By Anita Ginsburg
Waterfront property has always been in high demand, and for good reason. The expansive views, fresh breezes and added privacy make these homes particularly appealing. With all that said, waterfront homes come with their own challenges, as well.
Here are several issues to be mindful of when searching for that perfect home:
While the clear upside of waterfront homes is, obviously, the water, that can also be a downside. Depending on the ground slope and the distance from the shore, these buildings may be at increased risk of flooding or foundation damage. An experienced inspector is priceless when planning to put an offer in on a waterfront home, as they'll be able to tell you if you're making a wise investment or setting yourself up for trouble down the line.
Flood zones aren't just expensive after a disaster. If the home is located in a flood zone, it will require additional flood insurance to be added to any annual cost calculations before a single drop of rain hits the ground. Some mortgage companies may even require it to qualify for a loan at all. While the cost of this additional insurance can be annoying, cutting corners on this expense may lead to regret later.
If a property doesn't already have a dock, seawall or boardwalk, make sure those improvements are allowed by the city before purchasing the home. Some cities are more flexible regarding construction and permits than others. Boat lovers who buy a beautiful property, just to learn that a dock cannot be legally added, will regret not doing their homework beforehand.
Find the Right REALTOR®
REALTORS® will be aware of many of the issues mentioned above, and will be able to help you navigate the red tape and additional challenges involved in buying these unique properties. Even the best traditional REALTOR® may not be aware of some of the pitfalls involved, up to and including specialized mortgage loans, so finding a professional that specializes in these kinds of homes is worth the effort.
Recreational Water Usage
Before purchasing that perfect home on the lake or seaside cottage, find out what the rules are regarding the recreational usage of that waterfront. Are boats allowed? What about jet skis? Can swimmers safely enjoy the water, or does local wildlife make entering the water dangerous? Is water usage limited to the neighborhood, or is it open to the public? Is there any additional risk or liability toward owners if an accident occurs along their property line? These are questions all prospective buyers should ask before signing on the dotted line.
Whether you're looking for a vacation home or a place to settle down, waterfront properties are beautiful and highly sought-after. When looking at properties, do your research on the property itself, the surrounding area and everything the property might require. Taking the time to think things out will save you time, energy and money in the long run.
Anita Ginsburg is a freelance writer from Denver, Colo. She studied at Colorado State University and now enjoys writing about health, business and family. A mother of two wonderful children, she loves traveling with her family whenever she isn't writing. If you're looking for waterfront property, she recommends working with The Stockton Team: Keller Williams Showcase. You can find her on Twitter @anitaginsburg.