smith mountain lake real estate

Should I Buy an SML Home Above or Below the Bridge??

Well first off, what on earth am I talking about?? What is “the bridge,” and what do I mean by “above and below?” To clear that up a bit, let’s look at a simple map of SML. Below is a map I marked up myself, which can also be viewed on the website at

“The bridge” means Hales Ford Bridge, which is marked on the above map. Above just means north of the bridge when looking at the map, and below means south of the bridge (it’s just easier saying above and below; that’s the common vernacular here). There are also 2 main counties that touch Smith Mountain Lake: Bedford and Franklin. Franklin is on the “left,” and Bedford on the “right” (also marked on map above).

Often I am asked by prospective buyers when they visit Smith Mountain Lake, “what are the best parts of the lake?” And “where are the highest home values?” Things like that.

So, let me answer the question of “where are the highest homes values” first. For that, I will say it is “below” the bridge, on either side of the lake. Does this mean you should forget about homes “above” the bridge? Not at all. In fact, you may end up getting a great deal on a wonderful SML waterfront home by buying above the bridge. But the reality is Smith Mountain Lake homes below the bridge tend to have, and retain, a bit higher value, and typically sell faster and easier.

Why is that? A big reason is simply the more central location on the lake. Being below the bridge puts you’re a lot more in the middle of things, and in closer proximity to areas of interest, either by car or by boat. This more central location is a reason many people consider “below the bridge” to be the best area of the lake. Another reason is the perception that the water views above the bridge are not as open or wide. It does look that way on a map, right? But honestly I think that perception is undeserved, and just not that accurate. The reality is the water views “above” the bridge are far wider and longer views than you might think.

Here’s an example: this is a photo from a home one of my client’s bought recently (not the best pic-I just took it myself with my phone standing there). This home is WAY, WAY above the bridge though, and still offers great views (plus a ton of privacy).

Smith Mountain Lake property

So again, if you are willing to consider homes above the bridge, you may end up getting a great home at a great price.

Other considerations regarding areas of the lake have to do with whether or not you intend to rent your home (like Airbnb vacation rentals). If you do, Bedford County is regarded as the best area, but it’s certainly not the only option. But unfortunately that is a much bigger topic, and I will need to devote a future post for that discussion. If you have questions about rentals right now however, I am available to address those for you of course; just let me know.

I hope that helps. Thanks again, and see you at the lake!

By Ted Ciporin, Realtor

Wainwright & Company Realtors®
16503 Booker T. Washington Hwy.
Moneta, VA 24121