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Buying a Lake Home

From pre-approval to appraisals, buying a home is always a complicated process. But throw "water depth", “docking rights”, and “right-of-first-refusal” in the mix, and things get even more complex. Fortunately, real estate agents who regularly deal with lake homes know the ins and outs of this process. These tips from the pros will give you a heads-up on what to expect when purchasing a home by the water.


What can the right Real Estate Agent do to help you buy the right lake home for you?


  1. Work with a Real Estate Agent who's a true lake home specialist. The average agent won't have the detailed knowledge of lake homes in your area to help you find the best deal on a property that's right for you. You may think you've found a great deal, but is the reason it's a great deal because it lacks adequate docking or water depth and people can't get their boats in and out.


  1. Consider the property as much more than a structure. Often times, people fall in love with a house, but after they buy it, they realize the docking is not the best, the view's not what they wanted, it's difficult to get down to the water, etc. You can change the house, but you can't change the location and most times can’t change the docking, so be sure in buying your lake home you have considered your surroundings.


  1. Choose the activities that fit your lifestyle. You may find a beautiful property for sale, but the lake does not offer the activities you love. If you love to go out skiing, make sure you actually will be able to do just that. Focus on the activities you're passionate about and choose a lake community accordingly.


  1. Look into loans early. Since many waterfront properties are more expensive than other properties, loans will often fall into the jumbo mortgage category. Lenders will therefore only consider very qualified buyers. Buyers should start that process before they start looking for a property because that can take a lot longer than a normal home loan. We have also recently seen a few lenders not as eager to loan in some local lake communities, this is another example of the huge benefits to working with the right lake agent.


  1. Find out what you can do with the property. If you want to make any changes to your waterfront property, such as adding a dock or a seawall, understand these regulations upfront to ensure that these alterations will be possible. You don't want to commit to purchasing a home without knowing that you can really do what you want to make it your own.


  1. Knowing the area and the community. Get insider information by working with an agent that knows the community first hand.  How does the HOA operate, the Community Club, Community areas, easements, etc.


  1. Look into utilities. Waterfront buyers who are accustomed to the convenience of suburban life may assume that electricity, water, sewers, cable and Internet will be readily available at their new property, but this is not always the case. Bringing these services in to small areas can be very expensive, so investigate these issues before buying.


  1. Know your responsibilities as a waterfront homeowner. If you're part of a homeowners association, find out what kind of upkeep and maintenance of the property will be required from you by reviewing the conditions, covenants and restrictions, knowing the dredging schedules, street maintenance, etc


Work with an agent that knows Lake with Angie Ripley  816-665-4228

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