Given current trends, buying real estate has never been more affordable, and new homes on the lake are no exception. Lake home buying, however, does have its share of special considerations, and it’s important to go through them in order to make the best choice in buying your own property. Here are just a few things to consider before making a purchase.
Consider the location of the lakefront property. What’s your purpose for buying the property? If it is intended to be your primary home, look at its distance from schools, medical clinics, and standard amenities like grocery stores and post offices. Even with rural living, you still want to have reasonable access to these services, lest the tasks of everyday life make your remote location more of a chore than a pleasure.
Proximity is also important even if the property is intended to be your vacation home. Most experts recommend that a vacation home should be one to two hours away from your primary home, so that your use of the vacation home isn’t discourage by an onerous drive.
How big is the property? What are the things you can do there? A good lake home should have space enough to accommodate not only your family, but also the friends and relatives whom you would expect to visit as well. Ideally, the property should be big enough to provide comfort to your guests, and also have enough activities to occupy them.
Aside from water sports on the lake such as fishing, swimming, or jet-skiing, find out if there are alternative activities in the area such as hiking and biking, bird-watching, or horseback riding. If the home you’re considering is located in a development, ask about amenities like swimming pools, a clubhouse, or a gym.
Conduct a thorough inspection of the property, especially if it wasn't pre-inspected. Never rely just on photographs when making your purchase decision. You can hire a Realtor with expertise on lakefront properties who can guide you to properties appropriate for your needs and price range, and who can be your “feet on the ground.” When viewing properties, be sure to check out the house, the grounds, and the lake to make sure everything meets your expectations.
When you get to the property, find out all you can about the lake and the lakeshore. What is the lake like? Is it big enough for all of the water sports you are partial to? How about the shoreline? Is it sandy or mucky? Can you imagine yourself and your family spending time there? Find out what the lake bottom is like—is the slope gradual or a steep drop-off? Does it have a rocky bottom or a sandy bottom?
It is also vital to ask if the area gets flooded and, if so, how high the waters rise. You may regret buying the property if you find your house submerged in floodwaters the first year you are staying there—check with your real estate agent for hazard disclosures and flood histories on any property in which you are interested.
In short, lakeside living can be a dream come true, but a real estate purchase is no time to start daydreaming. Do your due-diligence, cover all of the bases, and find out all you can about the property before purchasing it. That way your lakeside life can truly be one of serenity and happiness.
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Jolenta Averill, Principal
Lake & City Homes Realty