California Real Estate Search

Waterfront Properties

 

 

For Some waterfront homeowners, living by the water means 24/7 access to sun, sand, and watersport recreation. For others, Waterfront living equals a quiet place to connect with nature, Whatever lifestyle you're looking for, there's a waterfront property to suit your needs.

When selling a home, a real estate agent and the seller must be on the same page as one another.  This is even more critical for a seller and real estate agent when selling a waterfront property, as it can be more “tricky” than selling a three-bedroom ranch in a suburban neighborhood.

A real estate agent who says selling a waterfront property is the same as a three bedroom ranch is not being honest or does not have any experience in selling waterfront properties.  This can also be said for selling a luxury home, a condo, or town home.  Each type of property is marketed and sold differently.

Now that you have decided to sell your waterfront property, what things should you be aware of when selling a waterfront property?  Here are several tips for selling a waterfront property, that if followed, will lead to a successful sale.

 

Price It Right, From The Start


As with any type of real estate sale, the biggest factor of whether or not a home sells or does not sell is price.  The price which a home enters the market will do the majority of the marketing of the home, meaning, pricing a home right will make it sell.  Pricing a home wrong will cause it to sit.  

When selling a waterfront property, pricing it right, from the start is extremely important which takes experience.  There are several methods to determining the list price of a home that a great real estate agent will use.  The most common method that real estate agents use to determine value is by completing a comparative market analysis, also known as a CMA.  Several other factors a real estate agent should take into consideration when determining the proper price of a waterfront home include but are not limited to;

  • Location – This is a very cliche real estate term.  Location is important when selling any home, however, the location of a waterfront property is even more magnified.

 

  • Waterfront Size – The body of water that a property is located on is very important.  There is no general formula for determining price based on waterfront size, however, the size of the waterfront can impact the value of a waterfront home, both positively and negatively.

 

  • Frontage – This is a very important factor that needs to be taken into consideration when a real estate professional completes their CMA.  Generally, the more the frontage, the higher the price.  Is the frontage level or sloped?  Is the water depth conducive to allowing boat access?  Is the frontage able to be used for recreational purposes?

 

  • Amenities – Many waterfront properties are part of a “community.”  These communities often have several amenities, such as clubhouses, pools, or fitness centers.  These amenities come with a price tag, usually by way of a homeowners association fee (HOA).  In addition to the community amenities, it’s important that a real estate agent knows what amenities the waterfront property has, such as private docks or beaches.

When selling a waterfront home, the most fail-proof method to determining the price is by obtaining an appraisal.  When selling a waterfront home, the cost to obtain an appraisal, which generally costs between $300-$500, is money very well spent.  Waterfront properties are normally worth hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars, so several hundred dollars can mean an ROI of several thousands of dollars.

 

 

Hire A Top Producing Real Estate Agent


When selling a waterfront property it is critical that a great, knowledgable real estate agent is hired.  Selling a waterfront property cannot be done purely by luck.  Some real estate agents will put a sign in the front yard of a home and put the information into the computer and hope that is sells.  These real estate agents are known as a “post and pray Realtor.” 

There is no crystal ball that can tell you whether the real estate agent you hire will sell your home.  There are however several tips for interviewing Realtors that should be followed when selling your home.  

What do top producing real estate agents do to sell waterfront properties?  Here are just a few things that real estate agents with experience in selling waterfront real estate will do.

 

  • Know The Competition – When selling waterfront properties, a real estate agent must know the competition.  Every waterfront property is unique but a top producing real estate agent should be able to determine what the competition is.  By identifying the competition, a great real estate agent will know how to market their listing and get it sold!

 

  • Know How To Sell The Waterfront Lifestyle – Selling a waterfront property is more than selling a piece of real property.  When selling a waterfront property, a real estate agent needs to sell the waterfront lifestyle as well.  Real estate agents who have experience in selling waterfront properties will make suggestions such as staging the shoreline with beach chairs and umbrellas or staging the outdoor patio with furniture and a grill.  A buyer who can envision themselves having a relaxing day on their private beach or a BBQ on their patio is more likely to make a solid offer.  Another creative lifestyle selling tip that real estate agents should suggest to their clients who are selling waterfront properties are water “tours.”  What better way to sell a potential buyer on a waterfront property than taking them out on the water for a “tour.”

 

  • Know How To Sell Your Home With Words –  Real estate agents are limited to the number of characters they can use for their properties descriptions.  There are some real estate agents who do not use any of the characters and others who use them all.  A top producing real estate agent should know how to sell your waterfront property with the description.  Since over 90% of home buyers are using the internet to shop for homes, it’s critical to sell a waterfront property and lifestyle with the limited characters provided.

 

  • Know How To Sell Your Home With High Quality Pictures & Videos –  The saying “a picture is worth a 1,000 words” is very true when it comes to selling waterfront properties.  High quality photos and videos are imperative to selling waterfront properties.  Taking photos of waterfront properties is different than showcasing that three bedroom ranch in the ‘burbs.’  The quality of the photos are very important but also are the angles in which the photos are taken.

 

  • Know The Waterfront Properties “Ins-and-Outs” – When selling waterfront properties, there are specific things that a top producing agent will need to know about the property.  A very important thing for a real estate agent to know is whether the waterfront property will require flood insurance or not.  If so, this can drastically change a potential buyers monthly mortgage payment and should be disclosed to any potential purchaser to eliminate problems with financing at the last minute.  A top producing real estate agent will also know to ask about the waterfront properties waste disposal system.  Is the property on public sewers?  Is the property on a septic tank?  Does it have a holding tank?  If so, when was it put in?

 

            Prepare The Waterfront Home For Sale

When selling a home, it’s important that a home is prepared properly before listing it for sale.  When selling a waterfront property, it is very important as well and there are some specific things that should be considered.  Buyers who are considering a purchase of a waterfront home will have very particular things they will be looking for in each potential property.

 

  • Waterfront Visibility – When buying a waterfront property, the view is one of the most important things to a buyer.  Before listing your waterfront home for sale, triple check on the view of the water.  Seems like a very simple and obvious thing, but it is common to see waterfront property with an obstructed view of the water.  Take the time to ensure all trees, bushes, and shrubs are trimmed nicely and they are not left obstructing the gorgeous waterfront view.  Also, cleaning the interior and exterior of all the windows in the home is a easy way to increase the visibility to the waterfront.

 

  • Dock Accessibility – There is no doubt that when selling a waterfront property, a potential buyer is going to want to see the dock.  Before listing your waterfront property for sale, make sure it is relatively easy to access your dock.  If it is difficult for a potential buyer to access the dock, it is possible they may pass on your home.  It’s a good idea to also ensure the stability of the dock is of high quality.  The last thing you want to kill the sale of your waterfront home is an unsafe dock.

 

  • Shoreline Cleanliness – This may seem cumbersome, but the cleanliness of your shoreline at your waterfront home is important to prepare before selling. For example, a seaweed infested shoreline can be a major turnoff for a potential buyer and can be avoided.  Take the time to evaluate your waterfront properties shoreline and if there is something that can be corrected, it is worth correcting!

 

  • Curb (“Water”) Appeal – When selling a home, the homes curb appeal is extremely important, as it is often a potential buyers first impression.  It becomes even more important when selling a waterfront property.  When selling a waterfront property a seller must now also be aware of how their home looks from the water.  Waterfront properties that are being sold are often inquired about from a boater who maybe taking a ride around the lake.  A great real estate agent should have a for-sale sign in front of the waterfront property but also on the shoreline.  If a waterfront property looks run-down from the water, it can turn-off a buyer right away.

 

Selling a waterfront property does not have to be rocket science.  With the proper preparation, execution, and by following the above tips for selling a waterfront property, you can be assured the process will seem relatively stress-free and successful.

 

 

 

Many people dream of living somewhere that they can just walk out and drink in the spectacular views of the ocean or lake surrounding their property. This picturesque setting gives homeowners a sense of resort-style living on their very own private oasis. Generally, waterfront properties are a little more expensive than the typical home found among real estate listings, but really, that luxury is completely worth it!

 

Waterfront properties can be found along coastal cities, lining the shores of vast lakes, or even along scenic rivers. No matter where you’re looking to settle down, unless of course you’re more of a desert-dweller, you’re bound to find some beautiful opportunities to acquire a vacation-style waterfront home.

Whether you’re looking to relocate, acquire a private vacation home, or searching for your ideal retirement property, there are a few things to factor into your considerations when looking at waterfront properties. To help with your purchasing process, we’ve compiled this handy guide to help you in your search for your dream waterfront home.

Know Your Properties

To start off, it’s best if you fully understand the difference between each type of water-based properties, as there are a few different options. The very definition of waterfront property includes any land located along the edge of any body of water. The differences occur when it comes to the type of water where the property is situated and the accessibility to that water.

The three main types of property surrounding bodies of water include:

  • Waterview - This means that from your home, you can see the water but your property does not sit directly along the banks of the water. These properties are one of the more affordable properties, as you get the benefit of the incredible views, but you don’t get direct access.
  • Water Access - This means that you can easily get to the water via a shared pathway, beach, or pier. Many of these properties offer dock access and are excellent options for those who own a boat. Sometimes the method of reaching the water is public and sometimes it’s private. If you’re looking for private access, be sure you inquire about this detail before making any decisions.
  • Waterfront - This is the ultimate luxury: direct access to the water. Depending on the type of water your home is situated on, this may be in the form of a private dock, boathouse, or beach right on your property.

If you’re searching for a true waterfront property, make sure your land backs right onto the water instead of just including the views or the access. Not all properties are listed specifically as “waterfront” as some are listed based on the type of water that the home interacts with. This could be in the form of beachfront property, which backs onto a beach with access to the lake or ocean beyond, or maybe a lakeside property nestled along the shores of a man-made or natural reservoir. If you become familiar with the different terms, you’ll be able to spot the properties you want to check out among the many listed waterfront homes.

A Step-By-Step Guide to Buying Waterfront property

Home-buying can be an intimidating experience no matter what type of property you’re looking for. Add in the maintenance and upkeep of a property on the water, and there are so many factors that may slip your mind in the process. To make things a little smoother for you, we’ve put together a few simple steps to keep in mind when looking at waterfront properties.

1. Find an experienced agent. Not all real estate agents have experience with waterfront properties, while some dedicate their careers to this wonderful type of home. When you begin the process of purchasing a home, one of the first things you want to do is find an agent to assist you in what can be an overwhelming process.

Someone who’s familiar in dealing with waterfront properties will know all the right questions to ask, particularly when it comes to the wear and tear of the structure due to the proximity of the water, they will be able to provide information about the surrounding water including what the bottom of the water is like, whether the shoreline is rocky, muddy, or sandy, and what recreational activities are allowed on the water, and they will give you an idea of the demographic of your potential neighbors.

2. Carefully inspect and walk the property. When you’re dealing with a property near the water, there are different maintenance requirements expected compared to a typical, land-locked home. While you’re touring a potential property, keep an eye out for potential damage caused by the proximity of the water. For example, oceanfront properties will have the potential of corrosion on the exterior structure due to the salty air. Excess moisture in the air can also lead to more mold or mildew issues, so be sure to ask about any current or reoccurring issues before you make any decisions. If the house includes a basement, you’ll want to inquire about water seeping in or any possible flooding during heavy rains.

3. Look into the shoreline’s history. It’s good to know where your shoreline comes from and how exactly it used to look. As water and dirt mix over the years, it’s possible for the shoreline to move. Getting a look at what the property looked like in the past will give you an idea of how it could look in the future.

If the shoreline is receding or has moved farther out on your property, that means that over time you may end up having to walk quite a ways to reach the water. Or, if your property includes a dock, your boat may end up hitting rock bottom.

If the shoreline is gradually sneaking up onto your property, that could mean trouble down the road. As the water level rises, it encroaches on the house and could possibly infiltrate its space, causing a great deal of water damage. A rising water level is a sign that maybe you’ll want to pass on this property.

4. Make multiple visits. If you’ve found a property that you love, meaning the house checks all your boxes, the water is perfect for your recreational activities, and that view is just to die for, you’re going to want to make a second or third trip to see the property. One thing to keep in mind when you book your return visit is to go at a different time of the day. If you saw the property during the day, try to go around sunset. If you first toured on a weekday, come back on the weekend. This will allow you to view your potential home in different lighting and get a feel for how busy the area and the water are on the weekend. This will help you to truly envision yourself living there.

5. Check out the insurance requirements. Waterfront real estate is a tad more complex than traditional real estate, particularly when it comes to the insurance requirements. Waterfront properties need to take into account the increased risk of flood damage, potential hurricane and earthquake damage, as well the natural wear and tear caused from living near the water, particularly the effect of salty air or added moisture in the air.

Due to the added risk to waterfront homes, the insurance is typically more expensive than a generic property. As such, you need to understand just how much you’ll be investing in insurance and factor that into your budget before signing any paperwork. Your realtor, especially if you chose someone with an extensive background in waterfront property, will be able to advise you on the appropriate insurance needs for your waterfront property.

6. Be aware of any hidden costs. Every home comes with its own share of expenses and hidden costs that you may or may not have anticipated when you set your budget. It’s best to be as prepared for these expenses as you can when you so we’ll lay out a few costs you may not have thought of.

When it comes to waterfront properties, you need to consider:

  • water and sewer rates (which can be more expensive than inland rates)
  • boat dock and lift fees
  • septic tank fees (as well as the costs of upkeep)
  • added lawn maintenance
  • lease lots (if the government owns the lake as well as the shoreline, you’ll need to lease the land)
  • bulkhead maintenance (the upkeep of the barrier between the water and the land)

7. Come up with a strategy for your property. This is particularly important if you’re searching for a part-time property. If this is going to be your home-away-from-home, you’ll need to devise a plan for what you’ll do with the property while you’re not occupying the space.

Many people find that the cost of owning a second home is a little too much for their budget and so they rule it out as an option. But there are definitely ways to rake in a little extra cash to help with the financial burden of owning two properties. Plenty of people opt to rent out their homes while they’re not living there. If you’re comfortable with other families living in your home, this is an excellent option to help pay for utilities and property taxes.

8. Consider a resort property. A great way to cut back on the maintenance and stress of caring for waterfront property is to look into properties attached to a resort. The area may be busier than a private property out on the lake, but you’ll get the added benefit of a wide range of amenities that come with the resort. You’ll likely have access to the resort’s swimming pools, restaurants, and gyms.

If you’re considering a property in a resort and you’re looking to keep it as a vacation home, you can rent out the property while you’re not there. Oftentimes, the resort will even help you find renters for a commission. Some of these properties may cost more upfront due to the additional services that come with the home, but many homeowners agree that the extra amenities are worth the price.

Finding the perfect waterfront home takes a lot of patience and effort but if you can find that sweet spot, it’s totally worth it! Living on the water is the epitome of rest and relaxation and is worth the hassle of searching through the many available options. With the right real estate agent on your side and a bit of know-how when it comes to what you should look out for, this experience can be exciting and relatively stress-free. The amount of locations that offer a variety of beautiful waterfront properties allows some flexibility to those looking to find their dream home. It can be an arduous task, but for those willing to stick it out and do the proper research, the pay off is incredibly rewarding!