Finding waterfront property for sale these days is not too hard. You can spend countless hours surfing the Internet and viewing multiple photos of lake homes and cabins without ever having to waste any gas. But more often than not, it seems that the lake homes online don’t quite live up to a buyer’s expectations once they see them in person. So frustration can set in pretty quickly.
Searching for the right property on water is not quite the same as it is in the city. Not only do buyers tend to come from further away, but there is a whole second tier of criteria that is not generally an issue with in-town homes. Things like the type of shoreline, elevation and access to the water, condition of out-buildings and boathouses, and the extent of views from various rooms are issues that are hard to discern without taking a good look around the premises.
On the other hand, I never discourage early buyers from doing a little driving. Many times they may not be sure if they want to be in Alexandria, Aitkin, Grand Rapids, or Siren, Wisconsin…or somewhere else within a three hour range of Minneapolis. When you are that open in your thinking, it is a good idea to start narrowing things down by getting a sense of what each area has to offer, and how you would feel living or vacationing there. Some people like the idea of a cute little downtown, and others are more concerned about having restaurants and bars they can drive to in their boat. It is a good idea to put together your wish list and see how different communities and lake areas fit into it before getting too caught up in the actual properties themselves.
The other thing that seems to become an issue for many lakeshore buyers is trying to narrow down the right lakes for their needs, along with the properties that fit them best. I often find people turning to nicer looking homes online with the hope that it will be a good lake as well…even though they know it isn’t! I even find that, online, they begin to start settling for smaller and lower quality lakes than their needs require, almost like they’re trying to force the lake into being larger and better than it is just because the structure is more modern and appealing.
The reality is that good quality lakes, and especially larger good quality lakes, are more expensive. So once I understand a buyer’s budget, I can help guide them to the types of lakes and lake areas that fit within that budget, and the criteria they have in mind for a lake property. And although many buyers think that a bare lot may be the way to go, when you start adding up building costs, septic systems, wells, clearing, and other required items to put up a decent structure – along with the fact that many bare lots have more marginal shoreline — it is often less expensive and more preferable to find an existing structure to work with.
A lake home or cabin should be a good investment, along with serving as a place of enjoyment and family bonding. And a knowledgeable waterfront real estate agent can keep you on track to help you remember that during your search. I try to be that agent who helps you avoid making mistakes in your end result.
I hope that some of this information helps as you begin your quest for lake properties in Minnesota or Western Wisconsin. Please give me a chance to assist you with your search so that I can save you both time and frustration. I will be happy to be your guide so that you focus on all the other enjoyable aspects of purchasing a property on water.