5 Questions to Ask Before Buying Waterfront Property

by on January 25, 2014RealEstate.com Guest Contributor

Buying a waterfront property is a lifelong dream for many people. But when it comes time to buy, many homebuyers don’t know what to ask about the property they want to purchase. If you’re in the market for a home on the water, make sure you ask these five questions.

1. What additions can be made to the property?

This is a basic question that anyone should ask about any property they want to purchase, but waterfront properties tend to have a lot more restrictions than other properties.

After purchasing a home, many people are surprised to learn that they cannot add a dock or other structure to their property.

2. Can the home withstand the weather?

Questions that should be asked when buying waterfront propertyThis refers to more than just the occasional hurricane. It’s possible for a property to flood due to an excess of rain or even a high tide. Beyond flooding, keep in mind that properties located near the ocean also experience higher wind speeds.

This means that it’s a good idea to invest in a better quality roof. Also consider hiring a home inspector to look at the home before buying. Salt water and air can do a lot of damage to metal pipes, nails, and fixtures that can be hard to spot by someone who is not a professional.

3. What do insurance costs and requirements look like?

To answer this question, start by asking to see the FEMA flood map for the area in which the property is located. This will tell you if flood insurance is required or recommended for the home. Then, ask a few insurance companies to give you quotes for the property. Your real estate agent should be able to help you with this.

4. What is typical yearly maintenance?

A lot of first-time waterfront buyers don’t realize that these properties tend to come with higher maintenance costs than a typical home. Because they are so close to the water, and in many cases salt, items tend to rust and wear out faster than they would on a property located further inland.

A roof might need to be replaced every 15 years instead of every 20, for example. If the property comes with a dock or fishing pier, you will want to know when it was last inspected.

5. What safety features should be considered?

Being close to the water can be beautiful, but it can also be a safety issue for families with young children or pets. Unfortunately, you can’t simply gate off the water like you would a swimming pool.

Instead, look into installing alarms on doors and windows, and fencing in an area of the yard to give kids and animals a safe place to play. Of course, never let young children around the water without supervision.

This guest post was written by Keith Beatty, the broker and Realtor® of The Keith Beatty Team with Intracoastal Realty in Wilmington, N.C. He recently joined Intracoastal Realty’s $100 Million Club after surpassing $100 million in real estate transactions. His team continues to excel in the Wilmington real estate market, and Keith is a fountainhead of advice on business and real estate topics.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Michael February 3, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Great suggestions, this guest contributor definitely knows what they’re talking about. Buying a waterfront property has its own set of things to look for, so it’s important to work with someone that has experience!


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