Guide To Asheville Inspections

guide to asheville inspections

Asheville Homebuyer Considerations

Asheville Economy and its Buildings

Asheville has long been a destination for the country’s uber-rich which is why the Biltmore House, the country’s largest private residence is located here.  On the other hand, the Asheville area has a long history of being underdeveloped and was part of the Tennessee Valley Authority Project.  Asheville City experienced a localized depression in the 1980s and 1990s and most of the buildings experienced deferred maintenance (something buyers of older houses and buildings should keep in mind.)  Since 2000 economic conditions in Asheville have improved and buildings and infrastructure are being renovated and improved.  West Asheville village’s main street off of the Haywood Road corridor is revitalizing.  The I26 Connector Project and The French Broad River Greenway are some examples of city improvement projects.  Today Asheville city fares poorly in National cost-of-living indexes based on the average income of our residents and it’s well known that we have an affordable housing problem– Asheville City recently passed a Housing Bond and is taking other measures to improve affordability.  More Asheville Community Economic Development information can be found here.

Asheville City Water and Sewer

Many houses have aging sewer line connections to the municipal waste line which they are responsible for maintaining.

Because of our high annual rainfall, Asheville city and the surrounding area have abundant and high-quality water compared to most of the country– Asheville city’s water quality is excellent and is tested regularly– the most recent water test results and water advisories can be found here.  Asheville city water infrastructure itself is aging and undergoing many repairs, and maintenance, and sometimes the city will issue boil water advisories.  Many Asheville city homeowners are installing sediment filters to prevent grit (due to infrastructure repairs) from damaging their plumbing fixtures and appliances.  

Builder Buddy coordinates Sewer Scope Inspections through our 3rd party partners which are recommended for older homes or homes with mature trees/shrubs on or near the sewer line.  

Asheville And WNC Drinking Water

Find Detailed information here about the drinking water quality of the City of Asheville Public Water and Buncombe County Private Wells and Springs

Asheville Private Well and Septic Systems

Asheville city is a historic city which is why some houses within city limits still have private wells and septic systems.  According to the EPA, well water should be tested annually by the county health department (although this can take over a month).  During real estate transactions and short due diligence times, we recommend that water is tested privately (faster turn-around times).  It is common for well water in our area to test positive for bacteria/coliform, iron, or hardness.

According to the EPA, septic tanks should be pumped every 3-5 years.  Most households do NOT have their tanks pumped this often.  If I had to guess I would say that the average in our area is every 10+  years (mostly during real estate transactions).

Builder Buddy offers Well Inspections, Septic Inspections, and Water Testing.

Asheville City Natural Gas (Dominion/PSNC)

Private company Dominion/PSNC provides natural gas service within their service area (see service map here).  If a home is located in the service area Dominion/PSNC will typically waive any connection charges if the homeowner installs a furnace or water heater in the home (a gas range by itself will not qualify).

Gas appliances and piping should always be checked regularly for leaks and proper exhaust venting.  Builder Buddy offers annual maintenance inspections ($150 off for our returning clients) to help prevent fire and health hazards.

Asheville On-site Propane and Oil Storage

Underground and below-ground oil/diesel/kerosene tanks are very common in our area- especially in older homes.  There are environmental concerns regarding leaking underground oil tanks – a licensed geologist can be consulted for further evaluation.

Many homes in Asheville city also have on-site propane tank storage- especially outside of the PSNC/Dominion service area.  Propane tanks do not have the environmental concerns that oil tanks do however it is common to find gas leaks and improper installation of the gas piping in homes with private propane storage.  Builder Buddy offers annual maintenance inspections ($150 off for our returning clients) to help prevent fire and health hazards.

Asheville Air Quality (EPA)

Air quality in the Asheville area is improving.  Duke Power has retired the coal units at the Lake Julian Power Plant and the Canton Mill has now closed.  

Asheville area experiences fewer wildfires and smoke/fire pollution compared to the West Coast.  The EPA regularly monitors Asheville’s air quality and outdoor air quality maps for our area can be found here and EPA Fire and Smoke maps are found here.

Asheville Mold & Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

Asheville city has high annual rainfall, a large number of trees, clay soil, and a high percentage of older homes with deferred maintenance – these factors all contribute to more than typical mold and indoor air quality issues in our homes and buildings.

Asheville City has a high percentage of homes with wood burning, oil, natural gas, or propane appliances which can cause high amounts of carbon monoxide and other toxic exhaust products in the home.  Asheville City has a large percentage of homes built before 1978 which tend to have presumed lead-containing paint and presumed asbestos-containing materials. 

Increasingly all modern homes have an increased amount of Electromagnetic radiation (EMFs) and Volatile Organic Compounds in our homes.

Builder Buddy provides Mold Evaluations and Mold Testing for people concerned about indoor air quality in their homes and buildings.

Asheville Wood Destroying Insects

It is common to find wood-destroying insect activity in Asheville City Homes and Buildings – like most regions we have termites, powder post beetles, old house borers, carpenter ants, etc. And unlike many other regions, we also have carpenter bees.

The best place to find termite activity is in crawl spaces and around the foundation wall (exterior and interior).  Carpenter bees can be found on wood siding and trim (especially under eaves) and decks.  For carpenter bees, all homes in Asheville City with wood siding, trim, or decks at the exterior should be treated annually.

All homes with wood framing in our region should be regularly inspected and serviced by a Wood Destroying Insect Treatment or ‘Pest company.

Asheville Radon

Naturally occurring uranium is found in our mountains and radon gas in our homes is a consideration.  After years of testing, we estimate that about 1 in 6 homes in Asheville City test high for radon gas according to EPA standards.  Homes of all foundation types can test high for radon, especially houses on slabs and basements or ground-level condos and townhouses.

Asheville City Short-Term Vacation Rental Regulations

Something that all Asheville City Homebuyers should keep in mind is that compared with most of the country Asheville city has strict regulations regarding Short Term Vacation Rentals- check with Asheville Development Services for more information or call 828 259 5829.

As of late 2022 states, “Rental of an entire dwelling unit for less than a month is called a short-term vacation rental (STVR). STVRs are only permitted in the resort zoning district.”  

Asheville City and Buncombe County Government Info

Asheville city is part of Buncombe County.  Check out our convenient one-page resource for government contact information such as permitting, planning and development, register of deeds, garbage and recycling, GIS, health department, city water/sewer, and more.

Asheville City and Buncombe County Government Information

Why Asheville Area Buildings Are Unique

I would argue that Asheville WNC is one of the country’s most challenging areas to inspect.  Below is an abbreviated list of challenges that WNC home inspectors face but despite these obstacles, we love our work.  Asheville’s eclecticism will never allow us to stagnate or become bored. 
  • Our historic buildings (mostly wood-framed and many from the 1800s and early 1900s)
  • Our aging infrastructure (water/sewer/highways/etc.)
  • Our unique ‘do it yourself’ pioneer culture of Appalachia
  • Our history of being part of the under-developed Tennessee Valley Authority Region
  • The diversity of our home styles (manufactured, historic, luxury, log, mountain style, ranch, craftsman, contemporary, etc.)
  • Our region’s history of booms and busts
  • Our high annual rainfall with springs, rivers, floods, and MOLD!
  • Our red expansive clay soil has the worst bearing capacity of all soil types
  • Our naturally occurring Uranium in the mountains causes radon
  • Our mountainous topography with most buildings being built on crawl spaces
  • Our high percentage of homes with on-site Propane and Oil tanks 
  • Our high percentage of homes with on-site Wells and Septic Systems
  • Our cold/freezing temperatures in the Wintertime (especially for the South)
  • Our strange mix of ultra-rich mansions and ultra-poor cabins and trailers
  • Our steep and remote sites with bridges, culverts, and long driveways
  • Our mature trees near our buildings can cause roof and gutter damage and mold
  • Our critters:  carpenter bees, termites, old house borers, powder post beetles, bats, rodents, snakes, and woodpeckers

Inspecting Asheville’s Neighborhoods

Candler or 28715 Inspections

Candler or 28715 Main Roads: 

Old US 19-23, Sand Hill Road, Pisgah Highway/ Hwy 151, Enka Lake Road, Case Cove Road, Pisgah View State Park, Smokey Park Highway, Highway 40 

Candler or 28715 Overview:

For demographic information click here: 28715.  28715 is the most Western part of Asheville city.  28715 zip code is also known as Candler, Enka, and Biltmore Lake

The 28715 zip code in Asheville includes Candler, Enka, and Biltmore Lake.  The Northern part of 28715 includes the retail corridor of Smokey Park Highway and is more densely populated. Biltmore Lake is a man-made lake and historic residential area originally developed for its workers by the textile company American Enka Corporation.  The Southern portion of 28715 is less densely populated, agricultural, and wooded and has a mix of single-family homes, manufactured homes, and some community developments.

Candler or 28715 area Homes and Buildings: 

28715 area code includes a mix of older and newer buildings, log homes, ranch homes, manufactured homes, remote homes, and commercial buildings.  

Some helpful articles for Candler Homebuyers:

Buying an Older House (built before 1960) 

Buying a House 25 Years or Older

Buying a Condo or Townhouse

Buying a Manufactured Home

Buying a Ranch-Style House

Newer vs Older Homes

Commercial Property Inspections

West Asheville or 28806 Inspections

West Asheville or 28806 Main Roads: 

Patton Ave, Haywood Road, Malvern Hills, Emma Road, New Leicester Highway, Louisiana Ave., Sand Hill Road, State Street, Brevard Road, Bear Creek Road, School Road, Smokey Park Highway, Old Haywood Road, Deaverview Road, Sardis Road, Pole Creasman Road, Wesley Branch Road, Riverview Drive, Dryman Mountain Road

West Asheville or 28806 Overview:

For demographic information about 28806 click here.  28806 is located just West of downtown Asheville.  28806 zip code is also known as West Asheville, Historic West Asheville, Leicester, and Bent Creek. Malvern Hills

Historic West Asheville along Haywood road is the old working-class heart of Asheville.  In the early 1900s, cable car trolleys would transfer workers to and from downtown.  The Haywood Road corridor South of Patton Ave. includes the historic walkable Main Street area. North of Patton Ave is less densely populated with many winding roads interspersed with some agricultural areas.  Areas along I-26 may be affected by the I26 Connector Project.  Bent Creek includes a residential development (mostly ranch-style homes built in the 60s, 70s, and 80s) located near the North Carolina Arboretum and Pisgah National Forest.  Some notable parks are Carrier Park, West Asheville Park, and Bent Creek Community Park.

West Asheville or 28806 Homes and Buildings: 

Our company has inspected countless buildings in West Asheville.  West Asheville experienced a recession in the 80s and 90s and was, for a time, considered, the ‘Worst Asheville’.  Over the last decade, Historic West Asheville has become one of the trendiest neighborhoods in the area and has been reinvigorated with private investment and city infrastructure improvement projects. The Haywood Road corridor includes a mix of older brick commercial buildings and older/smaller homes that served the working-class population of the early 1900s (compared to the larger and higher-end homes of Montford and Kimberly Ave – see 28801).  There are many bungalows or Sears catalog-type houses from the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.  In the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s many ranch-style homes were built and over the last couple of decades, there have been many in-fill developments or houses constructed on vacant or underused lots within existing neighborhoods.  North of Patton Avenue, or Leicester, contains a mix of mostly single-family homes of different ages and styles including Ranch and Manufactured homes. 

Some helpful articles for West Asheville Homebuyers:

Buying an Older House (built before 1960) 

Buying a House 25 Years or Older

Buying a 15-25-Year-Old Home

Buying a 15 Year or Newer Home

Buying a Ranch-Style House

Newer vs Older Homes

Commercial Property Inspections

South Asheville or 28803 Inspections

South Asheville or 28803 Main Roads: 

South Asheville, Hendersonville Road, Sweeten Creek, Biltmore Forest, Biltmore, Shiloh, 

South Asheville or 28803 Overview:

For demographic information click here: 28803.  28803 is the Southern part of Asheville.  (Much of the Southern part of Asheville is part of the private Biltmore estate.  28803 is also known as South Asheville and includes the Town of Biltmore Forest, Shiloh, Kenilworth, Oakley, and Skyland

28803 zip code includes the retail corridors of Hendersonville Road and Sweeten Creek.  Biltmore Forest is the second-wealthiest town in North Carolina by per capita income.  

South Asheville or 28803 Homes and Buildings: 

28803 zip code also includes the hospital district, apartment complexes, HOA/gated communities (like Biltmore Park), government-assisted housing, and a mix of single-family homes.  South Asheville has a lot of newer developments and HOA communities compared to other areas of Asheville.

Some helpful articles for South Asheville Homebuyers:

Buying a Condo or Townhouse

Buying a 15-25-Year-Old Home

Buying a 15 Year or Newer Home

Commercial Property Inspections

Arden or 28704 Inspections

Arden or 28704 area Main Roads: 

West Haven, Arden, Blue Ridge Parkway, Glenn Bridge Road, Brevard Road, Long Shoals Road, Avery’s Creek, Mill’s Gap

Arden or 28704 area Overview:

For demographic information click here: 28704.  28704 is the Southernmost part of Asheville City.  28704 may also be called South Asheville and includes the neighborhoods of Arden and Royal Pines.

28704 includes the retail corridor of Brevard road (and larger retail outlets).   28704 also includes Lake Julian, Lake Julian Park, and the Duke hydroelectric power plant.

Arden or 28704 area Inspections:

28704 or the Arden area is growing quickly as the Asheville Airport is one of the fastest growing in the country.  28704 includes a lot of newer development, HOA communities (like the Cliffs at Walnut Cove Tavern), apartment complexes, some industrial and retail, and a mix of single-family homes. 

Some helpful articles for 28704 or Arden area Homebuyers:

Buying a Condo or Townhouse

Buying a 15-25-Year-Old Home

Commercial Property Inspections

Buying a 15 Year or Newer Home

Buying New Construction Homes

New Construction Home Builders (Spec vs Custom vs Tract vs Manufactured)

Downtown Asheville or 28801 Inspections

Downtown Asheville or 28801 Main Roads: 

McDowell St., S. French Broad Ave., Haywood Street, Lexington Ave, Patton Ave, Merrimon Ave. Asheland Ave, Charlotte Street, Biltmore Ave, College St., MLK Jr. Dr., Clingman Ave, Haywood Street, Hilliard Ave, Riverside Drive, Lyman Street

Downtown Asheville or 28801 Overview:

For more demographic information click here: 28801.  28801 is located in the center of Asheville and is also known as Downtown Asheville.  28801 includes Montford Historic District, South Slope Brewing District, River Arts District, and Albemarle Park

Asheville Downtown includes a mix of mixed-use retail, hotels, high-rise buildings, civic buildings, theaters, the civic center (Harrah’s Cherokee Center), and Pack Square.  Montford Historic District is a residential area across the bridge from downtown, including Montford Park.  Unlike most Northern or Western cities Asheville downtown has a very low density of people that live there.  28801 includes the retail corridors of Merrimon Ave and Charlotte Street and surrounding residential communities.  28801 includes the River Arts District, South Slope Brewing District, Mission Hospital and related services, and the Memorial Stadium.

Downtown Asheville or 28801 Homes and Buildings:

28801 zip codes include the Montford Area Historic District which is reviewed by the Historic Resources Commission – design approval is required for most changes to these buildings.  28801 also includes historic commercial and retail buildings, High rises, and a mix of single-family and multi-family residential housing.  28801 or Downtown Asheville experienced a recession in the 80s and 90s which is why many of the buildings present during this period have endured deferred maintenance and neglect.  Over the last decade, 28801, or Downtown Asheville has been revitalized with private investment and city infrastructure improvement projects.

Some helpful articles for Downtown Asheville Homebuyers:

Buying an Older House (built before 1960) 

Buying a House 25 Years or Older

Commercial Property Inspections

Newer vs Older Homes

East Asheville or 28805 Inspections

East Asheville or 28805 area Main Roads:

Tunnel Road, Haw Creek, Town Mountain Road, Riceville Road, Swannanoa River road, New Haw Creek Road, Old Haw Creek Road, Upper Grassy Branch Road, Blue Ridge Parkway, Riceville Road, Lower Grassy Branch Road, Shope Creek Road, Parker Road, Bull Creek Road, Gashes Creek Road, Swannanoa River road, Chunn’s Cove Road

East Asheville or 28805 area Overview:

For demographic information click here: 28805.  28805 zip code is also known as East Asheville.  28805 includes the neighborhoods of Haw Creek, Town Mountain Road, Swannanoa Hils, and Riceville.

28805 includes Asheville Mall and the Tunnel Road commercial and retail corridor.  The WNC Nature Center, Asheville Municipal Golf Course, Asheville Recreation Park, and Azalea park are located in 28805.  North of Tunnel road is a low-density residential and agricultural area.

East Asheville or 28805 area Inspections: 

Along Tunnel Road 28805 has many single-story commercial and retail buildings.  28805 also includes a mix of single-family, HOA communities, and multi-family residential areas (like the Cloister Condominiums).

Some helpful articles for 28805 or East Asheville homebuyers:

Buying a Condo or Townhouse

Buying a Manufactured Home

Buying a 15-25-Year-Old Home

Buying a 15 Year or Newer Home

Buying New Construction Homes

New Construction Home Builders (Spec vs Custom vs Tract vs Manufactured)

North Asheville or 28804 Inspections

North Asheville or 28804 Main Roads:

Kimberly Avenue, Beaverdam, Merrimon Ave, Lakeshore Drive, Elk Mountain Road, Riverside Drive, N. Woodfin Ave, Weaverville Road, Baird Cove Road, Weaverville Highway, Old Marshall Highway, Goldview Road, New Stock Road, Aiken Road

North Asheville or 28804 Overview:

For more demographic information click here: 28804.  28804 is also known as North Asheville and the Town of Woodfin.  North Asheville includes the communities of North Asheville, Grove Park, Kimberly Avenue, Lakeview Park, Beaverdam, Beaver Lake, and the Town of Woodfin.

28804 includes the retail corridors of Merrimon Ave. and Weaverville Road.  28804 also includes the University of North Carolina Asheville campus, the Omni Grove Park Inn, Botanical Gardens at Asheville, Grove Park Country Club, Weaver Park, Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary, Country Club of Asheville, Woodfin Riverside Park, Silver-Line Park, Ledges Whitewater River Park, Roy Pope Memorial Park.

North Asheville or 28804 Inspections:

Along Merrimon Avenue and Weaverville Road 28804 zip code has many single-story commercial and retail buildings.  28804 also includes a mix of single-family HOA communities and multi-family residential areas.

Some helpful articles for North Asheville Homebuyers:

Buying an Older House (built before 1960) 

Buying a Manufactured Home

Buying a House 25 Years or Older

Buying a Ranch-Style House

Newer vs Older Homes

Commercial Property Inspections

How Can We Help You?

Builder Buddy LLC is an Asheville-based Inspection & Testing (and education!) company.  We offer the following services for Asheville and WNC folks looking to buy, sell or maintain homes or commercial properties:

  • Home Inspections
  • Commercial Property Inspections
  • Well Inspections
  • Septic Inspections (3rd Party)
  • Water Testing
  • Wood Destroying Insect Inspections (3rd Party)
  • Mold Testing
  • Pre-Sale Inspections
  • Annual Maintenance Inspections

Do you have a question or would you like to schedule an inspection or testing?  Call us at 828 484 6494 or email us here.

Asheville Homebuyers

We have put together a comprehensive collection of articles intended to help Asheville City and WNC homebuyers, we call it the, “Guide for WNC Homebuyers’.  The purpose of the articles is to help buyers anticipate repairs, maintenance, and other lifestyle considerations when looking to purchase a home in our area.

Asheville City Property Maintenance

We provide free and regularly updated Seasonal Home Maintenance Checklists specifically designed for the Asheville area which can be found here.  We also off Annual Maintenance Inspections ($150 discount for returning clients) which help prevent financial and personal catastrophes from floods, fires, carbon monoxide poisoning, plumbing or gas leaks, disruption of service, electrical hazards, fall/injury hazards, renter liability, and a lot more.  We recommend that all homeowners and landlords get an Annual Inspection for each of their properties (whether or not they use Builder Buddy) to help maintain the biggest investment most people will ever own – their homes, commercial properties, and rental properties.  An Annual Inspection is an especially important opportunity for landlords who rarely get access to rental properties.

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