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Old 08-17-2017, 02:21 PM   #1
LongShort
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Default Waterfront homeowners - what is the downside to owning?

Hi, We currently own a home in an association on the lake but are considering moving to waterfront. Our kids are 13 and 11 so we think it would be a better fit for our family as far as activities such as boating, kayaking, etc. Our community gives us access to these activities but the "process" of getting to the water in order to do them keeps the kids from doing them more often. Plus they are unable to do a lot of activities on their own due to association rules.

My question for waterfront home owners out there is what are the downsides to owning waterfront property. Obviously to be able to own on the waterfront is a dream come true for most but there are probably hassles, issues, etc. that come along with it that I may not be aware of. The positives seem pretty obvious so I am really just trying to figure out what I don’t know that could turn a dream come true into a nightmare or at least not as much fun as we think. Thanks in advance for any thoughts.
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Old 08-17-2017, 02:36 PM   #2
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Thumbs down Taxes

The only downside is the tax assessment.
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Old 08-17-2017, 02:40 PM   #3
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Will this be a full time residence or vacation home?
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Old 08-17-2017, 02:40 PM   #4
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Most obvious downside to owning waterfront is the cost and not just the purchase. Taxes can be insane. Upkeep as well. I did not consider the tens of thousands it cost to repair the dock when the ice wiped it out a few months after purchase and thats just one example. I live fairly close but I imagine all the off season issues are magnified if you can't jump in the car and get to your place quick if needed. There are plenty of companies who will watch your place and handle everything but again they come at a cost.
All that said I wouldn't trade it for anything so if you can make it happen I would encourage you to do so.
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Old 08-17-2017, 02:50 PM   #5
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No more downside than owning in an association beach are in my opinion. Expense is the biggest thing, just make sure you can afford it before you do it and you should be fine.
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Old 08-17-2017, 03:14 PM   #6
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People complain on here about big wakes in their coves taking out their docks etc.


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Old 08-17-2017, 03:42 PM   #7
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Default Read the Boating Threads...

You may have rafters wanting to anchor 1' off your beach...It's their right!!!
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Old 08-17-2017, 03:44 PM   #8
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Default Water Near and Dear

Being on your own waterfront has many obvious advantages cited above. Major additional expense is maintenance of your docking facility. Seasonal dock installation and removal (for us old geezers who pay others to do this chore) can be about $400 plus or minus.......but it's worth every 💰.
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Old 08-17-2017, 05:04 PM   #9
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I don't know what the social situation is in your neighborhood. Your children might find that they are more isolated than in an association. That may happen to you too. The shared beach sometimes makes for a place that families gather. If your new home does not have neighbors with kids in the age range of yours, your kids may initially be bored.

That said, I would not trade living on the water for anything. I spent a lot of years riding around in my boat looking at the waterfront homes and wondering how to get there. It finally happened 15 years ago and the positives outweigh the negatives, by far. I still get up in the morning and look out at the lake and think "I can't believe that I am here"
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Old 08-17-2017, 06:03 PM   #10
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Default The lake water temperature?

Water temperature safety for swimming or boating in a small boat like a kayak-small sailboat-paddle board; biggest downside is the cold water temperature. On June 1, the water temperature is about 58 .....by the end of June, it's up to about 68. For three months, from June 25 to September 25, it's warm enough to not need a partial wet suit.... and it does seem to be trending a little warmer overall ... long term?

Summer takes a long time to get here, and then it's over fast.
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Old 08-17-2017, 06:16 PM   #11
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The biggest issue is $$$$$$$$. It just costs a lot more. Your not sharing the expenses with anyone. They are all yours when you own your own waterfront.

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Old 08-17-2017, 06:41 PM   #12
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Default Taxes

Taxes are considered to be the biggest expense. Assessment values changed considerably since the state took over assessing the assessment in the late 80's.

Since then, I moved to Winnisquam where assessment is a lot lower. I'm only 5 minutes away from Winnipesaukee.

Island real estate are assessed at a lower rate as well. You may want to consider owning on an island.
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Old 08-17-2017, 07:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatlazyless View Post
Water temperature safety for swimming or boating in a small boat like a kayak-small sailboat-paddle board; biggest downside is the cold water temperature. On June 1, the water temperature is about 58 .....by the end of June, it's up to about 68. For three months, from June 25 to September 25, it's warm enough to not need a partial wet suit.... and it does seem to be trending a little warmer overall ... long term?

Summer takes a long time to get here, and then it's over fast.
HUH????

He is already on the lake and the temperature will be about the same whether he is in an association or in a single family home on his own lot.

Your post in no way helps with his question.

Are you off your meds again?
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Old 08-17-2017, 07:51 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by TiltonBB View Post
HUH????

He is already on the lake and the temperature will be about the same whether he is in an association or in a single family home on his own lot.

Your post in no way helps with his question.

Are you off your meds again?
Every now and then he has a helpful post, about 1 in 100.
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Old 08-17-2017, 08:39 PM   #15
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We too lived in an association for 7 years before buying waterfront. While we enjoyed the gated community living, nothing beats being able to wake up and walk right into the water. It really boils down to one thing, can you afford it? If you can, do it and don't look back, live your dreams.
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Old 08-17-2017, 09:04 PM   #16
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We have waterfront and aside from the cost, the biggest thing is what TiltonBB said about the social Side. In an association, there are always other people and kids around. With waterfront, it's just us. Sometimes there are no other kids around, but sometimes our neighbors have their extended family us and our kids play with their kids. But, it's rare.


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Old 08-17-2017, 09:21 PM   #17
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I live in an association, a small one with just 13 homes. We have a beach and each home has deeded dock slip. I love it. I personally wouldn't spend the money for waterfront and taxes. Just to much debt for me. But each to his own.
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Old 08-17-2017, 10:08 PM   #18
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Default Thanks for the help!

Thank you everyone for your thoughts on this subject. I always wanted to be on the waterfront and I think this may be the time to do it. This is a vacation home and we are a couple of hours away but I am also self employed so have a lot of flexibility if I do need to get up here quickly.

Taxes are definitely an issue and I have crossed off several towns on the lake due to the ridiculously high tax rates. I can justify buying the house as an asset but writing a huge check every year for taxes is something I just can't swallow.

The social aspect of leaving a community is certainly something we have thought about as we do enjoy our neighbors and the activities that go on. Having said that I must admit that our kids and us tend to enjoy our privacy a lot and they have not taken part in a lot of the social activities that go on for the kids in the association. I have a feeling that as they move into their teenage years we will be bringing a lot of friends up with us.

It sounds like the positives certainly outweigh the negatives for most people so I'll probably keep looking and hope to find the right place for us.

Is water quality or milfoil an issue I should keep in mind for certain areas?
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Old 08-18-2017, 08:03 AM   #19
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Assuming money isn't an option, the decision for me would revolve around family and lifestyle. As the "baby" of the family, my siblings and their kids had already created their "summer lives" before we bought the first summer place in the family. As a result, they don't often visit, so it's nice to have the "party" already at camp when we arrive and the friends my kiddos have there are different--we've found there's a unique difference between "summer" friends and "regular" friends. We also very much like the activities--craft activities, Halloween in summer, bands, etc. as all as the amenities, such as tennis and basketball courts, horseshoes, playground, etc.

That being said, if we had started with older kids and had an extended family to share camp with OR I we seeking a more private, serene experience AND money wasn't an issue, I'd certainly look for direct waterfront.

A quick note on the last point, finances: knowing what I know and home ownership and maintenance, I would only pay the extra for waterfront if it wouldn't affect my financial freedom. Specifically, that the increased costs are legitimate extra funds; I'd be majorly stressed if I were second-home-poor.

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Old 08-18-2017, 09:29 AM   #20
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I have a 2000 sq ft year round home in a small association on Waukewan, 4 houses, but we always keep ours eyes open for waterfront property. So I recently looked at a small camp with 200 feet of waterfront, for sale buy owner, and only seasonal. The owner showed me the place and we exchanged family stories and he said, "why would you want this place when you have twice the house at half the costs already".
He basically talked me out of buying his place but he said he had so many people looking that he wasn't worried about selling it.
He was right though, I already have everything I need at a reasonable cost.
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Old 08-18-2017, 09:43 AM   #21
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Default water front

we finally moved from a association on winnie to our own waterfront home on winnie in moultonborough low taxes
if you can afford whats out their go for it
we love it our boat 40 ft from front door our we have own beach
no wake cove.
the market is booming on winnie
3 places on our cove sold the first week on market this summer

good luck
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Old 08-18-2017, 09:49 AM   #22
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There is no better feeling than waking up and looking at you own little piece of the lake.Your kids will want friends over for sleepovers and your home will be alive with happy teenagers.
Lakefront property is a good investment so you certainly wont lose anything if you decide to downsize after the kids are gone. I'll bet once you enjoy it,you'll keep it in your family for many generations.
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Old 08-18-2017, 10:23 AM   #23
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If you're fortunate to have bought when prices were reasonable then you don't have the double whammy of high prices and high taxes as you do right now.
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Old 08-18-2017, 11:41 AM   #24
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Valuations are adjusted to market every few years, doesn't matter what you paid, only what the town determines it's worth. Moultonboro just finished their assessments.

Taxes go up because politicians raise them, not because property values increase.
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Old 08-18-2017, 12:00 PM   #25
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Quote:
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Valuations are adjusted to market every few years, doesn't matter what you paid, only what the town determines it's worth. Moultonboro just finished their assessments.

Taxes go up because politicians raise them, not because property values increase.
It's actually both. Taxes are based on a per thousand assessment. So when values go up so do the assessments therefore razing taxes and if the rates go up also then so do taxes. In prosperous times they may both go up. We are assured of two things in life, death and taxes, even in the "live free or die state".
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Old 08-18-2017, 12:33 PM   #26
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It's actually both. Taxes are based on a per thousand assessment. So when values go up so do the assessments therefore razing taxes and if the rates go up also then so do taxes. In prosperous times they may both go up. We are assured of two things in life, death and taxes, even in the "live free or die state".
Actually no. It's complicated, but rising property values do not raise your taxes, the tax rate is adjusted when valuations (notice the plural) rise to keep the levy (total amount raised by the town) at the same level as the year before PLUS any increases voted for during appropriations. So the increase in your taxes is only due to new spending approved by the politicians and town meeting if applicable, not the increase in valuation. Just like your taxes won't go down if there is a real estate market crash, they just adjust the tax rate up to keep the levy (and your tax bill) the same, or to add insult to injury, more, because they ALWAYS spend more.

Now if you do something to your house to increase its value, like an addition, your property tax will increase because of that because you increased the value of your house beyond what the market increase was for that period. But if everything stays the same and for some reason (that will never happen) the politicians don't vote to increase spending that year, your tax bill would not increase, even if everyone's assessed value went up 5%.

Politicians like it when people think their taxes are going up because of a hot market, it takes the heat off of them, but it's not true.

If you really want to understand it, you can read up here on it: https://www.moultonboroughnh.gov/sit...ualv2-2014.pdf

Pay particular attention to the second paragraph in section 14.6 which pretty much summarizes what I just wrote.
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Old 08-18-2017, 01:19 PM   #27
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Actually no. It's complicated, but rising property values do not raise your taxes, the tax rate is adjusted when valuations (notice the plural) rise to keep the levy (total amount raised by the town) at the same level as the year before PLUS any increases voted for during appropriations. So the increase in your taxes is only due to new spending approved by the politicians and town meeting if applicable, not the increase in valuation. Just like your taxes won't go down if there is a real estate market crash, they just adjust the tax rate up to keep the levy (and your tax bill) the same, or to add insult to injury, more, because they ALWAYS spend more.

Now if you do something to your house to increase its value, like an addition, your property tax will increase because of that because you increased the value of your house beyond what the market increase was for that period. But if everything stays the same and for some reason (that will never happen) the politicians don't vote to increase spending that year, your tax bill would not increase, even if everyone's assessed value went up 5%.

Politicians like it when people think their taxes are going up because of a hot market, it takes the heat off of them, but it's not true.

If you really want to understand it, you can read up here on it: https://www.moultonboroughnh.gov/sit...ualv2-2014.pdf

Pay particular attention to the second paragraph in section 14.6 which pretty much summarizes what I just wrote.
I understand how the system works. There is a number that the town needs and they work the figures to reach that number. When times are tight they tighten their belts and when times are good they tend to spend more just like we do with our personal finances.
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Old 08-18-2017, 01:34 PM   #28
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Expenses aside, other than the important issues regarding lifestyle above, the next issue would be where on the Lake which is just as important.

Finally, depending on the property's elevation, flooding has/ does occur. This isn't important until it is.
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Old 08-18-2017, 02:30 PM   #29
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"Politicians raise taxes". Not here. NH state taxes, BPT and BET are on the way down. Again. There were three bills filed last year (not resolved yet) to reduce or eliminate the Interest and Dividends Tax. NH trust laws and related issues are making NH a tax haven like Delaware and a couple of other states, drawing in outside money. A few years ago, the state (politicians) eliminated the Gambling Winnings tax.
With the largest state legislature in the US we all have neighbors who are "politicians" earning $100 a year. Making inaccurate statements like "politicians raise taxes" is insulting to these volunteers.

Town property taxes likewise are not the result of politicians actions. Spending is passed by Town Meeting in March. That's citizens voting for or against the budgets, not politicians.
Here endeth the rant.

WATERFRONT DOWNSIDE
I think there's a tendency to buy more toys that you then have to manage maintain, and store yourself. Swim rafts, PWC's, kayaks, canoes, a "family boat", a fishing boat and a ski boat when the kids are teens. That probably means a bigger dock. Docks and breakwaters are great and you may go for years with relatively little maintenance. Then, in one year the whole thing gets wiped out by moving ice floes. Bubblers won't prevent that, and not much help from insurance.

Fuel isn't a big part of owning and operating a boat, but if your boat is 40 feet away at your dock, I bet you'll use it a lot more. That's probably more on the UP-side. And you'll use it earlier in the spring and later in the fall. Also UP-side.
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Old 08-18-2017, 03:14 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Descant View Post
"Politicians raise taxes". Not here. NH state taxes, BPT and BET are on the way down. Again. There were three bills filed last year (not resolved yet) to reduce or eliminate the Interest and Dividends Tax. NH trust laws and related issues are making NH a tax haven like Delaware and a couple of other states, drawing in outside money. A few years ago, the state (politicians) eliminated the Gambling Winnings tax.
With the largest state legislature in the US we all have neighbors who are "politicians" earning $100 a year. Making inaccurate statements like "politicians raise taxes" is insulting to these volunteers.

Town property taxes likewise are not the result of politicians actions. Spending is passed by Town Meeting in March. That's citizens voting for or against the budgets, not politicians.
Here endeth the rant.

WATERFRONT DOWNSIDE
I think there's a tendency to buy more toys that you then have to manage maintain, and store yourself. Swim rafts, PWC's, kayaks, canoes, a "family boat", a fishing boat and a ski boat when the kids are teens. That probably means a bigger dock. Docks and breakwaters are great and you may go for years with relatively little maintenance. Then, in one year the whole thing gets wiped out by moving ice floes. Bubblers won't prevent that, and not much help from insurance.

Fuel isn't a big part of owning and operating a boat, but if your boat is 40 feet away at your dock, I bet you'll use it a lot more. That's probably more on the UP-side. And you'll use it earlier in the spring and later in the fall. Also UP-side.
And town meeting is the purest form of democracy, unfortunately town meeting power has dwindled mostly due to towns folk seeking expediency during the meeting. That said though, the politicians control the budgets, come up with the budgets AND sell the budget at town meeting. It's still the politicians controlling most of it. I'll agree it's sweet when a town meeting slaps down spending, but it doesn't happen as much as it should.

Oh, and spare me the "insulting to volunteers" crap, they are politicians, if they can't take the heat they should go away.
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Old 08-18-2017, 03:36 PM   #31
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I can't imagine living life not on the lake. It's true, we pay a lot in taxes for the privilege but I hope they never go so high that we won't feel it is worth it. You do see people do things on the water that frustrate you. They have all been discussed on this forum. But you see all those things if you are in an association too. And the rules and regulations are tougher living on the lake but you get those plus more -usually- in an association. The difference is you would have to bear the responsibilities of things such a permits and repairs by yourself that an association might do for you. But for us, one of the things we didn't want when we first bought our own piece of heaven on the lake, was to be in an association and I am very glad we aren't. I guess as somebody said, it is easier to be with more people in an assn. but you still have neighbors.

And as far as taxes, I don't think most people have any clue what is really needed in a town and what is not. They just trust the people that run the town to do what is best. Unfortunately. I would love to see more people become informed. Most people have no idea.
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Old 08-18-2017, 04:11 PM   #32
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Agree with Tis, Samiam and others. Would not trade owning on the Lake for anything. You can still have neighbor issues, etc., but the pluses certainly outweigh the minuses. Research towns and taxes. Do you have school aged children? Will you be on a town maintained or a private road? Consider what exposure you want – we like the westerly exposure we have, but that afternoon sun can get hot – good shades on the westerly side help. What about the waterfront – a walk in sandy beach with a gradual drop off is great for children or grandchildren. Good water depth at the dock is essential. Boat traffic in front of the property should be considered. While I complain about being in a no wake zone, it is great for floating, kayaking, paddle boarding or just swimming. Downside is a longer time out to end of the no wake area and you can’t watch your kids, etc. ski or tube from the house. I could go on, but you get the idea.
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Old 08-20-2017, 11:04 PM   #33
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We tend to take things for granted having been on the lake for 11 years, but this weekend's company kind of put things in perspective for me this morning. He said " I could never live here." I said " why not?". He replied "cause I'd never want to leave..."

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