Thinking about buying waterfront property? A second home….and really hoping you can enjoy the view of a pristine lake or the soothing sound of ocean waves? Read on to gain insights on how best to prepare for home ownership on water.
Important Considerations for Buying Waterfront Property
- Access to the water: What type of waterfront access will the property provide? Is there a private beach, dock, or boat slip? What does the access to the water look like…are there stairs? Is it rocky? Does the body of water accommodate the activities you want to engage in, such as fishing, swimming, or boating?
- View: Do you have an unobstructed view of the water? Do you have the degree of privacy from neighbors and people using the lake / ocean that you would prefer? Consider the orientation of the house to maximize natural light and to enjoy beautiful sunrises and/or sunsets.
- Water quality: Research the quality of the water, especially if you plan to use it for swimming, boating, or other activities. Is the water clean and safe? Check for issues related to pollution, algae blooms, or contaminants.
- Climate and weather: Research weather patterns, including seasonal variations, storm frequency, and potential risks such as hurricanes, fires, flooding, and erosion.
- Maintenance and insurance: Homes near the water often require additional maintenance due to exposure to moisture, salt, and other elements. Additionally, insurance costs for properties near water might be higher and you should factor that into your budget.
- Regulations and permits: Research local regulations and permits, as there may be restrictions on building, renovating, or modifying the property. Also, there may be limits on water usage or potential changes in regulations that could affect the property at a later point in time.
- Privacy and noise: Waterfront properties can attract tourists, boaters, and other activities that may impact your peace and quiet. There may also be ordinances around when you can and cannot be on the water with a motorized vehicle.
- Resale value: Waterfront homes often have a higher market value, but it is important to assess the demand in the area, market trends, and the overall desirability of the area.
- Property taxes: One upside to purchasing a home on leased land is that you will not be responsible for paying property taxes. On the other hand, if you own your home and the land it sits on, you will be responsible for paying property taxes, which may be more expensive than inland properties.
Real estate agents: Work with agents who specialize in waterfront properties. They can provide insights into the local market and help you find suitable properties that meet your criteria.
Local government agencies: Contact local agencies responsible for water resources, such as the lake or coastal management authority. They can supply information on regulations, permits, flood zones, erosion risks, and other important factors specific to the area.
Environmental agencies: Reach out to local or regional environmental agencies to inquire about water quality, pollution concerns, and any ongoing or historical issues related to the water. They may provide reports / data on water quality testing, contaminants, or algae blooms.
Local residents and community forums: Engage with local residents and join community forums or other online groups dedicated to waterfront living. They can provide firsthand insights, pros and cons, related to living on the water, potential challenges, and recommendations for specific areas or neighborhoods.
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