Have you always wanted to own a home on a lake? You can’t beat less than an hour drive from Atlanta to a weekend getaway on Lake Lanier. Just up 400 or 85/985, you can find beautiful homes nestled along the lake with breathtaking views. People always assume these homes cost $600,000 plus and while that is the case for most lakefront homes, you can enjoy the same lake for as little as $200,000.
If you are considering buying a home, you first need to do a little research to understand what drives the price for this type of real estate. When looking for a home on the lake, there are several key factors to keep in mind. Most homes value on the lake depends on dock permits, depth of water, walk to lake and of course the view.
Dock Permits: This is probably the most critical piece of value on lake homes. Lake Lanier no longer offers dock permits. If a home has a dock permit, they are approved for a certain size of dock. Once you pass the Engineered Corp line (typically metal plate on tree or orange pin) you do not own this property. In order to install stairs, lights, water or even cut down dead trees, you must receive approval by the corp. If a home only has a swim platform, do not assume this can be changed to a boat slip.
Depth of Water: The water is currently down roughly 5-6ft. It is critical to check the history of the home you may be interested in to see if it is possible to dry up. If the cove is narrow, you have a higher chance you will have shallow water. This will drastically impact the value of the home as well. If you see “deep water” on listings, assume this home will cost a bit more. The further north you go, you will find less expensive homes but typically they have a higher chance of having shallow water. For some buyers, they take this risk to get a beautiful lake home and have plan B in place to move boat to marina if needed. You also need to know the size of your boat or plans for what you plan to buy one day. You need to make sure the cove is not too crowded or too shallow for your boat type.
Walk to Lake: How close a home sits to the lake and what the walk down is like, also factors into the value of lake homes. When showing lake properties, I typically back a pair of tennis shoes because I usually have to walk through woods at steep declines to get to lake. Some properties have cross ties down to the lake or cleared out paths. If you have a permit, you can get approval for a golf cart path or lighted walk ways. It is hard to tell online what this walk will be like. It is best to go in person to walk this to better understand.
View: If you simply want to get away and do not own a boat, you can find great homes with great views for a reasonable price. Homes add up if they check off everything above plus a spectacular view. I always suggest looking at google maps to get a better idea how far home sits away from lake. Unfortunately if trees on the corp line are blocking your view or in the way, you cannot cut them down. Going to view the home in person is the best way to know.
If you or anyone you know is looking to buy a lake home, please keep in mind a Realtor with lake experience is necessary. Call The Peters Company today and we will be happy to meet with you to discuss this option.
Written by Amy Wade, Northeast Georgia Specialist, The Peters Company