Buying a waterfront property isn’t just like buying a land-locked property. Owning a waterfront property has its perks but it also involves a set of unique requirements and responsibilities. Living in one comes with a unique lifestyle, too. We have seven useful tips that will help you decide whether waterfront property buying is the right thing to do, and prepare you for the process if you choose to go through with it.
1 Come up with a financial plan early on
Getting a mortgage pre-approval is of the utmost importance when buying a waterfront property — or any property, for that matter. Many real estate agents advise their clients (sellers) to accept offers from pre-approved home buyers exclusively.
This leads us to the second important reason to make a financial plan as early as possible: there is a lot of competition involved. The number of waterfront properties you can choose from is traditionally much lower than the number of non-waterfront properties. Due to fierce competition, when there are multiple offers, you may end up losing a property unless you have your financing in order.
Other things to take into consideration before waterfront property buying include property inspection costs, insurance costs, renovation costs, relocation costs, etc. If you wish to secure yourself during relocation and be safe and comfortable in your new home, this is not the time to cut corners.
2 Choose the right body of water
Remember that you’re not just buying a piece of real estate – you’re buying the water view, too. Waterfront properties can differ greatly depending on the body of water they overlook. Some buyers are only interested in lakefront properties, while others prefer the ocean, a river or pond. What do you prefer?
Some buyers are so enchanted by the spectacular view that they disregard other factors, such as ease of access to the water and privacy. Perhaps you’re already picturing yourself and your partner watching the sun sink into the deep, blue ocean every evening, not counting on the noisy powerboats and hordes of tourists passing by. And just like that, your romantic dream turns into a nightmare. Therefore, research the body of water thoroughly before making an offer.
Water bodies come in different sizes, depths, etc. If you plan on using a boat, find out about the water depth requirements for different types of boats. The quality of water is another important thing to check before buying a waterfront property, especially if you like to swim. The water could be polluted, or full of weeds or dangerous creatures you should know about.
Additionally, bear in mind that shores gradually move over time. Hence, learning about the shoreline’s history and future erosion should be on your to-do list.
3 Inspect the waterfront property
Another obvious tip on waterfront property buying is having a property inspection prior to making an offer. Spending some time on the water as well as the property itself is crucial, but you should also have professionals take a look at the property. Inspection costs are minimal compared to the peace of mind they provide.
Since the property you are interested in is located near or on a body of water, an inspector should make sure there are no water intrusion issues. Another important inspection to conduct is a septic inspection. Repairing or replacing a faulty septic system could cost you thousands of dollars, so definitely have it inspected beforehand.
4 Talk to the locals
People who live in waterfront communities are often very close with one another, which means your neighbors will probably be a big part of your life should you decide to occupy the property full-time.
Having conversations with the local residents is a great way to get some first-hand information on the area. Talk to your potential neighbors and ask them everything you want to know. The locals will help you make a list of pros and cons in no time. They should give you their honest opinion that will help you form yours.
5 Learn about the maintenance of waterfront properties
When it comes to its maintenance, a waterfront home is not just like any other home. Waterfront property buying comes with specific maintenance responsibilities. You must maintain both the condition of your home and the surrounding land. Unfortunately, waterfront real estate is generally more susceptible to damage caused by weather conditions than other types of real estate.
By taking care of trees and shrubbery growth, you’re not only making your property look better, but you’re also protecting its structure as well as land. Maintaining the frontage of your property is one of the most important maintenance requirements. Your home’s break wall or docks can suffer serious damage, especially if it is located near a body of water that tends to have rough waters. Other important maintenance tasks include roof, deck, and siding maintenance.
You must make sure your waterfront property can withstand the harsh conditions it faces. Otherwise, you’ll be dealing with expensive repairs all the time. If the property you buy is durable, you won’t have to worry too much about rain, seawater or wind, and frequent repairs won’t be necessary.
6 Learn about flood insurance requirements
Flooding is a common cause of damage to waterfront properties. Therefore, one of your insurance requirements may be obtaining a flood insurance policy. Since not all waterfront properties face the same level of risk, the cost of flood insurance varies. Naturally, if your home has a higher risk of potential flooding, the insurance cost will be higher.
7 Hire an agent to help you with waterfront property buying
The number of real estate agents who can help you through the process of waterfront property buying is limited. Only agents who specialize in waterfront properties should be taken into consideration. Experienced agents know exactly which questions to ask and whom to include in the transaction. When interviewing potential agents, in addition to asking about their experience, ask them to provide client testimonials.