Another New Listing

Beautiful 4 acres of pasture

We are pleased to announce another new listing.  This time, its a 131 acre tract located 25 minutes north of Asheville just outside the college town of Mars Hill.  Off the beaten path, but actually being very convenient to a four lane highway and shopping, dining and such in Mars hill less than ten minutes away.  This property has pasture, garden, two large creeks, excellent paved road access on two roads, numerous good building sites, and an old residence.

Check out the complete listing and photos by clicking here.  The last time we listed a 131 acre tract (late February) it was under contract in eleven days and closed in less than thirty.  Could this one go that fast?

Many Happy Returns

Many happy returns (to Uncle Sam).  Now that the 2016 tax season is officially over, my mind wondered over to thinking of where does all that money go.  Its practically impossible to tell these days, but another thought came to mind, and that is the national debt.

If you’ve never seen the U.S. National Debt Clock, then you simply must visit the site by clicking here.

Its mind boggling.  Utterly mind boggling.  This site shows you the running totals of more than 50 financial metrics concerning our nation’s finances: and it ain’t pretty.  The running total at the top left of the site is usually the most foreboding for viewers.  Its the running tally of our U.S. National Debt.  When I started writing this post, it stood at $19,880,075,148,000.  That’s nearly $20 TRILLION dollars.  I’ll include the updated tally when I am ready to post this article.

Down at the bottom right you will see our U.S. Unfunded Liabilities which at present is more than $105 Trillion.  What are “unfunded liabilities”?  This the total of federal worker’s pensions, V.A. benefits, Social Security including Medicare Parts A, B & D, all of which are unfunded.  That means there is not enough money to pay these obligations in the future.  But that isn’t the figure that gives me greatest pause.  Its near the dead center of the screen and titled “Currency and Credit Derivatives 2017“.

What’s that?  Remember what brought down the economy in 2007 and 2008?  Yes it had a lot to do with the housing bubble, but that was just a part of it.  It all stemmed from something called “Credit Default Swaps”, which are basically financial bets on stocks placed by big investment firms, banks and insurance companies for which they expect a hefty payout when the bets they’ve placed are called in.  Trouble is, the figure is presently over $625 Trillion.  Back in 2007, the total was a tenth of this figure.  Back then we learned the phrase “too big to fail”.  If the banks were so big back then and so critical that they should be bailed out, where do they stand today?  They’re far bigger and more in debt and more exposed in Credit Default Swaps.  The fact is, when the stocks underlying these bets tumble (and they will), the investment banks don’t have nearly the assets to cover their obligations.  None of them.  Not one.   What happens then?

Whatever happens then, it will be too late to be buying a bugout or off the grid property to run to.  Better to get prepared today while the sun is still shining.  At Retreat Realty, we are here to help forward looking people find a safe, stable place to call home in the midst of economic and societal unrest.  Call us today to get started looking for the perfect western North Carolina mountain retreat.  Oh, by the way, in the time its taken me to write this post, the national debt climbed another $21,198,000.  Make that $21,209,000.  Nope, $21,214,000……..

Heritage Life Skills

Sustainable gardening class

Its time again for the sixth annual Heritage Life Skills in Waynesville.  If you’ve not attended one of these before, I highly encourage you to do so.  This is the most complete event of its kind anywhere of which I know.

Over the course of three days this week (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) you can participate in nearly fifty classes on practical skills necessary for living close to the land or off the grid.  These classes include metal smithing, foraging for food, soap making, medical/first aid, communications, land navigation, canning, power generation, etc.  We’ll be exhibiting in the vendor’s area, so please stop by to say hello.

Our friends at Carolina Readiness Supply are the organizers of the event and I encourage you to visit their store in downtown Waynesville.  Its the most complete store of its kind I’ve found anywhere in North Carolina.

Outsider Club

I recently had the good fortune of having Jimmy Mengel, Managing Editor of the Outsider Club interview me and now publish the interview on their website here.  For those who don’t know, the Outsider Club is an alternative news outlet that is well written and focuses on the importance of protecting one’s personal freedoms when it comes to way of life, financing, travel, protection, etc.  The general point is that government continues growing and gaining more power over our daily lives, while those who stand up to that overreaching end up being marginalized at best and criminalized at worst.  Their tag line is “….Because you’ll never be on the inside.”

The Outsider Club provides a voice of reason and is the trumpeter of news that you wouldn’t normally see on the major networks.  No, they aren’t “fake news”.  Their writing is spot on and can be verified through various original source documents and individuals.  I’ve written before about unreliable media outlets in a previous blog post, but The Outsider Club is not one of them.

Jimmy and I connected some time ago and he thought his readers might take an interest in my line of work: helping concerned citizens prepare for natural or manmade disasters.  I thoroughly enjoyed our back and forth conversation and appreciate being featured on their website.  You can read the article by clicking here.  While you’re there, make sure you subscribe to their news feed.

Biggest Listing Yet

Own an entire east/west valley

Morris Glen Farm is our biggest listing yet.  At 761 acres, Morris Glen Farm located in McDowell County (Marion, NC) is the largest listing in the MLS within seven counties.  We’re honored to have been selected to represent the family in the sale of this historic property.

The farm has been in the same family since July 8, 1788, and is available for sale to the public for first time.  From pastures, to creeks, to mountaintops, to a three bedroom cabin overlooking a three acre pond, this property has it all for an outstanding family recreational compound, corporate retreat, hunting preserve or bugout property.  Read all about it here.

A Safer Smarter Grid

The current issue of Time Magazine has an article titled A Safer Smarter Grid as part of its cover story of America’s aging infrastructure.  I’ve written several times in previous posts about the vulnerability of our nation’s power grid from natural events (ice storms, hurricanes, solar flares) to manmade events (terrorism, mistakes and age).  This article does a good job of explaining the need for a more robust system as we become a more and more wired society.

Power outages from bad weather tend not to last terribly long; usually no more than a week in bad cases such as the 1977 blackout in NYC.  However, the author points to the more scary scenario of a cyber attack on the system and how it could disrupt every day life for months on end.  Eric Spiegel, CEO of Siemens USA states that a smarter grid helps utilities restore power faster during outages, yet at the same time creates more opportunities for hackers to access the system.  Industry officials are referenced in the article stating that the power grid comes under some sort of cyber attack every four days, and their concern is a concentrated attack could leave the entire nation in the dark for weeks or months.  Imagine for a moment what life would be like without power for four weeks on the eastern seaboard.  Its not a pretty thought.  Gas tanks would run dry.  Cell service would go out.  Grocery shelves would be cleaned out.  Electronic banking would freeze up.  And perhaps most worrisome of all, people’s normal civility would go out the window.  In the aforementioned 1977 NYC blackout, looters were burning city blocks within 24 hours.  Imagine how bad it would get in four weeks.

However, the forward thinking homesteader or prepper is ready for these kind of disruptions by having alternate power sources, long term food storage on hand and ways to protect life and property.  We here at Retreat Realty aim to help individuals find resource rich properties in these western North Carolina mountains where they can live without having to be tied to the grid such as the Upper Rock Creek Hideout.  If you’ve contemplated having a bugout property or off the grid property, call us today to discuss how we can help you get started.  You aren’t crazy for thinking about it, and its not hard to get started.

New Cabin and 40 Acres

Great Room (furnishings stay)

We recently listed a wonderful 3 bedroom, 3 bath cabin on 40 very private acres with two year round streams and a pond.  This is an exceptional value in that it is an immaculate house with all furnishings to convey.  Located just 18 minutes south of Marion and 14 minutes north of Forest City, its in a “sweet spot” with regard to climate and elevation.  Located in a gated 500 acre community with just 28 properties, it is very private.  Not another house in sight.  Click here to read the full listing description and be sure to take the 3D Walk Through Tour.  This is an ideal North Carolina prepper property or just a great vacation getaway at a price that is below replacement cost!

Thank You Veterans

Veterans HomeThank you Veterans!  This post has nothing to do with real estate or prepping, but rather a public thank you to our veterans.

I just had the privilege of attending a Black Mountain Chamber of Commerce After Hours at the North Carolina Home for Veterans.  I have attended many of these gatherings, but this location was a first.  The facility is top notch.  It should be, these men and women have earned it.  But more than that, the folks I met left me humbled and grateful to them for their service.

I was able to sit at a table with five of them and peppered them with questions as I heard their stories.  One served in WWII in the South Pacific having flown 46 combat missions in a B-24 Liberator.  Another was a helicopter mechanic during the Vietnam War and after.  Another visited 30 countries while in the Merchant Marine.  The lone woman in the bunch was a Navy statistician.  Finally, the fifth was a Navy pilot in the 50’s.   All but four were wheel chair bound.  One was very hard of hearing.  The Navy pilot couldn’t remember the planes he flew or the aircraft carrier on which he was stationed.  But their eyes lit up as they recalled various events during their service careers.

Sadly only one has any family within the state.  With no one to watch after his farm in New Jersey, another talked of his old farm being pillaged in his absence.  While they live in close proximity to others of their age and era here at the home and have excellent care from the staff, I couldn’t help but feel they were lonely.

CV42My father is a Navy veteran, having served aboard the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42) in the 50’s.  My father-in-law served in Japan during the occupation after WWII as a language specialist.  He was born to missionary parents in Japan, and thus had a mastery of the language.  Fortunately, they are in good health and have very caring extended family and friends.

My point of this post is simply to say “Thank you” to our veterans.  I’ve always loved military history, but now I have new faces to go with the history about which I’ve read.  So I encourage all of you to be sure to thank any veterans you come across and whenever possible, take some time to visit those in our veterans homes.  They’ll appreciate the company, and you’ll come away a better person for having done so.


Market Is Up

Under contract signLike many areas of the country, the real estate market is up for property in the western North Carolina mountains.  This has been true for a few years now in regard to single family homes.  However, in recent months I’ve seen a big uptick in demand for mid-size to large-size land tracts.  In the past sixty days, I’ve shown numerous properties to prospective buyers and in the past two weeks, five of those properties have gone to contract.  That does not include a 131 acre parcel I listed on February 13th which had multiple offers within a week and closed on March 10th.  A friend just listed a 150 acre parcel for nearly $1 million and within days, he’d put it under contract.

Calls for showings on my other listings continue coming in and prospective buyers from all parts of the country are calling and emailing asking for assistance in finding them an appropriate property.  Another interesting trend has been that not only preppers have been calling, but more and more folks simply wanting to be off the grid or homesteading are calling.  While there are many land parcels on the market, good quality ones are still hard to find, thus making the market that much more challenging.  The key things clients are seeking are:

  • Privacy (5 acres and up)
  • Live water (creek, stream, spring)
  • Some flat pasture or field
  • Not too far (15 minutes) to a grocery store or small town
  • South facing
  • Not too steep
  • Not in a “mountain hovel” as one client put it recently, where “old cars go to die”.

I’m particularly fond of the last one.  While some areas described as such can be intimidating for the person coming from the manicured lawns of suburbia, I tend to find folks residing in such areas to be friendly and very helpful to neighbors.  The appearance can also be a deterrent to curiosity seekers and thus provide a level of security other properties that are more pleasant to the eye don’t offer.

The point being, market demand for good quality land parcels is up, so if you should find that property that fits your lifestyle, think seriously about making an offer.  I say that not out of a self-serving motive (although yes, I make my living by brokering real estate transactions), but rather to help you not miss out on what could be the best deal for a while.  So call today to set up a time when we can meet and walk property and find that ideal homestead or off the grid property here in the mountains of western North Carolina.


Seed Vault?

SeedsDoes your homestead or bugout spot have a seed vault?  No, I’m not talking about a steel safe with stacks and stacks of seeds on shelves.  A seed vault simply means having heirloom, non-hybrid, non-GMO seeds you can pull out and use to grow you garden.  How are they different than what you purchase at Home Depot in their gardening department?

Non-hybrid seeds mean that you can harvest seeds from the plants you grow so that you can continually plant season after season.  The seeds you get in the small packets at the building supply or even at the local garden shop, are likely hybridized and once you plant them, the seeds from those plants will not germinate and grow another crop.  Don’t ask me about the specifics, but that’s how it generally tends to be.  Part of it may be to require you to purchase new seeds every season.  Not too much different than Apple or Microsoft designing functional obsolescence into their products so that you have to purchase a new one every now and again.

These heirloom seeds can be stored for several years in their shipping packages in a freezer or refrigerator.  Then if you need, pull them out and start planting.  Sounds simple, but of course anyone who has tried growing vegetables knows it requires a lot of care.  Still, even if you have tons of pre-packaged long term food items, those will eventually run out during a long term grid down situation.  So pick up some non-hybrid seeds for your prepping or homesteading supplies.  Here’s a link to just one purveyor of these seeds.  They also make great items for bartering.

Another cool thing is that of sprouts.  This is the absolute easiest way to get your greens.  Sprouting seeds come in a wide variety and all you need is a simple sprouter to grow them indoors.  I have several and have used them.  They’re as simple as pouring a tablespoon of seeds into the plastic container, soak overnight, drain, soak, drain, rinse, etc., and in a matter of a few days, you’ll have a mess of healthy, organic greens to much on.  I have the Easy Sprout Sprouter from who else but The Sprout People.  Check them out.  Every homestead should have several of these.  Sprouts are extremely high in vitamins and also provide a good source of fiber.