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Tips on Buying a Lake Property

Posted by wordpressadmin on July 15, 2015
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Learning about the lake is one of the most important aspects of buying lakefront property. Before you decide where to buy, it is a good idea to spend some time in the area and gather some information. Talk with current landowners, people at the bait shop or marina, county conservationists and lake specialists with your state natural resources agency. If there is a local lake association, talk to some of their members, or better yet attend one of their meetings. In choosing a location, it is important to look not only at characteristics and health of the lake, but also of the surrounding community.


July and August are the “dog days” of summer when nutrients and sunlight stimulate plant growth to their fullest. These months are a good time to view the lake when its quality issues could be most apparent. But remember that every year is different. Ask other residents, lake specialists or the county conservationist about the condition of the lake.


Many factors influence property value. Boat landings, parks, restaurants, campgrounds, resorts, and other businesses can result in traffic, people, noise and litter. Is there a comprehensive plan or land use plan to guide future development on the lake? What land uses (commercial, industrial, residential) are allowed under the current zoning ordinance? Are there large undeveloped parcels of land that may be developed at a high density in the future, changing the look of the shoreline and the number of people on the lake? The local planning and zoning office can answer these questions. Is there an active lake or watershed association? What kind of projects have they completed, and what are they currently working on? Would you be interested in joining such a group to work to protect the quality of your lake or watershed?


Do you plan to swim in your lake? If so, keep in mind that some shoreline areas may be too shallow, mucky, or weedy for swimming. Your lake may also be closed to swimming for part or all of the year due to high levels of bacteria, algal toxins, or other health concerns. Be sure you know if your lake is swimmable before you buy.


What is the boat traffic like on a summer weekend? Could boat traffic make it unsafe to swim in the lake? Are there any state or local ordinances regulating watercraft speed or time-of-day use? Does the lake have public access? Will you be able to launch your boat? Consider these types of questions if you intend to boat on your lake.


If you plan to fish at your lake, it is important to know if fishing or fish consumption is restricted in any way. Many states issue fishing restrictions due to mercury or other pollutants in fish tissue. Be aware of any fishing advisories or prohibitions that relate to your lake. If fishing is permitted, certain seasonal factors such as winter kill or summer algae blooms can have serious impacts on the fish. What species of fish live in the lake? Is this what you want to catch?

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