1. Find a Waterfront Real Estate Agent. You want a true waterfront expert. The average agent won’t have the detailed knowledge of properties along Maryland's bays and tributaries. You want an agent to help you find the best deal on a property that’s right for you. Be sure you know the facts about waterfront real estate before going to settlement.
2. Location is important. Consider the property and location more than the structure. Think about what you want out of the property. Oftentimes you will hear about the importance of location. This is rarely more true than it is with buying waterfront homes. People often fall in love with a house. After they buy it, they sometimes realize things aren't what they seemed. The boats come too close to the shore or go too fast. Strangers fish from their dock. It’s difficult to get down to the water. Remember this. When buying any waterfront real estate, you can change the house. However, you cannot change the location. Therefore, be sure to buy waterfront property that you really love. The location is most important.
3. Consider your lifestyle requirements. Choose a waterfront property to fit your lifestyle. You may find a beautiful piece of property along the water for sale. Then you find out it's thirty minutes or an hour away from any shopping or town. Perhaps you love to go fishing, yet still be close to town. If so, be sure to focus on the activities you’re passionate about. Therefore, be sure to choose accordingly when buying waterfront real estate. Ask yourself what’s most important.
4. Financing Options. Secure financing early in the process and run the numbers to determine your personal budget. Since buying waterfront real estate can be more expensive, it may require another type of financing. Loans will often have to fall under the jumbo mortgage category. It’s very important to find out what you’re qualified for with a waterfront lender. Pre-approval should be done before searching for waterfront real estate.
5. Home inspections. Make sure the structure is strong enough to withstand the weather. Waterfront homes receive more abuse from the elements than the average home. The Mid-Atlantic region is known for harsh winters and hot summers. Therefore, extra measures should be taken to protect them when buying waterfront real estate. Regardless, you still need to avoid corrosion from salt air with stainless-steel locks and fixtures. You will also want to make sure you have a sturdy bulkhead in case of issues of a high tide. A knowledgeable waterfront home inspector can point out potential hazards.
6. Insuring your investment. Insurance can be costly and complicated. Look into this early to make sure you know what you’re getting into. Consider a wind policy, a flood policy and a general hazard policy, which may or may not all be through the same insurance company. Understand the full cost and coverage options from a knowledgeable Insurance professional.
7. Understand the law. Find out what you are allowed to do with the waterfront property. What if you want to make changes to your waterfront property, such as adding a dock or seawall? Be sure to research this information early in the game to ensure that these alterations will be possible. Keep in mind that government agencies can be difficult to deal with after buying waterfront real estate.
8. Due Diligence. Ask neighbors if they enjoy living in this waterfront community. Ask if they have any issues with the property. Also, ask if they know why the sellers are selling. Prior to buying waterfront real estate, find out if there are any waterfront-related problems.
9. Infrastructure costs. In rural areas, look into utilities. When buying waterfront real estate, buyers used to the convenience of suburban life may assume that utilities are readily available. They think electricity, water, sewer, cable and Internet will be all ready to go at their new waterfront home. This is not always the case. It can be very expensive to bring utilities into remote areas. Understand all of the costs!
10. Responsibilities.Get to know your responsibilities as a homeowner. You may be part of a homeowners association. If so, find out if any HOA fees or requirements may exist. Find out if there is upkeep and maintenance requirements from HOA or other governing association. You or your waterfront agent can even talk to the HOA’s management company.