Guiding Home Buyers: Key Considerations When Purchasing Waterfront Homes

November 30, 2023
8:00 am

When advising prospective buyers on the intricacies of acquiring waterfront properties, the experienced real estate agent highlights the allure and challenges of these captivating residences. Potential homeowners must consider several critical factors before embarking on their waterfront property journey.

Flood Zone Determination

Before committing to a waterfront property, it’s essential to determine whether the property resides within a flood zone. The Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) offers a convenient web resource for such assessments. Should the property fall within a designated flood zone, standard homeowners insurance will not safeguard against flood-related damage. In such instances, it is imperative to engage a qualified insurance agent to procure flood insurance coverage.

Higher Insurance Premiums

It’s important to note that insurance premiums for waterfront homes are typically higher due to the elevated risk of storm damage, especially along coastal regions such as the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. A responsible homeowner should be prepared for these added insurance expenses.

Hurricane Preparedness

Waterfront properties along ocean coastlines or barrier islands demand meticulous planning for potential hurricanes. A comprehensive hurricane plan should encompass measures to mitigate flooding, such as installing window boarding and placing sandbags around the residence. Additionally, one should outline evacuation procedures to ensure safety in case of an emergency.

Erosion Mitigation

Properties situated beside lakes or streams may face the risk of erosion when heavy rain runoff flows into the body of water. To combat erosion, homeowners must employ strategies like ground cover landscaping, retaining walls, and diversion methods. However, these erosion mitigation efforts will contribute to overall ownership costs.

Septic System Regulations

County health departments enforce more stringent regulations on septic systems near bodies of water. Buyers may be obligated to install an aeration septic system or position the system away from the water, incurring substantial additional expenses.

Property Tax Considerations

Due to the increased value of waterfront real estate compared to landlocked properties, homeowners should anticipate higher property tax bills.

Homeowners Association Rules

Waterfront communities often have homeowners associations (HOAs) that impose rules and guidelines governing the use and maintenance of the property. Prospective buyers should thoroughly review the association’s Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions documents, which may cover aspects like dock and boathouse upkeep. It’s important to know that HOA dues in waterfront communities are generally higher than those in standard neighborhoods.

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