The process of buying a home or a property can be quite complex and time consuming especially when you are looking for water access only property. In the beginning of your search you may take a few preliminary steps including:
- writing down some of the top priorities that will guide you through buying the best property that suites your needs.
- preparing a list of features that will help you narrow down the best property that fully meets your specifications.
- hiring a realtor to help you find the best water access only property for you.
But buying water access only property comes with its own unique set of considerations. In this article we highlight some of the top things to consider before buying water access only property.
1. Will the bank lend you money to buy the property?
The unique attributes of water access only property makes it difficult to access a mortgage. In particular, banks are less inclined to lend money to homeowners borrowing money to buy boat access only property as very few people are interested in buying these kinds of properties in case the homeowner defaults on their payments. Water access only properties have lower demand and finding buyers to resell the property to may be difficult. It is therefore important that you determine if you can get a mortgage from a bank to finance boat access only property (assuming you require a loan). For those banks that are willing to lend you money, be sure to review the terms and conditions of the mortgage to ensure that you do not run into any last minute issues at closing.
2. Insurance costs
Water access only properties may require higher insurance costs for a number of reasons. For instance, they often sit unattended for extended periods of time and go without necessary repairs for longer periods as well. They are also exposed to higher risks of weather related issues such as flooding or hurricanes. Due to these increased risks, insurance premiums are often much higher. Accordingly, it will be important for you to ensure that you account for these costs when crunching the numbers.
One of the major things that you need to consider when buying a water access only property is quite obvious: its accessibility. Most of boat access only properties are located in remote places away from the city so it is important that you determine how the property will be accessed from time to time. Are ferry or water taxi services available to the property? What about moorage for your boat? Is it accessible by float plane? Accessibility is perhaps the most important consideration when deciding on what water access only property to buy. There are any number of ways to access such a property but they all differ in terms of cost and convenience. In short, you should only buy a property once you have identified convenient and affordable means to easily access the property.
4. Local amenities
Water access only properties are mainly located in secluded areas and may be difficult to access some of the local amenities for day-to-day services. If this will also become your primary residence, then it is even more important to consider accessibility to local amenities such as hospitals, schools, restaurants, shopping malls, fire halls and financial institutions among other facilities. Do some research as you walk through the neighborhood to familiarize with the distances you may need to walk, drive or boat before you can access these amenities. If the closest grocery store is an hour away and you’re hoping to play dinner host to friends and family often then perhaps its not the right property for you.
5. Utilities and environment
You will also need to determine the overall environment you are looking for in a water access only property. Are you looking for a beach house on the water with full access to power, water and sewer utilities? Or perhaps you are looking to disconnect from busy city life and are better suited to own a remote lakefront cottage with no such access? Access to utilities can greatly change the use and enjoyment of a boat access only property so its important to determine exactly what you’re looking for in this regard.
Other environmental considerations may include regional weather conditions, seasonality, landscaping and other factors. If you purchase a property as a summer escape then perhaps you’re not concerned that its inaccessible during the winter months. If, on the other hand, you want to use the property year-round then be sure you understand how your use and enjoyment may change throughout the seasons. What is the overall layout and landscape of the property? Will your entire family get to enjoy it? Long, steep stairs will be difficult for elderly people and small children as will an old rickety dock.
6. Can the house be rented?
You may also want to consider renting out the property in the future. If you are only using the property part time then perhaps you may want to rent it out short term and recoup some of the maintenance costs. Or perhaps you’re looking to rent it out long term initially before using the property yourself later down the road. Either way, do your research and see if the property can be rented out on either a short or long term basis. For instance, are short terms rentals legally permitted in the area? If so, how much could you expect to earn? Who will manage the property? There are also certain practical difficulties with renting out water access only property so be sure you consider all aspects beforehand.
7. Maintenance costs
Maintenance costs may vary substantially depending upon the type of property and the particular location. It is thus essential to determine these maintenance costs before buying the property. Weather, seasonality, building condition and access to power, water, and repair services are all factors that will impact maintenance costs. If a boat access only property is located on a remote island without access to power then it will be challenging to complete timely and affordable repairs. Waterfront property, especially property located close to the ocean, will also require its own unique set of repairs as mother nature does it work. For these reasons you should expect that the cost of maintaining a water access only property is higher.
Buying a water access only property presents its own unique set of considerations, beyond the accessibility of the property itself. Before embarking on your home buying journey, be sure to pay particular attention to the items discussed in this article. It is also important to work with a good advisory team, including a realtor, mortgage broker, accountant and lawyer, to help you through the process. Good Luck!