Testimonials

“My family recently bought a home in Black Mountain and sold a home in West Asheville with the expert help of Sona Merlin. Buying and selling a home is a very “real” experience that is a business transaction fueled by emotion. If you want someone who understands both sides of that experience than Sona is the agent for you. Either buying or selling she works hard to make sure you get what you are looking for while protecting and guiding you through the business aspects.

When looking for or new home she was more than willing to explore new counties to help us find what we needed. When prepping our home to sell she gave us great advice about what we should leave as is and what we should tweak. Our house was seen by several buyers and was under contract in less than 24 hours and it sold for well above list price.

For one of the most “real” experiences you will have in your life, you can not find a more authentic guide than Sona. ”

So the lit major in me came out. I hope this works for you. Thanks so much for everything.

We shall have you all out as we progress with changes to the house. Take care

Erin

“When I first started looking for a home to purchase I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted, Condo or House…or what location in Asheville. However, Sona was very patient with me while I worked to figure it all out. She was beside me all the way! She spent days hanging out with me driving from house to house, condo to condo showing me what was out there in my budget range. If and when she couldn’t come, her lovely husband Mark would help out. Fortunately Sona has a wonderful program that emailed me lisiting for sale so I could look online on a daily basis. Honestly I just didn’t find anything that felt right for me right away…it actually took about a year (me figuring things out), then one day finally I found a beautiful Cape Code style Cottage with a huge front porch in Oakley!! I fell in love instantly. I immediately got in touch with Sona. She called to make an appointment for us to see only to find out it was already under contract….my heart was broken. Sona on the other hand contacted the listing agent anyway and told them if anything goes wrong with the sale of the house to please let her know. And wouldn’t ya know, the contract fell thru!!! Long story short…I own that house now aka “Sherrie’s Bamboo Cottage”(…ask Tommy about my Bamboo forest that gives me so much peace & privacy). Thanks to Sona I got my house below Market Value, a New Roof, and a simple painless closing 2 weeks later!!!”

So if you’re thinking that you too my want to buy a new place in the future, why not sign up for email listings and start looking now!

Sherrie

We had worked with Sona before on the sale of a condo is South Asheville, but this time we were selling our house and hunting for a new one in West Asheville. When we started thinking about buying and selling, the first thought we had was, “Let’s talk to Sona and find out what she thinks we need to do in order to get the best price for our house.” We met with Sona at the beginning of December, got some good advice, and began working on the house in our spare time with the intention of finding a new house in 6-12 months and selling our current house. When we found a house we liked at the end of January, but were not really prepared to put ours on the market, we pushed into high gear to get our house ready for sale. Despite Sona’s best efforts with what we felt was an unreasonable seller, the deal fell through. We went and looked at a good many houses with Sona over the next month, and worked diligently to get our house ready for market. When we saw our dream house pop up on the real estate sites at the end of February, we called Sona so we could schedule an appointment to look at it, and she moved quickly to get us in to look at the house. Once we saw the house with Sona, all of us knew this was THE house. Sona acted quickly, helping us craft an offer on a Saturday afternoon, so that we could be the first offer to be presented. With Sona’s help, we managed to get our house on the market a week and a half later, and had it looking perfect. Sona put it up on the real estate sites before dawn, and by dusk, we had signed a contract for our asking price. Through the whole process, Sona kept us moving toward our goals, and helped us to get the best deals possible on both houses. She fought for us, and we knew that if there was something that needed done, Sona would make sure it was taken care of, whether it was paperwork for us, the lender, the seller, or the insurance company to fill out, Sona was on top of it.

Thanks from Shaun, Leigh, and Lucy!

Whether buyer or seller, clients who select Sona Merlin as an agent may rest assured that they’ve found the best real estate representation. More than a capable professional, Sona’s a strategist who will work with you to achieve the most lucrative market position for any property. And with the support of Appalachian Realty Sona Merlin will assist you in finding the Asheville area home that speaks to YOUR individuality.

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Melissa M

Trish

Sona provided us the best home buying experience imaginable! We are so lucky to be in the home of our dreams for less than asking price! Sona is the bomb! If you want someone as equally committed as you are to the right house at the right price she is your best partner!!!

Most Homeowners Planning a Renovation This Year

Seventy-three percent of homeowners say they plan to renovate this year, up 26 percent from a year ago, according to a survey conducted by LightStream, an online lending division of SunTrust Bank. Homeowners plan to spend more on projects, too—an average of about $9,000. That marks the highest amount since the survey began in 2014, and it’s 32 percent more than last year.

The most popular remodeling projects include outdoor space (41 percent), the bathroom (37 percent), and the kitchen (31 percent). Survey respondents say that if money wasn’t a factor, they would remodel their kitchen (42 percent), followed by replacing carpet with other flooring (41 percent), and then remodeling the bathroom (39 percent), according to the survey.

Man shopping for hardwood floor

© Sergey Ryzhov – Fotolia.com

Homeowners appear to be more focused on creating a space they love than increasing the value of their home. Twenty-seven percent of respondents say that personalization was their number one motivator for investing in a home renovation, followed by increasing the value of their home (14 percent), improving a home for resale (7 percent), and preparing for a major life event (4 percent), such as a new baby or retirement. “Regardless of their age, we found that most consumers are focusing their home improvement projects to reflect their personal lifestyle, comfort, and interests,” says Todd Nelson, senior vice president of strategic partnerships at LightStream.

Financial stress, however, can hinder the renovation process, Nelson adds. Some of that stress is due to improper budget planning for materials and labor prior to starting a project. The majority of homeowners say they are paying for their home improvement projects by tapping into their savings (60 percent), credit cards (32 percent), or a home improvement loan (10 percent).

SunTrust remodel infographic. Visit source link at the end of the article for more information.

© SunTrust Bank

Source:
February 19, 2019

Home inspections have been uncovering much-needed property repairs. More than 1 million repairs needed more than $11,000 in costs, according to a February review of 50,000 home inspection reports by Repair Pricer, a home repair estimating resource.

Nearly 55 percent of homes analyzed across the country had doors that needed adjusting, which could be an indicator of foundation issues, the report showed. More than half—or 54 percent—of the homes lacked exterior caulking and sealant, which could leave the home susceptible to extensive water damage. Furthermore, about 48 percent of homes lacked GFCI protection—this could pose a dangerous electrocution risk to homeowners around water-prone areas like the kitchen or bathroom.

“Home buyers and [real estate professionals] across the country should leverage these insights to better position themselves in the stressful negotiation process,” says Christian Adams, CEO of Repair Pricer. “In places like Texas, for example, buyers may only be given three to five days to complete the inspection period, meaning they may only have 24 hours or less to make a decision. During this period, having clarity and insight into the cost of repairs listed in a home inspection report is critical to avoid leaving money on the table.”

The most expensive home defects—uncovered in 9 to 20 percent of the homes studied—ranged in repair prices from slightly more than $1,000 to less than $10,000.

The following is a chart from Repair Pricer of the 10 most common home defects found in inspection reports:

10 most common repairs. Visit source link at the end of the article for more information.

Dual Agency –

January 16, 2019

Consumers are confused when it comes to dual agency arrangements in real estate, according to a new report from the Consumer Federation of America that reflects results from a consumer survey and a mystery shopper survey of real estate agents.

Two-thirds of consumers surveyed believe that real estate agents are always or almost always required to represent the interests of the home buyer or seller they’re working with. However, they’re confused when agents can also work with the other party.

“Today, many home buyers and sellers do not know whether their agent is representing their interests, those of the other party, or those of neither,” says Stephen Brobeck, a CFA senior fellow and author of the report. “Given the huge expenditure of a home purchase and the conflict of financial interests between seller and buyer, it is important that consumers know who their real estate agent is actually representing.”

A road sign with arrows pointing in opposite directions.

Charliedoug – Morguefile

States have laws requiring real estate interests and relationships to be disclosed to clients. But the CFA report suggests the laws may not be sufficient. The report says that the laws typically define agent roles as “agent,” “subagent,” “transactional agent,” “designated agent,” and “dual agent”—words consumers say they do not understand.

Also, the CFA notes that these disclosures could be diminished by the fact that they are only required to be given orally and may not be required early on during the home purchase. The CFA also notes that some agents are failing to make these disclosures or mention dual agency issues.

The failure of these disclosures can harm consumers, the report says. For example, home buyers who think subagents are working for them often have disclosed information about their finances and house price ceilings that the subagents are then legally required to share with sellers.

The CFA report calls for reforms including the prohibition of dual agency. Eight states currently ban the practice. Also, the report calls for clearer written and verbal communications from the real estate professional to the consumer about whether the agent will function as a fiduciary agent, subagent, or transaction agent or facilitator and what exactly that will mean to them.

“These reforms would benefit both consumers and real estate agents,” Brobeck says. “More informed home buyers and sellers will make better decisions. … And agents will not face the risks and ethical dilemmas of dual agency and undisclosed subagency.”

Read the CFA’s full report.

You are here Home News and Commentary Daily News 3 Home Repairs That Can Save a Sale

Sellers whose homes aren’t in tip-top shape may need to spend extra money or put in a little elbow grease to get their properties in market-ready condition. But what are the most important repair or maintenance tasks that support a higher asking price? “Smaller and less expensive updates in combination with good staging will have a great return,” Susanna Haynie, GRI, a sales associate with Colorado Real Estate Group in Colorado Springs, told HouseLogic. The National Association of REALTORS®’ consumer-facing news service highlighted some of the most important items to address before putting a home up for sale.

1. Fix flooring flaws. “Scratched-up wood flooring, ratty, outdated carpeting, and tired linoleum make your home feel sad,” the HouseLogic article notes. “Buyers might take one step inside and scratch the property from their list.” Most buyers don’t want the hassle of replacing carpet and may not accept a credit to cover the cost after the sale, Haynie says. When refinishing hardwood floors, for example, homeowners can expect to spend an average of $3,000 but recoup 100 percent of that cost at resale, according to NAR’s 2017 Remodeling Impact Report.

2. Repair water stains. The home’s plumbing issues may have long been resolved, but leftover water stains will mislead buyers into thinking the problems still exist. First, double-check that the problem truly is fixed, and then make any needed repairs to the walls or floors. Water-stained ceilings can cost about $670, on average, to fix. Drywall costs about $1.50 per square foot to repair.

3. Touch up the grout. Yellow or cracked grout can be a turnoff to buyers. New grout can make old floors look revived. “The best return-on-investment projects before selling a home involve making a home look like new,” Shelton Wilder, a sales associate at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in Los Angeles, told HouseLogic. Bathroom re-grouting costs an average of $1 to $2 per square foot, increasing to $10 for more complex jobs.