There is something magical about living on a waterfront, from the incredible vistas to even the scents and sounds of waterfront living. A lot of us have dreamed about living on a waterfront before, and buying or renting waterfront condos can be a good way to make that dream come true.
Of course, the reality probably doesn’t look exactly like the fairytale version of living on a waterfront you’ve imagined in your dreams.
There are some real pros and cons to buying or renting waterfront condos, and it’s important to think about those things before you commit to living by the water.
Don’t worry if you don’t know what you should be thinking about though, that’s what we’re here for!
We’ll talk about some of the top tips for buying or renting a waterfront condo, the pros and cons of waterfront condos, and what you should look for in a real estate agent to help you find the perfect condo.
Top Tips For Buying/Renting A Waterfront Condo
Buying and renting a waterfront is a little different from buying other kinds of properties. There are a lot more factors to consider, for one thing! Here are some tips to help make sure you get the best possible waterfront Condo.
Remember, you want to take your time with this purchase. The market is hot and it can feel like you’re going to have to jump to get a good property, but often it’s better to take some time to get used to the area and learn about the property before you’re committed to anything.
Here are some of our top tips for buying/renting waterfront condos.
Tour The Property More Than Once
If at all possible you want to tour properties you’re considering more than once, and at least a week apart unless you think the property will sell in that time.
This gives you a chance to get over the original impressions you have of a location (sticker shock, amazed by certain amenities, blown away by the view and access), and a chance to look with a more critical/logical eye.
Waterfront properties are prone to maintenance problems that are subtle and hard to spot on a first look, so this gives you a chance to look closer and spot any potential problems before you’re locked into a contract.
Look Into The Area’s Weather And Natural Disaster History
The past might not predict the future, but you can learn a lot about an area from the history of the coasts you’re considering.
You should also look into the history of the shoreline and see how it’s changed over the years. Big secret, most shores have changed at least a little in the last 50 years, and some have changed a LOT.
If the shoreline is retreating your waterfront condos might be water access or worse in 10 years, which isn’t good news if you’re looking for an investment property or are invested in being on the waterfront.
On the other hand, if the waterline is creeping inland that can be a problem too! You don’t want your waterfront condo to be an underwater sculpture in 10 years.
Natural disaster history can also tell you a lot about how your condo needs to be built. If you’re in a hurricane risk area, or even just an area that’s prone to severe thunderstorms, you want a condo that’s built to withstand that kind of weather.
Do Your Research – Hidden Fees Are Common
Condos are known for having hidden fees that can make them more expensive than they seem at first glance. Waterfront properties are also known for hidden fees, especially for water access, habitat maintenance, and other costs that help keep the shoreline as pristine as possible.
Those fees aren’t necessarily a bad thing, but you do want to make sure the property is still in-budget after you’ve added all the hidden costs.
Know The Insurance Requirements Ahead Of Time
One of the drawbacks of waterfront properties of all types is that they often have specialized insurance requirements for owners and renters. Unfortunately, another problem is that it can be difficult to find insurance companies that meet the requirements, which may mean that there’s only one company available and that you have to pay their prices.
Pay Attention To Local Amenities And Residential Perks
When it comes to waterfront properties there are generally three kinds – the ones designed for tourists and investors, the ones designed to be retirement properties, and everything else.
The properties themselves might not tell you what kind of property you’re dealing with, but the local amenities almost certainly will.
We can’t tell you what kind of property you want to purchase, but we can tell you that it’s worth the time it takes to make sure your property is in the kind of neighborhood you want to live in.
Avoid Bidding Wars
Prices for waterfront properties are already likely to be high, and some may actually be higher than the raw value of the property. However, they’re also rare and in high demand, which can lead to bidding wars on even the most overpriced locations.
You don’t want to get in the middle of a bidding war. That’s one of the best ways to pay far more than you should for a property.
Pros And Cons Of Buying Or Renting A Waterfront Condo
There are a lot of pros and cons that come with buying waterfront condos, so it’s worth taking the time to consider some of the most important ones.
Waterfront Properties Tend To Be High Demand Rental Properties
This one can be both a pro and a con. High demand means that you’re likely to get a good price if you decide to sell in the future, and can mean good rental prices if you decide to rent waterfront condos for part of the year.
The problem is that as a renter, you may end up paying more than these properties are worth. When buying, you might end up spending more money upfront and taking longer to recoup the cost than with a typical investment property.
You’ll Pay More In Home Insurance, And You NEED Flood Insurance
Waterfront properties almost always come with higher costs, especially when it comes to insurance and flood insurance. Expect to need both, and to pay premium prices to get them.
Luxury Living Is The Norm In Waterfront Properties
Almost all waterfront properties are built with luxury in mind, which means that you can expect some incredible amenities in many of these properties, including bathroom and kitchen improvements worth drooling over.
Expect Higher Taxes
Waterfront communities almost always have higher property taxes than the surrounding area, which can add to the overall cost of ownership and renting in a big way.
There Can Be Big Seasonal Differences
Many waterfront areas are highly seasonal, to the point that some surrounding businesses may close down during the off-season. You should be prepared for life to look radically different depending on the time of year, especially in tourist areas.
Condos Typically Offer Some Maintenance Breaks
One of the biggest advantages of living in a condo is that some of the maintenance on your building and surrounding grounds is usually taken care of. You’ll probably have some community fees for living there and getting that maintenance, but it’s more affordable than doing it yourself or paying for your contractors.
Condos Usually Mean No Private Access
Since you’re living in a condo, chances are you have shared access with other condos in the area. That means that you can’t expect perfect privacy from your beaches, but still means crowding should be limited.
How To Find The Perfect Real Estate Agent To Help You Find A Waterfront Condo For Sale Or Rent
Not sure how to find the right realtor for your needs? Here are some tips to help make sure you’re working with the right person.
Look For Someone With Experience On Waterfront Properties
Waterfront properties are a different beast than other kinds of real estate, which means that you want to work with a realtor that’s dealt with them before and knows what to look for. Ask your realtor about their experience, what they look for, and what a good waterfront condo means to them. Their answers will go a long way toward telling you if they’re the right realtor for you.
They Should Understand You Preferences And Choose Condos That Match
A good realtor always needs to be able to tune into your preferences. You should feel like they understand what you’re looking for in as little as the first couple of meetings. If they’re still giving you bad options several meetings in, and haven’t explained why they’re probably not the right fit for you.
You Should Be Comfortable Talking To And Asking Your Realtor Questions
Sometimes realtors can be intimidating to work with, but that’s absolutely the last thing you want. You should be comfortable with your realtor. They might not be your best friend, but they should be approachable and easygoing – that way you’re more likely to ask the questions you need to be asking.
Want to see what it’s like to work with the right realtor for your waterfront condo needs? Contact Teifke Real Estate, and we’ll make sure you’re taken care of.