First, if you’ve looked around and you’re just no where near being able to afford a waterfront home, consider looking for one off the water but in a neighborhood with a lakefront park. Several neighborhoods – Eaton’s Ferry Estates, Spinnaker Point, Tanglewood Shores, Timber Creek, and Wildwood Point - have lakefront parks with boatslips for property owners. In some cases, there is a boatslip assigned to your house where you can leave your boat year round. In others, the boatslips are just for day use. Your realtor will have current specifics.
Another alternative is to buy an offwater home, but rent a boatslip at one of the marinas. Click on boatslips for rent for a list of those that offer this service.
If you’re close, but not quite able to comfortably afford a waterfront home, consider renting your future vacation home part of the time. This will not only provide income to help with your mortgage payments, but will kick in some additional tax deductions as well.
Every normal person is initially nervous about renting out his lake home. However, fortunately, the normal rental family Lake Gaston is Mom and Dad and middle school age and younger children. They are not at all the Myrtle Beach party down crowd. In my personal Lake Gaston rental experience, our own children put far more wear and tear on our lake house than our paying guests.
Whether you rent or not, your mortgage interest and property taxes are usually fully tax deductible. However, if you rent, virtually every additional expense – homeowners insurance, utilities, maintenance, etc. - becomes a prorata tax deduction. Because of the relatively high home prices at the Lake, your rental income will not pay for the house, but they can make a healthy contribution. Of course consult with your tax advisor before taking this route.
The other option you might consider is to purchase your lake home with another family. We did this with a family, who were not relatives, and I’ll have to admit, somewhat to my surprise, it was a smashing success. Even though my partner was someone I don’t think I could live with (we both want to run everything), he was great as a co-owner. I think it’s because at the Lake we were both in vacation mode. I took care of the yard and renting the home, he took care of home repairs requiring skill, his wife took care of the inside of the home, and, as she put it, my wife was in charge of sun bathing.
We so much enjoyed having another family around, that when we were there and they weren’t, we’d call them and urge them to “forget about the wedding and come to the Lake.”
Since we were shaking the piggy bank hard to buy the home, we did two of the above. We both went in with another family and we rented out our lake home part of the time. You can consider doing the same and possibly afford the Lake Gaston home you really want.
A final option would be to put more of your assets into your Lake home. I’m a great believer in the stock market and have been investing since I was fourteen. However, looking at the scarcity of waterfront lots on the Lake, I feel the likelihood is very high that over the next ten years appreciation on the Lake may outstrip that of the stock market. Thus, you might consider, carefully of course, shifting some of your investment from the stock market into Lake Gaston real estate.
Now, on to "Making an Offer".