Are you considering buying a waterfront home in the Traverse City area? There are number of options depending on your goals. 

For starters is it a primary, vacation, or future retirement home? 

Do you plan to rent it as a vacation rental when you aren’t in it? 

Do you prefer proximity to shopping, grocery stores, restaurants etc. or would you prefer the peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of a big city?

No wake or all sports? 

What type of frontage? 

The bay or inland lake? 

What about maintenance, heating sources, septic systems and holding tanks?

This is just the beginning of your search.


Let’s talk about what type of residence you are looking for. If this is a primary home or retirement home, you may be looking for the ability to access water while being in close proximity to grocery stores, shopping, restaurants, and doctors. If it’s a vacation home and you want to rent it when you aren’t in it, do you know where this can be done? Some townships don’t allow short term rentals and even in townships that do allow them do you know if there’s an HOA and do they allow it? 


Do you know the difference between a no wake and all sports lake? If you plan to have a boat you are going to need to be on an all sports lake. But maybe kayaks and paddle boards are more your style, in that case a no wake may be more your style. 


There are all types of frontage in the area. Sandy frontage will almost always be the most desired and holds the highest value in most cases. Each lake is different in what it offers and some lakes offer a variety. The amount of frontage is also a big factor in the value of the frontage. The first 100’ of frontage holds the highest value, everything over that will be valued around 50% a foot of what the first 100’ is valued at. So, if the value of the first 100’ is $2000 a foot then every foot over that 100 will be valued around $1000 a foot. Some townships require you have a certain amount of frontage in order to have a dock. 


Maintenance can be a big concern, if this is a second home you will want to winterize the home when you are not in it. Or hire a property manager to take care of it in the off season. Some people even rent their homes to locals for 6 months just so it’s occupied. Is the home on a septic system or holding tanks? It can also be on an engineered septic system; this requires approval from the health department and generally costs double what a standard septic system cost. Holding tanks will require you to have them pumped much more often than a septic tank. It all depends on where the water table is on the property. Wetlands can be a concern too, if the property has wetlands there are certain protections from the DEQ you will want to be aware of to keep yourself from getting any fines. Does the home have natural gas or is it on propane? Propane can be quite a bit pricier. 


These are just some of the things to consider when you’re buying a waterfront home in the Traverse City Area. If you are considering buying or selling, I’d love to help you consider your options.