Many people consider waterfront living to be a luxury and an obligation. Not only do you get to enjoy easy access to a body of water, but you also become part of the ecosystem supporting and helping it thrive.

As such, Lake Hartwell and Lake Keowee are two of the best places to live in Clemson, SC. However, that doesn't mean you should rush in to search for lakefront homes for sale without doing the necessary research.

Buying a waterfront property means dealing with a unique property layout and elements that other homes don't have to worry about. Here are five things to know when looking for lakefront homes near Clemson. 

1. Water Activities

Spending time in and on the water is the biggest part of the lake-living lifestyle. You can do anything from swimming, jetski, fish, and more. 

On the shores of Lake Hartwell is the Clemson Rowing Docks, which serves as a training area for the local university as well as a place to hang out. The floating dock makes it easy to launch a kayak or jump straight into the deep end. 

Lake Hartwell is at the center of an intersection between multiple waterways and is much larger than the neighboring Lake Keowee. As such, you can get some great sailing and fishing done. Lake Hartwell provides great conditions for sking and waterfront dining.

  • Boating - Sailing 
  • Water Sports
  • Fishing
  • Dining

Lake Keowee is well-known for its turquoise water and the beautiful landscape surrounding it. It's another premium spot for water sports and other outdoor activities. 

In particular, many amateur anglers visit the lake to catch spotted bass, largemouth bass, and native redeye bass. You're sure to make some friends on the water, some of which will likely be your neighbors. 

Dock your boat and enjoy dining and entertainment at the Lighthouse

If you're not one for swimming with the fish or catching them, you can always spend time on the shore. Each lake offers multiple recreation areas for families and their kids to visit. You can also rent a cabin or try your hand at camping. 

2. Shoreline Permits

A major feature of owning a waterfront home in Upstate, SC is the easy access to the lake. While convenient for those who spend time on the water, it also means that you're limited in terms of what you can do on your property. 

For example, you would need to get approvals and\or permits if you want to make some improvements to a boathouse or dock. Even if you're building a small dock for your own personal boat, you'd still need a permit.  Some waterfront properties are prohibited from any shoreline development, including boat docks. 

Homeowners must obtain proper permits if they want to do anything related to construction on their property. The city council can grant these to you following the state regulations or other regulations. It may still take some time to get it, though.

Make sure to plan out everything you intend to do or solicit the help of a local builder if you want a smooth process.

Check that the existing structure was approved before you bought the property. Also, you may not be able to DIY renovations for certain waterfront structures. There are set guidelines and regulations for repairs and additions that may be better left off to a contractor. 

3. Water and Sewage Options

When searching for Lake Hartwell homes for sale or a Lake Keowee home for sale, see what kind of sewage and water systems they have preinstalled.

While some owners can irrigate their property with lake water, others are banned from doing so. The kind of access you have to the water will vary from place to place. 

As for your sewage system, repairing or upgrading it is a complicated matter. If a job is done wrong, then you could potentially contaminate the lake water and get dealt a hefty fine. 

The best types of septic tanks for a waterfront property are concrete and plastic. Both are durable and work well near water sources. 

Your septic tank should be a certain distance from any body of water. Most places require a minimum of 50 feet from springs or lakes. However, your septic company will likely recommend at least 100 feet of clearance for a lake property. 

This distance may limit where you can place your septic tank as well as how you can use your property. You may also have to pay more for maintenance depending on the conditions of the ground on your lakefront property. 

4. Wildlife Encounters

Don't be surprised if you stumble upon some of South Carolina's lake wildlife when you step out your front or back door. Whether or not that's a good thing will depend on your own personality, but it's something to prepare for. 

In particular, you may have to deal with Alligators in some areas. Even though they were once a federally endangered species, they now hold the title of "threatened". You may also find, and more readily welcome, deer, foxes, turkeys, and turtles strolling through your property.

Remember to save the number for your local Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in your contacts, just in case. 

5. Risks to Your Home

Lakefront homes for sale in Upstate South Carolina are more at risk of damage from storms due to their vicinity to a large body of water. It's not uncommon for a lake to rise during heavy rain, and you may have to deal with excess flooding on your property. 

Outside of storms, your home will be more susceptible to water damage, erosion, and rust. Most lakefront houses are built with materials resistant to these types of damage. However, that may or may not include any additions or renovations completed since then. 

Homeowner's insurance for a waterfront property may cost more, but it'll save you down the line when mother nature strikes. 

Find Lakefront Homes for Sale

Even though lakefront homes for sale come with their own set of challenges, there are also numerous privileges. Easy access to water means every day can transition into a fun excursion. Lake houses also have a high resale value. 

If you're interested in buying a lake house, real estate agents at JW Martin Real Estate can help. Our agency features properties on Lake Hartwell, Lake Keowee, and other lake homes for sale in Upstate, SC.

Contact us to speak with a local agent and learn more about our listings. 


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Best Places to Live: Clemson, SC.