Buying waterfront property is an exciting adventure for many as they dream about a lifestyle filled with water sports, perfect sunsets and family gatherings. Like any large investment, consumers should proceed with caution and be sure to thoroughly research properties of interest. Careful consideration must be given to restrictive covenants and regulations, water frontage, seasonal weather conditions, water levels, comparable property values, property suitability and property inspection results.
Restrictive Covenants, Zoning and Regulations
obtaining detailed information about restrictive covenants and zoning laws is a good idea for anyone interested in buying property. There are often restrictions about ways a piece of property can be used. Restrictions are placed on property by local authorities and homeowners associations. Lake authorities often restrict lighting, boat docks, boats, boathouses, utility hookups and the removal of trees and protected wildlife.
Seasonal Weather Conditions
Weather impacts lifestyle and insurance costs. If high winds and strong storms are common for certain areas, it is important for new homebuyers to factor weather conditions into the buying decision. Many buyers decide against oceanfront property in favor of a lakeside property when they consider the possibility for storm damage from hurricanes and severe thunderstorms and the associated higher maintenance costs. Insurance costs for beach property are often much more expensive than insuring lake or river properties.
A property’s suitability relates directly to the intended use of the property. Buyers looking for a property where children can swim should check access to the lake from the property and inspect the lake bottom for steep drop offs and mud. For older couples desiring to access a lakeside dock, the slope of the land can be an important factor. Many lake properties are very steep and hard to reach by foot. Steep properties fetch lower prices and are hard to resell. It is no surprise that having a view is imperative to most buyers. For this reason it is an important resale factor to be considered.
Water Frontage and Water Depth
The more water frontage, the better for accessing the water and for resale purposes. Water depth is also a key factor for boating, swimming and fishing. Certain types of boats require deeper water for docking. Some lakes experience substantial water loss during dry seasons. It is important to be aware of the lowest water levels possible just in case this effects your ability to dock your boat of choice.
Docks and Seawalls
Seawalls and docks should be inspected prior to purchase. Seawall repair can be expensive. Many docks have utility connections for electricity and even cable television. Hiring an inspector to be sure that everything is up to code can save you substantial money in the future. It is also advisable for a prospective home buyer to be sure they will be allowed to build a dock if there is not currently a dock at the home.