Just like many people, buying a waterfront property is a dream come true. It’s not just a house you’re buying, but a certain lifestyle. You might want to a home beside a lake, river or the ocean, but buying a waterfront property is more complicated than other real estate. You must do your research properly before you sign a deal. There are many complexities involved in buying waterfront property and you’d do well to know the ins and outs before investing. Here are a few things you should know when buying a waterfront property:
A waterfront property’s charm lies in the features that extend out into the water. Features such as boathouses, docks and others which are extended into water have many rules and regulation associated with them. You must find out about these laws or else you might have to undergo some expensive consequences. You would need permits to repair, rebuild or build a structure that is extended across shorelines into water. You would have to have permits from that particular county’s waterfront plan, follow the state and local guidelines and more.
If you’re buying a property which already has these features, be sure to find out if they have been constructed legally, if you can repair them or build some extensions.
The land is more valuable
When you purchase waterfront property, the land is more valuable than the property’s structure. Since waterfront property has more demand than supply, it is worth more than property which is not near the water. The land to property value ratio is also higher, which you have to discuss with your bank to ensure that it falls within standard guidelines for mortgage.
Inspect the property at high and low tides
If you like sailing, then you must investigate water tides and depths before purchasing. Pontoon boats, power boats and sail boats all require different depths. Try to gauge an idea of how the view of the water would be like in spring, summer and winter months.
Figure out your financing early
If you want to buy with cash, then your financing becomes easy. If you want to take out a mortgage, then make sure that you’re pre-approved, as most sellers prefer to sell to pre-approved buyers. As the availability of waterfront property is low, being pre-approved will be in your favor when there are multiple offers on the property.
Sewer and water system
Some waterfront properties receive water directly from the lake, while others are restricted to use it. Some are connected to the city sewer system, some have on-site sewage. You must know the rules regarding upgrading and repairing the system.
If your property is in a flood zone, then you may have to insure your property against flood. Some lakes can flood very quickly while others don’t, and oceanfront homes are very susceptible to damage from tsunamis, high tides and swells that can cause flood which could be damaging to your home. Rivers too can flood lowland homes. It’s a good idea to assess your flood risk and if required buy some flood insurance.
Improvements to your property
Apart from the waterfront features, there may be restrictions on any renovations or improvements on your home too. Many communities put restrictions on the way a waterfront home can be expanded, remodeled or rebuilt, which includes the size of the materials, distance of the home from the shore and so on. You must know about these limitations before investing in a waterfront property. The grounds may also have regualtions, as well as outbuildings, sheds, planters and sports courts.
A big cause of concern in a waterfront property is erosion. You might lose value of your property, as well as land itself due to erosion. You have to check whether the shoreline is properly buffered and protected or not. If a bulkhead or sea wall is already there, get it inspected to find out the condition it is in. Check all the reasons for erosion before buying.
Buying a waterfront property is not without complications, but if you do your research well, you could be the happy owner of an amazing waterfront property.