Saturday, December 27, 2008

Interest Rates

Folks, this is really getting interest-ing. Take it from a guy that had to sell homes when interest rates were 18%, todays mortgage rates should make buying a home a slam dunk. I have seen quotes as low as 4.5%, and these rates have not been seen since the 1940's.

Will home prices continue to slide backwards? Perhaps, nobody can say for sure. But I am confident that the affordability index of owning a home may never be better. Now is the time to make your move. For all you need to know about buying a home in New Bern go to

Friday, December 26, 2008

Retirees often have some free time and want to help their others that are not as fortunate. New Bern NC has an abundance of non profits, clubs, and organizations that do wonderful things for the needy. I have listed quite a few of these organizations on a web site for the convenience of those wanting to serve others or that have a hobby and want meet other's in the area that have similiar interest.
If you know of other organizations that would like to be included on this website let me know and I will be glad to do so.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Household Electronics Recycling

January 10, 10:00-2:00 unwanted electronics items including televisions and computers will be accepted at no charge. As you are aware electronics are a major source of pollution at our landfills so now is a great time to dispose of these items in an enviormentally friendly manner.
Drop of location will be the Craven County Agricultural Building parking lot located in the Industrial Park.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

2008 Coming to an End-better days ahead

2008 is coming to an end soon and I am looking forward to 2009. I am optimistic about the upcoming year for many reasons. I cannot help but believe that the below 5% interest will start to have a positive effect on the housing market over the next 12 months. Hopefully we will see a reduction in inventory to to the attractive rates. This will have a positive effect across the entire economy as the housing industry affects some many different businesses.
My biggest concern is that as Americans we all need to wake up and stop living over our heads. We have to much debt and need to start saving for the future.
My 2009 New Year Resolution. Excercise and reduce debt. And yes it has been a dificult year but we made it through it, well almost, just a few more days. At any rate Merry Christmas and I hope 2009 will be a good year for you.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

New Bern's Tryon Palace wins national recognition

Located in historic downtown New Bern the Tryon Palace was the colonial mansion for the governor of North Carolina. New Bern served as the capital until the late 1770's when the capital was moved to its present location in Raleigh. Go to for more New Bern History.Eventually the palace was destroyed in a fire. In the 1950's the palace was rebuilt on its origional foundation and today is one of the top tourist attractions in the south.
For many years the Palace has gone all out during the Christmas holidays with decorations and Christmas cheer. Recently the Tryon Palace was named as one of the top 7 places in America to find holiday cheer. From Dec.1 through the first week in January the palace is wrapped in garlands and old fashioned wreaths bearing apples and pine cones. Staff members dress in period costumes creating a realistic colonial period setting. Christmas productions add even more spirit resulting in a fun and cheerful filled December.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

8 good reasons to list your house for sale now.

  1. Folks looking during the holidays are often more serious about buying.
  2. There are usually less homes for sale during the holiday and therefore less competition.
  3. Home inventory typically increases during January meaning more competition.
  4. Homes show better when they are decorated.
  5. Buyers are often more emotional during the holiday and often will make quick decisions.
  6. Buyers have more time to shop for homes during the holidays.
  7. Some buyers must buy before the end of the year.
  8. Many jobs transfer during January and make their buying decision in Dec.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bring it home West Craven High School

Tomorrow night is the biggest game in the long and storied career of Coach Clay Jordan. The 3A state football championship will be held in Winston Salem and regardless of the outcome all of Craven County and Eastern NC is proud of the West Craven Eagles.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

AWESOME- That is all I can say.
The West Craven Eagles pulled of any incredible victory Friday night in the 3A state semi finals. Brett Mooring threw a touchdown pass with just 34 seconds remaining to win a thriller 22-19.
Next Saturday will be the state finals. Go Eagles.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Tonight is a big night for the West Craven Eagles. They are going to Rocky Mount for the NC semi finals 3A football playoffs. A win here puts them in the finals.
Undefeated this year the Eagles, led by quarterback Bret Mooring, have showned true grit in their battles against some tough teams. Good luck Friday night.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Plastic grocery bags.

A recent editorial in the New Bern Sun Journal says we should just say no to plastic bags when we shop. I agree.
As a board member of our Tri County Regional Solid Waste Authority I consider plastic bags a tremendous challenge to our ability to effectively dispose of waste.
The bags are virtualy impossible to keep contained as garbage transfer vehicles make their way to the landfill resulting in plastic litter scattered throughout the county. The estimated life of a plastic bag is hundreds if not thousands of years. Being lightweight even those that make it to the dump are easily picked up by the wind and distributed to forrest, ditches, streams, and eventually the rivers. I spend a lot of time on the water and see plastic bags floating and partially submerged where ever I go.
Demand paper the next time you shop. The little additional costs is certainly worth it to the enviroment. What say you?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Hey-what are you waiting for?

I have been in this business a long time and believe the next 6 months will be a great time to buy a home, that is if you need one. Interest rates are low and prices are more reasonable than they have been in years.

History has shown that a home is a very sound investment over time. No one knows what prices will do, some say they will continue to drop, others say they have bottomed out. Fact is no one knows, but I would venture to guess that rates have the potential to go up at any time. So if you are in the market don't try try to time the bottom and miss out on attractive interest rates.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

New Bern NC comes alive

New Bern NC really comes alive in October. Sure, there is a lot of things going on year around, but October really rocks. The following are just a few things going on as there are to many to mention individually.

  • October Fest
  • Mum Fest
  • Architectural walking tours
  • Downeast folkart concert series
  • Haunted Evening Historical Drama
  • Ghostwalk
  • Much activity with the 2 downtown civic theaters
  • Free admissions to the Tryon Palace gardens
  • African American Historic downtown walking tour.
  • Neuse River Bridge Run
  • Quilt Show
  • Jarman Opry Theatre
  • Jazz on the Trent
  • North Carolina Symphony
  • Chili Fest
  • Coastal Carolina Agricultural Fair
  • Fall Home Show

With all this hapenning it is no wonder New bern is considered one of the top places to visit in October.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Nothing could be finer

Nothing could be finer that to be in Carolina on the 4th of July. The fourth is one of my favorite days of the year and New Bern does it up right, with a spectacular fireworks display over the Neuse River. Last year, along with several of our friends, we watched from the middle of the Neuse River. It was a blast, and we were not alone as there must have been 300 other boats anchored along side us. Check out my web site after the 4th for some photos and you will see why nothing could be finer.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Saturday I played golf in a 4 man superball held at Brandywine in Morehead. Although it was hot as blue blazes the tournament was well organized and there was no waiting in between shots. I have to say this may have been the best superball tournament I have ever played in. The entry fee was $50 dollars, and even though we did not win anything everyone came away happy. First of all everyone received an umbrella when they registered. A grill was set up and offered hot egg and cheese sandwiches. During the round a beverage cart on each side kept everyone hydrated offering gatorade, water, and beer for anyone crazy enough to drink alcohol in 97 degree heat. After everyone finished they served a great lunch and then had an auction for various gifts. A 50-50 raffle was held with a $350 payout to the winner.
This tournament is run by the local chapter of the Military Order of Purple Heart with all preceeds going towards scholarships to children of wounded veterans. Great cause, great tournament, and you can count me in again next year.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

New Bern NC High School

New Bern High School was recently mentioned in a recent Sports Illustrated Magazine as the top high school athletic program in North Carolina. After making it to the state finals for 3 out of the last 4 years New Bern finally won the state championship with a herculean effort against a team that had won 7 straight championships. Just a few weeks ago New Bern also won the state championship in track and field. This was the 3rd year in a row that the track team won the championship.In addition, the girls remained undefeated in the Coastal Conference for the 14th consecutive season. The baseball team, basketball team, and wrestling teams consistently have successful teams. No doubt,these are all worthy accomplishments.

Now that New Bern has their athletic program in high gear, I think it is time to gear up the academic programs. New Bern High lags behind the other high schools in Craven County as well as much of the state. There is no reason why academics should not be stressed as much, or more, than sports. Few if any of our athletes will ever make it to the professional level whereas almost all of our students could go to college if they apply themselves to their studies.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

My top 7 reasons to retire to New Bern NC

1. History-settled in 1710 New Bern is full of history and historic buildings such as the city hall shown on the left. Check out for more information on New Bern

2. Climate-mild winters allow for golf and other outdoor activities pretty much year around.

3. Water-The Trent and Neuse Rivers converge in downtown New Bern. The Atlantic Ocean and the crystal coast are only 35 minutes away.

4. Golf- Plenty of inexpensive golf courses located in and around new Bern. No waiting for tee times and most of the courses are kept in immaculate shape.

5. Boating-Sailing- The Neuse River is the widest river in the United states and offers sailors and power boaters ample opportunity to test their skills. The intercoastal waterway is only about 20 miles from downtown New Bern.

6. Lots of things to do- Check out these links and to see what is happenning around New Bern.

7. Home Prices- home prices are considered reasonable by most standards. There are many quality subdivisions in the New Bern area. From waterfront and golf communities to the historic downtown area you are certain to find a community to suitt your needs.

Steve Tyson is a real estate broker and a native of New Bern. He can be contacted at

Friday, May 09, 2008

No to sub prime bailout

Although I am in the real estate business and the sub prime loans and foreclosures are harming my industry I do not believe the federal government should get involved with either bailing out the lenders or the borrowers. It is just the wrong way to attach the problem. Let me just say that I would not have a problem with the federal government using their bully pulpit to encourage the lenders to perhaps freeze their rate increases, no one forced the lenders to loan money to those that they knew could not afford to make the payments when the rate increases kicked in. The borrowers must own up also. Not the taxpayers fault that you made a bad decision and taxes should not be used to help correct the problem. The market will take care of itself.

Friday, April 25, 2008

It's back

Te deck party that is. After a long, but not so hard winter, the Sheraton Hotel and Marina in downtown New Bern, NC is party central again on Friday afternoons. What better way to wind the weekend down than to meet your friends on the deck. Beautiful view of the Trent River, live music, food, and if you so desire adult beverages. See you there soon.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Turkeys in New Bern

Today I was showing property in Greenbriar, located in the central part of New Bern, and while my customer was checking out the back yard she cried out look across the ditch. Lo and behold there was a wild a wild turkey not 25 feet from us. First one I have ever seen. And who would have thought right in the middle of a subdivision.

Help is on the way

In about 3 weeks work will be complete on the stop lights in the James City area. For those that aren't familiar with what I am talking about, there are 4 stoplights starting at Williams Road and continuing through to Airport Road, Taberna, and Thurman Road. These lights have outdated internal electronics thus limiting the options of the DOT Engineers to time the lights in a manner that would allow for efficient traffic flow from one light to the other.

As we speak the DOT is replacing these lights with state of the art equiptment as well as making intersection improvements at Williams road that will help the gridlock that we have seen at certain times of the day. These improvements are not the cure all to our problems, but in the short term they are our best option. Let hope it works.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

New Stoplights in James City

The internal electronics of the four stoplights in James City are going to be replaced within the next few months. These stoplights are located at the intersections of Williams, Airport, Taberna, and Thurman Roads.

Several months ago I met with a business owner in James City who suggested that better timing and a left turn light at Williams would really help traffic flow and reduce accidents. I relayed this information to DOT Engineer Duayne Alligood and several weeks later he emailed me and said if we could come up with $100,000 he could replace the lights at the intersections mentioned above and do some other improvements at Williams and Airport Roads to allow for easier left turns. Several weeks ago the General Assembly voted to give $77,000.00 towards the replacement cost and the DOT Division 2 Board Member Cam McRae committed to give the balance needed to complete the replacement.

Mr. Alligood told me that by replacing the internal electronics of the existing stoplights with state of the art gear will give them the ability to remotely control the traffic flow in the James City Corridor. By having the ability to remotely control the lights perhaps the timing of the lights could be changed several times a day to allow for peak traffic times. Hopefully the 4 stoplights can be timed in such a way that the residents in Taberna will not have the long wait, with no oncoming traffic, that they have to deal with now.

I would like to thank Mr. Alligood, Mr.McRae, and our legislative team for their help with this matter. There are long term solutions being worked on for helping traffic flow on Highway 70, but for now it is going to be the lower cost, common sense solutions, that we will have to utilize to help with traffic flow.
As with anything new I am sure there will be bugs that will need to be worked out after the new lights are installed. If you have any suggestions please send me an email at

Monday, April 07, 2008

Fox in the Hen House or Quail House

The Craven County Board of Commission unanimously agreed tonight that we should ask our Legislative Delegation in Raleigh to pass a local bill that would allow for fox trapping from January 2nd till February 15th. They heard from area farmers, hunters, and a NC State Wildlife Biologist, and all agreed that the over population of fox in Craven County was causing problems with the decline of Quail, Turkey, and other bird and small mammals. Some were concerned that a rabies outbreak was imminent unless something was done to control the population.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Fun in downtown New Bern

Last Friday night I met my wife for our Friday night date in downtown New Bern. Our last 4 Friday night dates we have dined at Fred and Claires and have thoroughly enjoyed the dinner and the company. After eating we were both tired and just about ready to go home when I remembered that a friend of mine who plays bass guitar in a through together band was playing just down the street at the Trent River Coffee Shop. Reluctantly she agreed to go check it out.

The band was on break as we walked in so we bought a cup of coffee and found a seat. After a few minutes the band cranked back up and it was not long afterword that we both were glad that we decided to stay up past our bedtime.

City alderman Dana Outlaw was the bass player, local author Phil Bowie was on violin or at least it looked like a violin to me. City planner Bernard George played the bongos, and life time New Bernian Dan Jenkins was playing harmonica. Add two guitar players, one acoustic and one electric, and you had a somewhat weird combination of instruments that yielded quite a unique and pleasing sound that everyone seemed to enjoy. They played mainly country, southern rock music with an occasional Beetles woven in. The band's name was Cold Biscuit. Check them out. Especially if you are over 45. I'm sure they will be back downtown.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

To smoke or not to smoke

Monday, at a regular schleduled Craven County Commissioners meeting we heard from the Chairman of the County Health Board on issues pertaining to second hand smoke. He handed out 3 papers on research that had been performed by the CDC, Mayo Client, and another research medical school whose name I don not remember. All 3 papers presented conclusive evidence that second hand smoke was harmful to those that are subjected to it. On a motion presented by one of the commissioners, seconded, and passed by a 4 to 3 vote a rule will be implemented in November to prohibit smoking in county owned buildings. I personally don't think it is asking to much for someone to go outside to smoke, and respect their right to do so. But the facts are the facts. Second hand smoke is bad for others.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Early spring

Unbelieveable, but according to the Azalas and Dogwood trees spring is either here or really close. I have never seen trees and plants budding this early. It is usually in April before we start to see signs of spring. Global warming? I don't know but we are enjoying the 70 dgree weather.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Philadelphia here we come

I have said before that Craven County has an outstanding airport, perhaps the best in the state for a county of our size. Today it got a little better. U.S. Airways announced that they are adding a daily flight from New Bern to Philadelphia International beginning June 3rd. The flights will be handled by US Air Express using 50 passenger jets.
This opens up access to 20 flights to Europe which is particularly helpfully for Bosch executives located in New Bern. The flight will depart New Bern in the morning and return in the evening. In addition to the daily flight to Philadelphia US Air has 7 daily non stop flights to Charlotte's Douglas International. In addition, Delta has 3 daily non stop flights to Hatfield International in Atlanta.
Kudos to Craven Regional Airport director tom Braaton and the Craven Regional Airport board of Directors for a job well done.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Great Restaurant in downtown New Bern

While my wife and I have eaten lunch many times at Fred and Claires restaurant in downtown New Bern last night was the first time we have eaten dinner there. Wow, we were impressed. Last night around 7 pm we decided to go downtown and eat and were heading for the Chelsea. With a 45 wait to be seated we were to hungry and tired to hang around so we drove around the corner to Craven Street and stopped at Fred and Claires. Upon entering we were greeted by the owners, Martin and Jan, who seated us and watched to see we were taken care of. The service was great, the background music was soft and romantic, and the meal was fabulous. A truely fine dining experience. We have decided that this will be out bi weekly dining out place. Try it out for lunch or dinner.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Land left to the County?

Recently the County Attorney informed the County Commissioner's that a lady had passed away and bequeathed the county 50 acres of land. Some 2000 feet of this land abutts Brices Creek, a beautiful deep water creek which empties into the Trent River about 1 mile from downtown New Bern. Richard Dobbs Speight is burried on this proprty. He was one of the origional signersof the United States Constitution and served as governor of North Carolina. This is truely one of the nicest pieces of land in Craven County and immediately I and other citizens started dreaming of ways the county could best utilize this gem. The will states that the land could not be sold and must be used as a park and kept in its natural state. The owner wanted the land to be enjoyed by all the citizens of Craven County and not just those wealthy enough to buy waterfront property. What a wonderful and thoughtful lady she must have been. Although there are complications in the will that could result in someone else obtaining ownership to the property, I am hoping the county is able to resolve this issue quickly. With the current shortage of public access to to water this land is needed for the enjoyment of all.

Monday, January 14, 2008

North Carolina is the place to be

From the majestic mountains to beautiful Beaches.
North Carolina has something for everyone. With the tallest mountains on the east coast and beautiful beaches to boot it's no wonder that for the second straight year Americans are moving to North Carolina at a higher rate than any other state in the country according to a study by by United Van Lines. It is estimated that North carolina will be come the 7th most populous state in the next 10 years. This might be good for businesses, and even politicians, however I hate to see NC lose it's rual touch.
New Bern is attracting more than it's fair share of those who are relocating to NC. When retiree's first started moving to New Bern back in the late 1970's the vast majority were coming from New York or New Jersey. By the 1990's we were starting to see more folks moving here from around the Washington DC area. Today believe it or not, many are moving here from Flordia and California. Seems like the property taxes and cost of living have become so high in those areas folks are looking for a state with more reasonable taxes. Lets hope they stay that way.
I guess growth is ok but at the same time I hope we do not experience it to the extent that we lose our southern charm. Let's hope Eastern NC retains it small town flavor for many years to come. To learn more about New Bern go to

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Shall we zone?

At present, with the exception of airport zoning, Craven County does not have any zoning in place at this time. Over the years this has led to a hodgepodge of single family homes, multi family homes, trailer parks, and businesses all within the same areas. In addition, in Township 7 commercial development along service roads that were not designed for heavy volumes of traffic has led to serious traffic flow problems at the major intersections.
Tuesday night the Craven County Planning Department held a public information meeting to discuss what zoning can and can't do to help ensure balanced and stable growth in Township 7 and Township 6. The meeting was well attended, and feedback was mostly positive. Although there was initially some confusion about the City of New Bern's extraterritorial jurisdiction authority and ability to forcible annex I feel we all came away from the meeting having learned something.
Craven County was not so many years ago considered a rural area. When you were heading south from downtown New Bern on HWY 17, Simmons Street was the boundary for the city limits. Beyond that were small farms on Trent Road and as you crossed Racetrack Road you again saw mostly family farms. Across the Trent River with the exception of Old Cherry Point Road you found family farms and large tree farms. Now these areas are developing at a very rapid pace.
Several months ago at one of our regular scheduled meetings I asked my fellow County Commissioners to support me in asking the County Manager to hold a series of public information meetings to get input from the citizens and see how they feel about zoning in Township 6 and Township 7. I feel it is something we need and I hope the majority of the citizens feel the same.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

New Bern High School Football Team is recognized

Today the 2007 4-a state football champions were honored with a parade and a pep rally. The parade began at the Police station on George Street and ended at Union Point where proclamations from Mayor Tom Bayliss and County Commissioner Renee Sisk were read and presented to the team. State Senator Jean Preston read and presented a letter of congratulations from the North Carolina State Senate. After the presentations a pep rally was held and the NBHS cheerleaders and the NBHS band put on a wonderful show. We wish the players the best as they move forward with their lives and hope they all continue futhering their education.