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
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.