Tag Archives: NC Real Estate

Discover Whether You’ve Just Found the Highlands, NC Area Home of Your Dreams

Home buying in Western North Carolina can definitely be a stressful process for a lot of people.

After all, this is potentially one of the largest investments you’re ever going to make! You (understandably) want to make the right choice.

As your Highlands area real estate agent, I’m here to tell you that home buying doesn’t have to be as stressful as it seems.

So long as you’re working with an experienced Western NC REALTOR and you’re listening to your inner guidance, you can rest assured that you’ll be satisfied with any decision you make on the local housing market.

Continue reading to learn about some signs that you should keep out for as a Highlands area home buyer. These signs will let you know whether you have just found the home of your dreams or not!

Investing in Highlands, NC Real Estate

How will you know if the home you’re touring is the perfect fit for you and your family? Here are some indicators:

  • You see the home on the outside and immediately want to go inside. Don’t understand the power of curb appeal. If there’s something about this home’s exterior that draws you to want to go inside, that’s a good indication.
  • You’re amazed with the home as soon as you step through the door. It doesn’t take long for home buyers to get a positive or negative vibe from a home. If you’re pleased with the home’s interior as soon as you walk in, take note.
  • You’re already planning where your furniture could potentially go in the home. If you don’t just like the home but could actually see yourself living there, that’s a great sign. Take note if you’re already planning where your favorite piece of furniture will go in the home.
  • You have a feeling that the home would fit your family’s lifestyle well. Does the home have the appropriate number of bedrooms for you to live comfortably? Does it have the extra amenities that you were hoping for, such as an extra study or a bonus room? These logistics matter just as much as your initial impression of the home.
  • You don’t even feel like touring other homes anymore. If you’ve subconsciously already committed to the home you just looked at, you won’t likely be as excited as before about touring other homes in the area. That’s a strong indication you may have found the home for you.
  • You can’t wait to tell your friends and family about the home. As mentioned above, if you’ve subconsciously already decided on making an offer on the home, you likely won’t be shy about telling your loved ones about the new home that could be yours soon.

Homes for Sale in Western North Carolina

As I mentioned above, as long as you listen to your heart and work with a knowledgeable Highlands NC REALTOR, navigating the market as a home buyer won’t be nearly as stressful!

While I just helped you with the first part, I am here to tell you that I can also help you with the second part.

As an experienced REALTOR, I have worked for years on such local markets as:

To learn more about how my years of experience on the Western NC housing market can benefit you as a home buyer, contact me, Dorothy Swearingen, today!

Until next time,


Highlands Real Estate Market Report for February

The month of January continue to be a great month for Highlands area home buyers, based on the most recent data from the real estate website Trulia.

Not only did the average price per square foot decrease significantly but so did the median sales price!

Continue reading to see just how much of a buyer’s market it is right now in the Highlands, NC area – and how you can directly benefit as a home buyer.

Western North Carolina Homes for Sale

Here’s an overview of the current state of the Highlands real estate market, based on the most recent market data:

  • Currently there are 743 resale and new homes on the market, including 2 in some stage of the foreclosure.
  • Between October and December, the average price per square foot for Highlands homes was $378, down 33.9 percent from the same period in 2010!
  • During that same period, the median sales price was $285,000, which was based on 17 home sales.
  • When compared to the same period in 2010, the median sales price has decreased by 32.9 percent.
  • In 2010, the median sales price was $425,000.
  • Here’s how neighboring North Carolina communities compared in terms of median sales price:

Scaly Mountain: $172,500
Otto: $135,000
Franklin: $120,000
Clayton: $140,000

  • Meanwhile, the number of home sales increased by 142.9 percent between 2010 and 2011.
  • During the week ending on January 25, the average listing price for Highlands homes was $838,958, up 0.2 percent from the week before.
  • During that previous week, the average listing price was $837,281.
  • During the week ending on January 25, the average listing price for a 1-bedroom Highlands home was $375,148
  • The average listing price for a 2-bedroom home was $481,827
  • And the average listing price for 3- and 4- bedroom homes in Highlands were $611,270 and $1,142,152
  • Here’s how neighboring communities compared in terms of average listing price:

Scaly Mountain: $578,104
Otto: $242,429
Franklin: $226,985
Clayton: $214,410

Investing in Highlands, NC Real Estate

With decreases in median sales prices up to nearly 33 percent, it clear that it’s definitely a buyer’s market right now in the Highlands, NC area.

If you’re an interested home buyer looking for a fantastic deal on a beautiful Highlands area home, contact me, Dorothy Swearingen, your Highlands area real estate expert.

You can even start searching for your next Highlands home now by using some of my pre-defined home searches:

Until next time,



Historic Trail in the Highlands, NC Area to Receive $500,000 Worth of Improvements

Western North Carolina
is well known for celebrating and preserving its natural beauty.

And that reputation was solidified recently when Dry Fall Trails in Macon County  received $446,000 to stabilize and reconstruct the entire walking path.

While $208,000 came from the Federal Highways fund, about $258,000 came from matching agency funds.

Continue reading to learn more about this new development in Western North Carolina, and how it will improve the quality of life in the area. Continue reading

Sapphire, NC Real Estate Market Report for January

It was a fairly steady month on the Sapphire housing market, according to the most recent real estate data from Trulia.

For instance, the average listing price remained fairly level week-over-week.

Continue reading to learn more about recent market activity, and how it may affect you as a Sapphire home buyer.

Sapphire NC Properties

Here’s an overview of the current state of the Sapphire real estate market:

  • Currently there are 580 resale and new homes on the market.
  • During the week ending on December 21, the average listing price for Sapphire homes was $486,525.
  • When compared to the week before, the average listing price has increased by 0.8 percent, from $482,798 the week before.
  • The average listing price for a 1-bedroom home in Sapphire during the week ending on December 21 was $107,241.
  • The average listing price for a 2-bedroom home was $253,180.
  • And the average listing price for 3- and 4- bedroom homes in Sapphire were $480,082 and $889,926, respectively.
  • Here’s how nearby cities compared in terms of average listing price:
    • Highlands: $853,103
    • Scaly Mountain: $583,519
    • Cleveland: $166,500
    • Otto: $245,843

Investing in Sapphire, NC Real Estate

Sapphire is a charming mountain community affectionately referred by many as “Little Switzerland.”

Yet this N.C. Mountain community sure does pack in a lot of natural beauty.  From the world-class fishing to the beautiful hiking trails, this is definitely the kind of community that will leave you breathless every time you look out your home window.

If you’re ready to take the next step toward owning your own Sapphire home, then contact me, Dorothy Swearingen.

As your N.C. Mountain real estate expert, I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have as well as provide you with such helpful home buying tools as:

Until next time,


5 Factors to Consider When Applying for a Highlands, NC Area Home Loan

So you’ve decided to invest in a home in the Highlands, NC area.  Now what?

While some interested Western NC home buyers like to start by browsing available homes on the market, I recommend that you first determine how much money you’re going to be able to borrow.

This early footwork will end up saving you both time and money because you’ll just be focusing on homes that fit your price range.

So what exactly do bankers consider when determining how much money they’re willing to loan you?

Continue reading to find out!

Investing in Highlands, NC Area Real Estate

Here are some of the main factors that bankers consider when offering you a loan:

  • Monthly Income. One of the first things that a bank will ask about is your monthly income.  They’ll likely request to see paycheck stubs from the last couple of months to verify your average wages.  They’ll also want to know about any additional sources of income you may have.  Recently change jobs? The banks may weigh your last income tax return more heavily than your recent wages.

Bottom line is, the higher your income, the more likely you’ll be qualified for the loan you need to purchase a Highlands area home.

  • Monthly housing expenses. Next, the banker will likely ask about all of your regular housing expenses, which will then be subtracted from your monthly income. Bankers know that there are more expenses to home ownership than just the initial purchase of the property.  These may include home insurance, real estate taxes, and even home owner association fees.

There’s also specialized housing costs, such as mortgage insurance.  Banks may require that home buyers purchase this if they’re borrowing more than 80 percent of the value of the home. This protects banks from the possibility of you defaulting on your home.

  • Additional monthly expenses.  Usually, a banker will also ask you about your other financial obligations, such as credit card debt, charge accounts, car loans, student loans, etc.

The bank will likely ask you about the total balance due and the minimum monthly payment for each of these items.

By subtracting these expenses from your income (as well as your estimated housing expenses), the bank will know your disposable income.

This figure is important because that’s the money you’ll have available for your house payment and everyday living expenses (such as food and fuel).

  • Ratio of debt to income. Next, the bank will calculate the ratio between  your total monthly payments on debt to your monthly income. Ideally, no more than 36 percent of your gross income  is going toward your total debt.  Although some lenders are more flexible, 36 percent is generally the industry standard.

Thus, if your total gross income is $8,000 a month, the bank would like your total monthly debt to be no more than $2,880.

  • Calculating your loan payment. Learn more about how to calculate your potential mortgage payment by checking out my comprehensive Mortgage Information page.  By doing some homework before meeting with a banker, you’ll be able to get a pretty good idea of the kind of mortgage for which you’ll qualify.

Highlands, NC Area Properties for Sale

I hope you found the above information helpful as a potential Highlands area home buyer.

Trust me, entering the Highlands area real estate market as an educated buyer is critical to how much success you’ll enjoy on the local housing market.

For more invaluable tips about how to navigate the market as a home buyer, contact me, Dorothy Swearingen.

I also recommend you check out some of my helpful home buying tools, such as:

Until next time,


Tips for Selling your Cashiers, NC Area Home

You’ve been hearing it for months: Recent economic conditions have created a buyer’s market in cities across the country.

Although it’s true that sales prices and the total number of home sales are down in many U.S. cities, it doesn’t mean that home sellers can’t still get a great price on their home.

The key to selling your home for the best price possible in as little time as possible is a strategic marketing plan.

Continue reading to learn more about what you as a home seller can do to maximize your success on the Cashiers area real estate market.

Selling Homes in the Cashiers, NC Area

Here are some suggestions that I often give to interested home sellers:

  • Emotionally Detach from your Home: Making the decision to sell your home can be a stressful process for a lot of home owners.  After all, you and your family have likely made plenty of memories in your home and it may be hard to say goodbye to them. But as a home seller, it’s best to view your house as a product you’re trying to sell rather than your home. After all, the goal is to help buyers visualize themselves living in your home. Thus, the sooner you can detach from your home emotionally, the smoother your experience on the Western NC real estate market will be.
  • Be Flexible With Buyer Schedules:  The current economic climate has meant that there are fewer buyers navigating local real estate markets.  Thus, it’s critical that you as a home seller are as accommodating as possible when it comes to showings.
  •  Be Honest About Problems Issues.  Be as forthcoming with your Cashiers real estate agent as possible about such things as restrictions, structural issues, boundary disputes and covenants.  Your agent should know about these issues upfront.  You don’t want to wait until closing time to reveal these things to your agent and the home buyer because it may be a deal that kills the deal in the eleventh hour.  And that can end up being costly in terms of legal expenses.
  • Don’t Forget Curb Appeal.  When buyers come to check out your home, the exterior will surely be their first impression.  So make sure it’s in top condition by trimming hedges, cleaning out gutters and maybe even applying a fresh coat of paint.
  • Use Plenty of Light to Showcase Your Home’s Features.  This includes natural and artificial light.  Open windows and turn on lights (even in closets) throughout the home.  You may also consider recommending day-time showings to buyers.
  • De-Clutterize Your Home.  Remember: You’re trying to sell your home, not the items in your home.  And the more things you have piled in each room, the more it distracts buyers from appreciating the structure of your home.  Plus, too much junk in a room can make it appear smaller than it actually is.

Cashiers, NC Real Estate

I hope you found the above tips helpful as a Cashiers area home seller.

For more tips on how to sell your home for more money in less time, contact me, Dorothy Swearingen.

I’ll be happy to offer you my expert advice as well as my many home selling resources, including:

Until next time,


More Tips on How to Successfully Stage Your Cashiers Area Home

As I mentioned in a previous blog, wintertime may be an ideal time to sell your Western NC home since home buyers during this time of year are typically more eager to buy a home than any other time of the year.

But since it’s also true that there are fewer home buyers are the market, it’s important to stage your home in a way that leaves a lasting impression.

One thing that many home sellers do is create curb appeal.  This includes trimming the bushes, sweeping the front porch and cleaning the shutters.

After all, many home buyers will first judge a home by its exterior.  Thus, it’s critical that your Western NC home has plenty of curb appeal.

Continue reading to learn more tips on what you can do to increase your chances of selling your home in a reasonable amount of time.

Homes for Sale in Cashiers, Highlands, Sapphire and More

Here are some suggestions for preparing your home for upcoming showings:

  • Mentally Let Go of Your Attachment to Your Home: This is something that’s easier said than done for many home sellers.  After all, your current home may very well be where you started your family, and certainly where you made many precious memories.  But trust me, mentally preparing yourself now for the day when you hand over your house keys to another family will save you a lot of heart ache and stress in the long run.  Because that day will come and you don’t want to be blindsided when it does.
  • De-personalize Your Home: As I’ve said in a previous blog, you want home buyers to be able to see THEIR family in your home, not your family.  Thus, remove distracting details like the dozens of family portraits on the walls and tables.  While a few accents will create a warm ambiance in your home, too many can prove to be overwhelming and off-putting for interested home buyers.
  • De-Clutterize: Remember, you’re not selling the items in your home, you’re selling the home itself.  So remove excess clutter that distracts from your home’s rooms and layout.  A good rule of thumb is to get rid of anything you haven’t used in more than a year. You may also consider reorganizing furniture in a way that maximizes a room’s space and makes it look bigger.
  • Organize Your Closets and Cabinets: Home buyers are often judging every little detail of your home, maybe without even realizing it! And disorganized storage areas suggest to potential home buyers that you may have not taken the best care of the rest of the house.  Avoid sending that message by cleaning and organizing closet and cabinet space.  One way to start is to make sure all your closets are hanging the same way in your closet.
  • Store Irreplaceable Items: Buyers and sellers will often negotiate throwing in certain items and appliance with the home sale. So if there’s something in your home that you would never want to see end up on the negotiation table, then put it away so the home buyer doesn’t even know about it.  Otherwise, you risk giving the home buyer a reason to pull out on a deal just because you won’t throw in the item they want.
  • Address Minor Repairs:  Remember, home showings are all about leaving a lasting first impression on home buyers.  So you want to make sure your home is in the best shape possible.  Help get it in tip-top condition by addressing minor repair issues, such as a leaky faucet or a cracked bathroom tile.  While making these repairs may not cost much money, it can mean a world of difference on how a home buyer sees your home.

Selling Your Home on the Western NC Real Estate Market

I hope these home staging tips help you to sell your home in less time and for a better price.  These tips have certainly helped plenty of other home sellers in the past!

To learn more about how you can improve your outcome on the Cashiers area real estate market as a home seller,  contact me, Dorothy Swearingen, today.

As your NC Mountain REALTOR, I’ll be happy to walk you through my comprehensive marketing plan for sellers as well as give you a number of home selling tools, such as:

Until next time,


Fun Things to Do in the Highlands, Cashiers, and Sapphire Areas during the Holidays

It’s no secret that Western North Carolina is a popular place to be during the holiday season.

After all, this area serves as a huge draw for those residents interested in ski vacations, white Christmases and breath-taking winter vistas.

The Western North Carolina communities also do a great job of planning a variety of community events during this time of year.    These events help residents get in the holiday spirit and truly enjoy the season.

Continue reading to learn more about some of these fun activities that you and your family may enjoy.

Enjoy These Family-Friendly Events in the North Carolina Mountains This Month

Here is just a sampling of all the fun community events you and your family could be enjoying this month if you lived in Western N.C.:

Art Gallery Walks: Every 4th Friday, the town of Brevard hosts an art, wine and food event in its downtown. This is a great way to get out and enjoy the winter weather while appreciating all the talent we have on the local art scene.

  • When: 5 to 9 p.m. on December 16
  • Where: Downtown Brevard
  • Admission: FREE

Craft Show: Have some last minute holiday shopping to do? Why not pick up a unique present for someone at the Henderson County Crafters Association show, held at Blue Ridge Mall.

  • When: December 16 to 18; Times vary
  • Where: Blue Ridge Mall in Hendersonville, NC
  • Admission: FREE
  • More Info: Call (828) 684-6097

Holiday Reading: The Highlands-Cashiers Players will present their Holiday Reading at Martin-Lipscomb Performing Arts Center.  This show is guaranteed to put your entire family in the holiday spirit!

  • When: 7:30 p.m. on December 15
  • Where: Martin-Lipscomb Performing Arts Center, 507 Chestnut Street in Highlands
  • Admission: Prices Vary
  • More Info: Call (828) 526-9047

Christmas Celebration: Come to the Highlands Civic Center for “La Noche Navidena,” which will feature a holiday dinner and a visit with Santa. Invitations are available through the International Friendship Center.

  • When: 6 to 9 p.m. on Dec. 17
  • Where: Highlands Civic Center
  • Admission: FREE
  • More Info: Call (828) 526-0890, extension 290

Investing in Highlands Area Real Estate

As your Highlands area real estate expert, I work hard to provide interested home buyers with all the information they need to make educated decisions on the local housing market.

That’s why I regularly tell buyers about events going on in the area.  I believe that the best way to get to know an area is to get out and attend a community event.

By doing so, you gain a better understanding of what quality of life is like here in the Highlands, NC area.

Thus, I hope you get a chance to check out at least one of these community events in the Highlands, NC area.  If you do, please let me know what you thought of it!

If you’ve been considering relocating to Western North Carolina area lately, contact me, Dorothy Swearingen, today.

I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have and tell you about current real estate market activity.

I’ll also provide you with a number of real estate tools that have proven invaluable to home buyers just like you.  These include:

Until next time,


Sell Your Western North Carolina Home Before the New Year!

Most home sellers in the Cashiers area of North Carolina believe that winter is the absolute worst time to sell their home.

The figure that between holiday planning, work and family life, interested home buyers aren’t going to have the time to navigate the market looking for their next home.

Although this is a valid concern, it’s still possible to sell your Western North Carolina home during the wintertime, as long as you market it correctly.

Continue reading to learn about steps you can take to ensure that you’re home leaves a good impression on interested home buyers.

Stage Your Home for Success During the Winter

The first thing that home sellers should know about wintertime home buyers is that these people mean business!

After all, why would you even both juggling holiday planning, house hunting and day-to-day obligations unless you were serious about investing in a piece of mountain real estate.

Thus, home sellers should be aware that first impressions are going to be critical.

Here are some steps you can take to ensure that interested home buyers won’t be able to get your Cashiers area home for sale out of their head:

  • Create an environment where home buyers can visualize themselves living in your home.  Do this by adding a few warm and welcoming accents around your home, such as a holiday wreath on the door or by setting the dining room table.
  • But remember: less is more.  Too many accents may prove distracting to home buyers. Or worse, it may cause home buyers to envision YOUR family living there.  That’s certainly the last thing you want when you’re trying to sell your home.
  • Accommodate the home buyers schedule as often as possible.  These individuals are taking the time out of their busy holiday season to tour your house and see if it’s a good fit for their family. So be flexible and work with their schedule as best you can.  You never know – it might lead to you selling your home!
  • Let there be light.  A few selectively placed lights can do wonders for making a room feel bigger and more inviting.  The same goes for open curtains.  Add even more emphasis to your home’s great features by using porch lights or other exterior lights.  After all, winter is the time of year when natural light is lacking, so you’ll need all the extra lighting you can get.
  • Just say “No” to Seasonal Home Aromas. While the smell of apples and cinnamon might be one of your favorite holiday aromas, it might be off-putting and distracting to an interested home buyer.  With such aromas, you risk leaving a bad impression on a home buyer, causing a prospective deal to fall through.  To avoid that, put away the holiday aromas for showings.

Your NC Mountain Real Estate Experts

Selling your home in the Cashiers NC area doesn’t have to be an impossible task if you know how to market your home successfully.

For more tips on how to stage your home, contact me, Dorothy Swearingen

As your NC Mountain REALTOR, I’ll provide you with expert advice, as well as such helpful home selling tools as:

Until next time,


Sapphire NC Real Estate Market Update for December

Activity has remained pretty stable on the Sapphire real estate market lately, according to recent data.

For instance, the average listing price has only edged up slightly when compared to the last year.

If you’re thinking about investing in some Western North Carolina real estate, I recommend you continue reading to learn more about home prices in Sapphire NC.

Sapphire Homes for Sale

Here’s a look at the current state of the Sapphire real estate market, based on the most recent information:

  • Currently there are 658 resale and new homes on the market
  • For the week ending on Nov. 16, the average listing price was $491,108 in this Western NC community.
  • Compared with the week before, the average listing price has decreased by about 0.5 percent.
  • During the week of Nov. 16, the average listing price for a 1-bedroom home in Sapphire was $106,000.
  • The average listing price for a 2-bedroom home was $250,000.
  • And the average listing price fora 3-bedroom and 4- bedroom homes in Sapphire was $469,000 and $900,000, respectively.

Relocating to Western North Carolina

For right now, the local housing market here in Sapphire looks like it’s fairly stable, although that can change from week to week.

The prices also suggest that it’s a good time to be a home buyer since prices are relatively low, and list prices continue to drop.

If you’re an interested home buyer ready to start searching for your dream home, then contact me, Dorothy Swearingen.

As your Sapphire area real estate expert, I’ll answer any questions you might have as well as tell you about available listings in our various mountain communities, including:

Until next time,