Shop for Land in the Winter & Then Build Your Dream Home
Winter is a great time to look at land in our development,” explains Allison Smith, Director of Sales at Olivette Riverside Community and Farm. Nestled in the mountains and atop farmland in western North Carolina, a few miles from Asheville, Olivette is a 346-acre planned agrihood community overlooking the French Broad River. “It’s easier to see the views and survey the topography of a home site when there is no foliage, trees, or undergrowth to contend with,” Smith adds.
More and more realtors in regions of the country that experience fall and winter share Smith’s perspective. Buyers are getting the picture, too. If you’re thinking of buying land and building a custom home, and are procrastinating because of the winter weather, we urge you to bundle up, slip on warm boots, and get a move on!
Of course, check the weather before you make an appointment to visit acreage or lots; if the temperature is in the single digits with punishing winds, you’re better off spending a day or two checking out the properties from the comfort of you warm home, in front of a computer. “You can view Olivette’s land offerings online,” says Elliot Nailen, Olivette broker and the development’s HERS rater. “Then it’s important to make plans to visit because there’s no substitute to walking the property you want to build your house on.”
Here are several reasons to look for and buy land to build a house on during late fall and winter months.
See through the Trees. After autumn leaves have fallen, you have clear views of any special features the property has, such as rock outcroppings, streams, farmland, mountain vistas, etc. You also can see the houses that have already been built or are under construction. And with clear views around you near and far, you can clearly see if there are any obstacles that might bother you or prevent you from implementing your building and landscaping plans.
Hear the Birds Sing. With less foliage on the trees, the sounds around you will be amplified, including the music of a flowing river, or the songs of serenading winter dwelling birds. Of course, without the buffer that leaves on trees provide, you will hear any traffic noise nearby, along with the pleasant (or annoying) sounds your neighbors contribute—noises that can travel quite a distance on a clear December day.
Confirm Winter Access. When you visit properties in a mountain region during winter, you can see firsthand how easy or challenging it will be to get in and out of the development and into town during severe weather. This may reassure you that roads you need to travel on will be plowed and de-iced. According to Nailen, “We consider it a priority to keep our Olivette residents safe during inclement weather. Roads leading to Olivette are maintained by the town of Woodfin, which does an excellent job of snow removal. We have also hired a private company to salt the roads preemptively.”
Follow the Light. During winter months, you can track the path of the sun more clearly, which can help you determine how best to position your house on the lot to capture natural sunlight. Perhaps you want afternoon winter sun to pour through the west-facing windows to brighten your open dining and living room, but want to keep the summer heat from overheating your kitchen. When you see the home site in the winter, you can decide how to position your house to take advantage of the sunrise and sunset. Broker Smith, who is also an interior designer and can help Olivette homebuyers select everything from cabinets to chandeliers, explains, “When I work with customers to choose paint colors for the walls, it’s a great advantage to know how sunlight will enter the house during all hours of the day year round.”
Understand the Breeze. Winter winds often come from a different direction from those during the summer months. Experiencing that pattern change can help you orient your house to take the best advantage of year-round breezes. When there’s less foliage on the trees, the wind will pass through more freely, and walking the property will give you a feel for where the source will be.
Enjoy the Solitude. Unlike homebuyers who tend to make home purchases in warmer months, land buyers are active all year round. However, depending on the location, you may find that when you look to buy land in the winter, you can take the time inspecting the land, without a crowd of other prospective buyers.
Convinced? Good! Now go find that property you’ve been dreaming about during your winter afternoon naps!