Understanding Water Access When Shopping For Lakefront Property

Finding the perfect lakeside luxury home is going to require a bit of research. Before you can even begin, you need to be perfectly clear on what it is you desire in the home – both inside and out. The following can help you understand the basics of water and home access when you are looking at listing for luxury homes for sale.

Water Access Options

A lakeside home is all about the water, but there are differing levels of water access to consider. These can fall into one of several categories, and they can be worded differently in each listing. Some of the options include:

  • Water access only. Generally, this is reserved for home that don't sit right on the water or that are on a cliff above the water. You will have a private access trail down to the water, or at minimum, a shared access trail that only a few homes are allowed to use. Water access only properties may or may not have a private dock.

  • Beach front. These homes generally sit directly on the beach, with the front door opening up toward the lake and driveway access in the back. In some cases, this is your own private beach, while for other listings, it could be a a shared private beach that belongs to an HOA or the housing community.

  • Water frontage. This means you own your stretch of beach that your home sits upon. You will be provided the square feet of frontage that belongs to you, which you are allowed to do with what you will within the limits of HOA and local regulations.

  • Dock or boat access. This can come with any of the above options. It can be a personal dock or a shared dock that you have free access to. It is up to you to ensure the dock is suitable for securing a boat, too, though, since some docks are only for swimming or fishing.

Other Access Issues

There are also issues to contend with that aren't directly related to water access. These can include the following:

  • Home access. In some cases, the home may not be accessible by car. This is generally the case when homes are built into cliffs or rocky beach outcroppings. These homes instead of private garages and drives above the house, with a short trail, stairway, or boardwalk leading to the home proper.

  • Boat launch. You need to find out where the nearest boat access point is. If you have your own dock or beach, you may be able to get into the water right next to your front door. Otherwise, you will need to find out if there is a private boat launch, community boat launch, or a marina where you are supposed to get access.


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