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Posted by: lakerealtync | 08/19/2014


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History of Lake Norman NC through the eyes of Diana Sweezy
Lake Norman, The Great Lake, is Now and Started Out As a Special Place 
Built with anticipation, foresight
By Eloise D. Morano and reproduced with the kind permission of Lake Norman Magazine

Like most young people moving to Lake Norman, young Diana Dunlap could barely contain her excitement. One big difference, though: There was no lake, only a trickle of a creek that she couldn”t even see from the house.

The year was 1962, and Diana remembers people thought her family was crazy to count on living by a lake that wasn”t there yet.

Today, she is Diana Sweezy, with a husband, two grown children and several grandchildren, and she lives in that original waterfront house. Her parents, James and Mildred Dunlap, bought the land, built the house and even built the dock before the lake was created. They did it all with absolute certainty that the lake would be there and that they wanted to live next to it year-round.

Diana sunbathes on the dock, about 1967, with silver poodle Chance.

“People in Mooresville would say to us, “Why do you want to move way out there?” Or, “How do you know the lake will come up that far?””. But my daddy just laughed. He knew where the water would go because Duke Power had markers out," she says as she looks out at Lake Norman from her waterfront sun porch.

Longtime dream

Her parents had jumped at the chance to buy land "way out there" because they had always dreamed of raising a family on the water. They lived in landlocked downtown Mooresville, but their dreams were of shallows where the children could play and a view of water all year.

James Dunlap chose land in a lonely spot just west of where Williamson and Brawley School roads come together. He bought the parcel from Dave Atwell, who had a farm where Sundown Estates sits today. The land was backed by woods and faced nothing but mud, cornfields and a few sawmills. “You have to realize this was all farm and woods,” Sweezy says. “We would have to drive down tractor paths to where the river was just a sandy creek. There were cows that would walk right down through the trees.”

James Dunlap picked a gentle rise that the house would sit on. The lake would fill the front view and sweep around to the left, into a little cove, wrapping around three-quarters of the house.

Window on the water

The Dunlaps built the house they had always wanted: a classic 1960s ranch of 1,200 square feet, constructed of brick, with the front facing the water. It had one of those “60s picture windows that eventually would enable the Dunlaps to see an expanse of water from their living room. They put the kitchen up front, too, because Mildred Dunlap wanted a view of the water while she was cooking and washing up.

They built their pier, and then they waited for the water. It wasn”t long, because James Dunlap was paying careful attention to what Duke Power was doing.

“We used to have to drive out Brawley School Road to see the glitter of the river water. But in 1963, we got to watch our little stream in the pasture get deeper and deeper until we could see it from the house.”

She says the lake filled gradually, slowly swallowing cornfields and tractor paths, just as her father had anticipated. All her father”s calculations worked, because the water met the dock perfectly. Now all of a sudden, theirs was the first house on that part of the lake.

“We know it was the first lake house because we were the first to get power out here and they had to bring the power poles down to us.”

Young Diana wasted no time designing a flat roof for the dock so she would have a place to sunbathe. She says the dock has been rebuilt with and without roofing at least six times since then.

Today, the house looks like many other brick 1960s ranches on the lakefront. They expanded the house when her father died in 1999 and her mother was becoming more frail. Sweezy and her husband, Roger, went to live there full time to care for her mother, and they all needed more space for privacy. The expansion consisted of another 800 square feet: a new bedroom, bath, walk-in closet and screened porch on one side, and a glassed-in sun porch and deck in front, where the picture window used to be.

Enjoyment continues

The family still likes to spend as much time as possible by the water, so the sun porch and deck get a lot of use. When the grandchildren visit, the adults have an easy time monitoring the kids from there. Just as Sweezy”s father intended, the lake water is shallow until it gets to the submerged old creek bank & just enough distance for children learning to swim.

“Today everyone wants deep water, but Mama and Daddy knew they didn”t want that. They wanted us kids to have a beach and some shallow water to play in.”

Sweezy says a portion of the pasture was always sandier than the rest, forming a natural beach in just the right spot.

James Dunlap decided where to build in 1962.

Sweezy says that beach was the scene of many an oyster roast up until about 1970. They”d have to drive to a fishmonger in Charlotte to get the oysters. Then they would make a good, hot fire on the beach. When it burned down, they”d lay a sheet of tin across the hot coals, put the oysters on, and cover the whole thing with soaked burlap bags. Her mother would make cracklin” corn bread and french fries at the house while the oysters were cooking, and then haul the whole picnic out on the sand.

Taste for seafood

Sweezy”s mother, who hailed from coastal Wilmington, knew her way around boats and was devoted to seafood. She quickly became a fan of the freshwater kind from the new lake. The sight of a boatwoman catching fish apparently was novel enough to rate a piece in the local newspaper. A picture in the Mooresville Tribune from the 1960s shows Mrs. James Dunlap proudly displaying a 6 lb. bass.  Her daughter remembers that “she was one of the first women here to catch a fish. They called her “Riverboat Annie” around here.”

Diana and standard poodle Freida on the ramp to the dock in 1966.

When Mildred Dunlap was casting for fish in those early years of the lake, there were few other boats.

In those days, Sweezy remembers, the only place to buy things (without driving in to Mooresville) was Country Corner on N.C. 150, where Starbucks is today. “It was the only thing out here. It”s where we bought gas. It”s where I bought my first pair of skis.”

Brawley School Road and Williamson were the paved roads. Anything smaller was a dirt track. Interstate 77 did not exist.

“There were only two drive-ins, on different sides of Mooresville. As teenagers, we would cruise through town just like the movie “American Graffiti,”” she remembers.

She says she did get into town and could see her friends, but it was a bigger deal then, with the lack of paved roads going to her house.

Difficulty getting around intensified around 1969. “We had a twister come up the lake. It jumped the house and picked up boats in the cove. It tore a path from Brawley School Road to our only store at Country Corner,” she says.

Then 20 years later, Hurricane Hugo did even greater damage to trees and rooflines, sheds and porches. By then, lots of people were living at the lake. 

Sweezy says it has been amazing to see her father”s vision catch on with thousands of people. Since the lake was filled, she has seen more and more people choosing to live on the lake each year, not to mention an increase in the cost of acquiring a lake lifestyle.


Diana, left, and mother Mildred Dunlap, center, enjoy a boat ride with a friend about 1971.


“If you bought in 1962, you probably paid $1,500 to $2,000 an acre. Then it caught on. And the price kept going up a thousand a year,” Sweezy says.

These days, Sweezy rarely goes out on the lake. She prefers to walk the beach in the early mornings. She is nostalgic for the days when she looked out at the water and there were no houses across the way.

“If only you could imagine the total silence and at night, the total blackness . And the quiet. It was so quiet. People have no idea what it was like to be alone out here.

“It has been wonderful watching all of this, just wonderful.”

Diana and Roger Sweezy on their dock, which was built before the lake filled.

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Posted by: lakerealtync | 01/30/2013

Real Estate Investing Basics

Riches can be made in any kind of real estate market. A professional real estate investor makes money when prices are high and when prices are low.

No matter what is happening in the market they buy low and sell high. They never buy high and expect to make money waiting for prices to rise.

Newbies buy high expecting prices to rise, and when the prices drop they are left owing $175,000 on a house that is now worth $100,000. So as a real estate investor always buy low.

Everywhere there are properties selling for below market value. There are many homes in average neighborhoods that need a few thousand dollars worth of cosmetics.

For example, take a house selling for $100,000. Since you have done your homework you know it could easily sell for $145,000 or more if it looked better. Buy the house, spend $2,000-$7,000 fixing it up, and sell it for a sizable profit.

Never spend a pile of money to completely renovate a house. Just do cosmetic changes such as painting the inside and outside, putting in new carpet, fixing broken doors and repairing leaky faucets. Only do the basics to make the house presentable.

Real estate investors recommend you start out buying three-bedroom, two-bathroom homes. These are the most in demand and so are the easiest to re-sell.

Buy in neighborhoods that are nice. You do not want to buy in neighborhoods that are too nice or too rough. Focus on your average family-friendly neighborhood.

Also, buy homes that are listed at 60-75% or less of their value. Never buy a home that is listed at $100,000 with a value of $100,000. Buy the one listed at $75,000 that is valued at $100,000.

The easiest way to find these homes is to work with a real estate agent. Find one who will be glad to find you homes that meet your criteria.

Why work with a real estate agent? Agents have 85-90% of properties for sale. They know the area. Tell them you are an investor right up front and what you are looking for. The great agents will be happy to send you all the homes you can handle, and you will be happy to pay them their commission.

Besides having a great agent you also need to have a niche market. Are you going to focus on foreclosures? Are you going to go after fixer-uppers? Are you going to buy and then quickly re-sell? Or are you going to buy and rent it out for a while?

If you are going to rent out your properties be sure you do the math. Will you be able to rent out the house for more than the monthly expenses? Be sure to include a property manager with those expenses. And remember that the house might sit vacant a month or two. Allow enough money to account for no income for part of the year.

So never buy a home that is going to cost you $1,000 a month in finance charges and other expenses if you can only rent it out for $800. That is a fast way to end bankrupt.

But before you do all this, before you get a real estate agent and go out making offers, there is one very important thing you must do first. You must write down your goals.

Is your goal to be worth $1 million within five years? That is very possible. But do not expect to reach 1/5 of that goal in the first year.

Start with a plan to make so many offers a week and stick with it, increasing it as you go. Since most beginners make one purchase for every 50 offers, have a plan to make one purchase a month. That would require you make 50 offers every month. Set the goal and little by little you will achieve it.

So you have your goals, you have a great real estate agent, you know your niche, and now it’s time to make some offers. As stated, most beginners make one purchase with every 50 offers.

If you make $25,000 on that one purchase, then in effect you are making $500 each time you make an offer. So never think that you are wasting your time making those other 49 offers.

Just as important as having written goals, a great agent and a niche, you need to have the right frame of mind to deal with success. So many who want to invest in real estate actually cause themselves to fail. They self-sabotage their success.

Believe you can succeed. Learn how to handle money wisely. Educate yourself by reading and attending seminars. Surround yourself with people who have the same goals as you and who are achieving their goals.

There are many real estate experts out there, so find a good one, attend the seminars on learning how to think about money and be financially responsible, and begin your journey to buy and sell properties. 

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Posted by: lakerealtync | 01/30/2013

Charlotte Among Top 10 in Moving Destinations.

Search Lake Norman Waterfront Homes

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Feb newsletter – stats, new job opening, featured neighborhood, hints


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Lake Norman”s Langtree at the Lake is finally a reality!

Lake Norman's Langtree at the Lake Jan 2013

No where is growth and new construction on Lake Norman more evident than at Mooresville”s Exit 31 where the photo above shows the luxury apartments and other buildings in Phase 1 of Langtree at the Lake well under way.  It took 6 years from its original ground breaking on August 11, 2007: Lake Norman”s Langtree At The Lake: Not Just Another Groundbreaking! but thanks to RL West, this huge project is actually going to become a reality very soon!

Considered truly transformational to Lake Norman, the eventual build-out of Langtree is estimated at $2 billion according to company officials which even exceeds the original plans for a $850 million luxury condominium and resort development.

Phase 1, which is located on the southwest corner of Exit 31, will have a total of 800,000 square feet within 7 buildings with rental luxury apartments, retail, restaurants and other amenities including the “Gateway Building” RL West”s new headquarters which will be moving to Lake Norman from Ohio.  The first floor of each building will be retail and the additional 4 stories will be 300 residential apartments.

Despite lease rates that are highest in Lake Norman, over 70% of Phase 1 is already leased.  Confirmed tenants according to an article in September”s Business Today include:

  • Caprese, an Italian restaurant (by the current owner of The Egg at Davidson)
  • A Neapolitan style eatery featuring artisan pizzas (by the current owners of Brooklyn Boys Pizza)
  • Vanilla Sky Ice Cream
  • Hibachi Express and Sushi
  • Wild Wing Cafe
  • Broad River Coffee Co
  • David Beth and Company day spa
  • Orchid Nail  Salon
  • BoneHeads, an upscale restaurant, was in negotiations
  • A martini bar
  • A cocktail lounge

Announced just last week is the addition of a 14-story building which will obviously be the tallest building at Lake Norman.  The “EthoSphere” will be a 350,000 square foot building that will include retail, commercial and residential floors and a 150-170-room full service hotel.  There will be a 12,000 square foot adjoining meeting space that could hold 1000 people according to Steve Welly, president and CEO of R.L. West Properties.  Its proximity to Lowe”s International headquarters and Ingersoll Rand”s North American Headquarters will provide much needed meeting space to the Lake Norman area.

In total, Langtree at The Lake will be built on 300 acres over the next decade. This long-planned mega dream is truly coming to a reality and serves as yet another example of the incredible future of Lake Norman and it”s economy!

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How much does it cost to live on Lake Norman?

41% of all waterfront homes sold on Lake Norman in 2012 through MLS were sold between $400,000 to $699,999.
There were 72 waterfront homes that sold for over a million dollars with the most expense home selling for $4,550,000.

Here’s a breakdown of all the waterfront homes sold on Lake Norman in 2012.

Total number of Waterfront Homes sold through MLS in 2012=343.

$0 to $199,000=2 (1%)
$200,000 to $299,000=12 (3%)
$300,000 to $399,000=38 (11%)
$400,000 to $499,000=48 (14%)
$500,000 to $599,000=47 (14%)
$600,000 to $699,000=44 (13%)
$700,000 to $799,000=28 (8%)
$800,000 to $899,000=27 (8%)
$900,000 to $999,000=25 (7%)
$1,000,000 to $1,499,000=52 (15%)
$1,500,000 to $1,999,000=11 (3%)
$2,000,000 to $2,999,000=7 (2%)
$3,000,000 to $3,999,000=0 (0%)
$4,000,000 to $4,999,000=2 (1%)

Lake Norman Waterfront Homes for sale

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Posted by: lakerealtync | 01/19/2013

Deducting PMI for your Lake Norman Home


How to Get Your PMI Tax Deduction – HouseLogic

Jan 4, 2013 Are you deducting your private mortgage insurance? Many homeowners don’t realize they can deduct PMI. Here’s what you need to know.

Let’s face it….no one wants to pay for PMI Insurance. But, in some cases, it is a necessary evil to get your mortgage. Did you know that in some instances, the PMI insurance may be deductible ? Here is some info. As always, please consult your accountant or tex preparer for specifics.


Lake Norman 

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Posted by: lakerealtync | 01/19/2013

Don’t forget to deduct PMI

Deducting PMI Insurance in the Peoria Illiniois Real Estate Market

How to Get Your PMI Tax Deduction – HouseLogic

Jan 4, 2013 Are you deducting your private mortgage insurance? Many homeowners don’t realize they can deduct PMI. Here’s what you need to know.

Let’s face it….no one wants to pay for PMI Insurance. But, in some cases, it is a necessary evil to get your mortgage. Did you know that in some instances, the PMI insurance may be deductible ? Here is some info. As always, please consult your accountant or tex preparer for specifics.

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