Purchasing Property in the North Carolina Mountains

Building on Western North Carolinas Steep Slopes

Looking To Purchase Property To Build a Home in North Carolina?
There is lots to know about buying a property here if you plan to build!

Are you planning on purchasing property in the North Carolina mountains to build your dream or retirement home?  Don’t just rush into a lot or property blindly!  This list of things to know about buying property in North Carolina will give you many different things to think about.

North Carolina’s mountains offer some fantastic views and it’s no secret that retired couples and young families alike want to move here.  For many people looking to relocate to the area they are also looking at spending a significant amount of money to buy a lot and build their own home, preferably with a view.  This usually involves the construction of homes on the edges of hillsides and steep mountain slopes, or steeper than your average, level city building lot.

Before Purchasing Any Property In The NC Mountains – Did you know that nearly 70% of the land in Western North Carolina has slopes that exceed 30%?  The state doesn’t mandate the requirement of an engineer until the slope exceeds 40% (which you’d be crazy to build on!).  If you plan to build on any slope it’s a very wise idea to have a geological survey done on the property along with an environmental assessment related to drainage and septic.  (MerithewLaw Has An Excellent Resource Here)

The perfect lot for you is out there, but you don’t want to realize it’s a different lot than the one you’ve already purchased!  With building lots in North Carolina (Buncombe County specifically) varying in price from as low as $10,000 for an acre to $300,000 to $1,000,000 or more you want to make sure you understand what can affect the price.

Mineral Rights in North Carolina

Many prospective land buyers wouldn’t even think about the mineral rights because they’d assume you had them.  It’s important to know that under North Carolina law the ownership rights to the minerals  on or under your property can be severed (separated) from the surface rights to the land.  This means another company or individual could potentially buy the mineral rights or even already own them for the property you want to buy.  The ownership of mineral rights entitles the owner to access the surface of your property.  Can you imagine?

It’s important to check the deed before you buy any property to ensure that mineral rights are still in-tact.

More Items To Consider When Buying Property in Western North Carolina

#1.  How Far From Town Do You Want To Be?

Would you mind driving 30+ minutes to get your groceries? go to the doctor? the hospital? meet friends for coffee or lunch? Or would you rather be much closer to town?  The beautiful thing about living in this area is you don’t really have to sacrifice all of the benefits of country living to be close to amenities.  With that said, it’s still an important point to weigh in your purchasing decision.

#2.  How Much Privacy Would You Like?

One of the reasons to move out into the North Carolina mountains aside from the beautiful scenery is the privacy it affords.  There are building lots on cul-de-sacs and other quite country roads where the lots are small and so compact you’d be able to see a neighbor from almost every window in your home.  There are also lots with beautiful views along with mature tree cover that can afford you all of the privacy you could ever want.

#3.  How Much Land Do You Want/Need?

There are many lots available in the .5 to 1 acre size and even much larger as your property size goes up so does the cost of running utilities to your home, paving your driveway, having a perimeter fence and you’ll have more land to maintain.  Do you want a spectacular view?  Or would you prefer to have a cozy cabin in the woods type feel with mature trees all around you?

The size and and topography of your land will play a heavy hand in building possibilities and the associated costs.

#4.  Building Site Conditions

The condition of your lot will have a big impact in what you can build and for what cost.  If your lot is flat and already cleared to begin with then consider yourself lucky as it’s much easier to build on an already level and cleared lot.

For many building lots in the North Carolina mountains you’ll be dealing with steep uneven and hilly terrain that will have tree cover and require some extensive lot clearing.  This often calls for heavy machinery and very likely the need to “cut and fill”.  When home construction occurs on a steep slope, this levelling is necessary to prepare the building site and build an access road aka what will be your driveway.

Leveling a steep building site involves a process called “cut and fill”.  The rock and soil are dug-out or “cut” from the slope above the build site and used to fill and level the actual build site. whereby rock and soil are cut from higher slopes and used to fill in the land below.  In the mountains of North Carolina land slides are a real risk that needs to be considered when buying a lot with steep grades that will require extensive work.

If you plan on building a home on your new lot then it’s a smart idea to enlist the services of your chosen home building contractor to visit the potential lots with you.  Your builder will be able to discuss the pros and cons of the build site as well as help you ballpark site preparation costs and answer other important questions and offer valuable insight.

When it comes to really narrow down build sites you’ll want to also enlist the services of a geological engineer along with an environmental engineer too.  There are many “diamonds in the rough” so to speak when it comes to building lots in Western NC and sometimes it’s just a case of “knowing” that can make all the difference in your purchase.

#5.  Power/Water/Sewer

There are many “serviced” lots for sale that include power to the edge of the property, drilled wells and even installed septic systems.  These lots are basically ready for construction and if you can find the right one, it might not be a bad option.  With an unserviced lot you’re going to be responsible for running power from the main line to your building, this can be very expensive if you have a long driveway!

The cost for drilling a well can vary but $10,000 +/-  is a very good estimate as to what it costs and if you’re building in the mountains you’re going to have to have a well.  Some properties will produce more water than others and wells can be varying depths which can add or decrease from the final cost of the drilling.

Nearly 75% of the homes in Western NC depend on a septic system to treat their waste water and sewage.  It’s important to know that not all land is suitable for a septic system either and sometimes extensive site excavation might be required.  Your septic system will need to be approved by the Environmental Health Section of the Buncombe County health department before your new home will be allowed to be occupied or even connected to a source of electricity.

All of these reasons, again stress the need to involve a competent building contractor with extensive experience building homes in these mountainous conditions of Western North Carolina.

We Specialize in Building Homes in The Western NC Mountains

Jonathan Landry of JL BuildersJL Builders is a custom home builder based out of Asheville, NC and serving all of Buncombe County. We specialize in the design and construction of green and sustainable homes for people who are looking to relocate to North Carolina and build their dream home.  With extensive experience building homes in our steep, mountainous terrain you can count on our knowledge and expertise to build you a safe and beautiful new home.

If you have questions about the building or lot selection process, would like to get us involved in your lot selection or you had any other questions regarding building or buying land to build on in Western, NC  please give us a call or send us an email through our contact form.  We’d love to hear from you!

Our Western North Carolina Service Areas