Pricing a lake home

Pricing a lake home is so much more difficult than pricing a home in a subdivision in Northville.  When you price a home in Livonia, or a home in Novi it is usually much easier.  Many of the homes are similar in age, style, and lot size.  That is why pricing a lake home or a canal front is so much tougher.  One of the obvious characteristics of almost all Oakland County Michigan lakes is that the lake homes vary so widely in age, size, and styles.  You can find a lake home on White Lake that was built in the 1920’s next to a home built in the 2000’s.  You can find a 2500 square foot brick colonial next to a small 1000 square foot wood 2 story cottage.  I am going to use White Lake as an example, but so many different lakes in Oakland County and Livingston County Michigan are like that.  There are tri-levels built in the 1970’s next to a 2005 built contemporary home.   One home may have 38 foot of lake frontage and another may have 80 foot of lake frontage. How much parking does the lot have?  Some waterfront homes have a garage or a walkout basement.  Other homes may not have the space for a garage or not be high enough for a walkout basement.

Wide lakefront lot w sandy beach

Wide lakefront lot w sandy beach

All of these factors make a difference in pricing a lake home whether it is in Livingston County or Oakland County waterfront home.  Then you have to add in the type of lake frontage you have.

  1. Does it have sunset views?
  2. Does the home have a sandy lake bottom?
  3. Or is it mucky?
  4. Are there cat tails or lily pads out there?
  5. Does the home sit on a hill above the lake?
  6. Are there a lot of stairs going down to the lake?
  7. Or is the ground and house relatively level with the lake?

All of these factors contribute greatly to pricing a lake home.  That is what makes it hard to price a lake home.  It takes a local lake realtor to know what the prices are and what your home should bring.  Lately I have seen so many lake homes over priced.  In a home in a subdivision in Northville many times it boils down to price or condition because the location is all the same.  On a lake it is so different.  A sandy bottom lake home will usually bring more money than a mucky lake bottom home.  A home that is on the main lake brings more money usually than a home in the back of a bay or behind a weed bed.  A home that has wide frontage and a gentle slope down to a lake may bring more money that a better condition home on a smaller lakefront lot.

So many lake home owners look at one home that sold on the lake and try to price their waterfront home without taking in all their factors.  For example I know one lake home owner that has the similar square footage of a home that sold for $710,000.  So they priced their home the same way. BUT>>>>>>

Lake Homes close together

Lake Homes close together

The home that sold had

  • a wide gently sloping lot
  • brick exterior
  • the home sat wide on the lot
  • the home had great curb appeal from the lake

The home that copied the price had

  • a narrow steep lot that required many stairs
  • wood exterior
  • the home was built shotgun style.  It sat long on the lot and narrow on the lake
  • just average curb appeal from the lake

The second home has sat on the market for 6 months and has not sold.  In my opinion it should be priced about $100,000 less.  For several reasons.  1.) Because I believe that the first home buyer over paid for the home.  They paid $100 more per square foot than any other home that sold on the lake.  The second reason is the wide lot versus narrow lot and the brick versus wood exterior.  The gentle slope versus a steep slope with stairs.  Those factors make a huge difference when pricing a home.  It also matters when you buy a lake home no matter whether it is a Waterfront homes for sale West Bloomfield MI or Lakefront foreclosures in Commerce Michigan.  Just because a similar sized home sold for a similar price doesn’t mean it is a good deal.  It depends on many different factors.

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