Five Senses of the Lake
- Location -Start by asking yourself why you are buying a waterfront house and how do you intend to use the lake for an ideal weekend? Are you looking for water activities and a lake conducive to water skiing and wakeboarding? Do you envision long pontoon rides? Do you fish for bass or crappie? These are the kinds of questions you want to ask and answer before you start your lake search. Lake Martin has 100’s of miles of undisturbed shoreline, keeping its waters clean and the fish healthy. Centrally located in Alabama, it is accessible from Birmingham, Atlanta, Montgomery, and Auburn…just to name a few. There are neighborhood developments with golfing and gym amenities, cabins, waterfront homes, condo’s and townhomes to fit every family’s needs. Of course, when you have a fabulous lake home to retreat to on the weekends and holidays, any area can be the one you’ve been dreaming of!
- Purpose – Will this be a permanent residence? A second home, weekend getaway? This is an important factor when looking at waterfront homes on Lake Martin. Families purchasing as their permanent residence may desire an outdoor fireplace, large covered decks, spacious closets, ample parking, and boat slips. Is being close to restaurants, grocery stores and shops a necessity? This is a question to be answered for full time and weekenders. For those purchasing a second home, may see this purchase differently than a full-time residence. Write down two or three features that are of most importance to you and your family. This will help keep those elements at the forefront and allow me to select the properties that meet your expectations.
- Choose your view – If you’re thinking of buying a waterfront home, we’d be remiss not to remind you that Lake Martin is a 44,000-acre reservoir with plenty of views to choose from! Do you prefer sunrise or sunset? A grand water view, or a quiet secluded cove? There are pros and cons to each so going in open-minded is not a bad idea. Exposed water has a big view and can set your mind at ease as soon as you pull up. However, water traffic usually comes with exposed water views. High boat traffic areas can make docking a boat difficult, causes wear on your dock and seawall and create a smaller swim zone. Quiet coves, though the view is less, is perfect for families who want to enjoy their swim area and not worry about boating traffic or rough water. Many coves have deep water just as big water lots. This gives you the ability to join the water activities on Lake Martin at your leisure and be able to retreat to a quieter place and relax. Don’t forget to consider changing up your primary residence to be on a lake year-round.
- Know the rules – As one of our most precious natural resources, it’s important that lake property owners take great care of the lake or river where they live. In many cases, there are building ordinances that protect the water, and also protect homeowners from building too close to the shore. If you’re planning to build on an empty lake lot or to tear down an existing home and rebuild, I will be able to walk you through the guidelines around Lake Martin and put you in touch with developers who specialize in a waterfront building. Keep in mind what is static and what can be modified when it comes to lakes and lakefront properties. Elevation and lakeshore quality has been created by nature and cannot usually be changed or modified, but the waterfront structures generally can be—subject to zoning ordinances. With your questions answered, we will be on our way to mapping out homes or lots on Lake Martin!
- Financing a lakefront home – Oh yes, there’s still that little question of money. Whether you’re buying a waterfront primary home or a weekend lake cabin, you should connect with a mortgage loan officer early in the process. If you’re buying this lake home as a second property, you’ll work together to determine if you are able to (and want to) use the equity from your primary residence to help pay for the down payment or closing costs of the new lake home. Your mortgage loan officer will work together with you to find the best loan option as you buy your lakefront property.
Another option might be to secure financing directly from the seller. This is called a contract for deed or land contract. Your REALTOR® or attorney can guide you on the pros and cons of this method of financing.
One last note: if you plan to rent out this property, we can check with your mortgage loan officer on how it could impact your loan.
With spring just around the corner and the success of our local economy, lake property sales are on the rise! If you’re hoping to enjoy a waterfront property this summer, get started now so you have plenty of time for backyard barbecues, boat cruises, and bonfires.
Reach out to me today to get started on the process of buying a lake home, or start searching waterfront properties on Lake Martin today.