A mountain home sounds like a dream come true. You’ll get privacy, beautiful views, access to ski slopes, and plenty of fresh air. But if you don’t know what you’re getting into, a mountain home could bring more trouble than delight.
Whether you’re buying a mountain home as a primary residence, or as a vacation home, you need to know that living in the mountains isn’t the same as living in the city or suburbs. Mountain towns tend to be more remote, and access to things like supermarkets, clothing retailers, gas stations, and other amenities might be limited. You’ll need to be prepared to travel on isolated roads in poor weather conditions, including heavy snow. You’ll have to commute just about anywhere you go, and you’ll need to be prepared to face power outages and even natural disasters. Here’s what you need to know before you start shopping for a mountain home.
Mountain Homes Are Remote
If you’re the kind of person who daydreams about buying a mountain home, then you’re probably interested in getting some seclusion and privacy. A mountain home can certainly offer that. Mountain homes do tend to be rather remote. But all that privacy and seclusion can get a bit old when you’re trying to commute to work or get groceries, especially in bad weather.
When you’re buying a mountain home, consider that you’ll have a longer commute to just about anywhere you want to go. There may not even be a grocery store in the closest town. You might have to drive an hour or more just to get provisions, and then there’s the commute to work to consider. Some mountain roads may close down for months in the winter due to the snow, which can make it even harder to get to town.
Weather Can Get Bad in the Mountains
The remoteness of your mountain home can get annoying fast in bad weather. If your mountain home has a long driveway or it’s on a private road, you’ll have to buy your own pickup truck or tractor with a snow plow attachment to clear your own driveway. You may even need to plow some of the roads in your neighborhood to get out. City plows typically don’t venture into small, secluded neighborhoods in the mountains.
The heavy snows that fall in the mountains can make getting out to get to work, get groceries, or seek medical care a real challenge. You’ll need to make sure there are multiple routes to get to and from your mountain home so that you can still get out if a main road is closed or if it’s a bluebird powder day and the road is clogged with skiers. Make sure your mountain home is accessible in all seasons, and make sure it has a generator, because snow and rain storms might knock your power out for days or weeks at a time.
Natural Disasters May Be More Likely in the Mountains
The mountains are prone to wildfires, earthquakes, landslides, floods, avalanches and, in some places, volcanic eruptions and lava flows. Make sure you’re familiar with the types of natural disasters that might strike the mountain area where you’re planning to buy or build your dream home. If a property is significantly cheaper than other properties in the region, it might be because it’s in an area prone to lava flows, landslides, or some other natural disaster.
Of course, not all mountain ranges are prone to natural disasters. Mountain homes in Appalachia, for example, may get lots of snow and may be remote, but they’re unlikely to experience earthquakes or avalanches. If you’re worried about natural disasters, look for homes for sale in Blowing Rock, NC and other mountain towns in the Appalachians.
You May Have to Go Without Some Modern Conveniences
Because mountain homes tend to be secluded and remote, you might have to go without some modern conveniences like wireless internet or strong cell phone signals. Working from home might be out of the question if you can’t get decent internet speeds or have to rely on satellite internet, which typically has a data cap. You’ll probably have to get water from a well and use a septic tank for sewage, which come with their own maintenance issues.
If you’re thinking about buying a mountain home, you need to be aware of the issues that can come with living in such a remote location. As long as you know what to expect, you get a peaceful, quiet lifestyle without too many nasty surprises.