Buying a Remote House

Our area is a popular destination for people looking to buy a house in a quiet, private, remote location with unspoiled views of nature.  The advantages of living in such a location are priceless but the lifestyle does provide some interesting challenges that may not be familiar to the city dweller.  The information below is intended to help homebuyers by providing a reference for typical conditions of a remote house.   Read more here about Mountain Style Homes and Log Homes and Buying Land in Asheville.

Sample Inspection Report for Remote Home

Snowy/Icy Road Conditions

  • Remote roads may not be salted or serviced by city/county snow plows.
  • Higher elevations and remote roads may be inaccessible for days after main roads are passable.
  • Preparation and specialized equipment/vehicles can limit the inconvenience but sometimes occupants of remote homes must resign themselves for quiet days stuck at home.
  • Longer drives over snowy/icy conditions increase the risk of accidents or getting stuck – drivers should navigate sharp turns, bridges, shaded areas and icy conditions very carefully.

Back up Power

Electricity can go out in remote areas during extreme Winter events when homeowners need it the most.  Back up propane or gas generators with automatic transfer switches (like Generac) are great options for homeowners who don’t want to experience disruption of power.  Back up generators require fuel storage and regular maintenance/service.  Solar PV systems with battery storage can also provide emergency power.

Back up Heat

Homes that do not have back up power systems may consider sources of emergency heat such as wood/gas fireplaces, wood stoves, and wall heaters.

Private Roads, driveways, bridges and culverts

Private Roads and Driveways:

  • Need regular re-surfacing — long roads and driveways can become expensive to maintain
  • Need regular and sometimes sudden repairs as they suffer erosion damage- especially during storm events
  • May need to be salted or plowed privately in the Winter
  • Maintenance agreements may require coordinating/negotiating with neighbor(s)
  • Easements may limit use or rights
  • Steep driveways may be impassable for some or all vehicles depending on conditions

Private Bridges and Culverts:

  • Need regular maintenance
  • May collapse or become impassable after rain events
  • In some cases structural engineers may need to be hired for repair plans
  • Maintenance agreements may require coordinating/negotiating with neighbor(s)

Animals and Insects

Remote homes are a great place to experience animals in their natural habitat.  Wildlife can also present some lifestyle challenges.  Below are some considerations for our area:

  • Rodent infestations (common)
  • Wood destroying insects like carpenter bees and damage to wood siding/trim (common)
  • Woodpeckers and damage to the wood siding/trim (common)
  • Black Bears and garbage and pet protection (common in some areas)
  • Squirrels and damage to the soffits, trim, gable vents and attic areas (fairly common)
  • Poisonous snakes (harmless black snakes are most common but we do have the Northern Copperhead and Timber Rattlesnake) (rarely seen around the house)
  • Poisonous spiders (Black Widow and the Brown Recluse) (fairly common around the house)
  • Ticks (American Dog tick being the most common)

Private Utilities- Well/Septic

Houses in town typically are connected to municipal sewer and water and these homeowners have very little maintenance concerns beyond paying their utility bill.  Outside of municipal service areas homeowners must provide their own utilities with private well and septic systems.  Personally I find great satisfaction in managing our own water and sewage systems on-site but these systems do require the homeowner to be more hands-on with regular maintenance, sediment filter replacement, and occasional repairs/replacement.

Advantages of private well and septic systems

  • No monthly or bi-monthly bill from the city, generally cheaper than municipal water/sewer
  • Private wells not vulnerable to municipal water disruptions and boil water advisories (becoming increasingly common due to aging infrastructure)
  • No ‘use’ charges for water
  • Private water is untreated, un-chlorinated, potentially higher in minerals
  • Septic systems can, according to some studies, be more environmentally friendly than municipal sewer treatment

Disadvantages of private well and septic systems

  • Well water should be tested annually for quality as it can become contaminated
  • Some well systems may require expensive whole house filtration equipment 
  • Well pressure system equipment and water filtration equipment need regular maintenance and replacement
  • Septic tanks should be pumped every 3-5 years
  • Septic tanks can occasionally back up, pond, or contaminate areas
  • Septic systems occasionally need repairs and less frequently, replacement.
  • Well systems rely on electricity– no power, no water (unless a cistern system is in place)

Poor Cell and Wifi service

Cell and Wifi service can be very limited in our remote areas which can be a great inconvenience for most people.

  • Recommend to ask seller for more information
  • Recommend to call service providers  in the area regarding options
  • Explore Boosters, Satellite, DSL or other

Limited Availability of Contractors and Service Providers

  • Contractors and service providers may charge a travel fee for some areas or may not serve them at all.
  • Remote areas can sometimes enjoy more affordable contactors
  • Remote areas may offer a more limited choice of sub-contractors
  • Some remote areas are known for contractors that perform sub-par quality work

Asheville Remote Home Inspectors

Builder Buddy is your resource for Remote Home Inspections, Second Home Inspections, Country Home Inspections, Vacation Home Inspections, and Mountain Cabin inspections in the Asheville area.  We also provide Remote Home Radon testing, Remote Home Mold testing, Remote Home Water testing, Remote Home Well Inspections, and Remote Home Septic Inspections.  Schedule online or call with questions.

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