Buying Lakefront Real Estate? Here Are 5 Things To Consider

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Owning lakefront real estate is a dream come true for many people. The tranquil sound of water, the stunning views, and the opportunity for a waterfront lifestyle all make it a very appealing investment. With over 3,000 lakes, rivers and streams the Adirondacks are the perfect place to start your search. Similar to the Adirondack towns each waterway has its own feel and rules. This is why buying lakefront real estate requires careful consideration and planning. At ADKPP we have helped dozens of families and investors buy houses on or near our regional lakes. Here are some important factors to consider when purchasing lakefront property.

Property Location

When it comes to real estate, location is everything. This is especially true when buying lakefront property. You want to make sure that the location you choose offers the right balance between convenience and serenity. As stated above each waterway has its own feel. Are you looking for quiet paddling? Do you have a motorboat? These could be things to account for during your search. Multiple lakes and ponds through the Adirondack region may only allow a trolling motor or no motor at all. Mirror Lake in Lake Placid is an example of this; you are not allowed to have a motor on this lake but when you cross the road into Lake Placid you are able to have motors on your boats.

Another thing to consider when buying property on or near a lake is the proximity to amenities such as grocery stores, restaurants, and medical facilities. Some Adirondack lakefront or waterfront properties are very remote so you will want to plan accordingly. Picking up groceries and supplies while you are in town makes one less trip for you so you can enjoy the lake even more! Another thing to consider in your search is ensuring the location is not prone to flooding, and the water quality is good. No one wants to buy a home to see it floating in the middle of the lake. Many older camps are grandfathered into the distance they can be from the shoreline what is farther away now. Be sure to inspect the property before buying it to see if there is any water damage!

Waterfront Access

The primary reason for buying lakefront property is to enjoy the water. Therefore, consider the type of waterfront access that the property offers. You can find a wide array of water access in the Adirondacks from a nice sandy shoreline to a marshy shoreline and even rocky. In our experience, you will find a rockier shoreline on Lake Champlain properties while many of the interior lakes are more on the sandy side. Another thing to consider is how you plan on enjoying the waterfront. If you want to swim, boat or fish you will want to make sure the water is deep enough to do so. This may also come with the addition of adding a dock if it is not already in place. If you are looking to buy property on a stream or river, you may want to see if there is great fishing and paddling in these areas, again depending on your personal interests. Figuring out the access as well as the activities that you would like to do will make it easier to buy the right waterfront property.

Defining Wooded Property Lines

It’s important to understand the property lines when purchasing lakefront property. Ensure that you have a clear understanding of where the property ends and where the lake or neighboring land begins.  You don’t want to accidentally encroach on your neighbor’s land or vice versa. This can be especially tricky in the more remote waterfront properties that are surrounded by trees making some of the property lines a little harder to figure out. If possible, make sure that the property lines are well-defined, and you have clear access to your own piece of waterfront land from a public road.

Local Zoning Laws

Zoning laws play a significant role in determining what you can and cannot do with your lakefront property and differ throughout the Adirondack regions. Before purchasing, make sure you are familiar with the zoning laws in the area. The laws will determine things such as the size of the home, setbacks from the water, and whether you can build a boathouse or dock. Also, if you plan to rent the property, it’s important to ensure that you can use the property as you desire before making the purchase. We have found that many of the Adirondack communities are beginning to add in short term (under 30 days) rental rules so you will want to be aware of what these rules consist of.

Maintenance and Upkeep

One thing we hear most often from buyers and sellers is that lakefront properties require more maintenance than inland homes. The moisture from the lake can cause damage to the property, so regular maintenance and upkeep are crucial. Before you purchase your lakefront or waterfront property you will want to consider the cost and frequency of maintenance such as cleaning the gutters, treating mold, and fixing any water damage. If the camp is older you will also want to consider the cost of any necessary upgrades or renovations. Some of these Adirondack camps have barely been renovated or updated since they were originally built!

Purchasing lakefront real estate can be an exciting and fulfilling investment. However, it’s essential to take the time to consider these important factors before making a final decision. Be sure to check out the lakefront and waterfront properties currently listed with ADKPP here.

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