By Mary O'Neill
Sales associate at Roche Realty Group
It is not unheard of to find a property you love right up front. But for most of us the process to match property against a wish list is less inspirational and more practical, requiring a long search and compromise. Buying property on the water adds another parameter to the mix, especially in the Lakes Region, which offers a great variety of lifestyles and four-season activities. Here are some factors to consider in your search for the perfect waterfront property:
What size lake?
Lake size is directly correlated to lifestyle. Do you like to explore? Do you want to be able to boat to lakeside restaurants or venues? Larger lakes including Winnipesaukee, Winnisquam, Squam, Newfound, and Ossipee have different towns, multiple islands, and vast and varied shorelines, providing endless possibilities for recreation and amusement. Are you an avid waterskier? A quieter, mid-size lake such as 426-acre Lake Opechee or 912-acre Lake Waukewan may be exactly what you are looking for. Some lakes have horsepower restrictions but might be perfect for those who only want to kayak and canoe. Paddleboard, kayak, and canoe enthusiasts can choose from the 273 lakes, rivers, and ponds in the Lakes Region. Among those waterbodies are small, secluded coves surrounded by pristine natural settings and diverse wildlife, or miles of open water for long distance paddling and exploring – something ideal for every type of paddler.
Do you want to be near a town? Would you like to be able to walk to restaurants, shops, and concerts? Or are you looking for a more private setting with access to trails and wildlife? Both are readily available in the Lakes Region.
Westerly or easterly exposure?
Do you want long evenings by the shoreline lit by the flickering sun as it sets behind the mountains? Property with westerly exposure will likely meet this criteria and provide 3 to 4 more hours of sunshine at the end of the day. Conversely, property with easterly exposure will welcome the sun in the morning hours and appeal to early risers or those who prefer cooler temperatures in the summer.
What depth of shoreline?
How do you want to use your shorefront? Do you, your kids, and grandkids want to swim from a sandy beach that gradually stretches out into the lake? Do you want to be able to dive into deep water? Water depth is also an important consideration when docking or mooring your boat. If you already own a boat, will the depth accommodate it? Is the water deep enough to moor a sailboat? Different lakes and areas within the lakes can offer accommodations for every kind of boat.
What do you want for a view?
Do you envision gazing across a great expanse of water with long-range views to the mountains? Would you like to look out over a tranquil cove as you are serenaded by the call of loons? Some waterfront properties on the larger lakes are situated to watch the passing boats – an amusing pastime but one that could also bring more turbulence to your shoreline.
What kind of fishing?
Fishing is a popular sport in the waters in the Lakes Region. All the lakes, ponds, and rivers provide a different experience and a variety of species. If fishing is important to you, the first consideration is whether you want to live on a cold or warm water fishery. According to the NH Fish and Game, cold water species in the area include brook trout, rainbow trout, landlocked salmon, lake trout and whitefish. Some of the warm water species include small and large mouth bass, horned pout, bluegill, black crappie, and walleye (wildlife.state.nh.us). Cold water fisheries in the area include Winnipesaukee, Winnisquam, and Newfound. Kanasatka, Webster, and Wentworth are among the warm water fisheries. Many Lakes Region waterbodies provide for both cold and warm water species (lakesregion.org).
The general rule is, the larger the waterbody, the more popular, since a larger waterbody offers more opportunities. Naturally, with popularity prices rise. If budget is an overriding factor, this makes it extremely important to determine your top priorities and to be realistic about what your lifestyle will be on your lakefront property. Why pay a high price to be on one of the larger lakes, for example, if you have no desire to own a boat? One of the smaller lakes might fit your needs and be available at a lower price point.
The bottom line is there are a host of important considerations when choosing a waterfront property. Those enumerated above only touch upon the topic. But you can rest easy. You have already made the most important decision – the decision to live in the Lakes Region, a true haven in this busy world.
Please feel free to visit www.rocherealty.com to learn more about the Lakes Region and its real estate market. Mary O'Neill is a sales associate at Roche Realty Group in Meredith and Laconia, and can be reached at 603-366-6306.
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