Waterfront living creates a dreamy lifestyle. Imagine sitting on your patio with a stellar view of pristine, sparkling waters speckled with colorful sailboats. Your boat lies in wait, an open invitation to cast your line and relax a while, right there in your backyard. You can envision young ones splashing and swimming, sun-bathing, and all the rewards the waterfront lifestyle offers. However, the wrong real estate purchase could lead to that dreamy lifestyle becoming a nightmare. Owning waterfront property isn’t the same as buying traditional inland housing. What you don’t know about waterfront properties can hurt you. Here are a few tips to buying waterfront properties.
Waterfront Property Specialist
First and foremost, research, interview, and select an agent to work with who has experience in both the area in which you’d like to buy and with waterfront properties. Waterfront properties have special requirements, additional needs, more maintenance, and things to watch for that could be problematic. Someone who hasn’t worked in waterfront real estate may have the best intentions but won’t have the insight to protect your interests.
The Land Before the Structure
Falling in love with the charm of a home is easy, exceptionally if that house is well maintained and comes with stellar waterfront views. But if the land supporting the structure isn’t as water-friendly as your dreams of owning waterfront property are, you may find yourself in a pickle. For example, you may imagine walking barefoot on the shoreline at sunset while the dog frolics. However, you may discover that when you reach the shore of property, jagged rocks dominate the beach – or there are critters – or both. Unusable. Walk the entire span of the property. Investigate every single nook and cranny thoroughly to make sure the land you buy is as desirable as the house and the lifestyle you seek.
Building Permits and Restrictions
You may decide you’d like to expand your deck, build a sunroom, or otherwise improve upon your property. However, some areas have strict rules against construction or expansion. Know what your long-term goals are for the property you plan to purchase, and then make sure the laws in the area support those goals.
Water Laws and Quality
Wouldn’t that be something if you bought a beautiful waterfront home that matched your imagination to a tee, only to find out you’re not allowed to put your boat in the water, or that you can’t swim? Those rules and regulations could suffocate all the recreational opportunities you’d envisioned having as a waterfront homeowner. Find out which governing agencies control the water and what rules apply.
You’ll also want to investigate things like water depth and activity. Research the history of the shoreline in the area before purchasing.
Many people seeking waterfront living are boat owners eager to set to the water anytime they please without having to load, haul, and launch a boat from a public access ramp miles away from home. Some waterfront properties come with boat slips whereas others don’t. When you tour a home that has no place to park your boat, ask your real estate agent about local marinas and docking.
Look for Water Damage and Ask for a C.L.U.E. Report
Waterfront properties may require more in maintenance and upkeep than inland houses. You may be able to notice rust on doorknobs or locks or weather damage on the windows. You may even be able to see water damage on floors and ceilings. Examine the property to see how well it’s stood the test of time against the elements. You may also inquire about a C.L.U.E. report which reveals the history of any insurance claims made against the property.
When buying waterfront properties, you’re most likely going to be required to have a flood insurance policy in addition to your standard homeowner’s insurance policy. Standard homeowners insurance may cover a busted pipe in your bathroom, but it won’t cover storm damage or damage caused by inclement weather. When you’re working your home-buying budget, figure the additional flood insurance policy into your monthly expenses.
Talk to the Neighbors
If you have the opportunity, you may benefit from introducing yourself to the neighbors, letting them know you’re considering purchasing the house next door, and asking how they enjoyed living in the community. You may be surprised by what you learn.