Buying a Lakehouse in the Offseason: Ohio Lakefront Market Advice
Everyone knows that real estate in general has the “on” season or “busy” season and then there is the “slow “season. This is largely due because most people don’t want to go look at houses in the cold and they don’t want to move during the middle of the school season. Now in the lakefront industry the ups and downs of the market occur relatively along the same timeline, just for different reasons. Obviously, the spring is the beginning of the season and it spreads through the summer and then begins to recede in the fall and then is slow in the winter. Of course, this is logical since the impulse to buy a lake house is when you start imagining yourself out on the boat having a good time, looking out across the water on a beautiful day staring at a wonderful view. The winter doesn’t exactly scream out “Let’s buy a lake house”, and with this year’s season starting to slow down as we get further into the fall, for those of you out there who haven’t found that dream lake home yet, there are a few reasons why buying a lakehouse in the offseason may be a good idea.
Better negotiation / lower price
This reason is pretty standard across most real estate markets. It’s simple really, sellers have had their home on the market for several months and the number of showings being set up and buyers coming through their home begins to become less and less. And so, said seller, realizing that their window of selling is becoming narrower and narrower, starts to reconsider the asking price. Now, in the lakefront industry this isn’t always true, since a lot of sellers have a lake home as a second home, and the truth of the matter is that they are selling because they don’t use it anymore, not because they need the money. That being said that type of seller may also become more negotiable because they may be tired of dealing with and maintaining the property. Or the flipside may be true as well, an individual took on a second home that was a little bit more than they could chew and now need to sell. It’s hard to tell, but generally speaking, sellers become more negotiable as the season starts to slow down.
See what there is to do in the fall and winter / winter amenities
There are quite a few people who use their second home in the fall and winter. Nothing like going out to your lakefront cabin for a getaway in the middle of winter to do a little ice fishing, or setting up a nice warm fire in your fire pit and drinking hot chocolate as you look out over a frozen lake. And remember some buyers are buying their retirement home, and others are purchasing a year round residence. Go see some homes in the winter just to see what that lake is like in the colder months. Find out, does the lake even freeze deep enough to ice fish or to ice skate on? Popular activities at Indian Lake and Buckeye Lake. Are there places to snowmobile around or on the lake such as at Apple Valley Lake? Are those activities even allowed? Those questions should be asked during the warmer months sure, but let’s be honest, most of the time our brains are filled with images of water skiing in the crystal-clear water and we forgot all about the upcoming colder months. We forget that living year-round somewhere includes the fall and winter too. Go see some homes to see what the community is doing. Is that lake community filled with snow birds? Everyone leaves and heads somewhere warm the first time the temperature drops below 70 degrees? Leaving you in a half empty community with no neighbors? Maybe that’s not the type of community you want, maybe it is. What are the roads like in the winter? If you plan on living there year round it would be a good thing to know how well the roads are maintained in the winter.
There you have it, two big reason why to check into buying a lake house in the off season. Make sure to check with your lakefront specialist to see what homes and areas may be a good idea to check out in the upcoming months.
Written by Justin Shelton Lakefront Consultant – The Lake Team