A lakefront home offers a unique beauty and lifestyle that is both exciting and relaxing for your entire family. Here in Michigan, we’re graced with a number of lakes offering beautiful views, great fishing, boating, swimming, and much, much more. If Lake Michigan is your preferred spot, there are plenty of quality lakefront homes in Grand Haven, Muskegon, Spring Lake, and Holland to choose from.
The lakefront lifestyle is something to strive for, however, buying a property on the water can be complicated. Here are 10 things to think about when shopping for lakeshore real estate in Michigan.
1. How will you use the home?
Are you shopping for a summer home, or will you live there year round? Clearly define what you’re looking for BEFORE you buy and consider all of your options.
2. Build, Renovate, or Turnkey?
Are you seeking to tear down and build new, renovate an existing home, or looking for a turnkey property? If you’re building new or renovating make sure you understand any restrictions, codes, or special permits needed.
3. Understand all of the additional costs associated with lakeshore real estate Michigan
From higher taxes to HOA fees, costs can add up. Make sure to take them into consideration when planning your budget.
4. Look for hidden costs
Lakefront property can carry hidden expenses. Water and sewer rates are often higher than inland rates. Docking and boat lift fees, as well as septic upkeep, can be potentially hidden expenses to ask about before you buy.
5. Does the property have a private beach?
If so, make sure littoral rights are included with the sale. If not, is there a common area, and are their costs involved. If an HOA is involved (which is not uncommon with lakeshore real estate in Michigan) make sure you understand any by-laws and covenants before you buy.
6. Inspect everything carefully and completely
A water view is beautiful, but water can be hard on a home. An expert inspector can help you fully understand the property and any issues that it may have. Elevation certificates, water quality testing, surveys, and other land and water based tests that are not necessary on a regular home, can be critical before buying a lakefront home.
7. Walk the Property
Try to see the home from the water. You may have an unbelievable view, but difficult water access. Remember, you’re not just buying the house, you’re also buying the water – so walk the property carefully!
8. Research Insurance Requirements
Lakefront properties can sometimes be at increased risk for wind, water and weather damage. Sometimes it is difficult to find insurance and when you do, it can be extremely costly. Do your research!
9. Research the shoreline’s history
Wind, water and dirt can mix in interesting ways. Sometimes the shore will move. Before you buy try to research the history of the property. If the water level rises, or winter storms create erosion problems you could end up with damage to your property.
10. Work with a real estate professional that specializes in lakeshore homes in West Michigan
Lakefront property comes with a unique set of challenges. Interview and hire an agent that specializes in the area and in lakefront properties. They will help guide you through the process of searching and buying your dream lakefront home.
If owning a lakefront home is your dream, do your due diligence and work with an expert who can help you understand all of the options available to you.