Fgeo14

Getting a Lake House

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I'm on the fence about getting one. It would be on either Lake Gaston (NC) or Smith Mountain Lake (VA). I do question if my kids would be up for staying there every weekend during the summer (ages 17, 14 and 10). Anyone been down this road before? Any regrets?

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My wife and I are hoping to do this in the near future too.  Our kids are still young, 12 & 8 but we hope to buy on Lake Norman some day.  If/when you buy, I'm pretty handy too!!:)  I've been to LG and SML and both are nice.  However, we fell in love with LKN.

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13 hours ago, Fgeo14 said:

I'm on the fence about getting one. It would be on either Lake Gaston (NC) or Smith Mountain Lake (VA). I do question if my kids would be up for staying there every weekend during the summer (ages 17, 14 and 10). Anyone been down this road before? Any regrets?

It might be harder for the older kids. Speaking as a kid who was transported to our shore house every weekend in the summer throughout my life, they will thank you later. I still do the trip every weekend, only now it's my shore house (just a short walk from my parents).

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We bought our 4 years ago when our kids were 7 and 11.  Best decision we have ever made.  We liked it so much we bought the neighbors place as well just for future use and because they had a large plot of land where there are no large plots of land available this size as well as a very nice garage and multiple outbuildings while the second house sits unused. 

What will have to give is summer sports which is what happened with our kids as they both played baseball but that they were pretty much sick of it anyway.  

The thing is, it is expensive to have a second and a third home.  While we don't have mortgages on the houses, it is still expensive to own them.  Just our dock was 10k and the boat lift was another 15k, plus a lift for the waverunner and of course they don't give waverunners away for free either.   The waverunner uses illegal amounts of gas....like shocking amounts, plus of course the boat gas. You have to have some 4 wheelers to get work done those were I think 11k each, plus for us we needed snowmobiles and a riding lawnmower plus a regular push mower and a weed eater. Of course we needed a canoe and a paddle boat too.  I have every tool imaginable as well up there which cost quite a bit plus you have to pay for propane as there are no city utilities and electric for both houses because you can't disconnect in the and reconnect in the summer (assuming you don't use it) because they charge you for all of the back months you tried to go without.  Add to that the absolutely insane property taxes whereby the local taxing authority fully explains that they soak the lake shore owners to fund almost all of the budget which they do to me for two properties.  Add in the homeowners insurance as well.  We had to buy a washer and a dryer (the HE washers are reasonably priced now) plus a new furnace which was 5k.  There's so many other things that we have needed, I couldn't possibly list them all.  

Now add in any work that you want to have done to the place as well.  The yearly cash outlay is high but what else are you going to do with your money given how short life is?  

My point is even with the high cost of ownership, we absolutely love it and spend most of the summer up there and if it snows hopefully a couple weekends this winter.  The kids love it because they have Lake Friends and they bring their home friends up as well. We have 6 bedrooms and several bathrooms so visitors usually have their own bedroom and bathroom which makes it simple to have guest.  We hope once they grow up, that they keep coming up with their college friends and families once they marry.  

We have so much fun as a family I think everyone would enjoy a place on the water.  

 

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23 minutes ago, Chaparral Rider said:

We bought our 4 years ago when our kids were 7 and 11.  Best decision we have ever made.  We liked it so much we bought the neighbors place as well just for future use and because they had a large plot of land where there are no large plots of land available this size as well as a very nice garage and multiple outbuildings while the second house sits unused. 

What will have to give is summer sports which is what happened with our kids as they both played baseball but that they were pretty much sick of it anyway.  

The thing is, it is expensive to have a second and a third home.  While we don't have mortgages on the houses, it is still expensive to own them.  Just our dock was 10k and the boat lift was another 15k, plus a lift for the waverunner and of course they don't give waverunners away for free either.   The waverunner uses illegal amounts of gas....like shocking amounts, plus of course the boat gas. You have to have some 4 wheelers to get work done those were I think 11k each, plus for us we needed snowmobiles and a riding lawnmower plus a regular push mower and a weed eater. Of course we needed a canoe and a paddle boat too.  I have every tool imaginable as well up there which cost quite a bit plus you have to pay for propane as there are no city utilities and electric for both houses because you can't disconnect in the and reconnect in the summer (assuming you don't use it) because they charge you for all of the back months you tried to go without.  Add to that the absolutely insane property taxes whereby the local taxing authority fully explains that they soak the lake shore owners to fund almost all of the budget which they do to me for two properties.  Add in the homeowners insurance as well.  We had to buy a washer and a dryer (the HE washers are reasonably priced now) plus a new furnace which was 5k.  There's so many other things that we have needed, I couldn't possibly list them all.  

Now add in any work that you want to have done to the place as well.  The yearly cash outlay is high but what else are you going to do with your money given how short life is?  

My point is even with the high cost of ownership, we absolutely love it and spend most of the summer up there and if it snows hopefully a couple weekends this winter.  The kids love it because they have Lake Friends and they bring their home friends up as well. We have 6 bedrooms and several bathrooms so visitors usually have their own bedroom and bathroom which makes it simple to have guest.  We hope once they grow up, that they keep coming up with their college friends and families once they marry.  

We have so much fun as a family I think everyone would enjoy a place on the water.  

 

Good points, so buying two is a bad idea?

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59 minutes ago, phills fan said:

Good points, so buying two is a bad idea?

Now phills....I see what you are doing but I will answer you anyway.  Buying two in my case was a good idea. I think of it (the second) as just another investment but one that can't go to zero, that I could hunt on, or land lease to a hunter, or that I will likely start a storage business there plus lease out the house.  I keep my boats and equipment there in garages so I don't have any trailers on my main place.  Basically, cash flow plus the appreciation in a vacation type area where nobody has a yard this big because they have all been subdivided over the years down to 1/4 to half acre parcels. Plus we enjoy hanging out on the property among the 150 foot tall trees that fill it...nearly 10 acres worth.    

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21 minutes ago, Chaparral Rider said:

Now phills....I see what you are doing but I will answer you anyway.  Buying two in my case was a good idea. I think of it (the second) as just another investment but one that can't go to zero, that I could hunt on, or land lease to a hunter, or that I will likely start a storage business there plus lease out the house.  I keep my boats and equipment there in garages so I don't have any trailers on my main place.  Basically, cash flow plus the appreciation in a vacation type area where nobody has a yard this big because they have all been subdivided over the years down to 1/4 to half acre parcels. Plus we enjoy hanging out on the property among the 150 foot tall trees that fill it...nearly 10 acres worth.    

Sounds like a good idea, it would also be nice to be able to control who lives next door..

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3 hours ago, Chaparral Rider said:

 The waverunner uses illegal amounts of gas....like shocking amounts, plus of course the boat gas. You have to have some 4 wheelers to get work done those were I think 11k each, plus for us we needed snowmobiles and a riding lawnmower plus a regular push mower and a weed eater. Of course we needed a canoe and a paddle boat too.  

 

Am I the only one who loves the 'must-haves'?  :D 

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Just now, EricGT said:

Am I the only one who loves the 'must-haves'?  :D 

Well it was kind of tongue in cheek because you don't go into it thinking you need those things or that it could possibly cost as much as it does then you get there and one thing leads to the next to the next and before you know it you have more than a half a dozen insurance policies for your 'weekend home'. Sort of a warning that the house itself is just the cost of entry and all of that for a three month season and maybe a couple weekends in the winter.  Did I mention a cord of fire wood is also expensive.  

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Property requires maintenance to maintain your financial investment.

Maintenance requires time and maintenance equipment. Leisure and entertainment requires toys, or else why do it. 

Maintenance equipment and toys require, well maintenance. And a place to live so now you have more structures that require more maintenance.

Gets confusing doesn't it.

But, how much fun is it to tinker around on your own property with your own toys. It just doesn't get much better. It has gotten to be about all I can do is tinker around on my ever shrinking property and toy inventory. As my ole body gets worse I keep selling toys and downsizing properties. I am not the kind of person that is comfortable with hired help working in my home. My home is my private place and I don't like having so much that I cannot maintain it, keep it clean or do my own minor repairs. If my property is so large I have to hire someone to keep it clean or maintained I will sell it and downsize. It is just me and my wife now so space is not an issue. 

Joe

 

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6 minutes ago, Guzzi said:

Property requires maintenance to maintain your financial investment.

Maintenance requires time and maintenance equipment. Leisure and entertainment requires toys, or else why do it. 

Maintenance equipment and toys require, well maintenance. And a place to live so now you have more structures that require more maintenance.

Gets confusing doesn't it.

But, how much fun is it to tinker around on your own property with your own toys. It just doesn't get much better. It has gotten to be about all I can do is tinker around on my ever shrinking property and toy inventory. As my ole body gets worse I keep selling toys and downsizing properties. I am not the kind of person that is comfortable with hired help working in my home. My home is my private place and I don't like having so much that I cannot maintain it, keep it clean or do my own minor repairs. If my property is so large I have to hire someone to keep it clean or maintained I will sell it and downsize. It is just me and my wife now so space is not an issue. 

Joe

 

One of our neighbors up on the lake was able to barely eek their way into their cabin via a mortgage but with multiple people having to take the mortgage out.  They literally have no boat or toys or anything at all since they don't have the means.  It's the craziest thing.   They are there but are stuck on their dock. They don't even own a primary residence.  The interesting thing about lake property is that there are not covenants so you can have people from all strata on the same street which makes for good fun with the neighbors.  They still thoroughly enjoy their time there, they just don't have any of the stuff that really makes the whole area a destination not just a lake place.  

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9 minutes ago, Chaparral Rider said:

They are there but are stuck on their dock

They could be good people just waiting around for the right guy (with a boat and plenty of toys).You did say life is short.

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36 minutes ago, Chaparral Rider said:

One of our neighbors up on the lake was able to barely eek their way into their cabin via a mortgage but with multiple people having to take the mortgage out.  They literally have no boat or toys or anything at all since they don't have the means.  It's the craziest thing.   They are there but are stuck on their dock. They don't even own a primary residence.  The interesting thing about lake property is that there are not covenants so you can have people from all strata on the same street which makes for good fun with the neighbors.  They still thoroughly enjoy their time there, they just don't have any of the stuff that really makes the whole area a destination not just a lake place.  

We ended up on this lake here at the corner of nowhere and nothing because we wanted the quiet "Sedate" lifestyle my doctors told me I had to have. The downsizing has ended here with just shy of an acre one street over from the lake (same here, waterfront soaks you in taxes plus Army Corps requires you to maintain your waterfront 10 feet out from the shore). No mortgage, paid for from equity during the downsizing over the years. No car or truck payments, no boat payment. At the same time I don't drive a new car, I don't drive a new truck and I don't own a new boat. PS: I don't buy new vehicles anyway. I have purchased three new in my life but much prefer a two or three year old.

BUT, we have a home that is comfortable for us. Small enough that my wife and I can easily take care of it, keep it clean and maintained by ourselves but large enough that we have room for our needs, an extra room for guests and enough tinkering to keep me busy.

The area we are in is mostly middle class retired. We have a few who work full time. Around the corner from us is a Nuclear Engineer, he travels the world maintaining and upgrading reactors. Within a 1/2 mile radius of our home we have retired doctors, university professors, retired military, a sawmill owner and a retired general contractor. A nice mix of people 

 Not what you would call "Real Money" here but no amount of money could bring us better friends and neighbors. Waterfront here will run between 150 and 500k, with prices falling steeply as you move away from the waterfront.

Joe

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15 hours ago, Chaparral Rider said:

Well it was kind of tongue in cheek because you don't go into it thinking you need those things or that it could possibly cost as much as it does then you get there and one thing leads to the next to the next and before you know it you have more than a half a dozen insurance policies for your 'weekend home'. Sort of a warning that the house itself is just the cost of entry and all of that for a three month season and maybe a couple weekends in the winter.  Did I mention a cord of fire wood is also expensive.  

Oh I know.

My list of must haves from owning a wooded property with a lake and creek is very long too. 

And a heated pole building for storage too.  ;)

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I think a bunch of us Chaparral Lake dwellers need to join forces and purchase a bit of a commune for Chaparral owners!  Our own little Marina, property and Large dwelling!  With a heated storage bldg of course too!

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16 hours ago, phills fan said:

They could be good people just waiting around for the right guy (with a boat and plenty of toys).You did say life is short.

Well, it is interesting...they have a lot of family and friends who are up there almost every weekend.  Most of those people have some kind of boat and sometimes those people will just leave the boats up there for a couple weekends.  Pretty much they have damaged every single boat so far.  I lend them a lot of tools.  

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2 hours ago, EricGT said:

Oh I know.

My list of must haves from owning a wooded property with a lake and creek is very long too. 

And a heated pole building for storage too.  ;)

Only one of our garages is heated but that's the one for the smaller toys that's connected to the main house and was built so the home HVAC system is part of the garage.  I forgot, there is a creek on the property too that leads to the lake.  You can fish right out of the creek.  

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15 hours ago, Guzzi said:

We ended up on this lake here at the corner of nowhere and nothing because we wanted the quiet "Sedate" lifestyle my doctors told me I had to have. The downsizing has ended here with just shy of an acre one street over from the lake (same here, waterfront soaks you in taxes plus Army Corps requires you to maintain your waterfront 10 feet out from the shore). No mortgage, paid for from equity during the downsizing over the years. No car or truck payments, no boat payment. At the same time I don't drive a new car, I don't drive a new truck and I don't own a new boat. PS: I don't buy new vehicles anyway. I have purchased three new in my life but much prefer a two or three year old.

BUT, we have a home that is comfortable for us. Small enough that my wife and I can easily take care of it, keep it clean and maintained by ourselves but large enough that we have room for our needs, an extra room for guests and enough tinkering to keep me busy.

The area we are in is mostly middle class retired. We have a few who work full time. Around the corner from us is a Nuclear Engineer, he travels the world maintaining and upgrading reactors. Within a 1/2 mile radius of our home we have retired doctors, university professors, retired military, a sawmill owner and a retired general contractor. A nice mix of people 

 Not what you would call "Real Money" here but no amount of money could bring us better friends and neighbors. Waterfront here will run between 150 and 500k, with prices falling steeply as you move away from the waterfront.

Joe

The whole lake scene is very unique, you can have very middle of the road income folks living next to people worth hundreds of millions of dollars and everything in between.  One of our close-by neighbors couldn't be more different than us in literally every possible respect but we have a great time with them.  They are people whom without this unusual situation, we would never come across them.  They are good people who chose a different path that just doesn't earn a huge income. Both educated, just not in money fields. Oddly enough they have nicer vehicles than us as we don't go wild with new vehicles either and instead go the used route.    

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Please buy a lake house that needs minimal weekly maintenance. More time for boating. I don't want you to be doing yardwork when I come to visit for a month...

brick

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Hanging out with folks you never thought you would, that's a good thing. Not to be Debbie downer here, all the stuff won't matter in the end. It's about what people say and think in the receiving line.

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On 11/22/2016 at 9:47 PM, Fgeo14 said:

I'm on the fence about getting one. It would be on either Lake Gaston (NC) or Smith Mountain Lake (VA). I do question if my kids would be up for staying there every weekend during the summer (ages 17, 14 and 10). Anyone been down this road before? Any regrets?

We own a house on LKG in Virginia (North West Quad).  We are on the main lake Near mile marker 17. Near Poplar Pointe Marina. We live in NY, and it is a 8.5 hr drive so we don't get there as much as we want. We bought the land in 2001 and built in 2007. Kids were 11 and 13 when we built. Kids always bring a friend with them, and we always have a great time. The thing with LKG is that there isn't much on the lake or near the lake to do. Pretty much water sports and that's it. In the 20 or so years we have been going there it really has not developed. If you know LKG, then you know of Eatons Ferry which is now Morningstar Marina. They tried building condo's near there, and I think were originally listed at low 300's. Sales were poor, price dropped, and the development stalled.  

We love the lake and going there, and the wife and I plan on retiring there in 4 to 6 years. Glad we bought when we did, couldn't afford it now. Main Lake lots today are mid to upper 300's for a .7 acre lot. If you have any questions about the area, drop me a line.

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19 hours ago, Guzzi said:

Property requires maintenance to maintain your financial investment.

Maintenance requires time and maintenance equipment. Leisure and entertainment requires toys, or else why do it. 

Maintenance equipment and toys require, well maintenance. And a place to live so now you have more structures that require more maintenance.

Gets confusing doesn't it.

But, how much fun is it to tinker around on your own property with your own toys. It just doesn't get much better. It has gotten to be about all I can do is tinker around on my ever shrinking property and toy inventory. As my ole body gets worse I keep selling toys and downsizing properties. I am not the kind of person that is comfortable with hired help working in my home. My home is my private place and I don't like having so much that I cannot maintain it, keep it clean or do my own minor repairs. If my property is so large I have to hire someone to keep it clean or maintained I will sell it and downsize. It is just me and my wife now so space is not an issue. 

Joe

 

Maintenance is a big issue. 

We get to our Lake House about 4 weeks out of the year, so I need to cram a lot of house maintenance in those 4 weeks. We have someone to take care of the lawn, but the gardens always need work. The trees on the lot need trimming because they grow so fast. My house is ten years old, so that doesn't need much, but the southern sun is brutal on decking and it needs a lot of maintenance.

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36 minutes ago, cjm13905 said:

We own a house on LKG in Virginia (North West Quad).  We are on the main lake Near mile marker 17. Near Poplar Pointe Marina. We live in NY, and it is a 8.5 hr drive so we don't get there as much as we want. 

It is an interesting dynamic here in MN....we have nothing but lakes but they start about 90 minutes north or so depending on where you live in the cities or at least the first set of lakes that you want to be on is that far.  As you go further north to the Canadian border, things drop in price but the lakes tend to be cleaner and deeper as they are a different class of lake.  You can get a lot more for your money the farther out of town you go because of course like cjm said above, you just can't drive 6 hours each Friday after work. We are about 2 hours and 10 minutes door to door which is very convenient in distance to the cities terms.  We were insistent that we don't come close to the 3 hour marker when selecting which house on which lake in which area of the state we wanted to buy. Of course the lake size makes a huge difference in cost as well...small lakes command smaller prices, bigger lakes generally are more desirable and the cost is consistent with that desire.  

 About 1 percent of the population of the state of MN actually own a lake house or cabin but everyone has that friend or family member that they piggyback off of.  I know plenty of people that went for the cheaper places on the more distant lakes that are several hours away and they just don't get there to utilize it as the drive is just not practical.  I know plenty more where summer sports dictate and they don't get to their places more than once per summer.  

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