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7 Tips For Buying A Waterfront Home In Florida
Dated: November 30 2022
7 Tips for Buying a Waterfront Home in Florida
For many home buyers, buying a waterfront home or condo is one of the most exciting experiences they’ll ever have when it comes to buying a home. Buying a waterfront home is as much about lifestyle as it is investing in real estate. These properties are often coveted in most of the trendiest and refined areas of Tampa Bay (In Pinellas County, think St. Pete Beach, Treasure Island, Redington and Madeira Beaches, and Clearwater Beach, just to name a few). Often times, waterfront homes come with a hefty price tag if you’re on a popular beach or if the home is located on deep boating water, making this one of the biggest investments a homeowner will ever make.
When searching for the perfect waterfront home, whether it’s a beachfront condo or boater’s dream home on the Gulf of Mexico or Intracoastal Waterway, you'll want to use a real estate agent with extensive experience selling waterfront homes. Someone who not only knows what kinds of things to look for in these homes, but who also truly knows about the areas you’re shopping in. As local Realtors in the Tampa Bay, FL area that have been selling waterfront homes for over 35 years, we're sharing some of our top home buying tips when it comes to finding that perfect home by the sea! Keep reading below to find out more:
Once You Find the Waterfront Property of Your Dreams, There are Several Other Things You’ll Want to Consider Before Going to the Closing Table
Locating that perfect waterfront home is just one of many steps you'll want to take before closing on your next home...check out our list below of some of the top items you'll want to check into before you buy that next home!
Get a Seawall Inspection- Unless you’re purchasing a home located directly on the white sandy beaches of the Gulf of Mexico, you’ll want to have the seawall inspected by an experienced seawall inspector. These inspectors are dedicated professionals, typically with an engineering background, that can identify potential problems, including the age of the seawall and any future repair costs. This is an important step to take during your home inspection period once you’re under contract. While there is an additional cost for this type of inspection, it can help you negotiate the best price for your home and potentially save you thousands of dollars in future repair costs.
Get a Flood Insurance Quote- Most listing agents know what their clients are currently paying for flood insurance on their waterfront home. However, thanks to new flood laws that took effect in 2021, a homeowner's current flood policy rate may not always be assumable by the next homeowner. Flood insurance costs can vary dramatically from property to property, by thousands of dollars per year. To get the best flood insurance rates, you’ll likely need an elevation certificate to get an accurate flood quote as well. PRO TIP: Ask your Realtor to see if the current owner has one they can share...or plan on ordering one when you get a survey (prior to closing).
Consider the Property Location Before You Sign a Contract- Often times when buyers fall in love with a waterfront home, they forget to consider the quality of the location. In some locations, the water can be too shallow for boating, pie-shaped lots may have limited space for a future dock or boat lift, or views may be obstructed by mangroves or large trees that can be prohibited by law from ever being removed. If you need to add a dock or boat lift, check with local government agencies regarding the steps you’ll need to take to have it constructed.
Question the Home’s Construction- Is the waterfront property you love made from block construction? Or is it frame construction, built on block stilts? Some older homes are simply wood frame structures. A waterfront home is exposed to much harsher elements than their inland counterparts, so find out if the home comes with hurricane shutters, if it’s ever flooded, and what condition the roof and windows are in. For example, some homeowners have invested thousands of dollars in hurricane impact windows that require no storm shutters. Items like this are valuable upgrades you’ll want to be aware of. The construction of the home can also influence insurance costs greatly in Florida.
Consider the Front and Back Exposure of the Home- Are you hoping for sunset views over the water? If that’s something that’s important to you, be sure to know which direction the home faces in front and back. Some buyers want South facing homes on the water to avoid glare and intense sun at certain times of days while others want the rear of their home to face the West for prime sunset views over the water. Decide which buyer you are and find the home that suits your needs.
Find Out What’s Nearby- Is your home walking distance to any popular beaches or restaurants? What will parking look like for you at holiday events? (Think 4th of July fireworks on the beach in Tampa Bay or higher boat traffic near popular places like John's Pass) Decide if you’d like to be in the middle of it all, or on a quieter, unbeaten path (think a smaller canal vs open water) with less foot and/or boating traffic.
If You’re a Boater or Planning on Becoming One- Not only will the dock and boat lift be an important consideration for your next home if you love to go boating, but don't forget to check out the depth of the water at low tide as well. If you have a large vessel or are planning on buying one, find out if the homes you look at will fit a boat that large on an existing dock/lift AND find out if there are any low-lying bridges or narrow canals that might create a future problem.
An experienced local Realtor should be able to address all these items with you, easily and clearly. Experience is everything when selecting a Realtor to help you find your waterfront dream home, so be sure to do your research. As always, feel free to contact us at The Sandy Hartmann Group for all your waterfront home buying or selling needs in Tampa Bay…we've been selling waterfront and beachfront homes in Pinellas County and around Tampa Bay, FL for over 35 years.
Searching for a Waterfront Home in the Tampa Bay/Pinellas County area? CLICK HERE to see a list of waterfront homes for sale now...
Andrea is the Managing Partner of The Sandy Hartmann Group and runs the team alongside Sandy Hartmann. She would love to talk to you about real estate! Andrea was born and raised in the Tampa Bay a....
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