After looking at Lake Norman waterfront home prices, buying a waterfront lot on Lake Norman may seem like a pretty good alternative. After all, in our real estate database we currently have 288 waterfront residential lots for sale starting at $125,000 on up to about $2 million. So, if you look even as high as $300,000 – $400,000 surely you will find a nice lot with lovely views something like the one above: Wide open views of the lake and lovely homes along the opposite shoreline in the distance?
Not so much!
The reality is that Lake Norman has myriad tiny coves that reach way into the land like skinny fingers. These coves vary tremendously in size, depth of water and topography. Some of the shoreline is very steep but some is quite flat with beautiful beaches.
Obviously, if you are looking at waterfront homes you will note that flatter lots with expansive “main channel” views are most desirable and also the most expensive. But what about lots?
Yesterday, some brave buyers and I looked at about 40 lots (in the rain) most of which were under $300,000 and a few just under $400,000.
The first challenge of viewing waterfront lots in this price-range is that most look like this from the street.
We had to hike through the heavy brush and forest of trees down to the water… or where the water was supposed to be!
Most of the lots were variable grades of steep to very steep, oddly shaped and when we got to the bottom we were lucky to find water deep enough for a boat.
Some lots were drawn such that an odd sliver would jut out just far enough to reach the water but had no relevance to the main lot. Or, there were major power-lines overhead. Or, there was water but one is not allowed to build a dock due to environmental issues. Several of the lots appeared to be watershed ravines…we couldn’t quite figure out how one would even be able to build a home on them!
There are a number of very important things to research about an unimproved waterfront real estate before ever making an offer:
- Building costs related to the topography of the lot
- Does the lot perc for a septic system? If so for how many bedrooms and where will be be located?
- Can you build a dock and if so what kind and how large?
- Do you need to dredge? What are the limitations, costs?
- Does it have rip-rap (rocks shoring up the land and protecting the water) and if not what will it cost to prepare the shoreline and what are the limitations to what you can or can not do?
- How far down the cove is it? Do you have any views of the lake or do you look across the cove to your neighbors?
- How will the required 50? natural buffer area effect where you can build your home?
- What environmental restrictions apply to the lot besides the 50? buffer?
- What direction does it face? Do you want sunset views or do you mind facing North and not having any sun on the waterside of your home?
- Are there any bridges between the lot and the main channel that would limit how large and what type of a boat you can use? i.e. sail boats
Many of our coves are quite charming and offer a serene retreat unlike the busy main channel. When considering waterfront make a decision up front as to what kind of water you want. Most lots under $600,000 are going to be in smaller coves. The higher the price the closer to the main channel or the better the views and topography of the lot itself.
If these prices are out of your comfort range, you might consider a waterview home or a home with a deeded boat slip. You might even consider an older home on the water that may need some work but is livable and one you can make into your dream home over time.
To find out all of the specifics about Duke Energy’s Shoreline Management Plan and their 3-step review process for all lake activity you can go to their website: Duke-Energy. Prior to conducting ANY work within the Lake Norman boundary contact the Lake Services Office at 800.443.5193.