Southern California’s waterfront homes include some of the most coveted real estate properties in the United States, and for good reason. The beaches in the region are among the best in the world, offering a lifestyle that many people dream of having.
Buying a waterfront property, however, presents its own set of challenges. You need to look into several factors that may not be an issue with other property types.
To help you avoid some common mistakes in buying a waterfront home, consider the pointers below:
- Work with real estate agents who have extensive experience with waterfront properties. These professionals know what to watch out for in a property and are familiar with the nuances that come with buying one. These include the legalities involved, the features that affect a property’s value, the soundness of the property, and potential future ramifications.
- Look into the property more than the house. Often, people buy a waterfront property for the lifestyle it affords more than anything else. If you’re looking to enjoy a daily swim or you want to have opportunities for fishing, boating, and so on, check if the property allows for these. The water may not be ideal for swimming or docking a boat, or the beach may always be too crowded for your comfort.
- Consider the location. One of the best things about waterfront properties is the privacy they offer. But a secluded location could mean greater distance from your place of work, schools, and urban centers. Ask yourself if you’re comfortable with this kind of tradeoff. On the other hand, if you’re the type who wants to get in the water as often as possible, consider a property that gives you the easiest access to it.
- Look into the structure’s soundness. Waterfront homes are more prone to damage caused by the elements, such as rusting from saltwater,storm damage, or beach erosion. It will also pay to look into the property’s history, particularly when it comes to flooding, wind, and similar weather-related events and elements.
- Know your legal limitations. Are you allowed to build a dock or a seawall? Does your property extend toward the water, and if it does, do you need to share water rights with other property owners? Are motor-driven boats, jetskis and similar watercraft allowedfor use? These are some of the legal issues you need to know about before buying a property.
- Learn about the factors that can affect the property’s value. Waterfront homes are generally priced much higher than other property types. Other factors that can affect the cost include the number and type of insurance you need, particularly in flood or storm-prone areas (which, luckily, isn’t much of an issue in the North County); the noise level from water activities;and the water amenities and amount of activity that can be done in the area.
- Find out what your responsibilities are as a homeowner. This is particularly true if you’re buying into a development with a homeowners’ association. An HOA would normally have a list of home maintenance and upkeep guidelines that you’re expected to comply with. Study the HOA’s conditions, covenants and restrictions carefully and make sure you can commit to them before finalizing a home purchase.