In our first blog post How To Live "The Life" In NH's Lakes Region, we discussed which type of lakeside home is best for your personality. Now that you have a basic idea of the type of home you want, the decision is which lake you want to live on. Expert Roy Sanborn from Four Seasons Sotheby’s International Realty in Meredith is back with invaluable insight on the NH Lakes Region.
Choosing a Lake
RS: I don't think you can really truly peg individual lakes, towns or even home types to different buyers easily, because buyers are individuals, and they are all unique. If I had to describe each lake and give it a personality or link it to a particular lifestyle, this would how I would classify each lake:
Lake Winnipesaukee offers areas for every lifestyle and personality type imaginable.You can choose from dozens of condo cottages and townhomes along Paugus Bay and be part of the glitzy power boat scene, partying away at dockside bars like the NASWA; or stay in a remote old lake setting of Moultonborough Neck where the only sound you hear are the loons. You can rub elbows with the rich and famous in Wolfeboro and dine dockside at some well established eateries in the oldest summer resort in America. You will also find that most places you'd be comfortable and acceptable in sandals, shorts, and a t-shirt seven days a week. It can be as laid back or as posh as you want to be. And speaking of posh, Governor's Island is the upscale address on the west side of the lake. It is an address where making a statement through your property seems to be the trend. On the other end of the spectrum in Moultonborough, water access communities like Suisseval and Balmoral offer a much more affordable alternative with community club houses, tennis courts and beaches. Upscale gated communities like South Down, Long Bay in Laconia and Grouse Point in Meredith offer wide choices of housing, unbelievable amenities, and great water access.
Squam Lake and Little Squam-- Both lakes generally are very laid back and reserved. Property owners here tend to be a lot more affluent and well-to-do so you are not going to have rowdy parties with bonfires and loud music. This is the old-lake life, the “on Golden Pond” moment - and watching On Golden Pond should be a prerequisite for anyone considering buying in the Lakes Region.
Newfound Lake is another laid back, old school lake which has not been over developed and retains the charm of yesteryear. There are lots of cottages and smaller homes on the lake and it feels more of a destination spot where you come to stay, enjoy cook outs, throw some horseshoes, and sit by the fire pit and relax. Newfound is said to be one of the cleanest lakes in the world...if not the cleanest. Great boating, fishing, and kayaking.
Lake Winnisquam is my idea of a blue collar lake. Properties here are generally a lot more affordable than her big sister, Winnipesaukee, but there have been recent sales over the million dollar mark. Homes are generally more modest here with lots of older camps and cottages, many of which are being bought and updated. Winnisquam provides a great boating experience, especially for younger families with kids. There is less boat traffic to worry about. Being on a smaller lake means you can get away with a smaller boat, so it makes the sport a lot less expensive.
Overall: Buyers looking to settle in the NH Lakes Region should consult a real estate agent to help them in their search. Each community is unique, and knowing where the best areas are around the lake is impossible for a novice to know. While all lakes are wet, not all water is the same. Knowing which areas are clearer than others, where the shoreline is sandy, and water depth is also an important consideration. Buyers should also compare the tax rates in each community. Buying a home in a low tax town lessens monthly costs and expands the purchasing power of the buyer.
Making the Most of Your Lakefront Home and Landscape
Let us imagine that you’re all moved in to your dream home on the lake of your choice. The sunsets are perfect, the bonfires are even better, and you have made lots of new friends along the shoreline. Only one question remains: how can you bring your property to its best potential and keep it there? Hayden McLaughlin from Belknap Landscape Company is back to address some questions on this subject.
Are there any particular concerns with maintaining a lakeside property in relation to landscape enhancements?
HM: Keep shoreline plantings healthy so your water quality remains high. This will keep your lake clear and healthy. Ask a landscape professional what you can do specifically to keep your plantings thriving, or for suggestions on the type of water plants that will benefit the lakeshore.
What would you recommend for someone with a smaller plot of land who is looking to make the most out of their outdoor living space?
HM: Figure out how each family member wants to use your outdoor space, and brainstorm how you will fit all of those visions onto one plot of land. Each family is unique, so each landscape project will be unique as well. A professional will help you make the most of what you have by creating a design that meets your family’s needs and more.
How would you recommend utilizing or enhancing a large outdoor living space to maximize its use?
HM: Sort out what your goals are for the property and then share those with a professional landscape designer. Working with a professional will give you ideas or approaches you may not think of on your own. The options are endless, it's a matter of figuring out what works best for your family
In the NH Lakes Region, some properties have sloping yards. What do you recommend doing adding so that families can still enjoy their backyard and waterfront properties?
HM: You can actually do a lot with a nice dramatic slope. Artistic stone steps, plants and bushes of varying heights, and waterfalls are all popular elements that are beautiful when installed correctly. Your landscape professional should have lots of ideas to help you turn your slope into an asset instead of an issue.
Why is it important to work with a professional landscape company? Why work with a company that specializes in waterfront properties?
HM: Landscape professionals understand how to design the space you have to meet your family’s needs. Not only that, they have a firm grasp on the state regulations and the requirements of the shoreline protection act and permitting. They are a ready source of information and creativity that can streamline your landscape process, especially in an area you’re not familiar with yet.
Thanks to Roy and Hayden, you should be well on your way to finding your dream getaway in the Lakes Region. You can read our first part in the Lakeside Living series, and find out what "lake life" you want to live . If you have more questions, make sure to contact us!