I am just lucky enough to live on the shores of Lake Lanier. Lanier is one of the larger lakes in Ga. and at full pool, we have about 500 miles of shoreline and about 38,000 acres of water coverage. I often sit on my deck and soak up the beauty as the sun sets over the large water in front of me. The cooler months are an absolute delight with the leaves having fallen and the view to the lake so much grander. It's also a lot quieter than in the summer months.
Hah! Did you notice that?
I just happen to live on a main channel going to a marina and during summer, it would appear that every boater and his uncle will go up the channel two or three times in a day, and on July 4th, well "Nellie, bar the door." It reminds me of the great land rush out west and the movie with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.
So you say, "Where should I buy on the lake?"
Find yourself an agent who knows what they are doing in terms of lake houses. For example, Lake Lanier is a Corps of Engineers lake and there are many pro's and cons to buying here. The Corps has a line around that lake that most of the time is above the water level. NO ONE is allowed to construct any structure on that land even to the point of not disturbing any flora or fauna. The Corps has some very draconian penalties for violating their rules. They will make you take as little as 6" off the corner of a deck that protrudes over the Corps Line. And cutting or trimming trees is a huge no-no. Just check with those folks who have done so.
Then there's the water level. The water level is not meant to be consistent so it may fluctuate by as much as 20ft in a drought year. The Corps also has a policy of lowering the lake at times to avoid over-flooding and for keeping the rivers and lakes downstream viable. But the fishing is great, and for the most part, swimming is delightful.
So, here are some items to be aware of if you decide to look at lake houses.
- Most of the houses will have steep driveways going down to the house (Water collects in valleys so to expect a flat driveway and a flat walk from the house to the water is unrealistic). If a house happens to have this position, make sure that you look at the Google Earth maps to see where the water goes if it drops a few feet. Many of these "ideal" homes land up with muddy gullies for a lakefront.
- Check and re-check the Corps of Engineers line. There is no forgiveness on this issue.
- Most of the houses are on septic systems which work great in Ga but if they are inadequate because the house has been added to, you may not have enough space to add additional drain fields etc. This may result in having to locate the septic tank higher up the lot, which will require a pump to get the grey water up there. (I have personally used Banks Tanks for relocating my drain fields and they were excellent).
- The dock permit is critical!!! A house has to have a current permit as the Corps is not granting many new ones. A house on the lake with a valid dock permit may sell for $650k. The same house without a permit (perhaps revoked or forfeited), will sell for maybe $400k.
- Lake houses are typically much more expensive than their non lake counterparts. It's really the value of the land - they are not making any more lake lots. The houses, for most part, are also much older on average except that many homeowners have upgraded their lake homes due to the very attractive appreciation.
- Lastly, don't overlook the condition of the dock. If it is on its last legs, a new one could cost you around $35k. However many docks in quiet coves don't take a pounding and therefor last a very long time
Other than those few pointers, living here is a dream come true. If this piques your interest, give me a call at 678-234-5866