Do you drool over Lake Mohawk homes? Find yourself dreaming of a home on Lake Hopatcong? Turn green with envy over Green Pond houses? What are you waiting for? Start your search for a waterfront home now! But before signing on the dotted line, gain answers to these 10 questions:
1. Can you procure an adequate loan?
Before you fall in love with the perfect Morris or Sussex County waterfront home, know your budget. Waterfront homes come with higher price tags than similar homes in regular neighborhoods, therefore they require bigger loans. Determine how much you qualify to borrow before starting your search in earnest.
2. Will you be satisfied with BOTH the home and the property it occupies?
Waterfront home purchases are comprised of two parts: the home and the property. One or the other may be severely lacking, but in your purchase excitement, you might find yourself ignoring or justifying the issues. Yes, that beautiful view of the sunset over the lake means a lot, but is it worth living in a run-down home requiring expensive renovations? Alternately, a fabulous home may steal your heart, but if the property leads down to a muddy, rocky beach, will you really reap the benefits of life on the water?
3. What exactly are you buying?
The term waterfront means different things to different people. When you view a Morris or Sussex County property, verify that it actually extends to the water. You also need to clarify who may use your property along the water’s edge, and what roads, docks and other areas can be used by people other than you. Your vision of owning your own private beach may not be that home’s reality. Look at a survey of the land, a plat map, and talk to Team Nest Builder to determine what you’re actually buying.
4. What does the homeowner’s association expect of you?
Many waterfront properties in Morris and Sussex County belong to a homeowner’s association, and it’s important you understand what that association requires of you. Some homeowner associations’ rules and regulations greatly impact members’ daily lives. The last thing you want is to be stuck in a place that rubs you the wrong way.
5. How do the neighbors like living there?
Reach out to property owners that sit nearby the Morris or Sussex County property you’re considering purchasing. Your potential neighbors may share a lot of valuable insights regarding life on their waterfront. They may provide valuable information about what it’s like to work with the homeowner’s association, as well as how the community uses the area. For example, you may not enjoy living next to a bunch of teenagers loudly buzzing around on their jet skis while you attempt to enjoy a lazy afternoon in your canoe.
6. What is the lake like?
Not all lakes are created equal. You need to confirm you’ll gain enjoyment from your specific lake. Like to fish? Determine if the fishing’s good! Like to swim? Make sure it’s great for swimming. How deep is the lake? Is there an unpleasant odor that comes off of the lake? What about mosquitoes? Have you seen the lake during the summer? A lake in winter becomes a whole different animal in the heat of the summer.
7. Is the home built to withstand the environment?
In many areas, homes were built by people who purchased land and needed a place to live, not people who followed modern building codes or had access to flood or weather predictions. Can that Morris or Sussex County home stand up to a hurricane? What about flooding? Can it handle the wind that comes off the water? Team Nest Builder recommends tried-and-true home inspectors to clients to determine if issues exist. Moist environments, particularly those around salt water, can lead to deterioration in building materials in ways you might not be aware of. Our inspectors can tell you if the home is built and maintained to last in its environment.
8. What does maintenance cost?
Expect to pay extra for ongoing maintenance due to waterfront conditions. Ask what the yearly maintenance costs are, and consider those costs in your purchase. Things like pipes, attachments, roofs and siding may require more frequent upgrades.
9. What does it cost to insure the home?
Do any unusual insurance expenses exist? Because waterfront homes are often at increased risk of being damaged by natural disasters, such as hurricanes or floods, they’re also typically more expensive to insure. Include these increased insurance costs in your overall calculations for the cost of ownership.
10. Does the property work for your lifestyle needs?
Of all the questions to ask when buying a waterfront home, this one may be the most important for your long term happiness. In the excitement that comes from buying a Morris or Sussex County waterfront property, it’s easy to lose sight of why you want to live on the water in the first place. For instance, a home on the beach may be a long distance from any docks where you can store and use your boat. If you love going out on the boat, but it takes over half an hour to get to it, will you be likely to use it regularly? You may be able to find a home that’s not on the water, but that’s close to the docks, and provides better access to the thing you love to do most.
Once you’ve answered these questions, you’re well on your way to life on a Morris or Sussex County waterfront! Interested in buying a waterfront property? Contact Team Nest Builder! We possess incredible experience in waterfront real estate, and can expertly guide you to your new dream home on the lake.
Additional Sources: Bill Gassett, maxrealestateexposure.com
Team Nest Builder is a full-service home finding and home selling team servicing the northern New Jersey Skylands Region. Our state licensed sales associates have well over 50 years combined experience and millions of dollars in closed business to draw on when servicing your personal needs.
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