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Mountain Living in WNC

Ah, the allure of the mountains. The clean, crisp air. The seasons. The outdoors. The good life. That’s what most people dream about when they think of an escape or vacation to mountain areas. Others may also envision running through the grassy fields like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music. Wherever your thoughts take you, they are probably correct. These are certainly some of the things that attracted me to Hendersonville, NC and the Western NC Mountains.

Living in the mountains, especially if you are relocating from a more urban area, can be eye opening. The simple act of going to the grocery store can be a 30 minute to hour trip. Shopping, in general, can be quite different. There are likely to be fewer stores and fewer big box, chain stores in mountain areas. This presents an opportunity, to take part in the local community, more than a challenge to find what you need. After all, you can get hard-to-find items off the Internet with free shipping most of the time.

Pros Cons
  • Nature and outdoors
  • Seasons and climate
  • Slower pace
  • Less populated
  • Sense of community
  • Less cultural/entertainment events than metro areas
  • Communication services (Internet, cellular and TV)
  • Driving distances
  • Shopping (number and variety)

There are other infrastructure items that are not so easily remedied, so it pays to be aware of these when searching for a mountain home. Evaluate your needs and ask these questions, especially if the mountain home is far from the closest town or on top of a peak.

  • What’s the water source?
    Mountain homes are often on well water.
  • How close is the fire department?
    If the roads are curvy and have switchbacks, it will take the fire department longer to reach and, in some cases, a normal fire truck may not be able to reach the home. This could also impact the home insurability and likely to increase the rates.
  • How close are other public services?
    Doctors, hospitals, dentist, library, etc.
  • What’s the heating source?
    A fireplace is great but there are better heating sources. Is there natural gas available? Propane or oil are common in mountain areas but generally are more expensive than natural gas.
  • What companies provide reliable communication services?
    Most mountain homes will have only TV and Internet via satellite. Satellite-based Internet service usually has monthly data caps and is higher priced than land-based options like cable or fiber optic. Also check the strength of your mobile carrier and investigate alternatives. 5G cellular service may help both but it is years away for rural areas.
  • Can the home be insured?
    Other than the proximity to the nearest fire station, insurance carriers may decline coverage to homes that have filed too many claims in the past. High winds that are more common on mountain tops can cause more damage homes, particularly roofs. It is wise to check with an insurance carrier before making an offer to purchase.

Just remember that there is a perfect mountain home for everyone. It just may not be at the top!


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