By Wes & Cathy Cleary

The theme may sound familiar, even a bit like a broken record. As we find ourselves in the midst of spring moving toward summer, the real estate market is still very hot, residential inventory is still extremely low and Lake Lure continues to be a top destination for folks to get away and enjoy our beautiful lakes and mountains. 

With residential inventory being so low, we are seeing an uptick in interest for vacant lots from buyers, as there are abundantly more options available. When considering a parcel of land, buyers will want to know they can get the proper permits to build their dream home, and one of the first steps involves determining if they can get a septic permit if access to public sewer is not available. From a buyers’ perspective, we have noticed the largest hurdle to overcome is navigating the process of getting a percolation (perc) test. Conducting a perc test confirms whether the soil on a given property is suitable for a septic system by measuring the water absorption rate of soil (the soil’s capacity for percolation). Every jurisdiction will have its own requirements regarding acceptable absorption rates before issuing a septic permit. The process can take multiple weeks to complete and generally will cost several hundred dollars, which can turn off buyers from the get-go. 

For properties within Rutherford county, the process starts with filling out an application with the Environmental Health division of the Foothills Health District. A rough sketch showing where the proposed house would sit on the lot along with an approximate location for the septic tank and leach field should be included with the application. Once this step is complete, the county will send someone to the property to flag an area in which to dig. At this point it is the applicant’s responsibility to arrange having several holes dug according to the county’s specs before they will come back and conduct the perc test by filling the pre-dug hole(s) with water and measuring if the water absorbs sufficiently into the soil. 

If you are looking to sell a vacant lot, we recommend getting the perc test out of the way prior to listing with an agent (or as soon as possible if it is already listed for sale). Making the decision to submit an offer for a buyer is much easier knowing the lot will perc and some of the red tape is eliminated.

Sellers of existing homes continue to have the most leverage in today’s market, while those who are offering vacant lots should start enjoying more activity, especially if they simplify the process for prospective buyers. 

Wes and Cathy Cleary of Team Cleary Real Estate are full-service Realtors® who live and work right here in Lake Lure. They are licensed in NC/SC with Agent Group Realty, a high-tech cloud-based brokerage with agents and listings in NC, SC, GA, and FL.; 828-785-2115 for Wes or 828-808-6790 for Cathy;