Buying Waterfront? Ask These Questions First!

Posted by Melissa Barrett on Thursday, May 24th, 2018 at 3:45pm.

Whether it be a seasonal cottage, a year-round cottage, or your full-time home - a waterfront property is often a dream for many! If you’re lucky enough to make this a reality there are some questions you should consider prior to signing on the dotted line.

Avoid pesky unwanted surprises after closing by ensuring you know what you’re getting into with a waterfront property. Being local realtors and residents in a waterfront community, we have the knowledge and expertise you can count on to help you navigate purchasing your waterfront property.

Here, we break down the main questions you should ask about the waterfront property you’re considering purchasing:

  1. What is the shoreline like? – Is it sandy, rocky, rabbles, weedy, mucky? What are you planning to use your waterfront for? Some shorelines are easy to clean up if they’re not ideal – but others you’re stuck with what’s there. Be sure the shoreline works with your needs.
  2. What is the structure of the shallows? – Is it swimmable? Reedy? Hard bottomed? Is there a steep drop off? Or a gradual incline? How deep is it at the shoreline? Can you dock a boat if necessary?
  3. What is the view? – Granted it may not seem like an issue when you’re initially viewing the property, but for the long-term, would you want to be looking at a run-down cottage across the lake if that were the case? Look at your surroundings and ask about any future plans that may affect your views
  4. Are there any limiting features for docks? – The property you’re looking at may or may not already have a dock in place. If not, is there a reason? Are there any municipal restrictions or limiting features about the property that would make it difficult to put in a dock? How long can your dock be?
  5. How noisy/congested is the waterfront? – If your property backs onto a public beach, how busy does that beach get? Are you on a busy lake with speed boats zooming by?
  6. What type of boats are allowed? – Depending on the size of lake or waterway your property of interest is on, there may be some restrictions on the size of boat allowed. This is a big question to ask if you already have a boat! It would be a terrible outcome if you are a boat owner, and cannot use your boat on your waterway!
  7. How accessible is the property? – What will you be using this property for, and does it’s accessibility work with your requirements? This question is important for emergencies, and mainly winter access. Is the property a boat access cottage? Year round? Three season access? Be sure you know any limits!
  8. Are there any erosion issues? – Look for evidence of potential erosion, fresh bare soil, slumped banks, exposed roots or water channels. You wouldn’t want a portion of your property, to wash away in a major rainfall
  9. What wildlife frequent the area? – If you have small children you want to know if there have been any sightings of potentially threatening animals.
  10. What are your neighbours like? – If your waterfront property is meant to be a peaceful, tranquil setting – you certainly wouldn’t enjoy neighbouring party animals! And vice versa, if you’re looking to party through the warm temps, we would hope you would not want to disturb your neighbours either!
  11. Does the water level fluctuate? – How close are the structures on your property to the waterfront? What is the likelihood of flooding during the spring melt or heavy rains?
  12. Are the structures on your property four seasons? – What will you be using this property for, and does the structure match your needs? How easy or difficult would it be to winterize should you wish?

We hope that these questions will help you in determining which waterfront property is right for you so you can enjoy beautiful views and endless seasonal fun!

Have more questions, or ready to start your search for your next cottage or year-round home? Call us today for a no obligation chat with a member of our team.

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