published Saturday, November 17th, 2012

Fine print important when choosing lake property

Harborpoint Villas, 4332 Lakeshore Lane
Harborpoint Villas, 4332 Lakeshore Lane
Photo by Tim Barber /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

When searching for homes on water, surrounding water, overlooking water, offering access to water or in any way dealing with water, let the buyer beware.

Things may not be what they seem.

Realtor Travis Shipley of Re/Max Properties North said he grew up in the Chattanooga area in homes around the water, and since becoming a Realtor has helped buyers navigate the often confusing wording offered on such homes.

If you see homes on summer water (when the Tennessee Valley Authority keeps levels higher) advertised below the low $300,000s, he said, they're probably not directly on the water, need significant updating or are otherwise nothing special. The same, he said, goes for homes on year-round water below $500,000.

Buyers, according to Shipley, should determine how they'll use the property, if they want direct water access or water views, whether they want summer or year-round water living, if they want to be on the main channel (where wakes are higher) or on a lake branch, and if they are in the city or county (with taxes being lower in the county).

They should not buy homes with water access, he said, "unless they plan to get use out of it."

To sample what is listed as on the water, a Times Free Press reporter, accompanied by Shipley, earlier this week visited three houses and one condominium priced from $199,900 to $249,900. They range from two bedrooms and two baths to four bedrooms and two and a half baths and are sized from 1,600 to just over 2,600 square feet. They were built from 1965 to 1981. Descriptions of each home are based on the tour and comparisons available from Multiple Listing Service information. Also included are comments by Shipley, who is not the listing agent for any of the properties.

Contact Clint Cooper at ccooper@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6497. Subscribe to his posts online at Facebook.com/ClintCooper CTFP.

HARBORPOINT VILLAS

• Price: $249,900.

• Address: 4332 Lakeshore Lane, No. 202.

• Size: 1,600 square feet.

• Bedrooms: 2.

• Bathrooms: 2.

• Year built: 1980.

• Description: Nicely appointed, second-story condominium within the city limits has two bedrooms and two baths and a beautiful view of the main channel of the Tennessee River just upstream of Chickamauga Dam. Spacious outdoor patio and deck overlook the river. Appliances, kitchen and bath are updated. Single carport comes with condo. Boat slots likely available nearby.

"The house is classy, very well-kept. But it's not family-oriented. If you're going to pay this price, you could pay $100,000 more and be on the water. With neighbors on both sides, it's more like an apartment setting."

-- Travis Shipley

Re/Max Properties

Soddy Lake Estates, 426 Soddy View Lane.
Soddy Lake Estates, 426 Soddy View Lane.
Photo by Tim Barber.

SODDY LAKE ESTATES

• Price: $239,900.

• Address: 426 Soddy View Lane, Soddy-Daisy.

• Size: 2,413 square feet.

• Bedrooms: 3.

• Bathrooms: 2.

• Year built: 1965.

• Description: Brick below-street-level home has a rear view of a channel of Soddy Lake but no direct lake access. Main floor has master bedroom suite and living room, both with lake views. Basement has two bedrooms, bath and den/office. Shag carpeting in many rooms may have a retro feel for some buyers. Plenty of outdoor spaces with porch off living room, deck along the rear of the house and pool with its own deck. Double carport at end of rugged driveway.

"It needs a lot of updating. The maintenance is likely to be very high because of the steep hill, the drive[way] and the pool."

-- Travis Shipley

Re/Max Properties

Bal Harbor, 4902 Harbor Oaks Lane
Bal Harbor, 4902 Harbor Oaks Lane
Photo by Tim Barber.

BAL HARBOR

• Price: $199,900.

• Address: 4902 Harbor Oaks Lane.

• Size: 2,609 square feet.

• Bedrooms: 4.

• Bathrooms: 21/2.

• Year built: 1981.

• Description: Roomy vinyl siding home on cul-de-sac in the city limits overlooking much more expensive homes on the main channel of the Tennessee River does offer water views from every window in the rear of the dwelling. Neighborhood has a lake access. Main floor has large living room/great room, eat-in kitchen with stainless appliances, deck and laundry area. Second floor has split bedroom layout, with master suite and playroom/extra room on one side and three bedrooms and bath on the other.

"The view is spectacular. [The dwelling] is nothing really special. It's a standard house."

-- Travis Shipley

Re/Max Properties

1702 Bayfront Drive in Soddy-Daisy.
1702 Bayfront Drive in Soddy-Daisy.
Photo by Tim Barber.

SODDY-DAISY

• Price: $199,900.

• Address: 1702 Bayfront Drive, Soddy-Daisy.

• Size: 1,811 square feet.

• Bedrooms: 3.

• Bathrooms: 21/2.

• Year built: 1979.

• Description: Cedar siding over brick home on woody lot slopes in rear to private dock on a finger of Chickamauga Lake. Property appears to be on summer water rather than deep water as indicated on sign at subdivision, but community has a boat ramp. Home itself needs complete makeover, plus a new roof. Old carpet has strong pet smell. Main floor has two bedrooms, while partially finished basement has bedroom, den and bath. New road being paved to home promises more expensive houses surrounding it.

"It's in horrible condition. The roof leaks (evident on great room ceiling). You'd have to rip out the carpet. You might be better off buying it, bulldozing it and building something new."

-- Travis Shipley

Re/Max Properties

about Clint Cooper...

Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...

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