5 Things to Know Before Buying a Waterfront Home

Owning waterfront property is a goal for many homebuyers. Whether it’s a primary or second home, the rewards are plenty. Gorgeous settings often with panoramic views of the water. Direct access to outdoor pursuits, including beach or boating activities.

There’s also the financial incentive. Buy in the right neighborhood, at the right price, and along the right body of water, and you could reap a considerable ROI should the time come to sell.

While waterfront homes offer a far grander and more luxurious experience than their more terrestrial counterparts (there‚Äôs nothing like feeling you’re on an endless seaside or lakeside vacation), they do come with their own set of considerations.

Here are five things to know before buying a waterfront home.


Wind and rain, flooding and erosion. Buying near the water means dealing with the elements. Homes that sit directly on or adjacent to a coastline take regular torment from nature. When purchasing, due diligence on a coastal home’s construction is critical. Partner with a knowledgeable agent who understands waterfront property and can help ensure the home you’re buying is built at a proper height and meets an area’s location-based building codes. Consider tide levels near the ocean, or if buying along an inland lake or waterway, if a neighborhood is prone to flooding or landslides in severe weather situations.


Every home comes with its own set of maintenance requirements. Properties along or close to water need a bit more TLC. Water alone is a destructive force via flooding or leaks, both of which can produce mold. If you settle next to the ocean, saltwater (and, by extension, the salty air) is highly corrosive. If the thought of additional maintenance seems too much of a burden, consider purchasing a condo or property attached to a resort area. While the ownership responsibilities vary from site to site, the property’s upkeep is often included as part of your fees. You’ll spend more time enjoying your home versus tending to its needs.


Waterfront homes, just based on their general location, are pricier than inland properties. The idyllic location also translates to higher insurance rates. As mentioned, waterfront housing is more prone to damage from the elements, and in almost every case, a home along the shore will require flood insurance. For oceanside sites, policies can become increasingly complex and must factor in retaining walls, piers, and because this is Southern California, earthquake or fire dangers. Again, partnering with a knowledgeable real estate agent and insurance broker will ensure you get the answers you need and secure the right policies for your waterfront home.


Do you enjoy boating? Fishing? Want direct access to state parks or waterfront golf courses? Perhaps you just want to stroll out your back door and immediately sink your toes in the sand. Your choice of lifestyle plays a significant role in your choice of neighborhood and the home you ultimately purchase. For example, should you want to park your boat at home, ensure the home’s backyard dock and the local ordinances accommodate the size of your vessel. 


When buying a waterfront home, many buyers believe it to be a forever home, passed on through generations where family memories are made year after year. The reality, however, is plans and lifestyles change. After a few years by the sea or on the lake, you might need to move on. Making a wise investment upfront will pay off later on. Newer waterfront homes often hold their value better than those with far more miles on them. Also, consider already renovated homes, which are a great investment, but think twice before making your own improvements. Make sure whatever you put into your waterfront escape you can get back (and then some) when it’s time to sell.

Are you interested in buying or selling a home along the coast near Los Angeles? Perhaps you’re seeking more information on El Segundo homes for sale or Marina del Rey real estate? Contact Bill Ruane today and allow his years of experience and expertise to help you navigate the process.