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Testing The Waters: What To Look For When Choosing A Freshwater Waterfront Property

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Owning a picturesque home by a lake, river or canal is the ultimate dream of many homeowners, and when shopping around for freshwater waterfront properties, it can be easy to fall in love with the very first home you inspect. However, the dream of waterside living can quickly turn sour if you don't choose a waterfront property that suits your needs, as purchasing a waterfront property tends to be a little more complicated than buying a conventional landlocked residence.

To help you avoid some of the common pitfalls of waterfront property buying and realise your aquatic dreams, you should keep the following questions in mind as you shop around:

Are the properties bulkheads in good condition?

The ground beneath most waterfront properties will have a significantly higher water table than more inland properties, making the property more vulnerable to flooding during heavy rains, high tides, storm surges etc. Consequently, many waterfront properties will feature some kind of bulkhead, a simple yet robust wall protecting the building and any surrounding land from encroaching water. 

These bulkheads are your potential new home's first line of defense against flooding and water damage, so you should make absolutely sure that they are in good working order before you purchase the property. Generally, these assurances come in the form of recent inspection paperwork compiled by a land surveyor. If your agent cannot supply such documentation but you still wish to purchase the property in question, you can hire surveyors to conduct one of these surveys yourself.

How easily can water be accessed from the property?

Some homeowners purchase waterfront properties simple for the stunning views they offer, but many others will want to use their new water access for boating, fishing, waterskiing and other aquatic activities. If this applies to you, you should ensure that the water can actually be easily accessed from the confines of your property; otherwise, you may be forced to use expensive private access points nearby.

Generally, a property by freshwater needs a jetty, boathouse or slipway for launching watercraft safely, and these structures should be carefully inspected for their conditions if already present on the property. If a prospective property doesn't any method of water access available, do not despair; with the proper planning permissions, you can build one of these yourself once the property is in your hands. Doing so generally represents a smart investment, as these additions will significantly raise the overall value of your new home.

Is the property offered by a reputable agent?

Sadly, the highly desirable world of waterside property development attracts some unsavory characters looking for a quick buck, and you should be wary of any deal that seems too good to be true; low prices may conceal chronic structural problems, flooding damage and other problems. Engaging the services of an experienced and reputable estate agent or property developer is the best way to avoid these scams, and will help speed along the inspection and purchasing process in general. 

For more information about properties for sale, contact a real estate agent.