Top Ten Secrets for Buying
the Best Water Front Property to Build your Dream Home
Finding the perfect waterfront (or water front) property to build your dream home is not as difficult as you might imagine. Of course, you will want to be sure that the property you select can actually accommodate the home that you desire.
At the Kirkwood Group, with over 19 years of experience in selling waterfront property on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, we have accumulated a significant list of important things to consider when purchasing waterfront (water front), beachfront (beach front), ocean front or water access property. We have whittled that list into the most important aspects of buying waterfront property and share it as our Top Ten Secrets.
Print this out as a handy reference for when you are reviewing different properties.
Waterfront property may be found in fully developed communities, new communities and simply as vacant property that is not part of an established community. Each can be a fantastic choice, depending on your needs and preferences.
Some of the most exciting opportunities for waterfront/access/view property are in under-developed or even rural areas of the country. These areas cost less and don’t have as much congestion and commercialism as the more highly developed “touristy” areas.
Another benefit to rural areas is their attractiveness if you don’t plan to build for some time. When the time comes for you to build your dream home, you are less likely to find that a rural area has changed so drastically that you feel like it is no longer the same property and dream you originally bought into.
Our Top Ten List helps you to ensure that you consider the important yet often hidden items when buying your property that make a big difference when you get ready to build.
- Let’s take care of the basics first. There is a difference between waterfront, water access, and water view. Waterfront means that there is nothing between you and the water. Your property “fronts” on the water.
Water access means that you have access to the water, either via a walkway, a dock, ramps or other means. Your property could be a half mile from the water with the view blocked by trees, and still be considered “water access”.
Water view means you can “see” the water from your property. Of course, what you may see is a little sliver far off into the distance, but you can “see” it.
Whether or not any of this makes any difference to you all depends on the vision you have for your home. Waterfront isn’t something everyone wants. Water access may be more important to you. Just be aware that there is a difference in these terms.
- Give thought to the lifestyle that you want when selecting your water front property. Make a list of the amenities that are most important to you and those that would be nice but are of lesser importance.
Local amenities may include shopping, cultural events, personal interests and hobbies, recreational and leisure pursuits, airports, etc. Consider the level of luxury you expect. Some people are seeking a quiet, laid-back lifestyle, while others want the glitz and glitter of the city. You can achieve the best of both worlds with a rural property located near a large city.
- If your property is in an under-developed or rural area that does not have access to city water, make sure that it is approved for well and septic systems.
- Again for property in under-developed or rural areas, check to be certain that electricity is available; specifically that lines are available and accessible to the property.
- You are probably familiar with the idea of “Protective Covenants”. If you are considering property that is part of a community, you want to select a community that has protective covenants so that your investment is protected from undersized structures and other items that decrease the value. Be sure to inquire. You want to be certain that you are building in a “like kind” community. Your dream home won’t retain its value when your neighbor erects a 650 sq. ft. cabin made from driftwood and discarded glass.
- Make it a point to understand “riparian rights” when purchasing waterfront and make sure that you are purchasing your riparian rights. This means that you own “to the mean low tide water mark” (which is measured over a 20 year period).
In Virginia, you get riparian rights that allow you to build a private dock. Contrast that to other states where you would have to pay a substantial amount to the state to build across the states riparian rights. If having your own dock on your property is an important part of your vision for your dream home, riparian rights with your property become an important consideration.
- Roads to your property or within the community should be built to state standards and either maintained by the state or county or there is a set fee paid to the homeowners association for maintenance of the roads. You do not want to get into a situation that is just a farm road that someone put in that does not have a specific plan for maintenance.
- When purchasing in a new community where amenities have not yet been built, check out the other communities that were built by the same developer to see if improvements were actually put into place. You want to work with a developer that has a strong history of completing the developments with all the amenities that were promised.
- Find out what the set-back regulations are in the county of your desired property. You want to ensure that your dream home will fit on the property. For example, if you want to build a ranch house on a 100 foot wide lot, and the set-back regulation calls for your side set-back lines to be 25 ft., this lot would only accommodate a 50 ft wide home. Set-back regulations can have a serious impact on the home you are allowed to build.
- Ask whether or not there is a time frame for building. Are you required to start or finish your new home by a certain date? If you want to get the property now and enjoy the luxury of waiting to build at a more convenient time, or if you are getting the property as an investment, you will want to be sure that there are no restraints on when you must build.
The Kirkwood Group specializes in waterfront and beachfront communities – including private beaches - with a long list of luxury amenities. For a no-obligation, full-color information package, you may us call
toll-free at 1-800-343-3224
or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The office is open every day from 9AM to 5PM.
Get Our Price List and Available Properties
Click here for a Full-Color Information Package.
We do not rent, sell or lease your email address.
Click below to visit the Kirkwood Communities
Properties We Offer in
Other Eastern Shore Communities