Richard Benedetto

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Richard Benedetto
Richard Benedetto
Real Estate Advantage
Jamestown, NY 14701

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Frequently Asked Questions

Over the years I have been asked many of the same questions by buyers of Chautauqua Lake & County Real Estate. This page is an attempt to answer many of the most common questions. E-mail us anytime and I will answer any specific questions you have. 

What is lake access, deeded lake rights, lake rights etc?

As you investigate the purchase of a home on or around Lake Chautauqua you will come across the terms: 

Lake Front: Self explanatory and the most valuable of all lake related properties. 

Canal Front: Homes located on the canals around the lake. 
Example: Vukote, Keller Road, Mill Road, Shore Acres. Affordable water properties generally under $125k. Almost without exception you can dock your boat outside your door. 

Lake Access: An overused marketing term. Anybody from anywhere in the world has "lake access" to any public lake. In Chautauqua terms you are in an area with a cut thru that allows possible pick up and drop off but, no dock slip. Very little value added to the Real Estate. 

Deed Lake Rights: Generally means you have in your deed access to an area of the lake that allows you to have a boat slip and possibly a shared or private dock. DLR's are thru neighborhood groups or associations. Sunset Bay on Rte: 430 and Sunrise Cove on Rte 394 are examples of Deeded Lake rights communities. A yearly fee maybe involved. There is value added to a home with deeded lake rights. 

Lake Rights: Is interchangeable at times with deeded lake rights. It is best to investigate and possibly put a contingency in the contract for sale asking for a complete understanding of the meaning. Many old homeowners have been surprised to find they have no lake rights they just got along well with the neighbors over the years and developed a camaraderie that allowed a dock, boat slip etc. Only to find when they went to sell the home there was no legal conveyance of that enjoyment. Which affected value. 

What is the average sale price of a Chautauqua Lakefront Home?


  • (2012) From 1/1/2012-1/1/2013 there were:

43 Chautauqua Lakefront sales. The following averages do not take into account lakerights, condos/townhomes, canalfronts or land. The figures reflect single family homes with lakefrontage only. The average LF home sale in 2012 had 85 linear ft of waterfrontage.


Adjusted Price List Price Closing Price Bedrooms Full Baths Acres Est Sq Ft DOM
$385,811 $385,811 $347,325 3.0 2.0 0.9 1,971 127

From 1/1/2006-1/1/2007 there were: 

48 Chautauqua Lakefront sales. The following averages do not take into account lakerights, condos/townhomes, canalfronts or land or community owned lakefrontage. The figures reflect single family homes with lakefrontage only. The average LF home sale in 06 had 68 linear ft of waterfrontage. 

AVERAGES: Adjusted Price List Price Closing Price Bedrooms Full Baths Half Baths Est Sq Ft DOM 
$367,859 $367,859 $337,801 3.0 1.0 0.0 1,724 140 

COMBINEDAVERAGES: Adjusted Price List Price Closing Price Bedrooms Full Baths Half Baths Est Sq Ft DOM 
$367,859 $367,859 $337,801 3.0 1.0 0.0 1,724 140 

From 1/1/2005-1/1/2006 there were: 

55 Chautauqua Lakefront sales. The following averages do not take into account lakerights, condos/townhomes, canalfronts or land or community owned lakefrontage. The figures reflect single family homes with lakefrontage only. The average LF home sale in 05 had 87 linear ft of waterfrontage. 

AVERAGES: Adjusted Price List Price Closing Price Bedrooms Full Baths Half Baths Est Sq Ft DOM 
$443,592 $443,592 $405,415 3.0 1.0 0.0 1,763 101 

From 1/1/2004-1/1/2005 there were: 

50 Chautauqua Lakefront sales. The following averages do not take into account lakerights, condos/townhomes, canalfronts or land. The figures reflect single family homes with lakefrontage only. The average LF home sale in 04 had 79.66 linear ft of waterfrontage. 

AVERAGES: Adjusted Price List Price Closing Price Bedrooms Full Baths Half Baths Est Sq Ft DOM 
$378,963 $378,963 $347,743 3.0 1.0 0.0 1,778 114 

DOM refers to Days on Market. This is from the time a home is listed till it closes. A home can get an accepted offer day one on the market and take 5 months to close because of complications with financing, title etc. The average closing time for an accepted offer is 60 days 

A home can get an accepted offer day one on the market and take 4 months to close because of complications with financing, title etc. 

The average closing time for an accepted offer is 60 days. 

If you would like a more detailed breakdown that would include all sales associated with the lake not just lakefronts contact me. 
I can also provide you with info on Findley, Cassadaga, Erie & Bear Lake. 

Is purchasing a lake home a good investment? 

Yes, They don't make it anymore. No one is digging a hole and filling it with water. We are within 2-4 hours from 5 major metropolitan areas. Land on the lake is getting developed or being purchased for conservation which drives what is left up in value. It goes up gradually with an occasional spike so, over a 3-5 year look back your investment in fun will pay off. Plus, you have demographics on your side baby boomers are buying and we'll continue to do so for many, many years to come. 

Are there better locations than others? 

There are NO bad areas. As with any real estate market there are more desirable areas than others. The whole lake is nice and each community has something to offer. As I help you guided by your preferences I will explain the pluses and minuses of each location your interested in. 

What is the minimum amount I can purchase a 2nd home for? 

Waterfront on the lake at the southern tip 140-200k are minimum but can be done. A 75k seasonal cottage with 25ft sold in Lakewood in 2004 that was the end of an era. Off the lake with lake rights 85K would be about the minimum. Keep in mind this is not a science what I'm saying is purely a guideline. You should really expect to pay at least 200K+ for a modest lakefront on a small lot. 

Are there any waterfront lots available? 

Yes, they are becoming very rare and very expensive you can anticipate paying minimum 175k for a lakefront lot. 
In 2004 The average linear foot $ amount for Chautauqua lake frontage without a home was $2,197. There were 6 recorded lakefront lot sales in 2004 in the Chautauqua Multiple Listing Service. 
With a home included the linear foot $ amount is $4,365.00. 

How much of a down payment do I need? 

5% is the minimum. 

Do I need an attorney to close? 

Yes, we can provide a list of Reasonably priced Real Estate Attorneys. 

Who owns these homes and where do they come from? 

People from all walks of commerce. Our clientele are entrepreneurs, business executives, professionals at law, medicine, education and a smattering of affluent retired folks. 
They come from Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Erie & Cincinnati and Columbus. The dominate clientele is Cleveland. It is 2-2.5 hours away by the time your tired of driving your here, so Chautauqua Lakes makes for a great weekend getaway. 

Why is a seller selling? 

Sellers sell for primarily two reasons 1) They move up to a larger vacation home. 2) The most common reason is they never use it anymore or their preferred location to vacation changes. 

Is there a better time of year to purchase than others? 

Not really, prices do not fluctuate season to season. Inventory can take a traditional spike in the spring, summer and fall. The winter you tend to face less competition for a listing and if you like a place in the winter you'll love it in the summer. 

Can I rent out my Chautauqua home, how much will I get? 

Yes, rentals are a large part of the lake economy. I offer property management for summer lake rentals please vist my website for more information. Rental amounts are determined by locatiion, size and number of people you can sleep. You can anticipate in season to get $1000-$2,500 + per week for a Lakefront with dock. The average is $1,500.00. Off seson rentals are spottier but, a steadily growing market. 
Weekly rentals are prohibited in R-1 districts in the town of Ellery. 4 to 5 areas in the town of Ellery do allow weekly rentals with a permit. 
If you want to rent your property we will be happy to help you once we have a specific property to talk about. 
Rental service charges are available upon request. 

How far is to Holiday Valley, Peak N Peak and Cockaigne? 

40 minutes to the Peak and 45 minutes to Holiday Valley from the Rte. 394/86 interchange. Cockaigne is about 15-30 minutes from Chautauqua Lake. 
Which makes a home on Chautauqua Lake ideal for year round enjoyment. 

What about weeds? 

Weeds are being addressed on many fronts by private and government agencies. It is an in-depth subject with many view points. Our experience as Realtors over the past 12 years of being associated with the lake is that there are many good people working hard to address the weeds and other quality of life issues that affect the lake and local economy. The subject is much to broad to cover on this page. Please refer to , 
Also the local newspaper has archived articles on the subject. 
I will say that the economic impact Chautauqua Lake has on the local economy is enormous and getting bigger. The tourist dollars and real estate taxes generated are in the millions upon millions of dollars. It serves everybody to have the lake as healthy a recreational area as possible. 

How is the Fishing? 

Great! Chautauqua Lake is known for being one of the finest fishing lakes for certain species in the Northeast and country. 
Please click on Community Info/Links and scroll down to Fishing for complete info. 

How is the Golfing? 

We were voted by Golf Digest: The Best Little Golf Town in America ! 
It is said that you can play 30 days straight within a 1 hour radius of Jamestown and never repeat the same course. Please click on the Community Info/Links and scroll to Golf for more info. 
Also check out for more info on courses and round fees. 

Are the roads around the lake plowed in the winter? 

The public roads are very well maintained in the winter. The towns and state are prepared for snow they have had centuries to perfect their skills. Private roads are a case by case basis. Most are plowed by a resident or a formal or informal association of neighbors. If you want a driveway plowed there are countless people who will do that for you for a very reasonable fee. Ask me for referrals. 

Can I hire people to maintain my home? 

Yes! Anything you want done there are numerous competent people to do it for you. 

How is the crime around the lake? 

There is none. Other than an occasional drug bust, D or BWI it is a very safe quiet area. 

How many marinas are there? 

Approx: 9 that do sales, repairs & dockage. Smith Boys and Holiday Harbor are the biggest. Long Point State Park is # 9 but, it just sells gas, supplies and boat slips. Please click on Community Info/links and scroll down to Marinas & Boating for more detailed information. 

What does dock space cost at a marina? 

You can expect to pay around $20.00 per foot. Additional services such as winterizing, cleaning, winter storage, shrink wrap are all extras and generally priced on the length/size of the boat. 

Are there public boat ramps? 

Yes. Almost every town has one or more public boat ramps. 

Is there winter storage available for my boat? 

Yes. The marinas can handle your boat bow to stern. There are also building and barn owners who store boats for the winter. Costs are generally determined by length of boat and services desired. We dock at Ashville Bay Marina. We do nothing with our boat except get on it in May and off it in September/October. They take very good care of us for a reasonable cost. Before the Marina we stored the boat in an Amish barn for $150.00 for 6 months then he decided to turn it into a sawmill. (That was a sweet deal we still cry about it). 

If I want to add on or renovate do I have to get a building permit? 

Outside yes, Inside maybe most likley no. Your contractor can give you an informed opinion. 

How big a boat can I put on the lake? 

I would guess most boats on the lake are between 20-25ft. Pontoon boats are very popular. 

When can I put my dock in? 

As soon as the ice melts, you can also hire it to be done. 

When do I have to take it out? 

General understanding is by November 1st. 

What do you do around here for fun? 

Please click on the "Community Info/Links" button on our home page and everything you want to do is on it. 

What is the Chautauqua Institution? 

A fantastic place to spend a day, a week, a month or the 9-week summer season, also a good place to invest in Real Estate. 
Please click on the "Community Info/Links button on our home page and scroll down to Chautauqua Institution for a complete guide. 
The Chautauqua Institution is a not-for-profit, 750-acre educational center beside Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York State, where approximately 7,500 persons are in residence on any day during a nine-week season, and a total of over 142,000 attend scheduled public events. Over 8,000 students enroll annually in the Chautauqua Summer Schools, which offer courses in art, music, dance, theater, writing skills and a wide variety of special interests. 
The Institution, originally the Chautauqua Lake Sunday School Assembly, was founded in 1874 as an educational experiment in out-of-school, vacation learning. It was successful and broadened almost immediately beyond courses for Sunday school teachers to include academic subjects, music, art and physical education. 
While founders Lewis Miller and John Heyl Vincent were Methodists, other Protestant denominations participated from the first year onward, and today Chautauqua continues to be ecumenical in spirit and practice. Chautauqua's Department of Religion presents distinguished religious leaders of many faiths from this country and abroad, both as preachers and teachers. 
The oldest continuous book club in America, the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle (CLSC), has enrolled at least a half-million readers and at one time sponsored 10,000 reading circles throughout the country. The CLSC introduced learning by correspondence even before the School of Theology and Chautauqua University developed such courses. Its book selections are offered today with continuing education emphases. Chautauqua University functioned for approximately 12 years until other universities began offering summer courses. New York University conducted summer courses at Chautauqua for approximately 30 years, ending in the early 1950s, followed by Syracuse University and SUNY College at Fredonia. Now a wide variety of special studies attract vacationing Chautauquans. 
By 1880 the Chautauqua platform had established itself as a national forum for open discussion of public issues, international relations, literature and science. Approximately 100 lecturers appear at Chautauqua during a season. 
Music became increasingly important at Chautauqua, especially after the turn of the century. A symphony orchestra season became part of the regular program in 1920. The Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1929, now performs thrice weekly with leading soloists in the 5,000-seat Amphitheater, Chautauqua's program center. Popular entertainers perform other evenings. The Chautauqua Ballet Company also appears in the Amphitheater, sometimes with guest artists, while the Chautauqua Conservatory Theater presents its season in Bratton Theater. The Chautauqua Opera Company, also founded in 1929, performs in English in Norton Hall. 
Chautauqua plays a unique educational role today, offering studies on a vacation level, a more serious level and a professional level. In addition, there are enhanced learning opportunities within Chautauqua's other programming. Music, the arts, religion, recreation and the pursuit of knowledge are all available. Younger and older students often share learning experiences in an open, congenial atmosphere. Children and young people are also provided with their own special programs. 
The Chautauqua Institution is governed by a 24-member board of trustees, four of whom are elected by property owners. The board establishes the policies and direction of the Institution, electing the officers who are responsible for the operation of the Institution. Smith Memorial Library and the Chautauqua Institution Archives are open year round. Between-season conferences are held at Bellinger Hall, the Athenaeum Hotel and other facilities on the grounds. 

Is Bemus Point the middle of the lake? 

I don't know if it is the geographic middle. But, it is the activity and fun middle. All boats and all roads around Chautauqua Lake eventually lead to Bemus Point. 

What is the floating stage? 

The Italian Fisherman Restaurant in Bemus Point has a large stage that floats. From Memorial day thru Labor Day they host weekly concerts of all types that can be viewed from land or boat. 

Is the Casino really a gambling casino? 

No. It is a restaurant in Bemus Point that can be accessed from land or boat. If you do want to gamble the Seneca Nation Casino is right off Rte 86 about 30 minutes from Bemus Point. 

Are there public docks in Bemus, Mayville? 

Yes, in Bemus Point they are located to the north or left of the Casino viewing the Casino from the lake. In Mayville they are outside the Watermark restaurant. Lakewood does not have public docks. 

Can you swim in the lake? 

Yes you can swim in the lake. There are a number of good places to anchor your boat and go swimming around the lake where the water is 3-4 feet deep so you can relax and the kids can have fun. You'll hear some of these places referred to as "Sandy Bottom" the name implies what they are. 

Can I ride my snowmobile on the roads? 

If you see a green sign with a white snowmobile on it you can ride. There are hundreds of miles of roads and trails. It is estimated that Chautauqua County generates 19-20 million $'s per season in snowmobiling and that figure is growing. Please go to our Community info/link and scroll down to Snowmobiles for more information on trails, clubs etc. 

Do you get a lot of snow? 

Yes, Yes we do. Chautauqua County has had a number of years in the past 10 years that have been mild winters but, 2002 & 2003/04 we received a lot of snow. Great for snowmobiling, skiing, Ice fishing, cross country skiing. 
If you enjoy plowing and shoveling snow you would have been in seventh heaven. 

Do you have an airport? 

Chautauqua County Airport a tower controlled airport capable of handling a small jet is located in the town of Ellicott off West Oak Hill Road. It is serviced daily by a commuter line. 
Dart airport in Dewittville outside of Mayville is a grass strip for recreational pilots. 

What is the Summer Wind? 

A dinner/lunch/special occasion charter cruise that does multiple daily tours of the lake. We have been on it a number of times, good food, spirits and music. 

How big is Chautauqua Lake? 

The mean elevation is 1,308 feet and the lake has an area of about 20 square miles. The distance from Celoron to Mayville is 14.7 miles. From the boat landing at Jamestown through the Chadakoin River (known locally as the outlet) to Mayville is 17.7 miles. The width varies from about 1000 feet at the Bemus Point-Stow ferry to two miles wide at three places. The upper, northern end of the lake is the deepest section from 20 up to 75 feet in the Long Point- Maple Springs area. The lower lake runs from 30 feet deep near Bemus Point to less than 10 feet near Celoron. The lake has approximately 45 miles of shoreline. 
If 10ft doesn't seem like much. I said that to an old timer years ago, and his reply was, "its over my head". 

What does the name Chautauqua mean? 

It is a Seneca Indian name. From above, the lake does resemble a long bag tied in the middle, and that is now the favored translation of Chautauqua. See our homepage for more information on " The History of Chautauqua". 

What about Bear, Cassadaga, Erie & Findley Lake? 

Very nice lakes which we service. Bear, Cassadaga & Findley are considerably smaller. They are about the size of a bay on Chautauqua Lake. Erie is and inland ocean and has a lot of cliffs on the NY side. Docks are impossible to put out and the roughness of the water makes small boat usage difficult. Homes on all those lakes on average are less expensive than Chautauqua they also don't have the market or appreciation Chautauqua Lake has. ALL the homes sell though. Findley has seen some good appreciation over the past few years driven primarily from its proximity to Peak N Peak. Contact me anytime about any lake in the county.

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