Tuesday, February 21, 2006
real estate investment trusts (REITs)
The general as well as the Asheville real estate market has undergone dramatic changes in recent years. Real estate investment trusts (REITs) (roughly equivalent to mutual funds but hold real estate investments, instead of securities.)have become major sources of financing for property acquisition and development.
Whether looking at REITs or a single investment, experts recommend allocating 10 to 20 percent of an investment portfolio in real estate to enhance returns and diversify volatility and risk. Very popular these days in the Greater Asheville real estate market and in our area is the sustainable real estate investment. Interest in value-added “green” properties is on the rise in this progressive city in the mountains of Western North Carolina. And no wonder. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, http://www.usgbc.org/
the annual market for green building products and services topped $6 billion dollars last year, a solid indicator of consumer interest and direction.
When you put energy and money into an investment project, you create the future. Today's investments are tomorrow's possibilities. The more focus you place today on stewardship of historic properties and land, affordable housing, “smart growth”, rehabbing and infill projects, environmental restoration, and sustainability, the more your children’s and grandchildren’s future will include these.
A cautionary note: Investing in real estate requires a thorough understanding of how to analyze the value of a property and navigate the maze of land-use regulations, zoning laws, environmental impact reports, financing realities, and other challenges to buying and developing a property. That’s why it is important to select a point person you can rely on for thoughtful attention to your investment trajectory.
At Asheville1031, the ECO-Steward Real Estate Firm the focus is on investment property. A solid track record of success is a good indicator that we know how to “navigate the maze.” Good to know.
The firm does specialize primarily in large acreages to be placed (at least in part) into private trusts or to be developed into ecovillages, family-oriented businesses such as B&Bs and small horse farms, and sustainable urban developments. ECO certified advisors and land specialists are specifically trained to be on the lookout for excellent opportunities for clients. Many successful 1031 Exchanges is another indicator of the professional quality of this firm.
Does the future hold a “green wave” of investing where a triple bottom line, takes into account economic, social, and environmental performance indicators? Good question. Let us know what you think
Sunday, February 12, 2006
Remedy for Toxins in Your Indoor Air
TOP 10 Indoor Plants ...
but be careful,six( 6) of these 9in red) are toxic to PETS!
Did you know that at least 300 volatile substances found inside many homes and places of business can make you and your family sick?
Ranging from detergents, gasoline, oils, plastics, rubber, synthetic fibers, tobacco, smoke, carpet, clothes, foam insulation, furniture, household cleaners, paper goods, dry cleaning, inks, lacquers, creosote, varnishes, adhesives, sealants, paints, particleboard, plywood, and timber treatments…you will find them without much trouble in any indoor space.
They are the culprits responsible, at least in part, for the “off-gassing” :that may result in asthma, heavy fatigue, conjunctivitis, chemical hypersensitivity syndrome and chronic degenerative conditions. and chronic headache. Think of this….we and our kids and grandkids hang out about ninety (90) percent of the time indoors. We are breathing volatile substances all the time. That’s the reason that indoor air quality is an important issue. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that indoor air is so polluted that it exceeds acceptable air pollution limits. One EPA report states that "indoor air pollution represents a major portion of the public's exposure to air pollution and may pose serious acute and chronic health risks."
But there is a remedy for this situation, and it is inexpensive and lovely to see.
Remember when you were in Fourth Grade and your teacher taught about plants and their amazing ability to absorb carbon dioxide and turn it into oxygen and carbohydrates? Plants have long been known as nature's air purifiers. They maintain the oxygen supply on this planet…inside and out. In addition, NASA scientists discovered that indoor plants can drastically reduce toxic chemical levels inside buildings. Photosynthesizing plants and their roots and associated microorganisms act to break down contaminants which are then taken up as nutrients. The Boston fern, chrysanthemum, dracaena and English ivy are very effective at removing the formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene from indoor air.. .
Benzene, a contaminant that exists in tobacco smoke, plastics, paints, gasoline, inks, detergents and synthetic fibers, that can cause nervousness, dizziness, headaches and anemia, and also irritates eyes and skin. The following plants absorb this pollutant and break it down -- English ivy, gerbera daisy, chrysanthemum, devil's ivy (Epiprenum), peace lily (Spathiphyllum) and the ornamental corn plant (Dracaena marginata).
Formaldehyde, a contaminant found in foam insulation, paper towels and facial tissues, plywood, veneers, carpeting and household cleaners, can irritate mucous membranes and the upper respiratory tract and even can cause asthma. These plants can help to remedy the threat to wellness-- Boston fern, bamboo palm, philodendron, and chrysanthemum (again!), dwarf date palm, snake plant (Sansevieria) and the interesting looking spider plant.
Trichloroethylene, a known carcinogen that attacks the liver, is present in dry-cleaning solutions, and many inks, paints, varnishes, lacquers and adhesives. These plant-friends can overthrow this toxin --- chrysanthemum (yet again!), gerbera daisy, peace lily and two cultivars of Dracaena deremensis (Warneckii and Janet Craig).
P.S. The Dwarf date palm is most effective at removing xylene and the lady palm is a champ at breaking down ammonia.
Research has shown that the following 10 plants are the most effective all-around in counteracting off-gassed chemicals and contributing to balanced internal humidity.
TOP TEN (10) GREEN "REMEDIES"
* Areca palm * Reed palm * Dwarf date palm * Boston fern * Janet Craig dracaena * English ivy * Australian sword fern * Peace Lily * Rubber plant * Weeping fig
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Asheville Real Estate Offers Value Added
ENERGY EFFICIENT Properties where the cost savings add up
Some Asheville real estate practitioners can point the way to cost savings tips for you....
Install Energy Star ® Rated appliances. If you are buying or selling property, be sure to keep the manuals readily available. Seeing the Energy Star label is a compelling feature for the home buyer. In fact, nowadays, many buyers are insisting on Energy Star® Rated appliances not only for the cost savings, but because they know that this feature adds value to their property.
Energy Star® Rated appliances significantly exceed the minimum national efficiency standards.
They reduce energy costs…a very good-thing for you!
Remember also to save the yellow energy use labels from furnaces, hot water heaters and appliances.
Nowadays, more and more home buyers see the added value of these applainces, so if you
decide to sell your residential property, the yellow labels are a feature you will want to present.
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
25 ++ ECO-VALUE-Related Articles
you can order from
Mountain Homes & Land Legacies
Asheville Real Estate Journal
for the Asheville NC Area
1. Real Estate Portfolio Investments in “SUSTAINABLE Real Estate Development
2. ECO ESSENTIALS Indoor Air Quality …Make Your Living Space Sneeze-Free (and Non-Toxic)
3.1031 Exchanges and The Business Case for Sustainable Real Property Investing
Check out the Archives
4. Low-Maintenance Design and Sustainable Landscape Development...
5. Design and manage gardens and landscapes in a natural way
6. FEELING STEWARDSHIP
7. The Nature Conservancy’s Conservation Buyer Program
8. THE “REAL-TIME” REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT
9. ADD VALUE TO YOUR RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY ENERGY STAR RATING
10. "Social capital” …”economic capital”
11. ECO-VILLAGES in the Greater Asheville Area
Intentional Community....Ecovillage... Cohousing ...Cluster Housing
12. Local Environmental Resources and OrganizationsThe Canary CoalitionThe Citizen's Handbook of North Carolina's Environmental Information SourcesClean Air Community TrustThe Dogwood AllianceElisha Mitchell Audubon SocietyEnvironmental and Conservation OrganizationSouthern Appalachian Biodiversity ProjectSouthern Appalachian Forest CoalitionThe Southern Appalachian Highlands ConservancyWestern North Carolina AllianceWestern North Carolina Group of the Sierra ClubWestern North Carolina Regional Air Quality AgencyWild WNCHiking, Biking and Paddling near AshevilleAsheville Ultimate ClubBlue Ridge Bicycle ClubBlue Ridge ParkwayCarolina Mountain ClubGORP Western North Carolina PageGreat Smokey Mountain National ParkHiking in Western North CarolinaMountain Biking in Western North CarolinaNational Forests in North CarolinaNorth Carolina Outward BoundNorth Carolina Professional Paddlesports AssociationNorth Carolina State ParksSoutheastern Outdoor Recreation MagazineTrails of Western North CarolinaTrails.com for North CarolinaZen's WNC Nature Notebook
13. Human Scale Neighborhoods
14. Preserving NC Lands~N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources
15. WNC PROPERTY PURCHASED FOR PRESERVATION, RESTORATION
16. Public-Private Partnerships Secure Tract in High-Growth Area
17. PRIVATE LAND TRUSTS ~
18. Conservation ResourcesResources in the Greater Asheville Area
19.REAL ESTATE & SOCIALLY-CONSCIOUS INVESTING
20. Cluster Housing on Large Acreages and APPRECIATION
21. CLUSTER HOUSING, LAND USE, GREENWAYS...AND APPRECIATION
of Property in the Greater Asheville Area
22. Act for Air Quality & Quality of Life in the Asheville Mountains
23. Energy Efficiency Tips and Links
24. LAND TRUSTS
25. eHOMES.& $$$ REWARDS FOR YOU
~eco-Bit~ NC Healthy-Built Homes
~info bit~ THE U.S. GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL
26. FOR Real Estate Investors Western North Carolina
27. Eco-Sensitive Real Estate
28. How the New Breed of Environmentally-friendly, Sustainable Communities
Can Work for You and Others
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Asheville Real Estate Journal
Asheville Real Estate Portfolio Investments
in Sustainable Real Estate Development
An Important Understanding
Understand this: Here in the Greater Asheville area, Asheville real estate practitioners and investors are in the midst of a revolution. Granted, it is a quiet one. Yet, more and more people here in the Western North Carolina mountains notice the changes--subtle and not-so subtle.
Just an eagle’s flight over the mountain ridges to South Asheville, for example, where new construction is plentiful, Drs. Barry and Janae Weinhold are probably busy this very minute writing or speaking about change with compassion and Dr. Weinhold’s KINDNESS CAMPAIGN. http://www.thekindnesscampaign.org/Asheville/Asheville.php Building relationships is just as important as building the new McDonald's. The Campaign reconfirms the important understanding that we are all interconnected and that it's wise to recognize healthy (and unhealthy) patterns; to take seriously the very work of making meaning. That is something everyone can do: Try to bring what really matters into focus.
“The cause of intergenerational equity, how we leave the world to the generations that come after us, is the great moral imperative of our time.” ~Donna Morton www.integraleconomics.org
The work of communication for understanding and. that it is taking place in what some may consider an unlikely habitat— the arena is ECO real estate portfolio investing, and the groundwork is being done at ECO-Steward Realty in Asheville. “Do well while doing good,” is the firm’s motto. Their mascot is the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker. “Why this 20 pound bird, the largest of the woodpeckers?” you may ask. You’ll be told, “Because it was thought extinct for the last 60 years. Yet, almost as if by a miracle, it recently was re-discovered in the great Old Growth Forests of the South. This signals a second chance for all of us for renewed focus toward conscientious stewardship.” A spokesperson for the firm further states, “We believe that work and value creation go hand-in-hand. In the case of making meaning, context, not just content, is paramount. "
Whether offering historic properties to the Asheville real estate market, or choosing to invest in 1,000 acres to preserve for future generations, the 4TERRA TEAM at ECO-STEWARD REALTY works with clients in an economy of ideas by sharing stories about the mountain countryside and buildings of the cities, the past, and present. “Creating a vision for the future is all-important. At the current rate of development, we have at most 20 years to protect our much cherished landscapes possibly by investing in private land trusts .”
Land trusts protect different land types, with the most common ranked as: 1) habitat for plants or wildlife, 2) open space, 3) working farms or ranchlands, and 4) working forests. And land trusts can often fulfill a landowner's wish to keep the family land as it is for their children and future generations. Details available:
Successful transactions only happen when those involved take the time to talk with each other and to look beyond apparent short term gains. Again, the artist-economist Donna Morton, Founder and Executive Director of the Centre for Integral Economics: www.integraleconomics.org “The cause of intergenerational equity, how we leave the world to the generations that come after us, is the great moral imperative of our time.”
Indoor Air Quality …
Make Your Living Space Sneeze-Free (and Non-Toxic)
Recently, on a family vacation to the ocean, one of our family members— we’ll call him “Q”— was overcome with a fit of sneezing upon entering the home we had rented for our stay.
The sneezing continued with little relief for hours. The poor guy couldn’t seem to stop. Finally we headed over to see the Doc. The diagnosis: “Extreme Allergies”… “Take a look around the vacation rental for culprits: carpet, fabric, bedding,” we were advised.. “There are hidden toxins in every living space.”
We had suspected something of the sort, but now, hoping for ready relief for poor “Q”, we were on a Mission!
We noticed that “Q’s” sneezing seemed to erupt full-force in the bedroom. There we found that the newly installed carpeting had a distinctive odor which was obvious when you entered the room (off-gassing) . Also, the carpet was made of nylon and “Q” was breathing little bits of plastic whenever he went in that room. In fact, “Q” actually wheezed when he spent a few minutes there.
We closed the door and kept it closed.
If it could affect “Q” this way, imagine what it could do to the grandkids! Tiny bits of plastic in little kids lungs contribute to serious respiratory complications and asthma on an increasing basis. When grandparents are unaware of such health issues, they cannot safeguard the children’s well-being (or their own.) It occurred to us that so many of us simply do not know how to limit exposure to toxins in the air, even right in our own homes. Yet, healthy indoor air quality is an ECO ESSENTIAL.
With this in mind we hopped online and Googled “Indoor Air Quality”. Our research showed us that our vacation rental, with its well-intentioned new carpet and fresh coat of paint was off-gassing toxic fumes. The newly slip-covered sofas and chairs, comfy though they were, were emitting formaldehyde. No wonder “Q” reacted..
The whole experience made us great believers in non-toxic living spaces…and dogs who don’t turn themselves inside-out sneezing! (see picture of “Q” below)
For more information: www.nontoxicinteriors.com