Life’s Better on the Lake!


It is hard to beat a Michigan summer … and even harder to beat if you are one of the lucky people who live on one of the beautiful lakes in, near or around our community. In April, with the almost 80-degree days sprinkled through the month, many of us have already seen the light at the end of the tunnel of winter to the long, sunny days headed our way. If you are in the market for a lake home to enjoy the reprieve of the cool water on hot summer days, now is the time to key into the market for a lake property and make a move.

Because of their limited availability, lake properties are almost always a solid investment – when they are gone, they are gone. Before diving into the market to purchase a lake home, there are many unique considerations. Simply choosing where to buy and if the timing is right are only minimal pieces of the puzzle to build your ideal lake life.

In my experience, the best place to start when thinking about purchasing waterfront property is to consider what your expectations and needs are lifestyle-wise from lake life. Goals may include a pleasant view, evening pontoon rides, watersports, paddle-boarding or kayaking, kids playing on a sandy beachfront, etc. With each of these activities, one lake may be more suitable than another. As all natural creations are, each lake is different and each offers many unique qualities and characteristics that the others may not. With the pricing varying a great deal between lakes, there is no need to pay the lot cost and taxes for an all-sports lake when a quiet spot to paddleboard a few evenings a week is what you truly desire.


Because of their limited availability, lake properties are almost always a solid investment – when they are gone, they are gone.


If you’re not interested in speed-boat style water sports (surfing, wakeboarding, water-skiing), a motorized pontoon or jet-skiing and would prefer wooded seclusion, lots of wildlife, kayaking, canoeing and fishing, a small private lake would be a more ideal choice than an all-sports lake. Not only will a property on the smaller lakes typically be a bit less expensive and offer lower taxes, but you will also find a more calm and peaceful atmosphere than on a public lake. The smaller, private lakes offer limited access to residents only, and vary in their usage. Some of these lakes are all-sports, while others allow only small electric motors, or small pontoons with electric motors, but nothing larger. These are “no wake” lakes. However, some don’t allow any type of motorized boat at all (“no motor” lakes).



When you consider a lake home purchase, there are many questions to ask:

  • Is the lake public or private?
  • Is the shoreline sandy, rocky, muddy or mucky?
  • Is the lake all-sport, no-motor, no-wake?
  • How are the weeds in the lake?
  • Are there any easements on or around the property allowing surrounding areas or the public access to it?
  • Does the DNR control and/or patrol the lake and the Riparian Rights of the property owners?
  • Is there a sandbar in proximity to the property? Does it get very busy and when? Is there a party there every day in the summer with very loud music?
  • If there is a dock or hoist at the property and does it belong to the owner? Will he be leaving it? Will the dock need to be removed seasonally or is it fixed?
  • Whether public or private, are boat slips sold anywhere on the lake?

When buying lakefront property, the location on the lake is another very important factor. It impacts the value of your home almost, if not as much, as the condition of the home itself. Variations could include being located near the public boat launch; on a channel vs. the open water; across the street from the water with access and dock across the street, etc. Each of these lake placements come at a different cost, and each variation should be closely considered when making an offer on a home. Comparable properties used to determine your offer price should be in line with each of these criteria.

Just like you wouldn’t pop into your local Ford dealer to ask about surf-boats, you should never look for lake properties with a Realtor who doesn’t live on a lake. The intricacies of lake life can be complicated. With such an expensive investment at stake, you should take the time to seek out an expert to handle your concerns and point out others you may not have considered. Many of the questions about lake homes that we help homebuyers with every day are answered using the knowledge and experience we have gained from living and experiencing lake life for decades.

Happy House Hunting!


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