Imagine ocean breezes, the scent of salt in the air, local beaches, waterfront dining at home, a sunny day bike ride to the beach, running or walking at sun up or sunset with boats bobbing alongside the path; Parking your boat in the back yard, going for a waterfront ride to your favorite ocean side restaurant and bar; Catching the dolphins jumping as the sunsets on your boat ride home. Imagine sitting out pool side, relaxing to the calls of seabirds and ropes taping gently on the mast of a nearby sailboat. Come live your coastal dreams.
To be sure your dreams don’t become a nightmare when purchasing a coastal home, here are some simple questions to ask and why you should use a local expert.
Find a real estate agent who’s a true waterfront specialist, in the area you will be purchasing. One of the most important factors when considering a waterfront property is the knowledge and expertise of a LOCAL waterfront agent. Depth of water, access to the main body of water, tides and bridges that may limit access or boat size varies at each waterfront home.
Insurance can be costly and complicated. There are so many rumors about flood insurance and variables on homeowner policies. There are savings you can receive based on elevation certificates, four point inspections and wind mitigation surveys. You want to work with a professional who can refer you to a couple of insurance specialists in the area.
Find out what you can do with the property. If you want to make any changes to your waterfront property, such as adding a dock or a seawall, start this process early to ensure that these alterations will be possible. Government agencies are very strict to deal with, and you don’t want to commit to purchasing a million-dollar home without knowing that you can really do what you want to make it your own. FEMA has dollar limits on improvements on a coastal home.
Get to know your responsibilities as a waterfront homeowner. If you’re part of a homeowners association or civic association, find out what kind of upkeep and maintenance of the property will be required from you by reviewing the conditions, covenants and restrictions. Talk to the HOA’s management company or hire a realtor who lives in or has expertise in that neighborhood.
Consider the property more than the structure. Oftentimes, people fall in love with a house, but after they buy it, they realize they can’t have the size boat they want, the bugs are a problem, it’s difficult to get out to the open water, or the place is not very private. Check out the channel depths, the tides and property size. The location, property size and structure of the home is much more important than the color of the tile or the curb appeal.
I have owned, sold, renovated and decorated hundreds of coastal homes over a 35-year career in Interior Design and Real Estate. Come meet me at the coast.