Living the dream – buying a home on the water

Published on Jul 01, 2021

Living the dream – buying a home on the water

For many people, the idea of a dream home starts with purchasing waterfront property. Whether your ideal property sits on a lake, the coast, or on an intercoastal waterway, living on the water offers scenic views, calming breezes and a year-long vacation vibe. While there are many great benefits to living on the water, there are certain factors you should consider before diving in. Make sure you have these addressed before purchasing your first waterfront home.

Flood Insurance 

You may be required to purchase flood insurance if your house is in a flood zone. Flood insurance rates have skyrocketed in recent years, especially in coastal areas, and have become a growing burden for waterfront homeowners. If you’re looking at waterfront property, do your research as to whether or not it is in a flood zone, what the average flood insurance premiums are in the neighborhood, and be sure to budget accordingly. You should also note that some very flood-prone areas may not offer flood insurance which may impact your mortgage.

Homeowners’ insurance

In addition to costly flood insurance premiums, your regular homeowners’ insurance premiums may be higher if your house is located on the water. Check to see what the current homeowner is paying in insurance on the house you are interested in, or talk to your insurance agent so you can make an informed decision.

Environmental regulations

There may be a coastal commission, HOA, or other organization that limits what you can and cannot do with your house. If you’re buying a house with an eye towards future expansion or renovation, make sure that there are no restrictions of which you need to be aware of.

Public access

The beauty of your waterfront property may attract visitors which could mean increased traffic in your area as well as less privacy for you and your family. Take this into consideration before purchasing a house in a popular spot.  

Weather considerations

Anyone who is thinking of living on a body of water should be aware they may be subject to the dangers that come with that. Depending on your location, your property might be more susceptible to damage from hurricanes, flooding, storm surge and more. The impact of storms like Hurricane Katrina or Superstorm Sandy are vivid in our collective memories and many waterfront properties were destroyed. While no property is immune to weather events, homes on the water are even more susceptible to weather-related damage. 

Advanced home features

Because of storm risks, homes along the water need additional protection such as hurricane shutters, impact resistant windows, roofs and even garage doors that meet greater wind resistant standards, and more. These precautions can be expensive, although not as expensive as having to repair or rebuild your home.  

Must have accessories

When you have a place on the water, you are more likely to become a destination for visiting family and friends. You may decide you need a boat, jet skis, awesome outdoor furniture, or all of the above. While those are fun expenses, they can also add up quickly.

As long as you go into your waterfront purchase understanding and preparing for the potential drawbacks, there are still many things to love about a house on the water. The advantages of waterfront living are many (and obvious). Beautiful views, fresh air and/or saltwater, relaxation – a house on the water is synonymous with the good life. Additionally, your house will likely see very high appreciation rates, meaning that you can get an amazing return on your investment if you ever decide to sell.

If you aren’t living in your property year-round, you can rent it out to visitors who will pay significantly more for a waterfront vacation rental. Finally, if your home is truly waterfront, you have the reassurance that your waterfront view will not change, and potential new neighbors won’t be able to build and block your picturesque view.