Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly of Buying a Minnesota Lakehome in the Winter

According to the calendar, winter just started but we all know from the chiropractic visits to tend to our aching, shoveling-afflicted spines that Minnesota’s winter weather blew into town several weeks ago. Unfortunately this means all that picturesque lakeshore that defines our beautiful state is frozen and covered with a thick white blanket of snow.
If you’re considering buying a lakeshore home, that just about cuts off any opportunity of buying for the year; that is unless you assess the quality of the lake using an ice auger and depth finder when freezing your backside off fishing on the ice. Right?
Well, not so fast. Buying a lakeshore home in the winter can make sense…And save lots of money too. If you know the specific lake well or are not concerned about the quality of shoreline, winter can be a great time to write up an offer.
GOOD reasons not to wait:
  1. Motivated Sellers—Any seller that keeps Minnesota lakeshore on the market during the winter most probably needs to sell.
  2. Less Competition—With few buyers on the market there is less change of multiple offers on properties which make for easier negotiations with the sellers.
  3. Low Interest Rates—They keep telling us that these rates won’t stay around forever and they are starting to inch up again. A lower interest rate means more buying power.
BAD  and UGLY situations that could arise:
  1. Shoreline Problems—That picturesque beauty that was covered with snow could reveal low lake levels or weedy shoreline problems rather than the sandy beachfront you imagined.
  2. Septic issues—If the home is on a lake with a private sewage system, it might not be able to be fully assessed for compliance issues which could be costly if a new system is required.
Bottom line, winter can be an tremendous opportunity to get a deal on a Minnesota lake home but be advised if you don’t know the lake well; there are significant risks to making a purchase when the lake is covered with a thick slab of ice. Weigh your options carefully before deciding whether you should put in an offer on that seemingly perfect snow covered home on the lake or wait until April when the waves are once again lapping on the shore to put in your offer.



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