Waterfront property can pretty alluring because you’re buying both land and the waterfront all in one swift stroke. After all, if you live there, it will be much like being on a perpetual vacation. But that same attractiveness has led many buyers to experience not a little remorse later down the road. Buying any property is typically a pretty complicated affair, but buying waterfront property comes with its own special set of complications. So make sure you know what you need to know before laying down your hard-earned cash. To help you out, here are 5 things you should know about buying waterfront property in Seattle.
1. The Property May Be More Important than the House/Structure
When buying waterfront property, you should keep squarely in mind that the property itself may very well be a more important concern than the house or other structure that sits on it. So when it comes to waterfront property in Seattle, here’s what the pros advise . . .
“Oftentimes, people fall in love with a house, but after they buy it, they realize the swimming is mucky, the view’s not very good, it’s difficult to get down to the water, or the place is not very private . . . You can change the house, but you can’t change the location, so buy a property that you really love.”
2. You May Be Limited in What You Can Do
Before you get locked into the purchase of waterfront property in Seattle, you also need to find out exactly what you can – and can’t – do with and to the property. If you want to make changes or improvements to the property, make sure early on that you can, especially if any government agencies (which can be fairly strict) are involved.
In addition, you need to find what kind of activities are and are not allowed on the water. Many areas have restrictions on jet skis and speed boats, and others don’t allow gasoline-powered watercraft at all.
3. You Must Talk to Neighbors and Look into Utilities
Similarly, be sure to talk to your potential neighbors to get a real feel for the property and the area. Ask them whether they enjoy living there and why and whether they’ve had any specific issues or problems. They will also be a good resource to find out about restrictions.
And utilities may be a concern with waterfront property in Seattle (or anywhere else really). Often, people who “are accustomed to the convenience of suburban life may assume that electricity, clean water, an adequate septic system, cable andInternet will be readily available at their new property, but this is not always the case. Bringing these services into remote areas can be very expensive . . . so investigate these issues before buying.”
Also, be sure to consult your agent on both of these points for more information. To discover more about this, just call (206) 578-3438.
4. Insurance Will be Different and (Possibly) More Expensive
People who buy waterfront property in Seattle are often taken by surprise when it comes to insurance – by both the added complexity and the higher premiums.
You may have to buy more than one policy to cover such things as the house itself and flood and wind, depending on the area and exact location. In addition, “[w]waterfront homes have more expensive insurance policies than non-waterfront properties because they’re at higher risk for flooding and wind damage . . . Flood insurance is costly, to begin with, and depending on what type of flood zone your property is in, it can get superexpensive.”
So you need to make sure you “understand what insurance policies the property requires and how much they will cost. Find out the latter from an insurance broker who has written recent waterfront policies.” Your local agent may also be able to provide some guidance here.
5. You Need an Agent Who Specializes
Perhaps the most important thing you should know about buying waterfront property in Seattle is the importance of an agent who has extensive and recent experience with such properties in Seattle. Even better would be a local real estate agent who specializes in waterfront properties.
“For example, if you’re looking at either a lake or a beachfront property, the agent should know whether the bottom of the water and the shoreline are rocky, sandy or muddy. The agent should also be able to tell you what recreational activities are possible on the water. The agent should also be able to connect you with your potential neighbors and other locals who can share their perspective on living in the area.”
Simply put, you need an agent who understands and can help you navigate the complexities of buying waterfront property. And we have the agents you need. So if you’re thinking about buying waterfront property in Seattle, contact us today at (206) 578-3438.