Bard Red Home In A Mountain Landscape

7 Tips For Creating A House Built Into A Mountain

Carey Chesney4-Minute Read
February 04, 2022

Do images of majestic mountain peaks poking their heads above the clouds run through your head? Does sipping coffee as you enjoy the view or adding daily hikes to your schedule sound like your dream? If so, constructing a house built into a mountain might just be the perfect goal. Sure, it might be more complicated and expensive than buying or building a house in a more traditional location, but the payoff could be priceless.

1. Set And Stick To A Budget

Buying or building a home always requires a budget, but when you have your eyes set on mountain building, this is even more important. Remember that the cost of purchasing and excavating a lot before building needs to be calculated first. This is true of any new build but, as you might expect, mountainside construction comes with some additional unique costs. Depending on the size of the lot, the material make-up of the mountain and a slew of other factors, the time and equipment needed to clear the lot and build the home can vary greatly.

Given this, the importance of creating and sticking to a home-building budget can’t be stressed enough. In addition, make sure you pad that budget for any unforeseen expenses. You will get an estimate of the amount in the beginning, but once excavation and building begin, plans and price can change in an instant. Speaking of budget, financing your new mountain domicile can create unique challenges as well. Be sure to investigate all of the loan options available to you and be sure to talk with a loan expert about construction loans. This will help ensure that you find the best loan for your needs.

2. Consider Access To Your House In The Mountains

Building that mountaintop palace is great, but if you can’t get to it that kind of defeats the purpose. Access to roads that lead down the mountain is something to consider right at the start. Depending on how far you need to go, the additional cost of building an access path to an existing main road can really affect your overall budget.

In addition to the road/driveway, don’t overlook the importance of public utility access to the mountainside house, such as water and sewage services. What’s the best way to make sure you have all your bases covered in this regard? Start by consulting with a local real estate agent who can answer all of your access questions.

If you don’t have an agent yet, we can help you find one who will align on your goals.

3. Conduct A Site Analysis

Hire a specialized architect to conduct a site analysis on the lot before purchasing any land. This process includes analyzing the climatic, geographical, historical, legal and infrastructural context of a specific site. As you can probably infer, this is especially important when the site is on a mountain.

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4. Hire Experienced Mountain Builders And Designers

Building on a mountain is a unique process to say the least, so working with local builders and designers who have experience creating this type of home in this type of location is critical. Also, be sure to look at similar projects they have done in the past and ask for a detailed construction plan and timeline.

5. Cater Design Plans To The Mountain

Again, this isn't flat land where the landscape is relatively easy to navigate. Consider the topography of the lot and how that should influence the structural design. After all, common house plans cannot be applied to houses built into a mountain. In addition, consult a local real estate agent about community architectural guidelines for mountain homes. Things like factoring the slope of the mountain into design plans can ensure the stability of a house built into it and make sure your mountain dream home doesn't turn into a nightmare.

6. Maintain The Mountain’s Natural Beauty

You love mountains! Otherwise, you wouldn't be thinking about building a home on one, right? With that in mind, you don't want to build something that intrudes on or takes away from the natural beauty of the location. Think about how to create a home design plan that minimizes disturbances to the surrounding trees and other natural scenery. Using stilts or other innovative, nonintrusive foundation construction techniques is just one example of how you can build a home into a mountain while maintaining the integrity of the natural surroundings.

7. Protect The House From Environmental Danger

Environmental dangers like avalanches, landslides and floods make this particular type of alternative housing sometimes treacherous. Talk to your builder about ways to reinforce your home against these elements and keep in mind that these additional safety upgrades come with additional cost.

The Bottom Line

Mountain life is not for everyone but can be life-changing for some. Weigh the pros of breathtaking views and outdoor adventure just steps from your home against the cons of expensive building and safety risks to determine if this type of home is right for you. Ready to take a deeper dive? Check out our guide to finding the perfect plot of land to build a house, as well as this analysis of how much it costs to build a home.

Carey Chesney

Carey Chesney brings a wealth of residential and commercial real estate experience to readers as a Realtor® and as a former Marketing Executive in the fields of Health Care, Finance and Wellness. Carey is based in Ann Arbor and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he majored in English, and Eastern Michigan University, where he recieved his Masters in Integrated Marketing & Communications.