I recently read an article by Bernice Ross in Inman News entitled: Avoiding a relocation nightmare. It brought a smile to my face because I could tell that she, like me, was also used to housing issues common in California and seemed truly alarmed by all of the unexpected things she encountered while building a new home in what I’m guessing was the Southeastern part of the country.
It’s amazing to me how truly different the home-buying experience is throughout our country. When my husband and I moved to Mooresville our Realtor didn’t even begin to educate us on all of the differences and things we needed to consider; probably because he was a native of Lake Norman and didn’t have a clue what we didn’t know.
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 paned window seals break. Below is a list of things to consider and learn about before or during the house-hunting process.
Does your new community have issues with floods, fires, mold, water shortages or even hurricanes? (No earthquakes that I know of here.)
- Here in Lake Norman and the greater part of the Southeast we are experiencing an extreme drought. While this is not common, it is certainly not something my husband and I even thought was possible! Those who have city services are under water restrictions however those of us with private wells need to watch the underground water tables (see my article on the Lake Norman drought).
- Because of our topography and red clay soil, many lots have low areas that are prone to flooding so it is important to learn as much as possible about the lot you are buying
- Mold comes with living in a humid climate. The homes here are built specifically to address moisture issues. From moisture barriers in crawl spaces to building materials like Tyvek, to different types of siding, there are many ways to protect your home from potential moisture problems. It is important to know what products your builder uses or used or didn’t use.
- Here in Lake Norman we rarely are affected by hurricane although Hugo in 1989 did topple some trees and cut power to many homes
Do you have city services including sewer, natural gas and water or does the property have a septic system, private well water, propane and private trash pick up?
- As a general rule, if you live in the town limits of any town around Lake Norman you will have sewers, natural gas, trash pick-up and city water. However, many of the areas on the lake itself are in the counties not the town limits so, like my home, have private wells, septic systems, underground propane gas and private trash pick-up. I have absolutely no complaints about this but it is important that you educate yourself about the differences and decide which better suits your needs.
What are the average insurance and property tax rates?
- Property taxes vary by county and also if you are in the town limits or county. Compared to states like Florida, New Jersey and New York our taxes are extremely low. The 2007-2008 tax rates range from a high in Charlotte of $1.2973 per $1000 to a low of .4650 in Iredell County outside the town limits of Mooresville, Statesvillle and Troutman which just happens to include the Brawley School peninsula where I live!
- We have found our own insurance rates to be about half of what they were in California
In Part 2 of this series “What you should consider before buying” when relocating to the greater Lake Norman Area, I will start to talk about the types of sidings, and other issues that may or may not come up during physical inspections. Since the North Carolina does not require the seller to disclose problems related to the structure of the homes, it is very important to know what to look for and where to go for the best information regarding these issues.