Posted by: gothedistance | March 31, 2008

Backtrack – Finding Our Mountain Property

When I asked my daughter (i.e SoccerGirl) to start this blog, she wrote about our last family trip to the property in March 2008 to meet some builders. Now I (i.e. GoTheDistance) need to back up a bit to November 2006 – February 2007 and tell you about finding our Field of Dreams.

Over the 20+ years that we have lived in North Carolina we have always visited Ashe County when we wanted to get away to the “mountains”. Ashe County (not to be confused with Asheville which is about 80 miles and 2 hours to the south) is in the northwest corner of the state bordering Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the North. Ashe County is an easy 3-hour drive from Raleigh, quite beautiful, and relatively undeveloped.

So when we decided to look for some “property”, Ashe County was our first choice. We were familiar with the county, but not with the real estate market. So we decided to work with a local realtor.

Not knowing any realtors, I went to the Ashe County Chamber of Commerce Web site and looked on the Real Estate section. I found one company that specialized in Buyer Representation. That company was Mountainscape Realty. I called and talked to the owner Joe Chamberlain. He was pleasant and helpful over the phone so my wife and I arranged to meet him in Ashe County.

We hired Joe to help in property search, and he did a great job for us. In fact, we are now neighbors because we ended up buying property adjoining land that he purchased for his family home when he relocated to Ashe County.

Joe first asked us what we were looking for, subdivision lot, existing cabin, or land. We said we were not sure yet. He then asked the important question. How much do you want to spend? We knew the answer to that one.

So we started to look at subdivision lots within our price range. We probably looked at 10-15 lots in existing or developing subdivisions. Most of the lots in our price range were 1-2 acres, some in the relatively few gated communities in Ashe County. At home in Raleigh we already live in a subdivision of 2 acre wooded lots, so why go to the mountains to have the same thing? Also the concept of “gated community” seemed so anti-social. So we moved on to existing cabins and houses.

We spent a day looking at cabins with Joe and the whole family. The consensus was let’s design something ourselves. So now we were looking for land (3-10 acres).

Over the course of three months, we looked at over 35 pieces of land all over Ashe County. I would look at the Ashe County Board of Realtors listings, pull some that looked interesting and Joe would give me full listings with the directions. When I asked he went with me, but most of the time I would go by myself on a day trip from Raleigh, or with my son, daughter and wife on other trips. We probably made 10 such trips. When we looked at undeveloped property, Joe would remind me when we needed a road, well and power and gave me very accurate information about what these would cost.

Every time that we looked at a piece of property, we would force ourselves to rank it with the other property we had seen. Some land we looked at was 5 acres, all vertical with one building location. Well it turned out that we all kept ranking the same piece of property as our favorite. It was 10 acres in the eastern part of the County which is rolling meadows and woods.

We made the offer and purchased the property. Our special thanks to our realtor and now neighbor, Joe Chamberlain for his help.

Here is a photo of SoccerGirl and GoThe Distance (Me) on one of our property searches.

Looking For Land



  1. I came across your blog as I was doing a search for mountain property. My husband and I seem to be in the same place as you were in terma of finding the ideal property. Which development did you end up with…Timberwilde? Love to find out more. Thanks

  2. Our property isn’t in a development, it’s part of a 90 acre former farm that was divided into 9 lots of about 10 acres each. Most of the lots are open meadows, but ours has a great combination of meadow and woods. It’s close to the Blue Ridge Parkway and Glendale Springs.

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