The ultimate dream of many people around the country and even beyond is to own a waterfront home on Lake Norman. Whether a luxury estate or a small vacation cabin, waterfront homeowners all share our gorgeous lake and the special lifestyles that blend together to make Lake Norman so popular for such a wide variety of people.
Buying a waterfront home on Lake Norman isn’t a complicated process but it is extremely important that you start the process with a good understanding of the following and, if possible, at least read Duke Energy’s Shoreline Management Guidelines, the 130-page document I have linked at the bottom of this article.
Here are my thoughts:
1. Private docks: is there one?
Private docks are highly regulated and must be permitted by Duke Energy. Over the years the process has become much more restrictive so you will find that most homes that can have docks will have them in place and even most waterfront lots will already have permitted docks. Without a private, permitted dock, the value of a waterfront property is significantly lower than the same property with a dock. That said, it you want to enjoy living on Lake Norman but your budget doesn’t allow for a waterfront home with a dock, look for the lower priced homes on the water without docks. Most likely you can launch a kayak or canoe from your shoreline and still enjoy being on the lake! To get a permit today, a waterfront lot must have a minimum 100′ of shoreline and meet other stipulations to gain approval from Duke Energy. If you must get a permit, do so BEFORE closing! And, for existing docks, be sure to have the permit changed into your name!
2. Look for Permit Plate:
If you are looking at waterfront homes with a dock, you should check to make sure there is a permit affixed to the end of the dock like this one:
3. Measure depth of water and understand possible variations of lake levels
I always bring my tape measure when showing waterfront properties so that we can measure the depth of the water where your boat would be to make sure it has deep enough water for your type of boat etc. I check that morning to find out the current water level of Lake Norman so we can calculate the lowest and highest water depths of your pier/dock/boatslip. The water levels of Lake Norman are controlled by Duke Energy and vary from full pond, 100′ (760′ above sea level) down to about 94′. They use the dam at the south end of the lake to help regulate the water levels.
4. 50′ Setback
The most recent regulations established in 2006 establish a 50′ setback from the 760 line. Within this 50′ setback from the lake to your home there are strict regulations outlined in detail in the Shoreline Management Guidelines. They are meant to protect the 50′ closest to the lake by prohibiting removal of trees and native vegetation, planting of lawns, and size of footpaths. Older properties may violate these rules but they are “grandfathered in”.