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

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.

Lake Lure Looks Good

August 14, 2008

Officials are reassuring residents located downstream from Lake Lure’s water treatment plant that, despite a reduction in water flow, the water quality if still good.  Due to the severe drought in the Lake Lure area, the water level is down by three feet and continues to lose approximately 1 1/4″ per day.  Because of this, the water flow downstream was restricted from 9.7 million gallons per day to 9 million per day to help support the wildlife in the lake as well as continue functions at the water treatment plant.  The reduction is still well within state guidelines and the treatment plant is operating within the state’s Special Order of Consent (SOC).  A recent inspection of the plant confirmed that there were no violations of the SOC.  While Lake Lure residents aren’t currently under mandatory water restrictions, they are asked to conserve their water usage so that there will be no need to implement them.

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

Lake Lure typifies the natural beauty of Western North Carolina real estateLocated in the heart of Hickory Nut Gorge, Lake Lure, North Carolina encompasses all the beauty that Western North Carolina real estate offers.  Originally, a resort was built around the lake, utilizing the area’s natural beauty to “lure” people to the area.  Currently, the lake is now held in trust by the Town of Lake Lure as a benefit for its citizens.  Although no schools actually operate within Lake Lure city limits, students living here attend schools in the Polk and Rutherford County Schools Systems.  Outdoor recreation is key to the Lake Lure lifestyle, with the 720 acre lake providing the primary location for a day’s activities.  Residents enjoy full access to the marina seven days a week for free and everyone is encouraged to enjoy the boating, fishing and waterskiing the lake has to offer.  Horseback riding is a popular pasttime in Lake Lure as well as hiking and biking around Chimney Rock Park, which includes a nature center, picnic areas and a gorgeous waterfall.  One trip to Lake Lure and you’ll see what the “lure” is all about.  Please contact me with any questions you may have about the Lake Lure area.