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Mistakes to avoid when buying waterfront property

Waterfront homes have a lot to offer. They bring privacy, relaxation, and give you access to a ton of outdoor activities. Making a good purchase decision when buying a waterfront home hinges on your being adequately prepared, however.

Here are the most common waterfront home buying mistakes and how to avoid them:

1. Not considering the property’s location
When buying a waterfront home, one of the first factors you should look into is the property’s location. If you’re hankering after some Long Beach Island NJ real estate, for instance, you might want to ask how far the property is from the city. Is there a quick way to get to grocery stores and shops? Are there essential services and facilities such as hospitals or even, perhaps, schools nearby? And lastly, is the water even accessible? Knowing the answers to these questions can help you determine whether the property is right for you or not.

2. Failing to properly inspect the property
Many home buyers make the mistake of falling in love with the waterfront property before getting the chance to really inspect it. Aside from the views and the amenities it offers, you also have to consider whether the water itself is safe to swim in. What activities can you do in and on the water? How do you gain access to the water from your home?

Moreover, your proximity to the water means you also need to make sure that your home’s structure isn’t only sound, but built to withstand the elements. You need to check not only the structure’s foundation but also the condition of the soil that it’s standing on. Even seemingly inconsequential things, such as gates, locks, or grills ought to be carefully inspected. Those made of iron are more prone to corrosion than those made of copper, bronze, brass and galvanized steel.

3. Being unaware of bulkhead responsibilities
Typically made of rock and stone, a bulkhead is a wall or barrier that stands between your property and the water. If your potential house has one, check whether you’ll be responsible for maintaining or repairing it. It would be best to hire a certified bulkhead specialist to conduct an inspection for you.

4. Not checking community rules and regulations
If you plan on making any additions or improvements to the property, make sure that they are allowed by the local community. Waterfront communities typically have strict guidelines on what can be built or renovated on the property. Some even have restrictions on the type of building material to be used and the proximity of the project to the shoreline.

5. Being unaware of your financing options
Just like any other property, waterfront homes can be purchased with the help of a mortgage. And since these homes are typically higher in value, you’ll often need to get a jumbo mortgage.

A jumbo mortgage is a type of loan used to finance the purchase of properties that go over the typical loan limit. Buyers can also purchase their home upfront by paying in cash, which doesn’t require them to pay interest.

6. Foregoing flood insurance
Flood insurance is a necessity when buying a waterfront property. Flood insurance will cover your property’s structure and its contents in case of water damage due to flooding. As a precaution, do some research on your potential property to determine what flood zone it falls under. This will give you a better idea on the type of flood insurance you should get.

You can also consult several qualified insurance providers to get a better idea of how much flood insurance you may need.

7. Not seeking information from your neighbors
Your neighbors are a useful source of information about your potential home and neighborhood. They can provide you with helpful insights on living in that particular community.

If you’re visiting the area and you happen to see a potential neighbor, take the time to introduce yourself and ask if they would mind answering a few questions. Make sure to ask open-ended questions that would encourage a meaningful exchange.

8. Hiring an inexperienced real estate agent
When it comes to buying waterfront properties, it’s always best to work with a real estate agent who’s not only experienced, but one who specializes in this market. Unlike for traditional homes, there are unique factors to be considered, such as the waterfront home’s structure, features, and location.

Real estate agents who specialize in waterfront homes know best where and how to find the right waterfront home for you. They are intimate with the local real estate market for these kinds of properties.

Checking out the houses for sale on Long Beach Island, NJ? Let Craig and Sharon Stefanoni of Berkshire Hathaway Zack Shore Realtors help you navigate the home buying process. Get in touch with them here. You can also reach the team at 609.432.1104 and CStefanoni(at)ZackShore(dotted)com.