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"Which area of the lake is best?" This is often the first question a Realtor will get from prospective lot buyers relatively unfamiliar with Lake Anna. After interviewing several real estate agents on Lake Anna we found that the best answer to that question is another question. The question is not so much "which area of the lake is best?" rather "which area of the lake is best for you? Buyers first need to look at their lifestyles and then try to define specific needs. An example of this would be a retirement age couple with small grandchildren considering a more gently sloping lot for two reasons.

First the obvious one, not having to negotiate lengthy inclines to and from the water. Additionally more level lots allow for the grand kids to be easily watched. Most of this analysis is just common sense. However, buying lakefront property is often an emotional time and certain concerns can easily be overlooked. Lake Anna, with its myriad of coves and inlets, provides different views and varying topography, even within the same community.

Location
Where on the lake do you want to locate? If you intention is a second home, location will probably be a more important consideration than if you plan to be a full time resident. The Spotsylvania side of the lake is generally more convenient to Fredericksburg and I-95. The Louisa and Orange side of the lake is more convenient to the towns of Louisa, Orange, Culpeper and Charlottesville. Lots on the northern end of the lake are easy access for those arriving via Routes 29 and 522. An average drive time from the middle of the lake to Charlottesville is about 50 minutes and Richmond is about an hour.

Louisa, Orange or Spotsylvania County?
In order to build on or around the lake in any of the three counties, the basic requirement is that the property must be at least an acre. Specifically, one acre in Spotsylvania County, .92 acre in Louisa County and one acre in Orange County. This minimum acreage is set by county regulations in order to have enough land to support a secondary drain field in the event that the primary would fail. Failure of primary drain fields is a remote possibility, but if it does happen, you’ll need adequate land.

Another consideration for many are the tax rates. Real Estate taxes are $0.89 per $100 of assessed value in Spotsylvania and $0.66 per $100 of assessed value in Louisa County. Personal property tax rates are $5.00 per $100 of assessed value in Spotsylvania and $1.90 per $100 of assessed value in Louisa.

Choosing the Lot
Do you want a waterfront or water access lot? Wooded or open? Public side or private side? Choosing between a waterfront and a water access lot is a financial consideration as well as a lifestyle question. Waterfront properties obviously head the list in terms of cost. With a waterfront property, you’ll have a private waterfront where you can build a dock or boathouse and in some cases have a “beach” and swim area. Next in line price-wise are water view lots. If being able to see the lake from your deck or great room is a “must”, a water view lot can fill that need. Because of Lake Anna’s topography, there aren’t many of these around, but some are available. Finally, if being “on” the water or being able to see the lake isn’t critical; consider a water access lot. With water access lots (within a subdivision), the subdivision “common area” is used to launch or dock your boat. Amenities in “common areas” vary greatly, from a simple boat-launching ramp to having your own deeded boat slip.

Property values on Lake Anna have increased significantly in the past 3-5 years. Waterfront lots generally range from a low of about $150,000 to over $500,000. The average waterfront lot is in the low 300’s. Water Access lots now begin at around $70,000 and those with a water-view will cost in the range of $150,000 to $200,000

Both wooded and open lots can be found. This is a strictly a personal preference.

Public Side vs. Private Side
Another major consideration is whether to locate on the public or private side
of Lake Anna. The public side is what most people know as “Lake Anna.” Access is not restricted. Conversely, access to the water on the “private” side is restricted to landowners. Because it serves as the cooling logoons, for water circulated through the power plant, the Private side is also known as the “warm” side. Year-round water temperatures on the Private side are several degrees warmer than the public side. The two sides of Lake Anna are separated by three dikes and boats cannot navigate from one to the other.

There is little difference in the cost of properties between the public and private side of the lake. Market values are based on the individual characteristics of the lots. However, there are major differences to consider when looking at each. The main lake is almost 18 miles long and there are about 10,000 surface acres of water. The state park is on the public side as well as 6 marinas and a boat accessible restaurant.

The private side has about 3,000 surface acres and no commercial facilities. There are no marinas or public boat launching facilities. For comparison purposes, the private side is about the size of Maryland’s Deep Creek Lake – more than sufficient size for boating, and all popular water sports. Those who live on the private side boast less boat traffic. Those who live on the public side say they favor the larger area and public facilities. Again, it boils down to personal preference.

Condo/Town Home Options
While this article deals primarily with homebuilding, an attractive alternative has come to Lake Anna recently. Popular nationwide with their low maintenance and rental potential, exploring this option may be of benefit to some.

As you can see, there are many considerations when you go out looking for your lot at Lake Anna. Choosing a lot should be a fun experience. Many excellent Realtors are here waiting to help you with your selection. So, remember to examine your needs carefully, ask questions and hopefully, you’ll find your perfect property.

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