Category Archives: Uncategorized

Tips for Dog Owners Selling Their Home

Tips for Dog Owners Selling Their Home

Once the decision to sell your home has been made, suddenly there are a million things for you to do – list your home, keep your home spotless for showings, shop around for a new home, and pack. While you tackle your growing to-do list, don’t forget about Fido. You’ll need to make plans for him to be out of the home during the showings, whether that is with you, grandma, a local sitter, or day care. Don’t forget to erase all traces of him from your home too. No need to worry, this infographic will explain everything you need to know.

Cashiers Homes for Sale

For more information:
1.Visit to find a place to board your dog
2.Visit for expectations on scheduling showings
3.Visit for other tips on decluttering
4.Visit for tips on eliminating pet odors
5.Visit to find more things you should be talking to your realtor about

Once you check the last item off the list and settle into your new home, you can use these suggestions for a dog-friendly day of fun: Hike the 3.6 mile Sam Knob Summit and Laurel Creek Trail or take in the scenery of Pisgah National Forest. Afterwards, stop by Cornucopia or Cashiers Farmers Market for a relaxing bite to eat with your pooch.

Right now it might seem like you can’t possibly get everything done. With a little patience, hard work, and a few snuggles from Fido, you will.

Article provided by Medina at

Is This the End of the Buyers’ Market?

It’s March, 2017…and the mountain resort areas of Cashiers, Highlands, Lake Glenville, Sapphire and Lake Toxaway are seeing a surge of real estate sales activity reminiscent of the  good ol’ days of 2005 and 2006!  Does this mean we’re coming to the end of the Buyers’ Market we’ve come to know and love over the past 7 or 8 years?  As of this writing, there are 907 homes on the market, and if you take into account the 564 homes that were sold in 2016, that equates to 1.6 years of inventory.  However, most of the sellers in this second home market don’t even list until May or June to take advantage of the short summer selling season.  At the height of the season last year, there were close to 1400 houses listed for sale.  So, if that number shows up this summer, then the 564 homes sold in 2016 becomes 2.5 years’ worth of inventory.  What does this mean for sellers?  What does it mean for buyers?

If you’re a seller, the odds of getting sold become much greater for you, if we maintain the number of sales we had last year.  Money’s a little easier to get, interest rates are going up, home inventories decrease by virtue of the number of sales.  Do you get to increase your asking price?  No.  Why?  Market values have been established during the past several years and we continue to hover at the bottom of ours.  When sellers load the market up during the summer months, the inventory increases and the competition becomes fierce.  When you have motivated sellers vs. the sellers that “don’t have to sell”, price becomes king.  Generally speaking, price wins most of the time.  If you “don’t have to sell”, then don’t put your house on the market.  Wait until the market recovers enough to justify what ever price you want to put on your house.  The “don’t have to sell” sellers help create the glut of homes listed and are constantly disappointed when they have no showings or activity.  IF, however, you’re a motivated seller, chances really begin to escalate that you’ll get sold.

If you’re a buyer, the odds of finding a great value are still great.  It begins to become a less than great value if the interest rate you’re seeking is no longer available.  It also becomes a bit more competitive in terms of the finding the most appealing home for you.  The very appealing homes that are priced well don’t last very long these days.  You have to be ready to take that leap of faith when you find the right home.  Cash IS still king and the ability to close quickly adds to your side of negotiating in most cases.  If you’re able to make your transaction a cash one, you’ll usually find yourself in a better position to get that great value.  Home values are so much lower than they were in the 2005/2006 time frame, just about any home (by comparison) is going to be a good value!

All in all, an increase in sales in the real estate market here in the Highlands/Cashiers mountain area is good for everyone.  Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, the time may be right for you.  Finally coming to the conclusion that market value is what a buyer is willing to pay for your property can be hard for some sellers.  Missing getting that appealing home a couple of times in a row can be hard for some buyers.  These are exciting times, and it could be that this is THE year to buy or sell.  Don’t let it pass you by!



Video – Great or Gimmick?

Hi, again!  I’m back with some really gripping information about video tours or visual tours for real estate listings.  Depending on your position (seller,  buyer or realtor) in the real estate listing process, you may want to research making a video or visual tour for your particular property.  Let’s take a look from all three perspectives…

Stone Fireplace on Porch

Pretty Pictures will Make a Difference – click here to look at MLS listings.


If you’re a seller, you want all the bang for your buck you can get.  More is better, in terms of internet exposure.   Loads of photos are important.  Have your Realtor take a ton of ’em.  Photos of features, vignettes, special finishes, fireplaces, whatever you love about your house will make an impact.  Have as many photos as your agent’s MLS will allow to be put in your listing.  Be sure they’re well-lit, so the details are visible.  Your pictures do NOT have to be professionally done, but tell your realtor not to use them if she doesn’t know how to lighten them if they’re dark.  Dark is a turn-off for most people.  If your realtor IS using a professional, be sure to have the photographer get the features you think are the best features of the home.   Suggest view, fireplace or interesting architectural features to your realtor.   It can be mostly interior if you think that’s the best thing about the home, but don’t leave out pictures of the exterior.  Buyers will think the house is unattractive or has no curb appeal whatsoever.  And of course, the reverse is true for the exterior and not showing the interior.

How about video?  Okay, here’s the deal about video.  There are professional videographers that really know what they’re doing.  I know some of them.  They really are great at what they do.  I just can’t afford them.  It isn’t that they aren’t worth what they charge, they are!  I just can’t pay for that service for every listing I have.  So, what do you do?  Whip out that smart phone, that’s what!  Take a 3 minute video of the features you love about the house and upload it to YouTube.  Include it in your listing in the local MLS and on line.  You’ll have some reporting available to you through Google Analytics and you’ll certainly know how much it’s been viewed.  There’s nothing like a video to give buyers a real feel for the spaces of a home, and they also appreciate knowing how the floor plan works.  An up-close and personal view of flooring and other finishes can really be helpful in the marketing of a home.


Choose Great Images for your Listing Photos - Click here to See a Smart Phone Video

Choose Great Images for your Listing Photos – Click here to See a Smart Phone Video

Visual Tours are another way to showcase your home’s best features.  It’s basically a slide show, with pictures that are stitched together to present a panoramic effect and give buyers an idea of the size and scale of rooms.  This isn’t a bad way to market a home and show off its features.  Another plus with Visual Tour is that you can track how many views you’ve had and where they come from.  Visual Tour is realtor-friendly and can really help put your best foot forward.  There are many different companies that offer a visual tour.  Your realtor will most likely be familiar with one of them.

For Buyers, what do you need to be really interested in listing?  We’re all such visual creatures, it’s photos, of course!  What do you think of when you see a listing with only one or two photos?  It’s a less than desirable home, certainly.  If it’s not, there’s something the realtor doesn’t want to show you, right?  Well, would you believe that many realtors only have a hand full of decent photographs for a listing?  It’s true, and in this tech-crazy business, that’s not working smart!  The internet is out there, working 24/7, and that little smattering of photos that someone puts on a listing just doesn’t do it for you, does it?  Wouldn’t you really be more drawn to a listing with lots of pictures and a video or visual tour?  Of course, you would!  You can even begin to imagine how the house would look with your furniture and personal items scattered throughout.  It’s through the use of photos and video and visual tour that it all comes together for you, right?

Beautiful, hand made antique trusses in the Great Room are a great example of the incredible details in this home!

Interesting Features Should be Given Special Attention – click here to see a professionally-made video presentation.

If you’re a Realtor, you’re going to want the maximum exposure for your listing.  That’s a part of your responsibility to your listing client.  Chances are pretty good you’re in competition with other listings, and you may wonder why a home sold that you consider to be not as nice as the home that you’re offering.  One of the things that you can absolutely do is have as many nice photographs as you can put together for your listing, whether you take the photos or you hire a professional photographer.  Lots of photos will interest folks who are searching on the internet, and when there’s so much to choose from, lookers will always default to the listings that have lots of photos.  “Oh, well, I knew THAT!” you say?  Okay, then why is there only one photo of some of your listings showing up on the internet?  You can’t expect a lot of activity when only one picture is out there with your competition showing 20-30 pictures.

Okay, so how about video or visual tours?  Either will get you noticed more on the internet.  Something to perhaps consider is the possibility of a YouTube video.  Did you know that YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world?  Yep, it’s true.  So, even if all you’re doing is taking a short video of the best features of your listing with your smart phone, you may be way ahead of other people who don’t do anything in the way of video or visual tours.  The lighting doesn’t have to be professional.  What you’re basically doing is showing the house or property to your audience, pointing out the features that you think are  great features.  You’ll be able to track the number of views your tour has gotten and Google Analytics will help you see where the views came from.

Take care until next time, everyone!  Have a great week!


Don’t Terminate Your Listing During the Winter

Okay, Christmas Day is over, and the holiday season is still on! Parties are still being planned, Families are still visiting and telling tales that NO one wants to hear and (whether you believe it or not) there are some serious lookers here wanting to see what’s out there in terms of homes and land. Yep, there are!

We all want your home to sell - Click here to look at other listings on the MLS

We all want your home to sell – Click here to look at other listings on the MLS

This has been a very unusual year for people deciding that they should take their homes off the market for the winter. Many want my opinion and once they’ve heard it, they choose not to believe it. Why is that exactly? I hate to have to say this myself, but seriously, I’m the real estate expert here! I’ve been doing this for a while now, and there are several scenarios of what MAY happen, but generally, here’s what happens…the conversation goes something like this:

THEM: “We have decided to take our house off the market for the winter. We don’t want the listing to get stale, and would prefer to start the “Days on the Market” count over.”

ME: “I understand your concern over having the listing get stale. We do have several properties that have been on the market for a long time. However, your home listing will have to be off the market for 6 months to start the Days on Market count over. You’ll miss the early spring buyers if you do that.”

Meeting With Listing Clients - Click Here to search listings on the MLS

Meeting With Listing Clients – Click Here to search listings on the MLS

THEM: “Wow, I didn’t realize it had to be off the market for so long. Why is that?”

ME: “It’s a new ruling of our MLS, so there’s no getting around it. I would heartily recommend that you not take your home off the market for the winter. Most realtors will recognize it as the same listing next spring anyway, and there are buyers that come up in the winter to look at homes. Those buyers aren’t window-shoppers…they’re actual buyers who understand that winter is THE time to buy. In addition, since many people do exactly what you’re talking about doing, there can be a lack of good properties to show. If your home isn’t on the market, it won’t get shown.”

THEM: “Well, we think there aren’t enough people up there looking at property, so we’re going to take it off anyway. If you get someone that wants to see it, you can always go ahead and show it.”

ME: “85% of the sales here are co-brokered, meaning that 85% of the sales that occur are NOT sold by the listing agent. They’re sold by other realtors showing that property, so if that’s true (and it IS), brokers that are looking for properties to show during the winter months aren’t necessarily going to remember your home to ask about. They search the MLS to come up with properties to show. That’s why it’s important to be listed.”

Listing Form - Click here to see other listings in the MLS

Listing Form – Click here to see other listings in the MLS

THEM: “Well, we still think there aren’t enough people up there looking at property, so we’re going to take it off anyway.”

And there you have it. I’ve just answered their questions and explained what really happens during the winter months, when there isn’t very much to show. I’ve been on both sides of the table with buyers and sellers during the winter. My advice to you if you’re trying to sell your property is to:

A – Price your property really well. Like it or not, price is still king, and if you’re priced right, you’ll be going to the closing table a lot sooner than if you don’t price right.

B – Keep it clean! Keep the exterior and interior ship-shape. Even though you have to store outdoor furniture cushions in your spare bedroom and the heat is turned down to 55 degrees, take the time to get someone to go take care of cobwebs and fallen leaves.

Keep the House Looking Great during the Winter Months!

Keep the House Looking Great during the Winter Months! Click Here to Learn a Little More about That.

C – Be ready to respond to questions. People want to know about Home Owner Assns., roof age and all kinds of things that you may not have discussed with your Realtor. If your Realtor doesn’t know the answer, she’ll be calling you!

And finally, if you’re on the market now, be candid with your Realtor, and ask her to be candid with you. Make the sensible choice for you, but don’t think your Realtor just wants to keep your listing. One of the things your Realtor is bound to do for you is to use care, skill and diligence in all things regarding your listing. She’s also bound to do what you tell her to. Just think about what she tells you. Take some time and think. She’s really trying to make sure she’s doing the best job she can for you!

Christmas in Cashiers, NC

Remember back to a long time ago, when things were simpler, and little things meant a lot?  That’s sort of what this post is about.  I had forgotten what an impact small, home-town entertainment can make and the lasting impressions that can be imprinted on our memories.  This past Saturday, on December 13, the annual Cashiers Christmas Parade was held.  The day was sunny and bright – cool, but not cold – and there absolutely was a feeling of Christmas in the air!

Girl Drummers Rule!

Girl Drummers Rule!

It takes a village, as they say, and this village really came to life, as the Rosman Marching Band musically blasted out their entire Christmas repertoire.  Each member sported the perfunctory red Santa hat, but all took their jobs very seriously.   As they marched by, I thought, “Wow!  Girl drummers rule!”   Add to these festivities colorfully clothed elves, Santas, animals and clever floats and you have all the right elements for a gay old time!  This is a perfect time for the volunteer fire department to show off their shiny red vehicles, whether an antique wonder or the fabulous ladder 6 firetruck, complete with Santa and Mrs. Claus perched precariously atop!

The Boys and Girls Club Float

The Boys and Girls Club Float

Each vehicle that came by had a smiling face or two, bright with the excitement of the event,  and waving to us happy on-lookers.  The little ones watched carefully as sweets were tossed their way, so they didn’t miss any goodies.   I don’t guess I ever saw so many well-behaved dogs and horses, all dressed up in their holiday finery (as if they really wanted to wear that stuff in the first place).   I had as much fun as the “paraders”, calling out to those I knew and taking pictures to commemorate the day.

All Dressed up and Ready

All Dressed up and Ready

The wonders of it all, are the countless effort and organizational skill necessary to pull it all off.  After all, the town has to come to a complete stop, since the parade marches down 107 South to the Crossroads (where the float entries are judged), then on west down Highway 64.  The parade then concludes at the community center, where all the parade participants beg rides, laugh at something silly somebody did and in general yuk it up!  Hot Chocolate and cookies were offered by one of the charities that had set up in the community center, so all the participants and anyone else could come chat and rest a while before getting on with the business of Saturday afternoon chores.

This Elf Really Rocks!

This Elf Really Rocks!

As I drove along 107 South later Saturday afternoon, I marveled that all the usual storefronts, patrons and activities were back to their normal states.  The only occasional evidence remaining of the 2014 Cashiers Christmas Parade on the road were traces of horse poo, and a very sad piece of glittering blue garland.  But, oh, it was a grand old time!  I loved it and I love the fact that our little village does have some winter “culture”.   In fact, we have more than a little winter culture; we have a lot!  It’s very easy to feel rich in this mountain community.  Come on up!  I’ll show you around!


Decking the Halls in the Mountains

With Thanksgiving over, it’s now time to Deck Those Halls, right?  In the spirit of the season, Rand and I decided to get our decorating as close to done as we could last night.  After about a zillion trips to the basement and back (Rand doesn’t have to worry about exercise for a while!), we now have all our Christmas goodies spread out all over the living room.  It looks like a bomb went off!  The Christmas tree is all decorated and ready to receive pretty wrapped gifts, unless of course, you’re like the aforementioned Rand, who puts gifts in brown paper bags or boxes and puts them under the tree.

Decking the Halls at Home

Decking the Halls at Home in Cashiers, NC. Click here to Search for Homes in Cashiers, Highlands, Glenville, Sapphire and more in Western North Carolina.

I like to wear my Santa Claus hat while I’m decorating, so I can really get in the mood for tree trimming and other assorted Santa-related tasks!  It’s very silly and makes me feel silly, too.  With a name like “Merry”, it pretty much goes without saying that being Merry is mandatory, in more ways than one.

So, it’s a gorgeous, sunny day in the mountains of western North Carolina, at the end of a busy Thanksgiving week.   All the merchants in town in Cashiers appear to be doing a booming business for their end-of-season sales, and it’s all good!  Whether you’re looking for gift objects, art, clothes or even hardware (we won’t even mention real estate here), this is the time to help create an abundant season for our local merchants, and get a great buy, too. (Did I say I wasn’t going to mention real estate here?)

If you’re looking for a Christmas tree, it seems that almost every vehicle that passes by has at least one North Carolina Frasier Fir Christmas Tree tied to the top, and many of them have two or three trees (big houses, no doubt!).  A little Christmas factoid for you:   the Fraser Fir represents over 96% of all species of trees grown in North Carolina. North Carolina ranks second in the nation behind Oregon in Christmas tree production, with trees grown mostly in the state’s mountains providing about 4 million trees worth about $1 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Christmas Tree Farm

I know, right?  Who’d-a-thought it?

I would have to say that’s a lot of “Decking the Halls” going on here and elsewhere.   I’m not sure how many Christmas Tree Farms we have here locally, but I can think of four without even trying!  So, when you’re out buying that perfect tree (which takes 7 years to grow, BTW), see if the seller knows where it came from.  If you’re on the  southern and eastern side of the US, chances are it came from North Carolina!

Have a wonderful holiday season, and when you need a knowledgeable, hard-working Realtor, please remember me!!

Better Photographs for My House

What do we mean by better photographs for my house? And exactly “who” is “my”?  Well in this particular case, the “my” is you…my client.

Better Photographs for My House

Better Photographs for My House: This is me operating my drone at a client’s house.
Click on the image above to see more of Merry’s buy and sell services for your home and land.










As part of my obligation to better represent you and your property for sale, I am continually investing in better technology.  My most recent investment to provide better photographs for your house is my brand new helicopter aerial drone.


I recently thought seriously about the market, as it is NOW.  There’s really a lot of competition out there for getting a listing really noticed.  First and foremost, understand that the internet makes for 92% of beginning real estate searches.  Next, understand that we are a second home market.  Are you with me so far?  In our small market, we have well over 1,200 residential listings.  The likelihood of getting noticed with a normal number of photographs and with a main photograph like the one shown, now becomes less and less.


Better Photographs for My House

Better Photographs for My House: Here I’ve got the drone above the roof looking at Whiteside which is one of the spectacular views available. My drone is what allows me to get above the roof to display this.
click on this image to see my index of featured homes for sale.










How do we get past the idea of “normal” photographs?  We CAN hire professional photographers, but frankly, they’re expensive and you don’t necessarily get what you want in terms of photos.  I do a visual tour of all my listings, so I have to have panoramic photos from as many angles as I can get.  That means that I need many more photographs that I’m going to have to add to my bill, pricing me out of being able to provide that service.


So, where does that leave us?  I continue to provide as many good photographs as is possible, by taking over 100 photographs of each property on average.  I do my very best to make sure they’re clear, well-lit and interesting, such as the image you see here.  It just didn’t seem to be enough that I take so many photos, and that I do a visual tour on every property.


Better Photographs for my House

Better Photographs for my House: This is an aerial view down the street of one of my listings that gives my clients and potential buyers a better understanding of trees, mountains, homes and views of the homes. I have started to do this for all of my new listings.
Click on this image to see an exciting aerial drone flight around one of my other listings.












Recently, I made a trip to my technology store of choice to up-grade my mobile phone.  An item I had thought about for a good while was, “What if I had a drone?  Would that make a difference in getting my listings noticed quicker?  Would any listing clients really care?  How could I use that technology to my clients’ advantage?”


The answers to those questions came swiftly and they made so much sense, that I decided to make the investment to “Wow” my clients and also to “Wow” the internet searchers by adding incredible view photos and other interesting angles that simply cannot be captured by a normal digital camera from the ground.  Just think!  Your home can be showcased like the one you see in the image here without my ever leaving the ground.


It will be my pleasure to demonstrate the technology at a listing appointment with you.  Call me today, and find out how it works!



tags: Better Photographs for My House, Cashiers Real Estate, Lake Toxaway, Highlands, Lake Glenville, Sapphire





Winter is officially here in the mountains!  Means great outdoor activities for those looking for winter sports like skiing and snowboarding.  If you’re looking for winter pricing on real estate, this is the time!   Between yesterday and today, it is WAY below freezing!    Many of our current homeowners desiring to sell their properties have really become very motivated to get sold and your real estate professional will already have a feel for who is and who’s not.  If you don’t have a real estate professional, I’d love to help you!  Please call Merry Soellner at 828 399 1580.  I’m here year round and I have my finger on the pulse of what’s happening here in the Highlands, Cashiers, Glenville, Sapphire and Lake Toxaway area of western North Carolina!  Weather People say these freezing temps won’t be with us that long, so that means warmer weather to go out and look at property!  That’s really great!  So give me a call…I’m dedicated to finding the right property for YOU!


It’s a new year, and I think we’re all grateful for that!  2012 brings with it hope, a fresh start for many and continuing success for real estate sales in Cashiers Homes for Sale!  This past year has been one of learning experiences in general.  Learning how to deal with foreclosed properties and short sales, how to help people who are desperately seeking a financial solution for their own dilemmas and continuing to seek and find buyers for properties continue to be the norm.  Fortunately, opportunities exist for those able to take advantage of them.  Consider the person finding themselves in a position where they need to sell property in a short sale situation.  Although it may take a while for dealing with large banks, this process allows the seller to rid themselves of their financial burdens, while enabling the buyer to achieve a great deal in a distressed market.  Wouldn’t that be considered a win-win for both parties? 


The end of the year saw an increase in home and land sales in our beautiful mountain area, and a reduction in the absorption time of existing listings.  The Sales to List pricing remains about the same in our MLS area, about 90% of list price.  That’s still good news for sellers and buyers, too!


If you’re a person who’s considering a real estate purchase, I encourage you to do some looking!  Deals are out there to be had and you never know;  you could actually find yourself getting the deal of the century in 2012!

Glenville Homes and Land for Sale

Glenville, North Carolina is just north of Cashiers, NC, which lies in the center of “The Plateau”, which is where Lake Toxaway, Highlands and Sapphire, NC also are located.  Merry Soellner Mountain Properties has her own real estate listings as well as access to the entire MLS (Multiple Listing Services for this entire area.  And she has bought and sold homes and land in all of these areas.


If you’re thinking of acquiring or selling your Blue Ridge Mountain retreat, give Merry Soellner a call or email: 828-399-1580,

Glenville offers the largest high mountain lake in these parts, even larger than Lake Toxaway, and for less money.  There are still a few vacant lots and acreage left, so let Merry know if you’re interested.  She also is familiar with all of the homes for sale around Lake Glenville and can help you find your mountain dream, whether directly on the lake, viewing from on high, or simply a wooded lot.  It all starts with your phone call or email to Merry.  Call now!