Lake Life….

North Carolina lakes have so much to offer! Whether you like the hustle and bustle of life near a city, a woodland paradise, a tranquil mountain setting, we’ve got it all.

While locals have long known the allure of our NC lakes, it seems that life in the time of Covid has drawn extra attention to the lakes as well. People are weighing their priorities and given the flexibility of new work from home and school at home realities, are able to choose where to live. Lakes in our beautiful state are drawing lots of attention…. and lots of interest from buyers near and far.

Lake sales this summer have taken off. Since March, on Lake Norman, just north of Charlotte, 25 waterfront homes have sold. Ranging from a low price of $460,000 to just under $4 million. Out of the 25 waterfront homes which have sold, only four were below $1 million, while fourteen closed above $2 million. Just this week, according to a survey by LendingTree, 64% of people would blow their budget for the perfect home. What could be more perfect than life on the lake?

Boating, waterskiing, kayaking, fishing, sailing… or maybe just watching the ducks in the cove. It is pretty idyllic. Growing up, I spent many summer days with my friends at their lake house in Indiana. I’ve always had an affinity for lake living. Because of my interest in lake life, I’ve spent time getting to know more about our local lake. So many interesting details, but here’s a little bit of history, and also, given the influx of people buying here, some information that is relevant to those in the market for real estate.

History of Lake Norman:

Lake Norman was filled in the early 1960’s as part of the Catawba-Wateree system, but it wasn’t until the mid 80’s that Duke created shoreline management guidelines. At that point they began tagging the existing docks on the lake. Over the years those guidelines have tightened, but structures built prior to the regulations tightening are ok per Duke as “allowable non-conforming structures,” aka “grandfathered.”

Lake levels fluctuate, but the full pond level on Lake Norman is at 760′. Anything below the 760′ mark needs permitting from Duke.

The rules and regulations are extensive from Duke, but there are several other areas that frequently cause confusion for buyers and homeowners. Want to build a structure down near the water, but above the 760′ full pond mark controlled by Duke Energy? There is a 50′ section called the Catawba River Riparian Buffer, just above full pond. It is controlled by the state in most areas on the lake, but if you happen to be in Mecklenburg County, they are even more restrictive. Building anything permanent in this buffer is unlikely to be approved.

The growth in the Lake Norman area has been significant in the last decade. Improvements to highway 16 on the west side of the lake and 77 on the east side of the lake have encouraged growth much further north. Sleepy towns of Sherrills Ford, Terrell and Denver are waking up! Properties are being snatched up by buyers quickly, and in many cases, sight unseen.

But, to be educated on Lake Norman living, understanding the rules for building and development on the lake is critical.

Did you find a great little lot with 75′ of shoreline? Have plans for an awesome dock?

Not gonna happen because the minimum shoreline for dock approval is 100′. In a caveat emptor state like North Carolina, you’d better know the rules BEFORE you buy!

What if that lot was subdivided in 1995?

That is a much better situation because lots subdivided before 1996 had no minimum shoreline required for dock approval. The rules and dates are detailed and extensive.

So, armed with that bit of knowledge, as a potential buyer can you just go ahead and apply for the permit? Again, it’s a no. The lot owner would have to do the application. Duke will not consider permits for property not owned by the applicant. You’d have to get the seller to do the application and then transfer the permit.

As buyers flock to the area for their own little slice of paradise, I wonder how many bought homes only to discover they couldn’t complete their dream vision? That could be an incredibly costly error. This can easily be avoided by finding someone who has taken the time to learn the rules and who will help to navigate this process.

Most buyers get excited about life on the lake…. and who can blame them? It is spectacular!

But nothing is worse than getting excited about a plan, only to have those hopes dashed and money flushed down the proverbial drain. With inventory and interest rates still incredibly low, the lots and homes on the lake are selling competitively and quickly. This translates to frenzied buying with little time to react and even less time to think about the critical details (other than the boat and jet-ski vision). Choosing a person to help you understand the important things is, well…. important!

I’ve got just the person! I would love to help you realize your lake dreams!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s