The Top 5 Reasons We Moved to Lake Norman, NC
Hey there, everyone! My name is Mike Toste, also known as Lake Norman Mike, and I am the lead broker for the Lake Norman Mike team here in beautiful Lake Norman, North Carolina. And if you’re not familiar with this area, or just want to learn more about it, you’re in the right spot! Today, we’re talking about why my wife Erin and I decided to pack our bags and move all the way from the west coast to the beautiful Lake Norman area here in North Carolina. Lake Norman is a fantastic location, nestled just outside Charlotte, North Carolina, and it’s perfect for anyone who loves outdoor adventures and lake activities.
The #1 reason we moved to Lake Norman, NC: Lifestyle!
Boating and convenience
I want to share a personal story with you about my experience as a boating enthusiast before I moved to Lake Norman. Towing our boat to the lake was such a big hassle, from the limited space in our garage to the strict neighborhood HOA regulations on parking boats overnight we had no choice but to store it at a facility, which meant – hitching it up, driving for half an hour to the lake, launching it, taking it out of the water, hauling it back home, and dropping it off again at storage. It was just such a drag and it always made us think twice before taking the boat out.
Now, living on Lake Norman, it’s a completely different story. We simply walk out to our backyard, hop in our boat, and take off whenever we want. It’s incredibly convenient and has made all the difference in our boating experience and being able to enjoy the lake throughout the day and our evening sunset wine tours. Yes, we always have wine nearby.
Easy Boat Storage
For those of you who may not have the option of waterfront living, there is always the alternative of dry dock storage. Your boat is stored under cover and ready for use whenever you need it. You simply call the storage facility and let them know when you want to use your boat, and they will drop it in the water for you at that time. Once your day on the lake has come to a close, they will take it back out of the lake and securely store it back in the facility. It’s just that easy!
Nearby attractions and scenery
Great boating is not all the Lake Norman area offers. Imagine hiking in the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway with stunning views and fresh mountain air, just two hours away. If you want a change of scenery, the ocean is only a short 3 – 1/2 to 4 hour drive, making it the perfect weekend getaway destination.
Did you know that North Carolina has over 300 miles of coastline? This allows you to enjoy the best of both worlds – the tranquil beauty of the mountains and the refreshing sea breeze of the beach. Get this: after all your weekend adventures, you get to come right back to Lake Living on Lake Norman – it just doesn’t get any better than that.
But what about road trips? From Lake Norman, you can reach a whole bunch of desirable destinations such as Charleston, Savannah, the Outer Banks, and Williamsburg in much less time than it would have taken us to travel in and around the state of California.
So, are you sold yet? Lake Norman offers convenience, natural beauty, and easy access to exciting destinations.
The #2 Reason we moved to Lake Norman, NC: Real Estate Property Taxes and State Income Tax
Speaking of taxes, let me tell you, as someone who has been in the real estate game for what feels like a million years, I know a thing or two about tax increases. And in California, it felt like they never stopped coming – from state income taxes to property taxes, it was a never-ending cycle. But here in North Carolina, we have it pretty good. For starters, the cost of living is lower, which means that even property taxes are more affordable. Our current home in NC would have cost us nearly triple the amount in California so I’m pretty happy to fork over 9k a year here in NC when we would have been paying close to $21k in CA.
How do NC taxes compare to other states?
When comparing North Carolina to the national average, we sit at 0.77% of assessed value as an average, compared to the national average of 1.07% of assessed value. Now keep in mind, this is the national average and there are many states that blow right past the higher range of 1.07%…. easily. When it comes to state income taxes, we’ve got it even better with a flat tax rate of 4.75%. In California, however, it’s a whole different story. They have a sliding scale tax rate that goes up depending on how much money you’re making. Let me tell you, the more you make, the more they take. Top earners can hit a tax threshold of 12.3% for state income tax. That to me is a bit crazy!
Personally, I prefer the current flat tax rate here in North Carolina. And just so you know, it’s going to get even better. The tax rate has already been passed to be lowered to 4.5% in 2025. So if you’re looking to keep more of your hard-earned money, North Carolina might just be the right fit for you.
The #3 Reason We Moved to Lake Norman, NC: Cost of Living
Let’s talk about that for a minute. It’s no secret that California is an expensive place to live. In fact, it’s the third most expensive state to live in, with a cost of living index of 148.2% of the national average. Can we all agree that living on or near a lake is a dream for many? Well, in California, it’s a luxury that only a few can afford. Even if you managed to find a lakeside property, the cost would be outrageous, and for Erin and I – even had we sold our home and cashed in our retirement accounts we still would have been unable to afford it.
Let me give you another example. During a recent trip to California to visit with friends and enjoy some great vino in Napa, we were shocked to see gas prices at the time pushing $5.67 a gallon. Meanwhile, back in North Carolina, we were paying a much more reasonable price of $3.09 per gallon. So gas prices were just over 54% less here.
Cost of Living Index
You are probably more familiar with the cost of living index, but for your reference, North Carolina has a score of 95.4%, which places it below the national average and makes it 4% less expensive than most other states. In contrast, the place we relocated from in California was 48% more expensive than the national average. That makes the math pretty straightforward – since North Carolina is 4% less expensive and California is 48% more expensive, we’re saving 52% by having moved! AND loving it. It’s no wonder that North Carolina consistently ranks among the top six states people are moving to, and often lands in the top three, regardless of what reports you might be obtaining your data from.
If you’re tired of being squeezed by high taxes, exorbitant housing costs, and outrageous gas prices, it might be time to consider a move to Lake Norman, North Carolina. Here, you can live the lake life you’ve always dreamed about at a fraction of the cost.
Families, Job Opportunities, and Cost of Living
Families like yours are moving to North Carolina at a record pace! Here are the reasons they gave, listed in order of popularity: Family and Kids- With the job market as strong as it is in Charlotte – you see a lot of parents relocating to be closer to their children who obtained jobs in the area. Job Opportunities- The strong job market in Charlotte drives opportunities to relocate – and Charlotte currently has the second largest banking hub only behind New York. Retirement and overall cost of living- We covered this one in detail just a few minutes ago along with the number 4 reason which is Lifestyle.
The one point that stood out to me was that over 43% of those who move to the Lake Norman area are motivated by either the affordability of living – as a component of their retirement plans or the lake-centric lifestyle that the area offers. This really struck a chord with Erin and I, as these were the two main factors that drove us to embark on our journey to Lake Norman more than ten years ago.
The decision for us was pretty clear: Lake Life + Lower Cost of Living = WE’RE ON OUR WAY!!! And that’s exactly what we did.
The #4 Reason We Moved to Lake Norman, NC: The Charlotte Douglas International Airport
When Erin and I are not busy working for our clients or enjoying beautiful Lake Norman, you will find us chasing the sun and sipping cocktails with our toes buried in the sand. Our love affair with Maui started with our wedding, but since moving to Lake Norman, we’ve discovered a newfound love for the Caribbean, the British Virgin Islands, and St. Thomas. The best part? These tropical destinations are just a hop, skip, and a jump away from our home base. That’s right, we have an international airport right in our backyard! We’re talking about a ton of non-stop flights and easy access in and out of the airport. So for all you hard-working road warriors and vacation junkies out there, having a world-class airport right in your own backyard is a Godsend.
The #5 Reason we Moved to Lake Norman, NC: A Sense of Community
Now I have to admit, this was not even on our radar when we were evaluating where we might want to move – but after we experienced it first hand, it did have an impact on our overall decision to move here. I know everyone has heard of Southern charm? Well, you can search the internet all you want, but you won’t fully understand it until you’ve experienced it yourself. It’s all about hospitality, good manners, and sticking to old traditions.
Southerners are known for their welcoming personalities and eagerness to lend a helping hand. They’ll even hold the door open for you and invite you in for a meal! During our very first exploration trip to North Carolina, my wife Erin and I visited Birkdale Village and stopped by Starbucks for coffee. As we were leaving, a woman noticed Erin had her hands full and rushed over to open the door for her. It was a small gesture, but it set a positive tone for our week-long visit and was just the beginning of our experience with Southern Charm.
Local Church Community
Our second encounter was at a local church service the following day. We were spotted by a member who invited us to have lunch with them after the service. Although we offered to pay, they insisted on covering the bill, even though it was entirely unnecessary. Since that day, we’ve remained good friends and shared many wonderful experiences, including some delicious outdoor catfish frys at their place.
Friendly and Positive
If you’re considering a move to the area, it’s important to approach it with an open mind and a positive attitude. Don’t be in a hurry as that will get you nowhere really fast- “No pun intended.” The warmth and generosity of the locals will quickly win you over. They are some of the friendliest you’ll ever meet. But I will say this, they won’t take kindly to any newcomer trying to rock the boat and mess with the culture. My advice is to just make sure you always bring your appetite and your manners, and be sure to leave any negativity or drama behind before you arrive, and all will work out just fine.
Despite it being a significant decision to move across the country, Erin and I have no regrets and have fallen in love with our current way of life here in the South. The lower cost of living in North Carolina has allowed us to pursue activities and experiences that were not within our reach before. We can travel when we want without driving hours to the airport and have the beach and mountains a short distance away. Lake Norman has become our new home.
The Choice is Clear: Lake Norman Life Has It All!
If you might be considering relocating, buying or selling real estate in the Lake Norman Area, feel free to reach out to me directly on our contact page. Be sure to check out our next video, where I cover things YOU WILL want to know before buying a waterfront property on Lake Norman!
Ok, until next time friends… Hope to see you on the lake!