Tag Archives: Bellwhether Builders

Sold in 2011

The Skinny on Modern to Contemporary Home Sales

2011 started out similar to the previous few years, but quietly came roaring to life as it nudged into 2012. A few realtor friends said it was one of their better years, but they had to work  extra, extra, extra hard for it. As far as contemporary homes are concerned we had a few special ones swap owners this year. Here is a brief look at some notable ones.

In general, all shapes and sizes of homes found new owners in 2011 while some still remain on the market or have been pulled. The issue for the modern to contemporary home buyer in Asheville is lack of inventory. A good, open, one-level contemporary home of modest size with a view isn’t around every corner as seen in my version of heaven. Kelly Erin-Spinney, realtor for Real Living, knows having previously worked real estate in both Florida and California that today’s homebuyer is looking for less – not more. She states, “They are looking for their open and zen mountain retreat which opposes what builders were building in the past ten years. Times have changed.” I know from my own clients that if I could find spaces that live like an urban loft, but exist privately in nature I might have a chance of retiring.

This January seems to be one of the most active on record in our own office. Kelly and I have witnessed a few contemporary’s being snatched up just before showings. Specializing in Modern, we have a back order of simple and clean buyers looking for the same polished diamond among the rustic.

This vintage gem near Biltmore Lake was on the market for five months and just went under contract to the disappointment of our buyers. A 1972 contemporary with 3 Beds + 2.5 Baths listed for $349,000. Sweet!

Buyers– you may have to be patient or creative (ranch remodel?) to find or create the one, but don’t expect bargains. The interesting tidbit for all bargain hunters out there waiting to make half price offers: on average these homes sold for 94.7% of listing price. Yes, you heard me! I did the math myself and admit it put a crack in my jaded shell. Which means – it is time to make that deal and get on with your life here in Asheville.

Here is a sweet, little mid-century built in 1965 on 2 acres in Fairview. Currently, listed for $295,000 it has 3 Beds + 2.5 Baths in over 2600 sqft with an extra workshop building.

Sellers – get your homes to 2012 standards. Even with little inventory buyers still want something up-to-date or a clear understanding of what it will take to get there. Make it easy for them. We all know buyers have been nervous about the unknown future which means they don’t care to add on the unknown expenses of bringing a home up to date at this stage in life. Sure – buyers like charm. But you can sit there on your charm as it often comes via Home Depot into inadequate spaces with lots of fresh air (drafts). Do something. Bring in an expert, listen and follow through. [ I often bring in Katie Rice from Bellwether Builders for both my buyer and seller clients. Having built contemporary homes, remodeled ranches she can provide some consulting from a range of $85 to $250 to look at a home and give you some ideas and costs. I know many architects, including Mark Allison offer consultations. ]

Yes, it’s been a rough few years. But as predicted by the Mayans, 2012 is shaking and speeding things up. So, let’s all soften into our yoga matts (insert uji breath), ease our resistance and drive one-handed into our Subaru future. Isn’t that why we are here — in Asheville?

A Modern Practice in Building

introDesigner Katie Rice is part of the Bellwether Builders’ team and has been dreaming of her current business and lifestyle for fifteen years now.  Katie has a degree in Building Science and is focused on creating healthy buildings.  Whether it is creating energy efficient envelopes for lower energy costs or efficient layouts for ease of use she enjoys creating buildings that give life and freedom to their inhabitants.  Katie provides the creative and design direction for their work. 

Katie’s husband, Brad Rice, is the general contractor with an “unlimited” license.  Before spending a few years working with a master trim carpenter in Portland, Oregon, Brad had extensive experience as a framer.  For the past eight years he has been building custom homes in the Asheville area along with spec homes while the economy allowed it.  Together, Brad and Katie are a full service design and build team along with Jeannie Kuhlman, Director of Operations.

kitchen1One of the benefits of being a design build company is that they know what things cost during the design phase.  From early on Katie likes to sit with the client and discuss their wants and needs along with completing a costing sheet.  She helps clients understand right away the dollar outcome of their decisions and offers guidance on how to meet their budget goals.  “We work so there are no surprises down the road for the clients and help give them control over the budget,” says Katie.  Taking that even further, they are offering an established monthly fee for their service and letting the homeowner pay all the construction invoices directly with no mark up.  It is a novel approach, but clients seem to like it.  In today’s environment you have to be both resourceful, creative and give something up to move forward with projects.  However, what you are gaining is the client’s trust.   They are working with you through all steps of the process. front











Katie and Brad’s work reflects in their Montford neighborhood home.  Their home provides a creative backdrop to their lifestyle and work.  The outside has two entrances for separating the office and home.  The space is defined by very functional and distinct spaces for working and living, but is open to adapt to different needs for work and play.  Their work office is separate, but open to allow for interaction with their kids.  The living space has distinct areas for cooking or an intimate conversation, but it can all be cleared away to serve as a meeting or small community space.  final-photoOverall, their home is a reflection of their creativity and ingenuity, their understanding of space in relationship to today’s lifestyle needs and building quality.  What they have achieved for themselves is what they hope to achieve for their clients; a way to afford a smart home of any style that works by stepping back and giving the occupants long-term flexibility and freedom.  This is one of the important principles in modern space design. 

You can find out more about Bellwether Builders and their flexible approaches to projects by going to their website through the link on the right of this page.  

(text by Troy Winterrowd, photos by John Fletcher)