Blog :: 04-2009

Why Choose a "Green" Home?

The Energy Star logo is placed on energy-effic...Image via Wikipedia

Whether it's a choice to bring sustainability and healthy living indoors or the desire for energy efficiency, there are countless reasons to buy "Green." For a home to be certified requires third party verification. ENERGY STAR homes have met the requirements set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These homes have energy-saving features that typically make them 20-30% more efficient than standard homes. Benefits for homebuyers and New Home Features can be found at By clicking on the "Take the Tour" icon at the bottom of the page you can actually look behind the walls of an Energy Star home.

An Energy Star townhome in Black Mountain, NC An Energy Star townhome in Black Mountain, NC

NC HealthyBuilt Homes have met criteria established by ENERGY STAR plus additional requirements which can be seen at Points are awarded for builders completing the various items on the checklist. There are four levels of certification depending on how many features the home has. For a list of homeowner benefits go to

Asheville Ranked #6 on Forbes List of Business-Friendly Cities

The is the city of Asheville, North Carolina's...Image via Wikipedia

Asheville, NC was recently ranked #6 on's list of the Best Places for Business and Careers.  The list studied cities throughout the U.S., and ranked areas based on such factors as Cost of Doing Business, Net Migration, and Income Growth.  Asheville ranked #2 nationally on the Cost of Doing Business list, costing businesses 20% less than the national average.  As a state, North Carolina dominated this category, taking the top 4 spots and 6 of the top 7.

Overall, North Carolina had 6 cities in the top 20 of the Forbes list, including 3 in the top 6.  Kurt Badenhausen, Associated Editor at Forbes, explains North Carolina's business-friendly environment in a video posted on the Forbes website.  Click here to listen to his comments and watch the entire Forbes video.

$8,000 Tax Credit Offered to "First-Time" Home Buyers

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed into law on Feb. 17, 2009, provides many buyers with a tax credit of up to $8,000 if they purchase a home between January 1 and November 31, 2009.  Most news outlets have referred to this credit as available only to first-time homebuyers, but that is not entirely accurate.

The Act does specify that this incentive is for first-time buyers, but it is important to understand how the law defines first-time buyers.  In this case, a first-time homebuyer is someone who had no interest in a principal residence in the prior 3 years.  Clearly, this opens up the tax credit to more than just true first-timers.

The actual amount of the credit is based on the sales price, with the credit equal to 10% of the sales price up to $8,000.  That would mean a home over $80,000 would qualify for the full $8,000.  This new incentive is actually a modified version of the $7,500 tax credit offered as part of the Housing Assistance Tax Act of 2008.  That version required re-payment of the credit, in essence making it an interest-free loan.  However, the new version is not a loan, and it does not requirement re-payment as long as the buyer remains a principal residence for a minimum of 3 years.

For information about claiming the first-time homebuyer tax credit on your tax return, visit the IRS website.  Also, the National Association of Realtors has a good list of frequently asked questions.

This article is a brief summary of this exciting homebuying incentive, but anyone looking to take advantage of it should consult a tax adviser.

Asheville Cabins Movie Night: Being There and Dirty Dancing

(FILE PHOTO) Actor Patri...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

If you are safely ensconced in your Asheville cabin and would prefer a screen tour of the Biltmore Estates why not rent or buy the fabulous movie starring Peter Sellers and Shirley MacLaine, Being There.  Filmed at the Biltmore and first released in movie theaters in 1979, it has come out in a deluxe edition DVD and in blue ray for the first time this month.  Sellers' character, a gardener/avid television watcher, is mistaken for a deep thinking, well-educated man in this timeless satiric movie. Each is available at for $14.99 and $19.99 respectively.

If you enjoy viewing movies and then the locale itself then don't forget to order Dirty Dancing while you are at Amazon.  This movie, filmed at nearby Lake Lure, features Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. A DVD 20th anniversary addition, released in 2007, is available for only $4.99.

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Featured Asheville NC Home for Sale

When it comes to quintessential mountain living, most people think of beautiful views.  Of course, to get those views, you usually need to gain elevation, which often involves negotiating a steep driveway or gravel road.  But that's not always the case.  Laurel Ridge, a neighborhood just north of Black Mountain, is home to some of the most incredible mountain views in Western North Carolina, and you may be surprised how easy they can be to access.

39 Great Aspen Way

This home in Laurel Ridge offers many of the features that vacation home buyers desire - great year-round views, a fireplace, and easy access to town.  In this case, we are talking about downtown Black Mountain, which features a wide variety of restaurants, shops, and galleries.  For folks looking to retire, other requirements usually include one-level living (including the master suite on the main level), a garage, and easy entry to the house (few steps).

This home is unique in that it has a very flat driveway (and the road to the house has a gentle grade), as well as a 3-car garage, which is a bit of rarity in the Asheville area for a home with a view.  Above the garage is 700 square feet of unfinished (studs in place) apartment space and another deck.

Inside, the wood flooring and beadboard ceilings give the home a very "mountain home" feel.  And what mountain home would be complete without an expansive deck to take in the view!

To view more photos and see detailed information, click here.