Time to Get Away: Vacation Destinations

With condos, cottages and upscale lakefront homes all on the market, buyers — and renters — have their pick of great waterfront getaways.
Harborage Condominiums,
Harborage Condominiums, Boyne // Photography Courtesy of Pat O‘Brien associates

Now more than ever before, Michigan real estate brokers agree, cottage and condominium buyers are purchasing lakefront property with renting it out in mind not only for investment purposes but to ensure their vacation haven is in good hands when they’re away.

“It’s the perfect time for it to happen — selection is great, the prices are still reasonably low compared to past years and interest rates are ideal,” notes Suzanne Riley of CENTURY 21 Boardwalk in Manistee. “I absolutely see more interest in buyers purchasing homes in Northwest Michigan as an investment than in past years.”

According to Beth Anzell of Pat O’Brien Real Estate, whose group oversees vacation rentals throughout Charlevoix County, condos are becoming an increasingly popular option for those seeking a Lake Michigan getaway. “Condo sales were up 85 percent in 2013 over 2012,” she shares. “That’s a big number.” And renting these properties out notably helps alleviate related association fees.

Harbor Village in Manistee
Harbor Village in Manistee // Photography Courtesy of Century 21 Boardwalk

Borrowed Time

While home buyers are investing in their ideal lakefront property, renters are searching for the perfect place to vacation with their family and friends. “A vast majority of renters want to be directly on the lake,” Anzell says.

Couples and young families often look for quiet one- or two-bedroom cottages that offer all the comforts of home, but are affordable, she notes, while, “Larger homes ($1 million-plus) rent to large families and/or multiple families who want to vacation together. The condo renter typically wants to be closer to town and all the shops, restaurants and festivities, yet still have that sandy beach in front of them.”

Personal touches are also a draw to those looking to rent a lakefront cottage.

Harbor Village in Manistee
Harbor Village in Manistee // Photography Courtesy of Century 21 Boardwalk

“We find that our property owners are very proud of their beautiful homes, cottages and condos and they want to share them,” Riley reveals. “They offer an endearing respect to the renters, which shows in how they decorate and care for their properties.” Delicate details lend a heartfelt quality to rented lakefront homes that no other lodging experience can offer, she says.

Beyond this, lakeside properties available for rent are as diverse as those who arrive on borrowed time to enjoy them.

Anzell at Pat O’Brien Real Estate features a range of lakefront condos, as well as one- and two-bedroom cottages and a few larger homes. Condominiums at Harbor Village, available through CENTURY 21 Boardwalk in Manistee, feature desired modern amenities — including an indoor pool, outdoor pool, hot tub and fitness center — all within walking distance of the beach and downtown.

Shangri-La in Horton Bay
Shangri-La in Horton Bay: Ideal for large family gatherings, this 7-bedroom, turn-of-the-century rental cottage offered through Pat O’Brien Associates has been updated but retains its rich character with many original details and bit of historic significance: Ernest Hemingway stayed here. // Photography Courtesy of Pat O’Brien Associates

The possibilities are endless for potential renters, offering options suitable for any age or stage in life.

For those looking for a quieter, more secluded vacation, there are private lakefront homes available for rent, along with rustic log cabins in the thick of Manistee National Forest for the true adventurer, Riley says.

And, the agents also agree, these lakeshore escapees often evolve into buyers themselves after spending time in these just-right vacation destinations.

“Many folks who rent for years up here,” Anzell says, “have just come to love it so much.”

Uncover vacation rental and waterfront real estate properties through these sources at patobrienvacationrentals.com and ilovemanistee.com.

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