How to buy a lake home - Michigan home buying tips

Written by Posted On Thursday, 30 March 2017 08:56

Everybody wants to buy a home that will go up in value.  It is no different with a lake home buyer.  I want you to be the one of the smartest lake home buyers in Michigan.  I want to talk about what is important when buying a lake home.  It is all about the location.  In real estate we say location, location, location.  What that means is that where a home is what determines the value. The better the location, the likelyhood of the home's value being stable and increasing in value in the long run.   You can have 2 exact homes.  One in Birmingham and one in Pontiac Michigan and you can have a $200,000 price difference.  It is the same way with lakes and Michigan lake homes.  For example the exact lakefront home on Upper Strait Lake in West Bloomfield will be worth more than a waterfront home on Eagle Lake in Waterford.  It is all about the desirability of the lake house and the lake.  It doesn't matter if it is an Oakland County lake home or a lake home in Livingston County.

Loon Lake in Waterford MI
Loon Lake in Waterford MI

Location of the lake home determines price, desirability, and long term appreciation.  Here are some factors that determine Oakland County lake home prices. I am sure these same factors determine prices on lake houses all over Michigan.

  1. 1.) Prestige/Desirability of the community.  We all know which communities in metro Detroit are more desirable, or more affluent.  Sure you may not care about who's, who but it is a fact of life that some people are driven to live in the nicest community and most affluent community possible.  It is the same with Michigan lake buyers.  If a lake is in an affluent community it is going to be more desirable and the homes on the lake are most likely going to cost more per square foot
  2. 2.)  School systems.  A better school system usually has a direct coorelation to home values in the area.  In Metro Detroit the better the school system the more buyers that want to send their children to school there and live there.
  3. 3.)  Size of the lake....Size does matter when it comes to Oakland County lakes.  You will usually find that the larger lakes will have more homes that are over $500,000 or even over a million dollars.  Our big all sports lakes tend to be more desirable
  4. 4.) All sports lake or not.  I myself would say this is an iffy factor.  In general I would say that most big all sports lakes will get a higher price per square foot than a non all sports one.  However in affluent communities like Bloomfield Township or West Bloomfield you will find homes on non motorized lakes like Green Lake or Forest Lake that have high price per square foot equal to some of the all sports lakes.
  5. 5.)  Private Lakes.  The affluent buyer does like a private lake.  It is desirable to many lake home buyers.
  6. 6.)  Sandy Bottom versus weedy or mucky bottom.  A home that is located on the lake where the sandy bottom is at will make it more desirable.  Some lakes are all sandy bottom, some lakes vary from side to side what is mucky or what is sandy.  Some buyers want to swim right in front of their home.
  7. 7.)  Canal front versus lake front.  For some lake house buyers it is all about the view so a lakefront home is always going to be worth more than a canal front home.  I could estimate a $50,000 difference for the same home on the lake versus a canal.
  8. 8.)  Sunset side doesn't demand a premium
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  10. I would never tell you to buy a home just because of these factors and most lake home buyers would never do that anyway.  However if you keep these factors in the back of your mind you will find that a home with some or many of these factor will bring you a better return on investment in the long run.  The bottom line is so long as you are happy with your lake home I am happy.  I honestly have never had a lake home buyer that regretted moving onto the lake.
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