NCMH Takes Its Mission To Real Estate Agents

Founder George Smart Addresses the Durham Regional Association of Realtors.

June 8, 2011 (Durham, NC) — George Smart, founder and director of the award- winning non-profit North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH), will present “Mayberry Modernism: North Carolina’s Modernist Legacy” to a meeting of the Durham Regional Association of REALTORS® on Thursday, June 23, at 2 p.m.

“Mayberry Modernism” showcases the state’s surprisingly large collection of Modernist residences from the 1950s through today, particularly those in the Triangle region. The Triangle has the third largest concentration of Modernist houses in the nation, bested only by Los Angeles and Chicago. Smart’s presentation includes photographs over 50 award-winning homes from the 1935 Gamble House in Durham designed by Green and Rogers to the 2010 Bugg House, also in Durham, designed by Kenneth Hobgood, FAIA.

To help preserve all of these homes, Smart’s nonprofit maintains the state’s only list of Modernist houses on the market. “To preserve the unique architecture, we assist realtors to find caring owners for Modernist houses,” said Smart.  “Multiple-listing systems cannot distinguish between contemporary and Modernist construction, so NCMH provides this service without charge for agents, buyers, and sellers alike.”

“The design and legacy of Modernist homes will acquaint REALTORS® with these hidden treasurers in our market place,” said Shelia Willis, CEO of the
Durham Regional Association of REALTORS®. “We look forward to this exciting and informative program.”

Because of rising land values, many mid-century Modernist houses are in danger of destruction. “When bulldozers are on the way, people tend to blame developers, which is unfair,” Smart said. “Developers typically come only after many opportunities to save a house have been missed. The real enemies are vacancy and time. When homes are vacant, they decay faster and they are more susceptible to weather and vandalism since no one is around to take care of them.”

Part of the NCMH core mission is keeping these Modernist gems occupied by reducing time on the market.  NCMH also advises real estate agents on how to sell Modernist houses in a declining market.

“The secret,” says Smart, “is to market such houses completely differently.  What you’re selling is not a house, it’s livable art.”

For more information on North Carolina Modernist Houses, visit


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