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Just add water. How to simplify buying a lakefront home.

Scott Freerksen, owner of Lakefront Living Realty, offers tips on how to safely purchase lakefront property.

Plunging real estate prices and Baby Boomers looking to downsize and simplify their lives are two trends that have led a number of prospective buyers toward purchasing a lakefront home. While the dream of living on a lake has become more tangible for many, so too are the potential for problems if you do not know what to look for and what to ask.

Before making any lakefront purchase, be sure to get answers to the following:

  • Is the property serviced by an on-site septic system? If so, has the system passed state inspections? Be sure to get a copy of report.
  • If the property is serviced by town sewer, is there a betterment still to be paid? Who is paying it?
  • What is the yearly cost of town sewer and water?
  • Does the property require flood insurance? If so, ask for a copy of the current policy and be sure to find out the cost per year.
  • Are there any easements associated with the property? Are the lake rights owned or shared? Be sure to obtain a current copy of deed.
  • What are the conditions of the shoreline in the summer? Depth? Weed count, type?
  • Are there any known defects in or around the property? Have the current homeowners completed any upgrades? Was the work permitted? Request copies from town departments.
  • Has the property been appraised recently? If so, when? Can you share how you arrived at the asking price? Ask for recent comparable sales.
  • Does the lake have an active Lake Association? If so, ask for updated contact information.
  • How is the lake water level controlled? Is it lowered in the winter? Is the water quality tested annually? Recent issues?
  • What recreational activities are allowed / not allowed on the lake? Ask for copy of Rules & Regulations.

While knowing what to ask is important, deciphering that information and then being able to weigh that into your decision to pursue a property or not is even more critical. Not every realtor or buyer broker has experience with waterfront properties and that’s why you want to be sure you work with somebody who has, pun intended, sailed these waters before.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Scott Freerksen March 06, 2012 at 10:48 PM
For more information, you can attend my Keys to Buying Lakefront Property seminar on March 25. See http://www.lakefrontliving.com/seminarKeys.asp
Eric Esterling April 02, 2012 at 10:23 PM
How about bugs? Isn't lakefront property more likely to have mosquito problems? How do you determine how bad mosquitos get in peak season?
Scott Freerksen April 02, 2012 at 10:45 PM
Eric, This questions get asked quite often: Aren’t lakes a breeding ground for mosquitoes? Let’s clear up some facts…There are four stages in the life cycle of a mosquito: egg, larva, and pupae must have standing water to complete their development. The type of standing water, however, varies greatly. Some species prefer to develop in permanent water sources such as marshes, waste lagoons, and catch basins. Other species prefer the water that collects in tree holes, tires, cans, or other artificial containers. Still others develop; in temporary pools of rainwater. The water source must be “stagnant” and protected from the wind. Most lakes and ponds would not be able to support mosquito life. Also, on any decent sized body of water, there is almost always a breeze coming off the lake that helps keep mosquitoes away. You will certainly still have mosquitoes, but you will have less than your neighbor across the street whose house is tucked in the woods. Bottom line, this is why you have so many visitors at your lake home...very few mosquitos! Scott

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