Tips for Easily Navigating Home Markets in Waterfront Cities

by Ben SanfordNovember 8, 2018

7 Things You Should Do When Buying a Home Near the Water

Living near water is a dream for many people. Being able to open your back door to a view of the beach, river, or lake is something typically reserved for summer vacations, but some people are fortunate enough to live waterfront homes every day of the year.

If this is a lifestyle that you envision for yourself, then before you start looking at home markets in waterfront cities, there are some things you will want to know. Here are seven tips to help you navigate waterfront markets.

buying a waterfront home

Find a Real Estate Agent Who Specializes in Waterfront Properties

Many real estate agents are specialists in certain types of properties. For instance, an agent may specialize in historic properties, fixer-uppers, or foreclosures. When you’re dealing with a particular type of home, you want to use an agent who is experienced in that arena. So, you should find an agent who specializes in waterfront properties in the area where you want to live. They will know more about the homes, help you find the best deals, and provide you with reliable information about living in a waterfront home.

Focus on the Area First, and the Home Second

Buying a waterfront home requires a different train of thought than buying an inland home. With a home on the water, the property should be your primary concern, not the home. The reason for this is because if the area surrounding your home doesn’t turn out to be as nice as you thought it would be, then you’re not going to be satisfied in your home.

For instance, you may purchase your ideal beach-side home, only to learn later that the beach is poorly maintained, attracts loud or rowdy people, or doesn’t allow swimming.

buying a waterfront home

Make Sure the Home Can Withstand Coastline Weather

Living along the coast can place you in some risky situations due to the severity of storms that can sometimes come in off the coast. Therefore, you need to make sure the property you want to buy can stand up to high winds and pounding rains. After all, you don’t want to have to be making major repairs every time a storm hits.

Understand Your Insurance Requirements

Insurance can be a complex undertaking when buying property in waterfront cities. Most insurance policies don’t cover water damage caused by flooding, so if you live by the water, this is something you are going to need.

In fact, in some waterfront cities, you’re required to carry three supplemental policies in addition to your general home coverage. These may include wind coverage, flood coverage, and general hazard coverage. As you might expect, your policy premiums will likely be higher than homes situated further inland.

Learn About Your Waterfront Property’s Limitations

If you buy a waterfront property with the hopes of installing a dock, then you’ll want to find out early on if this is even possible in your area. Many townships have limitations on what homeowners can do with their properties, so if you have plans to add on to or to alter your property in any way, do your research to make sure you’re actually allowed to do it.

buying a waterfront home

Learn About the Availability of Utilities in the Area

You might think that a waterfront home must have utilities in order for it to be sold, but this always isn’t the case. Depending on where you’re looking to buy, utilities like electricity, water, cable, and Internet may or may not be available. And, if you’re buying in an area where the utilities aren’t supplied, then you can expect to pay a costly amount to have them run to your property. Better to find out that your home doesn’t have electricity or any other utilities before you buy and move in.

Know the Responsibilities of Being a Waterfront Homeowner

Living on the waterfront requires a homeowner to have a certain amount of respect for their surroundings and neighbors, especially if you live in a community with a homeowner’s association. Every HOA has its own set of requirements and rules that residents must adhere to, such as property upkeep and maintenance, so it’s best to find out what your responsibilities will be if you plan on living in one of these areas.

Living on the water can be relaxing, soothing, exciting, and fun, but it’ll only be that way if you do your research and find the right agent for your needs. At, you can search for waterfront properties in every city, and we can even help you find an agent in the area where you’re looking to buy. Start your search for the perfect waterfront property today!

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About The Author
Ben Sanford
Ben is a real estate agent and freelance writer. He's lived on the east coast his entire life and is just as "at home" on a snowboard as he is in the office. When not writing about local real estate markets and researching hot new tips for homeowners, he can be found working on his home renovation projects with help from his wife Melissa and their kids, Josh and Cheyenne.