – May 29 & 30, Historic Downtown Hendersonville, 10am-6pm.  There will be over 200 vendors on-site both days.  Some of the things available for purchase and classes available include: plants, arts and crafts, experts give talks on gardening, lawn and garden accessories and more.  For more information, please call 828-693-9708 or 800-828-4244 or visit the Hendersonville Visitors Information Center website.

Sandburg Folk Music Festival – May 31, Carl Sandburg Home (81 Carl Sandburg Lane, Flat Rock, NC), 10am-4pm.  Some of the live music will include instrumentals, spiritual music and folk songs.  For more info, please call 828-693-4178 or visit the Carl Sandburg website.

Memorial Day Services at Forest Lawn Cemetary – May 31, Hendersonville, NC, 9:30am.  The Hendersonville Antique Car Club and other local car clubs will gather at the intersection of Hwy 64 & Main St to escort Veterans to the Forest Lawn Memorial Services.  For more info, please call 828-696-4168 or visit the Hendersonville Antique Car Club website.

No matter which Memorial Day weekend event you go to in Hendersonville this weekend, make sure to stop and honor those brave men and women who gave their lives in service of our country.  Without them, we wouldn’t be US.

You'll never get a lemon in Hendersonville real estate if you use Rich Cooke.

If you’re like alot of people nowadays, you may not be able to sell your Hendersonville home right now.  Instead, you are looking at updating your home’s look for the possibility of making a larger profit later.  Here are a few tips on how to get the most bang for your buck in remodeling projects:

Adding crown molding or a chair rail to a room like the dining room makes a dramatic difference in the room's appearance.1. Crown Molding – Easy to install, adding crown molding to the ceiling or a chair rail along the wall can instantly transfer a drab room into a fab room.  You can even dress up a light fixture with a simple medallion.

2. Wood Floors – Are your wood floors looking a little worse for wear?  Refinish them for a fresher look.  If they are completely worn out, opt for replacing them.

3. Light Fixtures – Are you still using fluorescent lights in the kitchen or bathroom?  Recessed lighting or updated light fixtures can increase the warmth and feel of any room for a reasonable price.

4. Entryway/Foyer – If your entryway/foyer area is stuck in a bygone era, you may want to freshen it up with a fresh coat of paint, newer wallpaper, refinished stairway and/or new flooring.

Adding a kitchen island increases your surface area and storage space.5. Kitchen Island – Storage is one of the toughest things to accommodate in a kitchen.  Adding a kitchen island with shelves or cabinets included in the design not only increase your storage capacity, but also your surface area.   Try using butcher block or concrete for the kitchen island’s work surface as an alternative to expensive granite or marble.

6. Pantry – Adding a simple pantry to your kitchen can increase your food storage in a small area quickly and easily.

7. Shower – Simply changing the showerheads in your bathrooms can make a dramatic difference.  One of the more popular fixtures is a large pan showerhead that simulates a rainfall.  Also, you may want to consider adding a multi-head or second showerhead in your master bath.

8. Fixtures – Updating the fixtures for your kitchen or bathroom sinks increase the room’s appeal.  In the kitchen, consider adding a pull-out sprayer with a retractable hose to help clean the sink and reach those pots or pans that are too big to sit in the sink under a traditional faucet.  While you’re at it, update the cabinets and drawers with new handles, knobs or pulls.  If your cabinets don’t include any fixtures, the look can be dramatically altered quickly.

9. Porch – Adding a porch creates a more welcome appearance and brings your living space to the outdoors.  You’ll need to make sure to check the building codes in your area first for setback requirements and obtain a building permit, if necessary.

10. Siding – Check your home’s siding for any damage.  If your siding is in good condition, you can find products at your local home supply store to restore the finish to its original condition.  If it’s time to replace, vinyl siding is the most affordable in a variety of colors and styles.  It’s not your parents’ ugly siding anymore.

These are just a few of the simpler ways to get the most bang for your buck in remodeling projects.  I’d love to hear what projects you have done to increase the value of your Hendersonville home.  What you do now will help you when you decide to sell your Western North Carolina home later.

Don't get a lemon.  Contact Rich Cooke for all your Hendersonville real estate needs.

The National Weather Service’s issuance of snow before 2pm today, rains and further snow after 2pm and winds up to 9 mph, I thought I’d share a few tips on how to prepare for cold weather here in Hendersonville.

  1. Make sure your fireplace flue is open and clear.  You want the smoke from the fire to go straight up instead of filling the room and causing a breathing problem.
  2. Keep all combustible materials away from any heat source, such as the fireplace, portable heaters and ovens/stoves.  This includes paper, matches, lighters, etc.
  3. Don’t use the oven/stove to heat up the room.  They are not meant to be used for long periods of time.  Also, an unattended, open oven/stove runs a high risk of catching your house on fire.
  4. Keep an eye on children and paper products near a heating source.  Paper is highly combustible, children can get burned if they get too close and children with blankets can accidentally get too close to an oven/stove, etc. and catch their blanket on fire.
  5. Check on your elderly relatives or neighbors.  Make sure they have enough food, water, supplies, etc. and that their heating source works properly.  If they don’t have a reliable source for heat, you may want to check with local government agencies to find out what programs they offer to help.

With the temperatures dropping in Henderson County, it is important to make sure you are prepared for cold weather here in Hendersonville.

Rich Cooke, your Hendersonville real estate expert

$8000 Tax Credit Extended

November 12, 2009

The $8000 tax credit has been extended and includes a $6500 tax credit for existing homeowners.The $8000 First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit has been extended both in time and to include a $6500 tax credit for existing homeowners.  Previously, only first time home buyers (those buyers who have not owned a home for at least the three previous years) were eligible for an up to $8000 tax credit based on the purchase price of the home.  This was set to stop December 1, 2009.  However, President Obama has just signed an extension to the First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit that applies to all homes purchased by April 30, 2010.  If you have a signed binding sales contract in effect by April 30, 2010, you have until July 2, 2010 to close escrow.

In addition to the $8000 First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit, President Obama made available a $6500 tax credit for current homeowners looking to purchase a new home.  Existing homeowners must have used their home as their primary residence for at least five consecutive of the last 8 years to qualify for this new tax credit.

Income Limits:

If you are a single home buyer or married filing head of household, you cannot make more than $125,000.  If you are married and file jointly, you cannot make more than $225,000 to receive the total tax credit you are eligible for.  You are eligible for a partial credit if you are single or a head of household filer and make between $125,000 and $145,000 or married filing jointly with an income between $225,000 and $245,000.

Homes That Qualify:

Only a home that is purchased and used as a primary residence is eligible for the appropriate tax credit.  That means that vacation homes, rental properties and commercial properties do not qualify.  Also, the purchase price cannot exceed $800,000

These tax credits do not have to be paid back provided you use your house for your primary residence for at least three years.  However, if you sell your home before the three year time period is up, you will be required to pay back all the tax credit you received.  For more information on the tax credit extensions and how they effect you with your Western North Carolina home, please contact me.

Rich Cooke, your Hendersonville real estate expert

The offices at the Blue Ridge Community College in Flat Rock are buzzing with excitement over new programs added to their curriculum as well as a brand new website unveiled just this week.  In addition to the regular programs offered to their students, BRCC will now provide degrees in office administration/virtual office assistance as well as fire protection technology.  Three more programs (1-accounting, 2-film and video production technology and 3-simulations and game development) are now under review for approval by the Board of Trustees as of last Friday. 

The BRCC’s new website has been updated to make it easier for its visitors to navigate.  Current students, which include curriculum students as well as continuing education students, will find information on registration dates, child care, the college library, updated weather info, links to obtaining their transcripts and information to their online student programs called Moodle.  Prospective students can learn more about what BRCC has to offer, including student services, curriculum, registration dates and signing up for a campus tour of the Flat Rock facilities.  BRCC offers a Distance Learners program which allows students to attend from anywhere online.  There is a Henderson County JobLink Center, which offers students help to find what job fits them, assistance in searching for jobs, funding for job training and coaching to increase job seeking skills.  There are many more services and programs available through the BRCC website.  Stop by and take a look around.  You’ll be happy with what you find.

 Feeling fenced in?  Contact Rich Cooke and the Cooke-Knapp Team for all your Western North Carolina real estate needs.

remodeling.Do you want to remodel your home because you are looking to sell it soon?  There are some smart remodel projects that will bring alot of bang for your buck and there are some remodel projects that may sound like a good idea, but won’t bring a good return on your investment.

Do:

Remodel the bathroom.  No costly, overdone bathroom remodel is necessary.  Change out old brass hardware for newer, updated brushed nickel ones.  Give a fresh coat of paint to the walls.  Replace old lighting fixtures.  Take out the tub and add a tiled-in shower with glass enclosure.  Buy a new pedestal sink and toilet to open up the bathroom.

Replace the exterior siding.  It’s like putting a new outfit on your home.  Vinyl siding is the most popular and inexpensive method for exterior siding.  However, fiber cement siding can be made to look like stucco, wood or even cedar shingles.  It is also fire resistent and can offer up to a 50-year guarantee.  It will cost about 30% more than vinyl, but will yield a much bigger return on your investment and offers more alternative looks than simple vinyl siding.

Update your kitchen.  You don’t have to overspend in order to bring your kitchen into the 20th century.  Replacing the old dishwasher, refrigerator and stove/oven with moderately priced stainless steel appliances can go a long way.  Changing out the old cabinet knobs or drawer handles can alter the look of the cabinets.  Rip up the old linoleum and replace it will newer, resilient flooring.  A fresh coat of paint will do wonders to brighten up the space.

Think about converting that attic space into another bedroom and bath area.  This is an especially good idea in a neighborhood with smaller homes.  Because the wiring and walls are already there, it is less expensive to create a new bedroom in the attic than to add additional square footage anywhere else.

Don’t:

Convert a spare bedroom into a fully custom office.  Adding custom cabinetry and tearing out a closet to create room for your filing cabinets is great for those who work from home.  However, when reselling a home, an extra bedroom will always outsell a custom home office.  Utilizing the bedroom space as a home office by buying office furniture is fine.  But make sure not to alter the room so that it can’t be used as a regular bedroom when you sell it.

Overspend in the kitchen or master suite.  While it is true that kitchens and master bedrooms sell homes, you don’t want to spend so much on these areas that you are way out of league with the rest of the neighborhood.  An $80,000 dollar dream kitchen or $100,000 deluxe master suite may sell well in Beverly Hills or New York City.  But, if you don’t live in an upscale neighborhood, the sales price of the home will not support this kind of an expenditure.

Construct an addition to the house for a nice family room.  With exterior siding, extra wiring, patio doors and flooring, adding extra square footage to a home can easily cost you $50,000 for a reasonably sized room.  Using that money to convert a basement into a game room or making the attic space into another bedroom and bathroom is a much better use of the money.

Remember that it is a smart idea to invest money into your home.  Just make sure that you are smart about what part of the home you spend your dollars on.

FHA Offers More

July 25, 2008

FHA is offering help to more at-risk homeowners. Homeowners who are experiencing difficulty in making their mortgage payments due to adjustments in their interest rates may be able to refinance their home through FHA’s refinance program: FHASecure.
 
Although, the program was established a year ago, it seems that many homeowners are not aware that they may be able to refinance their home and avoid foreclosure.
 
FHA has temporarily increased its loan limits, which will allow the FHASecure program to help more families keep their homes. Due to the increase in the loan limits, you may still be able to qualify even if  your property has depreciated in value. The increased loan limit is  currently scheduled to end on December 31, 2008.
 
Homeowners at risk of defaulting on their mortgage payments (or currently in default), but have otherwise maintained a good credit history, may qualify for the FHASecure refinance program.
 
Contact an FHA approved lender as soon as possible to make an appointment to discuss your particular circumstances.

FHASecure Facts

FHASecure Questions and Answers

Related article: Homeowners Get Help for Mortgages at Risk