Make your dream of owning waterfront property a reality with these tips.
Step 1: Consider location Consider the convenience of the location. Decide how long you're willing to drive or fly to reach your property.
Step 2: Hire a local agent Hire a real estate agent in the designated area or areas that has experience in lakefront property and familiar local building laws and regulations.
TIP: Look at more than one development, even if you're in love with it.
Step 3: Choose property or existing cabin Choose between purchasing vacant land or land with an existing cabin. You may pay significantly more for property with an existing structure, even a tear-down, than the lot and building would cost separately.
Step 4: Determine water level Determine if the lake is constant level, which means the lake stays at a consistent water level. If not, find out how high and low the water gets to avoid flooding and other problems.
Step 5: Beware of flood plains Beware of buying in a flood zone, which may make getting homeowners insurance difficult to impossible. Check out your zone at the website for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA.
Step 6: Consider size Consider the size of the lake and the water and frontage quality based on your needs. Lakes of 100 acres or less usually can't support water skiing or other high-speed activities and tend to be quieter. Lakes over 1,000 feet wide are often active and have lots of residents. The quality of the water and the shoreline in front of your property is the biggest factor in determining cost so decide what you require based on your activities.
TIP: Larger lakes are usually zoned for smaller parcels, so getting a large lot on a large lake could be pricey.
Step 7: Visit Visit the site yourself for a thorough inspection. If you're serious about purchasing it, make the offer contingent on a professional inspection of the land. And always make your offer conditional on your ability to get financing.
FACT: Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area, measuring 31,700 square miles.