Thinking about purchasing a lake home for your family? There are so many things you should know about living on a lake before you make the investment. Lucky for you, I’m here to help! Check out my 8 Tips for Living on a Lake and ensure yourself an easy transition into lake life living!
It’s hard to believe that in just a few months our family will be lake house owners for 3 full years! I guess the old saying is true…time sure does fly when you’re having fun. And although we have had the time of our lives these past few years (cue the Dirty Dancing soundtrack here) there are definitely some things I wish I knew about lake living before we took the plunge into buying our first lake home.
Because you know how much I love my people, I couldn’t let this opportunity fade away without me giving you some much-needed tips for living on a lake. I promise this is worth the read if you have any interest of ever living the lake life dream!
Ask yourself what you love about the lake houses you’re looking at before making any final decisions.
I wish you could’ve seen us when we were house hunting for our lake house property. Actually, I wish someone was recording us so I could see what we looked like when we were looking for our lake house. We were pathetic!
I can pretty much paint a picture for you to play in your mind so you can visualize what happened every single time we looked at a lake house property. We would walk into the front door of the home, immediately stare at the water, and then lose focus for the remainder of the house showing.
I’m not exaggerating either. There was actually one time I can remember very vividly where myself, Patrick, Zach, and our real estate agent all sat in the master bedroom of our current home and just stared silently at the water for what seemed like ages. It was probably 5 minutes but it took someone to say something for us to all jump out of our lake coma.
The water is captivating. Here’s the problem with that. At one point I had to really ask myself if I was actually in love with the house we were looking at or was my attraction only to the lake.
It’s important to be head over heels for both. Which in turn adds a ton of extra pressure on you as the potential homeowners.
I do want you to keep in mind that you can always upgrade a house (within reason) to your likings, but you can’t change the lake you’re living on. Bear that thought in mind when coming up with your final decision on purchasing your lake home.
Know your city, county and state rules and regulations prior to purchasing your lake house property.
Something else to think about prior to purchasing a lake home is to make yourself aware of rules and regulations set forth by your city, county, and state in terms of living on a lake.
Are the rules different? YES, and of course we learned this the hard way.
Here’s an example. We were obsessed with the backyard in this home and loved the fact that we had plenty of space to put a swimming pool in. One of the first things we did when moving into our home was have a pool company come out and give us an estimate on putting an infinity pool in our backyard. After a quick look, the salesman said he didn’t think we would be able to put a pool in our backyard due to the high water line.
High water line?! What the heck is that? Basically, it’s the highest level the water reaches on our lake and it’s pretty darn important. You can’t build anything within 50 feet of this high water line because there’s potential that the water level could rise and cause flooding. Plus it can bring debris into the lake and pollute it. FYI, there’s definitely a better way to explain that but I’m an amateur here folks. Please cut me some slack!
Anywho, just like that, our dreams of a pool in our backyard were gone. We have other areas we can put the pool in our yard but the vision we had will never happen.
My piece of advice, not only educate yourself on the rules and regulations of living on the lake but find yourself a real estate agent that specializes in lakefront properties. They might think to ask questions you’ve never even thought of!
Know the water quality of your lake.
If you plan on actually using your lake for enjoyment and not just to look at from afar, it’s important to know the water quality of the lake you are living on. If you don’t plan on going in the water this might be a moot point but one I felt still needed to be addressed.
You don’t want to put your kids, or even yourself, in a polluted lake…GROSS!
Every quarter, the Environmental Protective Services branch from our county comes out to the lake we live on and does a water quality test by taking a sample of the lake water. The results are then placed online for public record and viewable to anyone who wants to check them out.
I highly recommend checking this often to make sure you are not putting you or your family in danger by going into the water.
Be cautious of outdoor critters.
Lake life living brings with it a plethora of animals you may not be used to seeing on a normal basis.
For starters, here on our Florida lake, we have gators…as in ALLIGATORS. We have one big one, probably around 11 feet or so, and then a baby or two that we’ve seen floating around from time to time.
I’m sure about 75% of you have just crossed off buying a lake home in Florida with that one statement. And I get it! I was pretty scared too when I saw Rufus (the name we gave our gator) for the first time.
Over time though, I realized that they are more scared of us then we are of them. People are on the lake every day here… kayaking, skiing, boating, fishing, paddleboarding… and all is good in the hood! I guess we’ll just continue to press our luck.
In addition to gators, we have tons of birds who think our dock is their sanctuary. The biggest problem with them is they poop everywhere and leave a mess. Many people put a decoy bird on the top of their dock to keep as many birds away as possible but we have yet to purchase one. This has been on my husband’s list to get accomplished for roughly 6 months…
We also have snakes. Not only are they on land though, but we also have them in the water too. How lucky can we be!
Basically, just know that buying a home on the lake is the equivalent of living on a farm and you’re all good.
Also, be cautious of humans!
I try not to talk about this too much on the blog, but shortly after moving into our lake house we were broken into. We were all at work and school and someone shattered the back glass door and robbed us.
Our Luckie Girl defended the house the best she could but ultimately got hurt in the process. We came home to a horrific mess and an injured dog. It was an extremely painful experience and something I never want to go through again.
Because we live on the lake, we have no back neighbors. We are far apart from our side neighbors too. If you think about it, one of the reasons you invest in a lake property is because you want to get away from the hustle and bustle happening around you.
Unfortunately, being far away from others makes you the prime location for a break-in. Make sure to amp up your security system and be aware of your surroundings. We now have cameras EVERYWHERE. They are inside and outside our home and the alarm is ALWAYS on. Be careful!
Storage is key
Now that you live on a lake, you’re going to want all the toys you can get. I’m talking kayaks, paddle boards, tubes, and floats. Not to mention you might want a boat, pontoon, jet ski, or a combination of all the above.
Where are you going to store all these toys?! This is something to think about when looking at a potential lake home to buy. You’re going to want to have a place to put all your goodies and keep them safe while you aren’t using them. Yet another thing to worry about when purchasing your lake home.
I also recommend having a dock or a place to tie up your boat. If there isn’t already a dock, make sure you have the ability to build one somewhere down the road.
Remember those rules and regulations we talked about earlier? They come into play when building a dock so make sure you know what you’re getting into! We had a hiccup in this department too and it wasn’t pretty.
Make sure you have a bad weather plan.
In the event of bad weather, how are you going to protect your house and your lake toys? This was something we didn’t even think about until it was too late.
Our second summer in this home brought Hurricane Irma. It was a mess. We didn’t have a place to take our pontoon so we pulled it up on shore as best as possible. It was one big wind away from making it into the back of our house by the time the hurricane settled down. Check out what our lake house looked like after Hurricane Irma.
If you live in a colder climate, you’ll need to figure out what you’ll do with your water toys if your lake freezes over. Will you have a storage unit? Can you place them on a trailer and keep them in your driveway or garage? Just some more food for thought.
Relax and Enjoy!
The best tip for living on a lake I can give you is to just relax and enjoy it! Not everyone gets the opportunity to live out the dream of living by the water and you should definitely appreciate every second of it. Read a book, grab a glass of wine, entertain some friends, or just snuggle up with a blanket and your family while gazing at the water. Enjoy lake life living to the fullest!
I truly hope you found these tips for living on a lake to be helpful on your journey towards lake living. If you’re interested in seeing a better look at our lake, come read The Calm Before the Storm. And for some ideas of activities to do on the lake, check out these 10 Things You Must Do At The Lake. Comment below on which activity is your favorite!
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