Owning waterfront property is a dream for many. You get to enjoy the best views and activities like fishing, swimming, and water sports whenever you want. However, waterfront properties have their own set of specificities that owners should be aware of before they invest. Here are 4 things you should know about waterfront property.
Know That Location Means More Than “By the Water”
You want to work with a real estate agent who is familiar with waterfront properties in your area. For example, you don’t want to buy a cheaper property only to realize later that the oyster beds prevent you from getting boats in and out. Or they prioritize being “on the water” but don’t consider the swimming conditions.
How hard is it to get to the water from that particular property? If you want to go deep sea fishing, the fact that the house is close to a sandy beach doesn’t matter relative to how long it takes to get a boat out. And how private is it? You may not want a home where there’s a constant stream of boaters and swimmers in front of your home or competing for the same waterfront that you intend to use.
Consider the Entire Property
Yes, you’re trying to buy waterfront property. However, too many people fall in love with the view or the waterfront itself without caring much about the property. Don’t buy a waterfront home if you hate the house. Nor can you assume you can build a boathouse, pier or dock, since many municipalities limit what you could add onto the property.
Don’t assume you could add a second story to the property to better appreciate those views; you may not be allowed to build beyond a certain height or closer to the water line. Instead, find a property that suits your lifestyle. Agencies like the AD Hays Group have access to a much deeper selection of properties than what you could find yourself; work with a waterfront specialist to find the home that is right for you.
Another issue is whether or not the property can withstand the elements. You may want to upgrade the property in order to protect your investment. Also find out if you’re required to maintain the bulkhead or barrier wall. You may be obligated to pay personally for maintaining the bulkhead and have to stay within very strict guidelines if you want to alter it or build around it.
Take Other Bills into Account
While many people understand that buying a new home requires buying homeowners insurance, waterfront property owners may be required to buy additional types of insurance. For example, those who own homes on the waterfront in Florida have to buy a wind policy, a flood policy and a general hazard policy.
Flood insurance is a common requirement for waterfront homes. Another possible annual bill would be homeowners’ association dues. If the property is in a rural area, you may have to pay to bring services like electricity, clean water, cable or internet to a property. When you’re researching waterfront properties, it is important to ask what services the property already has and what you may need to maintain such as a septic system.
Waterfront properties may let you enjoy sunsets over the lake or the beach at any time of day but realize that you need to do your due diligence and learn as much as possible so that you can find the right property for you.