You know in real estate they say "all agents are not created equal" and this could not be truer when it comes to dealing with lakefront properties.
Work with a Realtor who has knowledge of the lakes
An astounding number of buyers sign up with Realtors that just don't have the experience or expertise needed to gauge all that goes into the purchase of waterfront property. The best step you can do is to hire someone with prior, proven and effective experience in dealing with such homes. Hire an agent familiar with shoreline rules, state building setbacks, dock rules, water quality and clarity. There are 250 lakes in the NH Lakes Region and to be honest I can only recommend about 75 of them.
Look at More than the Structure
The home may look wonderful and seems to fit your family's needs. Question what parts of the home can you change or add on to or is the current footprint all you have to work with. What about the water quality and the is the bottom sandy or mucky for swimming, Are you happy with the view? You may not be able to cut trees to make any improvements along the shoreline.
Does the location Match Your Lifestyle
Keep your lifestyle in mind when seeking lakefront properties. Ask yourself what your primary use of the property will be. Do you plan on spending most of your days out on the water fishing or boating? What about using the home during the winter months, how close are the ski areas or access to snowmobile trails . What types of recreation or amusements are around the area for days not spent on the lake or those rainy days.. Prior to Visiting a Home, Call your Local Banker
Unlike conventional properties a lake home may not match what your local bank will even make a loan on. If the bank is selling the loan in the secondary market most will not give you a loan on a seasonal or island property. You may need to find a bank that will hold the note in house. Do your homework up front. If you find that perfect home you may need to act quickly and if your banking is not lined up you may lose the home. My best advice is use a local small bank. Just trust me on this one. Insurance
Check to see if the home is in a flood zone. This past November FEMA recreated all the flood maps putting almost every home on every lake in the flood zone. Don't trust the old owner, his policy pre-dates the FEMA changes. Flood insurance is expensive. If you are in the flood zone you may be able to work with a local surveying company to get an elevation certificate to avoid the insurance. Don't laugh when you view the FEMA maps, pretty sure they were done hundreds of miles away with a crayon. Other areas of insurance you may have to deal with are private roads, you will need a road agreement, if the road is private and fire hydrants will be brought up. Pump the water out of the lake!
When doing your inspection check everything.
Inspections are critical for properties located on or near the water. Not only that, it is important to work with an inspector that has proven experience in dealing with similar properties. The reason for this is that the nature of these properties is completely different than standard homes. In addition to checking the structure check the home for radon air and water, plus the complete battery of water tests including arsenic.
Talk to the neighbors.
Ask the neighbor where the property line is, half the time no stakes can be found on waterfront properties. What about any problems you may have heard about with the home or the neighbor on the other side, do talk to all the neighbors. I have seen many buyers run for the hills after talking to the neighbor.
Lastly are you ready for a second home?
Many buyers neglect to realize the level of responsibility involved in owning a waterfront property. Heating the home, general maintenance, outdoor landscaping , plowing the driveway, dock maintenance, buying and maintaining a boat and the added, taxes, insurance costs associated with owning a second home. Think it through.
When you are ready to move forward call us, we have over 20 years of valuable lake experience.
For additional information on purchasing a lake home in NH call Lady of the Lake Realty at 1-888-737-5550 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website to view recommended lakes and homes in New Hampshire at www.nhlakesrealty.com or www.lakeorskirealestate.com.