New Hampshire’s Lakes Region is an amazing place to own a home, whether it’s your primary residence, a secondary/vacation property, or a unit you monetize with short term or long-term rentals.
Here are some tips to help you buy a home in the Lakes Region:
Single-family home or condominium? Single-family homes can be a good option for those seeking a primary, full-time residence, or buyers who anticipate that the vacation home will one day, perhaps after retirement, become the full-time, happily-ever-after home.
When you buy a single-family home, it’s yours, all yours! You have lots of freedom to do as you wish with regard to things like landscaping and exterior. On the other hand, there’s a lot of responsibility associated with owning a single-family residence, and that’s also yours, all yours. That grass isn’t going to mow itself, for example, and someone’s got to clear the roof of heavy snow in the winter. Maintenance factors are especially important to consider if the home will be one you only visit periodically. New Hampshire weather takes a toll and a lot can happen between visits.
For those looking for more of a low-maintenance experience, a condominium is a great way to go. Most associations assume responsibility for landscaping, plowing, trash removal and building maintenance from the “studs out,” so you don’t have to worry about peeling siding paint or replacing an asphalt shingle roof that’s past life expectancy. That leaves more time for more Lakes Region enjoyment, with less responsibility and time consumption.
Further, condominium associations often feature attractive amenities that most single-family homes do not. For example, a swimming pool is a great, convenient option when the lake is too cold or there isn’t enough time to get out on the open water. A shared beach is more affordable and trumps no beach at all, and kids will love visiting even more if there’s a good playground on site.
Understand the difference between “Lakefront” and “Water-Access Communities.” There are many choices. Many people envision a cozy lake cottage sitting right on the water on its own lot and lake frontage. There are, however, many alternatives that make a lot of sense. There are many fine “water-access communities” throughout the Lakes Region that offer beautiful beaches, boat docking facilities, and other amenities like clubhouses, tennis courts, indoor/outdoor pools, etc., all at a much more affordable price.
Research nearby amenities based on your lifestyle. If you’re a boater, ask: Are there any marinas nearby? How far is the nearest boat launch, and what’s entailed?
Boater or not, we all eat. Is the nearest supermarket, convenience store or restaurant close enough for your liking? Finally, some parts of the Lakes Region offer rural settings and privacy, while others offer closer proximity to hospitals, pharmacies, home improvement and big box stores, and cultural activities like retail shopping, movie theaters, music venues and summer theatre.
Big vs. smaller lakes?
Winnipesaukee is great, but it’s not the only game in town. There are 273 lakes, rivers and ponds in the Lakes Region, offering a variety of personalities and price points for those whose motto might be: “For a great life, just add water.”
When choosing a location, ask yourself: Are you seeking to avoid boat turbulence and prefer tranquility, quiet lapping of the waves? Or are you looking for a sizeable lake to explore? These are important considerations. With a multitude of lakes in the Lakes Region, there are all sorts of choices available.
Are you looking for a quiet cove, or long-range lake and mountain views? If you’re into heavy boating, Winnipesaukee certainly has an abundance of islands to explore and boat around, whereas some of the smaller lakes are perfect for kayaking, swimming, fishing and spending some quality time with your grandchildren on the beach.
Whether you’re looking for water frontage, views or access, these days it seems like the smaller the lake, the bigger the nearby home one can afford.
Consider a budget that maximizes relaxation, not stress.
For many, the whole point of owning a Lakes Region property is to enjoy quality of life. That can be tough to do when finances are stretched to the breaking point, so make sure your investment into a place to get away and relax doesn’t exceed the stress threshold.
The Lakes Region offers properties at a wide variety of prices, from the palatial, multimillion-dollar lakefront home to an economical condominium that doesn’t bust the budget.
For example, my listing at the Village at Winnipesaukee (178 Treetop Circle #114, Laconia / MLS# 4730503), offers a two-bed, two-bath condominium for just $115,000, within walking distance to Weirs Beach, the Mount Washington cruise port, and the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad stop, and just minutes away from numerous restaurants and area attractions, including the Bank of New Hampshire Music Pavilion for world-class concerts.
This property is an affordable, year-round, Lakes Region base camp perfect for adventures on Lake Winnipesaukee, family fun at neighboring Weirs Beach, exploring the White Mountains, and enjoying winter activities at nearby Gunstock Mountain Resort.
Centrally located between downtown Meredith and Laconia, this turnkey, low-maintenance condo features peekaboo lake and mountain views and has been renovated with new carpet throughout, fresh paint, updated bathrooms and a new electrical panel. It also features a walk-out patio and spacious grassy area perfect for cookouts, and offers fantastic association amenities for the whole family, including a saltwater in-ground swimming pool, tennis courts and a playground.