Buyers should be aware that waterfront properties that are part of resorts may cost more upfront because of the services that are provided. For some homeowners, however, the price may be worth it.
Hire an Experienced Broker
Before committing to work with a broker, make sure that the person has sold waterfront properties in the destinations you’re looking at, said Bill Gassett, a waterfront specialist with Re/Max Executive Realty, in Hopkinton, Mass. “A waterfront property is a specialty property, and the agent will be able to give you the information specific to owning one in that location,” he said. “If they can’t, you could end up buying a home without fully knowing what it means to live there.”
For example, if you’re looking at either a lake or a beachfront property, the agent should know whether the bottom of the water and the shoreline are rocky, sandy or muddy. The agent should also be able to tell you what recreational activities are possible on the water.
The agent should also be able to connect you with your potential neighbors and other locals who can share their perspective on living in the area.
Waterfront homes have more expensive insurance policies than nonwaterfront properties because they’re at higher risk for flooding and wind damage, Mr. Hertzberg said. Also, depending on the area, you may be required to purchase multiple policies including ones for flood, wind and the home itself. “Flood insurance is costly to begin with, and depending on what type of flood zone your property is in, it can get super expensive,” Mr. Hertzberg said. Before you buy, understand what insurance policies the property requires and how much they will cost. Find out the latter from an insurance broker who has written recent waterfront policies. “The policies for waterfront properties are complicated, and if you don’t work with someone who’s familiar with them, you could end up overpaying,” Mr. Filopoulos said.
Make Multiple Visits
And go during different times of the day and on both weekdays and weekends. Mr. Hertzberg said that a dream property could be in a neighborhood that has a peaceful, laid-back feel during the week but a far rowdier vibe on the weekends, with loud music playing and more people out and about.
And while the sunrise views may be stunning, the home may not get sunset views at all. “A big mistake many buyers make is not seeing their home in different settings,” Mr. Hertzberg said. “Your perspective could change from one visit to the next.”
Do You Like Boating?
Mr. Hertzberg said that many buyers are keen on owning a waterfront property because they’re interested in boating. “They own a boat or want to buy one and use it on the body of water,” he said. If you are a boater, make sure that the property in question can accommodate the size of your boat. Also know the ordinances covering boating and docking boats in that area. In Miami Beach, for example, a boat is permitted to dock only if there is a buffer of 10 feet between your neighbors’ property lines and the front and the back of your boat. This means that if you have a property with 60 feet on the water, you’re allowed to dock a boat that’s no more than 40 feet long.