30 Questions to Ask When Buying Madison Lakefront Property

Posted by Jolenta Averill on Wednesday, February 5th, 2020 at 9:46am

One of the best features of living in Dane County is the easy access to Madison’s glorious chain of lakes: Lake Mendota, Lake Monona, Lake Kegonsa, and Lake Waubesa. While anyone can enjoy a day on the water, not everyone looking to buy on the lake is familiar with what questions to ask. There’s not only a lot to know about each of Madison’s lakes and about Madison lake living in general, each home or lake condo is unique vis a vis its location and orientation on the lake, not to mention its individual history and features. Below are the 30 most common questions we hear every year from buyers on the hunt for their dream lakefront home or condo in the Madison area:

  1. Is this a year-round home or a vacation home?
  2. Is the property in a flood zone?
  3. Is the property subject to shore land zoning restrictions?
  4. Is there a boathouse? Can I build one? 
  5. Is the pier included? Where should I store it in the winter?
  6. Is the boat lift included? 
  7. Is there a basement? Does it have sump pump?
  8. Can I do an addition off the back of the house? How far in the direction of the water can I build?
  9. Can I build a second story?
  10. If no garage, can I build one? How big and where?
  11. Can I build on top of the existing garage?
  12. How does the boat traffic on this lake compare to the boat traffic on Madison’s other lakes?
  13. Does this lake connect directly to the other lakes on Madison’s chain of lakes? 
  14. What type of water sports are permitted on this lake in the summer?
  15. Can I swim in the lake?
  16. Does this lake’s shoreline have a sandy bottom?
  17. Are motorboats allowed on this lake?
  18. Does this lake freeze in the winter? When does the lake usually freeze and when does it thaw?
  19. What type of sports or pastimes do people do on this lake in the winter?
  20. How big is this lake?
  21. How does this lake compare in size to the area’s other lakes?
  22. How deep is this lake?
  23. What type of fish can you catch on this lake? Can you fish on this lake year-round?
  24. How much lake frontage does this home have? Is the lake frontage flat or are there steps down to the water? 
  25. What is riprap? What condition is the riprap in along the shoreline?
  26. Can I cut down the tree blocking my lake view?
  27. Which direction are the prevailing winds?
  28. What type of exposure does this lake home have? Does it get sunrises or sunsets?
  29. Does the house have a view of the state’s Capitol? Does the Master bedroom have a lake view? Which other rooms have views of the water?
  30. What are some of the nearby attractions to enjoy when not out on the lake?

Whether just getting to know Madison’s lakes or a seasoned pro who grew up on the water, Lake & City Homes Realty welcomes the opportunity to introduce you to any Madison area lake listing—any time of year. Whether buying on the lake for the first time, trading up to a bigger lake home (or one with more frontage), building on the lake, or buying a lakefront vacation home, we endeavor to bring every new area lake listing to your attention that fits your unique search criteria, then lend our guidance and expertise to land you the lake home or condo of your dreams! 

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