Lakefront Homes; Buy, Build or Remodel

Published on August 18, 2015

Lakefront Homes; Buy, Build or Remodel


 Plan to Owning a Lakefront Vacation Home

The benefits of owning a home on a lake range from fabulous views to having a personal spot to go boating, fishing, and the list goes on. But how do you get there? How do you make a reality out of your dream of owning a vacation home on a lake?

Let’s take a look at some of the options you may have, depending on where you are hoping to buy a lakefront home. For the purpose of providing you some examples, I will elaborate on my personal experience working with buyers building an addition to their home.

Do You Want Acreage???


Put An Addition on an Existing Home

017 They purchased a 1950’s log cabin with minimal square footage on an acre of land, with the intention of renovating and building an addition. To increase the feeling of square footage, they opted for vaulted ceilings and a loft for additional bedrooms, office or play area for kids. One of the great things about the high ceiling is that it drops the room temperature by 7-8 degrees – very nice during the Summer and great for Winter sleeping too!





Adding a new Kitchen was easy. The cabinets were hand crafted with pull out drawers. Then the island was built. A sink, disposal and dishwasher were put in the island and a Granite top installed. Both sides of the island have very large custom pull out drawers in the cabinets. The solid oak stairway was added last and was hand crafted by the Amish, along with the post railing around the loft, and up the stairway.




When you are having an addition custom tailored to your personal style, you can opt for fun choices like they did in the bathroom. Filling it with cozy and inviting surprises; heated floors, a heat lamp over the 6 foot tub, a large window above the tub for natural sunlight, then a very large glass enclosed shower with custom tile and finishes.




The final touches were then made. A large vanity with granite top and sink with deep pull out drawers on each side. The custom knotty pine floor to ceiling cabinets and shelving are very spacious and hold towels and bedding, enough for 14 people!





Buy a Vacant Lot and Build New Construction

Purchase a vacant lot and with it come a vast array of choices to building your vacation home on the lake. Do your research to ensure you find the right builder, and make sure you partner with a real estate agent experienced in both lot sales and the process of building a home. Ask yourself this question, do I need a real estate agent to build new construction? The answer is yes! Not only will an experienced agent make sure you are protected properly in your contract, but there are many do’s and don’ts of buying new construction.


 Friends at the Lake House 072 Friends at the Lake House 055

Now that we’ve talked about  the do’s and don’ts for building your vacation home on a lake, let’s talk about the details and considerations you’ll need along the way.


Matching Your Needs to Your Destination

Many people assume they must own a primary residence before owning a vacation home, but this isn’t a rule you must follow. What’s really important is matching your housing choices to your lifestyle, and being able to afford both.


Determine How You’ll Use Your Vacation Home

From a financing and tax standpoint, you need to consider how you intend to own and use your property. You have three options:

  • Primary residence. You can buy for as little as 3 percent down via Inlanta Mortgage (if your loan doesn’t exceed $417,000), mortgage rates are the lowest they can be, and you get significant homeowner tax benefits. via Bill Gassett
  • Second home. You can use your second home any time you want, but lenders won’t let you rent the home. Buy for as little as 20 percent down, and qualify for the loan using your full primary residence cost plus your full second home cost. Mortgage rates and tax benefits are the same as primary residences.
  • Investment property. You can rent the home, plus use it when it’s not rented. Rates are .25 percent to .375 percent higher than second home rates, and your down payment usually starts at 30 percent. You qualify for the loan using your full primary residence cost plus your full investment home cost, but you can use rental income to help qualify. Tax treatment is less beneficial, but the extra income can help with affordability

Make Sure You Are Aware of All The Costs Involved

You can determine what you can afford in seconds. Then you’ll find a lender to formally analyze the cash available for down payment, closing costs, via House Hunt, and reserves. You’ll also calculate the total monthly cost on your existing home (whether you rent or own), plus the total monthly cost on the vacation home.

You also need to plan for personal budget items via HGTV, that lenders don’t use in their qualifying calculations:

  • Gas, electric, cable TV, and internet
  • Furniture and housewares
  • Travel costs to your vacation home
  • Total cost of property maintenance items like cleaning, landscaping, and pool/spa upkeep


Related Resources About Buying a Vacation or Lake Home

Considerations for Buying a Lake Home: via Bill Gassett

7 Smart Tips for Buying the Perfect Vacation Home: via Bigger Pockets

5 Repairs You Might Encounter During the First 5 Years of Owning a Home Via Wendy Weir Relocation

Wendy Weir Relocation – Real Estate Agent, Relocation Specialist, Birmingham, MI


Lakefront Homes; Buy, Build or Remodel
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