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Buying a House on the Water: What You Need to Know

two chairs on a dock looking at the water |

With summer well underway, you may have a trip to the beach or lake on your calendar. While you’re there, it can be fun to consider buying a house on the water. Whether you’re looking at an oceanfront, bayfront, or lakefront property, special considerations must be made. 

For today’s blog post, let’s discuss six tips to keep in mind before buying a house on the water.

1. Focus on the property more than the home.

Let’s be honest: Thanks to the bright colors, luscious landscapes, and quick access to the water, it’s easy to fall in love with a waterfront house. During the home buying process though, it’s crucial to consider the property instead of the structure. How are the views from the back porch or living room? Is the nearby water good for swimming? What about your privacy from your neighbors? Remember: You can change a house, but you can’t change the location.

2. Find out what you can do to the property.

If you’re considering renovations or additions, research your options before you commit to a home. You may have government regulations or rules from a homeowners association that limit your capabilities, like building a dock or adding a pool to the backyard. You don’t want to purchase a million-dollar home without knowing you can truly make it your own!

Similarly, you want to find out what kind of activities are allowed on the water. Some areas may have restrictions on speedboats, jet skis, or even water sports.

3. Choose a piece of property that makes sense with your lifestyle.

It’s crucial to find a spot that really fits your family’s needs. Do you plan to take a walk on the beach every morning? If so, a house that’s a 20-minute drive to the ocean would make this activity challenging. However, a lot that’s a few blocks (or less!) from a boardwalk would work well. Similarly, if you’re a tennis player or have young children who love to play on the playground, consider your proximity to these amenities as you look at properties.

4. Look into homeowners insurance.

Before you commit to buying a house on the water, it’s important to consider your options for homeowners insurance. In Florida, waterfront homeowners have to buy three policies: a wind policy, a flood policy, and a general hazard policy — which are typically not available through the same provider. 

5. Ensure your new house can withstand the elements.

Along the same lines, waterfront properties are more exposed to the elements than the average home. Consider how the structure is already protected from bad weather and what you have to do to protect it further (i.e. storm shutters in hurricane-prone areas, stainless steel locks near the ocean, etc.).

6. Start the process for loans early.

Waterfront properties are typically more expensive than other properties, so a loan often falls into the jumbo mortgage category. Begin working with a lender before you start looking at properties, as the process may take longer than normal. At the Urban Dog Group, we work closely with Michael Dean of CrossCountry Mortgages, who can offer much-needed guidance as you purchase a waterfront home.

As you can see, buying a house on the water can make a real estate transaction even more complex.

Fortunately, the team at Urban Dog Group is well-versed in this process.  If you’re interested in a home in the Orlando or Tampa Bay area, reach out today to get started!

Are you looking specifically for an investment property to rent or use as a second home? Check out this blog post for tips!

Let The Urban Dog Group help you with your real estate needs. Contact Christine Elias at

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