/ 5 Tips for Buying a Lake Home in Wisconsin

5 Tips for Buying a Lake Home in Wisconsin

Wisconsin boasts 15,000 gorgeous lakes, and owning a lake home to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life is part of the ultimate American dream.  Making this dream a reality is a little easier to obtain financially with these five money-saving ideas from RE/MAX INTEGRA, Midwest.

  1. Go to the river, the channel or up on a bluff. Prime real estate comes at a cost, and you can get a better deal for your piece of paradise if you are willing to go a little off the beaten path. If you’re willing to consider a property that sits on a bluff overlooking the water or a home on a river or channel that feeds into a lake, you could save up to 25 percent according to REALTORS® in Wisconsin. You can get a lot more house for your money by going with a property that has lake access, but may not be directly on the lake.


  1. Consider a foreclosure or a fixer-upper. Are you willing to channel your inner HGTV star in order to be on the lake? If you think you’ve got a little Chip & Joanna Gaines in you, focus on finding a foreclosure or a fixer-upper to help save some money. Since the market has overall rebounded, foreclosures are becoming harder to come by – but not impossible to find. Work with a real estate agent in your desired area that specializes in lake homes. Local REALTORS® know the market and know inventory levels, putting you in the best position to be notified quickly on a potential money-saving opportunity. Local agents also suggest investing in a small cottage on the lake with plans in the future to tear it down to build a new home of your dreams.


  1. Buy during non-peak season. We’d all love to buy a lake home during the summer months and host backyard barbecues right away, but if you can hold off, you may be able to get a better deal during non-peak buying season. REALTORS® report that demand for lake properties is greatest between Memorial Day and Labor Day, causing homes to be priced at higher values. Most lake properties in Wisconsin provide activities throughout the year – allowing you to enjoy your new vacation home no matter what season you buy it in.


  1. Share it with others. Renting your home out to vacation seekers or jointly-owning it with family members are a couple of creative ways to find some cost savings. If you buy a home knowing that you are going to rent it out, you can usually buy a little bigger property because you are going to have someone helping you make the payments. REALTORS® caution, though, that there are some things that you should consider before entering into these types of arrangements. Turning your home into a rental property requires getting the proper license and insurance as well as arranging for regularly scheduled maintenance. Also, pooling resources with a family member is a great cost-saver, but you have to be sure that your relationship is strong enough to last for an extended period of time.


  1. Make it your primary home in retirement. Look forward to making your gorgeous lake home your primary address in your retirement! Baby Boomers are leading a trend that involves investing into their retirement home now. If you are nearing that age, consider buying a second home on the lake with plans in 10 years to make it your primary home. REALTORS® are noticing Baby Boomers and some younger people who want to make memories on the lake with their kids and grandkids, which is why they are making this kind of investment now.


Stats for the call-outs:

  1. Investment home sales jumped 7% in 2015 compared to 2014.

National Association of Realtors®2016 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey

  1. More than 80% of vacation home buyers choose locations within driving distance of where they live, providing an additional cost savings.

National Association of Realtors®2016 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey

  1. The national median household income for vacation-home buyers raised nearly $10,000 from 2014 to 2015 from $94,380 to $103,700.

National Association of Realtors®2016 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey

  1. Wisconsin is home to 15,000 lakes, giving those who live in Wisconsin and out-of-state opportunity to find a deal on a lake home.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

One comment on “5 Tips for Buying a Lake Home in Wisconsin”

  1. If your primary goal is fishing, how can you do your research? I have looked at DNR sites, but I do not know how their data translates into good (or bad) or...drum roll- Stellar off the charts fishing.

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