The North State is a great place to live, especially if you enjoy the great outdoors. If you’re into fishing, boating or other water sports, be sure to check out some of the affordable waterfront properties Redding has to offer. We all must live somewhere, why not live your vacation year round?
Eleven Things You Should Know Before Buying a Waterfront Home:
Pre-qualifying for a home, understanding navigable water use laws, conducting a professional home inspection, verifying property lines and purchasing insurance; buying a home can be a complicated process. But add “waterfront” into the equation and things get a little more complex. The good news is, real estate agents who regularly deal with waterfront properties know the ins and outs of this process. The following tips will give you a heads-up on what to expect when purchasing a home by the water.
- Find a real estate agent that specializes in waterfront properties. Since there are fewer waterfront properties for sale, most agents won’t have the specialized knowledge of appraising or investigating waterfront properties. In fact, it’s not unusual for a real estate agent to never have a single waterfront transaction in the entire career. Sometimes “you may think you’ve found a great deal” but the reason it’s a great deal could be restrictive use conditions or protected plants and animals etc. You might not be able to create that private beach you’ve been dreaming about.
- Consider the property more than the house. “Oftentimes, people fall in love with a house, but after they buy it, they realize the swimming is mucky, the view’s not very good, it’s difficult to get down to the water, or the place is not very private,” says Ted Silberstein, a real estate agent and GIS analyst with Parsons Realty. Ted specializes in land use restrictions and is an advisor to all of the Parsons’ real estate agents. Long story short, you can change the house, but you can’t change the location, so buy a property that you really love after you’ve checked it out first.
- Can anyone use the waterway in front of your home? The answer is YES. Therefore it’s important to know if the area you’re considering is the “local hangout” on the weekends or during the summer months. Agents specializing in waterfront properties will know this. Here’s an excerpt of the regulations regarding waterways. The public’s right to use California waterways is guaranteed by the United States and California Constitutions and affirmed by California Legislative Codes. Both Federal and California case law further define and affirm these rights. The United States Constitution says – Freedom of navigation and the public’s right to use rivers are guaranteed by the Commerce Clause. The congressional Act admitting States to the Union requires that “all the navigable waters within said State shall be common highways and forever free.” Therefore, when you barbecue, be sure to throw on another shrimp just in case you have company.
- Choose a property that dovetails with your lifestyle. You may find a beautiful property for sale, but it’s a 30 minute drive to the closest boat launch. “If you’re passionate about fly fishing on the Sacramento River, that’s going to make a difference in how often you actually do it. Focus on the activities you’re passionate about and choose a property accordingly.
- Look into loans early. Since many waterfront properties are more expensive than other properties, loans will often fall into the jumbo mortgage category, In addition, there may not be recent sales in the area to justify the “cost per square foot” since a good chunk of the purchase price is allocated to the unique location. Chris Lamm of Security 1 Lending says “lenders will therefore only consider very qualified buyers.” And, buyers ought to start the loan process before they start looking for a property because waterfront property loans can take a lot longer than a normal home loan,” Lamm says.
- Carefully check out the structure and look for deferred maintenance. Waterfront homes receive more abuse from the elements than the average home, so extra measures should be taken to protect them.
- Insurance can be costly and complicated. Look into this early to make sure you know what you’re getting into. For instance, Tim Beasley of AAA insurance of Redding, CA says waterfront homeowners may have to cover additional perils such as a flood insurance policy and liability policies with higher than normal limits.
- Find out what you can do with the property. If you want to make any changes to your waterfront property, such as adding a dock, start this process early to ensure that these alterations will be possible. Government agencies are very strict to deal with, and you don’t want to commit to purchasing an expensive home without knowing these limitations. Also find out what kind of activities are allowed on the body of water, as some areas have restrictions on jet skis, speedboats and other watercraft.
- Talk to neighbors. Get insider information from neighbors by asking if they enjoy living in the community, if they have any issues with the property you’re thinking about purchasing, or if there are any waterfront-related problems.
- In rural areas look into utilities. Waterfront buyers who are accustomed to the convenience of suburban life may assume that electricity, clean water, an adequate septic system, cable and Internet will be readily available at their new property, but this is not always the case. Bringing these services in to remote areas can be very expensive.
- Get to know your responsibilities as a waterfront homeowner. If you’re part of a homeowners association, find out what kind of upkeep and maintenance of the property will be required from you by reviewing the conditions, covenants and restrictions also known as CC&Rs.
If you would like to search for waterfront properties in Redding and Shasta County, search our Waterfront Properties MLS page here: