What to Consider When Buying a Luxury Lake House

If you envision your future summers filled with sunset happy hours over the glittering water, sun-soaked days on the boat, and an open door for friends and family, creating a plan to purchase a lake house is the first step. There are many factors to consider from the location, size, water quality, and the surrounding town. However, it ultimately comes down to prioritizing the most important factors to you and your ideal lake lifestyle. If you’re planning on purchasing a lake house soon, below are the most essential points to consider before putting in any offers. 

The proximity of your lake house to your primary home is one of the most important factors to assess. While a two-hour drive may not seem that long, if you’re planning on going back and forth every weekend, this may start to take a toll. However, if you plan to stay at the lakehouse for more extended periods and return to your primary home for equally long periods, a two-hour drive may seem like a breeze.

Hire a Local Agent
While you may have a real estate agent you know and trust, hiring a real estate agent who is innately familiar with the areas you want to buy may be more advantageous. They are likely more familiar with inventory that may be hitting the market, the lake’s rules and regulations, and other nuances of the area that an out-of-town agent may not know.

Create a Must-Have List
Everyone has different motivations for purchasing a lakehouse. If you dream of watching the sunset every evening, ensure the backyard faces the west. Visit the house during the sunset, so you can be sure this is the view you want to enjoy for years to come. Or, maybe you envision long days of your family swimming and playing in the water. Inspect the water quality and depth off the pier and assess if the bottom is rocky, muddy or sandy, so you can be confident the water is safe to swim in. Perhaps your ideal lakehouse is a home that is always filled with visitors. In this case, the number of bedrooms may be more important to you than the size of the communal living area square feet. You may also want to build a separate structure to accommodate your guests. Be sure that the property has enough acreage to fit another dwelling

Check Zoning and Lake Regulations
Before you make any offers, check the zoning and building codes for any significant construction you want to do. For example, if you’re set on installing a pool in the backyard, check with the village to confirm that you can install a pool in the backyard. If you wait until after the property is yours and find out you can’t implement your dream project, it can completely alter your vision for the home.

Also, confirm the types of water vessels and sports allowed on the lake, such as boating, sail boating and jet skiing.

Visit the Local Town
If being close to local attractions is important to you, be sure to visit the local downtown to get a better understanding of the dining and shopping scene. Also, consider if there are other sources of entertainment for rainy days. However, the downtown area doesn’t matter for some, as they are perfectly content relaxing at home.


How Could Buying a Waterfront Property Affect Your Homeowners Insurance Rates?

Homeowners insurance premiums are based on many factors, including location. A house near a body of water will typically have higher homeowners insurance rates than a home located further inland.

Why It Costs More to Insure a House on the Water
Premiums for houses near the water are not higher due to the risk of flooding, since a standard homeowners insurance policy doesn’t cover flooding. Houses on the water and nearby structures can be damaged by waves, wind, and moisture. If a lakeside property has a permanent dock or pier, a standard homeowners insurance policy may not cover damage to it caused by weather. You may need to purchase a separate endorsement.

Insurance rates for homes near a coastline are higher primarily due to the risk of storm-related wind damage. Those areas are more vulnerable to hurricanes and nor’easters than properties located farther inland. Premiums may also be higher than average for homes that are not located directly along the shoreline, but that are close enough that they could be impacted by a major storm near the coast.

Homeowners insurance policies for waterfront properties often have a separate deductible for catastrophic wind damage that is significantly higher than the deductible for other types of damage. That is intended to discourage homeowners from filing small claims and to encourage them only to submit claims for serious damage.

How Companies Cover the Costs of Major Storm Damage
Some smaller, local or regional insurance companies sell policies to international reinsurance companies that write policies around the world and that have the financial resources to cover claims for catastrophic storm damage. Diversification helps them afford large claims, since it’s unlikely that several major storms would devastate multiple areas in a single year. That reduces the financial burden on smaller carriers and lets them issue policies to local customers. Reinsurance companies use computer models to assess risk in specific areas and to set premiums. 

How to Get Affordable Homeowners Insurance Coverage
You may qualify for lower homeowners insurance rates if you take steps to reduce the risk of damage to your home from a storm. For example, you can remove old structures that could be damaged or blown around by strong winds and install storm shutters to protect the windows. You can also replace or repair the roof using hurricane-resistant materials. 

Consider the Total Cost of Owning a Waterfront Home
Owning a house on the water may be your dream, but it’s important to think about all the costs associated with it. Homeowners insurance premiums for a waterfront property may be significantly higher than they would be for a house farther inland. Before you buy a house near the water, research insurance premiums so you don’t get shocked later and realize you can’t afford to insure your dream home.

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