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Waterfront Properties: What to Know When Buying One

Thursday, August 25, 2022   /   by Margie Wright

Waterfront Properties: What to Know When Buying One

Waterfront properties, regardless of the type of water, are a major popular property type. People want them for different reasons, but one reason tends to resound throughout all - waterfront properties offer beautiful views. The relatively easy access to the water also means being able to go out and relax whenever you want to. 

When you're planning on buying a waterfront property, all the same steps apply from normal home buying. Get preapproved first thing, be open to options, locate what areas you really enjoy, get a list of your needs and wants, and always have a real estate agent to help you. There are a few additional measures you should take when buying a waterfront property specifically, though.

What Kind of Waterfront?
You have to consider what kind of waterfront property you'd like to purchase first. A lake, river, or ocean, each option differs depending on the area you're looking at. Here in East Tennessee, we obviously don't have the ocean option to choose from. But lakes and rivers are abundant! Even with only lakes and rivers to choose from, you have to decide on your preferences. Are you okay with murky water or would you prefer clearer water? Do you want to be closer to a more popular spot or be more secluded?

Make sure you know the difference between a waterfront property and a property with water views, water access, or having water privilege. A property with just water views will not be on water like a waterfront property would be. Instead, you can just see the water from your home. With water access, you may not be on the water or even be able to see it from your property. Having water access means you'll just be able to go to the water either from your property or a community-owned property. If a property has water privileges, this means that the property is not waterfront nor does it have views. However, you can go to the water from a community-owned property or an easement. You can still have access to water via a water access or water privilege property, but those options may not be what you're looking for if you want to be right on the water.

Location First, Home Second
There are several reasons to focus on the location first. First, because if the water surrounding the home isn't what you ideally wanted, you won't be happy inside or outside the home. You have to be happy with the location first. Then you can start looking at the homes.

Further, you have to be happy with the location because that's where you'll be living for a while. Each waterfront location will have a different aesthetic and different lifestyle. It could be a neighborhood with or without an HOA. The neighbors could always be planning and getting together. Maybe there are regular events happening on the water. You have to know that you're comfortable with the location and really want to live in a home there.

Find an Agent and Get Searching!
Once you know what you're wanting, make sure you have a trusted agent (like me!) to start searching. Make sure you're preapproved so that way you know your true budget and can be ready to make an offer as soon as you find what you're looking for. Your real estate agent will be able to find homes that you may not be able to find as easily. They'll be able to help you get all the information about the home, water, and area. And they'll be able to help you make sure you're getting the best deal.

Questions to Ask
- Is there an HOA?
- Can I build on the property?
- Are there any water use restrictions?
- Can I use a boat?
- Can I swim in the water?
- Can I fish?
- Can I use water vehicles?
- Are there any utilities? If so, what utilities?

Pros and Cons of Owning a Waterfront Property
One benefit is the health benefit of water! Living near water can help reduce stress levels - which is something we all can benefit from. Plus, purchasing a waterfront property is a long-term benefit that will be great for you and your family. It's not uncommon for such properties to become a legacy property that gets passed down through the generations. Not only will you be investing in your future but also your family's future.

One thing to consider is that there are additional costs associated with waterfront properties. Most home insurance policies don't cover any water damage caused by flooding, so this will be something you want. That does mean an additional cost, but the peace of mind will be entirely worth it.

There's also typically more maintenance involved like ensuring that any docks and boat lifts are properly maintained and up to date. The water has to be taken care of. And more than likely, it won't be a private ordeal. With everyone using the water around you, expect to see people hanging around. You'll really get to know your neighbors this way!

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Hurst Real Estate and Auction - Margie Wright Property Marketing Group
Margie Wright
221 East Main Street, Suite 103
Morristown, TN 37814

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