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7 Tips for Buying a Mountain Home in Highlands, North Carolina


For home buyers seeking solace and relaxation, Highlands, North Carolina is a tranquil retreat blessed by the spectacular crimson and amber foliage of southern Appalachia. This idyllic hamlet within the Nantahala National Forest sits at an elevation of 4,118+/- feet and is highly sought-after both for its privacy and natural beauty.

Mountain living can be rewarding, but buying a mountain home and moving into it differs from purchasing a suburban or urban residence. Home-hunting in this region isn't difficult, but your journey will be all the more enjoyable when you work with a trusted team of well-rooted agents.

As you prepare to find the mountain home of your dreams, consider these tips and practices for purchasing and maintaining mountain property in Highlands, North Carolina from the dedicated professionals at Cashiers Valley Real Estate.

Map out the goals and intentions of your purchase

Before you start browsing listings of Highlands homes for sale, you need to fully envision your life once you move in to help guide you through the buying process. If you are making this life decision with another person, sit down together and start listing your priorities and concerns for the purchase.

Together, you should think about what you want your day-to-day life to be like. There are a lot of factors to consider, including whether you want neighbors close by or more privacy and seclusion. Does it matter how close your home is to shopping, entertainment and restaurants?  Do you want to purchase a home within a golf community?  Asking yourself questions like these will save you an abundance of time in the coming weeks and months.

Consider the realities of transportation

If you're considering luxury Highlands real estate, you likely prefer greater privacy and seclusion. However, you still need to know how accessible your home is and how far you’ll have to travel to find everyday essentials like gas, healthcare and groceries. When you go to view a home, do a test drive to important locations, such as hospitals and grocery stores, to get a sense of the home’s distance from the places you’ll likely need to visit regularly. If you have kids, map out the distance to all schools, as well.

Also, consider the accessibility of the roads and paths to your property. Depending on the terrain, these may be steep and winding, so ensure you're comfortable with the route you'll likely take daily.

Do your “due diligence”

Buying, building and maintaining a home in the mountains has different structural risks than buying property in the city. Make sure you fully understand the costs you could incur before making the purchase.

In North Carolina, as soon as buyers and sellers sign the contract, there's a 'due diligence’ period where buyers can inspect the property and identify any areas that are a concern or need repair. Take advantage of this time by hiring a professional home inspection, termite inspection, septic and radon inspection.

Know where your water comes from

Hire a surveyor to map out the boundaries of your property and point out things you should know, like whether your property sits on a floodplain or requires a septic tank. If you’re considering drilling a well on the property, know that as you ascend higher in elevation, you will need to dig even deeper, and a permit will be required.

If you’re considering drilling a well or making other developments on your property, ask the seller what measures are allowed and then hire an attorney for a second opinion. The attorney can counsel you on all city, county, state rules, deeds and environmental regulations.

Prepare for natural disasters

Sipping a warm drink on your front porch while watching the sunrise peak out from the Blue Ridge Mountains is a one-of-a-kind experience unique to North Carolina mountain living. Still, you should be aware that living in the mountains can potentially include a higher risk for natural disasters.

Living in a mountain community does not mean you are certain to face challenges with flooding or fires; however, it's wise to ask the current homeowner if the local community ever faces challenges due to the elements. Ensure you have fire and flood insurance, and don't be afraid to ask the local fire department what to expect so you know how to prepare yourself. It’s also worth asking current owners about their experiences with wildlife on the property.

Get to know your neighbors

Highlands is an outdoor lover’s paradise and an escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. You’ll likely have a lot of mutual interests with your new neighbors who have chosen to live here for the quiet community and natural beauty!

Don’t be shy to strike up a conversation with the other locals you encounter during your search. In addition to making new friends, it's also an opportunity to ask questions about what it's like to be a resident.

Are you searching for luxury Highlands homes for sale?

When you’re ready to start looking at Highlands homes for sale, consult the experienced team at Cashiers Valley Real Estate. They are eager to meet with you to discuss your mountain home dream plans and guide you through every step of the process.

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