By Sally Rummel

 You can count practically on one hand the number of waterfront lots available for a new build in the tri-county area, but that doesn’t mean you can’t live in your dream home on a lake.

 Instead of building your own lakefront home, find an existing home that you can transform into your dream property.

Things to consider

when purchasing a lakefront home

The current state of the home

 Moisture in the air, weather patterns created by the lake and the rise and fall of the water level can all lead to degradation of property. Specifically, look for bug infestation and water issues that can be found more readily near lakes.

Orientation to the sun

 Does the home get morning or afternoon sun? If you are getting afternoon sun, does the deck have any sun protection? How do the winds come off the lake affect both your enjoyment of the property and the heating costs?

The lake itself

 Lakes can vary considerably, meaning one lake might be perfect for you while another is completely undesirable. Do your research first.

Is there a lake association?

  It is always wise to find out about any organization you will be required to join, because they can vary a great deal in how they handle issues. Most of the time having a lake association benefits those living on the lake.

Expansion possibilities

 You may have visions of adding a second story or a large addition, and discover it’s not possible because of zoning restrictions.

Other legal, conservation and zoning restrictions

 Lakes are considered wetlands so they are afforded protection under the Wetlands Protection Act. The local conservation board is going to want to know anything you do to the property that is within 100 feet of the lake. Also, do your homework for property advertised with “lake access” or “right of way to lake.” Consult an attorney who can do a title search to check the accuracy.

What about the view?

 Make certain that the view you have fits your desires, now and in the future. You may have your views impaired or changed by others residing on the lake.

How much privacy do you want?

 The closer you are to the water, the less privacy you have lakeside. Lots with more distance between the home and the water, still with a clear line of view — are usually more expensive than those right on the water. The extra cost may be worth it.

Source: Information provided by Al Lifsey of ReMAX Platinum

Here’s advice from local Realtors

‘‘ The setting is crucial. You can change a house, but you can’t change its setting. Think about sunrises, especially consider the sunsets, sandy vs. non-sandy beach and the panoramic view.’’

John Tremaine, Tremaine Real Living Real Estate

‘‘ Buying a lakefront home is very different compared to a traditional purchase. You need to understand these differences before making the leap into lakefront living.’’

Al Lifsey, ReMAX Platinum

‘‘ It’s not about cosmetics or the existing structure, but more so about the things that can’t be changed, like the quality of the beach, the lot size, the view of the water and any potential blockages of that view, whether it’s homes, trees, etc.’’

Patrik Welty, Legacy Realty

Starting your dream home from the foundation up

You’ve found the lake of your dreams, however, there are no open lots left to purchase to build your dream or retirement home. If this turns out to be the case, one alternative idea is to buy an existing home, demolish it and begin again from the foundation up.

Keep in mind the elevation for flooding and flood insurance, sight lines with the neighbors’ homes, footings, overall size of the home and any variances you may need if the shape of your new home is different from the previous one.

Average price of waterfront home in Fenton, Lake Fenton and Linden areas


Average days on the market:


Source: Patrick Welty of Legacy Realty

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