What a Real Estate Agent or Broker Can Do For You

When it comes to buying a home, you learn a lot of lingo. Same can be said for who you choose to help you make your big purchase. There are real estate agents or salespersons and there are real estate brokers. What is the difference? Well let’s just dive in and learn what each of their roles are and what they do for you!


Real Estate Agent Vs Real Estate Broker

A real estate agent acts as a liaison between the seller of a home and the buyer. They have the access to homes that are on the market and can take on the task of making negotiations on your behalf. They understand the tricky business of contracts and understand the legalities of a home purchase. In North Carolina, real estate agents must follow the following criteria:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • US Citizen
  • Complete 75 hours of state approved courses in a live classroom
  • Pass the state licensing exam with at least a score of 75%

North Carolina considers their real estate agents as real estate brokers however, they are not a broker-in-charge and cannot work independently as a broker. They must report to a broker-in-charge.

A real estate broker-in-charge typically does all the same as a real estate agent but they can establish escrow accounts and manages the earnest money deposit. A broker-in-charge typically will work on their own or open their own office and hire brokers underneath them. In order to become a broker-in-charge there is post licensing education required within 3 years of your initial licensing as a real estate agent. There are 3 90-minute classes to complete and a form of intention that must be filed in order to be granted the new status.


Really, What Do They Do For Me?

With all the homes on the market, and several folks trying to sell their home without an agent, why should you truly hire someone to help you buy your home? Let’s first consider the legal ramifications of home buying. There are contracts and negotiations. You will need an inspection done on the home. All of these things are not easy to navigate and the average person has no idea how to navigate them. Real estate agents have the education and experience to know exactly how things should be worded in a contract, how to negotiate effectively, who to contact for inspections, and lead you into the foray without fear.

Your agent is also a buffer. Once you lay out what kind of home you want and the ideal location, they are going to do the searching for you to find the best prospects. Try doing that on your own and you could find yourself spending hours looking at all the wrong properties. What happens if you aren’t 100% sure what you want but you know what your budget is? That agent can at least inform you of what is in your price range and help you navigate your likes and dislikes to whittle away at the options.

Your agent also has the connections. The longer they have been in the business, the more connections they have. Not only to fantastic properties but to reputable contractors, inspectors, and home repair businesses in the area. They can also tell you about the best things the neighborhood has to offer and highlight some of the best things to do in town. That’s an added perk when you are moving into a completely new area or state.

Of course, we don’t recommend you buy or sell your house on your own. Let us help you find the home of your dreams. Real estate agents work hard to make the process as painless as possible so that you can truly be excited for your new home. Isn’t that the point of buying or selling a home?


The Face of Asheville’s Rental Market

When most folks move here, they look for rental property to live in to get a feel for the area before they invest in a home. It’s important to know whether or not your career, home life, and social life will flourish before setting permanent roots here. However, we have seen that getting rental property can be much harder than assumed at first glance. Here is the real truth on what the rental market looks like in Asheville and all of Buncombe county.

Reports have focused on multi-family units, meaning apartment buildings and duplexes and show that there is a 96% occupation rate as of 2016. This has actually dropped from 98% in 2014. Vacancies in 2014 were at 99 units and in 2016, that number rose to 336. However, we also have seen growth in the number of available units with new complexes built all over the county within those 2 years. When it comes to affordable housing, government subsidized and income based rentals, have seen 100% occupation rate and a growing waiting list of well over 500 families. The new complexes that have come into the area have been high-end market units with very little growth in the affordable housing sector. That growth involved 2 complexes that were filled immediately and the waiting list added to as families are increasingly needing assistance.

Rental increases were above national average as well over the past two years. National average hovered around 3% and in Asheville, average rents were raised 4.4%. Interestingly enough, the rise for 2 bedroom units rose the most at 5.2%, 3 bedrooms averaged at 4.3%, and 1 bedrooms rose at 4.2%. 2 bedroom units appear to be the most sought after rental and accounts for the higher increase in rent.

In the entirety of Buncombe County there are 36 high-end market rentals. That doesn’t sound like much but we are only referring to multi-family units. As of 2016, there are1,970 units under construction and an additional 2,600 units planned or proposed. Less than 1,000 of those units are earmarked as subsidized and/or affordable housing units with the rest being high-end market rate. With the rise of the units that are coming, we are hoping this means a lower occupation rate that is desirable for a healthy housing market.

Unfortunately, the reports don’t include single family rental units and Buncombe county certainly has a large market of those properties as well. Rents are comparable for those units as the multi-family units and also see about the same occupancy rate. However, a quick look with a real estate agent or google search will show that there are units available. They just happen to fill very quickly!

So what does this mean for you, the potential new resident of Asheville North Carolina? It means being financially smart about your move. Average rents in Asheville are hovering around $1500 a month and surrounding areas in the county are roughly around $1000 a month. This means your monthly income must be $4500 or more per month to comfortably afford the rental market. More income will be desirable in order to save for a home purchase, of course! While you are number crunching, doing some research on the cost of living will equally be important so that you can save appropriately and enjoy all that Asheville has to offer. Don’t forget to research your moving expenses as well. Most importantly, make sure you have a rental unit ready for you when you come here. We have heard too many horror stories of families moving here, assuming they can get into a rental within a week and end up living in hotels until a unit becomes available. The same can also be said for the job market, have a job lined up first before you get here. Don’t shy away from checking out those single family units as well in order to broaden your options!

Should You Rent or Buy in Asheville?

People are flocking to Asheville and it’s no surprise! The gorgeous mountains offering plenty of outdoor excursions of all types, eclectic lifestyle, and a slew of fabulous restaurants and breweries make it easy to want to be here. When you factor in the low cost of housing, and overall lower cost of living, Asheville becomes even more attractive. Before you jump into a moving van, let’s consider whether you should buy or rent.


Rent Is a Fantastic Intro

Renting a place is simply a wonderful way to settle into the area and immerse yourself into Asheville culture. Each part of the town has its own sense of self. Downtown is typically where the tourists hit for a fun time and is chock full of boutiques and restaurants. Over on the westside, you will find lots of events and plenty of locally run businesses. The southside has become the place for young and upcoming people who want to experience a bit of Asheville luxury. The North and East sides have traditionally appealed to families. Renting allows you to choose an area and get to know it before committing to a home purchase. A two-bedroom apartment will easily run you $1200 per month in Asheville so be sure you are not eating into any money you are saving for a home purchase. Availability is impressive considering that apartment complexes are opening at breakneck speed.

If you aren’t in the position to purchase a home at the moment, renting is also a great way to make the move and save up for your own home in the future. Be sure that your income will allow for you to grow into the position of purchasing a home in the future. While Asheville has an abundance of employment, most of those jobs are in the tourism sector and do not pay well enough for a single person to save for a home. However, Asheville is a great place to start your own business. People here love to support the small and local businesses! Due to the high cost of renting, it’s wise to make renting a temporary endeavor when you move to the area.


Home is Where Your Heart Is

The ultimate recommendation is to purchase your home now before prices rise. Currently the median cost of a home in Asheville is approximately $250,000- $350,000 for a 2-bedroom home, depending on the area you are looking to move into. Those prices are rising making buying now more attractive than waiting it out. However, Asheville is also growing with plenty of new homes being built by developers to answer to demand. With a growing housing market, it gives you a little more buying power in negotiations over property.

It’s also important to consider property taxes into your housing budget. All Asheville City residents pay the city property tax and property taxes to Buncombe County. It is one of the issues some lifelong residents have had with the taxation, however, it’s considerably less expensive than other parts of the country.  Our homeowner’s insurance is typically lower as well. We don’t experience hurricanes, tropical storms, or tornadoes in the area which lend to a lower premium. Some areas near rivers and creek may be prone to be flooding and could raise your rates but even that is lower in cost in comparison to some of the bigger storms and weather epidemics seen in various portions of the country.

Given that current rental fees are comparable to mortgages in the Asheville area, it would just make sense to purchase and pay the same for a mortgage rather than lose the equity by renting. According to the Asheville Chamber of Commerce, the cost of living in Asheville is below the national average. Their cost of living calculator is especially helpful for you to use to consider how a move to Asheville can affect your finances.

Call now to an experienced Asheville real estate expert at Hi Alta Real estate today.




Baby Boomers Find What They Want in Asheville

In 2013, the average age of citizen in Asheville was 38 years old. In the last four years, Asheville has seen significant population growth. While we attract all walks of life and ages, baby boomers have found their home here easier than any other age group. We have curated a top five list on why that is!


  1. Freedom to Work – Our typical vision of retirement is one in which we don’t work at all and we spend our days doing the things that we desire. Perhaps that is learning the woodworking or growing a garden, those things that we put off during our working years because it was so time consuming. However, baby boomer have been changing how we live retirement and one thing many baby boomers want is the freedom to work if they choose to. This does not translate into a 40-hour a week, 9 to 5 position either. Baby boomers want work that fills their souls and one in which they can control. Given Asheville’s love for local business, many baby boomers are able to work out of their home crafting an art or doing a side job of some kind that gives them a sense of purpose and allows them to meet new folks during retirement. Many are able to make extra funds to pay for extra curriculars and save their retirement funds for the bills to sustain their life.
  2. Diverse Dating Scene – If Asheville is known for anything, it’s the diverse and eclectic lifestyle we so readily accept here. This also extends into the dating scene and with divorce rates over 50% these days, this means plenty of dating opportunities for the single baby boomer. Not only are their dating opportunities, there are a plethora of exciting and interesting things to do with your date! So even if you are a partnered baby boomer, there is still some great things to do in the area for you and your loved one.
  3. We are Health Conscious – Many baby boomers are starting to feel the effects of aging and this is the perfect area to find what you need for taking care of your body. We have gyms in each sector of the city and the environment lends its own natural ways to work your body. Hiking, biking, and walking groups are plentiful here. Additionally, if you are looking for mindful grocery stores that carry healthier food options, we service your needs through Co-Ops and local grocers who go out of their way to bring the best in organic and lower processed foods. Lastly, Mission Hospitals offers some of the best medical care in the area. Many of our Western medicine doctors will also work in conjunction with holistic health options to give you the best in medical care.
  4. Volunteering Opportunities Everywhere – A large portion of baby boomers are looking to volunteer more and give back to community, something they largely could not do during their working years. Combined with the fact that they have seen more political strife and rebellion than any other generation, baby boomers are simply more likely to vocalize their concerns for community and join forces to make big change in the world. Asheville is a hotbed for causes of all kinds. Whether you are working to help the homeless, domestic violence and rape survivors, or advocate for political change, there is always someone here in need of a volunteer to care for the community.
  5. School Isn’t For the Young – While the baby boomer was working, and possibly raising a family, there just wasn’t much time to learn a new language or a skill that they would’ve liked. Asheville fulfills that need through several businesses and the local community college. Whether it’s learning a musical instrument, or writing your memoirs, it’s easy to fill your time with some classes to keep the mind learning.

Baby boomers are living longer than their parents did and have more energy to live the retirement they want. We simply cater to their needs and empower our baby boomers to live a life they want!

Why Asheville?

So you’re looking to move to Asheville and hoping to find real estate that is just right for you. Whether you’re coming here to start a business, start a family or just start anew, Asheville is known for its real estate for a reason. From breath-taking mountains views to a bustling culturally diverse downtown, Asheville is home to more than 87,000 people who appreciate all this mountain metro has to offer.

Our team of realtors at Hi-Alta Real Estate are here to help you with your real estate search. We have commercial listings, lots and land, and a variety of homes to show. If we didn’t list it, no worries because our team of realtors are available to show you any property that you may be interested in visiting.

Just give us a call today or email us at info@hialtarealestate.com. Whether you’re looking for new construction, a traditional home in a long-standing community, the perfect mountain getaway or an investment property, you can count on Hi-Alta Real Estate.