The Henderson County real estate market is seeing steady improvement in their median home prices, days on market and list price vs final sales price.Overall, the Henderson County real estate market is seeing improvements from previous years. Total homes sold in 2012 were up a whopping 31% over 2011’s figures (989 in 2011 vs 1355 in 2012). The amount of days a home was on the market before it sold went down 23% (from 226 in 2011 to 179 in 2012).

Search the MLS to find your next Henderson County home for saleMedian home prices closed out the year at $160,000, down from the $173,000 we saw in December 2011. However, the average median home price for the entire year was exactly the same as the previous year ($168,000). January 2013 closed out the month with a median sales price of $170,000.

The ratio of initial asking price to final sales price for a Henderson County home has been steadily increasing over the last few years. In 2011, sellers were getting 92% of list price. In 2012, they were getting 93%. Last month, the average final sale price was 94% of the initial listing price. Experts predict that prices will start to increase even more throughout 2013 as demand for housing increases. So, we expect these numbers to get even better. That’s great news if you’re planning on selling your Henderson County home soon.

The Henderson County real estate market is experiencing a steady increase. We may not be seeing the astronomical rise we saw in the mid-2000’s, but it is definitely headed in a positive direction. It’s a great time to purchase a home because interest rates remain amazingly low. It’s also a great time to sell your Henderson County home. Sellers are finalizing sales closer to the initial list price than they have in several years and the median prices are going up. When you’re ready to either buy or sell your Henderson County home, please contact me.

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Rich Cooke, your Western North Carolina real estate specialist

Originally posted on my Western North Carolina real estate blog here: http://rich-cooke.com/2013/02/21/henderson-county-real-estate-market-feb-2013/.

Western North Carolina Real Estate - Whether you're interested in buying or selling your Hendersonville/Asheville area home, consider using the services of Rich Cooke, John Knapp and Jan Knapp for your Western North Carolina real estate needs.

Are You Paying Too Much for Your Property Taxes?Property taxes are one of the inevitable costs of owning your home in Hendersonville.  How much you pay in taxes is determined by the value the county places on your property.  However, since it is not possible for the county to go out and re-assess every property in its jurisdiction every single year, your property taxes may be based on the value your home was assessed at several years ago.  Because property values have declined so much in the last few years, this could mean that you are paying hundreds, if not thousands of dollars more than you should.  How do you determine whether you are paying too much for your property taxes?

While North Carolina law requires each county to reassess the property values in their area every eight years, Henderson County passed a law in 1995 to do so every four years instead.  The last reassessment was done in 2007.  Currently, the county is in the process of reassessing properties to current market value.  If you have recently received the reassessed value of your home, make sure to check over the paperwork to make sure that all the information is correct, including square footage, bathrooms, bedrooms, etc.  This can have an impact on the value your Hendersonville home is given.

If you feel that the appraised value of your home is incorrect (it’s much higher than what you think your home can realistically sell for or it’s not valued similarly to other homes in your area), you can file an appeal.  The first step is an informal appeal.  Included in your reappraisal notice will be a form that you can fill out to file your informal appeal.  Your area’s appraiser will then review the information you provide to determine whether it supports a change.  If the results of the informal appeal are unsatisfactory to you, you can file an appeal with the Board of Equalization and Review.  After that, you can appeal to the North Carolina Property Tax Commission and, finally, the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

When you decide to file an appeal, make sure you have proper evidence to support the reason for your disagreement with the assessed value.  Keep in mind that you can’t use the sales statistics of Hendersonville homes after January 1, 2011 for current property values.  Some good evidence to provide when appealing your property tax assessment include:

  1. Your own professional appraisal done based on values before January 1, 2011.
  2. Sales report of properties comparable to yours that were sold before January 1, 2011.
  3. Report of comparable listings on the market in your area existing on or before January 1, 2011.
  4. 2010 income and expense statements if the property in question if an income-producing property.
  5. Proof of data errors on the county’s reassessment, including amount of bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, etc.

While the Henderson County Tax Assessors office does not have the authority to lower your taxes, getting a correct and up-to-date valuation of your Hendersonville property will give you the information you need to speak to your tax collector about it.  If you feel you are paying too much for your property taxes, follow these steps to get a reassessment of your Hendersonville home.  For more information on the appeal process in Henderson County, please call the Tax Assessor’s office at (828) 697-4870.

Rich Cooke, your Western North Carolina real estate specialist

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.

Looking for a way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the family?  Come to the March of the Leprechauns Parade in downtown Hendersonville, NC on Saturday, March 13, 2010.  Hosted by Hendersonville’s Historic Downtown Shopping District, the March of the Leprechauns Parade starts at 10am.  You’ll see hundreds of participants dressed up as leprechauns parading down the streets of Hendersonville.  Everyone is not only invited to come see the parade, but are encouraged to dress in your finest greenery and participate in the parade as well.  If you wish to join in on all the leprechaun fun, simply fill out an application at Downtown Hendersonville’s website.  You have until tomorrow, March 5, 2010, to apply.  So hurry!

For more info about the parade, please contact Karen Shirlin at 828-697-2022.  I hope you get a chance to come down to watch or participate in the March of the Leprechauns in Hendersonville, NC on Saturday, March 13, 2010.

Until February 6, 2010, you can purchase apple trees to help Hendersonville nonprofit organization ECO (Environmental & Conservation Organization).  Since apples have been such a huge part of Western North Carolina’s agricultural history, ECO is offering over 20 different varieties of apple trees at its annual sale.  These trees are unique in that many of them are hard to find since they were historically grown here in the southeast.

The goal of ECO’s annual apple tree sale is to help replace the apple trees that have been lost to development and neglect as well as increasing the diversity of this historically important fruit tree to the Hendersonville area.  In addition, the proceeds from the sale help fund ECO’s environmental programs that include protecting the Western North Carolina environment.

Every year, the limited amounts of trees available through ECO sell out pretty quickly.  This year, ECO will also be selling larger 2-year-old graft trees in 5-gallon containers for just a couple of dollars more than the regular 5-6′ tall semi-dwarf trees.  They are also ready to be planted right away.  So, make sure to put your order in early to get your heritage trees.  Trees will be available for pickup by 12pm (noon) on February 6, 2010 in the parking lot of Hendersonville Visitor’s Center.  Please purchase these heritage apple trees to help Hendersonville nonprofit organization ECO by calling 692-0385 or visiting the ECO website.  Your family will thank you for the delicious fruit and the environment will thank you.

Rich Cooke, your Hendersonville real estate expert

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

According to the North Carolina Association of Realtors®, home sales may be down overall across the state, but Hendersonville experienced a 2% increase in home sales from the same time last year.  The 110 Hendersonville homes sold in June 2009 was a 2% increase from June 2008 figures and was a 31% increase from sales figures in May 2009.  The average cost for a Hendersonville home was $219,362 (down 17% from June 2008’s average cost of $264,559).

In comparison, Asheville home sales were down 7% from the previous year (June 2009 showed 217 units sold, June 2008 showed 233 units sold).  However, June 2009 sales were up 45% from May 2009 figures.  The average cost for an Asheville home was 6% less than the same time last year ($266,883 in June 2008, $253,852 in June 2009).

What do these figures mean for you buyers out there?  These low prices aren’t going to last long.  Asheville real estate already seems to be experiencing what may be a bottoming out of the market, with home sales only slightly down from the previous year and the average price being only slightly less as well.  Hendersonville real estate is not too far behind, with its home sales almost exactly the same as the previous year and up significantly from the previous month.  You don’t want to miss out on owning your piece of the American dream.  With the expiration of the $8,000 tax credit coming quickly upon us, now is definitely the time to buy.  Contact me today to let me know how I can make your Hendersonville or Asheville homeownership dreams come true!

Feeling fenced in?  Contact Rich Cooke for all your Hendersonville real estate needs.

As I told you in my blog last week, Laurel Park was ranked #3 in the country for most affordable places to retire in the country.  As Town Commissioner, I was privileged to be interviewed about this announcement by BlueRidgeNow.com.  NeighborhoodScout.com, the company that compiled the list, scoured its database of over 61,000 communities and determined its most affordable places to retire in the country by comparing information gathered from the US Census Bureau, US Geological Service, FBI, Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight and the state and federal departments of education.  They also compared the median house prices, amenities offered, beautiful surroundings and crime statistics.  Laurel Park is a small town (with 1400 year-round residents and up to 2250 in the summer) and wants to keep the homey, small town feel.  NeighborhoodScout.com realized what I have known all along.  Laurel Park is a wonderful place to live and retire.  So, if you are looking for a beautiful, safe, affordable place to retire, please contact me.  I’ll be happy to show you all that Laurel Park has to offer.

Use Rich Cooke for all your Western North Carolina real estate needs.

As a resident of Hendersonville, this comes as no surprise.  But, now the rest of the country will know what I’ve known all along.  Laurel Park has been named as one of the Best Affordable Places to Retire in the USA, according to NeighborhoodScout.com.  This online resource for buyers and investors across the country ranked neighborhoods around the United States according to the median home value and cost of living as well as other factors and gave them a score from 1-100 (100 being best).  With its beautiful surroundings in the Blue Ridge Mountains, mild climate and its median home value of $346,100, the Laurel Park neighborhood of Hendersonville, NC was given a high score of 95 out of 100.  The only two neighborhoods in the country to surpass Laurel Park were Brecksville, OH (who scored a 97) and Englewood, FL (who scored a 98).  So, don’t take my word for it.  Listen to NeighborhoodScout.com and see why Laurel Park and the Hendersonville area were named as one of the Best Affordable Places to Retire.

Looking for a great home to spend your retirement years?  Contact Rich Cooke for more info on Hendersonville real estate.