"We've been looking for our cabin on a Maine lake for years and can't seem to find something we like". If I've heard this once, I've heard it a hundred times. In most cases, their search lacked balance. What one needs is a system, or methodology, for finding just the right place.
Here's some advice from Mr Lakefront. Your lakefront buying decision should have a balanced approach. Think of your decision as one resting safely on a 3-legged stool. Each leg of that stool is important, but some legs are more important than others. The 3 legs of your decision in order of importance are LAKE, LOT, and HOUSE.
LAKE - is the most important leg of the stool. Why? Because size, depth and water quality matter - a lot. If you are a serious power boater, you will be miserable on too small a body of water. If your idea of bliss is kayaking and canoeing on a quiet body of water, you will hate being on a large lake. You'll be fed up being tossed about by the wake of power boats.
The water quality of Maine lakes and ponds is legendary. But water quality can and does vary from lake to lake. Be sure to check about invasive aquatic plants such as milfoil or high phosphorus levels which promote algae growth.Most folks are happy on a medium size lake of about 500 acres. But a small quiet body of water of 100 to 200 acres might be perfect for those who want to commune with nature, paddling about in a canoe. Serious power boaters who want to cruise all day need a lake over 1,000 acres. Once you decide what size lake you want, you can move on to the lot.
LOT- It's been about five years since I wrote about the Top Attributes of a Lakefront Property : 1) Sandy beach 2) View 3) Proximity to the water 4) Level lot and 5) Privacy . These five attributes are what everyone wants, but few realize. I'm afraid one will have to compromise a bit. Few lots score well on all five attributes. But remember these attributes, they'll aid your decision.
HOUSE- By house I mean the structure that's on the property. Whether it's a house, cottage, cabin or camp it's the least important of the 3 legs in importance. How come?
Because "You can change the house, but you can't change the lake or lot."
Before lakefront buyers contact us at Mr Lakefront, they've seen hundreds of homes online. Folks will see an attractive lakefront house online and will want to see it in person. Recently a nice couple drove three hours up from Boston to see one particular lakefront home. They had fallen in love with it online. Was the house a dissapointment when they finally viewed it? No! They still loved the house. But the lot was very steep and unacceptable. The lake? Too small for the activities they planned.
You say," It's too bad that searching on line couldn't give you information about the lake or the lot." But it does! When you obtain search results from Lakefront Locator click on the Lake Info button. You will find information about lake size and depth. If you click again on "More" you will go to the Pearl site from the University of Maine. Click on Water Quality Overview and it will tell you whether the quality is excellent, above average, average, below average or poor. Is this important? Mr Lakefront thinks so. We try to keep our clients focused on lakes with at least average water quality.
What about the lot? You will need to read listing remarks closely and you'll need to read between the lines. If all they talk about is the house, maybe the lot is less than ideal. If they don't mention sandy beach or sandy bottom swimming, there's a good chance there is none. When in doubt, drop us an email. We either know or will find out for you.
In closing, I wish selecting a lakefront home was as easy as picking a pair of hunting boots from the LL Bean catalog. But alas, it's not. Let us know how we can help with your search. We love Maine lakes and ponds and want to share them with you.