Take your dog to work..…every day

Around the Asheville area, it’s very common to walk into a place of business and be greeted by the office dog.  For many of us, we immediately get a good vibe about the company. Of course, they must be good people if they love dogs!

Being a Real Estate Broker I have been blessed with the ability to bring my dogs to work with me. Sometimes they even get to help out.  A few years ago I marketed and sold a Boarding Kennel / Training facility where two of my dogs helped with the photo shoot to advertise the property. On another occasion, I was asked to bring my Tag along when listing a home. The owner was in her 80’s and the thought of selling her family home was very stressful. Tag sat at her side and gave her comfort through the process. A friend of mine is a home health nurse and often takes his dogs along when visiting home-bound patients. He says this always brightens their day.  A photographer that I know in Florida has used his dog in many photo shoots for jewelry and other items.

When I decided to change real estate offices, I interviewed with several companies. Everyone is positive that I picked Town and Mountain Realty because they have truly gone to the dogs. On an average day, you will see a half dozen different dogs trotting around. As cute a Frankie Doodle is, he really isn’t the reason that I picked this office but he told me a lot about the office. He told me the office has a heart. This is a place that cares about every person that enters the door. Just the other day I was greeted by the secretary Kassie as I pulled in the parking lot. She was walking two visiting dogs while their owners were discussing an offer on a potential new home. How many employers would tell their secretary “Yes! Go play with the customer’s dog so they can concentrate”. Not many people get the significance of that one little act of kindness.  It says a lot about the office I work at and the people I work with. It makes your work environment feel much more inviting. And it doesn’t hurt to always have a fuzzy face to cuddle with when you are having a bad day!

Tripp at my desk


Selling your home when you have pets. A balancing act

(I wrote this article for the next Pet Gazzette Magazine but here is a sneak peak!)

56% of homeowners share their home with pets and in the Asheville area, it’s a pretty good guess that this number is higher. WNC loves their dogs and when it’s time to sell our home we have to balance our companion’s needs with the needs of a potential buyer.

Most internet articles will tell you to send Skippy on a vacation. That’s as likely as sending the kids to boarding school so the house can stay organized. Skippy isn’t going anywhere so we need to work around this. There are two aspects to selling a home with pets that we need to look at; cleanliness and logistics.

This is the time to be honest with yourself. Even if you groom your pets daily they still bring dirt into your home. Give everything a good scrub down. Vacuum daily to remove pet hair. Wipe down base trim and wall corners that your dogs rub up against.  Remove nose prints from windows before each showing. Repair any damage that your pet has done to your home. Clean litter boxes multiple times a day and use high-quality kitty litter to help mask the smell. Put away toys and remove any pee pads. Pay attention to odors. We get used to the odor our own pets bring to our home but be sure that buyers will smell it. Use Fabreeze liberally, baking soda in litterboxes and carpet cleaner on the rugs. In the summer, run your air-conditioning during showings and put a good HEPA filter on your furnace to help filter the air. Even if a potential buyer is also a pet owner they will be more grossed out by other peoples “dirt” than they are by their own so eliminate it as much as you can. Don’t forget the yard. Buyers look for omens to tell them if this is the house for them and stepping in Skippy’s little “gifts” is not a good omen!  Lastly, don’t be surprised if your pets start having house training issues. They feel your stress plus the added stress of strangers coming in when you are not home.  When pets get stressed, accidents happen.

So what do you do with your pets while your home is being shown? Cats will pretty much disappear but if you have one that might be an escape artist then invest in a large dog crate or cat pen for extra security during showings. Locking Kitty in a bedroom is not a good option. We want buyers to have full access to your house and not have to worry about letting your pet escape. Dogs are another story. It IS NOT ok to let your dog loose in the house when it is being shown.  This is a very bad idea. Even people who love dogs will be nervous around a dog they don’t know and you know what? Your dog will be afraid of them too. I don’t care how friendly and well socialized Skippy is, their home is being invaded by strangers and this puts them in a bad spot. Do I guard the house? Do I let them in? This is not fair to Skippy and it’s unfair to put him in this situation.  You have the ability to set your showing instructions to give you some lead time when your home is being shown. Give yourself enough time that you can run home and crate your dog or remove them all together. Maybe this is a good time to check out a doggy day care in your area or maybe a dog walker that can run over and get Skippy out of the house for an hour. If they must stay home and a crate is not an option, put them in the laundry room or a bathroom (think small, easy to view from the door) and put up a secure baby gate. This confines your dog and gives them a barrier between them and the intruder, hence a sense of security for everyone.

Selling a home is stressful for everyone but with some planning and a game plan, you can balance this and make it work for everyone!

– Susan M. Young is a long standing Asheville area Real Estate Broker and has been active in dog sports with her Golden Retrievers for over 20 years.

Asheville Architecture

My husband and I were strolling through downtown Asheville the other night, enjoying the evening until I saw this…………………..


I knew the Asheville Art Museum was renovating their building but this looks like a tear down. To make matters worse, there was a banner on the fence showing what the new building would look like……..


I was horrified. It ruined my evening. One of the many things I love about Asheville is the architecture. I love old buildings. I love the creativity and the imagination that was put in to their design. This particular building was built in 1925 by New York Architect Edward Tilton. He built it in the Renaissance Revival style to house the Pack Memorial Library. It was in use until 1978 when the library outgrew it’s space and moved across town. This beautiful building stood mostly vacant until 1992 when the Pack Place Education, Arts & Science Center took over the space. They remain the current occupants today with the Asheville Art Museum being the main driving force.

As I read the history I learned a few things about this building. First, the way I know the building is different than when Tilton designed it. It has already been changed from the original design. Second, this new remodel is restoring the exterior and the hideous glass wall?  It appears it will be in front of the original facade, combining old and new. I will admit, this could be interesting. I will keep and open mind and wait until the grand opening before I will shed tears over the demise. Maybe this change will be a good think.

To read more about the history of the building and it’s future, please visit the Asheville Art Museum site, North Wing Project


More Changes! Big Changes! Better Changes!


More changes!

This has been coming for a long time. I never wanted to be a Broker in Charge and run an office yet that position was thrust on me when the current BIC at Express Real Estate  had medical issues and then the office manager left. It was during the market crash and this was actually a good opportunity for me to continue in real estate, where no one was pulling a paycheck, and still actually pull a paycheck.

After the market recovered I had hoped of growing the office but I had one major problem……..I was the only agent who wanted to sell in Asheville because that’s where the market is.  The other agents were happy in Mars Hill and that market is still not large enough to support everyone who is selling there. I felt that my needs, the needs of my clients and the needs of the office were going in different directions. It was time to change that.

I picked five independent Asheville offices that had longstanding names in our community. I started asking questions, running numbers and narrowing my list. I interviewed at two companies. They were completely different from each other. Both were friendly and welcoming but one, Town and Mountain Realty, offered the support and opportunities that I am looking for. I am excited to make this move! I feel good things are yet to come!



Reflection and making plans

January is the time for reflection.It’s time for looking back at my marketing plan, seeing what worked, what didn’t and making plans for moving forward. It’s the time of year when there is time to contemplate any course corrections and set them in motion. I reviewed, I read articles, I made plans and I started implementing those plans in real estate, dog training and in life. I was pumped. Then I got stupid………..

If you are a friend of mine then you already know that I had a run in with a table saw.I’ll spare you the account so lets just say I wasn’t being careful enough and now my poor hand is suffering. You can’t call me stubby but stupid fits. I should have paid more attention and been more present.

It’s things like this that really knock the wind out of your sails. I was motivated and inspired.I’m trying to get that back. So let me try and reflect, once again, on the goals I had set before I underwent “unscheduled elective surgery”.

My client base is mostly in the dog world. I plan to assist them a bit more. I plan to constantly be on the look out for “dog” properties, preview them and share them with my friends. If I can find a home that has training space, kennel space or grooming space, there is someone out there looking for it. I may not have the property listed, but I know where the buyers are. I’m also an artist so the same applies to studio space.

I changed the look of my Website, Blog and Facebook page so they are more consistent and do a better job of saying who I am.

I am working to enhance and update my internet presence

I am always looking for new and better ways to advertise my listings

For my dogs, I plan to work with them on a more regular basis and volunteer more of my time. It’s my friends in the dog world who have helped my business grow and I want to give back that favor.

Most of all, I’m trying to be more present in my everyday interactions. The world is a beautiful place if we just pay attention

I hope everyone is enjoying their new year. Peace to you!

“Don’t sit and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them.” — Sarah Breedlove