Owning a home on the shores of one of the most iconic and beautiful lakes in the world has long since been a dream for many aspiring to own a home in Tahoe. A sprawling estate that graces the shores of Lake Tahoe is one of the most epic and recognizable pieces of real estate in the world.

So what exactly are you getting into when considering a Lake Tahoe lakefront property? Where is the value derived from?

Long before Truckee was a desirable town to buy a second (or primary) home in, the focus was solely on buying on or near Lake Tahoe. As such, inventory around Lake Tahoe compared to Truckee is much older, 20 years older on average. As the years went by, residential lots along the sought-after shoreline of Lake Tahoe were the first to get bought up. Now the market for a Lakefront is a matter of simple economics; there’s only so much supply for so much demand.

When browsing Tahoe Lakefronts don’t be surprised if the home was built in the early part of the 20th century but that age should be taken with a grain of salt. What you’re ultimately paying for is the exclusive, unobstructed, unfiltered access to the pristine waters of Lake Tahoe. These lakefronts are the epitome of the classic real estate adage – location, location, location. So even if the home is almost a century old, the dirt below it holds enormous value.

Substantial value can also be linked to whether or not the home has its own private pier. Since the local regulatory agency Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) is no longer permitting the construction of piers, these amenities are essentially priceless now. In relation to a property’s access to the water, its value increases exponentially as the ease of access becomes more streamlined. From having a buoy or two all the way up to having a private pier with a boathouse, that access drastically impacts the asking price on a Lakefront.

Main takeaway: Pay more attention to the location and priceless access to a private pier than the lakefront home’s superficial features. Countertops can be changed out, walls can be painted, and new appliances can be purchased, but being able to walk out your back door and dip your toes in the crystal clear waters of Lake Tahoe is a very limited and priceless experience.