Congratulations on your family’s decision to look for a lake house get-away! You have probably zeroed in on where you want to buy your property and are sorting through real estate listing options. You will immediately notice that different amenities are emphasized on lakefront listings than what you have seen with urban real estate listings. As a 25 year + homeowner, today I’m sharing my time tested secrets the lake house property features that really matter.
Here’s the scoop on what features really matter the most after many summers at the lake! Your budget and life style goals will ultimately drive what property is best for your family but some things matter more than others. Sharing our proven experience should help you focus on the most critical features.
- More than one bathroom Having more than one bathroom is especially important. You’ll be having guests visit at some point and a second bathroom is worth the investment.
- An expandable indoor eating area Look for an indoor room for a group to easily eat inside. Not every day will be sunny and clear so adequate indoor eating space is essential.
- A functional kitchen You will need a kitchen that’s reasonably configured and allows for easy meal prep. Some lake property kitchens are smaller and not ideally designed. Envision how you might re-model in the future if this is the case.
- A lakeside deck or patio Look for an outdoor dining space (deck or patio) that showcases the lake. You’ll want a place to sit, eat and grill.
- Utility room for a washer and dryer You will appreciate having your own washer and dryer rather than taking laundry to a laundromat.
- Room for a second refrigerator A second fridge to hold extra perishables and chill beverages is a bonus.
- Good views of the lake from inside the house A well designed lake house offers great views of the lake from most rooms. Checkout lake views for houses in bays as they may be obstructed.
- Easy walk down to the water front Lake side properties that sit up on a hill or bluff have lovely views but may have a steep walk to the lake on a small path or narrow staircase. Be confident that all your family members can easily negotiate those steps or that path.
- A yard space between the house and the shoreline Lake water levels fluctuate from year to year so check that the house is set back far enough from the water to reduce the chance of a flood in the house.
- A place to store your boat and lake toys Look for an existing oversized garage or storage building for boats or identify a place to build one in the future.
- Good water quality The quality of the lake’s water is critical to usage and enjoyment of the water. Quality issues to explore include water clarity, low algae blooms and local management of invasive plant species. The DNR and a Lake Association will both have information about these issues.
- Navigable lake, frontage, and dock Lake frontage can be overgrown. Confirm that the beach area is sandy and that a boat can be docked at a pier and driven without lake obstructions such a tree stumps, sand bars, boulders, etc. DNR rules will apply to your ability to clear the frontage.
- Lake public access and boat launch facilities Most lakes allow public access, but many lakes don’t have a public boat launches. Identify a clear way to put your boats into the lake.
- Lake Usage Restrictions Lakes can have usage restrictions such as no wake areas, dock restrictions, no usage of jet skis or motor boats, no water skiing or boat operation above a given speed, banned use of any petroleum fueled watercraft and more. Check for any restrictions before you purchase a property.
- Source of water for the Lake Ask where the lake water comes from (watershed) and understand what factors might cause the lake’s water level to change.
Keep this rundown of lake house property features that really matter handy as you sort through real estate listings in search of your perfect lake house. Share the features with your Realtor so you focus on properties that meet your needs and offer these amenities.
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Happy [lake] house hunting and good luck finding a home where your family will make a lifetime of happy memories as we have!