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COVID-19 and the Lake Norman Real Estate Market

 

 

Many are asking the question, how is COVID-19 affecting the Lake Norman real estate market? To get a clear picture, we’ll need to wait for the final sales numbers for March 2020, but in the meantime, one indicator to take note of is buyer activity.  Through analyzing data from showing reports, we can see the numbers of active buyers per price point in the Lake Norman real estate market.

It is no surprise in the wake of the coronavirus, total showings went down this past week compared to the previous week, but we are still seeing a large amount of showing activity week over week with 2408 showings in the past 7 days.  The price points from $250,000 to $400,000 have the largest percentage of the showings.  This is partially due to higher inventory in those price points, with significantly fewer options under $250,000.   We’re keeping a close eye on all Lake Norman real estate trends, and we will keep you posted as we learn more. Stay well and stay tuned!

Week of 3/10/20 to 3/17/20 Showing Report = 2408 Total Showings

Week of 3/3/2020 to 3/10/2020 Showing Report = 2659 Total Showings

Week of 2/25/2020 to 3/3/2020 Showing Report = 2622 Total Showings

Week of 2/18/2020 to 2/25/2020 Showing Report =  2644 Total Showings

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Lake Norman Real Estate’s February Market Report

 

All data is from the Canopy/Carolina Multiple Listing Service.

We wondered if January’s strong market indicated what we could expect for 2020, and February proved to follow in stride with very positive numbers. For this month’s market report, we’ve added “coming soon” and “cumulative days on market” (CDOM). “Coming Soon” indicates properties which will be active in the next 21 days or less, but are not quite ready for the market.  CDOM is the cumulative total days from the start of the listing to the contract date.  The difference between days on market (DOM) and CDOM, is that CDOM accounts for the entire time a property has been on the market, regardless of firms it may have been listed with.  DOM only accounts for the time on the market with one firm/agent.  Thus, CDOM can offer truer market data in terms of real time on the market.

February 2020 was a record-breaker for the past decade, only surpassed by February 2007 with 126 closed sales compared to 123 currently, as shown in the chart below.  The number of active listings decreased by 27%, a significant decline.  Available homes for purchase will remain problematic and likely continue to decline for our year over year outlook throughout 2020.  The lack of inventory could be an indication of why our average listing price yielded a 12% increase year over year.   This improvement was also noted in closed sales, with a 9% increase in the average sales price year over year.

Total contracts (show and no show) combined rose by 7% from last February, with a total of 341 properties that went under contract for the month.  With only 514 active single-family homes, our months’ supply of inventory continues to fall and is now under 2 months.  This is less than our CDOM and DOM, which shows 86 to 113 days on the market.  This can easily be skewed if multiple properties remain on the market longer than average, causing the overall ratio to increase.  Thus, if a seller’s home has been on the market longer than 2 to 3 months, a price adjustment may be a consideration.

Of the 123 sold single-family homes, 22% were new construction and 16% were waterfront.  In addition, the average house age was 2003, and the average heated living area was 3073 square feet.  The average price per square foot was $166.29, while the active listings average was $226.58 per square foot, over a $60/sq. ft. difference.  The listing price to sales price ratio was 97%.  Each home averaged 5.3 showings in February and had 14 showings on average before going under contract.

What will March 2020 bring to the Lake Norman market? We look forward to learning and sharing the results with you next month, as we are watching the market very closely. Although there is more uncertainty in the economy than we’ve recently seen, we know for certain that the Lake Norman real estate market is a good one.  Whether you are a buyer or a seller our current market has something for you. With mortgage rates at all-time lows, buyers can buy more house with less money than they could last month. For sellers, the lack of inventory offers a prime time to sell, as we continue to see multiple offers on well-priced properties.  Let us know if you’ve got questions on the Lake Norman market, we are happy to answer them.

 

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Truly a Lucky Cat, Josh reclines in a clover patch. His colony in Kinston, NC was established through outreach by the Lake Norman Lucky Cat Program. Photograph by Linda Whittington.

Download this month’s calendar here.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day and wishing you all things lucky in 2020.  Our March calendar features Josh, a real community cat.

Josh is a very Lucky Cat.

He lives in a colony of community cats, in which every cat has been spayed or neutered, vaccinated, receives medical care when needed, and is fed every day by a dedicated caretaker. His colony in Kinston, NC was established through outreach by the Lake Norman Lucky Cat Program.

The Lake Norman Lucky Cat Program was born over 20 years ago to humanely address community cat situation in the Lake Norman region.  Since then, Lucky Cat’s success has spread, inspiring others to establish effective TNRM (trap-neuter-return-manage) services in their communities.

Josh lives in Kinston, NC, where Lucky Cats of Kinston has served nearly 700 cats since the summer of 2018.  Lucky Cats’ 2020 vision is to facilitate TNRM services wherever needed, creating and connecting TNRM solutions in every NC county, lowering euthanasia rates, reducing numbers of unwanted kittens, and improving the lives of community cats throughout our state. To learn more, visit www.luckycats.org and/or email info@luckycats.org.

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

Lake Norman Real Estate’s March 2020 Calendar – A Lucky Cat

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Lake Norman Real Estate’s January 2020 Market Report

All data is from the Canopy/Carolina Multiple Listing Service.

January surprised us with repeated strong closings for the month, the highest since our reports began in 2005 (see chart below).  What was no surprise was the decrease in active inventory, while supply and demand remains to be an issue for new buyers entering the market. We’ve added the median price to our report this month and will continue to do so going forward.  As you can see, the median active listing price versus the average listing price is quite different.  This indicates that we have a substantial amount of luxury homes on the market versus lower-priced inventory.

The homes that went under contract remained steady year over year, however, we did see a slight decrease in the days on market.  With our current inventory, there is just slightly over a month of inventory of homes available, continuing a strong and robust sellers-market.  Of course, each price point can shift if we were to take a closer examination of the properties.  Watch for our quarterly report for more details in the coming months.

With a 19% increase of homes sold year over year in January, we are eagerly awaiting to see what 2020 will bring in the coming months. Although election years always create an additional variable to market dynamics, if January is any indication, we are going to continue to thrive in the Lake Norman region.

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Lake Norman Real Estate’s December 2019 Market Report

All data is from the Canopy/Carolina Multiple Listing Service.

As we analyze the real estate market numbers for Lake Norman in December 2019, December was much stronger than originally expected. There was an increase in single-family listings sold by 32%, compared to December 2018. Active listings took a significant drop with a 25% decrease. Inventory continues to be problematic in our market. At first glance, it would appear that properties under contract were down significantly as well by looking at the Under Contract Show report, however if you combine the Under Contract Show and No Show, the difference was very minimal with only a 5% decline. Of the 172 properties sold, 45 were new construction, making up 26% of the homes sold. That leaves 75% of the market open for resale homes. Also, with a very close 23%, waterfront homes accounted for 40 of the 172 homes. The average price of new construction homes sold was $395,893. Based upon the average sold price for all single-family homes at $527,188 the resale market demands a higher sales price. Waterfront averages sales price is higher as expected, at $888,140.

Looking at the chart below, December 2019 tied 2017 for the highest number of units sold in December since 2005. However, the total units sold throughout the year was 2133, making 2019 the strongest year for total units sold! The averages sales price for 2019 was at $535,638, with a 97.4% list price to sales price ratio. The cumulative days on market averaged 102, which is still a very strong seller’s market. Both new construction AND waterfront homes sold accounted for 22% each, of the total units sold for 2019. However, the average sales price of new construction was $394,695, while the waterfront reached $972,058. We are expected to see continued growth in 2020. Prices are also expected to increase by 3% to 5%.

CLOSED HISTORICAL SALES FOR LAKE NORMAN REAL ESTATE

 

It is going to be an interesting year for sure as many economists can’t seem to agree.  Lake Norman is also becoming a strong second home and vacation home market.  That will also influence the coming year.  North Carolina also came in 3rd for the top states that Americans moved to last year as depicted by the graphic below.  That is exciting news for us North Carolinians! Please continue to follow along month to month as we explore and analyze the market.

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Lake Norman Lake Levels Nearing Full Pond

Lake Norman

The sun is shining on Lake Norman this morning, but the rainfall from Thursday’s massive storm remains evident everywhere and has led to the lake levels rising to nearly full pond.  As of this morning, lake levels are up to 99.3 feet, only 7 inches from full pond, which is 100 feet. Here’s the update from Duke Energy:

Lake Norman

08-FEB-20 The Catawba River Basin is experiencing increased inflows and higher lake levels due to the recent rainfall. Duke Energy is aggressively moving water through the river system. Additional rainfall forecast over the next 7 days could result in higher lake levels. Updates will be provided as conditions change. Real-time lake level information is available at duke-energy.com/lakes, by calling 800-829-5253 and via the Duke Energy Lake View mobile app.

99.3 ft.

As of 02/08/2020 at 07:35 AM

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Download this month’s Lake Norman calendar here

Our February calendar features a Cedar waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum).  These beautiful songbirds migrate through the Lake Norman area this month, traveling in large flocks of hundreds of birds, stopping to feast on seasonal fruits and berries. A flock or two faithfully visit our house to browse our privet and cedar hedges each year. Cedar waxwing are identified by their unmistakable sleek profiles, black eye mask, vibrant scarlet wing tips, and yellow tail tips. You may also hear them before you see them, as they are very social birds and like to chatter with each other.  For this reason, a flock of cedar waxwings is known as an “ear-full” due to their trills and tweets.  Another term for a flock of cedar waxwings, is a “museum,” which I can only imagine is due to their massive appearance together as a collection. They are a treat to behold each year!

 

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Lake Norman Real Estate’s February Calendar – Cedar Waxwings at Lake Norman

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Lake Norman Real Estate’s 4th Quarter 2019 Sales by Price Range

4th Quarter 2019 Lake Norman Home Sales by Price Range

*Compiled from the Carolina/Canopy Multiple Listing Service’s data.  Note that the numbers in this chart are generated by a technology expert I hired and not by me. The mapped perimeter of our Lake Norman area that he used for this chart’s numbers is slightly different from mine.

Despite a downturn in the last few months, Lake Norman’s overall real estate market in the 4th quarter of 2019 remained very much in a seller’s market. However, there were some fascinating sub-trends within price-ranges in the past 3 months as you can see above. By far the best way to truly understand our hot and cold niches is by analyzing our single family home sales by price-range which is why I create this chart each quarter.

If you are a home buyer or seller in the Lake Norman area it matters most what is happening in YOUR price-range. Yes, it is important to know about the global, national, and Charlotte area economy and real estate market but real estate is hyper-local so it is most meaningful for you to learn about the Lake Norman real estate market and within that, your specific niche. For instance, if you are looking to buy or sell in the $400,000 price range, you are going to have an entirely different experience than someone in the $500,000’s. And, if you are considering a broader range of prices, this chart can help you develop a more effective strategy by narrowing your search based upon actual strengths and weaknesses within our Lake Norman price-ranges.

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Red Dirt Alert! New Iredell Health Mooresville Facility

Have you noticed the large tract of recently graded land off Bluefield Road (behind Lake Norman Realty’s Mooresville Office) and wondered, “what will that be?” I’m happy to report this 17-acre site is the new location for Iredell Health System’s new Mooresville facility.  The ground-breaking ceremony was this morning, and John Green, President and CEO, of Iredell Health System (pictured below) shared many details for the new facility.  The total project will be 200,000 square feet and will employ 1750 at the new facility upon completion.  The first phase will be 68,000 square feet and is planned to open in June 2021. Green shared in his remarks, “We are dedicated to being high touch, high tech, high quality, and highly reliable.”  Iredell Health System is a local community non-profit organization.

John Green, President & CEO, Iredell Health System

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Lake Norman Real Estate's May 2019 Desktop Calendar

Download this month’s Lake Norman calendar here

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Lake Norman Real Estate’s May 2019 Calendar

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Just the facts about Lake Norman, Property Tax Rates

Lake Norman property tax rates by county and city

 Lake Norman Propery Real EstateTax

 Lake Norman’s low property taxes are one of the attractions for home buyers considering a relocation to our beautiful area.  However, because Lake Norman falls in 4 different counties and ten towns for prospective home buyers it can be a bit of a challenge trying to get a sense of what their property taxes will be in any given location.

A special note!  I just updated the numbers below to our 2018 tax rates.  All properties were just reassessed for 2019 as they are every 8 years in North Carolina.  The last reassessment was 2011 and the next will be 2027. The new assessed values are just coming out and some properties have risen more than others so make sure to find out the new assessed value of a property of interest to you! These new assessed values will be used in our upcoming 2018-2019 tax bills.

Below are links to all of the county website pages that provide all of the information you will need.  In addition, here are a few helpful hints: Continue reading

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lake norman real estate

Lake Norman Real Estate’s 4th Quarter 2018 Market Report by Price Range

Lake Norman experienced a dramatic slowdown in our 4th quarter but that doesn’t mean there weren’t “hot” niches.  The best way to understand our hot and cold niches is by analyzing our sales by price range which is why I create this chart each quarter.

If you are a home buyer or seller in the Lake Norman area it matters most what is happening in YOUR price-range. Yes, it is important to know about the global, national, and Charlotte area economy and real estate market but real estate is hyper-local so it is most meaningful for you to learn about the Lake Norman real estate market and within that, your specific niche. For instance, if you are looking to buy or sell in the $900,000 price range, you are going to have an entirely different experience than someone in the $800,000’s. And, if you considering a broader range of prices, this chart can help you develop a more effective strategy by narrowing your search based upon actual strengths and weaknesses within our Lake Norman price ranges.

The single most important number in this chart is the last column which provides that month’s of supply for each price range.  Keeping in mind that economists use 6-months supply as a balanced market and anything below that as a seller’s market and above 6 months as a buyer’s market, you can quickly determine this past quarter’s strengths and weaknesses.  Overall, at 5.77 months of supply of active listings, Lake Norman ended the year in a balanced market.

Lake Norman’s 4th Quarter 2018 Home Sales By Price Range

Lake Norman real estate home sales by price range 4th quarter 2018

*Compiled from the Carolina Multiple Listing Service’s data.  Note that the numbers in this chart are generated by a technology expert I hired and not by me. The mapped perimeter of our Lake Norman area that he used for this chart’s numbers is slightly different from mine.

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Lake Norman Market Trend Graphs in Real Time!

In November I launched a new feature on my Lake Norman Real Estate site.  I now have a real-time automatically updated graph of the number of active listings and homes sold in all of Lake Norman by month for the past three years.  These easy to read graphs provide simple but great insight into today’s trends in an historical context.  To get the latest number just click on Lake Norman Market Trends. .

Here are this month’s graphs:

Lake Norman homes sold for past 3 years graph by month

 

*Note that the sales numbers aren’t updated until the 20th of each month.

Above is the graph of single family homes sold in Lake Norman for the past 6 months.  You can clearly see our record-breaking months from May – August and then our nose dive in September with a slight uptick in October, down in November and December.   I discussed this in detail in the Lake Norman Real Estate Market Report December 2018.

 

Lake Norman real estate graph of homes sold trends

 

Above is the active listing graph.  As you can see our inventory of active listings was significantly lower from June – September compared to prior years and as of today are actually about even with the past 2 Decembers.  Keep in mind that those years we also had very low inventory of homes for sale!

I will update this post monthly for you!

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Lake Norman Real Estate's January 2019 Calendar

 Download this month’s Lake Norman calendar here

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Lake Norman Real Estate’s January 2019 Calendar

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Lake Norman’s 4th of July 2018 Fireworks, Events and Celebrations

Lake Norman sunset

 

From nostalgic patriotic parades to community festivals with firework displays to myriad planned and spontaneous raft- up (boat) parties on Lake Norman, there truly is something for everyone here in the greater Lake Norman area this 4th of July. Get out of your home, save gas and have a great time!” I wrote this NINE years ago and it is still just as true this year. So, here is the run down on Lake Norman’s 4th of July festivities 2018:

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Lake Norman Real Estate’s March 2018 Market Report

We are now entering our most active months for our Lake Norman area’s housing sales. After a dip in January and a jump up in February our Lake Norman real estate market once again took a hit in March when compared to March 2017’s sales. However, to be fair, this was expected due to March 2017’s exceptionally strong month so while 134 closed sales are disappointing they are certainly respectable when compared to previous month’s since the recession.

Here are what I feel to be the biggest takeaways from last month’s Lake Norman real estate sales data:

  • March’s closed sales were 29% lower than March 2017 but 17.5% higher than last month’s.
  • Our inventory of active listings remains alarmingly low; currently 3% below last year’s which were also historically low.  It is hard to quantify but there is no doubt that low inventory does have a negative impact on Lake Norman’s home sales.
  • After a strong February, as I predicted, we didn’t come close to meeting March 2017’s huge, record-breaking 188 closed sales.
  • What the heck is going on with our waterfront market? Yikes!  (See below)
  • Our trade-up ($600,000 – $999,000) and luxury price ranges were once again weak after a slight uptick last month. The only thing consistent about our higher price ranges is their constant roller coaster ride of ups and downs.

Let’s take a closer look:

Lake Norman Real Estate Home Sales Analysis

All data is from the Carolina Multiple Listing Service.

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Lake Norman 2017 Halloween Events, Pumpkin Patches and More!

Lake Norman real estate's October 2019 Desktop Calendar

FOR 2019 go to : Lake Norman 2019 Halloween Events, Pumpkin Patches and More!  New events have been added. Also, the photo above is the October 2019 Calendar!

 

Every year at this time the Lake Norman area comes alive with pumpkin patches, corn mazes, Halloween festivities for all ages and homes decorated to welcome all of our young trick -or -treaters. Many of our subdivisions and communities around Lake Norman have their own neighborhood events that are really popular and are a great way to get to know your neighbors.  But here are some more options from kid-friendly to oh-so scary:

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Lake Norman Lake Levels: Important Update 4/5/2017

Lake Norman Lake Levels down

4/25/2017 Update:  I just checked and Lake Norman’s lake levels are up to 99.4′ thanks to our significant rainfall in the past few days.  Duke Energy provided updates for smaller lakes with some potential for flooding: Duke Energy Site.  They did not include Lake Norman or Lake Wylie in this warning. 

Duke Energy posted this important update for Lake Norman on April 3rd:

03-APR-17 Lake Normans elevation is expected to be lower than customary this year from mid April through early June. This is in part due to the Catawba River Basin being in a Low Inflow Protocol LIP drought Stage 1. Planned maintenance work at McGuire Nuclear Station requires the elevation not to exceed 96.5 ft. Once the outage is completed, we may be able to move the elevation closer toward the late spring target level of 98 ft weather permitting. Please be aware these projections can change based on actual rainfall and changes to the drought stage. Please stay alert to changing weather conditions. Updated lake levels are available any time at http://www.duke-energy.com/lakes/levels.asp and at 800-829-5253.

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Gorgeous Aerial Photo of Lake Norman

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Lake Norman Real Estate’s February Calendar is Here!

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Lake Norman Real Estate's Holiday Calendar 2016

Download this month’s Lake Norman calendar here

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Lake Norman Real Estate’s December 2016 Calendar: Happy Holidays!

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lake norman real estate, The Real Estate Process, Home Buying and Selling Tips

2 Marketing Tools that will set your Lake Norman home apart

Pool and rear view of the listing in The Point

I recently listed this beautiful home in The Point and had the good fortune of getting a full-price offer within 24 hours of it hitting the market.  At a price point that’s average days on the market is 212 days and the average listing- to-selling price is 95% for recent comparable sales I would say we did very well!  So was this pure luck? Perhaps, but I do believe that my seller’s and my efforts getting the property ready, staging and then going all out on the marketing didn’t hurt!

In this specific case we decided the gorgeous pool and outdoor fireplace/grill and bar were huge attributes given that these amenities didn’t exist in our competition. So, besides having the house and garden groomed to perfection I hired a wonderful stager to make everything inside “popped” while I focused on the pool area and the front door.  My inspiration was a recent Frontgate catalog and other photos on such online sites as Houzz.com. But all of this effort might have ended up under the radar of buyers if we hadn’t used two key marketing tools that are rather new to the Lake Norman area:

  • Aerial/Drone Photography and Professional Video
  • Matterport 3-D and 360 Virtual Tour

Of course, both of these required the expertise of a very talented photographer I was able to hire for the project.  He did all of the still photos, the drone aerial photos, created the video and took the Matterport 3-D photos.  The end result was pretty darn awesome!

Here is the video:

Below is the Matterport 3-D tour.  If you are not experienced viewing this type of marketing, I find it easiest to click on one of the photos and then use your up, down, right and left arrows to either take a good look of a room by doing a 360 degree scan or literally walk through the house from room to room and stop and turn whenever you want:

Lake Norman 3-D home tour

What is the take away? I can’t emphasize enough the importance of staging a home and then using the best marketing tools available that are appropriate for your property.  It is worth every penny!

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Lake Norman Real Estate’s May 2016 Hot Sheet is Here!

Lake Norman Hot Sheet Home Sales

Want the very latest insight into our Lake Norman real estate market? So do I which is why, every month, I do a snapshot analysis of the middle two weeks of the month to get a sense of where we are at this very moment…an almost live insight into the heartbeat of the Lake Norman housing market.

I always get excited to do this Hot Sheet analysis each month because it provides me with a mid-month pulse of our Lake Norman real estate market.  So where are we today? The numbers below prove just how HOT our market is right now and the momentum that we saw last month is continuing after the dip in closed sales in March. Let’s take a closer look:

Lake Norman Real Estate’s May 2016 Two-Week Hot Sheet

Lake Norman home sales hot sheet chart for May

* The above chart is a summary of today’s “Hot Sheet” from the Charlotte Multiple Listing Service for single family homes in all of Lake Norman. These numbers represent a real time snapshot of the past two week’s activity. (May 8th – 22nd . As always, I have included the past 6 months so that you can put these numbers in perspective. Below is the April chart using my data since 2009.

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How Noisy is a Lake Norman Neighborhood?

Sound map for home in Lake Norman

How would you like to search for homes and be able to also find out just how noisy it is in each location?  The company that provides the property search program for this website, Davis Farrell Technology, just added a really COOL new tool provided by a company called HowLoud.  Utilizing a Soundscore™, buyers can search and view properties based on environmental noise.  A Soundscore is a combination of 3 factors:  airports, traffic, and local sources.  Listings that are scored will display the score and a map like the one above.

To test this I did a search for homes in The Point in Mooresville.  Above is the result for a property just off Brawley School Rd.  As you can see, this property is rated 82 which is “calm” but getting close to being “active” given its proximity to Brawley School Rd.  As the main road in and out of the Brawley School Rd. peninsula, you can see that Brawley School Rd itself is yellow which indicates “Active”.  The farther away from Brawley School Rd you get the “Calmer” you get.  Note that the darkest areas are the lake itself.

How cool is this?  Have some fun, give it a try and let me know what you think!

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Lake Norman’s 4th Quarter Market Report by Price Range: Great Tool for Buyers and Sellers!

If you are a home buyer or seller in the Lake Norman area it really only matters what is happening in YOUR price-range. Yes, it is important to know about the global economy, the national economy and the Charlotte area economy and real estate market but real estate is hyper-local so it is most meaningful to learn about the Lake Norman real estate market and within that, your specific niche. For instance, if you are looking to buy or sell in the $400,000 price range, you are going to have an entirely different experience than someone in the $500,000’s. This is the reason why I create a price-range analysis every quarter for my readers:

Lake Norman’s 4th Quarter 2015 Home Sales By Price Range

Lake Norman Home Sales by Price Range 4th Quarter 2015

*Compiled from the Carolina Multiple Listing Service’s data, this chart enables you to focus on your specific price range(s) rather than use the broad-brush approach thus allowing you to size up your competition and better position yourself.  Please note that these numbers are actually from the 15th of October to to the 15th of January so they will differ slightly from my monthly market reports. 

How to read this report:

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lake norman real estate, Lake Norman waterfront homes

Lake Norman’s Top 10 Most Expensive Home Sales in 2015

Lake Norman waterfront luxury estate at sunset

While Lake Norman is home to a wide variety of people and lifestyles, who doesn’t have fun looking at and learning about our luxury waterfront home sales?  Above and below are some of my favorite photos from the top 5 waterfront estates sold in 2015.

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Is there Fracking in our Lake Norman area?

Exposed North Carolina Triassic Rift Basins

Despite being a mandatory disclosure since January, Lake Norman home buyers and sellers still understandably have a lot of questions about mineral rights.  I wrote in detail about it back in July: What Lake Norman Buyers and Sellers About Mineral, Oil and Gas Rights.  However I recently learned about this great North Carolina “Fracking Map” or technically a map of the Exposed North Carolina Triassic Rift Basins which, according to raftusa.org indicates where hydraulic fracking could occur in North Carolina.  Finally, an official resource!  According to this map there are no Triassic Basins in our Lake Norman area at all so it becomes a moot point for us. Continue reading

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Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods; Which is Better for Homeowners?

What a great and creative analysis done by RealtyTrac!

Of course, it helps that I grew up with Trader Joe’s (Pasadena CA is where they began) and love Whole Foods so this study immediately got my attention.  But, my guess was that Whole Foods, being more expensive, would win over Trader Joe’s which is known for its great values in cool foods, wines and flowers.  After all, here in Lake Norman we just recently got a Whole Foods but the closest Trader Joe’s is down in the University area where there are more rental and lower priced properties.  Wrong!

In home appreciation, home values, and property taxes Trader Joe’s came out on top.  Hey Trader Joe’s, when are you coming to Lake Norman?

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How do Lake Norman home buyers learn how long a property has been on the market?

Lake Norman real estate icons

Our real estate industry loves using acronyms and lingo as if our clients completely understand us.  One area which is particularly confusing is the number of days a property has been on the market. For decades MLS’s only provided one number for us and that was the “days on market” or DOM as we call it. However, this number was recalculated every time a listing was taken off the market so the real “life of a listing” could be monkeyed with by the listing agents. In order to combat this problem and provide a true representation as to how long a property has been for sale, our Carolina Multiple Listing Services (Charlotte Regional REALTOR Association) now uses three different terms related to the time a property has been in the MLS : Days on Market, Cumulative Days on Market and List to Close.

Here is the definition of each of these terms: Continue reading

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lake norman real estate, The Real Estate Process, Home Buying and Selling Tips

What Lake Norman Buyers & Sellers Should Know About Mineral, Oil & Gas Rights

North Carolina's new Mineral Rights Disclosure image

 

Effective January 1st of this year, The State of North Carolina added a new disclosure form that must be signed by both parties of a residential property transaction as part of the initial purchase contract. The State of North Carolina Mineral and Oil and Gas Rights Mandatory Disclosure Statement   requires all sellers of  new or existing homes in North Carolina to disclose whether the mineral, oil and gas rights for the property are owned by someone other than the seller.

“The purpose of this new law is to protect the buyer. Property owners sometimes lease or sell the subsurface mineral rights on their property to a third party or company. This means that if sellers have “severed” their mineral rights, the third party or company could potentially have the perpetual right to drill, mine, explore and remove any of the subsurface mineral resources on or from the property. These mineral or materials could be extracted directly from the surface of the property or from a nearby location – even if the property is sold to a new owner.”

Okay, so why here and why now?  Continue reading

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lake norman real estate

Coming Soon? Pocket Listings? What Lake Norman Buyers and Sellers Need to Know!

 

Lake Norman home for sale sign with Coming Soon

 

When I first drove by and saw this sign on a new Lake Norman listing I was actually a bit surprised and decided it was time to write about listings like this one as well as what Realtors call “pocket listings” to give you all a heads up as to the whys and what’s related to these terms.

Okay so what is a pocket listing or a coming soon listing?  They are simply properties that are available for sale but are not yet listed in the MLS.  Here are my pros and cons: Continue reading

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lake norman real estate

Really Cool Real Life Examples of Home Value Trends in Lake Norman!

 

Lake Norman Waterfront Estate in The Point

The other day I noticed a newly listed waterfront property come up as “under contract” on the hot sheet after only 7 days. Impressive I thought to myself!  It is in a neighborhood I know well so I clicked on it and realized this property,  now listed at $950,000,  was the same property I has shown several times back in 2010 and 2011 that had finally closed at $740,000 on 5/03/11 after being on the market for almost a year.  Digging deeper I found that this waterfront property sold back in 2005 for $722,500.  So, is this 28% increase in value typical?  I sure don’t see this in the overall Lake Norman housing market reports I do.

Being the data geek that I am I decided to look at sales in the past few months, pick random properties, and look at their history to see more examples that might support the above property’s success.  Here are some of the more interesting ones I found.  I stuck with properties in Mooresville on the Lake Norman side of I-77 to be consistent and I looked at a variety of price ranges and both waterfront and off water.

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lake norman real estate

How to Get Your Lake Norman Home on Zillow (Despite CMLS)

QR Code for Lake Norman waterfront  for sale

I recently wrote a post about the fact that our Carolina Multiple Listing Service had not come to an agreement with Zillow/Trulia and as of April 7th they were no longer sending our new Lake Norman listings to Zillow. So, over a month later, where do we stand and what is the reality of this severing of ties?

I was actually able to test it with a new waterfront listing of mine.  As always, I submitted it first to the Carolina MLS.  Again, as always, I created my new listing’s own website using VFlyer. (The QR Code above sends you to the site).  Within a day, I did a Google search for the address, 124 Sawyer Lane, and sure enough Zillow was the first result on page 1! Continue reading

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lake norman real estate, Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

Just When You Thought Lake Norman Couldn’t Get Any More Active… Welcome Trilogy!

Trilogy Lake Norman by Shea Homes

Whether you call it a “Premier Resort Community” or an “Active Lifestyle Community”, Lake Norman is finally going to have an active adult community designed to meet the needs of those who want to live in our wonderful Lake Norman area but seek a truly carefree lifestyle! Continue reading

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lake norman real estate, Lake Norman Real Estate Market Reports

Lake Norman Real Estate’s Market Report April 2015

So, Lake Norman’s real estate market is still rocking!  We beat last April’s closed sales by 5% and just about matched last month’s stunning numbers. For the first time our April closed sales actually BEAT April 2007’s and logged in the best April since 2006. Our year-to-date 2015 closed single family home sales were 20.8% higher than 2014’s.  On top of these impressive numbers, take a look at what’s on the horizon. Our total number of properties currently under contract match the highest number since the recession which was May 6th of 2013. Lake Norman’s housing market got crazy busy (my technical term for it) right after the holidays and we are now seeing this translated into not just closed sales but high numbers of new contracts as well. Let’s take a closer look:

Lake Norman Market Report April 2015

Lake Norman Market Report April 2015

* All data is from the Carolina Multiple Listing Service.

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lake norman real estate

TRID is Coming August 1st Bringing HUGE Changes to our Lake Norman Home Buying Process!

Stealth Bomber

 

It has been called “the disclosure tsunami” but I fear it is more like a stealth bomber that the majority of Lake Norman Realtors and home buyers and sellers won’t see coming until it has already wreaked havoc on their lives. Despite the enormity of the new disclosure rules collectively known as TRID the result of combining the Truth in Lending/Good Faith Estimate and RESPA, in my opinion there is not nearly enough discussion, press coverage and public education going one right now given what is going to take place starting August 1. DELAYED to October 1st!!! Continue reading

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lake norman real estate

Why you might not find Lake Norman homes for sale on Zillow and Trulia

Lake Norman homes missing on Zillow and Trulia?

 

I work with a lot of buyers relocating to our wonderful Lake Norman area and without a doubt most of them use Zillow.com to search for homes.  But, some big acquisitions recently have created incredible drama and turmoil within the real estate industry and these are greatly impacting home buyers and sellers and they/you probably don’t even know it!

Okay, so here is the scoop:

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lake norman real estate

How to Search for a”Green” Home in Lake Norman

Green Homes in Lake NormanI’ll bet if I asked 50 people to define a “green” home I would be 50 different answers.  That is why I am particularly excited that our Charlotte Multiple Listing Service not just added a number of “Green” search and data fields for listings of single family homes including  Green Certifications, HERS Index ratings and a list  27 “Green Building Features” but also added definitions which helps both home buyers and Realtors better understand what is considered a “green” feature. While it will take time, more and more Realtors, builders and home sellers are going to take advantage of these fields making it easier for Lake Norman area home buyers to find them.  Here is the list directly from our CMLS. If you aren’t looking immediately, you might want to bookmark this list for the future! Continue reading

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lake norman real estate, Lake Norman Real Estate Market Reports

Lake Norman Real Estate’s February 2015 Hot Sheet Analysis

Lake Norman real estate Hot Sheet report

Want the very latest insight into our Lake Norman real estate market? So do I which is why, every month, I do a snapshot analysis of the middle two weeks of the month to get a sense of where we are at this very moment…an almost live insight into the heartbeat of the Lake Norman housing market.

Despite the weather, February closed sales so far indicate that Lake Norman’s housing market is plugging along at a pace slightly better than last year’s. We currently have 230 single family homes under contract (sellers have accepted an offer but the sale is not complete) in all of Lake Norman compared to last month’s 187, December’s 174, November’s  208, and October’s 262.  While February is historically one of our lowest month for closed sales, activity is good.  Here are our 2-week Hot Sheet numbers: Continue reading

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Just the facts about Lake Norman, lake norman real estate

Why are Lake Norman’s water levels so low in February?

Lake Norman waterfront shoreline in  February

Isn’t it reassuring to know that Duke Energy, who controls Lake Norman’s water levels, has a well designed plan which is monitored daily?  I took this photo today while showing waterfront properties because you can clearly see the different colors of the shoreline riprap which mark the high, medium and lowest lake levels.  The orangish layer closest to the water is under water most of the year. Looking at this, newcomers might think that the lake is abnormally low right now which is true.  However, if all goes as planned February should have the lowest water levels of the year according to Duke Energy.  In fact, today, at 95.7, we are actually a foot above our “target” of 94.5.  The winter draw down of water levels helps us prepare for the spring runoff from the melting snow in the mountains. Continue reading

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lake norman real estate

How to Relocate to Lake Norman NC

Welcome to Lake Norman North Carolina!

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: Continue reading

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lake norman real estate

Caution! What to be aware of when searching for Lake Norman homes Online

Lake Norman waterfront home on the main channel

Searching for Lake Norman homes for sale on the Internet just keeps getting easier and better. About one third of online real estate searches are done using one of the top three websites, Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com with Zillow far and away the most popular.  Thanks to their stiff competition for market share, home buyers and sellers now have almost as much data and information available to them as Realtors which is really awesome! (Despite what some real estate agents might say.)

The cautionary note that I want to underscore after observing many of my clients recently is that they tend to give too much credence to the online data, especially on Zillow.  The problem is, while Zillow has come a long way over the years, it’s Zestimates and raw data are still flawed. Yes,  Zestimates are substantially better than when they launched years ago, but they can be far enough off to frustrate a seller and shouldn’t weigh too heavily on a buyer’s idea of market value. Continue reading

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lake norman real estate

The Preserve at Robbins Park in Lake Norman…Not your ordinary new housing community!

Lake Norman new community Robbins Park

From home to neighborhood, The Preserve at Robbins Park is your oasis of timeless luxury surrounded by the quiet of forest in the midst of the most exciting and active part of Lake Norman.

 The Preserve at Robbins Park  was originally the brain child of Simonini Homes back in 2008/2009.  However, during the recession Simonini closed down and the community stalled with just a few home built.

In the Fall of 2010, Classica Homes took over Robbins Park  which is now a thriving community that still embraces the original concepts  including forward thinking architecture designed by Nationally  renowned Bassenian Lagoni Architects, Energy Star certification, and their balance of a commitment to the preservation of nature with the tranquility of a home.  You can expect open floor-plans, great use of space plus gorgeous finishes in every home. They just announced that Phase III will be open September 2014.

What a great opportunity to help design your own state-of-the-art home in a community where nature trails wander through a beautifully wooded preserve, centered around the serenity of Robbins Park pond. Meet your friends at Robbins Park’s Crescent where children spend hours at the playground and children of all ages enjoy recreation at the play fields. You’ll find tennis lovers happily using two lighted courts within walking distance of home. Still to come are more park lands and athletic fields. Imagine all this adjacent to your private neighborhood, plus the connection of a greenway trail for hours of biking and hiking.

They recently even hired Dearness Gardens in Huntersville to design and install a butterfly garden!

To find out the latest news, go on their Robbins Park Blog and/or go to their comprehensive website to view the different models available and details about each home design features as well as the wonderful options you have to make your home your own oasis!

Robins Park is a joint venture with the Town of Cornelius, Mecklenburg County and Westmoreland Lake LLC.  To see an overview of the entire development simply click on this link to the Town of Cornelius’s  Robins Park page.

Imagine living where you can enjoy a walk by the pond and then follow the natural walking path to the Paved McDowell Creek Greenway.  The Greenway’s secret is that this peaceful  path leads to the very popular Birkdale Village!

Learn More About Life in Lake Norman

10 Things Lake Norman Waterfront Home Buyers Should Know BEFORE buying

Lake Norman Relocation Resources

Relocating to Lake Norman

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lake norman real estate

Lake Norman’s annual home sales report tool for 2013. Search by area and even neighborhood!

Charlotte and Lake Norman Multiple Listing Map by areas for home sales data

 

One of my favorite tools offered by the company who provides the home search program for this website is their reports.  I just received the link to their 2013 annual report. If you click on the area, sub-area or neighborhood a drop down box or menu will allow you to search to your heart’s delight.  Lake Norman is area 13.

What is really valuable is that you can search by neighborhood.  For example, here is a link to our luxury community The Point in Mooresville.  A quick glance shows us that the number of homes sold in The Point since 2011 has actually declined however the average price of the homes sold increased in the past three years.

A closer look at the pie charts for The Point shows us that in 2011 homes price up to $1 million comprised the greatest percentage of sales, then they dipped in 2012 when homes OVER $1 million increased to an impressive 50%.  What is really fascinating, but not surprising given the sales analysis I have done this past year, is that sales of  homes priced over $1 million in The Point actually declined as a percentage of their total sales in 2013.

You can get this same data for any area or neighborhood in Lake Norman and the greater Charlotte area.  Have some fun with this great tool!

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lake norman real estate, Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

Lake Norman is a magnet for great new restaurants, shopping and entertainment!

Lake Norman's Hot Stone Grill Rest

Lake Norman seems to be getting great new shops, restaurants and recreational business on a weekly basis.  With the very exciting recent news that there will be a Lake Norman Whole Foods opening in 2014 I feel like my wish list from 2005 when we moved here is complete!

There are so many new restaurants, shops and other fun businesses that rather than write individual articles about each one I will just provide you with a list of the ones that have caught my eye in the past few months:

Mooresville: 

  • Local hangout Vinnie’s on the shores of Lake Norman closed but was purchased by Eddie Lubic who has already opened Eddie’s Seafood and Raw Bar which has an emphasis on “fresh”.  He spent a month cleaning up the former Vinnie’s so it now has a clean new looks and a great new menu including their raw bar and seafood starters to entrees like pan roasted salmon, snow crabs, Black Angus Rib, Italian specialties and even hot dogs and burgers. Located on Williamson Rd. 704.799.2090
  • Fine Italian dining has come to historic downtown Mooresville!  Trattoria Al Gustowhich just opened last week in the town’s original Catholic Church and former location of The Prickly Pear. is located at 761 N. Main.  Chef and owner Patricio Campoverde has extensive experience in the restaurant business and decided Mooresville needed a high caliber Italian Restaurant. Focus is on fresh and homemade with “the best quality food they (his customers) can buy.” One of his favorite dishes is the Tagliolini Neri, a black linguine with crab meat and shrimp in a spicy red tomato sauce.  Open for dinner from 5-10 pm Monday – Thursday and 5-11 pm on Friday and Saturday.  They are planning to add lunches and a Sunday brunch in the future. 704.660.1066 ( I have since been there 3 or 4 times and the food is excellent!!!)
  • On the more casual side, Jeff and Chris Steiner, owner of 6 Five Guys Burgers and Fries, JUST opened the Moe’s Southwest Grill last Thursday.  It is located right next to the Hobby Lobby in the Lowe’s Home Improvement shopping center on Hwy 150 at Exit 36.  This joins Mooresville’s newer Chipolte located in the Best Buy shopping center also on Hwy 150. Great, fresh Mexican fast food is here!
  • Craft beers have arrived big time to Lake Norman. The most recent is “Ultimate Ales” which is located in the Mooresville Town Square shopping center.  Currently the only retailer dedicated solely to the sale of craft beer in Mooresville, they will offer almost 300 kinds of local, regional and national craft beers plus selected imports according to owner Mark Moore.  They plan on having a bar with six taps and weekly tasting events.  FYI there is a local homebrew organization called Iredell Brewing Club!.
  • Under the category of recreation and considered an “ode to Italy”, The Mooresville Motorplex, an outdoor karting track, opened recently on a 30-acre campus at 130 Motorplex Drive in Mooresville adjacent to the athletic fields at Mazeppa Road Park.  Arrive and and drive your own cart or rent one of their Sodikart RT8 390cc karts. They hold such competitions as the MMX Carting Challenge, MMX League Racing and several national events including the US Rotax Max Challenge Grand Nationals.  Well, Mooresville IS Race City USA!
  • The Langtree Charter Academy, a tuition free public charter school serving k-12 students just opened for this fall adding yet another great educational option for Lake Norman students.
  • Can you say WOOF?  Mooresville has a new leash-free dog park located in historic Mooresville on Academy Rd.  The park is separated into two areas, one for smaller dogs and one for larger.
  • It was recently announced that the Langtree Hotel and Convention Center will soon be home to a Doubletree By Hilton Hotel & Conference Center. this 12-story, 227 room $90,000 million hotel is envisioned as the center piece of the Langtree development located at Exit 31.  Construction is expected to take about 2 years.

Davidson Continue reading

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lake norman real estate, Lake Norman Real Estate Market Reports

Which months are Lake Norman real estate’s strongest?

Lake Norman real estate photo of 130 lochfoot grape trellis view

One of the most common questions asked  by both home buyers and sellers is which months of the year are the strongest in our Lake Norman’s housing market?  When I read a recent article about a study by Trulia that placed North Carolina and South Carolina’s strongest months for home searches in July, I was a bit surprised so decided to see for myself if this is also true for Lake Norman.

Here is my chart with Lake Norman home sales by month since 2005.  Taking a closer look it is clear that our Lake Norman real estate market isn’t consistently the strongest in the same month every year.  Over all, Lake Norman’s real estate market picks up after the first of the year and generally slows down at the end of the year but beyond this generalization, there are some interesting inconsistencies:

Lake Norman Real Estate's Annual Sales Chart by Month May 2013

2005:

  • August was the best month followed by July, June, September and October

2006:

  • June was the best month followed by May, August, July and March

2007:

  • June was the best month followed by May, July, March and August

2008:

  • July was the best month followed by May, April, June and September

2009:

  • July was the best month followed by June, September, October and December

201o:

  • June was the best month followed by May, April, December and November/July (This was the year of the rebates hence the April/June numbers)

2011:

  • August was the best month followed by June, October, July and April

2012:

  • August was the best month followed by May, June, July and November

2013:

  • So far this year every month since January Lake Norman has had more home sales than the prior month

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lake norman real estate, Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

Fly to your home at our Lake Norman Airpark Community in Mooresville NC!

Lake Norman airpark -aerial-photo

 Almost hidden away on a lovely Lake Norman peninsula off Perth Road in Mooresville is a truly remarkable neighborhood:  Lake Norman Airpark.  Imagine that instead of the usual garage you actually have a hanger for your plane(s) right next to your home and that you can taxi to and from the community runway at your convenience!

airpark-home

The Lake Norman Airpark is a community of about 56 homes surrounding the runway all of which are a member of the Lake Norman Air Park Owners Association which is a non-profit organization that owns and maintains the runway and approximately 40 acres of common area which includes the associated residential taxiways. Many of the homes have views of Lake Norman as well! Continue reading

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lake norman real estate

What are Lake Norman’s current real estate market’s challenges for buyers and sellers?

Lake Norman after recent rain

Our Lake Norman housing market is doing very well right now, but that doesn’t mean that buying or selling a home is easy.  All real estate markets are constantly facing new challenges unique to myriad influences in any particular month, season or year.  Today’s typical stress-producing hurdles can be minimized if you have a good understanding of what they are and how best to prepare for them:

Mortgage/Loan process

As a direct result of the lax lending practices that led to the end of the housing bubble throughout the country, the home loan process can now be overly burdensome and frustrating.

  • Down Payments ideally should be 20% of the purchase price although there are still options, ie 10% down and 10% second loans.  Potential Lake Norman home-buyers should expect to have 20% down and should meet with a lender before you even begin to search for a home.
  • The paperwork required to get a loan can seem staggering and sometimes offensive to even extremely qualified buyers.  Be prepared to provide extensive personal  financial documentation.  This is truly of EVERY loan.
  • Underwriters can be downright irrational.  I think they are so because in part they are afraid to approve a loan that might ultimately fail.

In order to minimize the stress in the loan process, I recommend only very qualified, experienced lenders to my Lake Norman area home-buyers.  Which lender you use can make or break your ability to get a loan. (Don’t choose based on the lowest interest rate alone).  It is critical to be proactive as well.  From the first week, get a commitment from the lender as to when they will order the appraisal, what documentation they will need from you and when it will be submitted to the underwriter.  After “conditional approval”, expect for the underwriter to ask for additional paperwork right up until several days before closing.  Also make sure that your lender is in constant communication with your closing attorney so that they get the Title information etc. in a timely fashion.  I try to anticipate any potential hurdles and keep in contact with the lender to make sure everything is being processed in a timely manner.  If you are selling your home and the sale is contingent upon the buyer’s home closing, you also need to ask your Realtor to get updates on their buyer’s buyer’s loan.  I just closed on a sale with buyers who had no problems with their loan but whose buyer of their home in another state had a terrible lender who almost ruined our contract due to their incompetence.

Appraisals

One of the critical changes to our real estate process is due to the Dodd-Frank law which essentially prohibits lenders from having any direct communication with appraisers.  Lenders now use a third-party company to order appraisals. While I appreciate the reasoning behind this bill, the result has led to a number of challenges.  The most common problems are appraisals being ordered too late, appraisers who are sent out who are not knowledgeable about Lake Norman, especially waterfront home sales, appraisers who take way too long to submit their appraisals which leads to delays in closing, and appraisals that are just poorly done.  While, by law, lenders can’t contact the appraiser directly, Realtors can if we have questions or concerns.  We can’t intimidate but we can provide additional property information.  I have not actually had an appraisal come in below the contract sales price but I have experienced several fairly incompetent appraisers and an appraisal that took 2 weeks to be submitted despite a “rush” order.  So, make sure that your Realtor keeps on top of the appraisal!

Multiple Offers

As a Realtor in California during the 2000-2005 bubble years when we got up to 60 offers on a listing, we worked hard to fine-tune the multiple offer process.  If representing the buyer in a multiple offer situation, a cover letter can make the difference between you getting the home or not.  The cover letter is my way of “selling” my buyers to the seller by emphasizing their strong financial qualifications, sharing what they love about the property and anything that might strengthen their position. (One time my seller chose a buyer because they shared a mutual love of dogs!).  A good listing agent will counsel their sellers to take the offer that is most likely to close, not necessarily the highest price.  All cash in this market should trump a loan.  A short Due Diligence period is also a plus.  Pre-approval letter is a must.  And, believe it or not, the Realtor representing the buyer can make a huge difference.  I would much rather work with a Realtor I know, trust and respect and I can usually get a pretty good sense of the competence of a Realtor by how they present the offer.

Unrealistic Expectations Continue reading

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