The Ultimate Retreat - if you Like Water
Before you are going on the house hunt for waterfront homes, take a few minutes and try to determine how you want to use your new property. In case you want to bring your boat or want to buy one you need to figure out how much room you need for your "baby."
There are some questions you need to answer: How easy will it be to get out on the open water? How deep is the water at low tide? Are there any oyster beds? Sandbars? Are there other obstructions like old concrete/steel building structures below the surface. Those things could easily destroy the propeller or the fiberglass hull. One contact with your stainless steel propeller and your next bank statement will show $500 less.
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Several conditions will determine the type of your boat
The property looks beautiful, and the canal seems to be perfect, but it takes only one imperfection, and your boaters dream goes up in smoke. Anglers who go out fishing on coastal waters usually use flat powerboats.
The depth of the water is usually not their concern; however, when they do have one of those fixed Bimini tops they better check the height of all bridges on their way out. The clearance on high tide or spring tide/king tide could become a problem. Especially, when a strong wind is pushing even more water inland, that foot of water could be critical.
The Depth can change dramatically within hours
Larger boats, like Cabin cruisers, often need two, three or more feet of water under their keel. Low tide, combined with a strong wind pushing the water out of the canal, can rain on your parade. Now you are sitting high and dry watching the pelicans floating by, looking down at you.
If the boat dock in front of the house is deep enough, don't assume that the canal throughout is deep enough. Maybe you have to spend some uncomfortable hours on the bay until the water is high enough for your boat to pass those flat spots.
Kayaking and Canoeing - in most cases a No Brainer
Kayaking and canoeing have become more popular over the years, and future waterfront homeowners may want to use their boats right from their private dock. However, if you want to go kayaking and you have to cross a busy waterway with cigarette boats and jet skis flying around the fun will not necessarily be on your part. Unfortunately, not everybody is considerate and cautious! Also, if there is only a steep bank leading to the water you need to build a dock and maybe a storage for the boats and equipment.
If you are planning on buying a waterfront property on a small lake or a freshwater canal, it will be a lot easier. The use of powerboats on those waterways is usually restricted. Outdoor enthusiasts will feel like being in heaven, especially when kayaking or canoeing. However, the "world" is small, and you may feel somehow trapped after a while.
But when you have a roof rack (and who does not have one?) you can always go to other places as well.
Do you want to bring Your Sailboat?
That is another easy one, because only a deep water canal can accommodate that type of boat. However, with a sailboat, you have a lot of other problems you need to avoid. The channel needs to be free and clear of any obstacles. You don't want to damage your mast or the expensive electronic equipment attached to it. You require more space to maneuver the boat in strong winds, strong current, and while sailing.
Also keep in mind that it can be tricky to get your 35 footers into open waters (Gulf of Mexico). Although the Venice Jetty is deep and easy to navigate, the strong current can make it difficult for smaller and less powerful sailboats to go through the passage. Stump Pass in Englewood is also a tricky one for sailboats. The pass is pretty shallow at low tide, and the seabed is always in motion. You never know what to expect after a storm.
Waterfront Homes without a Boat
Many homeowners, who decide to buy a waterfront home, do not even have a boat. They just like the view or the proximity to the water. Sitting in a launch chair and watching the sun go down - while dolphins or manatees are floating by - can be relaxing after a stressful day on the beach.
You know probably the two happiest days of a boater: the day when he buys the boat and the day when he sells it.
Boating in Paradise - What a wonderful Day
Here are a few tips from the "pros" which will give you a heads-up on what to expect when purchasing a home by the water. Are we "pros"? Well, we think we know a little.
We had a 28' and a 35' (6' draft) sailboat on the Baltic Sea for many years. During that time we sailed to Copenhagen and other destinations. We had a 28' cabin cruiser in Florida for many years. When the Volvo engine needed more and more attention, we decided to get rid of it and go another route.
Now we go kayaking. What next? We don't know. Let's see. If you are already a salty dog, you do not need to read any further. Most likely you know it already.
- Check the water first. Is it always murky and muddy? Is there a current or tide that exchanges the water or does it sit there and "stink."
- The house may be great, but do you have any privacy on the dock?Is it easy to reach or do you have to climb a steep slope to get there?
- Focus on your activities and choose the location accordingly. If you want to go fishing out on the bay, but the boring ride through the canal takes already 30 minutes one way, you may not be too happy in the long run.
- If you need a loan, you may want to start early with the process. It can be a little harder to obtain a loan for a waterfront property.
- Insurance is always an issue. You may end up buying three different coverages from three different insurance companies. Not all insurers offer you wind, general hazard and flood coverage all in one policy.
- Find out what you can do with that property. What are the restrictions? Can you use your jet ski? Keep in mind, mangroves are always protected in Florida. You can not chop them down to create more space. To get an exception is not easy, if not impossible. Don't buy a surprise home, purchase a "dream home."
- Will you be a part of a homeowners association? Read the covenants and restrictions carefully before you think you want to purchase the property. Find out what kind of maintenance will be required. Investigate thoroughly before buying. In most cases, you will not be able to change those rules.
Contact us for all your waterfront house needs. We are boating enthusiasts and life long boaters. We know the area and the waters and can help you navigate the waterfront home purchase.
Ready to find out more?
Drop us a Line for more information or to schedule a private home tour. You may also call us at 941-460-8832.