Factors Affecting the Purchase of Waterfront Real Estate
When people think of Maine they often associate it with
waterfront — whether it’s the spectacular Maine coast or one of our many
lakes and rivers. People dream of owning a home on the water, whether
it be a lake, river, or ocean — camp, cottage or estate. For many, views
of sunrises and sunsets on a peaceful lake or sounds of the crashing
surf bring feelings of happiness, serenity, and calmness. If you think
you may be ready to make this dream come true for yourself, there are a
few considerations you may want to reflect upon before taking that first
Considerations Before You Buy Waterfront Real Estate
Firstly, address the exact reasons why you want to own a
waterfront property. What kind of activities do you plan on doing?
Boating, fishing, and swimming are common water activities, but cannot
be accomplished on just any body of water. Be sure that the water on
your prospective property can accommodate your needs and desires.
Decide if you want to have rural surroundings, or if you would
like to live near more urban conveniences. Choose your prospects
Be aware of any federal, state, and local laws that may affect
you as a waterfront property owner. Research these laws before deciding
if that waterfront home is really for you.
Know that, as an owner of waterfront property, you will have a
responsibility to protect that environment for future generations. This
practice is called stewardship and should never be taken lightly.
Protecting the natural shoreline of your waterfront real estate will not
only benefit the environment, but your investment as well.
If you're interested in building a boat house, make sure that
there aren't Restrictive Covenants preventing you from doing so. Many
lake areas limit the building of new boat houses and docks.
You want to be sure that the quality of the water meets your
personal standards. The water, wildlife, and lake bottom are just some
of the important factors to consider. Remember, while the landscaping of
your land may be altered to your specifications, the water is the one
thing on your property that cannot be changed.
Ideally, you want your shoreline to be sandy. Mucky shorelines
are not very pleasant to walk on. While there will almost always be some
muck on the shore, less is better.
If you plan on fishing on your lake, be sure to research the native species of fish living within your body of water.
If you're looking at lakefront property, you need to determine if
the lake is constant level or not. If it's not a constant level lake,
then the water levels could change drastically.
The lake bottom is another substantial factor to consider. As
with the shore, you don’t want an overly mucky bottom. Preferably, you
will most likely want a sandy bottom or similar material.
The clearer the water, the better. “A recent study of over 1,000
waterfront properties in Minnesota found, when all other factors were
equal, properties on lakes with clear water command significantly higher
Making an Offer
Make your sales contract contingent upon obtaining insurance.
Contact the state insurance department to find insurers that cover your
area and assistance programs for coastal properties. Also, be aware that
insurers generally won't compensate you for land lost to beach erosion.
Before you make the purchase offer, consider making it
conditional on an inspection of the land or on another specific item.
For example, if you don't have access to sewage lines, make the offer
conditional on your ability to obtain permits for a septic system. Plus,
you should always make your offer contingent on your ability to obtain
Remember, investing in waterfront real estate requires common sense and due diligence, just like any other investment.