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Frequently asked questions and answers

  • What is the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)? The MLS is the National Association of Realtors (NAR) computerized catalog of homes for sale, pending, and sold. This database is searched and displayed freely on major web sites, such as,, and hundreds of thousands of realtors' web sites (including There is only one regional MLS for Western North Carolina and it includes all of the two dozen counties around Buncombe County. For all Realtors and buyers, it is practically the only database they search daily to find the right home for them. All serious buyers will search the MLS to find their desired properties. The MLS provides the biggest marketing advantage and it is more effective than all other means of advertising (e.g., ads in newspapers, magazines, etc) combined. This kind of exposure to buyers is not available anywhere else even if you spend thousands of dollars advertising. Listing your property in the MLS is like advertising in thousands of newspapers in the world and mobilizing thousands of Realtors to find potential buyers for you. This is the proven way to maximize the chances of selling a property more quickly and at a better price. 
  • With a Flat Fee Listing in the MLS, do I still have to pay any agent commission? When a buyer finds your house through the MLS database on some of the hundreds of thousands of websites (most people nowdays search for houses on the web) or your yard sign, etc. and purchases your house without an agent, you do not need to pay any commission. If a realtor brings you a buyer who purchases your house, you should pay the agent a commission that you specify in the MLS listing. Buyer's agent commission is typically 3% of the selling price, but it is up to you how much to offer.
  • With a Flat Fee Listing in the MLS, will realtors be as eager to show my home? Yes, because (1) they will feel compensated for their work if you offer in the MLS a commission (typically 3%) for a buyer's agent; (2) all realtors are bound by Law and Code of Ethics, and they should place their clients' interest above their own and find the most suitable homes for their buyers as quickly as possible regardless of the actual commission offered; (3) these days buyers can easily find interesting properties online or through other means and it is the norm for buyers to decide what properties to view and ultimately on what properties to make offers. No realtors would want to risk losing their license by not showing a property requested by the client just because the commission is lower; (4) Federal antitrust law prohibits any intent/indication to fix commission rates across the market by any means; punishment will be severe (revokation of real estate license, jail, etc) if someone violates this law.
  • With a Flat Fee Listing in the MLS, will realtors or buyers call me for a showing? Realtors, through the Central Showing Service, or buyers will call you before viewing your home. We will set it up so that you can see online showing activities, showing feedback, and you can change showing instructions anytime online. For showing instructions, you can choose "appointment required", "courtesy call" (if they cannot reach you, they will show anyway), etc.
  • With a Flat Fee Listing in the MLS, must I have a lockbox? No, but realtors depend on quick access, and you do not have to be home to open the door for showing if you have a lockbox. Realtors have electronic keys to open the lockbox and get the key inside the lockbox to open your door. The electronic lockbox records who has opened the keybox and when. We can provide a lockbox free of charge.
  • With a Flat Fee Listing in the MLS, how long is the MLS listing period? The listing is for 12 months (you can cancel or change to full listing service with us or with other company any time without any charge).(1) Click here to fill out the information that you would like to submit to the MLS.  (2) Email us ( some pictures of your property (up to 9) or mail us some hard copies of your pictures and we will scan and then return your pictures. (3) Once we receive your online input, we can have your listing published in the MLS within a few hours (anyone with an internet connection can find and view the details of your listing). (4) You mail us a check for the Flat Fee Listing service. (5) We supply you with a lockbox, yard sign, and a website address for specifically viewing the detail of your property listing. (6) We continue to make changes in the MLS and refer potential buyers to you if they call us. 
  • I currently have almost no money for downpayment and cannot qualify for a loan. I heard that "Rent to Own" is a good way to realize the American Dream. Can you explain and help? That is right and we can help you find (at no cost to you) some properties available for "lease with option to buy". See detailed information.
  • How to sell a property at a higher price than its fair market value? One of the most effective ways to do it is to sell it through "lease with option". See details here.
  • Why many people get the wrong impression that since house prices appreciate an average of 7% annually, real estate investment return cannot beat the stock market which can have ~9% annual return? These people forget that in addition to the house price appreciation, there are rental income, tax savings, mortgage principal paydown, and the financial leverage. When all these are considered, the actual rental investment return can be as much as ~30% annually. See detailed calculation. Furthermore, rental investment return is even better since you only pay tax for the capital gain of your house (sold price minus original purchase price minus improvement and other costs) when you sell the property, whereas other investment incomes or your regular job income are taxable in the same year (after federal and state income taxes, Medicare, social security and other taxes, you only keep about half what you earn).
  • What is banker's "Rule of 72"? This is a banker's rule to calculate the number of years it will take for a sum of money to double. You divide the number 72 by the annual percentage rate you are receiving on that sum of money. For example, if you are earning 6% interest on a CD or your house price appreciates 6% per year, 72 / 6 = 12 years, your money or house value will double in 12 years. How long will it take for your money to double if you are earning a 30% return? 72 / 30 = 2.4 years.
  • Although rental property investment return is very high, can rental management be relatively hassle-free and secure? Yes, because you have the option of hiring our real estate professionals to advertise and manage your property for as little as 10% of the rent received. Because there are tenant security deposits, rent payment in advance, and the protection by the speedy eviction of non-paying or contract breaching tenants by the small claim's court, it is generally very secure for the landlord. See more detailed information.
  • What is the difference between assessed value and market value? Assessed value is the value of property established by the county for the property for tax purposes, often referred to as "tax value". Market value is "the price estimated in terms of money at which the property would change hands between a willing and financially able buyer and willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy or sell and both having reasonable knowledge of all the uses to which the property is adapted and for which it is capable of being use."
  • If the assessed value (tax value) of my property is higher than its true market value, can I appeal to the county to have it lowered? What is the chance of my success in doing it? Yes, you can appeal to have your property re-assessed to lower its property tax, but your chance of success is very small because you have to prove that the county's assessed value was based on error or misapplication of the schedules, standards, and rules used in the appraisal. Furthermore, the North Carolina Supreme Court rules that a change in appraised value in years other than revaluation years must have a statutory basis; i.e., there must be statutory authority for the change. The court further explains: "As a practical matter, adjustments to a property's valuation each time a sale occurs, which are higher or lower than the property's octennial or horizontal valuation, would cause an unmanageable burden on county resources. Additionally, it would create inequity between those taxpayers who sell between general reappraisals and those who do not... This would result in the type of arbitrary treatment specifically intended to be avoided by the Act and would be contrary to the statutory mandate that all property in a county be valued at its true value as of the general reappraisal date."
  • Is it true that after one buys and moves into a house, his/her AC/heater or other expensive fixtures or personal property might be taken away by creditors of previous owner? It is true according to the federal Uniform Commercial Code on security interest. It is important to do a title search and check the public records for outstanding security interests that may exist on various fixtures attached to real property.
  • Is it true that after one buys a property from an owner, the owner's surviving spouse might be entitled to a third of the property value long after the owner died? North Carolina General Statute 29-30 says that if a spouse deeds his or her individually owned property away without the joinder of his or her spouse, the surviving non-owner spouse may assert a right to a legal life estate of one-third in value of the deceased spouse's real property owned at any time during the marriage, notwithstanding that the property may have been transferred years earlier.
  • Questions and Answers on Home Inspections
  • Questions and Answers on: Real Estate Closings
  • How to beat the "Due on Sale" Clause to assume the existing loan?
  • How to do Tax-Deferred 1031 Exchange?
  • Why is Asheville one of the best places to live in the U.S.?

Buncombe Realty, 1104 Hendersonville Rd., Asheville, NC 28803 (view location map)
Phone (828)301-2021   Toll-free 888-932-8001   Fax (828)277-1240

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