Oakland County lake homes - setting realistic expectations

Written by Posted On Wednesday, 05 September 2018 07:41

Buying an Oakland County lake home is a total different experience for a home buyer in Metro Detroit.  How can that be? You ask?  When you buy a regular home in a subdivision or a community in metro Detroit in most cases you are going to find similar homes with similar styles and ages in one neighborhood.  Everything is very similar..... parking, yards, neighbors homes, exteriors of the homes, and even the basic characteristics of the homes.

Lakefront living is greatIt is not the way with lake homes.  On most lakes in Oakland County Michigan you are going to find a mixed bag of homes.  You have to remember that our local lakes have been used by metro Detroiters as weekend getaways since the in1920's.  Some homes were built as year round homes for the local residents.  Some were family compounds for the rich and wealthy.  Others were tiny little cottages.  These little cottages many times had no basements, no garages.  They were many times 600 to 800 square feet with just 2 bedrooms, a small kitchen, and a small bathroom on a smaller lot.  There are still some of these little cottages sprinkled around the different lakes in Oakland County.  These little cottages were built from the 1920's to the 1950's.  Many of them were built on smaller lots.  However some of these home owners bought two or three extra lots.

Come enjoy the lakeOver the years many of these small cottages have been torn down and newer homes have been rebuilt.  You can tell when they were built many times by the style and size of the homes.  Tri-levels, bi-levels, split levels, and quad- level homes were built in the 70's, bigger colonials and sprawling ranches were built in the 70's to 1990's.  Then you have the shotgun houses.  These are bigger homes that are longer than they are wide.  They were built that way to get a bigger home on a small lot.  Of course there are the big estate homes on large lots with sometimes hundreds of square feet.  

So when a lake home buyer comes to me sometimes they have pre-conceived notions on what they can get and what they want. 

1.)  The first thing you have to learn is.....you have to know that lake homes are more expensive than what a regular home in a subdivision costs.  Depending on the lake, the size of the lake frontage, the lake bottom, and the lot size the same house you could buy in a subdivision could be $100,000 to $450,000 more.  And even more in some cases.   So you as an metro Detroit home buyer have to be realistic and realize that lake homes cost significantly more than a regular home.

2.)  A newer construction home with the modern bells and whistles is very hard to come by.  If they are out there they command high prices.

3.)  Many lake homes have odd layouts or different layouts than you are going to be used to.  Get over it.  The 1970's or 1980's colonial layout is not common on the lake.  A couple of the reasons why layouts are so different is because many homes have one or more additions to the home.  Many times the homeowners added on because they needed the space.  They home owners did it the least expensive way.  Yes the smart way would have been to change walls, move rooms around, but that costs big money.  The home owner may have just needed an extra bedroom.  Or instead of tearing the porch off and doing a small addition on the lake side, the owner just enclosed the porch.  So the floor slopes and there may be a pillar in the middle of the room because it is supporting the back of the house.

4.)  Many lake homes do not have the open concept, large kitchens, or master bedroom suites.  If they do it may not be perfect.  They may have used a second bedroom to add the master bath or walk in closet.  Once again the layout may be a little unique.  Stairways may be in an out of way spot.  I have seen stairways all the way behind a kitchen, I have seen front doors where you have to zig zag around rooms to get to the living room or kitchen.

5.)  A lakefront home with lots of privacy is going to be rare because many of the lots are smaller.  If you find a private lakefront lot it is going to be a bigger lot and it is going to be pricier.

Charming lake home on Dunham Lake

Bottom line is that a regular style home is going to be rarer on an Oakland County Lake.  A new home built after 1995 or 2000 is going to be rare.  On most lakes in Oakland County you are going to find that homes are different sizes, styles, and ages.  They may be right next to other.  Lastly a lake home is going to be more expensive than a regular home.  I hope this give you a realistic expectation of what to find when looking at lake homes in Oakland County MI.  For more information about the local lakes go to http://www.Michiganrealestatehomes.com

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