Investing in a lake home can be a fantastic idea, whether you’re looking to buy property on the water as a primary residence or as a vacation home.
However, there are a lot of different things that you need to be on the lookout for when buying lake front property. Buying a lake house is much different than buying a normal house on land – things such as cost per acre or cost per square foot don’t apply in the same manner to lake houses.
The following are a few things that you should keep in mind when looking at lake house properties:
- Research access to utilities – If the lake house you are looking at is located in a more rural area, which many lake houses are, then you may not have access to the same utilities that you are used to having. Things such as cable, Internet, clean water and electricity may or may not be accessible. This means that if the lake house does not have access to these services, you may end up having to pay more than usual in order to obtain them.
- Research the town’s amenities – The lake may be stunning and the house might have everything you want form a home, but that doesn’t mean that the location is where you want to be. If the lake house is in a more rural area, you may not have access to some of the amenities that you are used to, such as gas stations, grocery stores, department stores, restaurants and more. Lake houses located in more rural areas will require you to drive longer distances to reach town amenities such as these. Whether or not you care about how close you are to such town amenities is entirely dependent on you and your lifestyle.
- Research the lake’s amenities – Some lakes will have no amenities whatsoever, while some will be chockfull of amenities, from boat docks and marinas to restaurants. Again, what you want out of the lake depends solely on your lifestyle.
- Research insurance requirements – Because the house is located nearby a lake, it means that it will be more vulnerable to the elements than typical non-lake houses. This may mean that you will be required by state law to have certain additional insurance coverage on your homeowner’s insurance policy, such as general hazard coverage or flood coverage.
- Make sure the house has weather-resistant features – Due to the fact that a lake house will take more abuse from the elements than more typical homes, you’ll want to make sure that the structure of the lake house itself has weather-resistant features. For example, any lake houses located in an area prone to hurricanes should probably have storm shutters on all its windows.
- Research the ability to make home improvements – Just like typical non-lake homes, there are certain city laws and ordinances involving any home improvements that you make. However, these are going to be different for homes that are located on the lake. You won’t want to invest in a lake home if you can’t make the changes that you want to make, such as, for example, building a dock onto the lake.
- Consider why you want to live on the lake – The reason you want a lake home will factor into the type of property you should be looking for. Do you just want a view of the lake where you live? Or do you want to go exploring on a daily basis? Do you want to go fishing every day? Do you want to have a boat docked near your home? These are all important factors to consider. The size of the lake will affect what you can do on it. Smaller lakes are better suited for those who just want the view, while larger lakes are better for those who want to explore it. Those who want to dock a boat near their home will want deeper water by their lake house.
- Research the rules of the lake – Some lakes prohibit certain types of activities on the lakes, such as jet skiing or racing. The horse power of your boat engine may even be restricted. Be sure to look up the rules of the lake to make sure that they are something you can abide to.
- Consider lake traffic – If you’re looking to invest in a lake house because you want to live somewhere peaceful and quiet, then you don’t’ want to live on a lake that experiences a lot of water traffic, such as speed boats to water skiing and more.
A lake house can be an incredible investment, just be sure to keep these tips in mind when looking at different lakefront properties.