Here’s something interesting I’ve learned from my years in real estate. It’s been a surprise: ‘flat’ is a relative term. I mean, I’d always thought ‘flat’ meant ‘flat.’ As it turns out, however, ‘flat’ is relative to whatever your past experience has been.

If you’re from eastern NC or from Florida, ‘flat’ means what I term ‘cookie sheet’ flat. If you’re from the mountains, ‘flat’ means something else [see below].

We don’t have much ‘cookie sheet’ [what we’d more likely term ‘dead flat’] flat property here. Dead flat property is likely to be in the flood plain and either not buildable OR will require extensive fill to become buildable.

It’s best if you try to get the idea of dead flat property out of your expectations. What you might hope to find is what we term ‘flat’ by which we mean ‘gently sloping.’ Gently sloping means the property isn’t dead flat, but it’s also not ‘steep.’ ‘Steep’ is property that can be walked but would be a strenuous climb.

Gently sloping property has lower building costs than steep property.

However, steep property is DEFINITELY buildable. People build on it all the time up here. One reason: it often has the best views. There are several ways that local builders solve the ‘steep’ problem. One solution is to bulldoze in a driveway and use that dirt to fill in and level out the house site. Another solution is to bulldoze in a driveway and built the house up on a tall foundation. Another solution is to build the house, then attach a parking deck from the road. As you drive around this area, take a look at these solutions. You’ll see them on many homes.



Serving the High Country

of North Carolina

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