Betsy Spiker HolcombBetsy@deepcreeksales.com301-616-5022



Understanding the following terms can help you in your Deep Creek Lake real estate search. 

APPRAISER – An independent person trained and certified by their respective state to provide an unbiased estimate of property value. If a loan is involved in the transaction, the appraiser is selected by the lender’s underwriting department and not by the mortgage loan officer, Realtor or purchaser.


ASSIGNED SLIP – A term used to indicate that the residential unit or lot has the exclusive use of a specific boat slip issued to the Council of Unit Owners or Homeowners Association.


BOUNDARY SURVEY – A survey which entails the exact marking of each and every corner of the property boundaries.  It is a comprehensive and typically the most expensive type of survey .


BROOKFIELD RENEWABLE ENERGY – The corporate successor to Penelec, GPU, and Reliant Energy.  The power station and the dam of Deep Creek Lake are the property and responsibility of Brookfield Energy.  This firm manages the Rule Band for water levels at Deep Creek Lake.  See Ruleband below and


BUFFER STRIP – Land owned by the State of Maryland between the water’s surface and the private property boundaries of adjacent landowners to an elevation of approximately 2466’ in most locations.  Said buffer strip is designed to provide an access area between the actual water surface and private property adequately sized to permit the general public to walk or fish around the entire perimeter of Deep Creek Lake.


BUFFER STRIP USE PERMIT – A permit issued and then renewed annually by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Deep Creek Lake Management Office, that authorizes the placement of a floating dock in front of private land and upon the State of Maryland’s Buffer Strip.  The number of boat slips permitted may vary.  The permit is issued to the landowner and terminates annually or with the sale of the real estate.  A new permit must be applied for upon acquisition of the property.


BUILDING ENVELOPE – The area on a given lot or property within which all improvements or construction must be located.  The building envelope excludes the required setbacks


BUYDOWN AREA    Land being offered (or sold)by the State of Maryland, Dept. of General Services, to adjacent property owners that is part of the defined “buffer strip” above.  Said “buydown” area is subject to a special Conservation Easement which does not permit permanent structures or general brush and tree cutting.  When purchased, it is private property and not available for use by the general public.


CHATTEL – Personal property. Does not fit the definition of real estate because it is movable, like furniture.  Something not permanently attached.


COMMON AREA – The areas within a subdivision for the use and enjoyment of all property owners, primarily for private roads, green space areas or recreational purposes.  These areas are specifically designated on a survey plat or described in the Homeowners Association or Condominium documents.


COMMON DOCKS – A grouping of more than one boat slip for more than one property owner at a particular location.  Common boat docks are usually managed and maintained by a Homeowners or Condo Association; however, some common or group boat docks have less formal arrangements.  Specifics regarding use, rules, and regulations for use at a common dock should be obtained for review prior to purchase.


CONDOMINIUM OWNERSHIP – Te absolute ownership of a unit in a multi-unit building or buildings based on a legal description of the airspace the unit actually occupies, p0lus an undivided interest in the ownership of the common elements, which are owned jointly with the other condominium unit owners.


CONSERVATION EASEMENT – An easement restricting and limiting the use of “buydown” property purchased from the State of Maryland.  Uses restricted or prohibited on this buydown land by virtue of the conservation easement include:

            No permanent structures or decks.  No dumping or storage of materials,   No trees or brush cutting without permission.

            A Special permit is required from Dept. of Natural Resources for non-permanent structures and/or any other change to the area subject to the Conservation Easement.


DEEP CREEK LAKE POLICY AND REVIEW BOARD --  A panel of 10 members, 5 of whom are appointed by the Governor of the State of Maryland, the remainder representing the following :

State Senator from District 1, State Delegate from District 1A, a Garrett County Commissioner, a representative from the Deep Creek Property Owners Association, and a representative of the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce.


DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES (DNR) – Deep Creek Management Office– Regulates and enforces the recreational usage, maintenance and/or alteration of the lake and buffer strip by virtue of the Deep Creek Lake Regulations.  Their personnel can answer questions and issue permits for activities on the buffer strip as well as upon the water’s surface.  Copies of regulations are available from their office, which is located at Deep Creek Lake State Park Headquarters Building, 30l-387-4lll.  Mailing address:  898 State Park Road,  Swanton, Maryland 2l56l.  Lake Manager – Eric Null


DEVELOPMENT PERMIT – A permit issued by DNR and secured by the developer of real estate to provide for the orderly issuance of private buffer strip use permits to future owners of the developed real estate as well as common area and multi-slips serving lake access real estate.  Developers must first comply with the requirements of the Deep Creek Lake Zoning Ordinance for properties adjoining public recreation lands.


DISCOVERY CENTER –  A lakeside public facility housing nature-and-history-oriented exhibits and open to the public 363 days per year.  For a schedule of special events and activities, call 301-387-7067 or 301-387-7314.


DOCK PERMIT – See Buffer Strip Use Permit (It’s the same.)


EGRESS – The Building Code in Garrett County, which was enacted in 1998, requires that all bedrooms have at least one window or door with a minimum of 5.7 sq. ft. of egreee area. This requirement is based upon public fire safety requirements.


ESCROW DEPOSIT – A/K/A Earnest Money Deposit – The monetary deposit given by the purchaser at the time of contract or offer on real estate that will be held in a separate account by either a real estate firm or attorney, and not commingled with other funds.


FEE SIMPLE OWNERSHIP – The highest interest in real estate recognized by the law; the holder is entitled to all rights to the property


FIXTURE– An item of personal property that has been converted to real property by being permanently affixed to the real estate.  For instance, light fixtures and towel bars.


HOA – HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION – An organization of property owners charged with  the responsibility of maintaining the common areas in the subdivision, promulgating the rules and regulations for same, and collecting fees on an equitable basis.  Any property with a mandatory annual fee is subject to the Maryland Homeowners Association Act; accordingly, the HOA documentation is available for review either prior to purchase or concurrent with purchase


HOME INSPECTION – A Home Inspection, performed by a certified home inspector, is recommended for every purchase of a residential structure.  A list of Home Inspectors is available from the Garrett County Board of Realtors.


HOUSE LOCATION SURVEY – A survey plat that illustrates the location of the property lines and the location of the building improvements, accessory buildings, driveways, wells and other determinable items.  This survey does not mark the corners of the property but shows whether the main improvements are located upon the property.


LAKE ACCESS – Real estate that has deeded rights to use a common access strip to reach the buffer strip area, and in some cases, boat docks.  Lake access landowners are also accorded special privileges on the buffer strip according to the Deep Creek Regulations promulgated by the Maryland DNR


LAKEFRONT – Real estate parcels with a boundary adjacent to State of Maryland waterfront property.  Owners of these parcels are accorded by regulation special uses of the buffer strip that are not available to the general public.  See Buffer Strip Use Permit and Dock Permit.


LEASED SLIP – A lease arrangement negotiated between an individual of the general public and a Marina operator (or other entity with boat slips for lease) for the exclusive use of a boat slip on a weekly, monthly, or annual basis. Leases cannot exceed one year in duration.


MLS – Multi-list system.  The system used by nearly all Realtors in Garrett County is the MRIS system, which……………


PENELEC – Pennsylvania Electric Company – The former proprietary owner of Deep Creek  Lake.  The lake is still used for hydroelectric power production and releases of water occur routinely to provide a regular flow of water to the Youghiogheny River.  The water levels are always reduced from the “normal pool” levels after Labor Day in order to provide for dam safety from freezing during the winter and to allow for the spring runoff which fills the lake again for summer recreation.

Also now see Brookfield Renewable Energy.


PRIVATE SLIP – See Assigned Slip (It’s the same).


RULE BAND – A water appropriation permit issued to Reliant Energy permits the use of water from Deep Creek Lake for a variety of purposes, including hydroelectric power production, whitewater rafting releases, temperature releases for fish habitat, etc.  This permit designates both a maximum water level and a minimum water level for each month of the year, which gives Deep Creek Lake a dependable water depth for use by recreational boaters, adjacent property owners and other interested parties.  For specifics on the current level of the lake, check ___________________


SETBACKS – The amount of space local zoning regulations require between a lot line and a building line (or building location


SHARED SLIP – A term indicating that more than one property owner must share a boat slip that is managed  by a Homeowners Association.  Various methods of sharing exist around Deep Creek Lake and a complete review of the Homeowners documentation will clarify the sharing arrangements.


SINGLE SLIP – A term that indicates the property is entitled to just one boat  slip, to which only one watercraft can be moored or docked.


SITEPLAN – Similar to a house location survey except that it illustrates where proposed improvements (house, garage, garage, etc.) will be located upon a lot.  It is typically required before architectural approvals are granted within a subdivision.


SPECIAL PERMIT – Required prior to modifications on the Buffer Strip and/or placement of temporary buildings.

Examples:     -    Path or walkway from house to boat dock

-       Installation of electricity/lighting along path

-       Storage building near boat dock

-       Small platform decks/patios

-       Shoreline erosion control

-       Tree/brush removal.


SPLIT LAKEFRONT – Lakefront real estate as defined above, but with a public road bisecting the site so that the house is located across the public road from the boat docking area and water.


SPRINKLER SYSTEM – All new residential construction for which permits were issued after 1/1/2016 must have an approved sprinkler system, conforming to the requirements of the Maryland Office of the Fire Marshal.


TITLE COMPANY – A firm specializing in the issuance of title insurance policies, deed preparation and review, and all other services associated with the legal conveyance of property from seller to buyer.  Title insurance is recommended and insures the owner and/or lender against loss by reason of defects in the title to a parcel of real estate.


TREES – No trees may be cut on the Buffer Strip without an inspection and permission, as well as other plantlife.


TVRU – Transient Vacation Rental Unit – A license issued to owners of properties that are rented for periods of less than 90 days to a single renter within the area of the Deep Creek Lake Watershed.  Specific requirements include a parking space for each bedroom, bear-proof trash collection system, maximum occupancy of 2 people per bedroom plus 4 additional people, and a system to monitor and contain noise from ____ to ______.


TYPE A DOCK PERMIT – A Buffer Strip Use Permit that authorizes the mooring of up to two power boats, one personal watercraft and one non-power boat to a single docking facility.  It may be U-shaped, a platform, or other approved design.  It is a special type of Buffer Strip Use Permit.  Please confirm with DNR, Deep Creek Lake Management the specific requirements or restrictions for the property being purchased.


UNDERWRITER – This term is used both in mortgage lending and in insurance.  The underwriter, in both cases, reviews all of the elements of risk associated with either lending money or insuring against calamities to determine whether the property meets the minimum standards established by their company.


ZONING –The Deep Creek Lake Watershed Zoning Ordinance was enacted in 1975.  Any lots or improvements developed or built after that date were regulated by the ordinance.


            Lake Residential is divided into two categories:

            LR1 – Minimum lot area is one acre per single family home

            LR2 – Minimum lot area is two acres per single family home


            Town Residential – Minimum lot area is 10,000 sq. ft. per single family home or 8/acre

            Town Center   --      Minimum lot area is 10,000 sq. ft. per single family home or 9/acre


For additional details and a Table of Uses, please go to, choose Permits&Licenses, then Land Use, then Planning & Land Management, then Deep Creek Lake Watershed Zoning, or  call the zoning office at 301-334-1920.


STATISTICS – Lake surface area ……………………… 3900 acres

                           Approximate Shoreline ………………....     65 miles

                           Maximum depth …………………………     75 feet

                           Approximate length ……………………. .    12 miles

                           Area of Buffer Strip ………………………1400 acres


Area Information

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