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Top 5 Points when Considering Buying a 2nd Home at the Lake


Are you considering purchasing a 2nd home or condo at the Lake of the Ozarks?  Here are my top 5 Points that you should consider before you jump into your car and cruise to the lake for a weekend of searching.

1)      Will you be paying cash or will you need to get a Loan?  If you are getting a loan it is a good idea to speak to a Loan Officer to get Pre-Qualified for a loan.

i)        If you are one of the lucky individuals that is capable of paying cash then good for you; you can effectively skip this first step and move right on to the second step.  However if you will require some financing it is a good idea to visit with a Loan Officer and get them to pre-qualify you for a loan.  This will effectively let you know what you can afford and prevent you from spending your time and your Realtors time touring properties that you may not be capable of purchasing.

ii)       I always recommend to my clients that they at least contact a lender at the lake.  All areas are unique and the lake certainly has some unique hurdles to obtaining financing.  Using a local lender will help prevent any problems with closing a loan.

2)      House or Condo?  There are very clear advantages and disadvantages owning a home and/or condo at the lake.

i)        If you are a person that really values privacy, peace and quiet then you’re a good candidate for a house.  But be warned when you own a house along with it comes the responsibility of maintaining the interior and the exterior.  I have been a Realtor for 11 years and in that time I have helped many clients sell their lake house and move to a condo because they are tired of all the work they have to do when they come to the lake.  Remember you are buying a home at the lake so you can enjoy the lake with your family and unless you enjoy yard work then you may want to consider a condo.

ii)       If you plan to spend most of your time boating, shopping or golfing then you may want to consider purchasing a condo.  Owning a condo alleviates all the responsibility of maintaining the exterior of your home.  All you have to do is pay your assessments and all of the grounds are maintained for you.  This allows you to maximize your enjoyment of the lakes recreational opportunities or simply sit down and relax.  However, be warned if you are a very private person and not much for socializing then a condo may not be your best choice.

3)      What area of the Lake do you like to spend your time?

i)        The Lake of the Ozarks is a large area with lots of different communities surrounding its 1,300+ miles of shoreline.  There are many different areas of the lake for a person to purchase a 2nd home; a few of them are Lake Ozark, Four Seasons, North shore, Porto Cima, The Villages, Osage Beach, Linn Creek, Camdenton, Greenview, Sunrise Beach and Laurie.  All of the communities have unique features and amenities worth considering.

ii)       Chances are if you are considering a 2nd home at the lake then you probably already know which area of the lake you want to be in.  However, if you are not sure then be sure to speak with your Realtor regarding the different qualities of each community and let them know what is important to you.

iii)     Another consideration is what area of the lake do you like to boat on.  Remember there are two sides to the lake; if you like to boat between the 20 and 30 mile marker but do not like Osage Beach then you should consider a house in the Greenview and Sunrise Beach area.

4)      What do you Need and what do you Want?

i)        Once you have determined if a house or condo would be better for you, you should start a list of what features you Need and what features you Want. 

ii)       Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle, on the left write Needs and on the left write Wants.  On the needs side you should list all of the features that you absolutely have to have in your 2nd home and under the Wants side make a list of the features that you would like to have but are not necessarily deal breakers.

iii)     Some examples of Needs are 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 slip boat dock, garage, etc.  Some examples of Wants are Level driveway, minimal steps to the lake, cove location, main channel view, dock with slide.

5)      Pick your Realtor.  You should pick your Realtor carefully; make sure your Realtor has your best interest at heart.  There are too many Realtors out there who are eyeing that commission and only care about the commission.

i)        Chances are you probably know someone who owns a property at the lake and they probably purchased the property through a Realtor.  Ask your friend about their Realtor and if they would use them again.

ii)       Some key points you should look for in your Realtor are; Experience (this can be the Realtor or the Broker that he/she works for), Availability (make sure the Realtor is Full time and not part time; if you needed Surgery You wouldn’t use a Part Time Surgeon Would You!), Knowledge (how well does the Realtor know the lake area and the current condition of the market) and Personality (it is a fact that most people like to work with people that they like. Try to find a common interest with the Realtor this will make your time together more enjoyable).

Jonas Farrell

Broker / Officer

John Farrell Real Estate Co.


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