Created on Monday, December 05, 2016
Updated on Monday, February 26, 2018
by Land Century
Heres what you need to know about building a lakefront house:
Make Sure the Property is Suitable for Building
When searching for land to build your lake home, its important to make sure that the property is suitable for building. Even if the description says its a buildable lot, you want to do your due diligence and research the property first.
Some wetlands are protected, which means you wont be able to build in certain areas or not at all, depending on the size and location of the property. Youll also need consider topography issues that may keep you from building where you want and any other obstacles you may face during the planning/building phase.
Also, consider where the septic tank will be installed most lake homes have septics, not city sewer and whether youll be connecting to city water.
Understand Local Laws
If local authorities govern and own the lake, youll want to check your local laws before building. In some areas, the local government may control all the land within 100 feet (or some other number of feet) from the lake. This means that if you build your home on government-controlled land, authorities may one day decide that they need that land, and they would be within their rights to knock your house down.
The last thing you want is to build a gorgeous lake home (which will cost you more than regular home to begin with) only to have it knocked down in the future. Learn more about the local laws and any potential legal complications you may face by building in your preferred spot.
Views are Key
Most people build lake homes with the intention of being able to enjoy great views from most of the rooms. Ideally, you want to place the master bedroom, kitchen, dining area and family rooms in locations that take advantage of the waterfront views.
But in order to do this, you need the right property, and you need to make sure that you can build in the right spot on the property to leverage those views. Sure, your property may be lakefront, but if the only spot thats suitable for building is set back and far atop a hill, you may not get those gorgeous views you want.
An Experienced Builder is Essential
Building a lake home presents its own set of challenges, which means youll need to find an experienced home builder that knows what to expect and how to handle any issues that may arise. Ideally, you want to work with a builder that has built several lake homes, and has a portfolio of these properties that they can show you.
If you have friends or family with custom-built lake homes, they may be able to offer recommendations on reliable, professional and experienced builders.
Make Sure the Lake Suits Your Needs
Consider what youll be using the lake home for. Do you enjoy fishing? Maybe you prefer kayaking or want a lake that allows for waterskiing. Whatever your favorite activities are, make sure the lake can accommodate them. You wont be able to water ski on a narrow, still lake. And not all lakes are good for fishing either. Keep these things in mind as you browse for properties.
Secure Financing Early On
Building a home is complicated enough, but financing the build is even more complicated. If you need to finance both the land and the build, youll want to seek approval (or pre-approval) as early on as possible. In fact, this should be one of your first steps before you even start looking at properties.
When you have your finances in order, it makes the rest of the build less stressful. The last thing you want is to scramble to secure a loan after youve found the perfect property. You may not get approved in time to snatch up the land before someone else does.
Expect the Unexpected
Youve found an excellent builder, and youve gotten an estimate for your home. That estimate probably wont be anywhere near what youll actually spend. The old saying whatever can go wrong, will go wrong comes to mind here. Things will come up along the way, especially with a waterfront property. Plan to spend more, and go as far as including unexpected extras into your budget.
Assume Nothing and Communicate Everything
Mistakes can and do happen when building a home theres no way around that. But you can minimize these mishaps by making your expectations crystal clear. Be as specific as possible when communicating your ideas and desires. Go as far as drawing a picture or showing a similar design if necessary.
If you assume the contractors will know what you want, youre sadly mistaken. Explain everything in as much detail as possible, and you can avoid costly mistakes in the long run; mistakes that drag on the building process even longer.
Kindness Goes a Long Way
Theres a lot of work involved when building a home, and youll be dealing with a number of contractors along the way. Whether its the cement crew, the framers, the electricians or the painters, be kind to anyone who is putting their time and energy into building your home.
And if youre kind to the crew working on your home, theyre far more likely to do a great job and put their best foot forward.
Building a lake home is exciting, but its important to take the right steps to ensure your build goes as smoothly as possible. From making sure you find the right piece of buildable land to checking local laws and finding an experienced builder, planning will go a long way in saving you time and money when building your new home.