Top 5 Questions to Ask When Buying a Waterfront Property—Bethany Beach, DE

Bethany Beach 

Top 5 Questions to Ask When Buying a Waterfront Property—Bethany Beach, DETop 5 Questions to Ask When Buying a Waterfront Property—Bethany Beach, DEThe luxury beachfront homes in Bethany Beach are without a doubt amongst the most beautiful real estate in the world. So it makes sense that islanders, and potential future islanders, dream of purchasing homes on the water. The appeal of these properties is without doubt undeniable, buying them comes with a few unique challenges. Interested buyers can simplify the process by asking all the right questions and taking some precautions.

If you are considering living in Bethany Beach, DE, read our top five questions to ask when buying a waterfront luxury property.

1. When Was the Bulkhead Last Inspected?

If you aren't already a waterfront home property owner, you may be wondering what exactly a bulkhead is. Put simply, a bulkhead is a barrier or wall that is built along the shoreline. They are created and placed to help prevent erosion and protect properties from water damage. Replacing one can cost thousands of dollars, so the last thing you need as a new waterfront property owner is to learn that yours is on its last legs.

When you are looking at a potential property with a bulkhead, ask about the last time it was inspected to determine when it has to be replaced. It is usually also wise to arrange for an inspection of your own. If you discover a bulkhead is in bad condition, you might be able to negotiate with the seller for a lower price. An agent of yours can help at every step of this process.

2. What Do the Permits Consist of for Existing Water Structures?

When you are considering a home, take a look into whether existing water structures were built legally or not. Some homeowners are less than diligent about acquiring the proper permits and following local construction rules. Docks are frequent offenders.

Buying a property with unpermitted or improperly done work can lead to future consequences—bad for the new owner. If your dock was built without receiving the all-clear, you might be forced to remove it, upgrade it, or pay a fine. It always pays to ask the right questions, especially if you want to avoid any headaches if you should choose to sell this property in the future. Be sure any dock you buy as part of your home purchase is in keeping with municipal and state rules.

3. What Kind of Improvements Can You Make?

When they are looking at homes, many buyers forget the major upgrades they want to perform in the future. Determining which improvements are allowable is one of the top tips for buying a waterfront property. For each property you are considering, learn the applicable rules. If you have your eye on a place in a new subdivision, be aware you may not be able to build a dock depending on the plans.

4. Is There a History of Flooding?

When it comes to waterfront living, flooding happens. It can damage homes, reduce property values, and force those affected to file insurance claims. If the property you are looking at has seen some serious impact from flood waters, the seller should always disclose this information. It never hurts, however, to do your due diligence. Discuss any concerns you have about a property's flooding history with your agent, as they can ask all the right questions to get as much information as possible, which will help to make an informed decision.

5. What Does the Maintenance Consist of?

One of the most overlooked tips for buying a waterfront property is finding out what the yearly maintenance costs are like. Homes along the shoreline are more impacted by the elements than those inland—and we aren't only talking floods or major storms. Waterfront homes might need siding and pipes replaced relatively often. It all depends on the construction of the house or condominium you are looking at and the geographical conditions surrounding it.

Bottom Line 

These are only a handful of questions you should start by asking the seller or your agent as you tour homes near the shoreline. An experienced Bethany Beach real estate agent can go beyond providing tips for buying waterfront properties to guide you at every step of the purchase process.

Contact Your Delaware Realtor. 

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