Have you always dreamed of living near the water? Studies have shown that there are many benefits to living on or near bodies of water. From the mental benefits like increased relaxation, tranquility and peace to the physical benefits of staying active through swimming, kayaking and more, the reasons for living on or near a lake are endless.
You may not be the only one hoping to move towards the water because of all these advantages. With only so much lakefront to give away, competition to snag that lakehouse or property may be fierce. Before you start your search to live on the lake, make sure you’ve checked out these Jaqua Realtors tips for buying waterfront property:
Differentiate Between Lakeview and Lakefront
Although these two similar words may seem interchangeable, there is actually a significant difference between the two. If a property is listed as a lakefront or waterfront property, then that means that part of the property boundaries will include frontage on the body of water. Waterfront property means you would have direct access to the water, but does not necessarily guarantee you would have a dock to access a boat on the water.
On the other hand, lakeview or waterview properties only mean that the house or land is in view of the water. The house or piece of land you’re looking at could be across the street from the actual lake instead of having direct frontage to the water and again, these properties may not have their own dock or even the option to build one. Before you start your house hunt, make sure you understand the pros and cons of both types of water properties and whether or not that is a deal breaker in your search.
Pick the Right Water and Location
Not all bodies of water are the same, so consider the different types of water you could live on and how their location affects your decision. If you’re looking for a small getaway property, then you likely don’t want to travel very far from your primary residence. Depending on where you live currently, this could drastically affect what type of water you live on.
Some lakes are all-sport lakes, meaning you can participate in activities like water skiing, tubing, jet skis and others involving motor-powered boats. However, some lakes are considered non-sport lakes which means they do not allow power motors and may even limit the size of electric motors. Depending on the lake, a few non-sport lakes will even say any boat with a motor is not permitted. Paying attention to what type of lake you’re looking at will help determine whether this is your dream lakehouse or not.
Choose What Kind of Lake Life You’re Looking For
In order to pick the right type of lake or body of water you want to live on, you should have an idea of what type of lake life you’re looking for. Living on a lake is about a lot more than just real estate; it’s a whole different lifestyle.
If you’re hoping to move towards the water permanently, then you may want to consider a bigger all-sports lake to give yourself more options as time goes on. However, if you’re looking for something quieter and peaceful, a non-sport lake may be just the ticket. Most lake homes do not have a basement, so if extra storage is a necessity for your next move keep that in mind. The type of lake can also refer to whether or not the lake offers public access or if it’s a private lake. Public lakes tend to be more crowded, which could steer some buyers away while others would consider that a perk. There are a lot of factors that can affect the type of life you’re hoping to live on the lake, so make sure you’ve taken all of these into account before placing any offers.
Walk and Inspect the Property Carefully
Inspecting a home before you place an offer is always important. But performing water-specific tests that inspect elevation, water-quality, mold, corrosion, flooding, etc. is especially essential before putting a bid in on a lake house. As peaceful as the water may look, it can be absolutely brutal to the foundation of a property. To ensure that your new water home isn’t going to have major issues in the future, take care of inspections before anything else.
You should also take your time walking around the property and spending some time near the water. The view from photos may be mesmerizing, but in real life you may find more weeds, debris and other problems with the water itself. Remember, it’s easy to change the landscape of a backyard, but not so easy to make changes to the landscape of a lake.
Check for Hidden Costs and Deals
Because of all the extra amenities lake living provides, it can also lead to many added expenses. Utilities like electricity, water, sewer and other maintenance issues can really add up over time. Depending on the lake or body of water you live on, you also may have a homeowners association fee to pay. If there are problems with the lake’s cleanliness, who takes care of the clean up? If a boat dock doesn’t already exist, how much will it cost to add one and will there be zoning issues to consider? These are all questions to ask before you move forward with your transaction.
Similar to any home purchase, it’s also important to have a clear idea of your wants versus your needs. Some water properties have a lot of acreage, but not a dock. For others, they may have a dock but very little green space. Whether you have a dock, acreage, shoreline or not can greatly increase or decrease the value of a listing. Take your time considering what you really need out of your water property before you head out to search the market.
Looking For an Agent?
If you’re hoping to get closer to the Lake Michigan shoreline and need a talented agent to help you get there, reach out to one of our lakeshore agents today! Jaqua Realtors has locations in South Haven, St. Joseph and Saugatuck.
You can check out the agent roster for each location by clicking here.
Just Want to Visit the Lakeshore?
If you’re not ready to make an official move to the lake but would love to spend some time on the water, check out our vacation rentals! Jaqua Realtors Vacation Places and Rentals offer a variety of places to stay depending on size, location, amenities and more.
Check out our availability calendar and start booking your vacation on the Lake Michigan Shoreline by clicking here!