Asheville real estate is in high demand. Building sites can be breathtakingly beautiful here in the Asheville area 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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Land:: If stewardship of large acreage is important to you, let's talk about mutually beneficial solutions. IF you are a Cash Buyer, some awesome properties are available at excellent price points. NOTE:: A recent McGraw Hill study revealed that 81% of homebuyers would prefer to buy a eco-friendly home rather than a standard home, even in this current down economy. I have the following real estate green designations: NAR GREEN®, EcoBroker®, Eco Certified ®Real Estate Consultant.
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