lake norman real estate

What is the best way to search for Lake Norman real estate on the Internet?

UPDATE 2014:

How times have changed since I wrote this in 2007.  Now, of course, Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com are the three top websites used for home searches in Lake Norman and throught the US.

Here is the original article as written on July 11, 2007:

Most potential buyers start their search on www.realtor.com:

But, if you are like I was when I was looking for our new home in Mooresville/Lake Norman, you will soon gravitate to a more local website, preferably one run by the local Multiple Listings Service (MLS), as the data is more current and they offer more detailed search parameters so that you can fine-tune your search. Our greater Charlotte MLS which encompasses the Lake Norman area has a public website: www.carolinahome.com.

Or, you can go to a local company website like mine: Lake Norman Real Estate  and you will get the identical Charlotte MLS data.

All of these are perfectly fine, but there is a better way, at least here in the Lake Norman and greater Charlotte area. We Realtors have access to the same MLS as you will find on the above websites, however, we have many more options for narrowing our searches. And, we have an automated program provided by our MLS that allows us to set a potential buyer up to receive daily updates of new or changed listings by email. You will essentially know about a new listing as quickly as a real estate agent! And, you will also be notified if a listing in your database has been taken off the active list when it has an accepted offer or been withdrawn. We can set you up with as many different searches as you would like. I have some clients who want waterfront or a boatslip or a certain school district, or a specific subdivision or even are considering buying a lot so I may have them set up to receive 4 or 5 different searches.

There are myriad other real estate related websites that are great fun to visit, like www.zillow.com but if you truly want to know the best way to find a house, go directly to the MLS source. If you are looking in the greater Charlotte and Lake Norman area email me your serach criteria; price, location and and many details as you would like and I will set you up with our automatic notifcation program!

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Lake Norman News, Events and Celebrations

Why does it take a week to celebrate the 4th of July at Lake Norman?

Lake Norman's Colorful Fireworks over the Lake

We like to party, we Lake Norman and Mooresville folks. I guess that’s why our celebrations for the 4th of July expand an entire week! When you combine beautiful summer weather, a huge lake full of boats of all kinds, fireworks, picnics and a patriotic celebration like the 4th of July I think we do have the “Perfect Storm” for partying; especially here in the patriotic state of North Carolina.

You don’t need much of an excuse for a boat party on the lake. Once summer hits, weekends on the lake are not for the weak-hearted as our peaceful lake is transformed into an almost frenzied level of activity. One of the local favorites is called “rafting up”. Rafting up is: “the anchoring, mooring, tying, fastening, linking or joining any combination of six or more vessels together in proximity to one another” according to the Lake Norman Marine Commission. Essentially, they are parties with groups of boaters who hop from boat to boat to see friends, “groove to music” and drink beer. “It’s a floating block party on water”. According to those in the know, The Sandbar, near Marker D4, has long been THE place to raft up on Lake Norman. Hundreds of boaters tie-up on a given weekend. As a matter of fact, Lake Norman held the record of 1,453 boats set in 2004 until the event was discontinued due to safety concerns.

My celebration starts on solid ground on Saturday when I will be riding on the Exchange Club float handing out flags at the Iredell County Independence Day Parade. If you live in a big city and have never experienced the warmth and sense of community of a small town, then you can’t miss this parade! My fellow parade participants will include veterans, high school marching bands, scout troops, military units, re-enactments (they wear the authentic full-sleeved wool outfits despite the heat!), civic groups, local politicians and last year we even had a group of skateboarders. “The parade is all about celebrating our nations birthday…honoring our veterans, both past and present.” The parade start at 11:00 in the town of Troutman just north of Mooresville.

Also on Saturday evening is the Lake Norman Yacht Club’s annual fireworks display. (But, it’s supposed to rain)

The next big thing is my next celebration as well. On Tuesday, July 3rd starting at 6:00p.m. the Mooresille YMCA will be holding its Summer Celebration which will include a concert by the Lake Norman Orchestra, a flag dedication, fireworks!

On Wednesday, the 4th, there will myriad events:

  • Huntersville’s July 4th Celebration includes a fireman’s face-off, water challenge, parade, children’s activities, pet contests, kite decorating station and music. (10-1p.m.) www.huntersville.org
  • Davidson’s July 4th Celebration includes their annual parade followed by children’s events, live entertainment and fireworks. (Starting at 6p.m.) www.ci.davidson.nc.us
  • Firecracker 5K and Kid’s fun run: Huntersville at 8:00a.m. www.hffa.com
  • Catawba Queen 4th of July Celebration: “Come rock the boat with KISS 95.1. The event will also have snacks a cash bar and fireworks 8-11p.m.” The Catawba Queen is a large, two-decker sightseeing boat on Lake Norman; plenty big to handle the rough water on a busy holiday on the lake.
  • Finally, on July 7th, the Denver Area Business Association and Local Merchants will hold their annual community fireworks show at East Lincoln High School at 6:00p.m.

If you live around Lake Norman, you can also just sit back on your porch and almost be guaranteed of seeing some sort of fireworks on any given evening throughout the week. Have a safe and happy 4th of July!

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The Real Estate Process, Home Buying and Selling Tips

What you need to know about buying real estate in North Carolina

When my husband and I moved to Lake Norman I think our REALTOR assumed we knew everything we needed to know about the process because I had been in real estate for so long in California. It wasn’t until I started taking my North Carolina real estate licensing courses that I realized just how different the sales process is here and how much I DIDN’T know! These are the key elements of North Carolina real estate law, NC Real Estate Commission rules and regulations and common practices here in the Lake Norman area that may be different than other states:

  • Buyer’s Agency: Until the buyer has given oral or written authority to their agent to represent them as a buyer, the agent legally acts as a sub-agent of the seller. This is critical because it means that the if the buyer(s) share private information with any real estate agent before they discuss agency choices, the agent will have the duty to share the buyers’ information with the seller. Buyers should not share personal information with any real estate agent (including at open houses) until they have all agreed he/she will be their buyer’s agent because information shared by the buyer with the agent WILL NOT BE CONFIDENTIAL until a buyer agency relationship has been established. Buyers should receive a brochure entitled WORKING WITH REAL ESTATE AGENTS at first “significant contact” with their agent. If you don’t receive one…ask for one! At the time of writing up an offer, buyers will have to fill out and sign the EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO REPRESENT BUYER Buyer Agency Agreement.

 

  • Caveat Emptor: Let the Buyer Beware! This is HUGE coming from a state like California where the sellers responsibility to disclose anything and everything about their property is pounded into their heads during the listing process. In essence, in a buyer beware state like North Carolina, the responsibility to inspect and investigate a property falls directly on the shoulders of the buyers. So buyers: be vigilent!  The seller can elect “No representation” on the sellers disclosure form so essentially they don’t have to tell the buyers anything about the property. However, the listing agent must disclose any material facts that they know or should have known that might affect the value of the property and they usually provide HOA information and that sort of thing. The 4-page STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY DISCLOSURE STATEMENT should be provided to the buyer before or during the purchase contract negotiation process.

 

  • What to look for during a physical inspection: Moisture is the number one issue here. Crawlspaces should have “moisture barriers” and readings will be taken to determine if there is too much moisture. Radon is a pretty common test although I have only had a couple of properties test over the allowable 4.0 pico curies per liter of air. This is most common in homes with walk-out basements. Pest Inspections are required. If you are buying outside a city limit, you will have your own well, septic tank and propane tank for gas. Many buyers elect to test some or all of these. Synthetic Stucco is a bit of an issue as is poly-butelene plumbing but these are workable in most cases. A good inspector who provides a comprehensive report with photographs is extremely important!

 

  • Time is NOT of the essence: This is another biggie (is there such a word?). The residential OFFER TO PURCHASE AND CONTRACT does not have the legal term “Time is of the Essence” attached to the closing date and most of the deadlines with the exception of the Due Diligience Period. What this means is that closing dates can be delayed a reasonable amount of time if the party delaying the closing is showing good faith efforts to close.  “Reasonable” is the term thrown around but honestly no agent or even attorney seems to be able to give a concrete definition of “reasonable” although 2 weeks seem to be a number that comes up more than most. This doesn’t mean that contracts don’t close on time because they usually do but it does mean that there is a possibility that there could be “reasonable” delays. If you plan concurrent closings just make sure everyone is on the same page, especially the attorney.

 

  • Role of Attorneys before and at closings: Unlike some states where escrow companies or title companies handle the closing paperwork, in North Carolina real estate attorneys handle the title searches and all of the closing paperwork including handling all funds and loan payoffs. Buyers wire their funds to the closing attorney by the day of the closing. We have a formal closing meeting on the day of closing where the buyers, sellers and their agents sit around a table with the closing attorney and approve and sign the HUD statements, deeds etc. Then the sellers leave and the buyers sign their loan documents with the attorney. After all the paperwork is finished and the lender has funded the loan the attorney will take the appropriate paperwork to the county recorder to have the formal recording of the deed. This usually happens the same day. Sellers usually get their funds within 24 hours depending on time of day of the closing meeting and how busy the attorney is. By the way, in North Carolina the BUYER chooses the closing attorney and pays the attorney’s fees as well as for title insurance, the title search etc. and fees to vary by attorney.

 

  • Good Faith/Earnest Money: While it can vary, the buyer will commonly put down about 1% of the purchase price as their earnest money at the time the purchase agreement is signed here in the Lake Norman area.

 

  • Due Diligence Fee:  This is a NON-refundable fee that is paid directly from the buyer to the seller as soon as the offer has been fully signed/executed by all parties.  The amount/fee is optional and is negotiated during the offer process between the buyer and seller.

 

  • Due Diligence Period:  This is the time period during which the buyer will investigate the property, do inspections and get their loan approved.  This time period is negotiated on the Offer to Purchase and Contract  form and this time period is Time Being Of the Essence. During this time period the buyer can walk away for any or no reason at all and the seller must return the earnest money deposit.  However, after 5:00pm on the deadline of this time period if the buyer hasn’t canceled the contract in writing then the seller may keep the earnest money if for any reason the buyer can not close the purchase.  Please ask for a copy of the Offer to Purchase and Contract to learn more before entering a purchase agreement!

 

  • Modification of language and all amendments must be approved by attorney: As licensed brokers/agents in the state of North Carolina, we are taught that we can only “fill in the blanks” of all of the forms provided to us by the North Carolina Bar Association and the North Carolina Association of REALTORS. There are no blank lines in the contracts for us to use to add verbiage and there is no addendum with blank lines for us to use. On occasion we may draw up an addendum but we must get it approved by an attorney.

 

  • Counter Offers: We have no counter offer forms, which is probably my biggest complaint. If a seller wants to modify the terms of the original offer, they either cross out the terms to be changed and write in their own and initial, or, the agents verbally communicate the counter offers until there is agreement and then a new contract is written up incorporating all of the agreed upon changes. During this time the original contract is void. My greatest concern is that any time before the seller and buyer sign the final contract, if the seller gets another offer they are not bound to sign the one already negotiated so there is a window of time when we are working in good faith. In the meantime, I keep lobbying for a counter offer form!

The above is only meant to be a general summary and an overview of how the sales process is customarily handled here. I am by no means an attorney so while I will try to address any questions or comments, if you have legal questions I can also provide you with the names of several very good real estate attorneys.

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lake norman real estate

Is Lake Norman’s The Point a Victim of Brawley School Traffic?

The Point Luxury Community in Lake Norman

I live down Brawley School Road in one of the most beautiful areas I have ever seen. Yet, if I tell this to a local, I will get a knowing, sympathetic nod as if to say, ‘”you poor thing, I am so sorry”. And, if they too live down Brawley School Rd, we will immediately share war stories about the longest time it has taken us to get to the I-77 and what we each think of the latest efforts for a building moratorium. Now, I only live about a third of the way down what we all refer to as the “longest cul-de-sac in the world” so it doesn’t take me more than 20 minutes to travel my 2.7 miles to Williamson Rd. during rush hour. Those who live at the very end of our 8-mile peninsula have much better horror stories. I know one high school student who leaves at 6:30a.m. to get to school by 8:30a.m. which is about 14 miles away.

For those of you who don’t live here, the problem is that Brawley School Road is the ONLY road in and out of the entire peninsula and until it is widened in 2008-2011 it will remain one lane each way.  For me, coming from Los Angeles, this isn’t that much of a problem; I’m used to much worse, I don’t commute during rush hour, and when I am home the quiet, peaceful and natural beauty far outweigh the traffic problems. (Now I understand why the residents of Malibu CA put up with their awful commutes!)

But, this got me wondering about the real estate sales at The Point, our premier luxury community located, as you might have guessed by the name, at the very end/point of Brawley School Peninsula.  I knew the sales at The Point had been slow but I didn’t know how slow until I did this quick analysis from the MLS 4/15/07 to 6/14/07:

Price Range
# Sold
%
# Active
%
DOM
$ 100,000
to
$ 799,999
3
20.00%
12
13.64%
430
$ 800,000
to
$ 899,999
3
20.00%
12
13.64%
193
$ 900,000
to
$ 999,999
1
6.67%
15
17.05%
206
$1,000,000
to
$ 1,249,999
2
13.33%
13
14.77%
161
$1,250,000
to
$ 1,499,999
0
0.00%
8
9.09%
0
$1,500,000
to
$ 1,749,999
1
6.67%
8
9.09%
53
$1,750,000
to
$ 1,999,999
3
20.00%
9
10.23%
112
$2,000,000
to
$ 2,999,999
2
13.33%
9
10.23%
103
$3,000,000
to
$ 3,999,999
0
0.00%
1
1.14%
$4,000,000
to
$10,000,000
0
0.00%
1
1.14%
15
100.00%
88
100.00%
199

Because of the hgher price ranges, it is not terribly worrisome that the average days on market is 199 or 6.6 months VS the average at the lake of 108 days, especially when some of the homes are purchased before construction is complete. What is alarming is the fact that if they continue to sell 15 properties every two months , they have a whopping 11.7 months supply of homes for sale! The rest of the Lake Norman Area has about a 6-8 months of supply on hand which reflects a pretty balanced market. Now, there are other factors that contribute to this over-supply at The Point, not the least of which is they are still building new homes so some of the inventory is new and some is resale. Particular “Villages” are not selling as well as others. But I can’t help but think that the traffic issues play a role as well. I have had buyers, not many, but a few, who have told me they will not live down Brawley School.

My recommendation? Those who have to commute to Charlotte would be wise to explore a more commuter-friendly area around the lake until the widening is completed. But, if you don’t, then I wouldn’t rule it out. Try the traffic at different times and see if it bothers YOU. I wouldn’t live anywhere else!

 

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

Agent Bonuses and Incentives: Buyers Beware!

Lake Norman real estate tipsThe other day I heard something terribly unsettling. An agent was explaining to another agent why they should choose a certain home warranty company because the company “gives back” more money than the others. First of all, any kind of “kickbacks” from any service providers is simply illegal. Secondly, the fact that an agent would choose a service for their clients based upon their own interests is a violation of our code of ethics. This small incident led me to think again about agent bonuses and/or incentives; why I think they are all inherently wrong and the challenges I have faced while trying to give back my bonuses to my buyers.

I recently sold two new-construction homes to buyers. In both cases there were substantial bonuses for me as the buyers’ agent. In the first sale I simply told the builder to put my bonus towards the sales price. The purchase price was reduced by $5,000. That was easy. In the second case, I wanted to give the $5,000 cash back to my buyers at closing so that they would have some cash to build a fence right away for their small children and dog. The builder and the closing attorney fought me every step of the way claiming this was illegal, loan fraud and that they would only credit the purchase price. I called the North Carolina Real Estate Commission whose attorney told me as long as the $5,000 was on the HUD statement and the lender agrees to it that it was definitely acceptable to gift a bonus to the buyer. The key is it MUST be on the HUD statement and the lender must agree to it. If the lender doesn’t agree to an outright gift then there are other options like paying closing costs or buying down an interest rate.

What shocked me was not only how difficult it was to give back my bonus, but the fact that clearly no other agent had tried to do this as the sellers (a very large builder in Charlotte) and a very active closing attorney didn’t even know how to handle it. It felt so wrong to me to take that bonus money, yet I guess it is rather common for agents here to do so. (By the way, these bonuses must be disclosed to the clients.)

As I see it, the bottom line is that I, as a REALTOR, have a “fiduciary responsibility” to my clients which means I am to represent them and ALL of their interests as if I were them…guiding them through their real estate transaction with the mission of representing their interests, and their interests only. Any agent who would determine what properties to show their buyers based upon the commission offered or a bonus their might receive is violating their responsibility to their buyers. If this is true, then any “incentive” is just that, something that is trying to convince a buyer’s agent to show that property. Since it is our job to show every property that the buyer wants to see or that meets their wants and needs, then why in the world would an incentive be appropriate since it should never be a consideration?

I have heard countless agents celebrating the fact that they received a bonus so they are certainly an accepted incentive for sellers to offer. To be honest, I have had some of my seller’s offer bonuses as incentives.  But, I will never accept one!  FYI, bonuses must be disclosed to all parties in the transaction.

As always I welcome your comments!

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Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

Historic Main Street and Face Jugs…learning about the heart of Mooresville

Lake Norman's Historic Downtown Mooresville

On our very first day in Mooresville, my husband and I decided to explore “Downtown” Mooresville; a quaint Main Street with a mixture of historic buildings containing old businesses like Turner’s Hardware and upscale shops like The Garden Party.

We happened upon an art gallery with a window full of beautiful watercolors of scenic country roads, sail boats on Lake Norman and lighthouses. Inside we found more paintings and some fascinating locally-made pottery “face jugs”. It was a lively atmosphere, with the cutest tiny white dog pretty much running the place while the owners chatted with old friends and tourists alike. I was actually quite impressed that we met the artist “Cotton” Ketchie and his wife Vickie, not having any idea what an impact they would have on my new life in Mooresville!

Renowned artist and photographer Cotton Ketchie

Kind of like the Kevin Bacon game, almost everything I do outside of real estate in some way can be linked to my friendship with Vickie and Cotton. From The Mooresville/Lake Norman Exchange Club, The Mooresville Museum, SCAN (Stop Child Abuse Now), Stocks for Tots, The Cotton Ketchie Art Festival to collecting face jugs at pottery kiln sales in Catawba County, what an incredible journey in such a relatively short period of time! I am so grateful that I have been able to learn about and be involved in what I would call the heart of Mooresville and to have such special friends like Cotton and Vickie who have taught me not just about life in Mooresville, both past and present, but about the meaning of true Southern hospitality. It is now one of my goals to pass along all I have learned to newcomers.

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lake norman real estate

What’s the human side of a down real estate market?

Special Lake Norman Clients and Friends

Last August 2006, I was holding an open house when in walked two vivacious women; best friends, one from Texas and one from Massachusetts. They had just moved their families to Mooresville/Lake Norman which they decided was the ultimate place for their families because of the quality of life, the great schools, the reasonable real estate market, the great golf and,of course, the lake. We clicked immediately; talking about their moves, the area and what they were each looking for in a home. Their families were both renting month-to-month until they found their perfect homes. The friend from Texas had just sold her home but for less then they had hoped. The friend from Massachusetts had not sold her home but was optimistic that it would sell quickly because it was a lovely home in a great neighborhood.

Last month, May 2007, the family from Texas, now special friends, moved in to a wonderful home overlooking the lake. . I am so thrilled that we found the right home for them after making a few unsuccessful offers on properties that just weren’t quite right. I think we all knew it the moment we walked in the door that we had finally found it. And you know what? The house and property is EXACTLY what they described the first day we met!

Yesterday, the friend from Massachusetts signed a two-year lease on a lovely home. It has been a very tough road for them and I can’t tell you how much I admire their gracious acceptance of their circumstances. After we first met we looked at homes for sale but as the months wore on we stopped looking for purchases and began talking about leases. Their home in Massachusetts had been reduced several times but throughout the winter got almost no showings. In the meantime, they were paying a mortgage plus their rent here and watching their equity shrink. Their house now finally under contract, they feel they will be lucky and even happy to break even at closing. Their equity is gone as well as much of their savings yet they are so relieved to finally have only one house payment a month. They hope to be able to buy again in several years.

I have experienced a down market before in California in the early 1990’s when many clients were what we called “upside-down”…their home was worth less than they paid for it. We did short sales and watched our clients lose hundreds of thousands of dollars when they sold. It was very tough then and it hasn’t gotten any easier 16 years later.

Clearly, the slow housing markets throughout the country are now impacting our greater Charlotte/ Lake Norman area real estate market which had been growing despite the slowdown for quite a while. Many of our buyers are relocating here from states where they have taken a loss. Not only are these buyers now able to pay less but, having been burned, they are much more hesitant to make anything close to a full-price offer. The impact on our current market is not just financial, it is clearly psychological as well, and not just on the buyers side. The biggest challenge we have with listings is trying to convince our sellers to price their properties realistically and to not be offended with low offers. It will be very interesting to watch our market evolve and I will continue to share my experiences.

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Agent Bonuses and Incentives: Buyers Beware!

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Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

Lake Norman growth and development; what’s in the pipeline? Part 2

Okay, so you REALLY know you live in a fast growing community when it take TWO blogs to get everyone up to speed with developments in the pipeline surrounding Lake Norman. In this half I will be covering the communities of Davidson, Cornelius, Huntersville (Mecklenburg County), Denver (Lincoln County) and Sherrills Ford/Terrell in Catawba County. For Iredell County see Part 1. In the future I will provide updates in individual blogs so keep checking in!

DAVIDSON:

  • Harbor Place is a 450,000-square-foot mixed-use development. Located on a 50-acre site, it will include a three-story office building on Griffith Street and the I-77, four other office buildings, a 120-room Hilton Homewood Suites hotel and a residential component with 15 Townhomes and 29 brownstones. The development will offer views of Lake Davidson.
  • The Village at South Main is a small townhome community located in Davidson’s art district. Nestled among trees, these 38 craftsman-style homes will be within walking distance of shopping, schools and historic Main St. for more information about all developments in Davidson go to: www.ci.davidson.nc.us and click on planning.

CORNELIUS

  • The Preserve at Robbins Park is quite the talk of the town in Cornelius. “This public/private development on 200 acres between Westmoreland Rd., West Catawba Avenue and Birkdale Village includes a park, a nature preserve, a greenway, an athletic complex and a subdivision filled with143 upscale homes”. The park will likely include ballfields, soccerfields, tennis courts, bicycle trails, and a community garden and will be open to the public
  • The Village Center/Bailey’s Glen is proposed to be a 487-unit active adult 55+ community with 391 single-family residential units and 96 condominiums located on Jetton Rd. Included in the proposal are a 23,000 square-foot club house and pool, as second smaller club house and pool and a craft barn and greenhouse. Additional amenities proposed include a putting green, amphitheater, bocce court, greenway and several park ares.

HUNTERSVILLE

  • Started 9 years ago, Vermillion of Huntersville is “feathering out” from its high density core and adding larger homes as part of a new, larger vision. There is an overall 400 acres in the entire development. Now some of the nearly 250 single-family homes planned or under construction in the next two phases will exceed 4000 square feet and sell in the high $400,000s. Vermillion’s developers have also secured about 20 acres for a retail services project between the housing and a planned commuter rail stop in the core.
  • Work has begun on the 42-acre Canipe Park on Beatties Ford Road. The park, located just north of Bradley Middle School, will have six full-sized fields for soccer, football and lacrosse, restrooms, playground, walking trail, muli-purpose open-play area and parking.

DENVER/LINCOLN COUNTY

RETAILERS FLOWING IN TO ‘HOT’ INTERSECTION was the headline of an article in the Charlotte Observer recently. The “hot” intersection is the N.C.16 at the N.C. 73 in Lincoln County. With the completion of the widening and straightening of N.C.16 on the west side of Lake Norman, the commute to Charlotte has greatly improved. As a result, the entire west side of the lake has sprung into action with proposed growth and development. Once new housing was underway, it became obvious that there was a great need for closer shopping. At the intersection of the 16/73 there is a WalMart Super Center on one side and the Catawba Springs Promenade just across the street in the pipeline.

  • Catawba Springs Promenade offers an approximately 265,000 square-foot Lowe’s Home Improvement Center, a 30,000 square-foot “junior anchor” and about 40,000 square-feet of small shpes. There are also commitments on at least four of the seven surrounding retail and restaurant parcels on the 40-acre site. Also announced recently is a planned development of 3,000 homes one mile west of Catawba Springs Promenade

For more information about developments in the Denver/Lincoln County area: www.lincolncounty.org; www.denvernc.com

Sherrills Ford and Terrell

“The west shore of the lake is popping” according to a recent blurb in the Red Dirt Alert of the Charlotte Observer and she isn’t embellishing! Here are the most high profile developments in the works:

Catawba County Commisioners have approved two large developments after four years of planning and negotiation:.

  • MAG Land plans to build up to 1500 homes ina 700-acre subdivison called Key Harbor, off Island Point, Raccon Track and Azalea Roads. These will be built out over a 10-20 year period and will ultimately include clubhouses, a soccer field, swimming pools, tennis courts, walking trails and 150 acres of open space.
  • Developers with Crescent Resources plan up to 577,000 square feet of retail, office space and up to 350 homes in the “Village Center” at Slanting Bridge Road and N.C. 150. Within this plan it is expected that there will be a grocery store, a big box store, traffic improvements and a new school. It is thought that this “village” will bring more services and amenities to the area such as a YMCA and medical center.

A new sewer line planned to serve southeastern Catawba County including Sherrills Ford and Terrell is expected to “unleash” serious growth. For more information: www.catawbacountync.gov. Also visit www.lakeneighbors.com.

As one who moved here for the beauty and the kinder and gentler lifestyle, I am not without concerns about so much growth around my beloved Lake Norman. As a REALTOR I should welcome the growth but as a resident there are times I wish everything would just stay exactly the way it is now. I welcome comments about your thoughts on these developements and the the rate of growth in the area! Thank you again to the Red Dirt Alert and the Charlotte Observer for much of this information: www.charlotte.com.

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What You Need to Know About Buying Real Estate In North Carolina

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Fresh Sushi? Hush Puppies? The Scoop About Relocating to Mooresville Lake Norman

Mooresville on Money Magazine’s List of Best Places to Live

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Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

Lake Norman NC growth and development; what’s in the pipeline?

Lake Norman real estate's new construction update

Today is July 29th, 2014 and I am going back to update my old articles.  This one really hits home because of the number of new construction projects listed here that didn’t happen because of the recession!

You know you live in a community that is growing significantly when there is a weekly column in the Charlotte Observer’s Lake Norman section called: Red Dirt Alert: Development in the Lake Norman Area. Knowing not only what is being constructed now, but also what is in the pipeline, is very important when considering where to purchase a home; whether it’s your personal residence or an investment. It is also important to understand growth trends and where the next “hot spots” are in the greater Lake Norman area. I decided it might be helpful to actually provide you with a list of the most talked about projects around Lake Norman. Because this is such an extensive list, I am going to start with the Mooresville Troutman area in this blog and then follow-up with the other communities surrounding Lake Norman.

Before I provide the list, I want to give you a very brief overview about our growth and development so that you can put everything in perspective. ( I will definitely discuss traffic, growth and development issues more throroughly in future blogs).

The bad news is that since our growth surge started in the 1990’s, developers have been building without comprehensive land use and traffic plans so our communities suffer from insufficient roads and infrastructure. The good news is that, “better late than never ” seems to be the philosophy of our towns’ leadership. Mooresville is currently working under a revised Strategic Plan which, for the first time, combines land use and transportations plans in the same discussions. . “Design priciples will guide developement to ensure more attractive gateway areas, streetscapes, neighborhoods and commercial centers” said Jinni Benson, one of Mooresville’s land use consultants.” Mooresille is also workiing in conjunction with the North Carolina Department of Transportation with the overall goal to “improve connections and provide travelers choices”. They are also working with adjacent towns in an effort to avoid further unilateral development that may in fact aggravate another town’s traffic flow. Progress!

DEVELOPMENTS IN THE PIPELINE FROM SOUTH MOORESVILLE TO NORTH TROUTMAN

  1. The area around Exit 33 and the now-under-construction Exit 32 is truly one of our new “hot spots”:
  • Langtree at the Lake, a spectacular $800 million dollar, 125-acre residential and commercial development on Langtree Road near the future Exit 32 was approved in December ’06, but not without a bit of neighborhood outcry. It will include a 12-story 250-room Embassy Suites with a convention center, a retail village, an additonal 4-story hotel, a par-3 golf course, a four-story boat storage building and condominium buildings with staggered heights of four to six stories that will be priced at $600,000 to $2 million. At least 100 people have already reserved condos according to developer Rick Howard. The first phases are expected to be finished in Spring/Summer 2009. For more information: www.langtreeatthelake.com
  • Legacy Village, also at Exit 33,is being described as an Urban Village that will cater to the professionals who work close by at Lowe’s Headquarters or the Lake Norman Regional Medical Center. It will have 108 homes, lofts, condos above retail stores. Construction has begun and is expected to be completed in 3 years. www.legacyvillagenc.com
  • A 112-room Hilton Garden Inn, an upscale hotel, is slated to be built on Langtree Rd. The $11 million five-story hotel will have 25,000 square feet of meeting space, banquet rooms, a restaurant, bar, in-house catering, free Wi-Fi Internet and LCD televisions in every room.
  • At Exit 33 work has begun on the Watermark Plaza shopping center, a 12,000 square foot building fronting Williamson Rd. adjacent to the Lakewood Veterinary Hospital. For more information: www.bvbproperties.com
  • Across the street from Watermark Plaza is going to be the Williamson Road Business Park which already has a Dunkin’ Donuts but other tenants have not been finalized
  • On Highway 21 just north of Exit 33 and surrounding the intersection of Waterlynn are several developement in the works: 162 condominiums by Coastal Ventures-Mooresville LLC and Waterlynn Place, a 47-acre development which will include 312 apartments, 70 town homes, 15 single-family homes and 75,000 square feet of office space. Underway further west on Waterlynn Road towards NC 115 is Waterlynn, a community of 295 single-family and 106 town homes which are under construction and will be competed over the next 3 or 4 years.

2. Moving north in Mooresville on the lake side are the following:

  • The Mooresville Town Square, located at the northeast corner of Williamson Road and Brawley School,
  • is already well on it’s way. It was created, according to the builder, to offer a different type of atmosphere than you have so far in Mooresville…a more upscale, community feel. The $65,000 project should be completed in 2008. An Aveda salon and spa, Coldwell Banker, and several restaurants are already well underway or completed.
  • More retail and commercial structures including several restaurants are under construction in the same shopping center as the Harris Teeter on the northwest corner Williamson Rd and Brawley School.
  • Further down Brawley School Road at Stutts Road: 29 acres have been released by Iredell County to Mooresville for zoning authority. All that is known at this time is that a commercial development is being proposed that will include a Bloom grocery store.
  • Construction has already begun at the corner of Perth Road and Highway 150 on the 86-acre development which will include Bryers Creek a subdivision of single -family homes of various designs and prices starting in the $200,000’s and a retail center including a Harris Teeter Grocery Store. This will be very welcome by residents on Perth Road as they will no longer have to drive on the 150 to get to a grocery store!
  • Smaller in scope than the Langtree at the Lake, Pomenade on the Lake is located next to Queens Landing on the NC 150. The proposal includes a hotel, condos, conference center, spa and retail space. To my knowledge this has not been approved.
  • Magnolia Bay subdivision is being developed in two phases for a total of 32 Charleston-style homes on the south side of Cornelius Road.

3. Mooresville City Limits:

  • Heading East on NC 150 towards the Town of Mooresville, Waterford Plaza is underway across from Randy Marion Chevrolet. It will be a Class A office and retail building.
  • Lakefield Corporate Center, located on Oates Rd of NC 150 near I77, is a 100-acre business park and retail center in the works. The retail area, Shoppes at Lakefield, will include 20,000 square feet of shops and restaurants.
  • Heading East in the Old Mooresville area the Rocky River Subdivision was recently approved by the Mooresville Town Board. The subdivision of 236 homes is in two pieces on either side of NC 3; about 56 acres north of Rocky River Road and about 50 acres south of Williford Road. The developer has agreed to provide greenways, pedestrian connections to a neighboring new school stie and to grade 7.5 acres for a public park.
  • To me, one of the most exciting projects in the entire area is The Mooresville Mills. The developers plan to transform the former Mooresville Mills factory site into an Urban Village-type mixed use development with residential, retail and office space. The town of Mooresville has agreed to partner with developers on parts of the project. Personally, I am a strong supporter of the revitalization of the wonderful Old Main Steet Downtown area of Mooresville. This project is not only vital to the area but also extremely exciting! The small, historic Mill houses are already making an effort to establish a conservation overlay zone to protect the charm of the Mill Village (www.mooresvillemillvillage.com). I see this area as a long-term gem! Take a look at the virtural tour of the new project at www.mooresvillemills.com !
  • Just when you are probably thinking our growth is all about homes, retail and commercial along comes a 100-acre Mazeppa Road Park in northeast Mooresville. Phase 1 will include 8 tennis courts, a four-field softball/baseball complex, four basketball courts, a lake, walking trails, a BMX and mountain bike trail, a picnic shelter and a dog park. Future phases which are still in the planning stages, will include a five-field soccer and football multi-use complex, a recreation center, an exercise court and an amphitheater with a covered band shell. The town of Mooresville has already bought the land!
  • Thanks to a dedicated group of skateboard enthusiasts, a Skateboard Park is now moving forward in Mooresville. It will be located at West Iredell Road/NC 3 on land behind the Police Station. The first phase will include grading work, a concession area, parking, lights and a concrete pad on which to put $105,000 worth of donated ramps. The second phase will be a bowl skating surface and areas that mimic urban and street spaces for skates to practice their tricks. This has truly been a team effort and they hope to get off and rolling very soon.

4. TROUTMAN BRACING FOR POPULATION BOOM…Community lures commuters from Charlotte, Winston-Salem. One of the hottest areas of growth right now is the area north of the NC150 including Troutman. Developers who have run out of land possibities on the Brawley School Pennisula are finding this to be the next “hot spot” for the lake area. Now a small community of about 2000, it is expected to jump to at least 6000 over the next 5 years. Most of the development is being planned around their two I-77 exits: Exit 42 and Exit 45.

  •  Exit 42’s first big news was that a Lowe’s Home Improvement store surrounded by 5 retail/commercial outparcels are on the way across U.S. 21 from Wilco. North of Lowe’s will be another commercial area with about 10 to 12 lots called The Charles Center. Arby’s is the only tenant known so far. All around these projects developers are buying up property so lots to watch for in the future. This area around Exit 42 is fast changing from rural-residential to highway commercial.
  • The last undeveloped I-77 exit between Charlotte and Statesville, Exit 45 is now the site of a massive 900-acre mixed-use development east of the I-77 between Exits 45 and 49a . Larkin, the largest development in Statesville’s history, “will change the face of Iredell County and close the border gap between Statesville and Troutman” according to planners and local officials. Builder GS Carolina of Charlotte’s proposal calls for 3,750 residential units, 1 million square feet of retail, a 500-room hotel, 250,000 square feet of office space and a 100,000-square-foot wellness center. About 180 acres will be maintained at public space. Larkin is expected to have an active adult community within the project….Wow! www.gscarolina.com/carolinacommunities.htm
  • Crescent Resources, the real estate development arm of Duke Energy, is proposing a 500-home subdivision on 505 acres in southern Troutman at the northeastern tip of Lake Norman called Falls Cove

To get the scoop directly from Kathryn Thier, author of the Red Dirt Alert you can go to www.charlotte.com and search Red Dirt Alert. I used much of her material for this article and want to credit her accordingly!

If you have any news I’ve missed please pass it along! In the meantime, I will work on my development updates for Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson, Sherrills Ford, and Denver. Questions? email me!

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Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

Fresh Sushi? Hush Puppies? The Scoop About Relocating to Mooresville Lake Norman

View of Lake Norman from a waterfront home

Not too long ago I got a panicky email from a family who just found out they were being transferred to Mooresville from Florida wondering what it was like to live here. I remember feeling the same sort of panic when we decided to move here. What is it really like? Where are the closest grocery stores and restaurants? Are there healthy places where we can get food to go? Where can my husband train for cycling? Are we going to be too far away from civilization? Will we be treated like outsiders since we are from out-of-state? And, good grief, where is the nearest Starbucks and good hair salon?

I must admit I am a bit conflicted about telling you the truth…I want to share with anyone who will listen that this is truly one of the greatest places in our country to live…but, I really don’t want it to get too crowded and grow so much that our quality of life changes. Well, I am a REALTOR after all, so I guess it is my duty to inform.

Catawba Queen on Lake Norman

The bottom line is that the only thing my husband and I regret about moving to Lake Norman is that we didn’t do it sooner! It’s truly the best of all worlds. Lake Norman is about 90 miles from the mountains and about 4 hours from the ocean. We have four mild but beautiful seasons. There is so much here in the greater Lake Norman area for every type of lifestyle and every social, physical, sports, academic, entertainment and economic level that most everyone can find their own niche and be quite happy.

The greater Charlotte and Lake Norman area is fast becoming one of the top destinations in the US and the smallish towns like Mooresville, Davidson and Huntersville along Lake Norman have increased in population ten-fold since 1990. I had no idea that Charlotte is the second largest financial center in the US let alone that major companies like Lowe’s Home Improvement are located right here in the Mooresville area.

Yet, it is a gentler, kinder world where drivers never honk their horns and no matter how bad the traffic they always let you merge in from a side street. Cashiers at markets actually walk out to get your cart if there is no one waiting. You rarely can’t find a place to park. And, because there are so many “transplants” from other states it is quite easy to assimilate. But, I highly recommend that you make the time to get to know the native North Carolinians as I have found them to be kind, warm and great friends. Not matter what, at the end of the day, if you live in the Lake Norman area or just out of town in the farm country, you will go home to utter peace and quiet.

Here is a quick overview for you:

New Harris Teeter at 150 and Perth Rd in Lake Norman

Grocery stores are at the top of most people’s list…and we have plenty right here in Mooresville. Our grocery options range from our Super WalMart, Super Target to Food Lion, Lowe’s, Bloom and two Harris Teeters. Yes, there is a sushi chef at the Harris Teeter, a fresh fish counter, olive bar, salad bar, fresh squeezed juices, full service deli and a Starbuck’s in each one in Mooresville.  Plus, we have weekly farmers markets and numerous roadside fresh produce stands.

Big Box and large chains: As I already mentioned, we have a Super WalMart, a Super Target, plus a Bed, Bath and Beyond, Best Buy, Petsmart, Pet Co, Staples, World Market, Michael’s, Dicks Sporting Goods, Goodys, Lowe’s Home Improvement just to name a few.

Our Shopping Malls 

  • The Northlake Mallis our newest and closest large mall to Lake Norman. It is located at Exit 18 and has several department stores ( Macy’s, Belks), specialty chains like J.Crew, The Gap, Anthropologie and the Pottery Barn to name a few plus a large AMC Theater Complex.
  • Birkdale Villageat Exit 25 in Huntersville is a charming outdoor Urban Village with a theater complex, a Barnes and Noble Book Store, a Dick’s Sporting Goods and lots of shops from William Sonoma to Chico’s to a wonderful Southern Folk Art Gallery called Maddi’s, some great restaurants and several really cute childrens shops. It’s a great place to have a Frappacino and let the children play in the fountains on a warm summer day.
  • If and when you need a high-end fix, South Park Mall and Phillips Place should be your destination. The South Park Mall has over 100 higher-end stores including Neiman Marcus, Nordstoms, Hermes,Tiffany’s, Frontgate, Kate Spade, Puma, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters (for the younger, fashion-hip teens), Abercrombie and some wonderful restaurants. Just down the street is Phillip’s Place where you will find not one but two Dean and Deluca’s!
  • If you are an outlet shopper then you will head straight to the huge Concord Mills Mall which has way too many shops to list here! 

 Feel like eating out?

Creme Brulee Dessert iStock_000003115350XSmall

We’ve got all of the usual suspects: Fast food like Chick-fil-A, McDonalds, Hardee’s (Carl’s Jr), Arbys, Pizza Hut, Subway, Quiznos; chain restaurants like Panera Bread, Camilles, Chilli’s, Red Robin, Steak and Shake, Evans, Applebees, Cracker Barrel, Hooters, Panda Express and lots of steak houses to name just a very few. We also have some wonderful, locally owned and operated restaurants both upscale (Jeffrey’s, 131 Main, Soirees, Dresslers) and just plain good: Five Guys for the BEST hamburgers and fries (Like In n’ Outfor you westerners); Joels which has wonderful sushi and a good variety of good Asian food; Lancasters, Gregs and others for barbecue; Laney’s for fish; Vinnies if you want to hang out with the race and lake crowd; Mexican food…both typical and up scale; a GREAT bakery called La Patisserie; New York Pizza in many styles; Chicago hot dogs…I think you’ve got the idea.

Sports and recreation are truly a huge part of the Lake Norman lifestyle and I can’t think of too many that aren’t available here. The Lake offers boating of every kind (since it is so big), great fishing, canoeing and kayaking, water skiing and jet skiing. A close second to the lake is GOLF…from Pinehurst to NUMEROUS public and private courses. Between the mountains and our local state parks you’ve got plenty of hiking, mountain biking, camping, motorcycle adventures. Our state-of-the-art Lowe’s YMCA in Mooresville is an incredible public gym. Then we have the very unique U.S. National Whitewater Center. We have a local skate park in the works, more soccer fields plus lots of organized sporting activities for all ages. Of course we have the obvious: The NCAA basketball finals that capture lots of attention, our NFL Panthers, our NBA Bobcats, our Charlotte Checkers hockey team that won the Stanley Cup last year and of course every kind of car racing you can think of since we have about 80% of the NASCAR industry here which supplies about 25,000 jobs to our local economy.

Mint Museum in Charlotte

There is also an abundance of cultural opportunities in the greater Charlotte area including: NC Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, The Mint Museum and The Mint Museum of Craft and Design, The Levine Museum of the New South, Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, The opera, The Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Actors Theatre of Charlotte, Afro-American Cultural Center, Charlotte Museum of History, NC Dance Theatre, Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, Charlotte Nature Museum, the McColl Center for Visual Art and Discovery place. (I know I left many out).

Educational opportunities abound in North Carolina: The Mooresville area public schools are a destination for many families because of their top rankings. Besides numerous city colleges there are the renowned Duke University, Wake Forest University, University of North Carolina’s Charlotte Campus, Davidson College (ranked in the top 10 small liberal arts colleges), Johnson C. Smith College and even our own culinary school: Johnson and Wales in Charlotte.

Last on my list but, believe it or not first on most, is Hair Salons/Spas. I am here to reassure you that you will be able to find every type of service found in any major city depending on the price you want to pay. I have my favorites that I will be happy to share with you!

I invite you all to drop me an email with questions about ANYTHING related to the Lake Norman/Charlotte area or ask for a personalized relocation packet which I will fill up with numerous publications, maps and resources based upon your specific interests and needs.

RELATED ARTICLES

Lake Norman Relocation Resources

Relocating to Lake Norman

Mooresville Relocation Resources

Relocating to Mooresville NC

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Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

How a dying boy’s story conveys the essence of life in Lake Norman

Lake Norman Dock at sunrise

I had been thinking for several days about my next blog in which I was going to write about what it is like to live in Mooresville, Lake Norman and the greater Charlotte area; then I read an article in the Sunday edition of the Charlotte Observer about a brave boy named Nate Mertens. Nate’s tragic story conveys the essence of the people and character of our community better than I ever could. Clearly, the Charlotte Observer thought so too as the title of the article was: Dying boy, 14, inspired circle of friendship. Teen from Calif. was treated in Charlotte; family decides to stay.

Nate Mertens was here visiting his father when he was diagnosed with leukemia. His mother flew out from California to Charlotte where she would stay with her son . “That began a ride of ups and downs as a concentric circle of strangers – who would become friends – closed in on the family”. The rest of the story describes Nate’s ability to serve as an inspiration throughout his five-month ordeal which ended in Lake Norman where on his last day he sat on a dock and looked out at the beautiful lake. It also describes the incredible kindness of strangers. As his mother said “I have never lived in a place where people were so gracious…When strangers learned my son was in the hospital they would ask his name so they could pray for him. It was’t a religious thing – it was a human thing.”

His mother and sister plan to stay in Charlotte and so do I.

For Nate’s full story go to: www.charlotte.com.

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Lake Norman Real Estate Market Reports

Lake Norman Real Estate Sales Analysis June 2007

Lake Norman Residential Real Estate Sales Analysis

So what is really happening so far in 2007 in real estate sales in Lake Norman and what trends do I see? First of all, you shouldn’t go by news articles about North Carolina or even Charlotte. Like the saying

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Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

Why Lake Norman real estate from a transplant?

View of Lake Norman from a waterfront home

In 2004 I didn’t even know that Lake Norman North Carolina existed. Today I can look out my window and see the sparkling water of the lake while writing at my desk! Once the best kept secret in the country, Lake Norman is now the home of so many “transplants” as we are called, mostly from New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Florida, Ohio and California, that I think we significantly outnumber the native North Carolinians. It is my goal as a transplanted Realtor to provide a unique perspective to all things real estate in the greater Lake Norman area. Some of the topics I will be writing about will be:

  • Local real estate sales statistics and analysis of real estate trends in everything from waterfront, waterview, golf course view homes to popular first-time buyer developments like Curtis Pond to luxury lake communities like The Point and The Peninsula
  • Local growth and development; what is in the pipeline, what is hot and what is not
  • Local news that impacts real estate; from schools to traffic issues
  • Buying and selling tips and “how-to’s” drawn from local customs plus my 15 years selling during the dramatic highs and lows of the Southern California real estate market
  • Personal real estate experiences from which I feel other may benefit
  • Real estate news and links like “Feds keep federal funds rate at 5.25%” (www.inman.com) and the fact that Charlotte NC is in the top 25 appreciating US markets (Housing Predictor Independent Real Estate Market Forecasts)
  • News or links to other real estate blogs

So, why did I create this real estate blog? I think it is because I truly love being a resource of information and teaching others about real estate. My last 5 years in Pasadena, CA I was the Director of Business Development for my real estate firm during which time I created an incredible resource library for my fellow agents and used to love it when an agent would pop in to brainstorm or ask a question. It is my hope that my blog will be valuable enough that readers will visit ofter, ask questions, make comments and help it to become THE resource for everything real estate in the Lake Norman Area.

Pop in any time!

Diane

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