The High Country of North Carolina is just a day’s drive from Tampa and consists of idyllic mountain towns such as Blowing Rock, Boone and Banner Elk. The area offers the highest elevations in North Carolina, the Blue Ridge Parkway, three ski resorts and endless hiking trails and waterfalls.
Living in the mountains can be magical. The views are unrivaled and you’re surrounded by flora and fauna everywhere you turn.
But buying a mountain home is much different than buying a Tampa home on a flat half-acre lot with city water and sewage. And the post-pandemic real estate market is very different from two years ago.
Here are my Top 5 things to consider:
- You May Get Frustrated, but Keep Your Eye on the Prize. Some days, I could moonlight as a therapist. Helping clients navigate the home buying process can be a lot of holding hands and encouragement. When the pandemic started, a lot of people discovered the outdoors and the mountains, specifically The High Country. That led to a red hot real estate market. Now with inventory low, there can be multiple offer situations and homes going under contract within hours, resulting in frustrated buyers. My advice is stay focused and optimistic. Inventory increases typically in the warmer months.
- Vacation Rental or Vacation Home. Why are you buying? Some clients buy a mountain home to escape the heat and visit during the summer. Others want rental income properties, and with three ski resorts and an abundance of outdoor activities, these properties are in high demand. Many homes are both. The pandemic has driven rental rates up and short-term and long-term rentals can be hard to find. I can help you figure out what is best for you.
- Up your Budget or Open Your Search Area. Probably not what you wanted to hear, but homes selling at or over asking price are not uncommon. Look at increasing your budget, especially if you’re financing. Cash is king, but buyers that are acquiring a mortgage can sometimes beat a cash buyer, by being preapproved and offering better terms (i.e. more due diligence money and a quicker closing). Also, areas like West Jefferson in Ashe County and Newland in Avery County are up and coming mountain towns that don’t have the sticker shock of Blowing Rock or Banner Elk.
- Do Your Homework. Have you visited the area? The High Country is not Asheville. If you’ve ever experienced the summer humidity and traffic of the Asheville area, then The High Country is a refreshing change. Consider how close you need to be to restaurants, shopping, groceries, etc. In the mountains, we speak in minutes instead of miles. Zillow and Realtor.com can be online resources for seeing what’s for sale, but having me set you up on an auto email direct from our MLS service will send you new listings faster and with more information on the property. (Realtor.com doesn’t publish HOA fees.) When you see that perfect home, I will go preview it with a video and give you my feedback. Be prepared to act quickly!
- Market Correction. How long will this last? While I don’t have a crystal ball to predict the future, we will see changes. With the Federal Reserve expected to raise interest rates and disenchanted buyers dropping out, opportunities will be more abundant. Call me to discuss the current market conditions.
Meet Stephen Keith:
My name is Stephen Keith and I love The High Country. Let me rephrase: I REALLY love The High Country.
I’m originally a longtime Tampa resident and Plant High graduate, as well as a University of Florida alumnus.
After earning my master’s degree from Appalachian State University in Boone, I returned to Tampa and excelled as a Real Estate Analyst for Publix Super Markets and for Cushman & Wakefield.
But the mountains were always calling me back.
Being an avid hiker and backpacker, I have come to know the area on an intimate level and look forward to sharing my passion and knowledge with you. Let me be your guide to The High Country and its real estate opportunities.
Stephen W. Keith
1950 Blowing Rock Rd.
Boone, NC 28607