How Much Does it Cost to Build a New Lake Home?

Finding land suitable for building a lake house

Not all ready-to-build lots are truly ready to build on, or even available to build on. If you’re unsure about a piece of lakefront property that you’ve found for sale, do your due diligence and have it evaluated by an experienced Lake Keowee builder. By partnering with a reputable builder that has waterfront land specialists, you’ll find a quality lot suitable for building a lake house.

Why is Lake property so expensive?

Waterfront homes are desirable to many people, meaning there is great demand for them. Although there is lots of water in the United States, there is not a lot of land on waterfronts on which to build. So with waterfront property, the supply is low. High demand plus low supply equals high cost.


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Home Improvements

Once you have bought your lake home, chances are y

Once you have bought your lake home, chances are you want to customize it. Plans to improve the property are often made before it’s even been selected.

If you have your heart set on any of these improvements in the first few years, be sure to calculate that into your long-term budget.

Many first-time lake home buyers neglect to include these in their budget when shopping for a lake home, even if they fully intend to install them.

  • Deck
  • Hot tub
  • Barbecue grill
  • Swimming pool
  • Garden
  • Guesthouse
  • Firepit
  • Energy-efficient windows/lighting

Be sure that any improvements are permitted by local laws and regulations, too. Many lakes require special construction permits. Also, be sure to look into how to find the right contractor for the job, if you won’t be the one completing the projects.

Is it worth living on a lake?

Lake Living Benefits Your Health There’s something about being on the water that relaxes you. For people who live a busy life, lake living can help you slow down, relax, and refocus. Unsurprisingly, this feeling of relaxation has many positive benefits for your health.

How much does it cost to build a 500 square foot home?

New home construction costs $100 to $155 per square foot on average with most homeowners paying $155,000 to $416,250, in addition to the cost of your land. Costs vary considerably based on location and all your choices in design and interior and exterior finishes.

Is it cheaper to build a log house?

Log homes typically cost 20 to 30 percent more than a conventionally built home. A log home of the same size is typically worth 30 to 40 percent more than a traditional home. Log houses are more difficult to build than traditional houses.

Two of Everything

For people who have a lake home as their secondary

For people who have a lake home as their secondary residence, there is what we like to call the “two of everything” cost. For everything you keep at home, you will need at least one more set for your lake home.

Buyers rarely budget for this, but it adds up incredibly fast. Don’t fall into the trap of assuming that you’ll just ferry everything from your primary residence to the lake home every time, either.

  • Furniture
  • Appliances
  • Cookware and dinnerware
  • Sheets, linens, and towels
  • Decorations
  • Tools
  • Toiletries
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Children’s toys

This is also true for utilities.

Remember, owning a second home means having two power bills, two telephone bills, two water bills, etc.  These can often rival a car (or mortgage) payment if you aren’t careful! Be sure to budget for this.

Many experts highly recommend a security system for any secondary residence. Houses that are not lived in full-time are especially vulnerable to break-ins.

Even if you visit every weekend, having a security system in place can give you great peace of mind.

Having a security system can give you real peace of mind, if you go weeks, or even months, without visiting your lake home.

What are the disadvantages of living near a lake?

The most pressing concern is the increased exposure to natural risk. Sea levels are rising and can dampen the shorelines or severely impact entire communities. Storm surges can erode property. Often times, waterfront properties are more susceptible to wind damage.

Consider the view from every room

If you’re building a lake house for the views, keep this in mind as you design your home. Do you want the main living areas to have a view of the lake? What about the master bedroom or upstairs gathering areas? You’ll need to think about the desired layout of your new home. Your builder can help optimize it for the view of the lake and the land around it.

Is a house by the lake worth it?

A lakeside home can be one of your most rewarding purchases, investing in a lifetime of memorable summer vacations, and weekend getaways. Owning a lake home can be a lot of fun, but it can also be a lot of work.

How long will it take to build?

The short answer is to be prepared for an even longer timeline than under normal circumstances, as in two to three years. Due to Covid-19. contractors had to stop work for months due to Covid-19, appliances weren’t shipping, and so on.

Plan on at least six months for the design phase, during which you select all the finishes and fixtures and the architect draws up detailed plans. Then the job is sent out to contractors, who can take one or two months to bid. “Ideally I want to know all the answers before bidding contractors so they are bidding real prices rather than allowances and there are no change fees during construction,” McKeel says. Once the contractor is selected, it’s time to get the building permit, which depending on the town can take a two days or two weeks. But it’s much faster than in the city and usually doesn’t involve a lot of back and forth. The actual build phase is at least a year. 

There are ways to shave time. You can avoid bidding to multiple contractors and just go with someone your architect has a solid relationship with (the variances are often less than 5 percent). Depending on the total budget, McKeel has applied for the building permit at the same time the contractor is preparing the bid. 

Because contractors are booking so far out, Moore and Alper recommend picking one much earlier than usual and locking into their schedule rather than waiting until the design is complete. Otherwise you may to wait a full year between the bid and breaking ground. In their experience, this also produces a much more collaborative process and brings a better result. “The contractor becomes part of the team and can run budgeting along the way,” Alper says.

Architects are also inundated with new projects and are getting creative in how they can help new clients get the ball rolling. Red House Design, for instance, has started providing an initial arrangement whereby they’ll help establish the budget, assemble the team, and initiate the land survey so at least all that can happen before the actual design begins. 


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