6 Things to look for when buying a waterfront home

Dated: February 21 2020

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Florida is home to many waterfront properties, although if you plan to purchase a home on the water it’s important that you know a few things to look out for. For one, the inspection process is unique for waterfront homes compared to non-waterfront properties.

 What to Look Out for When Buying a Waterfront Home

 1.     Land Survey

There’s a chance that you could own part of the water, that’s where a land survey comes in handy to determine exactly how far your property extends. This will let you know if you are responsible for the seawall or any other construction on the beach or close to the water.

 2.     Pests

 Certain pests are common to waterfront homes and so it’s important to make sure the home you purchase is not infested with termites or other pests that could damage the woodwork or other elements of the property. A home inspector can determine if pests are present, but in some cases, it is recommended to get the opinion of a pest inspector. Carpenter bees are a common issue that may be found if there are holes in the siding or foundation. These holes must be sealed after the nests are destroyed. 

3.     Use and depth of water

 Check out local ordinances to ensure you have the freedom to use the water in front of your property as you wish. Additionally, make sure that the depth of the water at your dock and leading to it is deep enough to accommodate the draft of your current boat or of a boat you are hoping to purchase.

 4.     Insurance for Waterfront Homes in South Florida

 You may need to get a different kind of insurance for waterfront property, so it’s advised to speak with your homeowner’s insurance prior to investing in a property to make sure insurance rates won’t be too high and that the home is insurable.

 Waterfront properties must be covered in three distinct areas: a wind policy, a flood policy, and a general hazard policy.  In some cases, a property may not be in a flood zone even if it is waterfront so flood insurance may not be “required” . However, it is Florida and it is always a good idea to have flood insurance. 

 5.     Is there a Boatlift, Dock or Seawall on the property?

 Seawalls are incredibly common for waterfront homes in Florida. These walls are typically made of aluminum, concrete, vinyl, steel or natural coquina rock. They are vital to controlling coastal and water erosion that’s why it’s so important for them to be made well and out of the right materials. Seawalls must be able to withstand powerful waves and nonstop water pressure. Even the best seawalls require ongoing maintenance. It’s important to check the status of any existing seawalls and then determine if there will be additional costs associated with repairing or maintaining the wall once you become the homeowner.

 The boat dock is another common feature on waterfront homes in Florida. Boat docks offer an ideal way to easily access the water from your property via boat, jet ski, and so forth. Check to see what size boat the dock can accommodate to ensure it will fit your boat, or any other requirements you may have. Make sure the boat dock is in good condition and doesn’t require any repairs. If it does, it’s a good idea to factor in the cost of these repairs before investing in a property. 

6.     HOA

 No two homeowner’s associations are exactly the same, and HOAs governing waterfront properties may be unique from standard associations. Make sure you review the HOA documents or schedule a meeting with management so that you are in the loop on any changes, details, or special requirements that come with a particular waterfront property.


Talking to neighbors is a great way to gain information about all of these things and more.


Coastal Home Team is here to help you with every aspect of purchasing a waterfront home in Florida. Contact us today to get started finding your dream home!

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Lourdes Sliwa , the founder of the Coastal Home Team, has been helping sellers get top dollar for their homes since 2009. Her listings sell at an average of 28 days at 97% of asking price. Her past e....

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