In Mike and Harriete Wock’s article from Kenyon Blunt’s Lake Home Tips you will find a fairly comprehensive checklist for folks thinking of buying property on Smith Mountain Lake or any other lake. It is good for us to dream and plan good things for our families, but we want to be sure those plans are based on practical ideas that will not create more headaches for us than joy. Living on a lake can be a wonderful thing if you are prepared for the realities………..
If you’re considering buying lakeshore property, you could be in the process of making one of the largest and most important investment decisions of your life. Will you make this decision based on all of the facts, some of the facts or emotion? This White Paper is a tool that will support planning and decision-making. It includes information on where to get relevant information, things to consider in your purchase and what to avoid. Buying lakeshore is not the same as buying residential property. There are a lot more things to understand and consider. This White Paper is generally designed to answer the question: What are the things that need to be considered in a lakeshore property purchase.
Top Things to Consider When Buying Lakeshore Property
Buying lakeshore is not as simple as viewing the house and garage and determining whether it is consistent with your “Buyer Criteria”. In addition to evaluating the property itself, there are many major things to consider.
What’s the lakeshore like? Does it have rocks, natural sand, grass, weeds, or muck? Does it have a million snails? Some lakeshores have an area that you can plop down your lawn chairs, dig your toes in the sand, and watch your children build sand castles. Some lakes are notorious for having muck which means that you might sink up to your knees before you hit hard bottom. Is this what you really want? If you’re fortunate you’ll find a lake (in your price range) with a natural sand shoreline. But to do a fair evaluation of the lakeshore means getting out your hip-waders and getting a little wet. “When buying lakeshore property, the quality of the lake, lakeshore, and lake bottom are as important as the house”.
What’s the lake bottom like? Is it hard bottom, sand, gravel muck, or weeds? Does the lake bottom slope gradually or are there steep drop offs? This could be an important safety consideration if you have small children or grandchildren. “Learning about the lake is one of the most important aspects of buying lake property”.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources provides excellent lake information via their website www.dnr.state.mn.us/lakefind/ Using this website you’ll be able to determine; how large is the lake, what is the littoral area, how deep is the lake, plus much more. A good quick measure of the quality of a lake is to compare the ratio of lake acres to littoral acres (area less than 15 feet). For instance, Rice Lake (near Brainerd) has 434 acres and 202 littoral acres. This indicates that less than half the lake is less than 15 feet in depth, thus it would be a good overall multi-use lake. Conversely, Little Blueberry Lake is 522 acres in size with a littoral area of 522 acres, with a maximum depth of 15 feet. This indicates that the entire lake has the possibility of blooming over with weeds and vegetation as the summer progresses. It’s a good idea to get in your boat and check out the lake first hand if that’s possible. Doing this will also help you determine what kind of cabins/homes are on the lake. Are there million dollar mansions or shacks packed together? Another major consideration is whether or not a lake has milfoil or zebra mussels. They’re proven to be nasty, and almost impossible to get rid of once they’re established, and they have a negative affect on the value of lake properties.
How do you plan on using the lake? Do you plan on swimming? Some lakes/lakefronts are too shallow or weedy for swimming. Do you really want to wade thru muck to go swimming? Do you want to just sit on your dock and relax? Some larger lakes like Minnetonka and Whitefish and others get so much boat and personal watercraft traffic that it’s almost impossible to just sit on your dock and relax (especially on weekends). With lots of boat traffic, is it safe to water ski or pull your kids on the cool water toys? Lakes less than 150 acres may be too small for skiing. Lakes with a high ratio of littoral area may be too weedy for skiing. Larger lakes like Mille Lacs and Leech Lake have large unprotected surface areas, which enables the wind to whip across and work up four foot waves. Can you swim, ski or fish when there are four foot waves? Lake size matters!
About the Authors:
Mike and Harriette Wock are founders of Paradise Real Estate, LLC,
which specializes in lakefront cabin renovations.
Cell:612.803.2312 Home:651.439.1808 Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
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