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Looking for a Waterfront Home: Important Factors to Consider Before You Buy

By Mike Wheatley | September 18, 2016

The thought of living by the water is wonderful but what if you’re sinking your money into a drowning investment? Here’s a list of important factors for potential by-the-water homeowners to consider.


Sinkholes are a result of living beside or in close vicinity to bodies of water. Signs of potential sinkholes include cracks in walls, floors, and ceilings, uneven doors or windows that don’t close correctly, or a slouched or asymmetric appearance of the entire home or parts (a tilted driveway or garage). Sinkholes can be extremely expensive to repair.

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Water Levels

How high does the water get during bad storms? Are there plans in place for hurricanes, floods, etc? Are homeowners responsible for portions of the water? All these questions are relevant to owning a home by water. It’s added requirement to understand the risks, regulations, and rules regarding water levels, recreational use, private and public properties, etc.


Those living by bodies of water pay flood insurance. This can be a considerably high and totally unforeseen cost when buying a home near the water. The risk of flooding and damage from intense storms makes it more statistically likely you’ll need it.

Special Agent

Seek a real estate agent who specializes in particular areas and specific neighborhoods by the water. They will have the capability to answer your questions and bring things to your attention. An agent who is unfamiliar with neighborhoods where you want to live puts you at a disadvantage.


Some sacrifice urban luxuries for rural pleasantries. Homes by the sea may require their own septic systems, have limited electrical outlets or Internet connection, and may not feature traditional plumbing. A septic system can be very expensive. Ask your real estate agent about the age, condition, the validity of the present system and when the next septic tank cleaning is scheduled. Also, discuss the indoor water purity levels.


Homes by the sea may feature elements that help guard the foundation and exterior from storms. Storm shutters, built-in floodgates, and advanced gutter systems, protect the home from incoming water and intense rainfall. Ask an agent whether a home of interest is updated and fit to withstand storm seasons and high waters. Head to Summerset Marine for information related to piers and boat lifts.


If you’re buying the property to be a family or year-round home, consider the size. Homeowners by the water may sacrifice size for location, owning smaller bedrooms and spaces with limited closet space and square footage. Be sure the size of the home is a practical solution for your intentions despite its location and allure.


Of course, safety is an added concern when considering property by the water. If young family members intend to visit the ocean or lake, they need to learn how to swim. Additionally, be sure you have locks put on doors and fences so that little ones and pets are not tempted to go near the water without supervision.


Consider any potential influence the waterside weather will have on your vehicle. Moreover, survey if your vehicle may be in harm’s way during a heavy storm or flood. Also, if you live near saltwater, your vehicle may suffer from excessive rust and stalling as a result of damp weather. Park your car on higher ground in case of bad storms.


In severe instances, you may be advised to evacuate your neighborhood and immediate area. Be sure you know the safest flood routes as well as alternate paths. Also, have a plan in mind for securing your valuables or taking them with you.


A home by the water may require special maintenance over the years, especially considering the amount of moisture in the air. Aside from floods and severe rain, woods gets rotten, interior mold flourishes, and paint fades and chips. You’ll need to maintain your home and pay special attention to controlling moisture.


It’s easy to fall in love with the thought of living by a shore, lake, bay, etc. However, do your homework and study the area. Get a sense of the appreciation value and ease of selling homes in the area. You may be buying to make a short investment or decide to move somewhere else in the near future. You want to know that you won’t be losing money if you invest. Discuss bidding strategies and monetary limits with your real estate agent. As mentioned, find an agent who is familiar with particular neighborhoods and knows the pricing history of the area.

Jessica Hicks works to find the perfect house for her clients as a real estate finder. She also writes articles on the topic, sharing her knowledge of finding a home with the wider online world.

Mike Wheatley is the senior editor at Realty Biz News. Got a real estate related news article you wish to share, contact Mike at [email protected].
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