Why You Should Buy a Lake House

by Jessica Brita-Segyde

If you’re reading this, you probably like the idea of owning a lake home. Ruoff Home Mortgage, also likes the idea of you owning a lake home. Lake properties are a great investment, and one that you can start enjoying from day one. Just think of the memories you’ll create!

But do this one thing before you start looking: Get pre-approved for a 2nd home loan. This way you’ll know when (hopefully NOW) you’re ready to start looking. Pre-approval also empowers you with the information you need to make the right investment and lets potential sellers know that your offer is solid. Contact a Loan Officer to get the process started. They’ll make it as simple as possible!

Ruoff is ready to proceed with your pre-approval application as soon as you are. In the meantime, here are some of the benefits to owning a lake house:

THE RIGHT-BRAINED REASONS (THINK: WARM FUZZIES)

FUN, & RELAXATION

Oh, the joy you’ll feel when you and your loved ones hit the road for the lake after a long week in the city. Oh, the memories you’ll make! Will you be entertaining guests this weekend? Are you having a family-only bonding session this time around? Don’t forget to make room in the car for the dog. You’ll have plenty of room in the car– Your lake house is your own and all the necessities are already up there waiting for you. All you have to do is show up and let the relaxation begin.

A SENSE OF COMMUNITY

Are you a wildlife buff? Most lake communities value the natural world and support their own Wildlife Preservation Societies. If you care about conservation, a lake home could be a natural place to explore and advocate for those interests.

A case study in point: The lake communities of Mescola, Osceola, and Lake Counties in Michigan have formed a Conservation District for the preservation of the area’s wildlife. The volunteer board and staff work with the area’s property owners to manage the natural resources on their properties.

Most lakes feature Conservation Districts or Societies, and welcome new homeowners who would like to get involved. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in your state is may also have volunteer and education opportunities relating to lake life. Following are links to the DNR or related agency volunteer opportunities in some of the states Ruoff serves:

THE LEFT-BRAINED REASONS (THINK: GOOD INVESTMENT)

PRINCIPAL GROWTH AND FUTURE VALUE

As a general rule, all of real estate appreciates. Lake properties, however, hold a special place in the investment broker’s heart, er, portfolio. According to S&P CORELOGIC CASE-SHILLER U.S. NATIONAL HOME PRICE NSA INDEX, the national average for home values has increased by 3.46% since 2008. Not bad, and when one considers that waterfront properties are worth an average of 116% (Zillow.com) the cost of non-waterfront properties, the dollar-for-dollar increase is even greater.

For example, if the median home price in your area is $200,000, then the median waterfront home price is likely around $232,000. Statistically speaking, the cost of a non-waterfront home is likely to incur a value increase of $6,960 in the first year you own it. A waterfront home would increase by $8,074. (Again, these are generalizations.) That means the waterfront home has the potential to gain $1,114 more in the first year of ownership than a non-waterfront home.

Generalizations like the above are a good benchmark, but they don’t always tell the whole story.

Waterfront properties may or may not follow national trends and value spikes can occur in pockets. A Realtor in your area can get specific data useful to your investment needs.

Here’s the part where we emphasize that you that you NEED a buyer’s agent, a.k.a. Realtor. See my previous blog on the topic – What Can Go Wrong When You Buy Without a Realtor.

REDUCED VACATION AND TRAVEL EXPENSES

Spending money on one-time vacations can feel wasteful when the opportunity exists to buy a lake home. Sure, vacations offer fun and memories…but lake homes offer fun and memories and investment potential.

According to Conde Nast Traveler, Americans spend an average of $2,000 on each vacation they take. Consider the cost of taking multiple vacations with multiple people versus the cost of owning one lake home.

WHEN IS THE RIGHT TIME TO BUY A LAKE HOME?

The first step to answering this question is contacting a loan expert who can get you pre-approved. Pre-Approval is an essential first step in buying a home, and lake properties are no exception.

If you’re serious about looking and think you may want to schedule a property showing, find a buyer’s agent who you know and trust. An internet search for “buyer’s agent” or “Realtor” will return thousands of hits, but most established real estate agents work by referral. So first, ask yourself these two questions:

  • Do you know someone who was happy with their Realtor? Ask them for a referral.
  • Did the agent who worked for you during the purchase of your primary residence do an outstanding job? Find out if they know the waterfront market or can refer you to someone who does.

Lake homes are a wonderful place to make memories while building equity. Good luck on your home search. This could be the beginning of something beautiful!

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