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 (which I’ve linked at the bottom of part 2).


  1. Types of views/locations and their impacts/waves, noise, wear and tear on docks and boats

Do you want to live on the main channel and enjoy wide-open expansive views of Lake Norman or do you have enough Mark Twain in you to prefer a quiet cove where you can kayak and enjoy more privacy.  There is no doubt that main channel views are highly sought after but with these properties know that you will experience waves and more overall wear and tear to your dock because of the boats going by and wind.  Large coves like the one in the photo above are ideal of boaters who want shelter for their docks/boats.

2. North, South, East or West?

I always take a compass with me to help my waterfront home buyers determine what sort of views they will have.  Sunsets are the most popular but sunrise views are also great.  Keep in mind too where you will have afternoon sun in the heat of summer.

3. 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!

4. 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.

5. Grandfathered boat ramps, boat houses and extra large/long docks

The last significant changes to the Lake Norman Shoreline Management guidelines were in 2006.  They have become quite a bit more restrictive over the years so if you look at older homes with lawns that go all the way to the shoreline or have extra large docks, boat ramps or boat houses know that these are “grandfathered” in and can’t be replaced if they are torn down or destroyed.  There are rules about how to maintain and repair these docks etc. so before doing any work check with Duke Energy.  You don’t want to loose your grandfather status.  Here is an example of an old boat ramp that has been grandfathered in.  The owners were allowed to repair it.

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