Smith Mountain Lake Real Estate listings, LIVE and updated 24 hours a day: waterfront houses, condos, townhomes, and land. See photos, maps, floor plans, and property details. Additional information or answers to questions available from Ted Ciporin, a top Smith Mountain Lake Realtor who is also a full-time lake resident (click HERE to read Zillow reviews about Ted from past clients). To return here, click "Real Estate" at the top of the page, or use your back button. Questions? Click the Contact Us button for more information. Ted is happy to answer any "non-real estate" questions about the Smith Mountain Lake area as well. Have fun!
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Smith Mountain Lake real estate consists of small condos for $70,000, to breathtaking mansions for millions, and everything in between. So there's a home for every budget. A good realtor can show you these homes, and give you a tour of the lake by land, or even by boat (boat is the most fun!). With Smith Mountain Lake's 500 miles of shoreline, you can find a private and quiet home in a cove with just a few neighbors in sight-or live in a well-planned community with amenities such as swimming pools, fitness facilities, boat slips with powered boat lifts, and golf courses.
To see eight of the lake's most beautiful waterfront homes, attend the Smith Mountain Lake Charity Home Tour. On the second weekend of October every year, more than 1,000 volunteers welcome many thousands of visitors to the three-day event. The event raises up to $200,000 that helps to fund eight local charities. Mark your calendar...and bring your friends and family for a close-up view of some exceptional properties!
Lake water levels:
Nearly all Smith Mountain Lake homes are built above the "100-year flood plain", which is 803.7 feet above sea level. At "full pond", the surface of the water at Smith Mountain Lake is 795 feet above sea level. Typical water fluctuations are 2 feet which happens frequently. Fluctuations of 5 feet happen about once every year or two. Get the current water level anytime at: http://www.smithmountainlakelevel.com/
A description of the key factors that drive real estate prices at Smith Mountain Lake (you might be surprised!)
Price Factor # 1: View, View, View!
A breathtaking view that Smith Mountain Lake buyers value is often the #1 factor that drives their purchase. "Location Location, Location?" Virtually all waterfront Smith Mountain Lake properties have that; the lake itself IS the location! Here at the lake, we say "View, View, View!"
Price Factor #2: Slope
Lots vary from gentle slopes, to quite steep.The more gentle the slope, the higher the price. But with a steeper slope, you may get a great deal. Many homes with steeper slopes have golf cart paths all the way to the water. This makes it easy to get to your dock, and virtually eliminates any issues with a steep slope.
Price Factor #3: Waterfront
Price Factor #4: The Home
The house's condition, size, style, and general curb appeal all factor into the property's price. There are many Smith Mountain Lake homes that are "move-in ready." Other homes with issues may sit on a fantastic lot with million dollar views, and are worth renovating, or even tearing down and rebuilding.
Price Factor #5: Location, Location, Location
In most real estate markets, this is #1. But as mentioned, all waterfront homes at SML have the location: THE LAKE! So the specific location at the lake is more a matter of preference. You may want to be within 10 minutes of a supermarket, a medical facility, a golf course community, or within a certain driving distance from another location. Or you may want to be private and more remote with an "away from it all" feel. Many options are available at Smith Mountain Lake to suit your personal preferences.
Price Factor #6: Cove versus Main Channel
This is mostly a matter of personal preference, but the longest water views are typically found on the main channel. A cove location may be a bit more limited regarding view, but the advantage is it's quieter, great for swimming, and often just 2-3 minutes from the main channel.
Price Factor #7: Lot Size
Regarding lot size, most buyers value the factors discussed above so much more, that the size of the lot doesn’t really matter. As long as the above factors are in place to a buyer's liking, acreage is not usually a high priority when looking for a waterfront home at Smith Mountain Lake.
If you're planning to buy a condo or house, and then offer it as a vacation rental to help pay the mortgage, be sure to first check county, subdivision, and homeowner association rules and regulations. Bedford County allows short term rentals (as short as 1 night) for any type of home. Franklin County is more restrictive; they allow many condos and townhomes to be rented short term, but do not allow this for houses. Pittsylvania County, which covers only a tiny part of SML, also allows short term rentals for any type of home. But keep in mind that subdivisions can make their own rules about renting, and those rules override the County's. For example, if a subdivision in Bedford County decides not to allow short term rentals in their neighborhood, then you can't do it, even though the County rules allow for it. It's best to check with a knowledgeable Smith Mountain Lake realtor to clarify whether a home can be rented or not. A good one can provide this information for you in short order.
How much can I rent my Smith Mountain Lake Home for?
With the wide variety of homes at the lake, there is also a wide variety of rental rates. During peak demand periods in the summer, a smaller condo or townhome may rent for around $1,000 per week, whereas a large mansion may rent for $5,000 per week or more. Rates you can charge are less during lower demand times of the year however.
What are the best times of year to rent my home?
The "high season" at Smith Mountain Lake is mid-May to mid-September. These 16 weeks are the prime rental weeks, and the most in demand. There are some other times of year when homes can be rented, such as holidays, but your primary income will be earned during these warm weather 16 weeks.
If you buy a home and decide you want to be aggressive about renting it, you should plan to start marketing it January 1 for that year, as many people make vacation plans well in advance. You can realistically expect to get 10-12 weeks rented the first year. After 2-3 years, you may be able to get up to 16 solid weeks or more, as you will have some repeat renters that come back every year.
Will I make money by renting my Smith Mountain Lake home?
This is a common question. The answer is yes and no. Although there are rental properties that earn enough income to pay the mortgage, all expenses of ownership, and still provide positive cash flow for the owner, this is relatively uncommon at Smith Mountain Lake. For 85-90% of homeowners who rent their home, the rental income is a primarily a way to defray the cost of ownership, vs. produce positive cash flow and make a profit. That said, renting is an excellent way for many people to own a beautiful Smith Mountain Lake home that they otherwise could not afford.
If you want to produce positive cash flow with a Smith Mountain Lake rental property, you'll want to look for a large home that can accommodate the highest number of people possible. This is best achieved with a home that uses public water, but the majority of SML homes are served by septic systems.
The size of a home's septic system determines how many people can stay there. The rule is 2 times the number of bedrooms the septic system can service. For example: a home with a 3 bedroom septic system can legally accommodate 6 people overnight, but no more. Knowing this, a homeowner we know built a home with an 8 bedroom septic system, purely to be able to rent his home to large groups (16 people at a time in this case). This home regularly produced a net profit for the owner each year, while still fully paying the mortgage. There is a lot to consider when renting your home, but a realtor familiar with Smith Mountain Lake rentals can help you navigate this sometimes complex endeavor.
Once you purchase a home at Smith Mountain Lake, you'll of course need to know how to setup your utilities. Or if you are researching prior to buying and want to get some questions answered (about high speed internet for example), provided below is information regarding the utility companies that serve the lake. Click the name of each company to go to their website, or call the number provided for service.
Of course we can always provide you with recommendations about the best services to go with. Please just let us know if you have any questions.
B2X Online 540-389-7924
B2X Online 540-389-7924
Appalachian Power Company (local division of AEP, American Electric Power)
(Bedford, Franklin, Pittsylvania counties) 800-956-4237
Southside Electric Cooperative (Bedford & Pittsylvania counties) 800-552-2118
WATER AND SEWER
Bedford Regional Water Authority (Bedford County) 540-586-7679
Western Virginia Water Authority (Franklin County) 540-853-5700
Comments about Internet and cell phone service:
If you need high-speed Internet, fast cellular service, and cable TV access, Franklin County (on the south side of SML) is your best bet. Bedford County (north side of SML) has many options for internet service, but has more limited cable internet. Cellular phone service works great at almost all parts of the lake, but you should test it yourself to be sure. Ask your realtor about utilities at various locations; a good real estate agent will have this information.