12 Important Things to Consider Why Buying Lakefront Property
Buying a home is a big commitment no matter how you look at it, but buying a lakefront home is even more so. There are many additional things to consider when buying lakefront property that you may not have realized. Before you drop your big down payment on your dream home, make sure you fully understand all the aspects to take into consideration when buying on the water.
1. Take a harder look at the property instead of the house
Houses can be changed, but there’s not a lot you can do to change the property itself after you have purchased it. Is it large enough? Are there easements allowing the public to access the lake across your property? Properties with steep inclines down to the water can offer dramatic views, but will you want to make that hike up and down the flights of stairs? This is especially important to consider amongst older buyers. How close are the neighbors? Could future construction within a cove impede your view?
2. Be sure you can bring your visualizations to reality before you purchase your new lakefront property
Many lake associations and local ordinances restrict what can and cannot be done within several feet of the shoreline. Will you be able to build that double-dock you’ve been planning? Will those trees blocking the view be able to be removed? How close to the water can you expand your house?
3. Buying a lakefront home is as much about the lifestyle as it is about the real estate
Are you looking for a high-energy lake with lots of people and activity, or are you looking for a serene, country getaway? Find out what activities are allowed on your lake. Some lakes restrict the usage of motorized boats and jet-skis. If you’re envisioning weekends filled with waterskiing and tubing, you will need to know these restrictions before you buy. Is the shoreline rocky or a sandy beach? How deep is the water directly off the property? Are you looking for a shallow beach where small children can play or deep water to install a diving board or rope swing?
4. Research on the lake itself
What is the average water depth? How much does the water level fluctuate? Is there a local dam that regulates the lake level? How does the lake change with the seasons? Is the bottom rocky or muddy? What is the seasonal activity level like?
5. Completely understand the view
Some people buy on the water to play, while others don’t, but everyone wants a great view. How is your house positioned on the property? Will you be able to see the sunrise or sunset over the water? This can be a make or break situation for some people. How important is the view to you, and are you willing to pay the premium that may come with it?
6. Understand the noise-level to be expected
Especially if you walk the property in the off-season, you may not think about how loud it may be during peak-season when the lake is filled with vacationers. Sound travels across water very well, better than most people realize. Your neighbors across the cove that like likes to play music and throw parties could sound more like they’re in your backyard than across the water. Are there any condos or restaurants nearby that impede your peaceful evenings?
7. How close is the house to the water?
The closer your home is to the water’s edge, the less privacy there is to be enjoyed. How big of a concern is privacy? Do you mind if your neighbors and passersby can see you enjoying breakfast on your deck in pajamas? Flatter properties also offer less privacy. If that’s a big concern for you, you may opt for a steeper lot or one with more trees.
8. If you are buying on a lake that allows motorized boats, where is the nearest boat landing?
Will you be able to put your boat in the water directly from your property or will you have to drive down the road several miles? Is there a boat dock already built? Does it have a lift to keep your boat out of the water when it is not in use or will you need to take it out seasonally?
Lake property frequently requires extra forms of insurance, such as flood insurance. Check what extra policies may be needed and calculate that into your costs. An experienced agent should be able to guide you through these requirements.
Most lakes have an association that monitors any issues related to the lake. They usually function similarly to an environmentally minded homeowners association. Find out if your lake has such an association and become aware of any rules or regulations that may impact you, such as: will the lake association handle any necessary weed management or will the responsibility fall on you?
11. Use: Primary Residence vs Vacation Home
Will it be your primary residence or a vacation home? Make sure that your new house is properly equipped for seasonal weather changes if you will be staying there year-round. Will you need a larger house with extra bedrooms for entertaining guests, or will a smaller house suit for just you and your children?
12. Experienced Agents
Most importantly, use an agent that has extensive experience with properties on the lake. An experienced agent will know best how to match you with your perfect lakehouse. They will know what to look for and what to avoid when buying a property on a lake, and they will have a deep understanding of the lake itself and how it shifts and changes with the seasons.
Moving to the lake can be a wonderful life choice. Like any major life choice though, make sure you are fully informed to make your transition smooth and pleasant.