- Smith Mountain Lake is so big, how do I know where to start looking for a house?
- This is the question I usually hear the most. The answer is held in how you answer the questions below:
Is being close to shopping centers, medical facilities and restaurants important to you or your spouse? We have all here at the lake. The very southeast side of the lake (Penhook and Union Hall) is 25-35 minutes away from these amenities by car. The Moneta area is about 10 minutes away with Hardy, Wirtz, Huddleston and Goodview around 15 minutes or so away.
How important is golf to you? We have four courses here. The Waters Edge in Penhook and The Waterfront in Moneta which are both waterfront communities and are private. The Westlake in Hardy and Mariners Landing in Huddleston, both of which are off the water and open to the public.
Do you plan on renting your waterfront home on a short term basis? Most homes on the north side of the lake in Bedford County allow short term rentals, where most homes on the south side of the lake in Franklin County do not allow short term rentals.
Do you like newer neighborhoods or older established neighborhoods? Naturally we have both. The newer neighborhoods might remind you of the suburbs with homes of similar style and age. The older neighborhoods are a mixed bag of older and newer homes, usually in more wooded settings.
Do you like privacy? Looking for homes with more acreage doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have more privacy. Some of the larger lots are long and narrow, not offering any more privacy at the waterfront than smaller lots. Lots with more waterfront, which I can search by, may offer more privacy. Wooded lots may offer more privacy as well.
How many bedrooms/bathrooms do you need? Some homes are listed showing the number of bedrooms that their septic system is designed for, usually three, where others show the number of actual rooms being utilized as bedrooms. You may see the words “three bedroom septic decorated as five bedrooms” or you may not see anything. Sometimes it’s really hard to know unless there is a floor plan of the house provided. This is one of the hardest things to determine about a home. When in doubt, call me.
How old of a house do you prefer? Early homes here at SML were built in the 1970’s and have some have amazing views. Some also have had extensive renovations. Newer homes typically have higher ceilings in the basements amongst other benefits.
How steep a slope do you want? Slopes vary from flat to steep. The listing classifies them as flat, gently sloping, varied and down slope, meaning very steep. Some of the steeper lots have added golf cart ramps or even trams to make getting to the lake easier. Please note that some listing agents intentionally leave this section blank. Look at the photos provided to see if you can determine the slope.
What kind of views do you want? Views vary from cove views, looking across the cove at your neighbors, to wide water and long water views.
What is your price point? Entry level waterfront homes begin around $400,000.
(With the answers to the above questions, we can quickly narrow your search down.)
- Is Smith Mountain Lake crowded?
- This question is relative to what you are used to. If you are familiar with a smaller popular lake, then you will think SML is relatively quiet. If you’re used to a remote lake, then you may think SML is somewhat busy. At any rate, even on the busiest of weekends, you can always find a nice cove where you can pull someone with your boat without having any problems. Unlike some of the other lakes in the tri-state area, there are no daytime hour restrictions on the use of watercraft here at SML
- Are there many restaurants that you can boat too?
- Yes! From fine dining to pizza and ice cream. Check out the web site for the Visitors Center.
- How is the water quality of the lake?
- Excellent! This is a deep water lake, approximately 230’ deep at the dam and still over 100’ deep 15 miles upstream. Water quality testing has been done for the last 20 years to monitor the various quality levels. Several groups have stepped forward to help monitor the quality, one of which is the Smith Mountain Lake Association. If you have any questions about water quality, just give them a call. Here’s a link for them: http://www.smlassociation.org/
- How old is the lake?
- The lake will officially be 50 years old in the spring of 2016!
- Is there anything to do while here at the lake?
- Absolutely! From the lake activities ranging from parasailing to diving, there are lots of off water activities as well. Again the Visitors Center is a great source. Additionally, if you like group activities, you’ll find Smith Mountain Lake the friendliest place you’ve ever lived. We have groups for just about every hobby and there are ways for you to find those groups. Check out this link for a sample of the various groups:
- What are the towns around the lake and how large are they?
- Moneta, Huddleston and Goodview are located on the north side of the lake in Bedford County and Moneta. Wirtz, Union Hall and Penhook are located on the south side of the lake in Franklin County. Penhook is also located partially in Pittsylvania County as well. Moneta is basically the only town we have and it’s spread out in both counties. All of the rest are post offices and possibly a convenience store or so. The business corridor of the lake is located along Rt. 122, where Moneta is, and is in both counties. You’ll hear the name Westlake mentioned a lot. It’s not a town, yet, but it is the business hub on the south side of the lake. It’s located at the intersection of Rt. 122 and Scruggs Road about 3 miles south of the bridge.
- How far is it to a major shopping center?
- There are two enclosed shopping centers in Roanoke, both about 35 minutes or so from the center part of the lake (either side of the lake is about the same distance). There is also an enclosed shopping center in Lynchburg and it’s about 35-40 miles from the north side of the lake which would be Bedford County.
- What percentage of the folks who own homes on the lake actually live here full time?
- It’s somewhere in the 35% range with each neighborhood varying somewhat.
- What style are most of the homes?
- Most are ranch style homes with full walkout basements. From the front, most are fairly plain. From the lake, they are quite impressive.
- How large are the docks?
- For a standard dock, you can have 1500sf of dock space, viewed from an aerial view. This means that if your dock has an upper sun deck, it is not counted since it’s within the footprint of the lower dock. The walkway is not included as long as it’s less than 6’ in width. With normal docks, you are allowed to have two boat slips as well as jet ski lifts if you’d like a couple of them. You are also allowed to have a 72sf enclosure for storage. If your lot has more than 300’ of shoreline, then the size of the dock can be increased to 2250sf. Permits are required for new and expanded docks. I do the permit work for all of my clients for free. Call me for additional information.