Buying Lakefront Property? Consider These 5 Things

Published | Written by Erin Epperson

Lakefront living is an experience incomparable to any other; the access to both land and water adds a certain uniqueness to your new lifestyle. Purchasing on the waterfront is a great investment, regardless if the property is enjoyed year-round by you or used as a vacation rental. With that said, rushing into a property just because it's available in a season of perpetually low inventory could cause you more heartache than goodwill. As with any property you purchase, there are red flags to notice before signing that dotted line. Particularly with lakefront property, there are some special considerations that don't hold true to other land-locked real estate. 


This isn't an immediate cause for concern. However, noting water levels fluctuation and water table history is important to consider with basement or underground areas of the home. Leaks, flooding, cracks and mold could indicate a higher water table and more persistent problems to arise should you choose to become the homeowner. Inspecting the water line is also indicative of overall shoreline erosion. Location of debris will give you a better understanding of how high water levels can rise in relation to where your future home sits.


Waterfront property can carry different water and sewage rates than properties located inland. Should the property also have a dock, you'll want to also total up the costs you will spend yearly on dock and lift fees and service + your septic and well upkeep.


Every lakefront property owner has a different set of needs. Everyone who purchases on the water wants the views that accompany the lakefront access. Ensure your windows have unobstructed views and, once down to the water, land is clean and clear of debris. If you have a boat, you'll want to confirm whether you have easy access to the waterfront, or if you'll need to get onto the water at a different vantage point. Consider where the home sits within your cove if you have a dock. While main channel views are a sight to see, this comes with added noise and potential dock damage from large wake. Should you want nice, serene sunset nights -- you may want to steer clear of properties that sit across the cove of busy marinas and restaurants on the water.


Waterfront homes cost more to insure than homes located further inland. In addition to these higher rates, you will also need to include the cost of flood damage. Before you sign anything, you'll want to be sure any rise in insurance rates aren't going to be the deciding factor of whether or not you can afford your new home.


Inhale, exhale. The lake itself can have a distinctive scent. A small amount of "lake smell" can easily be looked past when you consider its proximity to the waterline and any restoration projects you may take on to update your living. What you won't want to confuse is if what you're smelling is truly just the natural scent of living on the water in an older home, or the start of a mold takeover due to increased moisture levels.

Have you run into these issues when looking at lakefront property? What's been your biggest "red flag" moment during your recent home search? We're curious! Drop a comment below with your story.

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