A Helpful Guide for Relocating to the Finger Lakes

Are you ready to start a new adventure? Whether you want a completely new start or an investment property to frequent seasonally, Finger Lakes Premier Properties has all the resources you need to start your journey relocating to the Finger Lakes! The Finger Lakes region of Central New York State boasts 11 charming lakeside towns. Finger Lakes Premier Properties has lakefront listing from Canandaigua to Cayuga and beyond, so you can select a property in your desired Finger Lakes region.  

For more information on relocating to or purchasing an investment property in the Finger Lakes region, please reference our Finger Lakes Property Management Services. This page is filled with important information for every type of buyer! 

Everything You Need to Know About Relocating to the Finger Lakes 

How to Begin Your Search 

So, you want to purchase a home in the Finger Lakes. Where’s the best place to start? Begin by searching our lakefront listings! Finger Lakes Premier Properties features a diverse inventory of homes for sale across all 11 Finger Lakes communities. You should also browse our buyer’s guide. This helpful resource is a great place to begin your search and get acquainted with our services! 

Where to Look 

The Finger Lakes region consists of 11 lakefront towns. Each have unique qualities, while maintaining the laid-back lake life that most people who relocate to this area are looking for. Across the Finger Lakes region, you can find world-class wineries, championship golf courses, unlimited ways to spend time on the lake, and more. Not sure which area of the Finger Lakes is right for you? Take a look at this interactive map that shows you where all your interests lie! 

What You Can Expect  

There’s no shortage of amazing things to do in the Finger Lakes region! Whether you’re a retiree looking for a place to spend each day on the lake or a family looking for a quiet vacation spot, there’s something for every buyer’s needs! Download our free Finger Lakes Vacation Guide for a comprehensive look at all the activities our area has to offer. With more than 9,000 square-miles of property surrounding the 11 lakes, there are endless ways to explore! Here are a few of our favorite things to do in the area as locals: 

5 Questions to Determine If a Finger Lakes Investment Property is Right for You 

What area of the Finger Lakes do you want to invest? 

As we previously discussed, there are several areas to choose from when it comes to purchasing an investment property in the Finger Lakes. As we know all too well, sometimes it’s hardest to make a choice when you have a lot of options. Make sure you narrow your search to a couple of your top lakes before moving forward with your investment property journey! 

You can filter homes for sale by lake using this search tool

How much are you comfortable investing? 

We understand that everyone has a unique budget. Determine how much you’re comfortable spending before you begin your search. This will help narrow your choices and give you peace of mind that you’re remaining financially responsible!  

What are your goals in owning an investment property? 

It’s important to have a goal in mind when purchasing a vacation rental as an investment property. To set a goal for your property, first decide how your family is going to use it. Will you rent it out most of the year? Will you relocate to your rental home for an entire season? Decide how you plan to use your property, then let us know so we can create realistic, sensical goals for your investment property!  

Our knowledgeable agents will put together Rental Analysis Projections on any homes you’re interested in purchasing as an investment property!  

When do you want to invest? 

Game play is important when it comes to purchasing an investment property. It’s important to keep an eye on real estate market trends for each lake before you decide to make a purchase. We’re dedicated to making sure you get the most return on investment! Our team will also keep you up-to-date on the latest vacation rental trends in the Finger Lakes as well as across the entire industry. It’s important to us that our owners are in the loop about the latest happenings!  

Become a friend of our newsletter for consistent industry updates! 

Do you have a realtor you can trust? 

Purchasing an investment property can be stressful. It’s a big commitment, and you deserve to work with a realtor who’s transparent and communicative throughout the entire process. Our team of knowledgeable, experienced agents are here to make your home buying process seamless. We understand that everyone’s journey to an investment property is different, so we pride ourselves on being adaptable and doing whatever it takes to make your dream of a home in the Finger Lakes come true! 

Choose Finger Lakes Premier Properties 

Ready to begin your journey relocating to the Finger Lakes? Whether you’re looking for a new, permanent homestead or an investment property in the Finger Lakes region, we’re here to help! Our helpful staff is here to answer any questions you may have about our area, listings, and owning a home in the Finger Lakes. We’re dedicated to making your home buying process to be as seamless and stress-free as possible!  

Visit our Finger Lakes Property Management Services page to get started. We can’t wait to welcome you home! 

Lakefront Real Estate Update for June, 2020

The first quarter of 2020 seems like a blur as COVID-19 took an immediate hit on every industry, including the Finger Lakes lakefront real estate market. What was surprising, however, was it did not stop. In fact, across the region there were more lake homes sold this quarter than in 2019.

Lakefront Real Estate Market Report for Quarter 1, 2020


Analysis of lakefront homes sold on 7 of the Finger Lakes for January through March of 2020. Statistics aggregated from MLS.

The number of new listings decreased dramatically. This allowed additional exposure for homes already listed or any homeowner willing to take the innovative virtual solutions to list their home. This resulted in a slight increase in the number of total sales as we ended the first quarter.

Typically, lakefront buyers for our region are willing to wait for the perfect home at the right price. This, combined with the average time online increasing dramatically through March, meant that prospective buyers were searching more and ready to commit as soon as listings came online. The real estate section of our site, FLPPlake.com, saw a 50% increase in traffic year-over-year from March through May. We continue to see online trends with new listings and virtual tours being the most sought-out content.

The circumstances around the untypical spring real estate boom proved to be lucrative for sellers. With the decrease in the number of listings available and the favorable interest rates for buyers, average sale prices increased across the region. We are continuing to see this in the second quarter as there are still a limited number of listing.

Lakefront Sales Update for June, 2020

The demand continues to swell the quarter for the Finger Lakes lakefront market. The unstable stock market turned the attention of investors to safer options, including real estate. These investors are keeping their eye on the Finger Lakes. Our region has been highlighted as a more affordable waterfront market. Additionally, the Finger Lakes continues to thrive as a picturesque travel destination with easy access to multiple urban markets. And these investors are not just looking for a second home to shelter with their family. They see the surge in the vacation rental industry as a safer choice for accommodations and vision a new lake home investment as a sure-win situation. Our rental management team confirms this trend with demand for vacation rentals being the highest we’ve seen in our 27 years of lakefront property management.

Finger Lakes Premier Properties sold this Seneca Lakefront home in just 1 day in May!

As of June 1, 2020, Finger Lakes real estate services have fully reopened with New York State Governor Cuomo’s phased plan. Our agents are now able to resume in-person home showings with responsible social distancing. We historically have and will continue to provide innovative virtual services to out of town buyers. The biggest challenge for our team is showing homes before they sell.

For more information on current lakefront trends on any of the Finger Lakes, contact our sales team today. They are ready to help you achieve your real estate goals this year by taking advantage of this unique market opportunity.

To contact our sales team either call 888-599-4810 or email sales@flpplake.com.

Financing Your Lake House in 2020

You’ve decided to dive in and buy your dream house on the lake, but how do you finance this life changing decision? From vacation rental income to second home mortgages, you have many options when it comes to affording your lake house in 2020.

Here are some tips to make buying a lake house a sound financial decision.

Finance during a year of stability.

mortgage interest rates to consider when financing your lake house

The real estate market experienced a year of declining interest rates in 2019. With few economic risks and low inflation, borrowing costs are expected to remain low, making 2020 a great year to take on debt for a long-term purchase.

According to Bankrate, the rate on a 30 year note fell from an average of 4.68% at the beginning of January 2019 all the way down to 3.9% by Christmas. This is really good news for homebuyers.

The lakefront real estate market ended on high note in 2019, with average sales price for lakefront homes projected to continue increasing this year. If you haven’t read our analysis of last year’s lakefront market, start hereand learn why 2020 is the year to finance your lake house.

Consider your use and classify appropriately.

how will your lake house be used?

When financing your lake house, you will need to classify your property based on how it will be used. Typically your lake house will fall into one of three categories for financing: primary residence, secondary residence, or investment property. The type of home you buy will affect your interest rate and may require you to have a higher credit score.

Secondary Residence vs. Investment Property

If you plan to use your home as a short-term rental, you can still classify the property as a secondary residence instead of an investment property, taking advantage of lower interest rates and qualifying for mortgage interest tax deductions. This will vary by lender, but typically your lake house can remain a secondary residence if your home is rented no more than 180 days a year and you occupy the home at least 10% of the time you would rent it. You will have to report rental income on your taxes if you rent for 15 or more days. Learn more about mortgage classification here.

Look for niche lending options.

Niche lending options for financing your lake house

With vacation rentals gaining popularity over the last few years, most lenders should have a base level of knowledge when it comes to financing your lake house for short-term rental use. If possible, seek out a finance professional familiar with the vacation rental industry. You lakefront sales specialist may have recommendations for you.

If you don’t intend to rent out your lake house, there are plenty of lending options to meet you where you are financially. Many banks, such as M&T, offer bridge loans to help you purchase a new home before your existing home sells. You can also tap into the equity of your primary home to fund the down payment for your second home (cash-out refinance). Learn more about your lending options here.

Determine your Vacation Rental Income Goals

If your lake house is a second home or investment property, vacation rental income could factor into what kind of lake house you can afford. Your rental rate is determined by the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, amenities, and updates your home has. The larger and more modern the house, the higher the sales price – but also consider that you’ll most likely be able to rent it out more often and for a higher rate.

Our real estate team can provide a vacation rental income analysis for any lakefront home in the Finger Lakes. We provide income projections for the lake houses you’re considering and you can compare side by side how much each will earn, making it easy to determine the level of financing you’ll need.

Consider the extra costs.

Costs to consider when financing your lake house

Your lake house will incur higher costs than a traditional or primary home. Here are a few expenses to budget for when determining how much lake house you can afford:

Flood Insurance

Being so close to the water might warrant purchasing flood insurance. Though not required by New York State, your mortgage lender may mandate that you purchase a policy in addition to homeowners insurance. Flood damage isn’t typically covered by homeowners insurance and less than 50% of flooding incidents are covered by federal disaster assistance.

Maintenance

You’ll likely need a larger maintenance budget for your lake house, especially if it’s a second home or investment property. Lakefront property components, such as docks, decks, boathouses and beachfronts, will need routine maintenance, pressure washing, replacement, clean up, and more.

If your lake house is a secondary residence or investment property, consider hiring a management company to perform these tasks for you. In addition, property managers having a year-round presence at your home can reduce the chances of a break-in and quickly address storm damage or pests to avoid long-term issues and higher costs later on.

Lifestyle

There’s a reason you’re buying a lake house – you want the lake lifestyle! You’ll want to set aside some funds to buy that boat you’ve always wanted, and don’t be surprised when the family asks for a couple kayaks and a jet ski! Prioritize which gear you’ll need once the house is yours – and plan for more fun purchases later on.


What’s the best thing you can do when purchasing your lake house? Work with a professional that specializes in lakefront real estate. With 95% of our sales being on the water, our team is ready and excited to answer your questions and find the right lake house for you! Call us today (855) 683-8429.

2019 Lakefront Real Estate Report

Each quarter, our sales specialists analyze real estate trends across the region’s lakefront market. We compile our findings into a complimentary report to make your decision to buy or sell an easy and informed one.

Here is our analysis of the 2019 lakefront real estate market:


Analysis of lakefront homes sold on 7 of the Finger Lakes in 2019.
Statistics aggregated from MLS.

Overview

The lakefront market experienced smaller gains in 2019, compared to 2018. This can be attributed to the average sale price for lakefront homes continuing to tick up, while the number of sales decrease.

Lakefront homeowners are holding onto properties longer, riding the wave of YOY value increases and the popularity of operating short-term rentals. Investors continue to enter the market, looking for homes not only for personal use, but for profit. Our region has seen a 25% increase in vacation rentals over the last few years.

Challenges

On lakes where the number of homes sold dropped 50%, we saw a correlating drop in total sales volume. Honeoye and Owasco Lakes were challenged by algal blooms and low inventory this year, but homes on both lakes continue to sell faster. Lower price points could transition these lakes deeper into a market that favors buyers in 2020.

HAB’s and Red Tide continue to challenge the nation’s lake and oceanfront real estate markets. Educating new homeowners on lake friendly living practices will be a focus in 2020, to ensure the health and safety of our waters for years to come.

lakefront market real estate agent

Successes

Seneca and Canandaigua Lakes saw the greatest increase in overall sales volume last year. High-end buyers are attracted to Canandaigua Lake for its luxury amenities and close proximity to the cities of Rochester and Buffalo. We expect the upward trend to continue in 2020, as transportation options, like seaplane routes, lakefront development, and amenities continue to expand.

Seneca Lake enjoyed a 33% boost in sales volume last year, with the highest overall gain in average sale price and greatest overall drop in days on market. Seneca is the largest of the Finger Lakes, and arguably the lake with the most opportunity. While Geneva revitalizes its downtown and gains national attention for its dining and tourism, Watkins Glen continues to yield some of the region’s largest events. Seneca Lake home prices still come in below the regional average, but with an 18% price gain last year, don’t expect the lakefront bargains to last. 2020 is the year to buy on Seneca!

Seneca Lake Real Estate

Market Trends to Watch

Mortgage rates are projected to continue trending downward in 2020. This is particularly great news for those looking to purchase a vacation home or income property. With low inventory and no pressure from the fed, lakefront buyers have the luxury of waiting for the right house to come on the market.

In general, the heat is off, with bidding wars at a 10 year low across the nation, but a limited inventory of starter homes is pushing first-time buyers into new territory. Rather than pour their assets into a primary residence, first-time buyers are investing in vacation homes in less expensive destinations, like the Finger Lakes. These homes have the potential to pay for themselves with vacation rental income or allow buyers to save up for their next investment.

Family saving for real estate

Focused on Lakefront in 2020

While the lakefront market flattened out in 2019, the Finger Lakes Premier Properties team experienced a 58% increase in lakefront sales. Our team led purchasing sales on Cayuga and Seneca Lakes and continues to be the leading real estate team servicing the entire region. Lakefront sales accounted for 95% of our 2019 sales, higher than any other real estate team in the Finger Lakes.

Our 2020 focus is lakefront real estate. If yours is too, call us today (888) 441-0079.

How to Maximize Your Finger Lakes Vacation Rental: 5 Tips You Need to Know

Want to know how to maximize your Finger Lakes vacation rental? Read on to learn our best tips and tricks to help you keep your VR booked all-year-round!

How to Maximize Your Finger Lakes Vacation Rental

1. Be Hospitable

Hospitality is a major part of the guest experience. That’s why we’ve gone the extra mile and created a complimentary Vacation Guide for all of our guests to use. It includes the best FLX attractions such as the Finger Lakes wine trails, state parks, restaurants, entertainment, and outdoor recreation. This handy guide is useful and helps our guests plan out their entire trip with ease! We strive for all of our visitors to have the absolute best guest experience while renting your vacation home!

Download our Free Vacation Guide

2. Quality Photos Are Everything

Would you want to stay in a vacation rental with blurry, low-quality pictures? The answer is probably not. Photos are one of the first things a potential guest looks for, and you do not want to disappoint. The truth is, people are probably not going to read about your property unless they like what they see.

We highly recommend getting a professional photographer, but if that’s not possible, make sure you take your photos with good natural lighting. Also, make sure you have plenty of updated photos to show off just how amazing your property is! Don’t forget to include pictures of your unique amenities like the fire pit, hot tub, and gorgeous lake view.

3. Know What Potential Guests Really Need

Imagine staying in a vacation home with a full kitchen, stocking up on groceries, and getting ready to cook a gourmet meal, only to find out there are no kitchen utensils or supplies in the house!

Make sure your home is equipped with all the necessities like kitchen supplies, clean linens, toilet paper, soap, and towels to make it easier for anyone staying in your vacation rental.

4. Create The Best Guest Experience

Maximizing your vacation home means creating the best guest experience. Make your visitors feel at home by showing that you care! By providing all of the material items they may need during their trip, Finger Lakes recommendations, and a clean vacation home, you can expect to see your guests return year after year.

Not only does an amazing vacation experience create returning guests, but you can also expect fantastic reviews. And, excellent reviews lead to more bookings and more income!

5. Choose Finger Lakes Premier Properties as Your Vacation Rental Management Company

We’re more than just marketing tips. We’ll talk the talk as well as walk the walk. Your rental property will be in great hands when you let Finger Lakes Premier Properties manage your home.

finger lakes vacation rental with waterfront view
070213Mandi

We understand the frustrations of taking care of a home, and we know you have other things to do with your time. Finger Lakes Premier Properties offers a turn-key full-service housekeeping option. We’ll also make sure to use the best marketing practices to reach potential guests, including social media and email.

We can also determine and update rental rates on your home to drive revenue and occupancy. We want to make your home rental experience as stress-free as possible!

browse our full list of properties

Why List Your Lakefront Home in Winter

The weather outside is frightful, so no one’s buying a home this time of the year, right? Think again. In the last 60 days, 35 lakefront homes went under contract in the region, including 33% of our available inventory. The market is trying to stay warm just like the rest of us, but lakefront homes are in short supply.

While winter may seem like a more challenging time to sell, the same rules don’t always apply for homes in a vacation destination. There are plenty of reasons to buy in winter, but here are some of the pros to selling your lakefront home in the off-season:

Higher priced homes see more action.

According to our listing agent, Cynthia Emerling, homes priced above $500,000 are seeing more interest. “The higher priced market starts to pick up in November, when people start evaluating their finances from the year and are motivated to take advantage of tax breaks.” Listing ahead of or during this surge of high-end buyer activity that your home sits on the market less time. “I tell high-end listings to hold out for this time of year, regardless of when they listed. This is when their buyer is in the market,” says Emerling.

Your home stays ready-to-show.

Selling in the summertime has its drawbacks. While it may be the time of year when your lakefront and landscaping look their best, it’s also the time when your lake house sees the most use. With family, friends, and guests in and out all summer, it can be difficult to ensure your home is ready-to-show when it needs to be. To maintain a staged, clean appearance, list your lakefront home in winter. As an added bonus, a light blanket of snow will cover any less-desirable features outside the home.

You’ll get the most out of your last summer on the lake.

There’s only a short window of summer weather here in the Finger Lakes. Showings can make it more difficult to schedule and enjoy your time at the lake. If your home is a vacation rental, constant showings can interfere with the guest experience. Guests who book in the peak season pay a premium for their stay and would prefer not to be interrupted by your agent.

Investment buyers have extra motivation.

On the vacation rental side, we see higher volumes of booking activity around the holidays. It makes sense – the whole family is gathered in one area, making it easy to plan their next vacation. Investment buyers don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to fill their calendars ahead of the new year. This is a huge motivator for short-term rental owners to buy ahead of the new year.


Even if you decide to hold off on listing until after the holidays, don’t wait too long. We see the spring market ramp up long before winter’s end. Lakefront buyers want to close have plenty of time to get their new home ready for summer.

Ready to list your lakefront home this winter? Start here!

Our real estate team will provide an assessment of your lakefront home and a rental analysis, free of charge, to attract buyers to the income potential of your listing. Call our lakefront listing experts today (888) 976-4981

Protect Your Lake House This Winter

When it comes to winter, there are two types of lakefront homeowners – those who weather the storms and those who head for warmer water. If you own or are considering buying a lake house, but not interested in sticking around for the Finger Lakes snowfall, you’ll need to winterize your home.

Winterization protects your lakefront asset and forces you to understand your home, inside and out. Plus, you’ll return to fewer maintenance issues, so you can jump right into summer.

Properly prepare for winter and check these items off your to-do list:

Continue reading Protect Your Lake House This Winter

Lakefront Real Estate Report: Q3 Highlights

How did the lakefront real estate market perform in the third quarter of 2019? Our team of highly knowledgeable lakefront sales specialists have compiled a complimentary analysis of market trends for the Finger Lakes to explain.

Lakefront Real Estate Report for Q3 2019
Analysis of lakefront homes sold on 7 of the Finger Lakes in Q3 2019.
Statistics aggregated from MLS.
  • Average days on market continue to drop on all lakes as the region transitions into a strong buyers market.
  • Lakefront inventory is still low, leading to a decrease in homes sold and total sales volume overall.
  • Low interest rates are feeding more buyers into the lakefront market.
  • Interest in short-term renting and investment homes is fueling demand for lakefront property.

What Our Agents See in the Lakefront Market

“We’ve seen an increase in out-of-state clients looking for lakefront homes in the area, many from PA. This is a great time of year to buy, especially for investors. Close on your home by 2020 and make updates to see a higher ROI in time to open your calendar for peak season.”

Dave Lucchesi, Buyer Specialist

“It’s a good time to list because of the number of buyers in the lakefront market. With interest rates continuing to drop, more buyers are comfortable with investing in a second or third home, staying in the market longer.”

Cynthia Emerling, Director of Listing Services

Top Performing Lakefront Markets

Canandaigua Lake

Total sales volume on Canandaigua Lake jumped almost 50% year over year. Lakefront property is in demand, with average sale price up 11% and homes spending an average of 10 days less on market. Our agents note that appropriately priced Canandaigua Lake homes have moved quickly this quarter.

Seneca Lake

We continue to see opportunity in the Seneca Lakefront market! With a near 50% increase in total sales volume, led by the FLPP team, and consistent growth in the number of homes for sale and average sales price, the largest Finger Lake shows no signs of slowing down going into Q4.


Download your copy of the full Q3 Lakefront Real Estate Report here.


For more information about buying or selling lakefront property in the Finger Lakes, call our real estate team today! 833-915-1259

How to Buy a Lake House

Maybe you’ve had the dream to buy a lake house for a long time. Maybe you’ve heard success stories about owning a vacation rental. Regardless, you’re ready to own your very own slice of lake life, but where do you start?

We caught up with our buyer specialist, Dave Lucchesi, to answer this question and to learn more about the steps his clients take to buy their lakefront home in the Finger Lakes. He broke it down for us in 5 easy steps:

Continue reading How to Buy a Lake House

Lakefront Real Estate Report: Q2 Highlights

Finger Lakes Premier Properties is the region’s lakefront specialists for sales across the Finger Lakes. Our team of highly knowledgeable, experienced, and successful Buyer and Seller Specialists provide a complimentary analysis of lakefront market trends each quarter.

Analysis of lakefront homes sold on seven of the Finger Lakes, statics aggregated from MLS.
  • Fewer homes on the market are leading to fewer homes sold
  • Lakefront homes are selling faster than last year
  • We are seeing more action in the <$500,000 market, which is driving down the average sales price

Our real estate team has succeeded in holding onto the top spot as the lakefront sales market leaders in the Finger Lakes through Q2. Our closest competitor’s lakefront transactions accounted for less than 45% of their total sales volume, compared to ours at over 90%. Our team captured 25% of all business on Seneca Lake and leads the market for purchasing sales on Cayuga Lake.

Lakefront Real Estate Trends

Our lakefront sales specialists comment on market conditions from Q2 and trends to look for on the lakes in Q3.

Overall, we’re seeing a neutral market, where neither the buyer or seller has an advantage. With a smaller inventory, serious buyers are acting fast on securing their ideal lakefront home. However, they are much more price conscious, which is why the Seneca and Cayuga Lake markets performed really well through Q2. We expect to see continued growth on those lakes.”

Cynthia Emerling, Director of Listing Services/ Associate Broker

“We see things quiet down during the last stretch of Q2 and most of Q3, while homeowners are using their lake houses and collecting peak season rent, but we expect the market to pick up this fall on the lakes. Buyers are increasingly price driven and conscious of how high their taxes will be. This makes short-term renting appealing.”

Dave Lucchesi, Lakefront Buyer Specialist/ Associate Broker

Download the printable Q2 Lakefront Real Estate Report here: