Wednesday, February 12, 2014

5 Things Every Lake Macatawa Buyer Should Consider

Buying a home along Lake Macatawa can be a very exciting time in one's life.  The lakefront lifestyle can mean BBQing out by the water with friends and family, shipping off for a lake cruise from your own dock, and of course, those amazing sunsets.  If you are one of those lucky folks preparing to take the plunge and start your lake living memories, here are some things every potential buyer should consider.
1.  North vs South  While sharing the same body of water, there are pretty big differences between the north side of the lake and the south side of the lake, especially when it comes to neighborhoods.  Living on the north side you will tend to share homes and properties set more in traditional neighborhoods with deeper lots to the water.   The south side properties on the other hand, are mainly off of South Shore Dr. which acts as the main artery to the homes directly, with a few smaller neighborhoods right off of South Shore Dr.  The south side of the lake has many more public access points to the lake, mostly at the road's end, where people can launch kayaks or fish in the water. The south side is more directly connected to Holland's downtown and seasonal Farmers market which can easily be accessed via a short bike ride from any point along the south side of the lake.
2. Water Depth  If you are planning on having a boat and want to dock the boat on your property, you will want to know what the water depth is in the lake in front of the home you are buying.  Although water levels have been pretty low in recent years, the winter we are having should change the depth in a positive way, attracting boaters to properties that may have not been able to accommodate a boat in the past several years.  You can always submit an application to the DEQ and Army Corps of Engineers to have the bottom land dredged, but it's wise to know what the average water depth has historically been in the lake for the property.
3. Site Lines Many homes along Lake Macatawa are subject to a site line ordinance which determines how close to the lake a home can be.  So, if you are considering buying a vacant lot, buying a home you plan on tearing down and rebuilding, or want to add on to an existing home on the lakeside, you are more than likely going to deal with this ordinance.  The easiest way to determine site line setback would be to draw a straight line from the farthest point forward of the two adjacent lakefront homes.  Any construction you are planning on doing may have to be behind that line, barring a variance.
4. Food Plain  Since Lake Macatawa properties are not set on high bluffs, there are times when you may run into having to deal with FEMA.  Some properties along Lake Macatawa fall into the flood zone designation, and therefore are subject to flood insurance.  The best thing to do is to contact your local insurance agent to see if the home you are buying falls into this designation.  But alas, not all is lost, as one may apply for a LOMA (letter of map amendment) to have the designation changed, if there is proof through an elevation survey and other engineering work that the home is not actually in the flood zone.
5. Find a Good Agent Although every agent can assist you in the purchase of a Lake Macatawa property, let's face it, not every agent is qualified to do so.  Choose an agent that has been involved in several Lake Macatawa waterfront transactions and knows the neighborhoods, any possible challenges, and the values of the properties.  Choosing an inexperienced agent could cost you money, time, and a lot of headaches.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Holland High-end home market 2013

In the greater Holland, Saugatuck, Zeeland, West Olive market area for High-end homes, homes which sold for more than $500,000 in 2013 there were 65 homes sold at an average of $842,524.  In 2012 there were 73 homes sold over $500,000 with an average sale price of  $872,545...pretty consistent numbers over the past couple years, but this graph will show that things were not so in the dark years of 2008-2011.  It's pretty clear from the graph when the recovery began.  We sold more than twice as many homes $500,000 or more in our market area in 2012 compared to 2009.
Below is a graph of Luxury homes sold (homes over $500,000) in the Greater Holland area over the past 10 years: