A Home On The Water: What To Know

If you have your sights set on a waterfront property, you might need to do a lot more preparation than other buyers. There are a few unique issues that concern these sought-after properties and it pays to understand them before you put in an offer. Read on and find out about what you should know before you get started on your waterfront home search.

Not all waterfront properties are created equal – There is waterfront and then there is waterfront. Be sure you think about why you want such a property and base your needs on that. For example, if you want to navigate to the nearby ocean or bay, make sure your boat can pass underneath all the bridges and that it's not too large (the draft of the boat) for the water levels. Additionally, if you want to swim in your backyard, examine the water before you make a decision. Water in some waterways can be dirty, oily, full of weeds, alligators, etc. Picture what you want to do with your waterfront home and make sure a given property will provide you with that benefit.

Know the added costs associated with waterfront properties – You already know waterfront properties are more expensive, but the cost of the home is only the beginning. Check and take into consideration the following extra costs that might be associated with owning a waterfront property:

  1. Higher property taxes. For example, beach re-nourishment projects may add a surcharge onto the usual property tax burden.
  2. Higher insurance costs. In some locations, additional protection is required for properties near bodies of water and the coast. Hurricane, flood, and extra wind protection policies are common and are separate from the basic homeowners' policy.
  3. Higher maintenance costs. Sea air, the wind, moisture, and other environmental effects of waterfront living can wreak havoc on homes.

Consider privacy issues – When you love a location, chances are others do too. Depending on local laws, beaches are generally open to the public. This can mean people traipsing between homes to access the beach. Almost any waterfront location in resort areas is vulnerable to noise, waste, and tourists. Additionally, waterfront property is at a premium, placing homes in closer proximity than usual. Consider how much peace, quiet, and privacy you expect in your waterfront home.

Lean on a real estate agent for support and advice – With waterfront homes, you need an agent who is well-versed in this type of structure and the related issues. The above list is only a sample of the ways waterfront properties are a different breed of real estate. Speak to a real estate agent to find out more. Companies like Keller Williams Realty Intown Atlanta can help.