Everything You Need To Know When Buying Or Selling a Home On Lake Lanier

Buying or selling a home is tough enough on its own. But lake homes have their own unique set of challenges that require industry experts to help you navigate the waters (sorry!) of buying and selling lake property.

Our Team at Living On Lake Lanier has put together this helpful guide to direct you to our ever-growing resource library to make the experience a little easier and little less stressful!

Buying Lake Property

Before You Buy

There’s a few things you need to get in order before you make any moves towards buying a lake home. You need to understand what you’re getting into, why you’re moving in the first place and what to expect during the buying process.

During The Buying Process

Once you’ve made the decision to buy and understand the process better, you’ll want to have these tips and guides ready to use while you’re dealing with an agent and touring properties.

Real Estate Financing

This can be the scariest part of buying a home: what if I don’t get approved for the home I want? What if the rates are too high?

These are normal thoughts to have but with the right mindset, and a little inside help from industry experts, you can put your mind at ease and be in a better position to finance the lake home of your dreams.

Selling Lake Property

lake lanier homes

If you’ve made the decision to sell your Lake Lanier home, we’ve got the resources you need to make the experience smooth for yourself and your buyer.


We’ve always got our finger on the pulse of the local market, and can help you make your buying decision more confidently. From the finer points of HOA rules and Corps of Engineers regulations to more standard questions about home amenities and market trends, we’re here to help. One of our favorite aspects of the Lake Lanier market is sharing the joy and appreciation we have for the activities and fun to be had as a lake resident. Whether you’re looking to relocate permanently, or just want a place to get away from the hustle and bustle, there are so many exciting things to do at Lake Lanier. So today, let’s focus on just a few of our favorites!

A Few of Our Favorite Things to Do at Lake Lanier


From fishing to golfing to countless watersports, it’s hard to run out of fun things to do at Lake Lanier. Get out on the lake in a canoe or kayak for a sunrise paddle and experience the peaceful serenity of calm, quiet water. Take the kids on an outdoor adventure to one of the 12 campgrounds scattered around the lake. Experience world class golf at some of the area’s finest courses. Wherever you turn, you’ll find fun activities waiting.

Of course, cruising around on a boat opens up lots of possibilities too. Take a ride to one of the many exciting dining destinations such as Fish Tales at Hideaway Bay Marina, or Pelican Pete’s at Port Royale Marina. Enjoy a sunset cruise with friends, or make your way to Sunset Cove for a variety of festive events throughout the year. The Olympic Rowing Venue hosts concerts and the Lake Lanier Association helps organize many community events.  You can even have a floating concert come to you with Band on a Boat!

Taking a cruise can often end in an exciting destination too. Tie up at the Hideaway Bay Marina and have a bite at Fish Tales, or make your way to Pelican Pete’s at Port Royale Marina. And certainly keep your eyes on the schedule of fun events and concerts that happen at Sunset Cove. There are also concerts at The Olympic Rowing Venue, as well as many community events.

With so many things to do at Lake Lanier, you can also have fun and help out worthy causes with events such as the Poker Run benefitting children in need, or the Shoresweep event that helps keep the lake pristine and beautiful for all to enjoy. And don’t forget about LanierWorld for an exciting water park experience right on the shores of the lake!

If you’re ready to explore all of these great things to do at Lake Lanier, let my great team of Lake Lanier real estate agents help you find the lake home you’ve always wanted. You’ll feel like you’re on vacation every day, with the big city just 30 minutes away. And remember, it’s great to have so many options for fun, but you can always kick back and relax at home too!

If you’re considering a purchase of a Lake Lanier property, we’d like to share a few helpful tips with you before you buy, to make sure you’re well informed and prepared for the process of searching through Lake Lanier homes and lots. I’m Teresa Smith, and along with a dedicated team of real-estate pros, we’re here to guide you along every step of the process. With any real estate transaction, there are always the finer points of closing costs, inspections, and other negotiations and considerations, but with lake property, you’ve got the added elements of living on the water.

Indeed, owning a dream home on the water is within your reach, but it helps to have a knowledgeable, responsive lake agent by your side to help navigate the particular intricacies of buying, selling, and owning lake properties. Our Living on Lake Lanier team will carefully listen to your hopes and dreams, and help guide you to the best Lake Lanier property for you and your family.

We hope this helpful guide to living on the lake will help get you started!


7 Tips for Buying Lake Lanier Property


As I mentioned above, there are some particular issues that arise with purchasing and owning lakefront homes that simply don’t exist with other real estate.

As a full-time resident of the lake myself, I have a solid grasp of these issues thanks to both professional and personal experiences. Plus, our team of seasoned agents is also focused exclusively on Lake Lanier property, meaning that we’ve always got our finger on the pulse of the market and the latest trends and hot neighborhoods.

With an area spanning over 5 counties and hundreds of miles of coastline, you’ll really appreciate having the local knowledge we can bring to the table as you search for that perfect lake house. That being said, here are a few tips and recommendations to help you along in the process.

  1. Hire a real estate agent who understands the lake market. Besides having access to great listings, make sure your realtor has in-depth knowledge of the layout of the lake and various neighborhoods and coves.
  2. Don’t buy just for the house alone. Whether you’re moving to the lake fulltime, or just want a getaway from the big city, you’ll want more than just another nice house. Of course, amenities and updates are crucial, but make sure you’re looking into other aspects of the property, such as dock access, water depth, and surrounding lots.
  3. Don’t be scared to ask questions and tell us what you want! My team and I take great pride in providing excellent service to our clients, and that begins with an open ear. Please feel free to communicate early and often about exactly what you’re looking for in a Lake Lanier property and don’t settle for anything just because it’s on the lake and seems like a deal.
  4. Get educated about the local rules and regulations. Will you be able to build a dock easily? Is your dock access restricted in any way? Do you have a grandfathered patio or porch on the shoreline? What about HOA or Corps of Engineers rules that might hinder plans or ideas you’ve got for the property.?
  5. Look beyond your lot. Having a great lot and house is certainly the main focus, but it’s great to scope out the surrounding neighbors and also find out what services and marinas are close by. Will you be able to bring in a boat easily? Are there any restrictions on boat activity?
  6. Check on utilities and services. This isn’t the big city! That’s great for peace and quiet, but make sure you understand the differences when it comes to things like access to electricity, water, sewage, and waste pickup services in your prospective neighborhood. Especially make sure you research this if you’re looking at buying an empty or undeveloped lot. We’ll be there to help answer all of these questions too!
  7. Don’t be scared to ask your potential agent for testimonials and references. Also, ask the neighborhood! If you’re ready to choose an agent, you should expect the best service and results. And if you’re not sure about an area, a quick chat with potential neighbors can either put your mind at ease or help you steer clear!

So as you can see, while some aspects are the same, purchasing lakefront property does present some unique challenges and items to consider. We here at Living on Lake Lanier are ready and able to assist you with all of these, and hope to work with you soon on your quest for a dream lake getaway. Get in touch today, and feel free to inquire about testimonials from our many past satisfied clients.

As the events of the last few years in the real estate industry show, people forget about the tremendous financial responsibility of purchasing a home at their peril. Here are a few tips for dealing with the dollar signs so that you can take down that “for sale” sign on your new home.

  1. Get pre-approved. Sub-primes may be history, but you’ll probably still be shown homes you can’t actually afford. By getting pre-approved as a buyer, you can save yourself the grief of looking at houses you can’t afford. You can also put yourself in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house. Unlike pre-qualification, which is based on a cursory review of your finances, pre-approval from a lender is based on your actual income, debt and credit history. By doing a thorough analysis of your actual spending power, you’ll be less likely to get in over your head.
  2. Choose your mortgage carefully. Used to be the emphasis when it came to mortgages was on paying them off as soon as possible. Today, the debt the average person will accumulate due to credit cards, student loans, etc. means it’s better to opt for the 30-year mortgage instead of the 15-year. This way, you have a lower monthly payment, with the option of paying an additional principal when money is good. Additionally, when picking a mortgage, you usually have the option of paying additional points (a portion of the interest that you pay at closing) in exchange for a lower interest rate. If you plan to stay in the house for a long time—and given the current real estate market, you should—taking the points will save you money.
  3. Do your homework before bidding. Before you make an offer on a home, do some research on the sales trends of similar homes in the neighborhood with sites like Zillow. Consider especially sales of similar homes in the last three months. For instance, if homes have recently sold for 5 percent less than the asking price, your opening bid should probably be about 8 to 10 percent lower than what the seller is asking.

Selling your lake home doesn′t just mean hiring a realtor to stick a sign out front. There are a lot of preparations you should make to ensure you get the best offer possible in the shortest time.

Repair. Just because you’ve gotten used to the cracks in the walls and the rattles in the radiators doesn’t mean a buyer will too. If you have hardwood floors that need refinishing, be sure to get it done—hardwood is a huge selling point. Buyers like to snoop around, so be sure to fix any sticky doors or drawers as well. Finally, don’t forget to address any issues with the exterior—fences, shingles, sidewalks, etc. After all, without curb appeal, some buyers may never get to see the inside.

Neutralize. You want buyers to see themselves in your home. If your living room has lime green shag, wood-paneled walls, and all your collectibles and personal photographs, this will be much harder for them to do. Try replacing any bold color choices in your floors and walls with something more neutral—beiges, tans, and whites. Repainting and reflooring will make everything look fresh and new, and help prospective buyers imagine all the possibilities.

Stage. Once your house is clean and updated, it’s time to play dress up. Home stagers can add small details and décor touches that will bring out the possibilities in the various spaces in your home: lamps, mirrors, throw rugs and pillows, flowers, decorative soaps and towels, patio furniture. Home staging can be particularly useful if your home is especially old or if the exterior looks dated. Think of it as a little mascara and rouge—if it’s done right, you notice the beauty, not the makeup.

Looking to buy a lake home? Here are five essential tips for making the process as smooth as possible.

Get your finances in order.

Start by getting a full picture of your credit. Obtain copies of your credit report. Make sure the facts are correct, and fix any problems you find. Next, find a suitable lender and get pre-approved for a loan. This will put you in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house.

Find a lake house you can afford.

As with engagement rings, there’s a general rule of thumb when it comes to buying a home: two-and-a-half times your annual salary. There are also a number of tools and calculators online that can help you understand how your income, debt, and expenses affect what you can afford. Don’t forget, too, that there are lots of considerations beyond the sticker price, including property taxes, energy costs, etc.

Hire a professional.

While the Internet gives buyers unprecedented access to home listings and resources, many aspects of the buying process require a level of expertise you can’t pick up from surfing the web. That’s why you’re better off using a professional agent than going it alone. If possible, recruit an exclusive buyer agent, who will have your interests at heart and can help you with strategies during the bidding process.

Do your homework.

Before making a bid, do some research to determine the state of the market at large. Is it more favorable for sellers or buyers? Next, look at sales trends of similar homes in the area or neighborhood. Look at prices for the last few months. Come up with an asking price that’s competitive, but also realistic. Otherwise, you may end up ticking off your seller.

Think long term.

Obviously, you shouldn’t buy unless you’re sure you’ll be staying put for at least a few years. Beyond that, you should buy in a neighborhood with good schools. Whether you have children or not, this will have an impact on your new home’s resale value down the line. When it comes to the house itself, you should hire your own home inspector, who can point out potential problems that could require costly repairs in the future.