When people set out to find the waterfront home of their dreams, they’re often surprised – and overwhelmed – when they realize just how many waterfront properties there are from which to choose.
According to estimates from NASA, there are about 372,000 miles of total coastline in the world, almost 100,000 of which belong to the United States alone. The figure gets even more astounding when you factor in all the miles of land lining our country’s vast number of lakes, ponds, rivers, canals, bayous, and other inland waterways. Atop all this coastal land sits a whole lot of coastal real estate. Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising, then, that so many people looking to land that waterfront property they’ve always wanted soon find themselves adrift in an endless sea of property listings, unsure of how to distinguish between them and unable to determine which one is right for them.
Atop all this coastal land sits a whole lot of coastal real estate. Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising, then, that so many people looking to land that waterfront property they’ve always wanted soon find themselves adrift in an endless sea of property listings, unsure of how to distinguish between them and unable to determine which one is right for them.
Finding the right waterfront home comes down to satisfying exactly what it is that you’re looking for. Everyone wants to live by the water, but the particular reasons underlying that desire are far more varied. The following are 3 simple questions to ask yourself that will help you identify exactly what those reasons are, and allow you to hone in on the property that’s the perfect fit for you.
The following are 3 simple questions to ask yourself that will help you identify exactly what those reasons are, and allow you to find the property that’s the perfect fit for you.
1. What types of water-based activities are you hoping to enjoy? Are you looking for calm waters to provide you with serenity and peace of mind? If so, it’s important to ask the locals how crowded various water spots will get during the different seasons. All too frequently people move into their new waterfront home, only to find that the water it borders – so tranquil and secluded when they visited – is teeming with vacationing tourists throughout much of the rest of the year.
Do you have a boat that you plan to take out on the water every day? If so, you’ll need to pay for a dock, which is no small sum. Or if you plan to store it at your house, does your home have a garage large enough to accommodate both your boat and your car? If not, is a bigger garage something you could add on to it?
Do you plan to row out on your dinghy to go fishing every morning? If so, you’re looking for a body of water that accommodates the type of fishing you are after: would you mind if the lake you’re next to is frozen over for a third of the year? Does it matter that the waters you’re fishing in are designated for catch-and- release? Knowing which water-based activities you hope to enjoy, and what each of these activities demands of your potential home, is an essential step in your search.
2. How do you envision yourself making use of the home in 10 years? 20? Do you plan on retiring at your waterfront property? If so, you’ll want to consider a number of other factors as well. Will you be able to access, let alone enjoy, water-based activities in your old age in the same ways you enjoy them now? Does the property offer easy access to medical needs? To shopping?
Are you planning on renting it out when you’re not enjoying it? If so, what improvements need to be made to make it rentable? Do you have the money for these improvements? Will you be able and willing to take care of issues that arise when it is being rented? If you decide to one day sell the property, is its value likely to have appreciated?
3. Which qualities and amenities are strictly non-negotiable? What requirements do you have for your waterfront home that you are unwilling to compromise? Unhindered water views from the master bedroom? Private beach access? 4 bedrooms? A tightly-knit waterfront community? Seclusion from others, or at the other end of the spectrum, vibrant local tourism? Compiling a list of the essentials is a valuable step toward helping you narrow down your search. Before dismissing a property for lacking one of these items, remember to ask yourself if you could add the item yourself. Could one of the bedrooms be split into two? Could the windows be upgraded or enlarged to take in more of the view?
Providing answers to these three questions before embarking on your search will allow you to whittle away at the seemingly countless waterfront listings you’ll encounter. Your answers will provide you with a much clearer idea of what it is you are after, help you parse through a multitude of listings, and allow you to better identify the right home when you see it. Though it will require some time, answering these questions thoughtfully and thoroughly will take you one giant step closer to that idyllic waterfront home you’ve always wanted.