Buying Mountain Property: Often-Overlooked Essentials When Choosing a Location

Whether you’re planning to buy, build, rent, or resell, the location you choose for your home can make all the difference. Here are the key factors to consider in your search.

Established Boundaries

When buying mountain property, you’ll likely be targeting a rural setting, possibly in unincorporated land. In these situations, it’s common for “metes and bounds” to define the parcels. Metes and bounds establish legal boundaries using natural landmarks, degrees, minutes, seconds, and other physical measures.

While “metes and bounds” are specific, they can also create a more challenging process for purchasing land. All of the parties involved — tax, legal, and survey representatives — have to be accurate in their terms and measurements. If they are off by even a few degrees, the results can affect your property lines significantly.

Buying a platted lot simplifies the process. It provides you with pre-established boundaries, a lot and block number, and a clearer legal title. All homesites at Apple Springs at Boulder Canyon are platted and recorded lots. This ensures the boundary lines of properties, and it facilitates buying and selling.

Terrain Trade-Offs

Some buyers prioritize panoramic vistas. If your goal is to look out across nature’s grandeur, you may need to purchase property at a higher elevation. While the views may be more impressive, you may also have to drive longer distances or up steeper inclines to get to and from your home.

Alternatively, you may prefer to be in the middle of the wooded wilderness, with trees rising above you and no neighboring homes in your sightlines. Larger lots with distance between houses give you this option.

There’s also the question of flatter terrain versus homesites with varying topography. Apple Springs at Boulder Canyon offers a range of options for lots and new homes. We can also recommend a builder to help you adapt to various topographical challenges.

Utility Services

In remote or undeveloped mountain locations, access to drinking water, sewer service, electricity, and gas service can be challenging, expensive, or simply not available. When buying mountain property, you’ll want to know how to connect to these services:

Water. Will you need to dig your own well, or can you tie into a water system? Will that system be consistent and provide high-quality water?

Waste. Will you need to dig a septic system that must also be serviced every few months by a truck on your property? Alternatively, is there a sewer system that will conveniently dispose of waste and wastewater?

Gas. Propane is a common choice for off-grid homes, but it has several drawbacks. For one, there’s no continuous supply, so owners must refill the gas they use. For another, propane tanks can detract from the appearance of the home and the natural beauty of its surroundings. Access to natural gas solves both of these problems.

Internet. While there are a range of options for getting online, they vary in their consistency and bandwidth. Fiber lines can supply a high-speed, high-quality connection for your devices and television.

City-like services distinguish Apple Springs at Boulder Canyon from many other communities. Our development offers residents access to superior water, sewer, and natural gas utilities as well as high-speed fiber internet and other services. Learn more.

Solitude and Community

Are you interested in an entirely remote location? Living acres away from everyone might offer you the frontier experience you want. However, it will also mean a more difficult trip to and from essential services, such as food, medical care, and major routes for transportation. It may also be a lonelier life than you’d prefer.

When buying mountain property, many people are looking for a peaceful and private setting – but they still want to be part of a community. They’d like the option of knowing their neighbors, seeing familiar faces, and developing relationships with fellow homeowners.

Assuming you are leaning towards the second scenario, you’ll want to research the character of the community. Are full-time residents living there throughout the year? Is there a homeowners association that oversees building and community standards? Are there nearby resources and experiences that will keep you active and entertained? Visiting the property or discussing concerns with the developer can help you answer these questions.

Accessibility and Safety

Mountain communities typically receive snow in cold-weather months. As you research property options, find out who is responsible for clearing roadways so that you can travel wherever you need to go.

By way of comparison, Apple Springs provides snow removal on all roadways within the property and offers additional services for clearing private driveways. Our development connects with the state highway and interstate systems, both of which are routinely plowed during heavy snowfall. Also, there are no twisting or steep roads to the community, so driving conditions are much easier at our elevation.

Hotter months present their own challenges to forested communities. Whichever location you choose must have a good record of forest management to mitigate the risk of fire. Here in South Dakota, the state does an excellent job of thinning and clearing dead trees to prevent the conditions you see in many other states.

Future Value

Think about what you want from your purchase five, ten, or twenty years from now:

  • Maybe you are buying mountain property for use as a rental home. You’ll need a location that has a built-in market of vacationers.
  • You might be looking for a place to flip for a profit. Economic conditions, community upkeep, and demand for homes in the area are good indicators of where to buy.
  • Your goal could be to live in the home for years to come. Find out whether your sightlines will be protected so that your expansive mountain views aren’t blocked by future construction.
  • As time goes by, you may not want a three-story climb or a steep driveway. Are there options that will provide simple upkeep and accessibility as you grow older?

Apple Springs is a good case study for all of these concerns. Since 2020, the Northern Black Hills of South Dakota have seen a significant increase in business development, tourism, and home purchases. Right now, it’s a place that’s more affordable than other mountain communities. It also offers a low crime rate, low unemployment, and favorable tax laws. (Learn more about the affordability of living in South Dakota.)

Within Apple Springs, our homeowners association considers how any new construction will impinge on the views of surrounding homes. We provide different types of property, from large acreage lots to easily accessible “lock-and-leave” condos. Our community’s popularity continues to grow, and we expect to add to that demand with amenities such as The 605 Grill at Boulder Canyon, our destination restaurant and bar opening in April 2025. All of these factors together help buyers feel confident in their decision and excited about the future.

Learn more about life in the Black Hills, or plan a visit and experience it for yourself.

Apple Springs at Boulder Canyon
20673 Wildberger Rd
Sturgis, SD 57785