Lakefront Living in SC: 6 Tips for Finding the Perfect Lake Lot

Sunset over Lake Carolina near Columbia, SC taken from the eastern shore with rocks and 2 trees.

Sunrise over a large lake in South Carolina from an undeveloped area along the shoreline.

You’ve decided you are ready to build your dream home on a waterfront lot. You can just picture it now.

Waking up in the morning and looking out the window at a wide water view of one of the most beautiful lakes in the country. Sitting on your screened-in back porch in the morning with a luxurious cup of coffee and a view of the sunrise over the water. And dinners al fresco with a glorious breeze whispering through while you watch the sailboats go by at sunset.

Choosing the right lot to build a custom home on the shores of a lake in South Carolina is one of the most important decisions you will make when building your luxury custom home.

But before you can build the house, you’ve got to find just the right lot on the water.

In this post, we’ll go over some crucial tips to think through when you are looking for a lot on a lake and the best time to contact a custom builder. Then we’ll cover some of the lakes in Columbia, SC that are very popular for lake homes.

And in our latest news, we are building customizable homes with some of our own lake home floor plan designs in WhiteWater Landing on Lake Murray in Chapin, SC beginning in fall of 2023.

A misty South Carolina lake with pine trees and leafless hardwood trees in winter.

A view of a misty SC lake with an undeveloped, wooded shoreline in winter.

Here are our 6 tips to find the perfect lake lot in Columbia, SC

Finding the perfect lake lot is similar to finding any great lot to build a custom home, but there are some extra issues to think through.

Here are some steps we recommend to people who want to build a luxury home on the lake…

1. Check out online listings for SC lake lots.

This will be a great starting point to see what kinds of waterfront lots are available and to gauge pricing. Search around on Zillow,, and Trulia and get to know the general area. 

2. Narrow down which lake and area best fits your needs.

Think about whether you want to be in a rural area or near a city and amenities. 

Nail down your priorities and preferences relating to general areas and your expectations.

  • Property taxes
  • School district
  • Vicinity to work/shopping/recreation

3. Get pre-qualified for a loan.

This way, you can act quickly when you fall in love with a lot and won’t have to worry about losing it to another buyer. Having all of your financial ducks in a row is extremely important when you are dealing with a strong seller’s market and properties are gone within a few hours to days of listing.

4. Work with a realtor specializing in lakefront properties in the area.

It’s always wise to use real estate agents who know lakefront land and all the issues that might arise with building a luxury home on the lake. They can help you avoid a lot of pitfalls.

5. Try to be patient. 

It can take some time to find just the right lot on the lake. Yes, this can be frustrating. But you don’t necessarily want the first lot you see. And not every lot you love will work out. But your lot is out there and you will find it as you take the long view on the process.

6. Research the properties you find in person.

Ideally, you won’t just look at a lot online. If possible, visit in person and be sure to consider important factors such as:

  • Lot size
  • Lot location
  • Slope and topography of the lot
  • Lake access and shoreline
  • Lake view
  • Price
  • Zoning and building regulations and restrictions
  • Utilities and infrastructure needs

Modern Craftsman With Green Batten Board Shutters on Lake Carolina in SC

A Modern Craftsman house on the water in Lake Carolina by Blythe Building Company.

Secure a luxury home builder with lots of lakefront building experience

Once you snag the perfect lake lot, you’re ready to talk with a custom home builder. The builder can help you choose the best custom home plan for the lot and assist with the right home orientation.

Some custom builders can also help you with finding your lot. If you are looking in the Columbia, SC area, check with us and ask for Sarah Bennett. She’s on our team and is one of the top realtors in the area, to boot.

In exciting news (July 2023) we will be building on 12 lots on Lake Murray in Chapin, SC. Check out the neighborhood, Whitewater Landing.

Many custom home builders have customizable home plans that are perfect for living on the water. At Blythe Building Company, we have many floor plans that provide the best outdoor living amenities and rear views to maximize your lake view. You can adjust our plans to fit your needs and desires to make it completely your own.

Sunset at Monticello Lake near Columbia, SC with large rocks along the shoreline.

Monticello reservoir in South Carolina at sunset.

5 of the most popular lakes in Columbia, SC for building a lake house

Lake property for sale in Columbia, SC is in high demand. Inventory is low. So it’s important to really do your research and know what you want if you want to find land on a lake to build a house on the water in this area.

Here are some of the best and biggest lakes in Columbia, SC that you could build a lake home on…

Forest Lake

Nestled in the heart of Forest Acres near downtown Columbia, SC, this lake is not the biggest in town. But it is beautiful. It is a recreation area and has parks for swimming and picnics, as well as well-appointed lake homes along the shores. 

This is one of Columbia’s top-rated neighborhoods and boasts an exclusive country club/golf club on the water called Forest Lake Club featuring a swimming pool, restaurant, tennis courts, and golf course.

Living Area With Vaulted Ceiling And Wall Of Windows And Kitchen In Background

A luxury home indoor/outdoor living space on Lake Carolina in South Carolina.

Lake Carolina

Lake Carolina in Columbia, SC is a gorgeous lake with many upscale neighborhoods surrounding it. Residents have access to the lake and also a neighborhood pool, clubhouse, and playground.

Lake Katherine

Part of Forest Acres, Lake Katherine is the largest in-town lake. This is a prestigious, established neighborhood with many two-story, high-end homes near downtown Columbia, SC. Originally, in the early 1900s, this was an area full of weekend cottages. 

Now, the homes are large and spacious. The area is close to the University of South Carolina, Five Points, several major hospitals, and the nightlife in the Vista

Lake Monticello

Located in Jenkinsville, SC, about 35 minutes from downtown Columbia, this man-made reservoir is a beautiful place to build a home in a peaceful environment. It covers around 7,000 acres with 51 miles of shoreline and was created to be a great place for fishing, swimming, and boating.

Drone view of Lake Murray near Columbia, SC at sunset.

Aerial view of Lake Murray, South Carolina at sunset.

Lake Murray 

Lake Murray, South Carolina is one of the largest lakes in the state and is the largest lake near Columbia, SC. It has about 650 miles of shoreline and there are many towns along Lake Murray to consider building a new home in. Lexington, Chapin, Prosperity, and other areas around the lake are extremely popular places for new construction homes on the water.

Land on Lake Murray is in high demand and wide water views sell for a premium price. 

Rear Exterior View Of Screened Porch And Deck With Waterproof Patio Below

Rear view of custom lake home on Lake Carolina with two-story outdoor living space.

Ready to find a great South Carolina lake home builder in the Columbia, SC area?

At Blythe Building Company, we have experience building luxury homes all over the greater Columbia, SC area and on many area lakes and ponds.

Whether you’d like to build on Lake Carolina, Lake Katherine, Lake Murray, Forest Lake, or another lake in town, we’d love to help you build your dream home once you have your lot.

Take a look at our portfolio to see examples of our work.

And be sure to take a look at the beautiful deepwater lakefront lot options in Whitewater Landing on Lake Murray in Chapin, SC.

Please contact us today.

We build in areas all over Columbia like Lexington, Chapin, West Columbia, downtown, and more.


Our Luxury Home Plans for Whitewater Landing in Chapin, SC (on Lake Murray)

The Best Lake Home Floor Plan: 7 Key Elements to Include

Lake Houses: 9 Incredible Benefits of a Lake View

Lake Murray: One of the Best Lakes to Live on in South Carolina