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How to Buy Lakefront

By Tom Gongola – Broker

So, you want to live on the lake! You choose wisely selecting Tellico Village and Rarity Bay communities. Now choose wisely selecting your lakefront investment. Here are a few key factors to consider:

Flat lot and close to the water

How close is the house to the lake? How steep is the walk down to the lake? Virtually all lots in the area slope down to the lake, but some more than others, and some way more than others. A flat lot from the back of the house out to the lake is highly desirable. A house close to the lake is even better. Don’t underestimate this. When shopping for a house, walk down to the water, then walk back. If you are huffing and puffing or had to stop and rest part way, there is a good chance you won’t walk down there often. If it was a gentle, easy, beautiful, leisurely stroll, you will more likely have your morning coffee or evening glass of wine right out on the dock.


Which way does the sun rise and set? Can you enjoy the deck when you want to? In addition to the orientation relative to the compass, look at the orientation relative to the lot. Builders tend to position the house to maximize the view, and sometimes that means the house is angled on the lot. Your lake view may actually be over a neighboring property.

Lakefront non-dockable

What is non-dockable? When the water level drops, it retracts from the shallower areas, typically at the ends of the coves. At its lowest, these lots may have very shallow or even no water frontage at all. Typically there is also a strip of POA (Property Owners Association) controlled land between the house and the lake. These lots can have a great lakefront view unobstructed by boat docks and access to swim and launch a canoe; however, if you’re an active boater and want your boat in your backyard, then this is not for you. If you love to sit out by the lake, want a lake view, and access to swim or canoe, and are on a non-lakefront budget (generally less than $500,000), then this option can be hundreds of thousands of dollars less than dockable lots.

Cove versus main channel and deep water docks

The TVA app is a great tool to see exactly what the lake level is and how the level changes throughout the year. During May through October, the lake is generally at its highest level, and December through March it is at its lowest level. A deep water dock will have sufficient water depth to get your boat in and out when the lake is low. It turns out that most boaters winterize their boats and do not go boating in the colder low water level in December through March. Buying a lakefront home has many tradeoffs. Consider how important this really is to your overall lakefront experience.


You know what a great view is when you see it. Some people love the 180 degree sweeping view of the wide open main channel. Some people love the more cozy views of the trees and other awesome lakefront houses that you see in a cove. Some people want to be “in the action” with a view of boats and yachts driving by. Watch to see if you have a seasonal view and what will be visible or not visible by season. When the leaves fall, that generally opens up the view of both the lake and the other homes nearby. Your awesome view when you buy a house in January may not be so awesome in August. Your private location in August may appear closer to the neighbor’s house than you thought in January. Another thing to consider is your relationship to other people’s boat docks. Sometimes your water view is littered with other boat docks – some of them huge and sticking out to what looks like right in front of your house.

Quiet location

You wake up to a buzzing noise thinking that we are under attack by bumble bees! Nope, that is just the jet skis. Some places are ideal for jet skis and water skiing, and others are not. Choose wisely when you select your lakefront investment.

Are there hot deals on the lake?

You bet! If you have vision and an open mind, there are some excellent opportunities. Consider Rarity Bay, which can sometimes be overlooked. Rarity Bay offers some outstanding lakefront homes both main channel and back bay, flat lake lots with a gentle slope to the water, very high quality construction, and at an outstanding value. Another possible hot deal is if you consider doing some remodeling. Some lakefront homes that were built 15 years ago picked the best lots, and now all they need is some updating for a great value. The best way get the hot deal is to do your homework in advance, so when a great opportunity comes up, you are ready. You need to be working with a Real Estate Broker to get your boots on the ground to know how much buys what in what area. You need an MLS Direct Email Feed, so when a new house hits the market, you know about it on day one, not a few days later when it’s too late. Multiple offers and back-up offers are happening. Be ready. Be first.

Take the Next Step

If you are looking to buy a home, our Tellico Village Crye Leike team are dedicated realtors devoted to helping you every step of the way and guiding you through your home search and buying process. Our realtors specialize in East Tennessee, Tellico Village Real Estate and the surrounding area. Retiring and looking in the area? Aiming to buy more than just a home but in finding a like-minded community? Tellico Village is sure to check off all your must haves! Contact one of our realtors today to get one step closer your next home and the lake – the lake in your backyard!

Want to learn more? Contact us today!

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