Are you in the market for incredible homes on the water? Then it’s important to know that purchasing waterfront property comes with a different set of considerations than when you’re buying other properties. The process for buying homes on the water is so different that even those experienced with purchasing with real estate sometimes get tripped up.

Luckily, you don’t have to figure any of this out on your own. As the experts, we’re sharing our best tips on buying luxury waterfront property.

1. Know How You Want to Use the Property

The most important thing to be sure of when looking for homes on the water is how you plan to use the property. Are you looking for a seasonal vacation home? Or do you want this new property on the water to be your full-time residence? The answer to this question greatly impacts what properties you should be looking for.

If you’re looking for a seasonal vacation property, then you won’t need to worry about things like weatherproofing or heating sources for the cold months. But if you’re looking for a full-time residence, you definitely want to make sure the property is fit for the cold months.

What you’re using the property for can also help when determining what size works for you. A small cottage may be enough for vacations, but it’s certainly not enough for a full-time residence.

So, before you even start looking at properties, be sure you’re clear about how and when you’ll be using this waterfront home.

2. Be Clear About What Waterfront Means to You

Waterfront property means a lot of different things depending on who you ask. Some consider a property waterfront if there’s a view and relatively easy access to the water. Others insist that waterfront property means the property is actually on the water.

Before you start looking at homes on the water, you need to have a clear idea of what waterfront means to you. Do you want to be able to walk into the water from your yard? Do you want your own private dock? Or is a property within walking distance of the beach sufficient as long as there’s a good view?

Once you’ve decided what waterfront means to you, don’t compromise. If the homes you’re looking at don’t fit your definition of waterfront, move on.

3. Consider How You Want to Use the Water

Knowing how you want to use the water your property sits on is very important when buying the waterfront home that works for you.

Are you more interested in sitting on a sandy beach than going in the water? Then a lakefront property with a dock probably isn’t what you’re looking for. Are you deadset on swimming every day you possibly can? Then be sure that your new waterfront home is on a body of water that is clean and safe enough for swimming. Are fishing and boating more your style? Make sure you check with the locals about the quality of the fishing and the specific boating regulations. Also, consider whether you want your own dock and moor or if you’re willing to pay for a slip at the marina.

You could have the most beautiful waterfront house ever, but if the water doesn’t fit the recreation you’re looking for you won’t be happy in the end.

4. Research the Shoreline and the Water

If your property is right on the water, it’s essential to research the shoreline. Work with local environmental organizations and town offices to find out how much the water typically rises every year. Also, gather information about how regularly the body of water rises to flood levels and if the property itself has ever flooded.

When doing your research, make sure to look at future projections for the shoreline as well. The body of water may not regularly flood now, but it may be predicted to flood more regularly in the future.

Other things to check may include whether the body of water has been closed due to red tide or algae growths and whether the water is generally regarded as clean and safe for swimming.

5. Look Into Additional Fees

More than other properties, homes on the water tend to come with additional fees. Some common additional fees are dock fees and marina fees. If you’re bringing a boat that will be in the water for the entire season or year-round, you’ll definitely need to research the fees involved in that. Other fees could include homeowner association fees, septic and water fees, and fees for leasing the lot.

Most people don’t consider these fees before purchasing a waterfront home because they’re not aware they even exist. All of these fees will factor into your monthly or yearly payments for the home. Be sure you know what all these fees are and how much they increase the monthly and yearly cost of the home.

6. Make Sure the Inspection is Thorough

You might think this one goes without saying, but when it comes to waterfront property it’s worth saying again and again. Homes on the water can have far more issues than other homes, especially if the property has ever flooded. Make sure that a thorough inspection of the property is done by a neutral party, and be sure to attend the inspection in person.

If there are any issues at all found during the inspection, be clear with the sellers about who will be resolving the issues. If you’re willing to pay, great. But if you’re not, make sure to get in writing that the seller will address all issues.

If there are any serious issues, consider leaving the property behind even if it’s your dream house. These kinds of things will cost you more in the long run than you can possibly predict.

7. Get a Realtor Who is Familiar with Homes on the Water

You may think that you can go it alone when purchasing waterfront property, but it’s probably not the best idea. There’s so much to consider when purchasing a home on the water, and it can be easy to lose track of all the details. Hiring someone who is experienced with waterfront properties who can keep track of all these little details will make your life so much easier.

Final Thoughts on Buying Homes on the Water

If you’re looking at homes on the water, chances are you’re looking for your absolute dream house. The place that offers instant relaxation and the perfect backdrop for your best memories.

Finding that perfect waterfront home can be really tough, but it’s much easier if you follow these tips and work with a seasoned professional. To start your search, check out our luxury listings today!