Waterfront or Water-close Living

A lot of people dream of owning a home with a view of some type of water. On the west coast of Florida, this is not such a tall order. There are homes with direct views of the Gulf of Mexico, some that look out on one of the many canals, and some that just enjoy the view of a smaller lake or pond.

In general, owning a waterfront property is a good investment. The mere fact that there is a limited supply of waterfront land creates a higher demand for these homes (many are tall structures built on a small lot!) and these homes typically enjoy continuous value appreciation. In addition, a home on or near a desirable body of water provides a potential sources of rental income to the owner.

If you are thinking about buying a waterfront or water-close home, be prepared for a much longer list of things to consider prior to purchase than you would on an inland property. Here are some things to think about:

  1. Commitment to more home maintenance.
    The home will not have any blockage from the elements, at lease on one side, so it can be vulnerable to intense sun rays, driving rains and winds, etc. Salt air can cause problems such as corrosion of wood, metal, etc. High humidity can cause mold, which can damage surfaces and be a health concern. Even people bring sand into the house on their feet can cause damage to floors!
  2. Proximity to water sports.
    This can be an appealing feature if you’re into some form of water sport. But keep in mind that others will be playing too, making noise, crowding the waterways, and trying to peek into your yard or home! And don’t underestimate what you will end up spending on water toys, outdoor
    furniture, etc., for entertaining by the water.
  3. Higher insurance.
    It is usually more expensive to insure a home by the water. Flood insurance is typically not included in a homeowner’s policy and needs to be purchased separately. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is only available in approved areas and offers maximum coverage of only $250,000. To insure amounts above $250,000 a homeowner must turn to private insurance coverage, which can be costly.
  4. Potential for hidden costs.
    Water and sewer costs may be higher than for homes inland. If there is a septic system, this may be more costly to maintain. There may be boat dock or boat lift fees.
  5. Restrictions on home improvements and additions.
    Want to add or rebuild a dock or construct a second story on your dream home? Review and approval of your project may be required at the city, county, state and federal level. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has something called the “FEMA 50% Rule,” where stricter building codes are required if the cost of the project exceeds 50% of the current cost value of the structure (this is an extremely simplified explanation of an extremely complex issue!). Experts must be consulted and this can be a huge, unexpected expense.

The agents at Preferred Properties of Sarasota have the expertise to guide you through these issues and many others that come into play when buying or selling a home by the water. Call us today!

Serving the Sarasota Bradenton community since 1985.


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