Building Luxury Homes in Western North Carolina: a Complete Guide

The temperate climate and gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains make western North Carolina a perfect destination for many who dream of building a luxury home. But do you need to build from scratch? How much will building a luxury home cost? What features should be considered, and what’s the timeline? We’ll answer these questions (and more!) in our guide to building luxury homes in western North Carolina.




Secluded Hills Arden sunset over mountains

Luxury Spec Homes vs. Custom Home Building

A luxury spec house is an abbreviation for a home built on speculation by builders who build these homes as an opportunity to show prospective buyers their work. Spec homes are constructed with no specific buyer involved, unlike a custom home. Spec homes that are used as models will often feature premium upgrades and décor, while others are simply built ahead of time because there seems to be demand.

Spec homes are often considered turnkey solutions, which means the builder plans, designs and builds the home. This building solution simplifies the home build process for the future buyer of the house.

Custom luxury homes are built from scratch according to your specific specifications, while spec homes are typically built to use as models so that a builder can showcase their work.

A key benefit of building a luxury home is that it can be custom designed to reflect the distinct preferences of the buyer. No home will ever be identical to a custom home.

Working with an architect and contractor, custom homes often begin with a basic floor plan that can be modified to meet the wants and needs of the buyer.

The key benefits to buying a luxury home include the ability to customize the design to perfectly suit the needs and wants of the homeowner as well as the option to integrate technology and security features into the home design itself. This is where choosing a contractor is crucial.

With so many contractors to choose from, what factors should you consider when choosing a contractor to build a house? A few tips:

  • Determine the needs of your home build – Not all contractors are a great fit for every home build. Determine what your home build needs are, at least broadly, so you know what to look for when you’re researching contractors.
  • Do your research – Check out their websites, make sure they’re licensed and insured, check reviews and references, and determine their availability for your project. The more research before you commit, the more likely you’ll have a better fit with your chosen contractor.
  • Talk to your REALTOR or other industry professionals – Industry insiders often share information and experiences with colleagues about good or bad experiences, including with contractors. Ask trusted professionals who they recommend or what they’ve heard about a particular contractor.

Some REALTORS have preferred contractors with whom they work on select projects. Walnut Cove Realty’s Preferred Builder Program includes only the best of the best in the industry to ensure our luxury real estate clients have an outstanding experience with our WCR Luxury Spec Home Program.

Read more: Spec House vs. Custom House: Definitions, Pros, and Cons


5 Chedworth Way Arden garden

Luxury Home Building Costs

From the property you purchase, to the home design, to the luxury finishes you've always dreamed of, many factors can drive up the cost of building a luxury home—if you let them. As a result, it can be helpful to understand which factors influence home building expenses the most so you can avoid wasting money on aspects you don't care about.

The big-picture factors that most influence the cost to build a luxury home are:

  • Property location – region, precise location, terrain
  • Home design – size, shape, style/type
  • Home finishes – interior, exterior, quality of materials
  • Luxury amenities and features – custom features, outdoor elements, technology
  • Mechanical features – HVAC, plumbing, electrical

Read more: How Much Does It Cost to Build a Luxury Home Near Asheville, NC?

We understand that you don't want to make sacrifices just to stay within your construction budget. Luckily, there are many common sense choices you can make to control costs.

Here are a few tips:

  • Budget – Focus on the essentials and create a budget with the help of your contractor. Use extra funds to create a contingency plan for unexpected expenses during the build.
  • Identify your priorities – For example, is future resale value important to you, or is the beauty of the location paramount? How much do you plan to spend on land in comparison to the value of your new home? Factors like these could help you choose the perfect property for your goals.
  • Mind the terrain – When selecting land, pay attention to the slope of your land, soil type, and general terrain. Factors like these can potentially increase construction costs.
  • Choose a streamlined design – Homes that are larger, have an unusual shape, a basement, and styles with ornate finishes tend to be more expensive.
  • Be selective about finishing details – Certain amenities, elements, and features, as well as the quality of materials for finishes, can increase the cost of building a home. Planning ahead of time which materials you'd like to upgrade and which features you want ahead of time—and which would be unnecessary cost centers from both a building and maintenance standpoint—can also eliminate pointless expenditures.

Read more: Building a Luxury Home Within Budget: Ways to Get a Better Return on Your Dream Home


1985 White Tree Trail Arden three season porch

Luxury Mountain Home Features and Design

Today, luxury home features are only restricted by the homeowner’s vision and budget. From core and luxury rooms to security and technology, a functionality first approach is common, followed by the consideration of other luxury home features.

Core rooms make up the main framework of a home design, while luxury-specific rooms are where the value added features come into play.

Buyers in our WCR Luxury Spec Home Program often include the following core and luxury rooms and areas in their homes.



  • Kitchen
  • Great room
  • Family room
  • Home office
  • Multiple master bedrooms
  • Varied storage needs
  • Bathrooms on suite
  • Powder room
  • Shared bathroom
  • Dining area
  • Three-car garage



  • Mudroom
  • Game room
  • Accessible wine area
  • Pool area
  • Home theater
  • Walk-in pantry
  • Multi-purpose area to serve as home gym



Useful security features to consider including in your home include:

  • Integrated infrared cameras
  • Safe rooms
  • Standard home security system
  • Doorbell camera


In terms of broader luxury community, security features to watch for include:

  • Gates with staffed gate house
  • 24/7 security
  • Security patrol
  • Security cameras
  • A neighborhood watch


Each community has its own security systems, protocols and practices.



Today’s luxury homes integrate wonderful technological innovations to meet your needs and wants, such as smart home systems and even appliances and thermostats with WiFi & other smart home features. The latter are often integrated based on client request.

Read more: Luxury Home Features and Design: Essentials and Inspirations for 2022


1985 White Tree Trail Arden spec home back

What Is the Typical Timeline for Building a Luxury Home?

It often takes approximately 18 – 27 months to build a 5,000 SF luxury home in western North Carolina. Factors such as the time of year building commences, supply chain issues, and changes to the design, for example, tend to lengthen the process.

Based on our experience building luxury homes on spec, here is a sample timeline:

  • Months 1 – 10: design & review
  • Months 11 – 13: land preparation and foundation
  • Months 14 – 16: framing
  • Months 17 + : finishing

Future homeowners hoping to keep a build on schedule should make decisions early and stick to them throughout the process, choose a reliable contractor who is not at capacity, begin construction before Winter, and order appliances 12 months in advance to help prevent delays.

Read more: What Is the Typical Timeline for Building a Luxury Home near Asheville, NC?


1985 White Tree Trail Arden homes

Asheville-Area Luxury Home Building Services

While building your luxury dream home is exciting, the process itself is not always enjoyable. That’s why we created The WCR Luxury Spec Home Program—a house that might have taken more than two years to deliver can take as little as six months, depending on when you enter the process.

This is because we do a lot of the tedious parts of the build ahead of time, having our trusted builders draw on popular consumer patterns to develop a plan and bring it to life through an innovative neighbor-led investment program.

This leaves you to purchase the home like a traditional home sale and personalize it to your liking.


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Get in Touch About Our WCR Luxury Spec Home Program.

Our experienced real estate sales staff is eager to help you find the spec home of your dreams in the Asheville, NC, area. Get in touch, and start the conversation.