Monday, December 26, 2005

quote of the year

"One day's exposure to mountains is better than cartloads of books."

John Muir

Invest in the Mountains

Saturday, December 24, 2005

1031 Exchanges and The Business Case for Sustainable Real Property Investing

Being environmentally friendly brings financial as well as social benefits Tax benefits, rebates and lower utility costs of being environmentally friendly add up to a real bottom-line reward.

The tax implications, rebate offers and soft benefits associated with environmentally friendly construction offer a pure dollars and cents advantage for real property investors who can earn tax breaks and rebates, benefit from the lower construction costs, reduce or eliminate the need for heating and air-conditioning equipment and the associated costs of purchase, maintenance and electricity, cut energy and water bills by as much as half and even protect operating budgets from increases in energy prices.

Sustainable construction need not add cost, and its long-term return on investment (ROI) is real. It increases the value of the building and reduces operating costs every year. And the benefits to the environment and to employee health and retention are priceless.

Everyone wins.

Tax rebates; LEED incentives; using energy-efficient designs and devices; maximizing natural energy sources; building add up to tangible benefits for ECO-developers and investors. And remember, although it is most effective to plan green elements into new construction, some elements, such as solar panels can be added to existing residential buildings and commercial buildings adding value to the structure not only for today but for tomorrow’s resale market..

In the commercial marketplace, studies show that environmentally friendly habitats not only raise employee retention and productivity rates, but improve the daily experience, ECO-friendly design leads to increased revenues in the retail market. Research shows that renters are willing to pay more in rent and bring apartment building owners higher-wealth clients.

The real estate advisors and brokers at the ECO-STEWARD Real Estate Firm realize the we and our children live in a fragile, interconnected world. We are interested in establishing mutually beneficial relationships with 1031 Like Kind Exchange investors and an entire network of colleagues who put the theories of sustainable construction to work in residential and commercial buildings. It feels good to be able to be a part of a group of people who are “doing the right thing” for Planet Earth while enjoying a very positive bottom line.

Again…. Everyone wins.

NOTE: The SBA’s 504 Loan Program…For 2005 and 2006, the maximum for loans to general businesses has been raised to $1.5 million; minority- and women-owned businesses can borrow up to $2 million and manufacturers can borrow up to $4 million

CONTACT: ECOInvest@Asheville1031Realty.com

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Low-Maintenance Design
and Sustainable Landscape Development...

Design and manage gardens and landscapes

in a natural way

A “younger couple” down the road from us, and an “older couple” up the hill both have gone au naturel…in their landscaping practices, that is.

In the beginning, some of the residents in our village expressed concern about their property values. They were worried that when these "adventurers" ceased to mow and weed, brought in native plants and tress, and let nature take its course, it would be a detriment to the neigborhood. But, judging from the positive talk around here, our innovators with their low-maintenance, sustainable landscape, will be showing a number of us how to design and manage our gardens and landscapes in a similar manner.

As it turns out, giving nature the thumbs-up, even in a small way in existing landscapes, works for all of us in the neighborhood. By shifting to a low-maintenance approach, trading out plants that demand a lot of attention and substituting plants that seem to do well on their own, many of us have found more time to be “neighborly” . Many of us are way less exhausted on the weekend when we get together. The lawns are smaller, but the landscaping is mighty attractive with ground covers and shrubs, and mulch praising our efforts for sustainable landscape design. .

,,,and.... what about the benefits ?

REDUCED money, water, chemicals and labor.
INCREASED wildlife habitat and viewing.
Increased probability of a strong foundation that invites other wild plants to come in and grow.
Increased time to live with and learn about each other and the plants used – adaptable, drought-tolerant, insect- and disease-resistant –
LESS EFFORT— self-sustaining systems do NOT require a lot of effort or input on our part – something everyone can enjoy...

including our dog! (pictured above)

If you are living here in Asheville, or if you are relocating to Western North Carolina be sure to talk with the ECO-STEWARD Real Estate Firm. Our network of contacts can provide assistance when it comes to design and development of sustainable landscapes..

Possibly a good starting point, requiring no commitment except for your curiosity is simply to look around at our roadside landscapes. Here you will see the result of the efforts of the horticultural staff at The North Carolina Arboretum. Over the years, they have taken numerous adventures in developing sustainable landscapes, on difficult slopes, and in the process have saved tax-payers some money, it seems as management requirements are reduced. Next, you may choose to visit with arboretum staff to collect some ideas.

Our neighbors began by just not mowing a small area of lawn. They let it grow, and were soon surprised to see perennials and annuals (who apparently had been in hiding beneath the lawn for who knows how long, )pop up in all their splendor Deeming that a success, they began to plug in native sedge and grasses, perennials, shrubs and small bulbs. This new vision turned out to be an excellent barrier for weed suppression. They are in to their third year now and we rarely see them out weeding.

Of course, we all appreciate the fact that our au naturel neighbors consulted with experts and went to great lengths to design the landscape. The result is not a wild frenzy of unattractive weeds as some might have feared. What we see resembles inviting garden spots on the ridge where we all live. Because they took the time to know their sites, chose plants that do well in our soil conditions, involved many of us in the fun of laying out the plants, where we were only asked to keep in mind a few basic design principles (such as putting tall plants in back and short ones up front again, we all benefited. Ask the neighbors now, and you will be told that working with nature in landscaping does save time and money. And it adds the joy of new found harmony and balance in our daily lives and in the community and environment around us.

Low-Maintenance Design and Sustainable Landscape Development

Tell us your interests!

Friday, December 09, 2005


Did you know there are an amazing 10.4 acres of air-purifying plants growing on the roof at FoMoCo''s latest factory? AND did you know that FORD has built the world's first gas/electric hybrid SUV? Take a closer look at the advances Ford Motor Company is making toward a more environmentally responsible future here: http://www.fordvehicles.com/environmental/index.asp?bhcp=1


You might be surprised how many REALTORS® here in the Asheville area are also great lovers of nature. It's hard for anyone who visits or lives here NOT to be ! Just look around at these old mountains, or go for a hike on the Appalachian Trail, or stand on the banks of the French Broad River after a wild wind and churning, and you'll be entranced.

A few REALTORS® who walk the lands around here actually can tell where they are by the "feeling" that the land generates. Does that sound far-fetched ?…Imagine you are standing on a sunny, two-acre knoll looking out over the wildly roaring French Broad River ...now imagine how that might feel VERY different from what happens when you stand quietly looking over another two acres tucked in a cove guarded by 200 year-old tress…If you "feel" this as you read..write me right away!. ..and head on Home to Asheville.

Around here, when you get to the point that you can "feel" the land, you may chose to chalk it up to your Terra Muse…. If you are a REALTOR, that's when you hope that an ECO-STEWARD will come along who will appreciate the secrets the Muse whispers.... When that happens it's time to hunt for the treasure !

But what about KEEPING a treasured find, gorgeous and pristine, that speaks to the heart, for our children’s children... ?

One way may be through the Nature Conservancy’s "Conservation Buyer" Program.

The Nature Conservancy’s Conservation Buyer Program

The Nature Conservancy’s Conservation Buyer Program offers a pragmatic approach to holding lands that recognizes the interests of stewards of the land, both investors and sellers, and the community. By working together, land trusts and ECO- buyers are preserving thousands of acres of land across the nation that are beyond the means of conservation organizations to purchase alone.

Conservation organizations are increasingly turning to conservation buyers for assistance with land protection efforts in certain areas or on certain types of projects. Conservation buyers are individuals who buy a property that is subject to a permanent and legally binding conservation restriction or who will impose a conservation restriction as part of their purchase. A conservation restriction – also known as a conservation easement –limits certain uses of a property, such as the right to subdivide and develop. Because use is permanently restricted, land subject to a conservation restriction is generally appraised at a lower value than comparable unrestricted parcels and donation of such a conservation restriction can constitute a charitable gift.

A conservation restriction can be held by either a public or qualified private nonprofit organization.A conservation restriction being imposed by the buyer at time of purchase can be customized to the needs of both the buyer and the land. If no home exists on the property, a restriction can usually be structured to allow some construction under strict guidelines that protect the property’s natural assets.


1.The property remains in private ownership and on the local tax rolls.

2.The restrictions stay with the property, even if it is sold or transferred, and therefore limit the use of the property permanently. These restrictions are binding in perpetuity, and designed for a distinct conservation purpose.

3. Many communities reduce property tax assessments on land with a conservation restriction in place, because the site's potential to be further developed has been reduced or eliminated.

4.Donation of certain qualifying conservation restrictions can sometimes provide tax benefits

5. The community benefits from the preservation of community character , while the potential for sprawl, which costs communities more than the tax revenues it might generate, is deterred.

For Information about ECO-development and sustainable building practices,
and for investment in LAND…contact

janeAnne is at the cutting edge of a new field: environmentally responsible real estate consulting and brokering. As the Principal Broker at 4TERRA, the Eco-Steward Realty, she and her team consult and advise clients in terms of sustainable and environmentally-sensitive developing, acquisition and brokering of land and historic residential properties .



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