Monday, November 21, 2011

Bill's Reconnaissance Mission

In the summer of 2009, Bill flew to Asheville. We had done some homework, and felt that, on most counts, the area fit the criteria described in "If you could live anywhere at all...."  More on that later. He rented a behemoth of a car and set off to get the lay of the land. He had scheduled appointments with a few realtors to see some properties he had found on the Internet, but mostly he wanted to get a feel for the place.

Asheville, NC
At first, he had some trouble getting his bearings, but eventually sorted out the different outlying communities and looping highways. (Mental note: Don't leave home without a GPS)

He looked at gated communities (no thank you) and lots with incredible views and price tags to match. He found some affordable houses at the top of steep winding roads and others in the middle of nowhere. There were new subdivisions with flashy 'welcome centers' and fixer-uppers in Asheville proper. None of that clicked.

Then he met with Heidi King of Greybeard Realty in Black Mountain, a few miles east of Asheville. He had contacted her about a house listed with Greybeard, but eventually they talked about building from scratch.  She took him to a small subdivision just outside Black Mountain being developed by (surprise!) her husband, Richard.  The 18-acre subdivision, StoneCrest, has around 15 lots, and all were still vacant. A few had been sold.

Here's something funny we've learned about building/buying a home in North Carolina. It's all about the view, but the locals say they like to look up at the mountains. Out-of-staters tend to buy places where they look out or down at surrounding mountains. This is very beautiful but impractical for getting in and out, especially when winter does its icy, snowy thing or if there's an emergency. Or both. It also adds to the challenge of construction (read $$$). So, Bill was very happy to see that StoneCrest is situated at the foot of Allen Mountain, with lovely views, looking up at surrounding mountains.

Here are a couple of photos of StoneCrest:

Sidebar story, which Bill won't appreciate: He arranged to meet Richard King at the development the next day to discuss lot availability. Bill arrived early and found himself backing down a steep hill in his giant rental car ... and subsequently into a ditch. A very deep ditch. The meeting with Richard did not begin well, but it did have a happy ending because the car was hauled out of the ditch and Bill returned to Tampa with a lot of ideas (Follow the link. You'll be glad you did), most of them about building a house in StoneCrest.

We returned to NC together and Bill planned a day where we retraced his steps (without any of the getting lost parts), ended up at StoneCrest (but not in the ditch), bought the lot and answered the question "Where?".

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