Top Tips for Buying Lake Jocassee Real Estate
When deciding to purchase a lakefront home, you should check out the Lake Jocassee real estate market. It is one of the premier locations for lakefront property. Due to its location, the nature in the area remains largely unspoiled. It is a favorite for families who like hiking and fishing. The popularity of the area means that there are not a lot of Lake Jocassee houses for sale.
Know the area.
Located in Devils Fork State Park, Lake Jocassee’s water sources are four mountain rivers, making it very cold. The lake is man-made and is 7,565 acres. It is one of the premier places for trout fishing, including brown and rainbow trout. The beautiful waterfalls in the park draw people there as well. If you are someone who enjoys scuba diving or swimming, you will love Lake Jocassee because the water is so clear.
The land surrounding the lake is mostly underdeveloped, which means a lot of privacy. On the shoreline, you have unobstructed views of the gorgeous landscape, as there are not a lot of homes on Lake Jocassee. If you enjoy hiking, you can spend the day on the Oconee Bell Nature Trail. On the trail, you will find the rare Oconee Bell wildflower.
Visit the properties in person.
You may think you are getting a good idea of the Lake Jocassee houses for sale by looking at photos online. However, it is important to view the properties in person. Seeing the homes in natural light, walking through them, and paying attention to details photos miss can give you a real feel of the home that you can’t get any other way. Checking out the home’s elevation and the structures on the property in real life can help you decide if this is the home you really want.
Take off an entire weekend to visit several Lake Jocassee houses for sale. Then, list them from most favorite to least favorite to narrow down the homes you’re considering. Having a solid idea of what you want is good, but do try to stay flexible. Maybe there is a fixer-upper that’s in your price range, and you may have to look past the more expensive turnkey property. Also, be realistic about what you can do when considering DIY projects. Do you have the time and skills to work on a fixer-upper? Do you have to hire extra help? How much is that going to cost?
Talk to the neighbors.
The fastest way to find out about any issues when looking at Lake Jocassee real estate is to talk to the neighbors. They have lived on Lake Jocassee, so they can inform you of any issues that come with buying a property there.
Those potential new neighbors may also know something about the Lake Jocassee houses for sale. They can give you some insight that pushes you to close on a deal or to back away from a lemon. Your future neighbors can also let you know what activities you are allowed to partake in at Lake Jocassee.
Don’t pay more than you have to.
Although lakefront homes have always been popular, the pandemic has increased the demand for these homes. Redfin, a real estate brokerage company based in Seattle, noted a half percent increase in the number of North American waterfront homes sold in August 2020 compared to August 2019. This means homes on Lake Jocassee have a great resale value, especially now.
Due to the demand for lakefront properties, sellers are at an advantage. Therefore, some Lake Jocassee houses for sale may be more expensive than they should be. To make sure you are not paying too much for your lakefront home, check out the sales history from the past decade of homes on Lake Jocassee to see the price trends.
If the market is appreciating between 5 and 10 percent annually, it is a healthy market. However, if the property you are looking at has appreciated more than 10 percent in a year, it is likely too expensive.
Organize your financing.
A lakefront property, like the ones on the Lake Jocassee real estate market, is usually more expensive than a landlocked property. And if you’re looking to use your lake house as a second home or an income property, there are special requirements that come with those designations. Second homes require a higher credit score to qualify for a mortgage from some lenders, and as they’re considered higher risk, you might also receive a higher interest rate.
Many people who have a lakefront home choose to use it as an investment property. This can help you to pay down the mortgage without a lot of expense. However, classifying it as an investment property comes with its own set of limitations. Regardless of what type of residence, you want to figure this out before applying for a mortgage.
So, when seeking financing, don’t wait until the last minute. You may lose out on a good deal because of a long financing process.
Choose a home at a higher elevation.
Having a home on the water may sound appealing. However, some Lake Jocassee houses for sale could be vulnerable to flooding during a storm. This can cause damage to your home. Instead, you want to pick a property on the Lake Jocassee real estate market that is not so close to the water. You also want to make sure your home is strong enough to handle high winds. Have your potential home inspected to make sure the home is structurally sound. It is common to have an inspection before closing on the home, but you don’t have to wait until then.
Find out the orientation of the home in relation to the sun.
Unless they’re shaded by trees or other impediments, south-facing windows get the most sunshine throughout the day. You’ll probably want to spend a lot of time outside at your lake house, and if the outdoor space faces south, that might make it more consistently usable. However, if the homes on Lake Jocassee you’re looking at face another way, they might get more sun in the morning (east) or afternoon (west), which might fit your lifestyle better. Consider how you’ll use the space to make sure the property fits the bill.
Choose a home that can be enjoyed in winter.
Perhaps the Lake Jocassee houses for sale that you are considering are only for summer use. If you want to enjoy the home during winter, or you plan on living there full-time, you need to make sure the house has the proper insulation. Make sure you can heat the home, and make sure it can stay at a comfortable temperature without costing you a fortune.
Think about how you can accommodate guests.
If you have decided to invest in the Lake Jocassee real estate market, you may be thinking about how to host extended family. Having a large lake house is just too expensive for most people. So, if you have to go smaller, you may have to get creative when trying to host guests.
When looking at Lake Jocassee houses for sale, you want to choose homes that have enough space for your immediate family. For visitors, you can figure out alternative arrangements for sleeping. Perhaps the kids can sleep in a tent in the yard for fun. Maybe you have friends that can visit in their RV. Pick sofa beds when choosing couches for your lakefront home. Store air mattresses in the house.
Your friends and family want to spend time with you. So, when you invite them to your lakefront home on Lake Jocassee, they’ll (hopefully) be flexible and understanding if you’re low on space.
Find out if you can expand.
You may find a cute little cottage on the Lake Jocassee real estate market. Perhaps all you want is a little cottage right now, but later on, you may require something larger. If your lot is on the lakefront, it may be small.
It is important to find this out before purchasing a home. Picking a home on the Lake Jocassee real estate market that has a larger lot size can give you some flexibility and wiggle room if you ever decide you want to add to the house.
Find out your waste situation.
Many Lake Jocassee houses for sale have a septic system. Septic systems can be very expensive to replace and repair. This is especially true if the home you are considering is a lakefront property. Therefore, you should make sure to get the septic system inspected and ask the seller to pay to fix any issues the inspector points out.
With more people wanting to buy a lakefront home on the Lake Jocassee real estate market, there may come a point where a public sewer may need to be installed. A public sewer can help keep the lake in pristine condition. Either way, you’ll need to be prepared to take care of your waste situation.
Put aside expenses for wear and tear.
Lake houses come with their own set of headaches. When you are in close proximity to water, there is more humidity in the air, which can break down your home faster than a home that is not close to the water. Also, when you continuously bring in sand and water from the lake, you are damaging your home. There could also be other structures on the property that you have to maintain, like docks or retaining walls.
When you do the home inspection, be sure that the inspector is looking out for wear and tear. If you are going to purchase a home on the Lake Jocassee real estate market, you will also have to put aside money for wear and tear.
Be prepared to pay more for insurance and utilities.
Buying a lakefront property on the Lake Jocassee real estate market means that there are other costs to consider. For example, you might want to get flood insurance. The risk of injury may also increase the cost of insurance. Utility expenses may also be higher because you are not in a concentrated area like a city.
Think about how much privacy you want.
Due to the fact that Lake Jocassee is located in a state park, the lake is open to other visitors. This means if you decide to be one of the people to own homes on Lake Jocassee, you may notice a lot of people outside of your home. So, be prepared for the fact that you may not experience complete privacy.
Get a permit for shoreline use.
Lake Jocassee is managed by Duke Energy. Therefore, if you want to enjoy the shoreline in front of your lakefront home, you will have to get a lake use permit or lease. You will have to pay an application fee.
Also, if you want to fix up your dock or stabilize your shoreline, you will need to contact Duke Energy’s Lake Services team. They will help guide you to build responsibly so that the water is protected.
Pull permits for structures on the property.
When looking at Lake Jocassee houses for sale, you want to make sure that the docks on the properties are permitted and can be used. Do your due diligence and check to see that the structures on the property are legally permitted.
The Wrap Up
Investing in a property on Lake Jocassee comes with many advantages. Not only will you have a lakefront property to enjoy with your family, but the resale value is also very high. This makes it a great investment property. You have access to some of the best fishing in South Carolina as well as really cool hiking trails. Although there are more expenses that come with owning a lakefront home, like wear and tear from the elements and higher insurance rates, the good far outweighs the bad. Just make sure you do your due diligence and have the home inspected, so you know you are not purchasing a lemon.