Waterfront Living: Be Prepared For Your New Home

If a waterfront home is in your future, who could blame you? The allure of a home on the water draws buyers of all types to lakes, bays, and the ocean. However, buying a waterfront home is different from buying a home anywhere else and it's important to be prepared to tackle the unique issues that come with it. For some pointers on a successful experience, read on.

  1. Not as Advertised – Homes that claim to be waterfront may be only that in name. Be sure you can enjoy everything that having a waterfront home means to you and your family. With that in mind, check water access, boating access, swimming possibilities, an unobstructed view, privacy, and more. If navigating to a larger body of water is in your plans, check out bridge heights, water levels, and how long it can take to get there by boat.
  2. Weather and Climate Considerations – Not only are homes on the water more vulnerable to the elements, but they may also be located in hurricane zones. Check flood maps, and take a hard look at the structural integrity of the home itself. Ocean air can corrode metal so look into the cost to change window frames, door hardware, and other structures to stainless steel. Potential owners should also investigate additional homeowners' insurance needs for waterfront properties. It's not uncommon to need hurricane, flood, and other insurance in addition to the usual hazard policy.
  3. Large Loans Mean Approval Issues – Waterfront properties for sale tend to be more expensive, so buyers that need a loan may need to begin early to prepare for lending issues. The approval process and underwriting can take a lot longer and your credit needs to be perfect for what might be a larger mortgage loan.
  4. Be Aware of Property Restrictions – It's not uncommon for homeowners to fall under homeowner association (HOA) restrictions, but waterfront properties might have additional considerations. For example, you may need government (local, state, and federal) approval to build a dock.
  5. Check on Utilities – Don't just assume that cable television, internet, water, and sewer are the same as your last home. Waterfront properties can be located in remote areas, so don't take it for granted that you will have the same services.
  6. Talk to a Local Real Estate Agent – The final piece of advice may be the most important because they can alert you and inform you about all of the above and more. Local agents can clue you in on what to expect in the area and about any special considerations you need to address.