Top 10 Considerations When Buying Lakefront Property

At least a dozen times a year, we get calls from folks who purchased their “dream” lakefront home and are now having issues with the property. Many involve the understanding of lake rights vs. lake access, weed control, Lake Associations, Wetlands & conservation laws, zoning setbacks, septic systems, buying in the winter, boating restrictions, etc. These are not issues at all if Buyers know the right questions to ask up front.

Buying lakefront property is different than any other real estate. Use these top 10 considerations when buying your dream New England lakefront property:

  1. Does the property require flood insurance? Anything the current owner/selling agent is telling you is IRRELEVANT! You must obtain a current flood certificate for the property.
  2. Is there a private septic system on the property? Did it pass the state inspection? Obtain inspection report AND as-built plan. Confirm type/age/location/size of system.
  3. Fully understand what property/lake rights you are buying. Obtain copy of deed. Are there any easements, restrictions, shared property, obstructions, encroachments, right-of-ways?
  4. What is the condition of the shoreline in the summer? Depth? Weed count/type? Obtain photos of summer conditions and speak with neighbors on both sides.
  5. Is there a Lake Association formed that is currently active? Are there dues? Obtain contact information and speak with current Board members about lake management activities.
  6. How is the lake water level controlled? Who controls it? Is the lake drawn down in the winter? Who owns/controls the dam? Who owns/controls the lake itself?
  7. What is the quality of the lake water? Who, when and how is it tested? How are residents notified of unhealthy conditions? Obtain copy of recent water quality reports.
  8. What recreational activities are allowed/not allowed on the lake? Confirm with town and/or Association. Obtain copy of current lake rules and regulations.
  9. Are there any known defects in or around the property? Have the current homeowners completed any upgrades? Was the work permitted? Obtain sellers disclosure form.
  10. Is the property priced correctly? Have your Lakefront Specialty Agent complete a current comparative market analysis (CMA).

As a general rule, NEVER assume anything or trust what someone is telling you as fact …always use the “SHOW ME” rule!

These are just the top 10 questions…be sure to ask us about the full 37-point property questionnaire that will alert you of any red flags on your future dream home! We go over these in detail at our Keys to Buying Lakefront Property” Seminar on March 19, 2016!

Posted by Scott Freerksen “The Lake Guy”

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