By: Marilyn Rogers

Top Things To Consider When Purchasing A Waterfront Home

Many people dream of owning a waterfront home, whether as a main residence or vacation home, because of the many benefits it offers. Whether it’s a full time home or a cottage on the lake, waterfront property owners get to enjoy the beautiful view of the water and surrounding serene nature. Still, buying such a property shouldn’t be done on a whim, and potential owners should consider many factors before they sign a contract.

Is the home good to go for all seasons?
If you consider buying a home on the lakeside with the intent to use it throughout the year, i.e., live in it permanently, you should make sure that the home is properly insulated given that many lakeside homes were only built to be used as a summer house. Also a year round water source is essential whether it be a well or a heated water line to the lake.

How will it affect your daily routine?
 Another important issue to think about is how it will affect your everyday life. Will you have access to all necessary amenities and how far away are they? How far is the closest store or health care facility? You need to be sure that your everyday life won’t change for the worse, but for the better, otherwise, you might end up regretting your decision. Therefore, examine the property you are interested in from different angles to find out if it pays off to live there or not.

Find a local realtor who specializes in waterfront properties
A local realtor who knows the area and who mainly deals with waterfront real estate is your go-to person when buying a waterfront home. They’ll know the lake, fishing, what you can expect from season to season, as well as how much time it takes to get to the store, nearest school, etc.. They’ll let you know about the lot size and potential limitations, e.g., if the home is part of a restricted area, will you have the right to expand the home, whether you own the road shore allowance etc.

Remember, a realtor who doesn’t work with waterfront properties won’t be able to tell you all these details as they are not familiar themselves with this type of real estate.
 
Mortgage and mortgage insurance
A waterfront house or cottage could cost more than an ordinary house in the suburbs which means that lenders will take a closer look at your credit report. And not only that, but they may also carefully examine the property you wish to buy (e.g., its proximity to the road and accessibility, is it 3 or 4 seasons). This means that you should get a pre-approval before starting to tour waterfront homes and properties.

Also, if the waterfront home is going to be your second home and you can’t afford a 20% down payment, you can’t count on the CHMC insurance. Mortgages for second homes are not backed up by the CMHC anymore, and you’ll have to turn to a private insurance company.

Maintenance costs may also be somewhat higher than for a regular home, due to sometimes a limit in tradepeople, but many lakeside cottage homeowners claim that it’s worth the money.