The Top 10 “Got To Know’s” When Buying Your Next Mountain Home!

The Mountain Life Team Blogger October 7, 2007

10. I’ve got to know….Does it have a “knock your socks off” mountain view?

Let’s face it, folks come to the mountains because of those views! That is usually the first question Buyer’s ask when calling or dropping in and asking about a specific property.Fall Mountain View

“Some like to have that “top of the world” view while others prefer to be in a valley looking up at the mountains.”

I personally like feeling surrounded by them. My perfect mountain dream would be in a valley with mountains surrounding me with lots of pasture and little rustic Mountain cabin right smack dab in the middle of it. The cabin would have a creek flowing right beside my window to help put me to sleep at night. I guess it would be like Grizzly Adams right here in North Georgia. Care to share your perfect mountain dream?

9. I’ve got to know…does it have a creek or is it on a lake?

If it doesn’t have a view, it’s got to have water. Having a creek, river or lake on or near the property is another key feature when buying your mountain home. Whether you like to fish, canoe, or just sit on the front porch with your hazelnut latte and enjoy the sound of rushing water, having your property near water is almost a must in place of those mountain views! Fall Creek

8. I’ve got to know…What’s going to be over there?

I sometime wish I had a crystal ball as part of my agents tool kit to look into to see what is going to be built, where it will be, and when. Undoubtedably you look and look and look and then you find it, that perfect cabin nestled in the woods that you just know is going to be the one, then they ask the question…What is going to be over there?

“Unless you are purchasing a home or cabin that borders the National Forest Service you just can’t be sure.”

Even then there is no guarantee what may or may not be there in the near or distant future. After seeing how close some of the homes are in the big cities, I can certainly understand their concern, just wish I knew and sometimes I do!

7. I’ve got to know…is it paved all of the way?

It seems that most real estate buyer’s that are coming to the mountains these days want a little more added convenience for their “drive back in the woods.”

“I know we are in the world of SUV’s right now, however some have never had them in 4 wheel drive or have even gotten them dirty for that matter.”

I once had a customer that insisted on following me in his brand new Hummer 2, but every time we came to a gravel or dirt road he would stop, put it in park, and then park himself in the truck right beside me! I am finding that more and more buyer’s are looking for mountain property that features an all paved access. They are also becoming more interested in mountain homes with garages.

6. I’ve got to know…how much maintenance is required on a log home?

My typical answer to this questions is quiet simple, keep it clean! No really it is all relevant to the type of home, whether it be a true log home, or a log sided home. A true log home in my opinion has much more upkeep than a home that has log siding. For instance, a true log home will “check,” or crack. Even the most properly kiln dried center cut logs can check. This requires that the homeowner, or in most cases here in our mountains, the “cabin-owner” would need to be sure that those cracks in the logs are properly caulked with a special log caulking available at anyone of our home supply stores in town.

Another important tip I like to give my client’s is that pressure washing once a year with a light bleach solution really keeps your mountain home looking and feeling good.”

This is typically performed in the spring and helps remove all of the mildew that tends to be attracted to log and log sided homes through the Fall and Winter months. Then after you have finished with the cleaning, it is important to keep your mountain home properly sealed to protect that finish. Log Maintenance

5. I’ve got to know…should I be worried that it is on a septic system?

Absolutely not. Most folks are just simply scared of the unknown when it come to septic tank systems.

“Septic systems are an efficient and inexpensive alternative to a traditional sewage system that most folks are used too.”

I will say however, if you are purchasing property in the mountains it is a very good idea to be sure that a comprehensive soil and site investigation be performed so that you can be sure that it is suitable for a conventional septic system. Be sure to stay on top of your septic system maintenance as well, you don’t want to “bury it and forget about it!”

4. I’ve got to know…if we don’t have public utilities, how’s the water?

When Blue Ridge was first founded, people would come from all over by train to experience the healing powers from the pure mineral waters found here in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway is now home to the Old Train Depot Station in downtown Blue Ridge where the train would stop.

“Today developers work closely with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to provide homeowners with good clean water. Most developments today have a DNR approved water system and they are owned and maintained by the developer.”

However it is sometimes controlled by the Home Owners Association (HOA) or sold to an outside contractor. A homeowner on average can expect to pay between $300.00 to $350.00 for all of the water they can use within reason for the entire year.

3. I’ve got to know…how much are the property taxes per year?

Our county property taxes are are based upon an estimation of the fair market value of the property which is performed by the Georgia County Tax Assessors. It is suggested that the purchase price be used as for purposes of tax planning.

“The taxes are then computed based upon 40% of the appraised or estimated value and then multiplied by the millage rate which is currently 20.169 in Fannin County.”

It has been my experience that a vast majority of the customers coming to North Georgia Mountains to purchase Real Estate are astonished with what they consider to be “great news” concerning the property tax of their new mountain home or property. Here is an example for you to chew on. A home within Fannin County, not filing a Homestead Exemption has a sale price of $350,000. The estimated property tax for that home would be $2823.66. Again from my experience with the clieMoney Housesnts that I have worked with, this has always been received with an ear to ear smile and in some instances this has even closed the deal for me.

2. I’ve got to know…how much will my homeowners insurance policy be?

Homeowners insurance here in North Georgia is sometimes a tough one to answer. There are many variables that need to be taken into consideration such as the closest Volunteer Fire Station, whether or not the subject property is in the flood plain, will it be in a rental program, type of construction and many others.

“I like to leave it up to the experts to give the quotes, however a typical North Georgia Mountain Homes annual insurance policy should be under $1000.00.”

I recently ran into a situation with a property that was located in a flood plain. The current homeowners flood insurance policy was under $500.00. Assisting the buyer during his due diligence period, we discovered that since the Katrina Disaster things have changed a little. FEMA has introduced the FEMA National Flood Insurance Program. We were taken back by quotes in the thousands of dollars on flood insurance that we were receiving. After more study and help from Blue Ridge Insurance agent Trevor Prince, we came across the Flood Ventilation System. After these vents are installed it reduced the premium back down to a the rate similar to that of the original homeowner. So, if you are purchasing property in North Georgia that is in a flood plain, I highly recommend looking into the flood insurance premiums and if necessary this system.

1. I’ve got to know…just how far are we from the nearest Wal-Mart?

You’re in luck…from Blue Ridge you can go either North to Murphy, NC. or head South to Ellijay. Both are “Super Wal-Marts”24 Hours Sign and they are opened 24 hrs.

“I can assure you, they are the only place around here that’s open 24 hours besides the Waffle House of course.”

Wal-Mart is in continuous negotiations with the City of Blairsville for a new store. They seem to be very close, location is determined and from reading an article in the local paper it is just a matter of working out a few details with Local and State Governments for ingress and egress of the property. I didn’t believe that I would see the day that “Wolly-World” would come to the mountains, let alone three right here in my backyard! Who would have ever thunk it!

See What Others Are Saying

  1. and I’ve got to know…who exactly are you? LOL Cyndee called you by your first name so off I go to investigate.

    Loved the thorough article and the pictures are gorgeous! I’ll be back. =)

  2. Very informative article – replace mountain view with marsh view and change #6 to a question about hurricanes or building in floodzones and you’ve got every buyer I’ve ever dealt with here on the coast, so I think you found a universal theme.

  3. Chad – Excellent answers to everyday questions for buyers in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Anticipating your clients needs and questions makes you a great Realtor who should be highly compensated! Kinda funny, WalMart is universal:)


  4. Hi Chad, all this talk of mountains and streams makes me want to come to Blue Ridge Mountains for a vacation! I just got an idea, we should arrange for home exchanges with other tomato bloggers, or at minimum host each other for a visit. Great looking site and articles reveal your knowledge and personality. We are also members of the Church of Christ.

  5. – Hey Daniel, that is too funny! I never really thought too much about it, but your right…I guess everyone has their own version of the “Got-To-Know’s!” – Thanks

  6. – Hey Hilary, just let me know when you are coming, and I will turn the sheets down for you! Not a bad idea either, my grandmother is from Newfoundland. I have been to Canada only once, would love to go back! – Thanks

  7. – Hey Maggie, I don’t know what your investigations turned up, but before you go any further and find something I don’t want you to I’ll tell you who I am…

    My name is Chad Lariscy. I am with Keller Williams in Blue Ridge, GA. You let me know if there is anything else you would like to know. Thanks for coming up on the porch…you come back now, ya’ hear! – Thanks

  8. Pingback: Real Estate Guide
  9. Hey Sally,

    Thanks so much for commenting on “The Porch.” I really appreciate you visiting my Blog.

    I went to the Union County Tax Assessors Office and researched this for you. I was able to find the following information for you. If yo uhave any other questions or concerns, please let me know. I hope this information answers your concerns.

    Union County Tax Assessor
    Individuals 62 Years of Age and Older May Claim an Individuals 62 years of age or over that are residents of each independent school district may claim an additional exemption from all ad valorem taxes for educational purposes and to retire school bond indebtedness if the income of that person and his spouse does not exceed $10,000 for the prior year. Income from retirement sources, pensions, and disability income is excluded up to the maximum amount allowed to be paid to an individual and his spouse under the federal Social Security Act. The social security maximum benefit for 2005 is $46,536. The owner must notify the tax assessors office if for any reason they no longer meet the requirements for this exemption. This exemption may not exceed $10,000 of the homestead’s assessed value. (O.C.G.A. 48-5-52)

    Thanks again. Make it a GREAT day!

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