There are almost 500 Orlando Lakefront homes for sale in Orange county. Add to that the the surrounding counties of Seminole, Lake, Osceola, Polk and there are about 700 more lake homes to choose from. Lake county was named as such because it has over 1,200 lakes. There are all kinds of lakefront homes, some are desirable and bring top dollar while other lake homes may appear like are bargain, but are not in demand.
It is my opinion that a quality lakefront home brings the highest price tag, are most desirable, supply is limited and they appreciate about 3x faster that of a dry lot property.
What determines the cost of Lakefront in central Florida?
- Quality of water
- Size of lake
- Clarity of lake water
- Sand bottom
- Running feet on the water
- Spring fed
- Unobstructed view of water
- Ability to have watercraft
- The city it it is located in
- ...and of course the quality of the improvements on the property.
As a rule, the larger the lake, the higher the price tag. Centrally located lakes are a plus while rural lakes may be a bargain. A lake that allows for boating and skiing is always in higher demand. Lakefront homes on a Chain-of-Lakes are premium priced with a very limited supply of inventory Ask us for a custom list of waterfront homes for sale...sent to you by email 407-539-1053.
Buyer-Be-Aware: Lake properties described as “Lake access”, “Lake view”, “waterfront community”, “chain of lakes community”, “canal to lake home”, “canalfront’ ...are not direct lakefront homes! There is a big difference in both the property quality and the price.
Buying a lakefront home
First you need to determine your budget and what your goals are for living on a lake. Do you want to boat, swim, or ski? Need a “fly in” lake for your plane? Or do you just want to fish for big bass? Or maybe you just want “to die for” gorgeous sunset views...or just serene privacy.
Lakes are sand bottom, muck bottom, clear water, brackish water, on water that shrinks in dry season and lakes that keep the same water level. Then there are swampy lakes only good for the beautiful view and natural habitat. There are lakes that are “chained” to other lakes where you can travel by water to other lakes and even north to the St. Johns river.
Sometimes the waterview is obstructed with Cypress Trees which is a protected species. Sometimes there is a road separating the home from the lake...or there is a big distance between the lake and the house. These obstructions are not desirable for most homebuyers looking for prime lakefront property but on the other hand, there is nothing more beautiful than the privacy of living on water...any waterfront.
The brokers at Buyers Broker of Florida live on lakes and understand waterfront. There are a lot of factors that go into determining how valuable the lakefront property is. For more information call us for a no pressure chat. Or ask for Mike Alexander...he has broad knowledge of Central Florida lakes and will share his vast knowledge about lakes with you. 407-539-1053
Sizes of Lakes in Florida
At the bottom of the state sits Lake Okeechobee, the largest lake in Florida. The massive body of water covers 448,000 acres...or about 700 square miles. The lake is relatively shallow at an average of 9 feet. Some say that it is the best Bass fishing lake in America, but due to lots of “gators”, it is not a lake you want to swim in. You can also rent a boat on Lake Okeechobee to explore on your own.
The second largest lake in Florida is Lake George. This lake is 12 miles long and 6 miles wide. It is on the border of Ocala National Forest and is the largest lake on the St. Johns River.
The third largest lake is in Lake Seminole which borders Georgia and Alabama. The lake is used primarily for hydroelectric power production and recreation.
The fourth largest lake, Lake Kissimmee, in Central Florida, just below Walt Disney World. It also has a state park where you can go camping.
At 30,000 acres of water, the fifth largest lake is Lake Apopka, located in west Central Florida. At one time it was considered the most polluted large lake in Florida. The pollution was coming from the chemical runoff from the farmlands, but huge efforts have been made to clean it up. It now boasts of healthy wildlife.
Lakes in central Florida come in many sizes, various views and quality of water...both in boating and fishing lakes. As a waterfront buyer, you do have a choice in the type of lake and the city you wish to reside in. Tell us what your ideal water property is...
Properties on “Chains of Lakes” are always a premium
There are many kinds and sizes of lakes to choose from, but fewer choices when it comes to living on a chain of lakes. The lakes that are on a “chain of lakes” allow you to access the other lakes that are on the “chain” by boat. These lakes are typically the largest and also the priciest. The “chain” can access just one other lake or up to 13 other lakes.
One of the most coveted is the Butler Chain of Lakes. Living on the Butler Chain is always sought after for the excellent water quality and beauty of natural habitat. Florida’s Department of Environmental Regulation promotes this chain as “Outstanding Florida Waters”. Located in the town of Windermere, the 4,720 acre chain is made up of 12 lakes: Lake Butler, Lake Tibet, Wauseon Bay, Lake Bessie, Lake Louise, Lake Isleworth, Lake Down, Lake Chase, Lake Blanche, Lake Sheen, Pocket Lake, and Fish Lake.
Do all lakes have alligators?
Maybe not all, but most for sure. Alligators may be anywhere where there is water...ponds, rivers, lakes, marshes, swamps and even man-made canals. In Florida, while there may be a lake with no gators, there is no guarantee that there will never be a gator in there. Alligators travel across land if their food source runs low or if there is a connection drain or canal to another lake.
Lakes that are surrounded by residential properties may have few or no gators. While gators shy away from lake activity, a few lakes that are loaded with gators are not lakes for recreation swimming.
I live on a lake with no gators because it is a very active lake with boating, skiing and seaplanes. Plus there is no headwater lake that flows into it, so it is not accessible to gators.
While the news carries serious fatal gator conflicts with humans, that is very rare and usually the person mistakenly ventured into gator territory. More often, a gator may snatch a pet that is too close to the water.
Buying Lakefront Lots in Orlando
True story: I had lunch with a friend who owns a survey company and she relayed this story to me: A buyer just closed on a lakefront lot and then decided to order a survey from her company. Lo and behold, the entire parcel that the buyer purchased was in the lake...nothing was on dry land. He was devastated...with no recourse. The “land” that he walked, viewed and thought was his, actually belonged to the neighbor.
Here are the facts: Just because you buy a large 5 acre waterfront parcel does not mean you actually own a 5 acre buildable lakefront lot. Three of the five acres could be inside the lake and the rest could be wetlands, or some other protected vegetation that cannot be built on. Or you might be planning on removing the row of trees blocking the beautiful view, only to later learn that they are protected cypress trees that you can’t cut or even trim. And there is more...don’t forget that “high water mark” of the lake will dictate the setbacks from where you can build.
If you are considering buying a lakefront property, do the proper investigation and don’t rely on what the seller or the listing agent “think”. Hire us to help you navigate the pitfalls of buying vacant land. 407-539-1053
Waterfront lot purchase example: The last vacant waterfront lot that we helped our buyer purchase was on Lake Tibet, a 1,200 acre lake that is part of the prestigious Butler Chain of Lakes. The lot was “raw”...meaning that it was undeveloped and not cleared. It was so dense that you could not walk the lot, so you could not tell anything. Most lots need additional work at an additional cost that needs to be factored into the budget.
Many waterfront lots are spongy and not high and dry...something that you should know before you buy. Lakefront lots are also not cheap, so it is imperative that you perform the right tests, so you do not waste your hard earned money. A prime waterfront lot starts at about $1Million dollars$+ while rural lakes on unpaved roads may look like a bargain. Getting proper inspections is critical and not the time to cheap out and skip your investigations. Read on to get a better picture of what to inspect...
So here are the inspections that we did on this lakefront parcel:
1. First we did a new survey. The seller did have an old survey, but that should not be relied on...shorelines may have changed and the old surveyor might not have used the newest equipment. If you opt to choose the sellers old survey and it is not accurate, you have no one to complain to or have any recourse for relief. It is critical to get your own survey from an experienced waterfront surveyor.
2. Then we did a topography study. It is a detailed map showing the configuration, of the earth surface. It also shows the shoreline, boundaries, vegetation, wetlands, size of trees and the high water mark. The high water mark determines the setback from where you can build. In this case the buildable land was a bit smaller than the seller indicated, so we were able to re-negotiate the price and save the buyer almost $100k on a price reduction…(yes, after inspections).
More things to consider when buying a lakefront lot:
- What is the lot zoned for? That will determine what you can build.
- Is there city water on site? If not, a septic system and well will be required.
- How far is the access to electricity, natural gas or sewer?
- Is road access included, or will you have a private road to maintain?
- Are there any liens or encroachments?
- What about environmental restrictions?
- Is it in a flood zone? What about insurance?
Frequently asked questions about living on a lake...
Will my house flood?
Maybe, if the lot is low or the house sits too low on the lot. Ideally the property needs to have been built high and dry.
Will I need flood insurance?
Maybe or maybe not. Not all waterfront property is in a flood zone. However, keep in mind that your regular homeowners insurance may cover water damage, but not if it is from rising water. Check the coverage.
Will the lake dry up during dry season?
The water level could drop and make parts of the lake not navigable...especially canals. The water will come back during rainy season which starts in the month of June. If the lake is spring fed, it will maintain the same water level all year round.
Can I build a dock?
Yes, but you have to follow the local city rules and the St. Johns water management guidelines. You will also have certain guidelines for septic when living on a lake.
Call us to discuss your best home buying options: 407-539-1053
Buyers Broker of Florida helps homebuyers find the right lakefront home. We understand the difference between prime lakefront property and just a lake. We also know what it takes to build on a vacant waterfront lot. Ask us for a free list of Orlando Lakefront Homes for sale.
In case you can not view this video here, please click the link below to view Orlando Lakefront Homes for Sale on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pKkSjDm4HM&feature=youtu.be