A Quick Guide to Buying a Lake House: What Homeowners Need to Know

For those who are drawn to the look and feel of waterfront properties, a lake house is a worthy investment. Lake houses are known for their stunning views, laid-back vibes, and higher property values — and lucky homeowners get to enjoy unlimited access to water activities like swimming, sunbathing, and boating. And according to one marine biologist, being near water promotes good physical and mental well-being, boosts creativity, and improves sleep quality. 

If you’re thinking of buying a lake house, there are several things you need to know about purchasing, owning, and maintaining a waterfront property. Below, the Lake Bridgeport real estate team shares some tips for finding a house you can afford, insuring your waterfront property, and maintaining your new home throughout the year. 

Buying a Lake Home

To experience the many wonderful benefits of living on the water, you’ll first need to find a real estate agent and mortgage lender with knowledge of lake homes — and set your home buying budget. Redfin’s online calculator can help you get started, as your budget will typically depend on your annual salary, down payment amount, home prices in your desired area, and monthly expenses such as credit card payments and car loans. 

Once you’ve found a real estate agent and mortgage lender, you can start to look for available lake homes in your desired area. Shannon Petrie of HGTV shares 10 tips for buying waterfront homes, so keep these in mind as you search for properties in your price range. 

Choosing a great location is just as important as finding a home you love, and it’s a good idea to consider things like noise, privacy, water access, and shoreline when buying a lakefront home. Remember, you’re not just buying a home: You’re paying for the water as well!

Owning a Waterfront Property

As the owner of a waterfront home, you’ll need to meet several property insurance requirements. And while these requirements vary by state and mortgage lender, you’ll typically need to purchase homeowners and flood insurance policies. You may also need personal watercraft insurance if you plan on owning a boat and/or jet ski. 

When insuring your lake home, you may wish to cover any detached buildings on your property — including storage sheds, bunkhouses, and garages. If you have water trampolines and/or boat lifts, you may choose to insure them as well. An experienced insurance agent can help you to purchase the best protection for your new lake house. 

Maintaining a Home on the Lake

Waterfront properties typically require more maintenance than landlocked homes, as repairs are often needed due to flood, storm, and wind damage, as well as foundation and mildew issues. Plus, you’ll need to maintain the following:

  • The home’s exterior, including its paint and siding
  • The landscaping, trees, and shrubs
  • The boat dock and deck
  • Any watercraft you own, such as boats and jet skis

To ensure that you can pay for your home repairs as they arise, it’s important to budget for annual maintenance costs. According to Megan Nye of Northwestern Mutual, saving one percent of your home’s value is a good annual goal, but you may need to tuck away more if you live in an area that’s prone to storms and strong winds. 

The Bottom Line

There are advantages and disadvantages of buying a home on the lake, and because of this, waterfront properties aren’t right for everyone. However, a lake home could be the perfect investment for you if you know what you’re getting into and you’re prepared for the additional costs and upkeep that go along with owning a waterfront property. If you know you’ll love living on the water, the work you’ll put into maintaining your lake home will be well worth it!

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Lake Bridgeport

Fishing Report from TPWD (Jul. 10)

GOOD. Water normal stained; 87 degrees; 9.65 feet below pool. Lake Bridgeport is around nine feet low. Water is clearing with temps in the mid to upper 80s. All ramps are open. Crappie are being caught around the U.S. Route 380 bridge, deeper docks and main lake brush piles. Jigs and minnows are best. Sand bass have been surfacing early and late on the main lake. This action can happen quickly so have your favorite top water lure ready to go. Hybrids are wandering the lake in small packs. Look around the main lake structure, they are moving fast. Live bait and slabs are putting them in the boat. Largemouth bass have been a tough bite. Start with a loud topwater, as the sun comes up try your favorite finesse bait around deep, shady docks. Deep diving crankbaits pulled across points have been working also. Report by Keith Bunch, Lake Bridgeport Guide Service.

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