Asheville Homes and LAND!- The Keep In Touch Blog

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Caveats and Steep Slopes- Asheville

Asheville real estate is in high demand. Building sites can be breathtakingly beautiful here in the Asheville Asheville Steep Slopesarea mountains. (see photo)  But there are some caveats. And buyers can benefit from sitting down with an informed local real estate expert when planning to build on the slopes surrounding Asheville.  

Take, for example, the case of the Texas Buyer who back in 2007, invested in a 2 AC parcel just north of Asheville without such counsel.

This glorious south-facing building site with incredible views of the valley below  within 7 minutes of downtown Asheville and all of Asheville's notable amenities, simply called to him. Little did he know the challenges he would face.

Challenges: In order to purchase this amazing 2 AC parcel in Asheville's mountainous terrain, this Texas Buyer had to cure a cloud on the title. Still, he was looking to the future, so he bought the property  that sits high on one of Asheville's mountainsides despite the problem.  But there were other challenges of which he was unaware! Before I go on, I'd like to repeat that the out-of-town investor bought the property without the advice of a REALTOR®. 

IF he had engaged the services of a real estate land specialist, he might have known that a large and vocal group of Asheville residents even affirm that Asheville's local economy relies on protecting the beauty of mountains and ridge tops. He might have discovered that  a Steep Slope Ordinance was, at that time, pending. He might have learned that local experts expected new zoning rules for areas above 2,500 feet elevation with an average slope greater than 35 percent (his building site.) In the case of the Texas Buyer, before making the investment of approximately $100,000 per acre, he could have discovered that:

1) Approximately half of the property is in the "Debris Flow Pathway"
2) All of the property except for a small potion directly on the road is above 2500 feet and subject  to (the now in place) Steep Slope Ordinance that places safety and viewshed restrictions on building, particularly on ridge-tops.
3)The slope average of  his lot, 54% , makes it not only a very expensive build, but (as of October,2010) subject to Buncombe County Hillside Development Ordinances which might disallow building on all but that  tiny portion of the property that sits within feet of a subdivision road.

You may wonder how I came to know so much about this particular parcel. Here's the answer. A Very Smart Buyer asked me to look into that exact building site, now on the market, and let him know what research shows prior to investing in it.

To quote a colleague, " Be careful of steep grade property. Sure it looks beautiful and it's nice to think of having your home at the top, but most steep grade property cannot be built on without extensive and expensive roads, site work, and building costs accruing..." and, here in Buncombe County- check out the  Hillside Development Ordinance

 

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Comments

janeAnne, and we think we have restrictions! Very important for anyone buying real estate in Asheville to consult a Realtor.

Posted by David O'Doherty, Clayton NC Homes, Raleigh, NC (Raleigh Realty Inc) almost 8 years ago

janeAnn...we face the difficulty of building on steep terrain in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, but in a state with the Motto "live free or die"...an ordinance making private land basically unbuildable wouldn't fly. Every parcel of land is buildable as long as you have the money to engineer it. You make an excellent case for hiring someone with local knowledge...let that be a lesson to buyer's Be Ware if you go it alone.

Posted by Steve Loynd, 800-926-5653, White Mountains NH ( Alpine Lakes Real Estate Inc., ) almost 8 years ago

janeAnne,

Very nice point.  Asheville is such an ecclectic place and I have heard such stories as the one you described.  I love Asheville, one a close hour drive for us.  Great for a girls shopping day or a nice dinner.  I will keep you in mind for my Asheville referrals!

Posted by Cindy Edwards, CRS, GRI, PMN - Northeast Tennessee - 423-677-6677 (RE/MAX Checkmate) almost 8 years ago

janeAnne

It's to the buyer best interest to use a local real estate professional.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Posted by Lou Ludwig, Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC (Ludwig & Associates) almost 8 years ago

janeAnne - Great story to point out why enlisting the services of an experienced real estate professional is critical in making the best and most prudent purchase decisions. 

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru (TheHousingGuru.com) almost 8 years ago

David~

When mountainous land is being considered, it is wise to consult with various experts...Be careful of steep grade property...

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 8 years ago

Steve~ 

Good point...as you say, " let that be a lesson to buyer's Be Ware if you go it alone".

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 8 years ago

This is why we offer free lot inspections and help with lot research....so many lots are wonderful and ready to build, but every once in a while there are situations like this!  Getting the help of an expert before you buy is very important....

Posted by Stanton Homes, Design/Build Custom Home Builder in North Carolina (Stanton Homes - New Home Builder) almost 8 years ago

Cindy~

I look forward to doing business with my colleague from TN!

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 8 years ago

Lou~

I imagine you already know that I agree with your comment. THX.

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 8 years ago

John~

I particularly like the way you phrase this...so I'm repeating it: "...enlisting the services of an experienced real estate professional is critical in making the best and most prudent purchase decisions...." Thank You!

Posted by . 4Terra Land Brokers .. 828-776-0779 Asheville NC, What's Most Important to YOU? Call(828)-776-0779 ( REAL ESTATE RESOURCES & NETWORK ) almost 8 years ago

janeAnne, not consulting with a local Realtor proved once again to be an expensive mistake.  I suspect this seller will not get his full investment back. 

Posted by Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES, Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living (Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch!) almost 8 years ago

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