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Downsides to living on a lake/big pond?

Posted by erinb007 (My Page) on
Wed, Aug 31, 11 at 15:18

Hi, I am co-investing in a house with my father who has always wanted to live on a lake. He is really pushing to buy on the lake, while I do not want to. I have an 11 month old and am hoping to have another child. To me, it seems like it would be one more thing to worry about...My kids or their friends falling in. Also, it seems like insurance would be higher because of this...as it is with a pool. The "lakes" where we live are more like big greenish ponds/very small lakes. No fishing/boating etc. Just something pretty to look at. Also, I had a friend who lived on a lake that dried up and the property values plummetted and they had to pay a huge special assesment. Comments from all appreciated about any pro's/con's I might be missing.

Erin


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Downsides to living on a lake/big pond?

You need to check the building codes for the county in which you'll be buying. For instance, in the county where we bought a house, there are lots and lots of laws concerning set-backs and so on. Our 1960's place is only 25' from the water's edge, but to build a new home, it'd have to be at least 75' from the water. Also, we can add on to our home, but only on the side NOT facing the water and only up to 1/4 of the current square footage. In addition, we'd have to give a trade-off, such as agreeing to tear down our boat house in order to get the ok to add square footage to our house. So check the county laws and regulations as you may be surprised.


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RE: Downsides to living on a lake/big pond?

I grew up next to a five acre lake/pond. The sides sloped down instead of dropped off. There was less chance of a child falling in and not being able to get out. My three youngest siblings were born after my parents purchased the property. They have been around it their entire lives. My parents made sure they knew how to swim ASAP. We were not allowed to wade or swim there.

We enjoyed it as a place to fish and row around in canoes and boats. In one way, it kept us occupied so we weren't getting into trouble elsewhere.

On the downside, some people do not respect that a pond may be private. We had people who would just come by and use our stuff or pull their vehicles up on our landand fish uninvited.

Because of the lake, we had our fair share of snakes and other critters.


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RE: Downsides to living on a lake/big pond?

You get lots of reflective sun which will shorten the life span of anything fabric on the windows or in rooms with lots of windows. Paint doesn't last as long with the weather extremes of living on a lake and the extra force of reflective sun.
Temps near water can vary by as much as 10 degrees compared to away from the water. So in the winter when it's 30 in town on a lake it can be only 20.
Emergency help can be a problem depending on how well the area is laid out and labeled.
cellphone reception can be a problem.
Shopping can be a pain. You need to remember when you are in town to get everything. Chances of having a full time grocery store or any type of store open year round is usually pretty slim.
Unwanted guess who like the water can be a PITA both human and four footed.
Chances for skin problems also increase if you are not careful with the sun and about using sunscreen.


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RE: Downsides to living on a lake/big pond?

We looked at a house on a lake that was lovely, until we noticed that the back yard was blanketed with goose droppings.


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RE: Downsides to living on a lake/big pond?

I have an almost three-year old, and I don't think that safety concerns would keep me from buying a house on a lake or pond.

However, the goose crap issue might. Canadian geese are becoming pests!


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RE: Downsides to living on a lake/big pond?

I grew up next to a five acre lake/pond. The sides sloped down instead of dropped off. There was less chance of a child falling in and not being able to get out. My three youngest siblings were born after my parents purchased the property. They have been around it their entire lives. My parents made sure they knew how to swim ASAP. We were not allowed to wade or swim there.

We enjoyed it as a place to fish and row around in canoes and boats. In one way, it kept us occupied so we weren't getting into trouble elsewhere.

On the downside, some people do not respect that a pond may be private. We had people who would just come by and use our stuff or pull their vehicles up on our landand fish uninvited.

Because of the lake, we had our fair share of snakes and other critters.


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RE: Downsides to living on a lake/big pond?

Bugs. Lots of bugs. (At least around here.) And the ducks wake you up very early in the morning with their incessant freakin' quacking. You also have less of a wind break on the lake side of your house, unless you have trees planted in between you and the water. (But, remember that those trees will bear the brunt of winds coming off the water and may be more prone to fall. Possibly on to the house.)

Sounds also travel very, very well across water.


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RE: Downsides to living on a lake/big pond?

And then there's the lakes/ponds which arise from impounded streams and springs.

And then there's old ball Hurricane/Tropical Storms like Mean Irene where all that drainage from higher ground is concentrated on the basins of the lakes and ponds and overhwhelms them with massive flooding resulting. Much of that happened here in northern NY and Vermont on Sunday.

Freaky, yes. Rare, ditto. Never gonna happen in your lifetime? Don't count on that!

However that being said, I live on a farm with a lot of water (everyday, not just last Sunday!) I adore it and it's one of the reasons we bought this particular property.
What I treasure: wildlife, ducks, birds, and butterflies (even snapping turtles and water snakes). Fire safety with a dry hydrant stuck right down in the pond.
The play of sparkling light reflections inside my rooms in certain conditions. The look of the water as it changes from day to day. Swimming. Ice skating. Never being without water (as long as I want to carry it to the house.) Never being without irrigation for my farm fields. Fish to eat if I cared to stock it. The temperature buffering (upward, not downward as noted above) by a body of water.

The peace and serenity on evenings when there's a very light wind, just enough to create a quiet sound as little wavelets reach shore. My bedroom is on that side of the house and I fall asleep listening to that every night the pond isn't frozen (which to be sure is only about 7 months of year up here in northern NY); the peepers shrill in the Spring, the bull frogs croak on hot summer evenings and the migrating ducks quack softly as they come down to rest in the early fall mornings.

Our pond is wholly contained on our property, so we don't have to share its use with anyone else which might temper my enthusiasm, a bit. Especially if power boating/personal water craft use was going to happen. That's awfully noisy. I also wouldn't be happy if the ducks were hunted on my pond.

However if you and your Father are at odds over what type of property to invest in perhaps you are not, yet, ready to make a deal together. This is a big fundamental issue, if either one gives way, it will wear at you in the long run. Maybe find something else, so there are no losers in this dispute.

HTH,

L


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RE: Downsides to living on a lake/big pond?

Carol NY Wrote:

"You get lots of reflective sun which will shorten the life span of anything fabric on the windows or in rooms with lots of windows. Paint doesn't last as long with the weather extremes of living on a lake and the extra force of reflective sun.
Temps near water can vary by as much as 10 degrees compared to away from the water. So in the winter when it's 30 in town on a lake it can be only 20.
Emergency help can be a problem depending on how well the area is laid out and labeled.
cellphone reception can be a problem.
Shopping can be a pain. You need to remember when you are in town to get everything. Chances of having a full time grocery store or any type of store open year round is usually pretty slim.
Unwanted guess who like the water can be a PITA both human and four footed.
Chances for skin problems also increase if you are not careful with the sun and about using sunscreen."

Large bodies of water actually act as a buffer in the opposite way that you state. In the summer, the water cools the surrounding area, and in the winter, the water will usually keep the surrounding areas warmer. But we are talking about very large bodies of water, not these small 5 acre ponds, which the OP is speaking of.
What does emergency reponse time have to do with anything?
What does cell phone reception have to do with having a pond in the back yard?
How does a pond in the back yard change one's shopping habits?
My take on it all is that it is highly an individual, personality type of decision. Some people like the pros more than the cons and vice versa.


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RE: Downsides to living on a lake/big pond?

You say "greenish". Last weekend I looked at a house on a large pond/small lake that was totally green. Green scum-looking stuff, big lily-looking leaves. I suspect it was not always like this. If I had been more interested in the house, I would have called the water dept or park district or something to find out what kind of cycle the the lake was in: What was it like 20 years ago? Is it getting greener and greener due to phosphates? or ? Does it get treated? What flows into it?

The swans were scooping up the green stuff, but they obviously weren't making a dent.

There were some nice houses around this body of water, and close to one house I saw what looked like an aerator. I would have tried to find out more about that, too, had I been interested in the house.

Ice skating sure sounds nice.


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RE: Downsides to living on a lake/big pond?

There are downsides to everything. In general though, most people would say that living on a lake is a big plus. That certainly shows in lakeside property pricing. If anything, price is the biggest downside. You'll typically get a lot less house for the money if the property is on a lake.


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RE: Downsides to living on a lake/big pond?

liriodendron, that sounds idyllic!

Our cabin (on 40 acres) has two 1/4 acre dug ponds, and a lot of wildlife is drawn to water. We love it :-)


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RE: Downsides to living on a lake/big pond?

The type of pond makes a big difference in terms of safety. I grew up on a pond that had a very gentle level to the water, even as a child, I could walk out a very long ways without it coming to more than my waist. The other side of the pond though, had a steep and rapid drop-off.

The water had a buffering effect. Cooler in summer, milder in winter, but with some wicked winds during the wintertime. My parents always attributed the dampness of their basement to the presence of the pond, but I'm not sure about that. This is a damp region in general.

Can people at least swim in your local ponds? I really don't understand why you'd purchase a property with water that's just there for a bit of visual excitement.

Also, I agree with others who have said that maybe this purchase isn't for you and your father if you're not on the same page.


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RE: Downsides to living on a lake/big pond?

Regardless of conditions, problems of water etc, if you and your family really don't want to, just say NO. It is your life, not your father's. Do not let any parent or other person make you feel guilty if you do not want to go in with them on buying a house or property. Be firm.
M


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RE: Downsides to living on a lake/big pond?

In our area lakes and ponds are often in underdeveloped areas with lots of mountains around them, hence cellphone reception is a bit ify. The more rural the less likely cellphone service can be relied upon and since 20% of the population relies solely on cellphones for calls it's something to think about.
Grocery stores and stores in general are more in town away from lake areas. So shopping can be a bit tricky. Very often grocery stores are seasonal operations in lake areas.
Those living on a lake or near a pond are off the beaten path. It makes emergency response time a little longer, something with kids and water and a aging parent in the picture. The lake we are on the cottages stack up one property behind another everyone is on a "private road" off a main road. Unless you know exactly which "private road" to take it can be confusing trying to find someone.
Which also brings up another point. Depending on where the lake/ pond is you may have to maintain or deal with a unpaved road. Not the worse thing in the world but it can be a problem especially if you are living in a area that gets snow and this is a full time residents.


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RE: Downsides to living on a lake/big pond?

Are you "co-investing" in this house because your dad will live with you? If so, then you've got to come up with a property that you're both happy with. Otherwise let him buy the house with the pond and you can buy a different house in a neighborhood you prefer.


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RE: Downsides to living on a lake/big pond?

Hi everyone, thanks for the input. Hadn't thought about the geese that is a big deal because of the poop and my dog will go nuts evertime I take him out. The clarify, this is not a pond you can swim in. It's your typical manmade thing that they build when they build a neighborhood (sometimes) here in MO. Big enough for like 10 houses around it. You really couldn't do anything but look at it, which is what my Dad likes to do. Yes, my Dad is going to live with us. And I agree, we all have to be happy. I have two dogs and you can't put up any fences in this neighborhood..it would make my life a lot more complicated. It's a complex situation and my Dad is not well, we are not sure how much time he will be around. He has always wanted to live on a lake , etc. We are NOT moving because of his desire to live on a lake, but are moving to be in a top rated school district for my daughter. We are a multi generational family living together by choice, because we (other than this issue) really like living together, can get way more with our pooled funds, etc. My Mom lives with us too. I am a professional, single Mom and pay my Mom to care for my daughter. Its a win-win all around except for this freakin' lake/pond issue. Dad is all hopped up about buying a house on a lake/pond. We still have to sell their house first, so I think I will just wait it out and see if this house is even avail when we are ready to move. Thanks again!


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RE: Downsides to living on a lake/big pond?

We have all the same wildlife that has been mentioned above, except the Canada geese. (We do have overwintering robins.) We live beside a creek a couple miles inland from Lake Michigan. The water's usually a couple inches deep but can be several feet deep during spring storms. Last night the frogs and cicadas were so loud I closed the bedroom windows. lol

Friends who live on Lake Michigan complain about the groaning of winter ice. The lake is only as pretty as the weather above. It reflects blue skies and the bleak, grey ones.

A young child can drown in an inch of water, but families have lived along waterways for centuries. Swimming pools pose more danger because there's no 'gradual' edge.

Man-made 'ponds' can mean trouble. Many fail because there's no means of refreshment for the water in them. They stagnate, host algae and insects, and may dry up.

Maybe you could all vacation by a lake or at the seashore?


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RE: Downsides to living on a lake/big pond?

I second chiuse's opinion...stay away from little man-made puddles that idiot builders like to make so they can add "private pond" to the real estate listing.

Like she said, if they don't have proper inlet/outlet to keep the water moving, even around here (NY) they get just gross. nothing but algae, weeds, insects..etc. There were many in my neighborhood growing up...I was the lucky kid who lived on a 5 acre pond that we could swim, fish and take the rowboat out in. The sound of the frogs is nice though....even the gross little ponds have those!


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RE: Downsides to living on a lake/big pond?

Sounds like a retention pond. Developments are required to have them for storm drainage of water runoff from the roads/lots in the subdivision.

Sometimes they get tons of cattails and other water plants that clog up the water so much that you mostly see green plants. Some subdivisons in FL have to hire someone to rid the lake of these plants. Maybe in MO it gets cold enough in the winter to kill of these plants each year? The ponds can turn pea soup greenish when folks use fertilizer on their lawn. The runoff goes into the pond and creates algea in abundance.

Then you have the issue of mowing/weedeating along the water's edge. If an embankment of any sort, it could be challenging. Maybe mowing is not needed at the edge so maybe not an issue.

Are geese in your area? They are not everywhere...but I have seen their droppings and that alone could be bad enough to say NO.

I think a retenton pond is not as desirable as a real lake or real pond that is bigger in terms of real estate in general. If the water is very still in might be a breeding ground for mosquitos. Moving water won't breed mosquitos.

The plus sides, the view might be nice. Or is it so open that you can see in the backyards of all the other homes on the lake? That might be a negative if it creates a privacy issue. If your dad or you like to fish, it might be fun. And when your child gets a bit older, it could be fun to catch frogs and go fishing.


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RE: Downsides to living on a lake/big pond?

Carol, thanks for the explanations. For the life of me, I could not understand where you were coming from... now I do.
I also live on a 6 acre pond, and we love it. It provides us privacy, fishing, peace, and nature... I love snakes, frogs, bugs... My 5 year old son and I sat by the water's edge last week and caught 15 perch and bass. My daughter (11) told me this summer that some of her favorite times are when her and I are alone fishing the pond. We had a surprise visit this early spring by an otter, who stayed around for about 3 months. One of the only mammals that truly seem to enjoy the act of play for no other reason than because it is pleasurable.
Anyhow, as you can see, I am one of the personalities that favor living on water. Like stated above, a pond that has an inflow and an outflow poses much less problems than one that does not... "The solution to pollution, is dilution"


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RE: Downsides to living on a lake/big pond?

I also didn't understand what Carol was talking about ... in my part of WNY, new suburban areas are built with ponds and have the best shopping around.

I'm another one with a rural property and self-contained pond close to the house. It's one of the reasons I bought my property. It's spring fed and I get a break on my homeowners insurance because they can use the pond water, pump it out, if I have a fire. There is no public water in my area.

Ponds like anything else, need to be maintained. I had my 3/4 acre pond dug out 7 years ago, and it was the best thing I did. I keep it stocked with fish that thrive in my area, and they attract other wildlife. Geese aren't a problem since they don't like my dogs. They come to visit occasionally, and then leave. I use the water from it to water my gardens.

I've had beautiful Kingfisher's fishing in my pond this year, they are just amazing.

I love my pond, so do my dogs ... I call it my water feature and during the winter, I can't wait til spring arrives and I can see the water sparkling again.


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RE: Downsides to living on a lake/big pond?

This is an old post but I wanted to chime in.

We just bought a house that is situated like the one described above - it's in a suburban tract where a small retention pond (about 1 acre) is used as a landscaped feature. The pond is about 30 yards from our back door and runs along the entire back of our property. We live in Western NYS.

The good part: the view is beautiful and is one of the reasons we bought the house. Like others above, I love to view the wildlife - many different kinds of birds, amphibians and fish. Our pond is stocked with koi, and even though I don't fish I enjoy seeing them swimming around.

In the winter, the pond freezes over and children use it for ice skating.

The houses with the pond view are higher in value and more desirable.

The downside: if any type of water exists on your property, it's advisable to buy additional home owners insurance. Our basic rates are reasonable, but, we we were advised to get an umbrella policy.

The things I was worried about have turned out to be OK. I was worried about odor, bugs, and goose poop. A healthy pond doesn't have much of an odor, and the fish and birds snack on the insect eggs and insects, and there are no more bugs than when I was living in a suburban area with no pond.

We do have a lot of Canada Geese. These can be kept off of lawns pretty easily. A low garden fence, about 18", staked with small t-posts around the perimeter of the pond at the shore will keep them in the water and off lawns. They prefer to land in water, and don't like to navigate over obstacles. The fence has to be around the whole pond or they will waddle up the bank and eat your grass (and poop on it!) Alternately, T posts strung with two strands of rope, one a few inches off of the ground, and another 18" high will also contain them. If neighbors don't keep up the pond fence, the same can be done around the perimeter of individual yards.

The only problems I've had with Canada Geese are annoying neighbors obsessed with harassing them in the futile attempt to get them to leave. I've woken up early on weekend mornings to neighbors banging pot lids to annoy the geese. I'm not exactly sure why they live here if the geese upset them so much!


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RE: Downsides to living on a lake/big pond?

> I'm not exactly sure why they live here if the geese upset them so much!

This is human nature. Many years ago my parents lived on Sanibel when it was just becoming well known. We were always amused the number of people who moved there to be close to nature and then called every municipal office they could think of to complain about the ospreys dropping sticks on their lawns when they were nest building. People want to be close to nature, as designed by Disney.


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RE: Downsides to living on a lake/big pond?

I cannot believe I just opened up garden web and this is the top thread. Just now I sat down on the sofa totally annoyed that it's almost pitch black outside and there are people who choose to be boating right outside in front of our yard with total disregard at how creepy it seems that they can see in and we can't see them. Not to mention the noise factor when you don't even have neighbors. I admit this is rare, but when it does happen it makes my blood boil. This may not bother other people, but I hate and absolutely LOATH neighbors on a regular basis which is why we chose to rent a house that is secluded... until someone decides to boat right in front, although there's a whole lake out there for them to enjoy.


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RE: Downsides to living on a lake/big pond?

The fence issue would be more of a deal breaker for me than the pond.


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RE: Downsides to living on a lake/big pond?

A retention pond is not as desirable as a natural lake or pond and as stated previously tend to have poor water quality and are stagnant. I would have no qualms about owning property adjacent to a natural lake or pond though. Being from Minnesota that is always the dream!

One major downside to water frontage though, is the high cost of property taxes due to that frontage! (sometimes double to triple that of non-water frontage property.)

@pollupicu...the water is a public asset...the boaters most likely could care less what you're doing in the house. They are probably focused on a great fishing spot or their own enjoyment of an evening on the water. Unless there are time restrictions for example, for jet skis (in MN they have to be off the water an hour before sunset) they are doing nothing wrong. You chose to live on the lake and this is part of it.. If it bothers you that much, close your shades...if it's getting dark,it won't impede your "view" as there is nothing to see outside anyway...


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RE: Downsides to living on a lake/big pond?

"how creepy it seems that they can see in and we can't see them."

Invest in some curtains.

It is how the rest of use block window views when needed.


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RE: Downsides to living on a lake/big pond?

erin~~ I guess I am with your dad. Before DH passed away, we bought a 28,000 lot on a 5 acre pond....just for the reasons your dad likes it....peaceful~~ It is in a HOA, so here are no boats permitted. I have sat on a deck of one of the fellow landowners and fell in love with that beautiful little pond. At our ages, we need to feel "peace". So at 70 years of age, I am planning to build a house there and enjoy the beautiful view~~

Good luck in your decision.


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