• Chuck, Tom & Bill Clancy

Tips to Buying a Lake House

Buying a lake home is the dream of many individuals, families, and retirees, and living in Michigan means having a long list of options. From the unparalleled views from the shores of Lake Michigan to the highly sought after lifestyle of Gull Lake, waterfront living in Southwest Michigan offers both a retreat-like way of life and the convenience of being near major cities and towns. The availability of varying styles, locations, and prices of a lakefront property creates opportunities for homebuyers seeking the dreamlike lifestyle, but where do you start? Adding “lakefront” in front of “home” creates a more complicated buying process, but with the help of the right professionals, navigating the system can be made less arduous.

Homebuyers already face several hurdles in the search, lending, and negotiation processes, but introducing waterfront into the equation creates its own set of challenges. With these tips, any buyer starting to search for their dream home can set themselves up for success.


1. Find a local REALTOR® that understands waterfront real estate. The keywords “local” and “waterfront” hold a more substantial significance in the waterfront sales process. Each lake, municipality, and region operate in unique spaces with local customs, knowledge, and attributes that are not openly available to the general public. Understanding local riparian rights and how that affects your shore usage or knowing how easements are handled among current homeowners is critical to purchasing a home that, once owned, can be used and enjoyed the way you intend.


2. Research loans and insurance early in the process. Waterfront homes tend to be higher priced and can require different insurance policies. Be sure to start the discovery process long before you start looking at homes to understand what you can afford fully, what the total costs will be, and how long the approval process will take.


3. Consider the entire property, not just the house. Once you’re ready to start your lakefront home search, consider how the property functions as a whole versus how much you love the home or its relative distance to the water. Buying a home that is just steps from the lake does not mean you have access to the lake. Consult with your local REALTOR® about how easements, shared frontage, deeded access, and boundaries affect the usage of the property. Once you have a clear understanding, make a list of must-haves for your lifestyle before you head out on showings.


With so many options in Kalamazoo, Richland, Portage, Delton, and the Greater Southwest Michigan area, making your dreams of a lake home become a reality is at your fingertips. Although it can be a complicated process, if you follow these tips, and work with a local expert, you’ll be moving into that Michigan lakefront home before you know it.


If you are considering a home on Gull Lake or a waterfront property in the Greater Kalamazoo area, let Team Clancy know. We have years of experience and lakefront living expertise that can go to work for you. This combined with an extensive network of trusted professionals, will help you find the perfect home to fit your needs.


Contact us here or call 269-629-4186.

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