Better yet, it already has a dock!
But did you really look at it?
Many times it is easy to get so excited about the house that you overlook the dock. Or if you have never lived on the lake you may not really know what to look for. We don’t claim to be experts, but our personal experience has taught us a few things. Let’s talk about some things to consider.
Does it appear to be in good shape?
Look for any visible damage such as loose or missing parts of the floor, broken welds anywhere in the structure, or any portions of the dock that may appear to be sagging. All of these things are certainly fixable, but it is nice to know beforehand.
What does the access look like?
Do you mind having steps down to your dock? Some can be quite steep. Some may have a motorized trolley that takes you up and down the hill. Others may have a path or driveway to drive an ATV on down to the water. Finding homes with little to no steps and not much elevation change from the house to the dock can be a challenge, but they do exist. They will however typically cost a little more. We have steps, but they are doable. Since we aren’t getting any younger, we are considering a path and an ATV in our future. Just be sure to scope out the options you have available.
Is the flooring concrete, composite or wood?
If it is located in a heavy traffic area, concrete is great at adding extra strength and stability to handle the rough water. Composite material offers great durability and less maintenance than wood (and no splinters!) If it does have wood, keep in mind that you will want to apply some form of water seal to it annually to get the longest life out of the flooring.
Does it have a working boat lift?
If not and if you desire one, the average cost of a new one at the time of this writing is on average $8-10k.
Does it have electricity?
You will need it if you want a lift, but it is also nice to be able to have lights or charge batteries on your boat.
If you plan to swim off of your dock this is a huge safety feature that we highly recommend. Electricity and water do not mix, and the results are usually deadly. Unfortunately, most docks do not have one, but they can be added for around $1200 on average. If you are lucky the dock will already have one! You can check out www.docklifeguard.com or www.dockiq.com to learn more about these devices.
Some neighborhoods will have no private docks, but will offer a community dock.
With the purchase of a home in these subdivisions, you are also deeded a boat slip. Normally you are only a golf cart ride or short walk away. The nice thing is you don’t have to keep up with any dock maintenance! Neighborhood docks usually do come with a small yearly fee, but nothing outrageous. For us, we prefer to have our own private dock, but there are pros and cons either way.
So, do you even want a dock?
Most people do, but what if the house you love doesn’t have one? Don’t just assume that you can put one in. The TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) has to approve all dock permits. Before you buy the house, make sure that it is either already permitted for a dock (ask to see the paperwork!) or call the TVA to see if they will allow it and get the permit process started. Some areas are not dock permissible! If a dock is important to you, the last thing you want to do is buy the house, only to find out that you can’t have a dock.
Our advice is to do your due diligence before making any decisions. And keep in mind when you purchase a home on a TVA lake that already has an existing dock, you are supposed to call the TVA and transfer ownership of the dock into your name. Will the TVA come after you if you don’t? Doubtful. But just in case anything ever comes up, it is easier to have your ducks in a row!
Hopefully this helps you in your search for the perfect lake home!
If you found this helpful, you should also check out our post titled “Buying a Home on Tims Ford Lake? 4 Things To Consider“.
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