Common Fees to Look for at Ohio Lakefront Communities
Most buyers will come to understand that there are always additional fees when purchasing a property such as application fees, surveys, pro rated taxes, etc. However, buyers should be aware that when purchasing a lake house there are several common fees to look for at Ohio Lakefront communities, that don’t come up with everyday home purchases. Below are the top five common fees to look for at Ohio Lakefront Communities.
1. HOA Fee
This one is actually standard in a lot of real estate transactions, whether buying a primary residence in town or purchasing a lake home. Lakefront buyers should realize that all private lakes in Ohio will belong to a home owner’s association and will have a certain HOA fee that is charged to the property owner. Now, the important part of the HOA fee is to find out what does the fee cover? In some cases the fee covers only the amenities, such as beaches, clubhouses, tennis courts, etc. In other cases the fee will also cover utilities such as water, trash and sewer. Another question to ask is how often is the fee charged? For instance the HOA fee at Apple Valley Lake is currently $208 and is only charged once a year, but is pretty low since it pays for all the amenities including three beaches, several boat launches, tennis courts, basketball courts, an indoor and outdoor pool and others.
2. Lease Fee
Now this specific fee applies only to the lakes that fall under the jurisdiction of the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District, such as Seneca Lake, Tappan Lake, Piedmont Lake, Charles Mill, Atwood Lake and others.
(Atwood Lake, Ohio)
Now these lakes slightly differ in boating rules and regulations however, the MWCD ( the muskingum watershed conservancy district) maintains control and ownership of all it’s property around each lake. So unless there is a rare case of privately owned land around these lakes then the home owner will find themselves paying an annual lease fee. The fee will vary depending on proximity to the lake and lot size, however the property owner will only own the structure not the land, and instead will be buying into a long term lease on the land. So as a buyer make sure to ask if the lake belongs to the MWCD and if it does, what is the cost of the annual lease fee.
3. New Member Fee
This specific fee isn’t at all lake communities however it is at several lakes including Lake Mohawk, Hide-A-Way Hills, Lake Buckhorn, Holiday Lakes and others.These fees are charged to new buyers upon the closing of the home and is required before the buyers can take possession and use the amenities. Buyers should pay special attention to this fee as it can range from $500 to several thousand dollars; the new member fee at Hide-A-Way Hills is approximately $4,250. This can be a pretty steep fee for a new buyer to pay, however it does usually go towards either putting in additional new amenities, such as Hide-A-Way Hills’s fairly new amphitheater, or it goes to keeping the amenities in good condition. The good news for buyers is that this fee can often times be negotiated so that the seller helps pay the fee at closing.
4. Special Assessments
A lot of lakes have special assessments that are passed on a temporary basis, or are permanent. The top two types of assessments seen in Ohio lakefront communities are assessments for roads and assessments for dams. For the road assessment a lot of lake communities are in areas with poor road systems and rely on the community members to pay the assessment to keep the roads in good shape. For dam assessments the fact is that most lake communities have a dam, in fact I can’t think of a lake community that doesn’t have a dam or at least a spillway. And it is inevitable that dams and spillways will eventually need repairs, or worst case scenario, they will need replaced. Now some lakes such as Holiday Lakes charge a smaller fee per year to save up for future repairs or replacements, other places such as Hide-A-Way Hills had to replace their dam on short notice and so had to take out a loan to pay for it and in doing so charged a large sum to each resident that could be paid over a course of time. Buyers need to ask and see what assessments are currently in place and if they are temporary or permanent.
5. Passes / decals / etc.
Most lake communities have amenities such as beaches, clubhouses, etc. Buyers need to research into whether passes for these amenities for themselves or guests cost money. Now, if they do the cost would be minimal and usually a one time fee, however it is still something buyers should look out for. When buying a lake home buyers will also more than likely be using the lake, and that means having the boat inspected by the association (if there is one) and getting it registered etc. Decals, stickers, registrations, and things of this nature for boats usually cost money. Buyers should always be on the lookout for those additional costs and how much they might add up to.
When buying a lake home buyers should be on the lookout for common fees at Ohio lakefront communities such as HOA fees, lease fees, new member fees, special assessments, and passes / decals. Talk to your lakefront specialist and see which of these fees applies to the lake and house that you are interested in.
Written by Justin Shelton Lakefront Consultant – The Lake Team