Waterfront property can be a profitable investment and provides a wonderful living experience, but it’s important to remember that ocean view and lakefront properties come with challenges that don’t apply to other homes.
Ocean Views = Coastal Weather
Waterfront property can be beautiful, but, depending on the region, it can also be subjected to damaging storms and wild weather. Beachfront homes tend to take a pounding during hurricanes and insurance rates are high as a result. In some parts of the country, where hurricanes are prevalent, it may be impossible to obtain hurricane coverage on a beachfront home.
The same consideration applies, to some degree, to lakefront property. A small lake isn’t likely to kick up much of a storm, but storms and waves on the Great Lakes can be as ferocious as any ocean storm.
Flooding is also a possibility with lakefront property. Find out how stable the lake level is before you buy. If the lake has a history with rising water levels, you'll need to be sure your home is above the highest historical watermark.
Plumbing, Power and Water Supply
Lakefront property can’t always be hooked up to local plumbing, power and water supplies, meaning that alternative sources must be found. A lakefront property may rely on well water, and septic systems must be carefully maintained to prevent contamination of the lake.
You May Want to Reconsider Making Improvements
Although hauling in some sand or building a dock may constitute an improvement for your life along the lakefront, it can also cause a decline in water quality. The lower the quality of water, the harder it will be for you to sell your home in the future. Living along a lake typically makes you a steward of the lake, behooving you to sustain the lake’s current water quality if it’s good, and improving it if it’s not. Ensure before purchasing lakefront property that you enjoy its natural state. If you start thinking of ways to improve it, this is probably not the property for you.
Private Beaches and Public Concerns
Access to beaches and waterways can cause disputes between private landowners and the public. Beachgoers may trespass to reach the water. Landowners may mistakenly believe their property line extends to the water, which can lead to arguments and bad feelings in the community. Understand your legal rights, and the legal rights of others, before buying beachfront property.
Many waterfront properties are advertised as having private beaches. Depending on your state, this may or may not be true. In Hawaii, for instance, almost all beaches are public. Beachgoers cannot trespass over private land to reach the beach, but if they can reach the beach legally (via public trails or watercraft), they have a right to be there.
Despite the complications that often accompany ocean and lakefront property, a house next to the water can be a wonderful experience for the right owner, and is often a wise home investment.