Location is one of the most important things to consider when shopping for a new home. A house on a hill may offer some outstanding benefits, but it may also have significant drawbacks.
Reasons to Buy a Hillside Home
A house on a hill can offer breathtaking views. If it’s located near a body of water or surrounded by taller mountains, you could be treated to picturesque views every day.
A hillside house has architectural possibilities that a house on a level lot doesn’t. For example, a house built on a hill may have a basement walkout and large panoramic windows.
Problems You Could Encounter
The biggest problem with hillside homes tends to be drainage. A basement and lawn can flood if a house isn’t equipped with a sump basin and pump. If the hill has lots of vegetation, good drainage is essential to prevent erosion and landslides. You might have to install a retaining wall or make other expensive modifications to improve drainage. If someone has a house higher up the hill than yours, the runoff from that property could be a problem for you if the other property lacked a retention wall.
In a region that gets cold winters, water can run down a hill to a driveway and freeze, creating a serious safety hazard for anyone who walks or drives over it. Removing snow can also be difficult on an incline.
If you have trouble walking because of age or health issues, a yard on a hill can be challenging. Climbing steps to enter and leave the house and walking up or down a hill to get the mail might not be problematic now, but if you are getting older and want a house where you can live long into retirement, they could become major hurdles later.
A yard on a hill can make it difficult to enjoy common outdoor activities. It may be hard to find an appropriate area for a pool, and games that involve running around can be difficult.
A hillside house could offer incredible privacy, unless other houses were built on the same hill. Then you and your neighbors might be able to look right into each other’s yards.
Homeowners insurance for a house on a hill can be much more expensive than for a home on a level lot. A policy might only cover damage to the house, not the property, so you could be responsible for repairs to the land caused by a landslide or earthquake.
Is a Hillside House Right for You?
A house on a hill may offer unsurpassed views, but it can be expensive to insure, and you may encounter problems with water and difficulty navigating the terrain. If you’re thinking about purchasing a hillside home, consider all the pros and cons and have it thoroughly inspected by an engineer so you’ll be aware of any current and potential problems.