Summer is fast approaching and visions of lazy days on the lake might have you thinking about purchasing a lake house. Even if you are a home buying pro, there are definitely some things you need to know about lake living before placing an offer on your first lake home.
First, understand your ownership goals and strategy.
Are you purchasing a property just to vacation in or will this be your primary home? Knowing how you intend to use the house will help determine the amenities you need most and how much location plays a factor in your selection. It can be very easy to fall in love with the view and never consider if the house or property is practical for your circumstances.
Know the area you’re purchasing in.
You’ve found the lakefront home you love and the view is amazing! Before you call your REALTOR®, make sure you’ve looked into the area around your potential home.
Here’s some things to consider:
- What city/county/state rules or regulations apply to the property you’re purchasing? – The rules for lake living are different. Private docks may not be allowed on certain parcels or have restrictions on the activities permitted on the lake. Be sure to ask if there’s a homeowner’s association as well. This could limit recreational opportunities for you and your guests.
- Where is the waterline and how does it change? – Weather conditions, changes in season and dam cycles (if near one) can impact where the waterline rests at any given time. This affects the amount of usable land associated with your lake home.
- Speaking of water, be sure to check out the water quality of the lake. – No one wants to swim in polluted water. Ask other residents about their experiences with debris and contact the local environmental agency about common pollutants found in the water.
- How is the home positioned? – Investigate how your future lake home is positioned relative to daily sun. Does the home see morning or afternoon sun? Where is the sunset relative to your deck or front porch? Is there room for home expansion and how close are you to the lake’s flood line?
- Know your neighbors. – It’s good to know your human neighbors, but you also need to understand the plants and animals that inhabit the area. Are there poisonous or irritating plants growing nearby? Is this a feeding area for certain wildlife? Do bears frequent the area? Most animals will be more scared of you than you are of them, but it is good to know how to prevent accidental encounters.
Evaluate the current condition of the home.
Water contact and constant humidity at the lake can be hard on building materials. Ask about frequent maintenance requirements or major repairs that have been made to the home. Find out if the property is connected to the municipal sewer system or runs on a septic tank. When you’re ready to purchase, have your home inspector go through every detail of your chosen lake house possible.
Consider storage and security.
Are you planning to buy or already own a boat? Think about all of the extras you’ll want to go with it! Life jackets, water skis, paddleboards, innertubes; the list could go on forever. You will need a place to store these things and make sure they are secure. Your lake home could be far away and hidden from neighbors which means no one will be looking out for your home while you’re away.
Select a trusted real estate professional.
Lakefront properties are some of the most desirable homes in our area. A REALTOR® with experience buying and selling lakefront homes is a huge advantage for you before, during and after the buying process. These homes can enter and exit the real estate market in a matter of hours so it is important to have an agent that understands your goals and priorities. This will insure that you have the best opportunity to purchase the lake house of your dreams.
Are you ready to search for your lakefront home?
The Billy Houston Group has resources available to guide your search for lake properties in East Tennessee. Visit our lakefront home search to see current lake listings in the area. Be sure to sign up on the website to get email notifications of new lake house listings as they go live! Connect with us on Facebook at the Billy Houston Group main page as well as Knoxville Lake Properties.
Have a specific question about the homebuying process or lake properties? Call our office at 865.577.SOLD and #AskBillyHouston!