For many, owning a home on the water is a lifetime goal. Having a home on the water is a status symbol in our culture, and is a luxurious feature that many homeowners dream of. When purchasing a waterfront home for the first time, there are a few things you should ask and/or consider before diving in (no pun intended!) Waterfront living is a lifestyle, and it’s important that you go into it with as much knowledge and preparation as possible.
Work with a realtor who knows about this specific type of property
if your Realtor only sells NYC condos or farmhouses, they may not know the things to look for when showing you waterfront property. A knowledgeable and experienced agent who has sold waterfront property before will be able to notice red flags, ask the right questions, and be able to give you an honest opinion about the location of the home.
Make sure it fits your lifestyle
if you are looking specifically for waterfront property; it is probably because you have a love for the water. Whether it is swimming, fishing, boating or enjoying amazing views, make sure the location of the property fits your lifestyle. If love deep-sea fishing, and you find a house that you love, but it’s 30 minutes from the ocean, you may want to keep looking. Not every property that is on the water will fit your particular needs and lifestyle.
How’s the weather?
waterfront homes take more of the brunt when it comes to weather damage. Their proximity to a large body of water alone makes them prone to higher wind gusts and water damage. Make sure you ask about storm shutters and stainless steel locks that won’t corrode from the salty air.
Location, Location, Location
Not all waterfront properties are the same. Being on a lake is different than being on the ocean or the bay, and both have pros and cons. If you want luxury on the bay, you may check out Star Island homes for sale in Miami, but if you want a peaceful lake home, you may want to explore areas like Lake Tahoe.
Make sure you can make changes
if you love the house and plan on putting in a dock, make sure the changes you plan to make are feasible before you sign on the dotted line. Never assume that you can build, add, or demolish a certain aspect of a waterfront property before buying it. Some government agencies can be really strict when it comes to waterfront homes, and it would be a shame to spend money on a property and not be able to customize it just the way you want
Get friendly with the locals
talk to surrounding neighbors and ask their opinions about the location of the property. Ask them about what they think about the community, if they have issues during storms, or if they’ve ever noticed any structural problems with the house you’re interested in
Insurance can be a pain
But when is it not? Some owners of waterfront properties are required to have wind insurance, a general hazard policy, AND a flood policy. Make sure you look into this at the beginning of the buying process so there are no surprises when you’re ready to buy. Although nobody likes to think about hurricanes, it is a reality when buying a waterfront property. Hurricanes can cause major damage, so it is vital that you cover all of your bases and have whatever policies you need to make sure you’re not left uninsured in the case of severe weather damage.
Ask what is expected of you
you may have certain roles and responsibilities when it comes to the upkeep of your waterfront home if you’re part of an HOA. Make sure you review restrictions, guidelines, and covenants that come with owning this unique type of property before you make any serious commitments.
What exactly are you signing up for?-
when you are looking at properties, confirm with your realtor that the property actually extends to the water. Sometimes, a property will have a buffer around the perimeter, separating it from the water. If this is a deal breaker for you, make sure you confirm that everything from the front door to the water is yours. Also check into who, if anyone, has access to the water’s edge other than you, and what docks or roads lead to the water behind your home. If you’re dreaming of completely private water access from your backyard, make that clear when discussing options with your realtor. Ask whether the property is considered community waterfront or private waterfront.
When you’re ready to take the plunge and splurge on gorgeous waterfront property, knowing these few simple guidelines can help you make an informed decision. With careful planning, some research and an expert realtor to help along the way, you can settle into your luxurious new waterfront property with ease.