Saturday, December 11, 2004

Real Estate Investing, Second/Vacation Homes & The STING OF THE BEE 

CONSIDER the little things when investing in real estate

When you invest in real estate as a 1031 Like Kind Exchange or with your IRA, it is important to know your territory. Knowing your territory includes knowing about “pests” in your area of choice. Recently, while touring properties with clients, we noticed that several vacation homes, not now occupied, had at one time been occupied with more than their occasional residents. We could see the remains of a form of wood-devouring bee.

Many second/vacation home seekers in the mountains near Greater Asheville seek log homes and contemporary homes with lots of glass and wood. In this case, the log and cedar-sided homes we were considering DID attract carpenter bees. That’s why I say that it’s important for you to be vigilant when you are making investment decisions and those decisions include vacation or second homes that fit so well with our landscape.

Carpenter bees are prevalent throughout the United States, so you may already be familiar with them. Here in Western North Carolina, you may find them foraging around flowers, shrubs and under the eaves of buildings. This bee even will bore into wood to make its home causing damage to any wood part of your property. And unlike bumble bees, they are known to aggressively go after two legged creatures. We had an encounter of this kind last summer. While visiting friends who have a vacation property in a golfing community, we discovered another party of “visitors”.

No doubt, there is plenty of room at our friend’s vacation place. Everything is BIG there. There are 9 foot cathedral ceilings and loft, an enormous granite and stainless equipped kitchen ready for friendly gatherings, two master suites on the main floor, three fireplaces (one on the sheltered deck for autumn-time enjoyment) and to our hosts’ dismay, also a giant carpenter bee nest! And it’s true, those bees can be hostile. One of the suites has a large sunken tub and solarium where our host couple was enjoying a “good soak” early Sunday morning. Suddenly, a high-pitched howl, followed by a Whoooooosh erupted from their quarters. Out from the tub dashed the two bubble-lovers—au naturel— right out of the tub and into the great room, in full view of all their concerned guests! A small swarm of angry female carpenter bees sped after them in hot pursuit. Luckily, they evaded the attack and the bees flew out the open door, but what might have happened if they had stung and the couple had been allergic to bee sting? The display of flying bubbles might NOT have been such a comical sight.

So it is important to consider the little things when you are investing in real estate. (THAT’S a good reason to utilize the services of a REALTOR.)

Here is some information you may not know:

Carpenter bees bore holes into wood overhangs, fence posts, and trees. They like to crawl between cracks of siding and roofing. Boring into wood, they drill a hole about 1/2" wide, but guess what? That hole only will go straight for an inch or two! Then it will turn 90 degrees where a nest is situated along with its egg chamber. Carpenter bees lay their eggs at the very end of the chamber, place food alongside the egg, and then seal it all up tight.

I have talked with specialists in carpenter bee control. They tell me that it is NOT uncommon for an egg chamber to be two(2) or more feet long and have numerous egg chambers branching out from the main chamber.

What does this mean to you if you are in the market for a second or vacation log or wood –sided home? It means be ready to keep a good eye out while you are on the search. If you have any questions about carpenter bees please email me naturewalker@janeAnne.com. If I can’t answer your questions, and I am NOT an expert in the matter, I can refer you to someone who can!

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