If you’re not a lake house owner yet, but you have a hankering for a waterfront property, we suggest renting in the area first…for perhaps as long as a year.
But you want it now, you say? Patience, young grasshopper. There are reasons why you should try it before you buy a lake house.
Seasonal considerations. Your favorite little town might be cozy and accessible during the winter. You can get right into any restaurant, and parking is a breeze. But during the summer, the road in front of your property might be more like a parking lot of trucks pulling boats waiting to get to the public launch. Or a festival might shut down your street for two weeks, and tourists might turn your hangout into a waiting room.
Conversely, you might love the incredible sunset views from your proposed property during the summer. But during the winter, that unobstructed view means the wind rages against your windowpanes. And as the ice thaws, you might find that the water isn’t where you left it. Water levels in some lakes have fallen off sharply. Give it a year to see how your destination weathers before you buy a lake house.
Lifestyle considerations. Do you want to get away from it all? That might sound good until you realize that you’re a 30-minute drive from the nearest mini-mart every time you run out of ice and beverages. Perhaps you want to be in the heart of everything…until you discover that the local band of roving teens does, too…and they like your street corner.
Do you want to be able to get around by bike? Better to take a trip on two wheels as a renter than find out the grade up to your new neighborhood is much steeper than you thought. Do you want to hang out with a happenin’ young demographic, a bevy of families or some serene retirees? Learn the lay of the land as a renter before you buy a lake house.
Distance. Most importantly, you want to be sure you can manage the distance from your first home to your second home if you plan to make the trip often. Nothing is worse than a lake house sitting empty because you’re too busy to make the six-hour drive most weekends. Try it at different times of the year before you buy a lake house at any significant distance.
Consider the distance from the marina, too, if you’ll be using one. It’s nice to be able to run home and grab flip-flops for the person who managed to leave the house without any kind of shoes. An even more compelling reason to rent before you buy a lake house: If you decide you hate the marina you’re at, moving to a new one far from your lake place changes an outing on the boat significantly.
We know what it’s like to fall head over heels in love with a place—the breakfast joint, the fishing, the server at the tavern, the music scene, the waterskiing, the memories with friends, wind in your hair and sun on your face…it can be intoxicating to find a location so filled with good times and great people. Spend a whole bunch of time there and get to know it well before you plant permanent roots. Unless you’re sure you can flip a small property quickly, try it before you buy a lake house, and you’ll be able to truly create the particular type of paradise you’ve been wanting.
Reposted by Scott Freerksen “The Lake Guy”