The Economic and Emotional Value of Homeownership

In good times or bad, there is one constant: Homeownership remains the American Dream for millions of American families. And there are many reasons why, both economic and emotional.  Most Americans consider homeownership to be their single best long-term investment and a primary source of their wealth and financial security. Generations of families have counted on and used the equity in their homes for their children’s education, their own retirement and other milestone expenses.  Individual household budgets are helped by tax incentives that are designed to make owning a home more affordable. Deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes can result in thousands of dollars of tax savings, especially in the early years of the mortgage when interest makes up most of the payment. Home owners save nearly $100 billion annually on mortgage interest and property deductions alone. And when home owners sell their primary residence, they get an enormous tax break. A couple who owns and lives in their home for two years and then decides to sell can keep up to $500,000 of the profit tax-free, and a single owner can keep $250,000.  A healthy housing industry means more jobs and a stronger U.S. economy. In fact, fully 15 percent of the U.S. economy relies on housing.  Most of the products used in home construction and remodeling are manufactured in the United States. Constructing 100 new homes creates more than 300 full-time jobs, $23.1 million in wage and business income and $8.9 million in federal, state and local tax revenue. New home owners spend money on decorations and furnishings, to enhance the landscaping and to become members of the community by patronizing local businesses and service providers.   (more…)

Smart Home Selling Tips

With today’s changing housing market, home-buying opportunities are tremendous. Interest rates are low, prices are competitive, and many builders are offering fantastic incentives and financing options. But what if you have to sell your current home first?  These tips will help you get your home sold and on the road to moving into your own new home of your dreams. We have these homes for sale here! First, be realistic when setting a price. You may not be able to sell your home for what it could have sold for a few years back, but don’t be tempted to wait until prices have gone back again. It’s always better to trade up in a buyer’s market.  For example, say your home value has dropped 10 percent from $300,000 to $270,000. A move-up home selling for $500,000 in the past has also dropped 10 percent in value, and now sells at $450,000. If you sold your home today for $270,000 and purchased the larger house for $450,000, the difference in price would be $180,000. But if you waited to recoup the 10 percent value on your home and sold it at $300,000, chances are that same move-up home would also move up in price to at least $500,000. That’s a $200,000 price difference between the two homes. So by selling today, you would actually save $20,000.  The price you set for your home is obviously the key factor in many buyers’ minds. But don’t forget that presentation is crucial. The potential buyer needs to be able to see themselves living in your home.   Keep personal items like photographs to a minimum. Address any clutter and either donate items to charity, throw them out or organize them neatly. Organize all of your closet spaces and kitchen cabinets. Clean off kitchen countertops and pack up small knickknacks. Your house will appear neater and you’ll also get a head start on packing up for your own move. Remove furniture that blocks walkways or windows. Leave just enough furniture to showcase the room’s purpose. Rent a storage unit if you have to. A home that is too empty can appear lifeless, so if you’ve already packed your furniture, consider hiring a staging company that will rent you some for a short time period.  Do a thorough cleaning of your home. Wash your windows inside and out, wipe down baseboards and clear out cobwebs from ceiling corners and closets. Make any minor repairs.  Even small touches count. Hang fresh towels in the bathrooms and kitchen. Set the dining room table, and buy fresh flowers for vases throughout the home. Turn on all your lights during the open house to highlight the home’s amenities.  Finally, don’t forget the first impression: curb appeal. Make certain that your house number can be read from the street and remember to keep your sidewalks clear and your lawn mowed.  Trim shrubs and trees and if possible, plant some flowers.     Selling your home doesn’t have to be a headache. With a little preparation, your home will be sold before you know it and you’ll be settling in to your new home.   Sean Sullivan is an Accredited Master Builder and past president of the Asheville HBA.  He is currently the First VP of the NCHBA.  His firm, Living Stone Construction, is mission motivated and value driven to meet the budget of any client.  To learn more LSC, you can visit them at their new website  Source –

February is National Builder Designation Month

Buying a new home or remodeling your existing house is not a decision many families take lightly. Not only is buying a home a significant financial expenditure, your home has strong emotional ties as well. For many families, homeownership is the most valued long-term investment they’ll ever make, and it builds a sense of pride, accomplishment and stability. So it’s not a job you want to entrust to someone who may not have the training or experience to do the job right.    One way you can achieve confidence in your selection of a builder or remodeler is if they have earned a professional designation from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).       NAHB offers comprehensive training programs to builders, remodelers and other industry specialists that lead to professional credentials in specific topic areas. The professional designations in NAHB’s program are aimed at helping home builders and remodelers improve their skills, advance their careers and to recognize industry expertise and commitment to professional growth for the home building industry.   Some of the professional designations builders and remodelers can earn include:  Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS)  Certified Graduate Builder (CGB)  Graduate Master Builder (GMB)  Certified Graduate Remodeler (CGR)  Graduate Master Remodeler (GMR)  Certified Green Professional™ (CGP)  Master Certified Green Professional (Master CGP)    Earning an NAHB professional designation is a challenging and enriching process. Designation students learn the latest technology, building methods and business practices through a series of relevant courses taught by expert instructors. In addition to the required courses, they stay current by investing in continuing education to keep abreast of the latest building techniques and emerging industry trends, and to maintain their active designations.   For example, choosing a professional who has earned the Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation ensures that your remodeler will know how to address common age-related barriers. They will modify your home so that you, or an elderly resident of your home, will be safe and comfortable by widening doors to accommodate wheelchairs or other mobility aids, installing shower bars to improve safety, and making other modifications.    Builders or remodelers who have earned designations will also perform the work to the latest safety standards. If you live in a house built before 1978, federal law requires that contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes must be certified and follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.    Home buyers and owners can be confident that a credentialed professional has superior training, practical experience and in-depth knowledge. Designation-earners are qualified specialists who are ready to meet your specific needs, have passed rigorous coursework and are committed to being among the best in the business. Each year, hundreds of builders and remodelers from around the country make the effort to earn professional credentials.     To find out more about what builders and remodelers who have earned designations can do to help you achieve your housing goals, go to and select Work with a Certified Professional.  Sean Sullivan is an Accredited Master Builder and past president of the Asheville HBA.  He is currently the Region X VP of the NCHBA.  His firm, Living Stone Construction, is a first-tier builder of fine custom homes in Western North Carolina, and recently won “Best in Black Mountain in Custom Homes 2011” by the US Commerce Association.  Source –

The Settings of Black Mountain, 37 Cottage Settings Lane

Living Stone was the first Preferred Builder to start and complete a home in the development in 2006.  We built this as a model home for the community and the sales team to showcase how the DRB standards were to be implemented.  This home was featured in the Asheville Parade of Homes.  Sean currently lives in the home with his family and it is available for show. Please contact us 828.669.4343 for more informtaion. We also built numerous projects for the developer including the two pump houses and sales office at The Settings of Lake Rhodhiss.