Property Value Factor #2: The Slope
We’ve looked at factor #1, the view, so now it’s time to see a second factor that affects how waterfront real estate is valued. “The Slope” often runs a close second behind view, and for many buyers it is first.
Smith Mountain Lake’s boundaries are made up of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains that rise from the water. Many waterfront lots are on old ridge tops or even peaks. Some of these lots are only 5 or 10 feet above the water level, which can result in nearly flat lots with a very gentle slope to the water. Some slopes are too small to even allow a walkout basement. A large number of lots have a gentle or medium slope to the water, and a home can be well situated with a nice view, a basement, and a reasonable driveway in front and walk to the water behind. There are other lots, however, that are steep. A few homeowners have added an electric tram to get from the house down to the water! Some homes require a golf cart or many steps.
Typically, the value of a waterfront property is directly affected by the slope. For instance, yesterday I showed a waterfront home with charm and privacy. It seemed like the perfect lake home, and the couple was very excited as they walked through it. That is until they looked off the back deck. This was an unusually steep lot, and there were 105 steps down to the boathouse. They eventually walked down to the dock, and this confirmed that this was not the home for them (I had warned them before we went!).
Often, you will be able to get a nicer home in a nicer area with a better view if you are willing to sacrifice on the slope. And who knows – you may be able to stay in great shape by doing the stairs! 🙂