From choosing the ideal location to the perfect layout, finding a home can be a challenging process. When looking for a home on the water, your considerations become even more complicated. Whether you dream of a house on the lake or an apartment overlooking the ocean, we’ve compiled a list of must-know tips when buying a waterfront home.
Choose a Body of Water that Meets Your Needs
How you plan to use the water is one of the most important considerations to make. If you have dreams of riding your jetski’s with friends on the weekend, the body of water you choose must be skiable. Similarly, if you have a boat, it’s crucial that you find out the water’s depth and whether it’s suitable.
Avid anglers should find out what species of fish inhabit the water, and whether a fishing permit is required. More importantly, are there any dangerous animals in the water, such as jellyfish or alligators, that you need to be aware of? This is especially important if you plan to swim in the water.
Make the Property a Priority
Waterfront property is often sold at a premium — but not all homes on the water are equally desirable. Even the most beautiful house won’t suffice if it doesn’t provide the view you want or you have difficulty accessing the water. Put simply, buildings can be renovated, but you can’t alter a body of water. Determining your biggest priorities before you start your home search can help you shortlist potential properties and save time.
Find Out Local Permitting Regulations and Restrictions
If you’d like to change the property, it’s essential that you research local ordinances and restrictions to determine if your plans are possible. For example, just because neighboring properties have a dock doesn’t mean you can safely assume that local permitting will also allow you to build one. Government agencies can change restrictions over time, and existing structures are often grandfathered in. Be sure to find out about your options before you commit to an offer.
Consider the Structure of Your Waterfront Home
Waterfront homes tend to be more impacted by weather and the elements than other homes. For instance, wood-frame properties may not fare as well as block construction, as they’re less resistant to moisture. In addition, homes on the coast in more hurricane-prone areas may benefit from storm shutters or a protective sea wall.
Research Your Insurance Needs
Many waterfront homes require flood insurance — especially if you’re financing your purchase. Flood insurance is vital because it helps to cover repairs of any damages caused by flooding. The cost of flood insurance depends on how high the risk for potential flooding. It’s important to note that in some instances, the insurance premiums may be cost-prohibitive to your budget.
Understand the Maintenance Requirements of a Waterfront Home
When purchasing a home on the water, it’s crucial that you understand your maintenance responsibilities. For example, maintaining the frontage of waterfront property is vital to avoid water intrusion. If your home is located in an area that experiences extreme weather like hurricanes, effort should be made to maintain the roof correctly.
Purchasing a waterfront home presents unique challenges. Working with a real estate agent who has experience with waterfront property can make the sales process much easier. This is especially true if you’re planning to sell your home on the water and want to receive the best sales price possible.