Waterfront homes are naturally appealing to buyers. Who wouldn’t want to live right on the water? But although waterfront homes are of interest to most buyers, not many people are aware of the particular risks and issues that can arise with a waterfront home purchase. When you start looking at waterfront homes, you want to know which questions to ask to make sure you do not make a purchase that you will regret. Here are some questions to ask if you're considering purchasing a waterfront home.
Can you get a loan?
It may not be the most exciting question, but it really should be the first one. Waterfront homes are often considerably more expensive than a similar home in a regular neighborhood. Because these homes are pricey, they require bigger loans. Lenders are not apt to give out bigger loans to any but the most qualified buyers. Before you start getting your hopes up about buying a lake house or beach house, check to see that you can get the money to do so.
If the location in which you are looking in is fairly pricey you can expect that a jumbo mortgage will be needed. Jumbo loans are used by those who will be taking out a large mortgage. Make sure you check out the tips on how to get the lowest interest rate on a mortgage. Over the life of the loan you can save yourself thousands of dollars by following this financial guidance.
Will you be satisfied with both the home and the land it sits on?
There are two parts to a waterfront home purchase, the home and the property. One or the other may be severely lacking, but you might not notice if you are too excited about the purchase. If the home is run down, but on an awesome piece of land, remember that you will need to renovate to get the home up to your standards.
If the home is fantastic, but the property leads down to a muddy, unpleasant bit of beach, will you really get the benefits you hope for by spending more to live on the water? You may also find that the neighborhood does not necessarily meet your standards even though the lake or ocean itself is beautiful.
What exactly are you buying when you purchase the property?
The term waterfront can mean different things to different people. When you look at a property, verify that it actually extends to the water. You also need to clarify who has use of your property along the waters edge, and what roads, docks and other areas might be used by people other than you. The vision you have of owning your own private beach may not be full realized. You will need to look at a survey of the land, a plat map and talk to your Realtor – and possibly a real estate attorney – to get completely clear on what you are actually buying.
Remember that you must do a little more careful research into what exactly you are purchasing!
How do the neighbors like living there?
In addition to talking to the homeowner’s association and examining legal documents with your Realtor, you can also talk to the property owners that sit adjacent to the property you are considering purchasing. Your potential neighbors may be able to tell you a lot about what to expect when owning property in that area. They may give you valuable information about what it’s like to work with the homeowner’s association, as well as how the water is used by the area community.
Is the home built to withstand the environment?
There is no guarantee that the builder of the home you are considering actually did his or her research before constructing the home. In many areas homes were built by people who purchased land and needed a place to live, not people who were following modern building codes or who had access to flood or weather predictions. Can the home stand up to a hurricane if hurricanes are a possibility? What about flooding? Can it handle the wind that comes off of the water?
You should always hire a home inspector to examine the home and let you know if there are any issues. Moist environments, particularly those around salt water, can cause deterioration in building materials in ways you might not be aware of. A good inspector can tell you if the home is built and maintained to last in its environment.
What does maintenance cost?
Because waterfront environments can cause increased wear on a structure, you can probably expect to pay extra for ongoing maintenance. You should ask what the yearly maintenance costs are, and consider those costs in your purchase. Things like pipes, attachments, roofs and siding may all need to be replaced more regularly on a waterfront home. Even if you can afford to buy the home, can you afford to keep it up so that it remains a good investment and a home that you can depend on?
What does it cost to insure the home?
Another important question to ask before buying a waterfront home is if there are any unusual insurance expenses. Because waterfront homes are often at increased risk of being damaged by natural disasters, such as hurricanes or floods, they are also typically more expensive to insure. You will also need to include these increased insurance costs in your overall calculations for the cost of ownership.
Does the property work for your lifestyle needs?
Of all the questions to ask when buying a waterfront home this one may be the most important for your long term happiness. In the excitement that comes from knowing you can buy a waterfront property, it is sometimes easy to lose sight of why you would want to live on the water in the first place.
For instance, a home on the beach may be a long distance from any docks where you can store and use your boat. If you love going out on the boat, but it takes over half an hour to get to it, will you be likely to use it regularly? You may be able to find a home that is not on the water, but that is close to the docks, that gives you better access to the thing you love to do most.
Maybe sitting in a canoe or on your dock going fishing in a peaceful environment is your idea of waterfront living. If this is the case the thought of jet skis and other motor boats buzzing by your home might not be up your alley.
Talk To A Realtor That Knows Waterfront Properties
If you are interested in buying a waterfront property, you should seek out a real estate agent that has knowledge in waterfront real estate. A good agent will interview you to determine what you want most out of a home, and can help guide you to properties that will fit those requirements. A knowledgeable waterfront Realtor will also know how to get the facts on what owning the property entails, which will allow you to make more informed, intelligent buying decision.
Thinking of purchasing a waterfront home? I have a passion for real estate and would be thrilled to assist you in your search.