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6 things to consider before buying a waterfront home

Long Beach Island background at sunset showing docks leading into the bay

Island housing market. The benefits of living in such locations – beautiful outdoor views, relaxing sounds of the water, and long summer days – make life more exciting, comfortable, and fun. Of course, before you buy one of the Long Beach Island homes for sale on the waterfront, it pays to know what you’re getting into.

Here are 5 things to consider before buying a waterfront home.

  1. Flood insurance

    Since you’re buying property near a body of water, you’re going to need flood insurance. High tides, storm surges, swells, and other weather-related issues have the potential to destroy your home completely. Flood insurance can be pricey, but it’s better than ending up with nothing to speak of in case the absolute worst happens.

  2. Bulkheads

    Many waterfront properties have a bulkhead or seawall at the shoreline – large barriers made of stone, concrete and/or lumber that protect the soil around the property from erosion. Depending on your area and the regulations it follows, the responsibility of maintaining the bulkhead may fall on you, and you may not be allowed to build or repair it as you please. It’s important to know your options regarding the bulkhead on your property before buying the beachfront home.

  3. Drainage systems

    Just as it is with bulkheads, you need to know the existing policies for repairing and upgrading the water and sewer systems for your home. Be on the lookout for properties without any sewer or septic system—something that many old properties may be guilty of. Lenders usually require that a house be equipped with a septic tank, which can add thousands of dollars to the price tag. Make sure to check the property’s access to basic utilities (e.g. water, electricity, gas) as well.

  4. People in the community

    Remember that water isn’t private property, so it’s best to get used to seeing swimmers, jet skiers, fly fishers, kayakers, and other water users who might find their way so close to your shoreline and dock. Also, make sure to talk to your neighbors and ask their opinion about life in the community. They could provide valuable insights to help you get the most out of your property once you’ve moved in.

  5. Deterioration

    Wind, moisture, salt, and other natural elements can speed up the deterioration of exterior surfaces. Anything exposed to the sun, sand, and sea will wear down faster over time. As you shop for a waterfront property, find out about what the home’s exterior is made of and their resiliency to the elements. Wooden sidings like clapboard and features such as metal railings will require more upkeep than if the property were located inland.

  6. Taxes

    Property taxes on waterfront properties are inherently higher because of demand, which can increase your tax burden. Research the tax history of the property you’re considering and make sure it’s accounted for in your monthly payments. While you’re at it, factor in every fee you can think of. Research online or consult a real estate agent. You don’t want to be blindsided by hidden costs that can considerably affect your finances.

Ready to buy your waterfront property?

Once you’ve done your homework, you can happily shop for the waterfront home of your dreams. If you need help looking for Long Beach Island houses for sale, seek assistance from local real estate experts like Craig Stefanoni. His years of experience can prove valuable to helping you find the right property faster and for the right price. Call Craig at 609.432.1104 or email cstefanoni(at)zackshore(dotted)com