The Complete Guide For Purchasing A Waterfront Home

February 03,2020 | Posted By Arlene Beckwith in Real Estate
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Go-To Real Estate Experts On The Gold Coast

Whether you’re looking for a harborside property or a dream house near or on the beach, Arlene and Keith Beckwith Real Estate bring 50 years of combined experience in sales and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to their niche of waterfront real estate. As owners of waterfront dwellings, we understand the unique set of challenges and opportunities abound when purchasing harbor or marina real estate. That’s why we’ve compiled the following tips and mistakes to avoid as a complete guide for buying a waterfront property. Are you beginning the search for your ideal waterfront home? Read on to set your sails in the right direction!

Savvy Tips For Buying A Waterfront Property In Channel Islands And Beyond!

Whether you plan to purchase a lakehouse, a beachside property, or harbor home with a dock, it’s important for potential buyers to be aware of the extra steps and considerations waterfront properties require. That’s where we come in. Find out more about how seamless finding and securing your dream waterfront home can be with the following tips from your Channel Islands Harbor real estate experts.

» Choose a real estate professional who specializes in buying and selling waterfront homes: Right off the bat, it’s important to contact a real estate professional or team that has the direct experience and knowledge you need for purchasing a waterfront property. Not only will waterfront real estate experts be able to get you a great deal on a house, they’ll also provide a bunch of useful and specific information regarding the regional area, permits, insurance, and more.

» Research the location and take the whole property into account--not just the house: When looking at waterfront homes, it’s important to take the whole property and community into account. Are you trying to feel more secluded in your waterfront home, or would you like to be close to a harborside hub with eateries and attractions? Also think about noise pollution from potential vacationers and crashing waves. Things like water quality, beach access, privacy, and/or views are things you won’t be able to change after investing in waterfront home.

» Ask yourself if the waterfront property truly fits your lifestyle: If you love sailing or cruising in a powerboat, then a harborside house is perfect for you! On the other hand, if you prefer relaxing on the beach or surfing, you might want to consider a beachside or marina home. Consider your favorite recreational activities, hobbies, and waterfront hobbies to choose the best home according to your own unique lifestyle.

» Start financing early on in the home-buying process: As you know, waterfront homes are in high demand and represent luxury, so they are higher in overall value and price. Before even researching an area or looking at listings, be sure to have all of your financial ducks in a row. Because a waterfront property will require a higher profile loan, you will want your assets and credit to be in tip-top shape. You’ll also want to save for a sizable down payment in proportion to how much a waterfront property costs.

» Inspect the structure of your waterfront home thoroughly to make sure it can endure the weather: Because waterfront properties are exposed to the elements more than traditional homes, it’s important to be thorough when it comes to the inspection. We also highly recommend consulting the services of an inspector that specializes in waterfront and/or coastal properties. Be on the lookout for storm shutters for properties with a higher hurricane risk as well as stainless steel locks that won’t corrode in the marine layer or ocean air.

» Look into permits for building or altering structures on your potential waterfront property: If you’re planning to purchase a fixer-upper or make any changes to your waterfront home in the future, such as renovating a dock or adding a seawall, be sure to do your research on local jurisdiction for the building permits required for this type of work. You’ll also want to know the laws or HOA policies regarding the type of watercraft you can own and dock in your particular area for present or future reference.

» Ask about insurance requirements and any potential hidden costs: Common knowledge or not, waterfront properties are at a higher risk for flooding and beachside homes may have higher insurance rates due to higher risks of hurricane and earthquake damage. Along with factoring insurance into your budget, also be sure to inquire about any hidden costs associated with a potential waterfront property. Often times, water and sewer utilities can be more costly for waterfront homes than their inland counterparts, and you’ll also want to know about dock and lift fees, potential septic tank maintenance, and other upkeep costs you’ll encounter alongside your monthly mortgage.

» Find out if the waterfront home is part of an HOA: In tandem with tracking hidden costs from the get-go, also be sure to find out if your waterfront property of choice is in an HOA. This will not only make you aware of any additional fees but also inform you about the rules and regulations of your waterfront directly. For example, a waterfront HOA may impose limits on dock size, which you will need to know if you own or plan on purchasing a boat.

» Consider the additional, long-term maintenance the waterfront property requires: No matter the real estate investment, maintenance comes with the territory. However, waterfront properties are more prone to weather damage than traditional inland homes. For instance, after an especially strong storm or rough waters, you might need to repair your break wall. You’ll also want to consider long-term maintenance for the following: roofs, decks, docks, and siding.

» Talk with neighbors and locals about the area: Last but definitely not least, the best way to learn firsthand about a waterfront area is to talk to current residents and potential neighbors. Not only will they be able to highlight the benefits of their particular waterfront community, they’ll also have valuable insight to share regarding extra things to think about regarding specific regulations or local climate concerns.

Mistakes To Avoid When Purchasing A Waterfront Home

In addition to knowing the ins and outs of finding and purchasing the right waterfront property for you, our team at Arlene & Beckwith Real Estate are also aware of the common mistakes made by buyers who are new to waterfront real estate territory. That’s why we’ve compiled a handy list of blunders to avoid, so purchasing your dream waterfront home is nothing but smooth sailing!

Waterfront Homes for Sale

» Forgetting to include bulkheads in the inspection: In case you don’t have your sea legs yet, a bulkhead is a barrier wall that separates your property from the waterline. In addition to consulting a coastal inspector, you will also want a bulkhead specialist to evaluate a potential waterfront property. That way, you’ll know up front if you need to repair the bulkhead or build a completely new one.

» Being passive about financing: As mentioned earlier, waterfront properties are high-ticket real estate investments. Most lenders place mortgages for waterfront properties under a special category, and can thus take longer to underwrite. With that in mind, don’t wait until the last minute to obtain financing for your waterfront home. We recommend setting aside a hefty down payment before even looking at listings and starting early when it comes to the mortgage process.

» Purchasing a home that is not built to handle the environment: This is why thorough inspections are crucial to the buying process for waterfront homes. Be sure to ask about storm shutters and the state of the house’s foundation. Also, be on the lookout for any grills, gate hardware, nails used to build the exterior, etc. Due to a waterfront property’s higher exposure to moisture, you’ll want to make sure that all metal installed is stainless steel to avoid any rusting.

» Forgetting about flood insurance: Flood insurance can be expensive. Also, premiums increase in areas in which the sea level is known to be rising. Ask your local waterfront real estate expert about where to get the best deal on flood insurance.

» Straying from your budget: From the beginning of your journey for a waterfront property, you’ll want to set a budget that not only considers a monthly mortgage but also HOA fees, maintenance costs, etc. We suggest that buyers evaluate and prepare for financial outlooks 1, 5, and 10 years down the road when purchasing a waterfront home.

» Depending on rental income to offset the mortgage costs: From storms and hurricanes to the forecast of the ever-changing real estate market, it’s difficult to ensure that any rental will keep long-term tenants or a steady stream of temporary renters. Additionally, your waterfront property will incur a plethora of additional costs besides the mortgage such as utilities, taxes, licenses, maintenance, and/or property management fees. Be sure to do your math well beforehand before purchasing a waterfront property to rent out.

» Forgetting to use a compass: When purchasing a beachside property, do not immediately assume that your property faces west for sunset views. Find out the exact direction your property faces to better understand its hurricane risk and how the direction of offshore winds will affect your waterfront home.

Do you have additional questions about anything concerning what to look for when purchasing a waterfront home? Don’t hesitate to contact our savvy team of real estate experts that have professional and personal experience with waterfront living. Call us today at (805)-338-4466 or take a look at our current listings here!