Last week I drove to an unfamiliar small town east of Charlotte so that I could check out a new housing development for my buyers. After I met with the builder and toured the subdivision I started to drive around to get a sense of what the area was like, the proximity and type of shopping, restaurants and schools so that I could better compare it to a community by the same builder in Lake Norman that I know very well. The sales rep was great about pointing out actual stores and restaurants on their map but I realized when I started to drive around that I really needed a tour from someone who knows the community! I wanted/needed the same kind of help/orientation I give to my clients during their first visits to Lake Norman. I know this sounds egotistical but seriously, I needed a Harrisburg version of me!
So what do I do that I needed so much? My Lake Norman orientation process has evolved and is unique for each client but the goals are still same: Help my relocating buyers to understand as much as they can about the nuances and personalities of the Lake Norman towns and neighborhoods and the home buying process in NC so that they can make informed decisions and find the best home/location to suit their specific goals and lifestyles. Here is a general outline of my orientation process:
Day 1, First Visit:
- Create and bring my relocation packet which includes:
- Lake Norman map
- Recent Lake Norman area magazines
- Annual relocation magazines from the Charlotte Observer and local Chambers of Commerce if available
- A Working with Real Estate Agents Brochure
- If I know what price etc. I will bring a list of homes currently on the market that we can drive by
- Meet at a Starbucks or hotel lobby with an understanding that we will spend as much time as my clients deem necessary to go over the map/ipad and answer any and all questions they have before getting in the car. (Unless they have limited time).
- While every meeting is unique, generally I start by giving a brief overview of Lake Norman with the map. With 520 miles of shoreline it is a lot to take in and it really helps to start with the big picture!
- I also provide a brief history of the Lake Norman area and how the towns have grown and developed over the past decades
- I will describe the personalities, taxes and pros and cons of each of the towns of interest to them. This includes walkability, density, sizes of lots, farms vs wooded lot, traffic, commute times, shopping, markets, restaurants, sports, recreation, arts, medical facilities, amenities, growth trends and whatever is of interest to my buyers.
- Discuss the real estate process in North Carolina and how it differs from the state they are from. I try not to overwhelm but I try to cover the disclosures, inspections, role of the closing attorney, basics of our purchase contracts and most common time-frames of a Lake Norman home purchase.
- Go over their “favorites” on Zillow etc. if they have them
- Once we are ready, we get in my car for a tour of Lake Norman including:
- At least the towns on the side of the lake they are most interested in living but sometimes a full tour around the lake.
- Types of subdivisions and neighborhoods from gated upscale communities to quiet gravel roads along the lake and a bit of everything in between
- Shopping, restaurants, downtown’s, schools, parks, commutes, medical facilities and whatever priorities or concerns they might have
- Types of housing, specific homes in their price range
- Lake Norman! You would be surprised how many people I meet on their first visit have not seen the lake yet. I know we hadn’t when we moved here. It is SO beautiful!
Day 2/Step 2:
- Now we start looking at properties that my buyers have chosen online or I have picked based upon everything I have learn about their priorities and lifestyles.
- At this stage we might still be viewing a variety of properties in different locations so that we can get a better sense of where and what they like the most.
- For each property tour meeting I bring a compass (yes, it can get disorienting around here!), my ipad for looking up properties and also as a map to better orient them as we drive around, a tape measure to measure the depth of water at private docks if the buyer is considering waterfront, a cooler with beverages and a folder for my buyers with color copies of the MLS data for each property we plan on viewing.
Future meetings to view homes until we find the perfect one:
- At this stage my buyers are pretty savvy. Now we are focused on seeing properties all the while we both continue to learn more about what they like and we keep narrowing our search until we find “the one”.
- While touring a home I will offer my honest opinions regarding the condition, desirability, pros and cons and perspective on resale when appropriate.
While this is just a broad outline and is always customized to my buyers time frames etc., hopefully this will give you a sense of a good way to approach your relocation process to Lake Norman. In the meantime, you will find over 700 articles on this blog that will help get you started. It is not uncommon for buyers to read my blog for a year or more before visiting and starting their actual home search. Here is my Lake Norman Relocation Resource Guide. Questions? email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!