- Find a real estate agent who’s a true waterfront specialist. The average agent won’t have the detailed knowledge of waterfront properties in your area to help you find the best deal on a property that’s right for you. If you own a boat, certain waterways or lakes may not be a good fit for your boat, but an expert agent will help find the right property for you and your needs.
- Consider the property more than the structure. As many agents will tell you, you can change the house, but you can’t change the location, so buy a property that you really love. Choose a property that truly fits your lifestyle. Focus on the activities you’re passionate about and choose a property accordingly.
- Look into loans early. Since many waterfront properties are more expensive than other properties, loans will often fall into the jumbo mortgage category, Lenders will therefore only consider very qualified buyers. Buyers should start that process before they start looking for a property, due to the fact that it can take longer than a normal loan.
- Make sure the structure can withstand the weather. Waterfront homes can receive more abuse from the elements than the average home, so it is important take extra measures to protect them. For example, invest in storm shutters for homes in hurricane-prone areas and stainless-steel locks to avoid corrosion from salt air.
- Insurance can be more costly and complicated. Look into this early to make sure you know what you’re getting into. For example, waterfront homeowners in Florida usually have to buy three policies (a wind policy, a flood policy and a general hazard policy), although typically not all through the same insurer.
- Find out what you can do regarding changes with the property, such as adding a dock or a seawall. Start this process early to ensure that these alterations will be possible.
- Talk to neighbors. Get insider information from neighbors by asking if they enjoy living in the community, if they have any issues with the property you’re thinking about purchasing, or if there are any waterfront-related problems.
- In rural areas, look into utilities. Waterfront buyers who are accustomed to the convenience of suburban life may assume that electricity, clean water, an adequate septic system, cable and Internet will be readily available at their new property, but this is not always the case. For example, many properties in Florida do not have city water, instead a well and pump are used.
- Get to know your responsibilities as a waterfront homeowner. If you’re part of a homeowners association, find out what kind of upkeep and maintenance of the property will be required from you by reviewing the conditions, covenants and restrictions, or CC&Rs, and talking to the HOA’s management company.
Swann Real Estate
Swann Real Estate has been an established part of the local community since 1987.