When buying a waterfront house, you need to know the numbers, but not the numbers you think. While price is important to your bottom line, it is not the most important number when it comes to buying a lakefront home.
1. Depth: The number of feet deep that a lake is can be very important to fisherman. If you like fishing Walleye — a favorite in Minnesota — you will want a lake 30 feet deep or more as that variety of fish likes their water cold. Also, deeper lakes are usually colder, which can be a bummer for swimmers.
2. Frontage: The number of feet along the lakefront is also very important. In fact, the value of many waterfront homes is derived in part from the number of feet they own on the lakeside of the lot. Not only does it allow you to spread out and separate from your neighbors, but it also prevents an obstructed view of a sunset that can happen with marginal frontage.
3. Bedrooms: While you may think that you only need one or two bedrooms, you should buy a house with as many bedrooms as possible. The number of bedrooms is key when considering how many friends and family will want to join you for the weekend. Guests will appreciate having their own bedroom instead of having to crash on your couch. On the other hand, if you want your privacy, stick with a one-bedroom house, or better yet, don't tell anyone that you bought a waterfront home.
4. Acres: In the United States, inland lakes are measured in acres. An acre is 43,560 square feet. When determining how large of a lake you need, you need to take what activities you like to do into consideration. If water skiing is your jam, you don't have enough room on a 100 acre lake to get a good run in without the risk of running into other boaters. A lake of 500 acres or more, however, let's you try your hand at skiing without running into anything. For point of reference, Lake Superior is the largest lake in the United States at over 31,700 square miles. That's the equivalent of 20,288,000 acres — way too big for a tiny pontoon boat!
5. Hours: If you are purchasing a lakefront home for weekend use, how many hours away it is in Friday night traffic is of utmost importance. No one wants to drive late into the night only to turn around on Sunday and do it all over again. If your waterfront home is too far away, you won't use it as often as you hope. Most people find that two hours or less is a good range for commuting to a weekend home.
While price is important when buying a waterfront home, you also need to consider how much frontage you are buying, how big the lake is, and how far away it is.