10 Things to Know Before Buying Waterfront Land

It’s enthralling to find a lot perfectly situated on the water that could suite your dream home. It’s easy to envision a beautiful home with an expansive deck and endless waterviews. However, there a quite a few steps before that occurs. So USAWaterviews.com composed a list of 10 things to know before buying your waterfront lot:

Lot Size

Each lot has setback policies, dictating how far back the home must be built from the property boundaries. Setback policies can limit your build if the lot has an unusual shape or if you plan to build a certain-sized home. 

Check the zoning prior to purchasing. If the land is zoned residential, then you’re all set. However, if the land is zoned as commercial or industrial and you plan to rezone it, carefully consider this decision. Rezoning can be a lengthy process and in the future, if the area continues to develop, are you going to want to live there? 

Proximity to the Water

Waterlot lots are often more expensive so when building a home, you will need to determine how close you’d like to be to the water. Are you planning on building a dock or build a pool between the water and home? You will carefully need to consider the placement of the structures so that they do not risk being too close to the water.

Don’t forget about potential floods or tides. Depending on the body of water, you will need to consider how high the water might rise and make sure it does not damage your future residence.


When you buy a property with a view, it’s critical to ensure that view cannot be obstructed. There are horror stories of owners/builders not taking the proper precautions and having buildings constructed in front of the home, completely blocking the view and instantly diminishing the property value. Do your research on view ordinances, understand the property boundaries, and speak to your real estate agent.

Proximity to Neighbors

You will need to determine the amount of privacy and distance you’d like from your neighbors. If you’re building in a developed area, it’s quite easy to stand in the middle of the lot and see your neighbors. But it’s more complex if the neighboring lots have not been developed. It’s important to visualize how big a neighboring house could be and how closely they would be located to you. 

Proximity to Town and Emergency Services

Location, location, location! You will want to drive the local routes to reach the grocery store, pharmacy, local restaurants, airport, etc. It’s also important to understand your proximity to emergency services – such as the fire department and local hospitals. 

For individuals with families, a good school district is very valuable. In the occasion that you have to rent or sell the home, this can be a key distinction.

Electrical Grid Access

When you purchase a home, it’s easy to take for granted switching on a light switch. However, when you purchase a lot, electricity is not always setup. If the lot does not have electricity running, you will need to determine the cost to build the infrastructure necessary to bring electric to the land. 

Drinking Water and Sewage

There are primarily two options in regards to tapping into the local water; a municipal supply or a well. If there is a municipal water supply, you can typically contact the city water company and they will walk you through the process, discussing the required permits, cost, schedule, and installation process. Now, often properties that are outside city limits will have to utilize a well. A well driller can determine the best location for the well based on the soil and rock composition. They will proceed to bring out a large drilling truck, strike water, lower a pump, and connect the pump and plumbing fixtures.

While sewage is not a glamorous topic, it’s an important one. Are you planning on installing a septic system or are you able to access the municipal sewage system? If neither are an option, you may have to consider a composting toilet. Either way, there will be associated costs and planning. 

Easements and Zoning Restrictions

Is there an easement on the title of the property? Also, what is an easement? An easement gives someone the legal right to use a piece of land, no matter who owns it. Easements occur if there is another lot that cannot be accessed from the road. An easement is required to allow that owner to drive across your property to reach their own. Easements can infringe upon your privacy and potentially impact your uses for the land. 

Environmental Conditions

After natural disasters, such as fires or hurricanes, local governments offer tax incentives and quick approvals for home builders. The communities want to recover from the previous devastations and encourage their community to grow and rebuild.

A Few Final Items

Get the environmental tests on the land. Buyers skip environmental tests when they believe that the land has not been previously used. However, may not be true. Prior to purchasing the land, you need to verify that ground contaminants are not present.

Call the surveyor. You will want a surveyor to identify your boundary lines. Over time, neighbors can accidentally encroach upon the land. Or if the surrounding land is vacant, it’s important to make sure that you understand exactly where you can build. 

Lastly, but certainly not least, take your time and continue doing research!

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