Bhakti, Nisha, and Anjali are cousins who grew up like sisters. As they both grew in their careers and started families of their own, they wanted a place to spend more time together. So they had a great idea: get out of the city by going in on a lakefront home they could all share.
They settled on Grand Lake since it’s not too far from their primary residences in Littleton. The house they liked was insulated enough to enjoy in the winter, and in the summer, they’d share a small pontoon boat that would be safe and fun for their kiddos. They could fish during the day as a family, and cuddle up around an outdoor fire pit at night. And since you never know who else is coming over, the bedrooms were equipped with as many bunk beds as they could fit.
When buying waterfront or shared property, there are some unique situations to keep in mind. For instance, have you considered that anybody on the lake may be able to see your property—or even into your home—if you choose to have large windows facing the view?
Here are a few other things to consider:
- Look into loans and insurance early in the process- waterfront homes may have costly wind, flood plain or general hazard policies.
- How will you pay for it as a group? Will you need contracts? How will you structure payments? Would a group slush fund make sense?
- What is your dock depth? Does it work with the kind of boat you want?
- Speaking of docks, if you want to make any changes to your waterfront property, such as adding a dock or a seawall, start this process early to ensure that these alterations are possible.
- If you’re used to the convenience of suburban life—you may assume that electricity, clean water, an adequate septic system, cable, and wifi will be readily available. In rural areas, that’s not always the case and bringing these services into remote areas can be very expensive. Do your research before you buy.
- Get to know your responsibilities as a waterfront homeowner. If you’re part of a homeowners association, find out what kind of upkeep and maintenance of the property will be required from you by reviewing the conditions, covenants and restrictions.
- If there’s anything you don’t love about the home, remember that you can always tweak a home, but not the location, so make sure you feel great about that first.
Family property can certainly be worth it. Determine the legal and financing considerations when co-buying and consult your legal and financial professionals. Many groups form a limited liability company (LLC) that holds title to the property. Also, consider survivorship and legal restrictions on shared housing for certain properties.
As for the cousins, this year, there’s no question where everybody will spend July 4. They’re grateful for the bonding time that becomes so precious and often rare as you get older. And their children have a place to create many fond childhood memories.
And as you look for your own place to avoid the city and cool off in the summer, make sure you enjoy your waterfront views with a whole lot of bug spray!