The Definitive Checklist for Finding a Lake Home You’ll Love

June 9, 2022
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Homes along the lakeside provide a relaxing escape from urban life and access to year-round recreation. Whether you are seeking a primary residence or a vacation escape, the key is to find a lake home that you'll love every time you walk the property and look out from your windows across the trees, lake, and reflective sky. Here at Lake Lanier in Gainesville, GA, real estate is all about matching each home buyer to the right lake house.

Each stretch of coastline is different, and there are 692 miles of Lake Lanier's coast. Some are perfect for swimming, and some are deep and ideal for boat owners who want to cast off from their shore. Some homes are not lakeside but on a hill for the best view, while others are nestled deep into their cocoon of trees and gardens, but a short and easy distance from lakeside activities and welcoming shops.

How do you find a lake home that you'll love both inside and out? Luxury real estate agent Dani Burns has an easy checklist for finding the perfect lake home. Just compare the properties you might want with this list, and you'll quickly identify which homes will become the nest for your ideal lakeside lifestyle.

Buy the view you love

When buying a lake home, many people are shopping not just for a great house and a beautiful yard but also for a breathtaking view. Perhaps you want to be waterside with a shimmering shoreline out your great room window, or maybe you'd love a long view of the wrinkling hills with the lake in sight. Those who love privacy can find properties where the home is in a valley of greenery with spacious Georgian flora in every direction.

What view would be perfect for your lake home? You don't have to decide beforehand, but walk each home you consider and see if your heart soars when you look out the windows or from the patio, balcony, or deck. Walk the property to discover hidden or off-center views that may become a favorite spot if you love the house. 

Fantastic curb appeal and hidden lakeside gems

If you're buying lakeside, there are several positions a home may take on the lot. Some are set up to the road, with glorious bay windows, dormered roofs, and swooping driveways. Others are nestled deeper into the property or set back to the waterside, less visible from the road but more private and focused on views of the water and natural spaces.

Every homeowner is unique, and your preferences may vary between glamorous curb appeal and the hidden gem. These hidden homes are usually beautiful estates, designed to look perfect when engulfed in the gardens with a backdrop of Lake Lanier behind. Some Gainesville homes are even designed so that the front door faces the lake and the back door faces the garage and driveway to the road.

Choose your lake home's placement and alignment based on how you would most love to live by the lake.

The right floorplan for you

Of course, it's not just about the views and the landscaping; you are also buying a home for yourself and your household. Lake homes can be private artist studios, vacation escapes, or sprawling estates for multi-generational family gatherings. Gainesville real estate along the shoreline of Lake Lanier includes homes of all sizes – and a wide range of bedroom counts. You can find gorgeous luxury lake homes and cute little cottages. There are designer studios, open floorplans, and homes built for guests.

What is the right floor plan for your purpose? A lake house often needs to fulfill several roles for the household. It may be a place to sleep for a summer of water sports, a private library, a writer's retreat, a family event venue, a wine cellar, and a private art studio. Many lake homes can be all of these things. You can prioritize gathering spaces, the correct number of bedrooms, a large lawn for outdoor gatherings, or the perfect house to launch your floating adventures.

A perfect lake home kitchen and family room

For many, the entertaining spaces of a lake house are the ones that matter most. Your great room must be big enough for your gatherings. You may want an open entertainer kitchen to facilitate holiday feast preparations. Gourmet kitchens in Gainesville real estate are common, but the perfect features depend on the chefs.

If your lake house is a more private retreat, you might want a kitchen that is perfect for just one or two chefs. You can let your tastes ultimately shape your preference for a living room. Do you prefer windows that reach for the sky or a cozy cabin design? Would you rather have insulated, separate rooms or a sprawling open floorplan? These designs will shape your experience and daily joy in your chosen lake house.

Boating or swimming shorelines

What do you want to do on the water? If you buy a shoreline lake house in Gainesville, you should know that each stretch of shore is a little different. Some are shallow and safer for swimming, while others are deep and better for boat piers and launches. Some shorelines may be ecologically protected – you may not be able to build, but you also might have a delightful ecology of wildlife as part of your waterside back garden.

Know how you want to use your lakeside property and work with your Gainesville real estate agent to find those homes whose shoreline can meet your needs. You can also calculate whether there is a community boat launch or an appealing public swimming area at a comfortable distance from a lake house you love.

Docks, piers, boathouses, and permits

Lakes are complex systems that are managed, regulated, and kept healthy through a concerted effort by local authorities and community property owners. This means that the construction of some structures may be limited based on your shoreline location. If you want a dock, pier, boathouse, or other outbuildings, look for properties that already have them constructed.

If you want to construct something new, check if a permit for that type of construction, like a pier or boat house, is possible for each property location. Due to the variable shape and consistency of the shoreline, your results may vary. For example, a wide shallow area is unlikely to be licensed for a boating pier, but it could be licensed for a personal fishing pier. An ecologically protected shoreline may not permit new construction within certain ranges.

However, you can almost always find a home or property that already has the features you desire most.

Consideration for neighbors

When buying a home, it is always important to provide some consideration for your neighbors. They may have a pier that shares space with yours, a large dog on the property, or regularly hold events of their own. Your preferences and compatibility will vary. Perhaps you love their dog and enjoy sharing pier space. Perhaps their parties warm your heart but you decide on a quieter vista.

Once you have made up your mind about a house, getting to know the neighbors is a great first step forward. If you get along, you could become fast friends, sharing coolers of soda in the summer and sending your guests on water sport escapades together, or – like many – you may agree to live quietly alongside and each enjoy their own peace. This overture gives you an idea of what to expect and establishes a positive relationship with those who may become long-time neighbors.

The luxury amenities that make a difference

Let's not forget the amenities. A luxury home in Gainesville can be found with more than a few excellent on-site amenities. Spas and private pools are common in addition to lake water sports, and the Georgia air is perfect for summers relaxing in your private oasis. Spacious dressing room closets and spa-like master bathrooms are pretty popular, and many estates have multiple suites for adult couples and even whole families to stay and gather.

You may seek a gourmet kitchen, windows that reach the sky, or a property with winding garden paths. Gainesville's newly-constructed homes and upgraded classic homes can be found with luxury technology like smart thermostats and app-monitored home security. You also can find grand outdoor living designs with draped pergolas, outdoor kitchens, and glowing hidden lights for indoor-outdoor events throughout the year.

Walking, biking, and driving distances

is known for charming and walkable shopping districts and delightful lakeside venues for residents and vacationers alike. One of the perks of a perfectly placed lake home is what you can easily reach. What shoreline venues or high street shops can you reach at a comfortable stride if you love to walk? What venues and vistas are within a comfortable bicycling distance? If you drive, you can easily find Lake Lanier homes within just a few minutes' roll from your favorite Gainesville shops and restaurants.

You can plan your entire lakeside lifestyle based on the home you choose and what you can reach with a casual and enjoyable mode of transport.

A lake house you love, features you can modify

Last but not least is buying to renovate. Your lake home should perfectly suit your needs in terms of location, view, and architectural features. If you walk into a Gainesville home and fall in love with every beam and window, you may have just found the perfect house. However, if you find the ideal lot, placement, and size but a design you'd change – you can change it. As a homeowner, you can buy to renovate with plans to open up the great room, finish the garage into a separate suite, upgrade the kitchen amenities, expand the outdoor living, or just touch up the style to better suit your sense of beauty and aesthetic.

Such an approach also allows you to plan for the future, buying a home that may one day be modified to the needs of future generations and purposes while maintaining that wonderful sense of style and utility from your original selection.

Are you looking for a luxury lake home in Gainesville, GA?  Use this guide from Dani Burns to help you determine which Lake Lanier home is the perfect property for your ideal lakeside lifestyle. Contact Dani today and begin a professional hunt for the lake home you'll love.

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