Investing in a waterfront home is investing in an aspirational property and a defined way of life.
Living close to water prompts images of a calm and relaxing lifestyle, in a property that has views and unique aspects to its character that you cannot find in most big US cities. Whether you buy remote waterfront property for rural living or invest in marina real estate for a busier, but no less appealing lifestyle, you will not be disappointed living close to water.
However, there are some serious considerations you need to bear in mind when moving to waterfront property. Prior to buying, it is important to conduct due diligence and our article titled 12 Things to Consider When Buying a Lakefront Home will help guide you through that process. Even once you have purchased your home, you do need to be aware of potential problems with your new purchase.
To help you stay abreast of the issues you may face, we have put together a handy guide of common problems associated with buying a waterfront property.
So, you have bought your first waterfront property and you are keen to enjoy your purchase. You walk out to your waterfront and find other people wandering between your property and the water. Where did you go wrong?
There are several different elements to waterfront access and in wider developments; you may find that despite being situated on the water, there are rights of access between your property and the tranquility you intend to enjoy. A developer may have reserved access for all the houses in a neighborhood, even those not on the waterfront. Make sure you check access rights if you do not want to be sharing your space with others.
We live in a changeable climate, which means that the water levels in some bodies of water are susceptible to rising. Many cities in the US are prone to flooding when levels rise and in owning a waterfront property you will be putting yourself at risk. Indeed, Business Insider warns that several US cities could disappear altogether courtesy of rising tides, and the first properties to be affected would be those on the waterfront. If you live on a seafront, changeable tides and weather conditions could also see your home at risk. It is worth making sure you are covered for extreme weather conditions or damage caused by flooding, even if there is not a history of such events in the local area.
A waterfront property might be susceptible to flooding from the outside in, but like any home, you must also be aware of the potential for flooding from the inside out. Some waterfront properties may draw their water supply from the lake or river on which they are situated, but that does not mean you are not at risk from common plumbing problems from access points, such as a stopcock. In a HomeServe guide to fixing a leaking stopcock, they explain how it is situated where the mains water comes into your home. With a waterfront property, you may be drawing your water directly from a lake and therefore your setup may be different, but it does not mean you do not have to worry. Wherever your water supply comes into your home is at risk, even outside of the typical plumbing setup. Many waterfront owners might pay more attention to the problems posed by water outside the property, but to underestimate the potential from within would be a fallacy.
Finally, be sure to check your obligations when it comes to maintaining your piece of shoreline. It may be that expense incurred by falling debris, or the removal of collected flotsam, fall directly upon you. The Wall Street Journal explains how ships have been washing up on the Florida coast, and although it seems unlikely to happen to most homeowners, it is important to understand where you stand if such an occurrence takes place on your stretch of waterway. In a more remote property, it is likely you assume responsibility for general maintenance, but in communal areas on shared waterways, it could be ambiguous. Like any property purchase, conducting thorough and extensive due diligence will flag up any additional responsibilities you may have as a homeowner.