Lisa Fletcher Shares Her Insight to Buying Waterfront Property

You’re looking for a waterfront property to fit your lifestyle.  Something that you can gaze upon and soak in the morning sunrises or an evening boat ride right before sunset. Or, perhaps it’s a riverfront property where you can fly fish lazily tube or kayak on.

Here are some helpful tips on how to navigate through a waterfront purchase.

Work with experienced waterfront specialists.  Your REALTOR®, Lender, Inspector, Insurance Agent, Professional Management Co. all of which should have extensive knowledge and can provide value added service for this type of property.

Get the facts about financing.  Waterfront properties are usually more expensive than your typical real estate and considered to be a specialty property, especially if it is a 2nd home. Research and understand the types of loans available, specifically jumbo loans and the qualification and down payment requirements.

Understand Insurance Costs.  Waterfront type properties are exposed to greater risk of wind, water and sand damage from storms as well as soil erosion and/or potential flooding. Be sure that you’ve done your research so that your fully prepared when all the costs add up.

Dos and Don’ts. Be informed about what is and not allowed. What kind of activities are allowed on the body of water, as some areas have restrictions on jet skis, speedboats and other watercraft. Do you have ingress rights for your boat? Is the water level high enough for the size and type of boat you want to have in and out of the water?  Will you be able to change the current docking system or seawall? Is there an association and are there restrictions?  Are there municipal assessments for water quality and/or weed control?  If you need to make repairs or improvements, what permits are required and what is the process to obtain them? What is the current use of the property? What is the ingress to the property and who owns it and/or maintains it?

What about Rental Options?  Is this right for you?  If you consider this option, be sure to understand if there are rental restrictions / code enforcement by the municipality or community. What are the fees to use a professional management company? Is there a web-presence and professional photography? Figure that you’ll have cleaning, trash and Internet services to provide.  There will also be extra insurance costs for a non-owner occupied and rental type property.  Using a professional service can make the difference whether it is a successful rental or not vs. DIY and not getting return guests or favorable reviews etc.

Location Location Location!  What do you want to do with the property? Do you want an all sports lake? quiet fishing lake? One of the Great Lakes? Community Lake? Private Lake? Riverfront? Pond? What kind? How big? How deep? How far?

Get intel from neighbors.  You can learn a lot from people who live or vacation at a location you’re considering buying.  Do they enjoy the lake and community? Are they aware of any waterfront-related problems?

Lisa Fletcher… Thoughts and Recommendations

Most important… Buy what you love!  The water feature is key. Do your due diligence and buy the dream; the right type of waterway, docking, community, etc.  The actual structure is secondary and can be changed if there are no building and use restrictions enforced by the municipality.