Buying Unique Mountain Properties

Buying Unique Mountain Properties 

The mountains of western North Carolina are an easy drive from major cities like Atlanta, Charlotte, Raleigh. Many residents already have a vacation or retirement home here. Heading toward cooler temperatures and escaping the asphalt jungle on weekends is a common practice for big city area residents.

The WNC mountains offer almost every type lifestyle imaginable from championship golf courses, ski and lake resorts, city living in Asheville, to small eclectic communities nearby, or to get out into the country in just 20 minutes. You can hike the Appalachian Trail, paddle any number of rivers, or drive the Blue Ridge Parkway, just to name a few of the many outdoor activities. If people-watching is your thing, there’s no better place to be than downtown Asheville! Housing choices range from adorable tiny houses, remote log cabins, organic farms, riverfront retreats to expensive luxury estates. All price ranges are represented.

Buying Unique Mountain Properties would include this spectacular home just west of Asheville

Do Your Research

When buying unique mountain properties, especially since the mountain area is so large and the options are so many, potential buyers from outside the area will want to narrow things down a bit before beginning their search for the perfect property. Two of the most important considerations are the budget and the type of area where you want to live. As an example, do you want to live close to conveniences such as shopping, restaurants and medical centers, or is your passion to be in proximity to recreation activities such as hiking, horseback riding trails, boating or skiing? These are not always mutually exclusive as we do have many communities that have both the modern conveniences as well as recreational amenities in close proximity. You will also want to decide on the size of the house you want including the number of bedrooms and bathrooms needed.

When buying unique mountain properties, is there a specific type of community where you would like to live? We have a large variety in the mountain area with communities focused on some recreational activities such as skiing, golf, equestrian and fishing and boating at rivers and lakes. There are communities focused on the arts and spiritual or holistic living. We have historic districts and gated-luxury communities. Another consideration is the amount of land you desire. Consider if you want to live in a city or town with close proximity to neighbors, or in a more isolated, rural setting.

These are just examples of some of the initial points buyers will want to consider before starting the search for a property. Once you have a pretty good idea of what you are looking for, it’s time to contact an agent or start searching online. In addition to all of our own Special “Finds…” listings, we have put together a catalog of all listed unique properties in the mountain area, in one place, on our website.

We review every property listing in the mountains and identify the ones we would classify as unique. We then sort them by style and type and organize them for buyers to review on SpecialFinds.com. These properties are sorted into the following categories: Log and Rustic Properties, Historic Properties, Water Front or Water View Properties, Horse Properties and Farms, Modern Green Eclectic Houses and Luxury Homes and Estates.

SpecialFinds.com is the only place buyers can find virtually every listed unique property in the mountain area without having to wade through the clutter of ordinary properties seen on other real estate websites. We can tell by our web traffic that buyers will visit the site, often lingering for hours, searching through the various unique property listings.

Search our unusual mountain properties

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Getting Unique Homes Sold – a Creative Approach

 
Getting unique homes sold is the primary marketing focus of Special “Finds…”.
 
We use a completely different approach… a different thought pattern, to attact house hunters for our unusal properties.  
When selling an unusual property, homeowners often find that traditional marketing methods just don’t work. Special “Finds” is a marketing agency for unique properties that takes a creative approach to getting unique homes sold.
Special “Finds…” Uses an Innovative Approach to Market and Attract Buyers for Unique Homes

Special “Finds…” is a marketing and advertising agency that specializes in helping owners of unique homes get their properties noticed and sold. The agency uses innovative marketing techniques along with mass-market advertising campaigns to get wide exposure and reach potential house-hunters. They develop custom innovative marketing campaigns to get one-of-a-kind properties noticed.

The first step in the Special “Finds…” marketing approach is to “capture the feeling of the property.” The agency then crafts a lengthy property story written from the house’s perspective. The house is brought to life and buyers are emotionally transported through the property from wherever they are as they read the story. Buyers can feel what it’s like to live in the house and on the grounds.

Next, full-page ads are placed in the digital editions of the New York TimesWall Street Journal, Robb ReportMansion GlobalduPont Registry, and over 120 international publications representing over 60 countries, including in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. An HD video tour and Google Earth video fly-over are also created and used in all ads as well as on LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, and other social media.

Each home is placed on the Special “Finds…” website, which has a national and international following of unique property buyers. All pages are translated into the language of the reader. This is an important part of the marketing strategy needed in getting unique homes sold!

Brenda Thompson, Special “Finds…” Founder, President, and CEO was the Director of Marketing at the New York Stock Exchange before entering the real estate industry in 1991. She founded Special “Finds…” in 1995 and has focused exclusively on marketing unique properties and getting unique homes sold. She has consistently used a creative marketing since she founded the firm.

Thompson said, “Every home I’ve ever owned has been unique, from a stone gatehouse on the Hudson River in New York to a post and beam home with colored bottles embedded in the walls in North Carolina. When I was ready to sell, my only option was to rely on traditional real estate firms. I quickly discovered their lack of marketing skills and that marketing a unique home in a sea of cookie-cutter houses was a certain recipe for failure. I then founded Special “Finds…” to fill the need for professional marketing in an unserved market in the real estate industry.”

Special “Finds…” is a professional marketing and advertising agency for selling unique properties. Headquartered in North Carolina, Special “Finds…” develops and executes marketing and advertising campaigns for unique properties throughout the United States and around the world. The agency is also a licensed real estate firm in North Carolina and Pennsylvania and represents buyers and sellers with their unique property transactions in those states.

See our unique properties for sale.

 

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Choosing the Correct Swimming Pool Liner Color

What is the best choice for a Swimming Pool Liner Color?

Recently, the owners of one of our luxury historic homes decided to investigate replacing the vinyl liner of their heated inground swimming pool to stretch out the time the pool could be used. The sellers looked at the benefits associated with choosing a different swimming pool liner color, specifically dark blue versus light blue.

This property sits is in the mountains of western North Carolina in the charming college town of Sylva. It is located less than an hour west of Asheville, and like Asheville, this property enjoys four distinct seasons – a short winter, long warm spring, short hot summer and long warm fall. 

The sellers have a large family. Children and grandchildren are frequent visitors and spend much time splashing in the pool.  In their quest for a different swimming pool liner color, they discovered the following pros and cons:

Cleanliness — A light swimming pool liner color will show more dirt. The aqua colored liner that they had previously was seldom dirty, but any leaves or dirt in the pool caused it to appear dirty, especially as debris beneath the water became magnified.

light swimming pool liner color at this home

BEFORE

dark swimming pool liner color at this home

AFTER

Temperature — One of the biggest advantages attributed to their new dark swimming pool liner color is that it absorbs the heat from the sun as opposed to their former light color pool liner that reflected the sun.

Energy Savings — This pool has a new gas heater but because of the new dark swimming pool liner color, the heater is not used as often and definitely reduces gas usage!

Aerial view of historic luxury home with dark swimming pool liner color.Bottom line, they love the new dark swimming pool liner color. Aesthetically, the pool blends beautifully with the home’s exterior. The pool is much more inviting and has a more relaxing appearance!  

Learn more about this house and amazing property that is currently for sale for $865,000:

http://specialfinds.com/listings/wnc-historic-luxury-home-college-town/ 

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Selling Metaphysical Houses | Selling Unique Homes

Tips on Selling Metaphysical Houses

Selling metaphysical houses have unique challenges.  There are homes on this earth that hold a special calling. Often the location on which the property is located reaches out to the new owner.  Buyers may be attracted to an advertisement for the property but feel no connection to the setting.  When the right buyer comes along, it is important to allow them to “connect” rather than force or push for an offer.

Such is the situation with one of our Special “Finds…” listings at 1192 Rabbit Skin Road in Waynesvilleselling metaphysical houses like this one in Waynesville NC, sometimes requires waiting for the buyer to be called!This home has a history of ‘finding its next owner’.  Over the years this property has gained much worldwide attention. In its early years, it was the home of psychic, author and cosmic communicator Greta Woodrew. Acting as the corporate retreat for the founders of the Space Technology and Research Foundation (S.T.A.R.) it hosted many famous visitors from around the world.  Currently, it is utilized as a private, family residence.  These owners saw the property in a dream and felt such a strong calling that they relocated from Florida — no questions asked!  They later discovered that on the 23 acres were life healing crystals and a vortex that they were able to re-open.

When selling metaphysical houses, it is important to recognize that everything emanates from energy and by focusing on the “feeling” that the property is giving out, you may be able to allow the house to attract its next owner.

If you own a property that you believe has a special calling, if you or friends are healed or become healthy upon visiting your property, you may own a metaphysical house! 

Calling on a higher force to find the next buyer can help. Walk the grounds, be quiet, meditate and notice any special sensations.  Your property has a soul that may have existed before you.  Tap into it by listening and feeling.

Selling metaphysical houses may require more time and thus, patience. Be open to signs equaling opportunities for the new owner to appear!

 

 

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Curb Appeal — Getting a House Ready to Sell

Curb appeal can be improved. Compare before and after on these unique homes.
Before and After — Getting a House Ready to Sell

Curb Appeal is extremely important in getting your house ready to sell.  To improve your chance of selling your property more quickly, and to make your house stand out from the crowd, it is imperative that before you call a Realtor, you spend some time focusing on your property’s curb appeal and getting your house ready to sell.  A large part of a Buyer’s “Buying Decision” happens during the first few seconds at your property. Buyer’s will notice your curb appeal immediately.  Make sure they get a great feeling from the beginning. Look at your house and your property the way a buyer will see it.

Step 1:  Curb Appeal — Drive Up to Your Property

Take notice of how your property appears from the curb — “Curb Appeal”, or, if a buyer will be approaching on foot, look from that vantage point. –       Is the driveway in need of repair? –       Is the yard mowed? –       Are there bushes that need trimming or dead trees? –       Do you have a fence that’s broken, or a tilting or damaged mailbox?

Step 2:  Walk up to the house, and to your main entry.

–       Is your walkway in good repair? –       Are there trash cans visible? –       Does the door need painting or repair? –       Are gutters running over and downspouts clogged? Adding potted plants or fresh flowers to your entry way or stairs always helps!

Step 3:  Open the door and look inside.

–       Does the doorbell work? –       Does the door lock and unlock easily? –       Does the door squeak? –       Are windows in the door or surrounding the door clean? –       Is the entryway floor, floor mat or rug clean? –       Look up – are there cobwebs?

Step 4: Walk through your house

–       Are the windows and floors clean? –       Pillows should be fluffed, furniture  dusted. The rooms should smell fresh – no pet or smoking odors!  If necessary, invest in a room ionizer to eliminate odors.

Step 5: Use my free checklist

Use a list similar to the following, starting outside and working inside. Breakdown things you notice into chores, and if available assign someone to complete them. Once you finish everything — with your curb appeal refreshed, and after you have taken all the other steps toward getting your house ready to sell, your property should look so good that you might have second thoughts about selling.  If that’s the case, it’s time to call your Realtor! Special Finds to do List - Getting a House Ready to Sell focusing on curb appeal as well as a home's interior. Download Special Finds House Sale To-Do List as a PDF

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Unusual Houses Asheville NC

Biltmore Estate Asheville, NCBiltmore Estate Asheville, NCThere are a great number of unusual houses in Asheville NC.  The most unusual, of course, is the famed Biltmore Estate, ranked eighth in America’s Favorite Architecture by the American Institute of Architects, and sits on some 8000 acres.

Having marketed unusual houses in the Asheville as well as Hendersonville NC  since 1995, I am very familiar with the broad range of fun, unique, weird and wonderful properties in the area.

Take a look at this map to see the surrounding counties.

Buncombe County with Asheville NC and Surrounding CountiesBuncombe County — where Asheville is located;

Henderson County  — to the south and east with the quaint town of Hendersonville

Haywood County  — to the west, with wonderful Waynesville, just 20 minutes from Asheville;

Madison County — with the artistic and farming communities of Marshall and Mars Hill;

Polk County — with the horse country of Tryon;

Transylvania County — with the beautiful college town of Brevard, and over 250 waterfalls!

Yancey County — to the north and east, with Burnsville;

You don’t have to drive far from Asheville to find unique properties.  One such property is located in Waynesville.  Named “Echo” by the owner, this property at 326 Howling Wolf Trail (not on GPS!) was given that name because she believed that “you get back what you put into something”.

asheville nc area homes range from modern and eclectic to antique

With over 5800 square feet, this home with professional chef’s kitchen has every amenity you can imagine is priced almost $300,000 under appraised value!

Modern Houses for Sale,  Log Cabins and Rustic Homes,  Historic Houses for SaleHorse Properties and FarmsCountry FarmhousesWaterfront or Water View Houses for Sale

 

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How to Sell a Unique Home

If you’ve ever owned a unique property, or unusual home, you understand the concerns with selling. You know that, even though everyone who has visited your place loved it, they might not have had the courage to buy it. So how do you sell a unique property?  How do you attract a unique buyer for a unique home?

It comes down to the way you advertise!

Unusual houses appeal to a different audience of buyers. There are buyers out there, specifically looking for something different, something uncommon — a unique property.

I, myself, fell into that category.  I couldn’t describe the  property I was looking for, because I hadn’t seen it.  I just knew that I didn’t want a cookie cutter house.

After buying my first home, a stone gatehouse, overlooking the Hudson River in NY, I realized there must be other buyers like me.  That’s why I started Special “Finds…”, where we sell only unusual properties.

Unique property buyers are different from other buyers, because they buy purely on the emotions, they focus on the “facts” later — after they have connected emotionally with the property.  So your agent needs to advertise about the things that a unique property buyer will relate to.

Here’s an example of an ad I wrote from one of my previous listings:

The ad describes the history of this once forgotten Special “Find…”. This unique property had multiple offers and sold within 3 days.

Nostalgia Cottage 

tips on how to sell a unique home.The screen door slams as a child dashes in one door then out another.  Laughter echoes throughout the house as children play hide-‘n-seek on the lawn.  Grown-ups sip iced tea in rockers on the wraparound porch.  A gingham cloth drapes picnic tables where lemonade and cakes tempt nibbling from passersby.  Nostalgia Cottage has lived a rich social history where friends and community gathered annually for various occasions.  Built in 1908 by the well known Tanner family, she sits back from the road on approximately 3 acres.  Freshly painted bright white, with new roof and significant infrastructural updates, she is well on her way to renovation.  Her sturdy walls hold a history of warmth, love, and pride, obvious in the detail of some of the original features still remaining — oak flooring cut from the trees on the Tanner farm, original trim and frame work, plaster walls in the foyer, soaring 11 foot ceilings, 4 freshly painted bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.  The kitchen is all original and needs complete cosmetic renovation, yet the space is large with separate breakfast room.  This property is a ready and waiting canvas within walking distance to shopping, dining and medical facilities.  With some 2800 square feet, she would make a wonderful B&B.

Ask your agent to describe your property “emotionally”, so that a buyer can feel the “history” of the property, or how it is to live on your property, and in your home, from wherever they are, while they’re reading your property advertisement.

That’s what we do, at Special “Finds…”.  And it works!

For other ideas to help you sell your unique property, read my post: How to Price a House

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How to Price a House | Pricing a Unique Home

Agents Learn How to Price a House in Real Estate School

Some 27 years ago, when I became a brand new real estate agent, I learned how to price a house.  We compared five or six houses in a subdivision, located along a single street.

Each house had basically the same look from the outside.  Some had garages and/or decks; some had more bedrooms or baths than others; some had upgrades that other houses didn’t – a new kitchen, upgraded bathroom, etc.  We learned how to price a house, by comparing the neighboring properties to the “subject” house – the house we were trying to determine how to price.  We used a form like the one below:

HOW TO PRICE A UNIQUE HOUSE

 

These days, determining how to price a house is done pretty much the same way.  You may not find a comparable house on the same street, or even in the same development, but usually, you can find a similar property within a reasonable distance.  This rule generally applies to the pricing of more standard properties.

Once you establish a rough price, the rule of thumb is to list your property slightly higher than recently sold comparable houses, and slightly lower than comparable properties that are actively on the market. This should give your house a slight edge over the competition.

Don’t make the mistake of pricing your house too high to compensate for a desire to negotiate!  These days, buyers are savvy, and there are a lot more houses available for sale than there have been in many years.

It is far better to have more showings and less room to negotiate than a lot of room to negotiate and no showings!

Determining how to price a house can often be challenging as was the case in this very unique SteelMaster Quonset Hut.

We listed this SteelMaster Quonset hut a couple years ago. It was well-known as the most unusual house in the county. Of course, there were no comparable properties anywhere near, not even in the state of NC.

 Determining how to price a house can be quite challenging, especially if you own a unique house!

Determining how to price a house is fairly simple for standard houses but a unique house may have nothing similar to compare it.  Unusual houses are not generally located in a subdivision or development.  Sometimes it is necessary to reach a good distance out of an area to find a comparable property for a Special “Find…”.

For other ideas to help you sell your unique property, read my post: Tips to Sell a Unique Property

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How to Sell a Unique House

Tips You Can Use — Learn How to Sell a Unique House

If you own an unusual home, consider yourself lucky! You have something to advertise that other properties may not have. Use your property’s uniqueness to make it stand out from the crowd. Use the ideas below to formulate your plan and learn how to sell a unique house.

One of a Kind

When selling an unusual property, recognize that there is a value in having something that is one-of-a-kind. Make sure to feature all of the special characteristics in marketing the property and don’t waste time and money in trying to market to ordinary buyers who aren’t looking for something unique or unusual. I would encourage sellers to make sure their agent has a plan on how they will market to buyers who are seeking a unique property.

How Do You Price Your Home?

One of the first things sellers of unique properties want to know is: “How do I price my home?” Pricing an unusual property is not at all the same as pricing a property in a traditional neighborhood or subdivision where comparable sales can be found in close proximity.

To find enough comparable sales to properly price a property, we often have to extend our search area quite a distance. With our focus on unusual properties, we catalog all unique listings in our market area and provide that as a resource for buyers through our SpecialFinds.com website.

We monitor unique properties as they sell, and have a database of unique property sales we can use for pricing analyses. Sellers are advised to make sure their agent can demonstrate a professional approach to pricing the property, taking into consideration the unique characteristics, and the challenge in finding comparable sales.

Unrealistic Listing Price

A common mistake that sellers make is to insist on an unrealistically high listing price, believing that they are creating room for negotiations and that they can reduce the price later if the listing is not attracting buyers. Although it is difficult to properly establish a market price for a unique property, buyers are more educated than in the past and most of the time can sense that a property is priced well above a fair price.

The most common result is a small number of showings or no showings, no offers, and therefore, no negotiations. The recommended approach is to price the property in a realistic range, attracting the highest number of interested buyers.

Emotional Buyers

There are buyers specifically looking for unusual properties, and sellers want to make sure they are attracting these buyers for their unique property. Buyers of unique properties buy on emotions, so they first need to emotionally connect with the property and then they will consider the facts. Sellers of these properties will want to work with an agent that can verbalize the unique characteristics of the property so potential buyers will relate to it.

Use Stories to Bring Properties to Life

We use stories in our listings to bring the properties to life so that a buyer can “mentally” feel what it will be like to live there and to be on the property. I like to bring as many senses as I can into the ads – what you see – floors the color of honey; what you hear – a train whistle in the distance; what you feel – cool slate floors; what you smell – freshly mowed grass. I want to describe the property so the buyer can feel the history of the place. The marketing should mentally transport buyers to the property from wherever they are as they read the story. We try to give them a feeling of what it’s like when the house in the description becomes their home.

Below are two examples of stories I have used in ads for unique home listings.

“Apogee”

As if reaching for the very stars above, music filled the space. “Turn it all the way up, no one can hear us!” And they did…and they danced. Friends called, and 17 minutes later they met them downtown for dinner. Apogee, at a cooler 3950’, is the highest altitude Asheville address. Totally private with 75-mile views, she sits on 14.6, low maintenance, mostly wooded acres, sharing a .25 mile boundary with the Blue Ridge Parkway. With 6420 sq. ft., there are views from every room. Numerous porches & decks invite entertaining or reflection. A few of the high-end features include 2 master suites, ultra-luxurious ensuite bath, Crow’s Nest for star gazing; 2-story, stacked-stone, wood burning fireplace, enormous kitchen, both formal and relaxed spaces, hardwood & radiant heat tiled floors, wired sound system and closets aligned to incorporate an elevator. Awe-inspiring Asheville city lights.

“The Old Allison Place – 70 Acres”

Every Sunday, sinners, and saints showed up at Grandma Allison’s house. No invitation necessary, no shortage of food – fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, fried okra, and more. The kitchen was crowded, yet we all fit in — buttermilk biscuits hot out of the oven. Prayer, then pass the dishes – all gone. Kids everywhere, slamming doors, hiding in the bedrooms upstairs and down. Out in the big barn, men discuss livestock, and when or if to cut the timber again. Women relax on the wraparound porch. Banana pudding for dessert! Sitting on 70+ acres, with approximately 55 in woods.

Catch Phrases

Buyers often inquire about our listings by name or by elements of the house’s story, rather than the address. They will ask about “the house where the seven children grew up”, or “the place where the horses waited for the sound of the sliding barn door”. An interesting result of our descriptive advertising is that we have sold four of our listings to remote buyers just from the advertising without the buyer ever physically seeing the properties until coming to the closing table. We use detailed photography and video tours, so in any case, the buyer did have a virtual tour. We had the buyers agree to hold the sellers and our firm harmless if they didn’t like the property once they saw it, and each one closed without an issue.

Regardless the type of property, it is always important that the house shows well, both on the outside as well as the interior. Make sure that the property is in very good condition and make sure that you keep it that way during the listing period. Be willing to show the property at any time. With an unusual property, make sure you are prepared to move when you have a buyer. When a buyer comes along there may not be ten of them looking for your property; there may only be one.

What sellers have said:

“An interview with several real estate agents prompted me to list with Brenda. However, she did so much more than ‘list.’ She met with us to lay the foundation for how she would present this house. She then spent time on the property to enable her to write a story of the home that would convey its unique character to buyers. The buyer approached her so she functioned professionally as a dual agent. Brenda and her assistant helped both the buyer and seller to move through the process and were an excellent liaison during due diligence and on through closing…… which occurred within 2 months of our initial meeting!”

– Pat T.

“My knowledge of Brenda is based not only on her skills but more importantly on her attitude. She listens to what I have to say, then responds accordingly. I don’t always like what I hear but I know that her facts are accurate. Brenda has a good heart. She understands how attached one can become to a property and home and she treats that attachment with respect. Anyone can list a property but not all are willing to do the extra things needed to show and sell. Do yourself a favor. Start with the best. Brenda can be counted on to work hard to get the job done.”

– Trudee S.

 

Why spend your time learning how to sell a unique house. We’re marketing experts.  Let us help you!

                

 For other ideas to help you sell your unique property, read my post: How to Price a House

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Grow a Living Roof or Green Roof | Sustainable Living

grow a living roof on your homeThe thought to grow a living roof is becoming more and more common in the United States but living roofs are not a new idea.    

A living roof or green roof is one that has a layer of earth allowing vegetation, perfect for a simple lawn, flowers, trees or a vegetable garden.  

They have been an important part of architecture in European countries for more than 60 years.  Some countries have recognized their benefits to the extent of requiring that all new flat roofs grow a living roof.

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