The Real Estate Process, Home Buying and Selling Tips

Relocating to Mooresville and Lake Norman: What you should know before buying real estate Part 2

Part 2: Types of Siding

Thanks to having several years of experience selling real estate in the greater Lake Norman area after 15 years selling in California, I can not only tell you exactly what to look for regarding earthquake safety (okay, not terribly useful here) but now I can also explain the benefits and shortcomings of different types of siding, how to mediate moisture in your crawlspace, what levels of radon are considered acceptable, how to test septic systems, private well-water and what to do if your double-pane window seals break.

Part 2 of this series will focus on the types of siding commonly found on homes in the Lake Norman area.

I must admit, we didn’t even use the term “siding” in California and I was really shocked to find out they used vinyl rather than real wood for not just siding but shutters and even deck railings. But, that was before I fully grasped the importance of controlling moisture in and around our Lake Norman homes.

Siding: Siding is simply the material that covers the exterior of a home. In the Lake Norman area, you will find

  1. All Brick (veneer or full)
  2. Stone (veneer of full)
  3. Vinyl
  4. Stucco (hard coat or synthetic)
  5. Fiber Cement
  6. Wood/Shingles
  7. Any combination of the above 

Briefly, brick is durable, never needs painting and is quite popular here. It is one of the most expensive siding options so if you are buying new construction or building a new home plan on paying an additional amount for all brick or even partial brick exteriors. When we first moved here in 2005 brick was extremely popular however there is a move now towards a more Craftsman look using a combination of shingles, planks and even stucco.

Vinyl was completely new to me but is extremely common here in Lake Norman homes. I was shocked when I discovered that this siding, which I thought was wood from far away, actually feels like plastic as do their companion shutters. Vinyl is very low maintenance, cost effective (affordable!) and common in the lower to middle price ranges of homes in Lake Norman. There are many different grades of vinyl siding. See The Pros and Cons of Vinyl Siding

 

Stucco is both good and bad and inspires lots of controversy. This is because of a product called “synthetic stucco” or EIFS (Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems). In 1996, 90% of homes tested in Wilmington NC that were clad with synthetic stucco were found to have high moisture levels in the wood components of the walls. As you learn quickly living in Lake Norman, high moisture levels can lead to the damage of wood and mold. Since this discovery, the use of synthetic stucco plumetted and now builders use primarily “hard-coat” stucco.  You can usually tell if a stucco is hard-coat by the existence of seams.

There are companies that do elaborate testing of stucco homes to determine if there are any high readings of moisture behind the walls. The key is to keep all areas around windows, chimneys etc. sealed properly so that moisture can not seep in. For more information go to the North Carolina Department of Insurance and select Engineering and Codes, then NC Building Code Council and finally Exterior Insulation Finish System. Or, the EIFS Industry Members Association , or The EIFS Alliance. By North Carolina law, Sellers may disclose the existence of synthetic stucco and listing agents must disclose it. I have a great stucco expert who can inspect and provide a very comprehensive report about existing synthetic and hard-coat stucco.

 There are also some very popular cement fiber sidings that look similar to vinyl but are more durable and more expensive. Hardieplank is highly recommended by contractors. It is a fibrous concrete that termites can’t eat, is impervious to moisture, comes in different colors but can be painted.

Wood is most common in older homes and higher-end custom homes but is not used extensively in new construction because of the regular maintenance and painting required. I still love real wood and hope someday to replace our current siding with wood. But, that’s probably because I am used to maintaining wood and love the look and feel.

If you do a Google Search on the pros and cons of siding you will get myriad results that will help you do further research if desired.

Part 3 of this series on Lake Norman real estate will discuss moisture issues.

MORE ARTICLES ABOUT BUYING A HOME IN LAKE NORMAN

Relocating to Lake Norman: What you should consider before buying a home Part 1

What you need to know about buying real estate in North Carolina

Lake Norman Relocation Resource

10 Things Lake Norman Waterfront Home Buyers Should Know BEFORE buyingR

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Lake Norman waterfront homes

Lake Norman Real Estate: How are waterfront homes and properties fairing?

Lake Norman waterfront home

Buyers looking for Lake Norman waterfront homes or lots have over 520 miles of shoreline inventory from which to choose. This is part of what draws so many people from all over the country to Lake Norman to find their dream home, cottage, or even lot for future retirement.

Because there is a finite supply of shoreline there is also a finite number of waterfront Lake Norman homes and lots. It is truly necessary to study the supply and demand for these waterfront properties separately from the rest of Lake Norman real estate.

According to the Charlotte Regional Multiple Listing Services (MLS) there are currently 366 waterfront homes and 259 waterfront lots listed for sale on Lake Norman. The average listing price for a waterfront home is $1,248,759 and for lots is $586,965. Prices range from the $200,000’s to $6,250,000 for an 11,395 square foot waterfront estate!

Lake Norman real estate sales, overall, have slowed due to the national housing downturn and sub-prime mortgage problems. But, what about our waterfront homes and lots?

LAKE NORMAN WATERFRONT SALES 2007 VS 2006

(Period analyzed: September 1 – December 28)

Average days on the market:

  • 2007: 113
  • 2006: 94
  • % change: +19% longer this year vs. 2006

Average sales price:

  • 2007: $944,909
  • 2006: $909,286
  • % change: + 4% increase in average sales price

Average size of the waterfront home:

  • 2007: 3722 square feet
  • 2006: 3601 square feet
  • % change: +3%

Average price per square feet:

  • 2007: $254 per square foot
  • 2006: $252 per square foot
  • % change: 0

Number of waterfront homes sold:

  • 2007: 69
  • 2006: 107
  • % change: -35%

If you look at these statistics you will see that while it took longer to sell a waterfront home this past fall and the number of waterfront homes that sold dropped 35% the average sales price actually had a modest increase during this period as compared to the same period in 2006. The weakness, while not quite as signifcant as the entire Lake Norman real estate market, is the amount of inventory of active waterfront listings which is more than double that of a balanced real estate market .

What is interesting for a seller or prospective seller of waterfront property to note is that the average days unsold listings have been on the market is 140 which is significantly higher than those that sold. In this market, it is critical to price your home at market value!

A Quick Look at Lake Norman Waterfront Lots

My MLS sales analysis of Lake Norman Waterfront lots resulted is much the same findings as above for homes. This fall fewer lots sold and they took a bit longer to sell but their average sales price was up from $400,752 to $539,643.

Before our downturn in early spring 2006, waterfront properties were hot and I expect them to be again once buyers gain confidence in the economy. Our local economy is very strong and with our limited supply of waterfront homes and lots, I would expect them to be “hot” again. If only I could say when! If you have read my previous articles you will know that I am predicting a flat real estate market in the Lake Norman area for 2008. As we get in to the new year, I will keep updating my sales analysis and the future trends.

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Relocating? Life in Lake Norman, Schools

Mooresville NC Relocation Resources

Mooresville Relocation Resource List

Researching the Mooresville North Carolina area when contemplating a move is an exciting adventure! There is so much information available it can be a bit overwhelming. Here is a comprehensive list of website links to help you learn about our area; from town, county and state government sites to detailed information about schools, recreation as well as plenty of just plain fun things to discover! Also, be sure and take a look at my list of articles on the left column of this website to learn more about life in Mooresville!

TOWN OF MOORESVILLE

COUNTY:

STATE:

EDUCATION:

HEALTH CARE/AREA HOSPITALS:

LIBRARIES

NEWSPAPERS

UTILITIES

RECREATION

FAITH:

FARMERS MARKETS

 

SENIOR SERVICES:

The Iredell Council on Aging:

  • Statesville: (704.873.5171)
  • Mooresville: (704.663.5112)
  • Troutman: (704.677.2386)
  • Services: Congregate Meals, Home Delivered Meals, Chore Service, Respite Care, Transportation

South Iredell Senior Center, Mooresville: (704.662.3337)

  • SISC offers a wide variety of health, education, recreation and social activities for people who are 60 years of age or better
  • Located in the Charles Mack Citizen Center in downtown Mooresville
  • Senior citizens are involved at the Senior Center as participants, group leaders, instructors, volunteers, advisory council members, Title V personnel, and employees

Centralina Area Agency on Aging: (704.372.2416)

  • The Senior Community Service Employment Program
  • Developing the mature and older worker for meaningful employment

AARP

North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services

OTHER ARTICLES OF INTEREST:

Lake Norman Relocation Resources

Lake Norman Sports Resource Guide

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Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

Relocating to Mooresville North Carolina

Once you have narrowed your destination to the Lake Norman area, it can be difficult to choose in which town or community to look for your new home. The land around Lake Norman comprises 4 counties and 10 towns; each with it’s own character. “Relocating to Mooresville NC” is the first in my series about each of the 10 towns.

AT A GLANCE:

Established: 1873

Population: 23,100 (2006)

Median Home Price: $208,274 (2006)

Average Property Taxes: $1,406

Location: 30 miles north of Charlotte in Iredell County on the east bank of Lake Norman straddling the I-77 highway. 2 hours from the Blue Ridge Mountains and 4.5 hours to the ocean.

Geography: Located in the Piedmont section of North Carolina, Mooresville stretches from the east shoreline of Lake Norman on its west through the Historic Downtown eastward to farmlands that abut Rowan and Cabarrus County. The unimproved land in and around Mooresville is a combination of hardwood and pine forests and farmland.

Weather: 4 distinct but mild seasons. Average annual rainfall: 49.32″, % Clear days = 30%, Average high temperature in July: 87.7, Average Low Temperature in January: 26.8.

NOTABLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS

  • As “Race City USA”, Mooresville is home to more than 60 NASCAR racing teams

  • Mooresville is the world headquarters for Lowe’s Home Improvement Company

  • In 2007 Mooresville was named in top 100 of Money Magazine’s Best Places to Live

  • Mooresville was named nations top micropolitan area by the economic trade publication Site Selection for past 3 years

  • Mooresville is the sixth fastest-growing municipality in North Carolina

OVERVIEW

Real Estate/Housing: Mooresville real estate ranges from modest bungalows in the historic downtown area, first-time buyer subdivisions in the $100,000s, family-oriented communities like Curtis Pond in the high $100,000- mid $200,000s, on up to The Point, a Crescent Homes development covering 1,200 acres on a peninsula jutting out into Lake Norman. With 18 miles of shoreline, an 18-hole gold course designed by Greg Norman, this country club community has homes ranging from the $600,000s to more than $5 million. As a Realtor I can honestly say we have such great diversity of types of housing that I think there is something for everyone!

Recreation:

  • Lake Norman: Offers every type of water sport you can think of; boating, sailing, water skiing, fishing, kayaking and canoeing to name a few
  • Golf: There are public and private golf courses within the Mooresville community plus myriad in the greater Charlotte area
  • Lowe’s YMCA: A new, 57,00 sq.ft. facility with state-of-the-art fitness equipment, indoor water park, full gymnasium, indoor walking track and outdoor running and walking trail, childwatch, personal training, youth and adult sports, camps, field space, racquetball and lap pool.
  • Mooresville Parks and Recreation Department: They are currently developing a greenway, new skate park and the new Mazeppa Road Park which will include softball, baseball and soccer fields, dog park, BMX/Mountain bike trail, tennis courts, playground structures, a trail system, a recreational center
  • Stumpy Creek Park and Lake Access
  • Lake Norman State Park

Festivals and Events

  • Holiday celebrations and parades
  • Cotton Ketchie Arts Festival
  • Lake Norman Festival
  • Monthly Art Gallery Crawls

Schools: Mooresville has it’s own very highly regarded school system: the Mooresville Graded School District. Those outside the town limits attend the top-ranked Iredell County Mooresville schools serving the Lake Norman area. There are also a number of private schools.

Retail Stores: Thanks to our strong economy we have a great selection of chain and private retail stores from Best Buy, Best Bath and Beyond, Staples, Sam’s Club, BJ’s, Super Target, Super WalMart, Belks to high-end specialty stores like Lavender and Sweet Grass.

Markets: Harris Teeter, Lowes, Food Lion, Target and WalMart  (Fresh Market, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are in the area south of Mooresville)

Restaurants: Upscale options like Epic Chop House, Al Gusto, Prickly Pear, Jeffrey’s, Joel’s, Carussos, La Patisserie to fun spots like Shoal’s, Lancaster’s Barbecue, Big Daddy’s to chains like Panera Bread, Camilles and Starbucks to wonderful home cooking like The Daily Grind and Sun Up. We also have every fast food and pizza chain I can think of!

Seniors: The South Iredell Senior center is located in the new Charles Mack Citizens Center and offers an array of services, activities and entertainment

Healthcare: Mooresville is home to the Lake Norman Regional Medical Center and continues to attract high-quality physicians in private practice as well

The recent and current growth of Mooresville, including housing, retail shopping centers, office buildings, medical offices and even much anticipated resort Langtree at the Lake have transformed a sleepy textile community into a thriving eclectic community drawing people from all over the country. I love the fact that I can spend time in the historic downtown and experience the essence of a small, close-knit southern town, drive a few miles to find all of the conveniences of a big city or take our boat out on the Lake and escape it all to enjoy the incredible beauty of nature.

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Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

How to get rid of unwanted catalogues and help the environment!

Apparently, one of the benefits of shopping online is that you begin to receive myriad unwanted magazines and catalogs. It has gotten so bad for us that I have been thinking we were going to have to get a larger mailbox.

There is help! I just found out about  Green Dimes a company that provide services that allow you to stop getting print catalogs you no longer wish to receive; reduce the amount of unsolicited mail in your mailbox while helping to preserve the environment.

 It is very easy to do! I signed up with Green Dimes about six months ago and I am now getting only the catalogs I want to get. I used to get 5 or more very day.  It’s not only great for the environment but it really saves me a lot of time and energy as well.

Help the environment and your postal carrier!

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Lake Norman News, Events and Celebrations, lake norman real estate

It snows in Birkdale Village every night 2007!

A Huntersville Christmas, hosted by The Huntersville Parks and Recreation Department is December 14th from 6-9pm in downtown Huntersville! Some of the highlights will include:

  • Santa! (He sure gets around. He will be at 109 S. Old Statesville Rd)
  • While Santa is doing his thing, Mrs. Claus will be reading stories (at the Huntersville Police Department, 102 Gilead Rd.)
  • Clown bounce and letters to Santa
  • Two Magic Shows at 6:15 and 8:15 pm at the Town Hall
  • The Huntersville Elementary Choristers will be singing carols at 6 pm at Bunky Gandy’s Auto Exchange.
  • Pony rides
  • Horse and Carriage rides
  • Train Rides
  • Jugglers

Or just huddle around the bonfire…the weather is turning COLD!


If you can’t make tonight’s event, drop by Huntersville’s Birkdale Village any evening each hour starting at 6pm and let your children dance in the “snow shower”! The center courtyard area surrounding the Christmas tree will enjoy falling snow thanks to 4 snow machines.

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lake norman real estate

The Lake Norman Real Estate Market Versus The Big Picture

Everywhere you turn, there is yet another perspective, debate or article on housing, mortgages and the economy.

Just look at our local news. The headline in today’s Charlotte Observer: Banks warn of more mortgage pain ahead; BofA, Wachovia brace for mounting loan defaults, losses tied to bad debt. A small article to the left: A push to disclose agents’ bonuses is a follow-up to an article I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. Several days ago The Charlotte Observer had a story entitled “New suburbs in fast decay…Foreclosures in starter neighborhoods lead to vacancies and crime” which was a part of a series on the effects of easy credit on Charlotte’s landscape.

 This week’s news related to the financial market: The Feds lowered their short term rates again this week but the market was hoping for more than the .25 basis point. The inflation numbers released today were higher than expected due primarily to the higher gas prices. Does this mean the end of the Feds short-term rate cuts?

Right now loans, loan fees and rates are a moving target as the financial institutions react to the sub-prime crisis. Fees have been hiked, even for prime credit candidates; jumbo loans are running a full 1% higher than conforming loan rates; the amount of the required down-payments fluctuates but there is no doubt that buyers now have to jump through more hoops to get a mortgage even with good credit scores and a solid down-payment.

And what about the “R” word? UCLA’s renowned Anderson Forecast that I have been reading for years came out on December 6th claiming that there is a “disconnect in the housing and jobs market” and that “if we can get through another couple of quarters without rising joblessness, we will have completed the first and hardest part of the housing correction, and the drag that the housing is creating for the economy will substantially abate…”. Therefore, they are saying No Recession based upon economic data at that time. This is a big deal because usually they are very negative.

So, what does all of this mean to Lake Norman real estate and how does all of this impact the Lake Norman area housing market?

As a Realtor I receive flyers on a daily basis from builders and listing agents offering myriad incentives to attend an open house luncheon…not even tied to selling a home! I got one the other day from Willow Creek announcing: “$10,000 give away and register to win a Visa gift card!” for attending a luncheon! Clearly, it is currently a buyers market in our greater Lake Norman area as a whole.

Based upon my own analysis, gut and experience, I honestly feel that 2008 will be flat. Listings that are staged well and priced right will sell in the usual 100 days for close to asking price just as they are now. Over-priced and stale listings may languish for months or even a year or more. Inventories of new and resale properties will remain high relative to the number of buyers. And, sales prices will probably come down slightly or remain flat versus the previous year.

Today, well qualified buyers with credit scores of at least 680 and a good down-payment (20%) are able to get great loan rates which are hovering around 6% right now. Those with lower credit scores and small down-payments, if they can get a loan, will pay a premium in fees and rates. If you fall in the first category then you are in the drivers seat today. There is no way of knowing how long these loan options will last.

Because the mortgage market is so volatile right now, I have asked a mortgage expert to start writing updates on specific loans available, rates and whether to lock or float a loan here on my blog/website so that you all can get more accurate mortgage data on a regular basis.

I have been through a recession while a Realtor in California in the early 1990s. I know this instability will be temporary and that in the long run the real estate market in Lake Norman is going to be very strong. There are so many positives in our local economy that will provide the forward momentum we have enjoyed.

We simply can’t loose our sense of humor even when faced with uncertainty. Here is my favorite quote by Ed Learner, director of the UCLA Anderson Forecast: “Now there are countless prognosticators throwing around recession. That may be the best indicator that a recession is not coming soon…Better remember a recession is not measured by the frequency with which newspapers use the ‘R’ word.”

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