Serious Questions for Serious Land Buyers
(A public service brought to you by Bill Vernon & Featherstone)
Welcome to Macon County!
We welcome you as our neighbor and want your experience in our community to be a pleasant one, with NO surprises.
As you shop around for land, you will find a wide variety of options and prices—close to town or further out, views or valleys, good access or poor access, high end or low end, etc.
The following is a "straight-up" discussion on the most serious issues you face.
As always… you usually get what you pay for.
Buying land in these mountains is unlike buying land anywhere else.
We have no zoning laws, so you MUST be careful!
Whether you purchase from us or from someone else, you need to educate yourself before making any decisions.
We hope that this review will be a great help in your decision-making process.
DRINKING WATER — You may find the prettiest, best land value in the county, but if you can't get drinking water, what good is it?
Consider what can happen if you purchase a small parcel in an area where YOU are responsible to drill your own well. At up to $12.00+ per foot and an average depth of 700', you'll have spent $8,400.00 just in drilling the hole — no pump yet!
It is VERY possible that you may have to drill two or even three holes in order to obtain a good, productive well.
We've had a total of five nonproductive holes at Featherstone representing well over $50,000 down the drain prior to establishing our productive wells.
You could end up spending $12,000.00-$25,000.00 or more just in establishing the well hole!
Add another $3,000.00-$6,000.00 for the pump and other necessary equipment, and your attempt to secure drinking water could add another $18,000.00-$30,000.00 to the cost of developing your building site before you even begin thinking about building your house.
Even worse, suppose you purchased a small parcel as did all your neighbors. They are all ready to build and proceed to install their septic systems, wells, etc. There are state-mandated setbacks that may come over onto your property as result of your neighbors' actions. Unbeknownst to you, that could render sections of your parcel unusable for a well or septic system.
You MUST have knowledge and be careful so these issues do not come back to kick you in the head and wallet.
Some communities offer chlorinated city water. We prefer and offer natural, deep-well, mountain water —
ALL parcels in Featherstone have access to deep-well drinking water delivered right to the property line — usually right to your finished driveway.
SEPTIC SYSTEMS & PERMITS This issue goes hand in hand with the drinking water section discussed above and has great importance when it comes to smaller parcels.
Did you know that if your neighbor were to install a septic system or drill a well, let's say 15' from his adjoining property line with yours, this can have a profound effect on what you can now do with your land?
The Health Department requires a 100' setback separating a septic system from a well.
Do you know what happens if you draw a 100' circle around a well? You lose almost one acre of land that cannot be used for a septic system!
Clearly, both septic systems and drinking water MUST be addressed together if you intend to build on the land that you purchase.
Your neighbor can definitely impact you and your options.
It is important that you address upfront if and where will you be able to install a septic system and where will you get your drinking water.
There are cases in Macon County where people owning a small parcel find that they can no longer get either a well or a septic system on their land, rendering it unfit for building!
ROADS — A poor road is an invitation to big trouble and reduced property values!
ROAD WIDTH: Many lesser traveled or private roads in Macon County are very narrow. A wide road is a safe road. If you can't easily pass another car due to width, poor construction, or bare spots, who will be the lucky one who gets to back up to let the other car by on a rainy night?
EMERGENCY VEHICLES: What about emergencies for fire or illness?
If you can't easily pass another vehicle or there are problem spots, what about a fire truck or ambulance? Don't "scrimp" here as this is a very serious issue!!!
ACCESSIBILITY - How will you access your land?
Will you control the access or will it be shared with others?
Is there an active, functioning, and operational road association of all those using the road?
Roads need constant maintenance here in the mountains as they are continuously settling, mostly along the outside edge where utilities are often buried.
Is the road currently being maintained?
EASEMENTS: Always beware of a property whose access is via an easement through another person's land.
Make sure that you have a deeded right-of-way that is plenty wide enough and offers you a good deal of control.
Many mountain properties have compromised access and right-of-ways, so be sure to have your attorney review all the access issues.
GRADE & STEEPNESS: Watch for very steep areas — especially those with gravel that remains badly and continuously disturbed for long distances.
Any steep grade where your tires spin continuously and easily probably needs to be paved, or you'll end up with ongoing, costly maintenance expenses.
GRAVEL: There is nothing wrong with a good, well-built, and well-maintained gravel road. However, gravel usually requires constant maintenance. Dust can also be an issue, especially for those with certain health issues.
Roads in the mountains literally "eat gravel" over the first several years.
Their appetite for gravel then slows a bit as they become more stable over time.
Watch out for gravel roads with dirt or clay showing through. If you see thin gravel with a lot of dirt or clay showing through the gravel today, while it is for sale, what will it look like a year from now after another winter or heavy storms?
You need to ask the seller how this will be addressed before you get stuck with thousands of dollars in repairs and maintenance.
Gravel will run you about $450.00 +/- per truckload, not including the bulldozer, if you will need to level it!
DRAINAGE AND CULVERTS
The best protection for a road comes when you can shed the water off easily and quickly.
Watch for LARGE, heavily eroded "ruts" and standing water that seem to remain problematic or are not properly maintained.
A good road will also have plenty of culverts.
ROADS — SUMMARY
As mentioned earlier, roads need constant maintenance here in the mountains as they are continuously settling.
Gravity and the elements work hard 24/7/366 trying to flatten out the mountains, and they take their toll on roads.
Repairs are common on all roads.
The key is to make sure the repairs are being addressed!
Once a road problem starts, it must be addressed quickly because it ALWAYS get worse!
Featherstone is a GATED COMMUNITY
As our world has gotten crazier by the year, we have seen the requests for gated communities rise substantially. Consequently, we installed a Security Gate at the entrance of Featherstone. As always, it is first class!
Throw in the GATED COMMUNITY aspect along with our original "one-way-in-and-one-way-out security" access, and we feel that Featherstone will be one of the most secure communities in the area.
OTHER IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS:
DRIVEWAYS — Will you have a "fully completed" driveway, or do you have to build and/or finish off your own?
You can figure on spending about $25.00-$30.00 per foot for a "quality" graveled driveway like the ones we build and include in the price of each lot.
VIEWS — Has your view been opened up?
Do you have control of future tree growth?
You move here for a view.
We spend "big money" to assure your view is open and protected and that you have control of the bulk of the trees that can seriously impact your view in the years to come.
ELECTRIC SERVICE — Is electric readily available? Overhead or underground? We provide underground power.
You can get caught in a revenue guarantee with Duke Power if you are not careful.
Figure on $3.50–$4.00 per foot just to bury power.
PROTECTIVE COVENANTS — Macon County has no land use or zoning.
Unless you purchase enough land to protect yourself, you could end up with an undesirable neighbor.
Our restrictive covenants are realistic, reasonable, and designed to fully protect your investment without having to purchase a huge parcel of land.
REFERENCES: Available upon request from those who have purchased in communities we have built over the years. Reputation is everything!
ALL of the remaining land in Featherstone is currently owned free and clear by the original developers, Bill & Cheryl Vernon.
All underground utilities, wells, etc., are installed and paid in full.
All of our roads have been paved with two lanes and WIDE!
Our POA/HOA is well-managed, financially healthy, and actively running.
You will know exactly what you are getting. No surprises!
When you are making a large investment in land, a home, or both remember: "location — location — location", and just as importantly…Think stability!
AT BILL VERNON DEVELOPMENT, We feel that "if you are gonna do it… DO IT RIGHT,"
We address EVERY issue facing the prospective land buyer.
Featherstone has WIDE, PAVED, TWO-LANE ROADS throughout the 185+ acre community.
It is well worth the peace of mind knowing that you will not be blindsided with issues that you may never have thought of.
Believe me, these days there are many folks out there who now wish they had addressed the issues outlined in this discussion more seriously. I have even had previous lookers at Featherstone purchase elsewhere then come back and tell me themselves that they now wish they had purchased in Featherstone!
Join us for carefree mountain living that truly is… Simply The Best!!!
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