Vacant lakefront lots in Oakland County – Buyer Beware

If you are looking to buy a vacant lakefront lot in Oakland County it is definitely buyer beware.  So many potential lakefront home builders have bought lots that they cannot do what they want to do on them.  Building your dream lake home is going to take a lot of research on your part.  I as a Michigan lakefront realtor cannot do it for you.  There are too many ways that the deal can go sideways.  The building department could tell me incorrect information, I could misconstrue what you want to do, I could not hear correctly what the building department is saying.  So in the end it could be a he said, she said situation.  So I do not get in the middle.  It is up to the buyer to find out what they can build on the property and whether they can build.

Russ is full time realtor with 14 years of experience of finding good deals for his clients.  An added bonus is that he buys a new kayak, or lawnmower, or grill, or snowblower, or lawnmower when you buy and close on a home with him.

I want a free kayak when I buy my next home

Upper Long Lake Oakland County MI

Upper Long Lake Oakland County MI

Yes there are good vacant lakefront lots in Oakland County.  Some people have sat on lots for years and years.  They sometimes think they are going to build their dream retirement home and then that changes.  We have several vacant lots on White Lake that are good lots, but the sellers do not want to sell them.   Then there are other vacant lakefront lots that are useless.  They sit there because they have bad waterfront or they are unbuildable.  It may because they cannot meet set back regulations.  They may not have room for a septic field.  They may not have room for both the well and septic field.  The lot may only be buildable when sewer and water come into the area.

The common setbacks for many waterfront lots are:

  • 25′ from the road
  • 10′ from each side or 15 ‘ set back combined.  (So you could have 5′ on one side and 10’ on the other
  • 25′ or 35′ from the lake

Every community has different set backs.  I just put some of the common ones out there.  It is very important that you find the set backs out before you enter into a contract.  Did you know that some communities have a line of sight restriction.  This stops you from building too close to the lake and blocking a neighbors view.  So if a neighbors lake home is sitting way back off the lake then you may have to build your home back away from the lake too.  When you enter into a purchase contract to buy a vacant waterfront property you need to have a due diligence period in the contract.  This due diligence period allows you to research what you can do with the property.  It gives you time to have your building plans drawn up.  It gives you time to have them submitted and approved by the township or city that you are buying the vacant property in.  It does not matter if it is a vacant lakefront lot in Oakland County or a waterfront lot in Livingston County you need to do your research.  You may have to get a variance to build a home the size you want.

Lower Long Lake West Bloomfield MI

Lower Long Lake West Bloomfield MI

Some of the other issues I have seen are septic fields.  In Oakland County the septic field is based on the number of bedrooms in the home.  The septic field has to be a certain size.  You may have to pay for an engineered field that could cost anywhere from $25,000 to over $35,000.  Septic fields no longer can be on the lake side of the house due to septic waste going into the lake.  Septic fields have to be a certain distance away from a well so the sewage is not leaking into the well.  It may be a neighbors well that is too close.  So in order to build you may have to pay to have a neighbors well relocated!  These are all items that will come up in the building approval process.  So you need a good amount of time for the due diligence when buying a vacant lakefront lot in Oakland County.

Why I am writing this article is because somebody asked me about a vacant lot on White Lake.  Just because it looks good does not mean it can be built on.  There is a vacant waterfront lot on Cedar Island Lake.  It is over 3/4 of an acre.  You would think it is buildable because it is flat and large, but it is not.  The water table is so high that even an engineered field cannot be built on it.  There are no sewers nearby so the home cannot be built yet.  As engineer septic field get better or county regulations change, it may be a possibility.  However right now you cannot build a home on the lot.  It is useless except for coming out and camping on the property.  So the value of that property has dropped considerably.

Wallace Lake in Livingston County

Wallace Lake in Livingston County

So take it from your local lakefront realtor, be sure to have a due diligence period in the contract.  Otherwise you may end up owning a lakefront property that is going to sit vacant.  Feel free to call me anytime about vacant lakefront properties in Oakland County Michigan.  My cell is 248-310-6239.

Here are three more lakefront home buying tips, home selling tips and information about local lakes.

Like I said if you are thinking about lake property do not hesitate to call me on my cell.

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