9 Things You May Not Know About Buying Waterfront Property

941 Team|October 5, 2022
Share this on:

Owning a piece of waterfront property is the ultimate accomplishment for countless homebuyers. Sometimes, these high-profile, coveted estates arrive with unseen complexities.

Read on for realtor Steve Slocum’s and the 941Team’s list of the nine things you may not be aware of when you start diving into the world of waterfront properties.

The type of water is of utmost importance

Photo courtesy of 941 Team

Waterfront properties tend to pull in some of the highest prices for real estate and often appreciate beautifully—to say nothing of the quality of life they offer.

However, the type of water that fits your ideal must be the first decision you make. Do you prefer the serenity found on lakes, or find crashing surf the finest lullaby on the planet? Are you searching for tranquility, or do you derive pleasure in hearing—and seeing—the vibrancy of beachgoers, morning runners, and sunset strollers? If your idea of the ultimate home fronts luminous, aqua-blue water, a home situated on a murky city shore may lead to extreme buyer’s remorse—and that’s putting it lightly.

Visit places near the region you’ve chosen to determine what, precisely, you hope to find in your waterfront estate, from the clarity of the water to the level of noise and activity in the area. Ensure you understand what is permitted—and possible—in the body of water. Are boats prohibited? Is the water clear of debris and swimmable? What might lurk beneath the surface? You’ll likely want to take full advantage of the home’s location and guarantee it meets or exceeds your expectations.

Waterfront properties must be thoroughly examined

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Every home that is purchased needs to undergo a meticulous investigation by a certified inspector, but the need for this is heightened when it comes to waterfront estates. In addition to the home’s primary systems—including electrical, plumbing, heating, and cooling—the grounds around the home must be examined for integrity. Waves that crash against the foundation of a home may test its structure, while salty ocean air renders homes vulnerable to mold and mildew. As part of your overall inspection, you should have surveys and water quality tests performed, as well as an in-depth look at present or potential corrosion.

It’s vital to explore its accessibility

If your dream of living on the water includes morning dips you can take by merely stepping from your home to the shore, ensure the property you choose has appropriate accessibility. Some waterfront properties may offer splendid views of the water but no viable entry.

Your home may shift away—or toward—the water

Gaining a complete understanding of the property’s past and future is fundamental: As time progresses and water levels rise, water and the sand or dirt it meets at the shoreline may cause the shore to erode and/or create a larger gap between your home and the waterline, eventually turning it into an “almost” or “once was” waterfront property.

Insurance costs may be higher than you think

Photo courtesy of Pexels

You may be subjected to higher insurance costs, depending on where you purchase waterfront property. A beachfront home offers some of the greatest splendors in life, but the area may also be prone to hurricanes, tidal waves, tsunamis, and earthquakes. Meanwhile, a lakefront home could be susceptible to flood damage. Ensure you have a comprehensive understanding of what type of insurance you’ll need to protect your dream and if it fits with the financial scenario you have drawn up for yourself.

…and ditto with property taxes and other expenses

Property taxes on waterfront estates also tend to be higher than inland residences and should be grasped before you make a purchase. Oftentimes, owners of waterfront homes are obligated to take care of the space between the property and the water—what’s known as the bulkhead. This typically includes upkeep and maintenance, and should also be figured into your financial strategy. Additionally, you may have to cover homeowners association (HOA) fees and pay for the installment and upkeep of a well and septic system if you purchase a waterfront home in an isolated, rural area.

You may have to share your property

Property lines are occasionally blurred—meaning that prime piece of real estate may actually include state property and be jam-packed with foot traffic as beachgoers make their way to the sand. Ascertain if and what part of the property will have to be shared; if you crave extreme privacy, you may have to search elsewhere. On the other hand, lakefront properties may include land you’ll have to lease from the state or federal government.

The home should be built—and appointed—to weather the elements

Oxidation is ubiquitous near the ocean, meaning appliances and fixtures that aren’t stainless steel may rust quickly. Other waterfront homes may need to be equipped with storm shutters. Homes constructed on bluffs that see high surf should be built on a proper and safe elevation. In other words, the home should exhibit clear signs that it can endure the forces of Mother Nature.

You will have to understand—and comply with—environmental regulations

Owners of waterfront properties are also required to adhere to state, federal, and local laws and regulations. These may range from the Clean Water Act to the Endangered Species Act, depending, of course, on where you find a property. For example, dredging or filling wetlands in the state of Florida requires a permit from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). A consummate realtor and a real estate lawyer can help you navigate these regulations to guarantee you don’t inadvertently violate them, which can come with a staggering penalty.

The 941 Team has extensive experience helping clients purchase and sell Florida’s most desirable waterfront properties. Whether you’re exploring Lakewood Ranch real estate, homes for sale in Bradenton—or are weighing the pros and cons of listing your Florida home in today’s hot market—they’re the professionals to call to ensure your satisfaction. Book a consultation with Steve Slocum and the 941Team to initiate this exhilarating—and even life-changing—process.
*Header photo courtesy of 941 Team

Rate My Agent RateMyAgent Logo

View Homes for Sale

Home Search

Work With Us

In Real Estate, the seller and buyer have many choices. This could be the most important decision you make. The 941Team approach is one based around you, the customer, incorporating a style that uses the entire team’s expertise.

Contact Us