If You’re Buying a Lake House, You Need to Know These 5 Things

Live Tahoe Real Estate Team

There is little more relaxing and tranquil than waking up, brewing a cup of coffee, and sitting from your deck watching the early morning sun glisten like diamonds on the water of the lake you call home.

Lakefront living is indulgent and revitalizing, but if you’re in the market for a lake house, there are certain things to keep in mind before you completely fall in love with some of the homes by a lake without doing some research first.

Appreciation in more ways than one

If you and your family can’t get enough of spending time on the water, the quick answer to “should I buy a lake house?” is a resounding yes.

Whether you prefer fishing (Lake Tahoe, for example, is packed with the heavily sought-after Mackinaw trout, as well as rainbow trout, sockeye salmon, both large and smallmouth bass, bluegill, bullheads, and more), swimming, taking in the scenery aboard a pontoon, or enjoying high-octane water sports, you can have it all when buying a lake house.

If you purchase a place in the right location — remember, location is everything when it comes to real estate — you can take advantage of activities throughout much of the year, including fall hikes when temperatures are crisp and cool, skiing, ice fishing, and snowboarding in the winter and gardening in the spring. The ability to find entertainment year-round is impossible not to appreciate.

If you’re asking yourself if waterfront property is a good investment in the long term, the short answer is yes. While many home values depreciate during certain downturns in the housing market, a lakefront home not only holds its value, it usually increases considerably, simply because there is limited availability of homes on the waterfront, no matter where you look. While that might make buying a lake house an exercise in patience as you search for a luxury home that meets your exacting needs, the high-end home that’s right for you will eventually find its way to market.

On California’s south side of Lake Tahoe, for example, one home on the market was a stunning estate featuring two detached homes with 11 bedrooms. What better family compound for a second home, as it’s perfect for vacations with friends or extended family? This is the type of home to seek when considering purchasing a lake house for the leisure and enjoyment it offers.

Still, there are some issues to take into consideration before diving in head first, so let’s take a look at the pros and cons of buying a lake house.

Is a lake house right for you?

It’s a good idea to ask yourself some questions when considering a lake house purchase, the most important being whether a lake house is really the right choice for your preferred lifestyle.

Lakes are popular for living and recreation, so if you prefer a quiet lifestyle, you may initially reject the idea of lakefront living. But don’t let a bit of summer noise deter you. Those summer months will fly right by, and during the rest of the year, the lake will likely be much less active, giving you the serenity you need to recharge.

Consider the property

It pays to check out several homes, even those that don’t offer a luxury experience, because the property itself is more important. If the home is located in a prime location, that’s much more important than the condition of the house itself. Look for a generous lakefront with room for several docks, tree lines to provide plenty of privacy between you and your neighbors, and space to add other structures to house your boats, ATVs, or other necessary vacation equipment.

Prime property is ultimately more important to your family’s lakefront happiness than the home itself because an unsuitable house can be razed to build the vacation or retirement home of your dreams.

Your real estate agent can help you see past the home itself to consider the possibilities.

Water, water everywhere, but not a drop for swimming

If the property is idyllic, that’s great, but what about the water quality?

A lake house can be a great investment, but if the water is murky with slippery weeds lining the shoreline bottom, you may not want to live there, no matter how great the home is, according to the experts at HGTV. While you still might be able to enjoy jet skis or a pontoon boat, swimming might be out of the question without determining if the habitat will allow you to hire a crew to clean up your portion of the shoreline so the swimmers in your family won’t be deterred by weeds and what lurks among them.

How is the home’s structure?

Unless you plan to raze the house to construct a more suitable property, it’s essential to ensure the structure is in good repair because lake homes are high maintenance due to their proximity to the water.

You may not be at the beach, worrying about a hurricane wiping out your investment, but there are still issues to consider if you are thinking about buying any property because you want the best of the best and deserve to have everything on your checklist, especially so when purchasing a lakefront property.

Check it out thoroughly with a good home inspector. An experienced real estate agent will have an expert in their back pocket who will be very aware of the issues impacting lake homes, such as humidity and other water-related issues that could require extra TLC for your home.

If it gets a thumbs up from your inspector and you’re still asking questions, know that if you plan on taking advantage of the many activities lakefront living offers, you probably should quiet the negative voice in your head and say yes to the purchase.

Are you considering Lake Tahoe?

One of the most popular and gorgeous lakes in the United States is Lake Tahoe, which is bordered by both California and Nevada.

The lake is 191 square miles and features excellent views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. In addition to fantastic beaches, Lake Tahoe also features great ski resorts, so for those who can’t get enough of the great outdoors, this is the lake for you.

There are several state parks nearby — Emerald Bay State Park and Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park — so there are places to hike, picnic, and more.

To find the right property that meets your exacting needs, find a trusted and experienced real estate agency like Chris and Brooke Hernandez with Live Tahoe Real Estate. They understand waterfront property and will be able to see a property parcel in a way that you might not, who can help you during your search.



Renowned for their unparalleled experience in Tahoe, Glenbrook, and Incline Village real estate, paired with unrivaled local insight and an unwavering work ethic, the duo consistently delivers the ultimate client experience. Whether it's a lakefront property in Tahoe, a cozy residence in Glenbrook, or a second home in the heart of Incline Village, Team Hernandez approaches each venture with unmatched enthusiasm, accessibility, and transparency.

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