The Ultimate Guide to Waterfront Homes in South Florida

Most people’s first choices when considering a real estate investment are homes and apartments. However, have you ever considered buying a beachfront home or condo? There’s nothing like being by the water, breathing in the sea air, and listening to the waves crash against the coast.

A waterfront property is a good investment, but there are a few things you need to know before you start browsing listings and daydreaming about the view from your balcony. This article will guide you through everything you need to know about buying a waterfront property in South Florida.

Benefits of Waterfront Properties

Whether you want to stay in your waterfront property year-round or simply use it as a summer retreat, you’ll enjoy a wealth of advantages thanks to your location. For whatever purpose you want to put your house to use, you can relax knowing that it was well worth the sum you paid for it. Some of the perks of having waterfront property include:

  • Beautiful Landscapes: One of the main reasons people want to buy waterfront property is because of the gorgeous views that come with it. Few people get to enjoy the rare opportunity of stepping out their front door and taking in the stunning natural scenery or sitting on their back porch and watching the daybreak over the calm waters.
  • Calming Atmosphere: In most cases, waterfront homes in South Florida are situated in a pristine natural environment. The waterfront is one of the most relaxing environments due to the combination of sights and sounds. Having a waterfront home or property is like having your own private resort at your fingertips.
  • Possibilities for Enjoyment: Having the option of using a private or shared dock is a nice amenity offered by many Fort Lauderdale waterfront homes. This means homeowners can go out on the water in kayaks, boats, paddleboards, canoes, and many other motorized and non-motorized watercraft.
  • Investment Opportunities: If you’re looking to buy beachfront property, it’s crucial to consider how much time you’ll spend there and whether you’ll need any financing to make the purchase. If you plan on using your property as a vacation retreat at any point during the year, you can earn some extra money by renting it out when you’re not using it. As a result, you’ll have more money to put toward your mortgage payment, utility bills, and insurance premiums.

Things To Consider When Buying a Waterfront Home

Investing in Boca Raton waterfront homes can be a thrilling adventure for those who enjoy being near the water and are passionate about boating. However, the process can quickly become costly without the correct information, planning, and a seasoned realtor on your side.

As with any significant purchase, it pays to do your research ahead of time and ask essential questions. For instance, if you’re hoping to buy a house with a dock, you should consider your anticipated boating needs for the foreseeable future. If you own a modest center console but plan to purchase a huge sportfish, you’ll want to ensure that your new home has adequate space for both boats. The tips below should give you a good overview of what you need to know about waterfront property.

Waterfront Property Types

South Florida’s waterways feature a diverse real estate market, with houses, condos, and townhouses available to prospective buyers. If you’re looking for the pinnacle of a waterfront life, a few coastal estates also have dockage available.

Most homes have water access to the ocean, bay, river, canal, Intracoastal Waterway, or lake. Single-family homes and condominiums located on or near canals and the Intracoastal Waterway are popular among boat owners because they provide easy access to the ocean.

Boaters may prefer mid-canal spots due to the favorable water quality and the convenience of docking. However, despite occasionally offering picturesque views, canal ends may be less accessible due to their smaller docks and tighter restrictions on vessel traffic. Along with this, debris accumulates at canal ends and around floating structures.

In most cases, waterfront properties with water access on two or more sides, known as “point lots,” are the most sought-after. A point lot’s higher price tag is justified by the fact that it offers twice as much water frontage and can accommodate more docked vessels.

Many people dream of owning a piece of the high-priced Intracoastal waterfront land in South Florida, and the larger point lots at the water’s edge with expansive views are the most coveted. Most owners of such homes will keep their vessels in their canals to preserve the principal waterway vistas and shield their boats from the stronger waves of the Intracoastal Waterway. Even more so in wake zones, smaller boats are generally stored on lifts.

Exposure is another important consideration when discussing the risks associated with owning a waterfront property. This refers to the location of the water with respect to the house, or more commonly, the direction in which the rear of the house is faced. Those with southern or eastern exposure are highly sought after in South Florida. If you want to spend time outdoors during the summer, whether to admire the scenery or work on your boat, remember that the afternoon sun from the west can be extremely intense.


Like any other piece of property, a waterfront home’s location will have a significant impact on its asking price, practicality, and potential for future profit. It’s essential to get all your questions answered before making a purchase.

Consider asking about the time it takes to reach the ocean’s edge. If you’re a fisherman who prizes being first to the clear waters, you should look for real estate near Port Everglades, Boca Raton Inlet, or Hillsboro Inlet. The areas near the Las Olas Boulevard and New River are convenient for downtown workers because of their proximity to the water and highway. Living near a water sports zone, such as the ones on Rio Barcelona or the Middle River, can appeal to those who like water skiing and wakeboarding.

Think about how often you’ll need to trailer your boat, too. You may want to prioritize finding a home near a convenient boat ramp. Ask about the closest gas station, watering hole, and marina as well. Work with a real estate agent familiar with the area’s waterways that can offer a range of options. Don’t forget that your location on land is crucial, too. As such, don’t overlook the more conventional aspects when assessing your property.

Docks and Seawalls

Because of the high cost of replacement or repairs, you should have a professional contractor evaluate any seawalls on the waterfront property before signing. The absence of batter pilings, gaps in the seawall, holes behind it, and bowing are all causes for concern.

If you’re a boater, a dock is a must-have amenity for your dream home. Floating docks are a great solution for waterfront properties that are subject to the ebb and flow of the tides.

Depending on how frequently and how large of a boat you plan to use, factors such as the dock’s size, construction, and location on the land can be more or less relevant. The dock and wood pilings, both of which are susceptible to deterioration without regular maintenance, should be inspected by a professional, and many seawall contractors can do this for you.

Quite a few docks are outfitted with electricity, water, cable TV, and telephones. Confirm that all utilities have been installed in accordance with local regulations, using appropriate connections and safety equipment.

Accessibility and Zoning

If you want to purchase Pompano Beach waterfront homes that can accommodate a boat, remember that boats are subject to zoning regulations too. Take into account the potential size and kind of boat docking restrictions imposed by the local zoning laws while evaluating a property.

It’s important to keep in mind that zoning regulations in the city may differ from those in the county. For instance, Fort Lauderdale RS4.4 permits a boat to protrude up to 30% of the waterway’s width plus the dock but no further than 25 feet. For Broward County, it’s 33%. This is based on the assumption that even if both your boat and your neighbor’s boat expand out into the waterway by 30%, there will still be 40% of the canal available for boat traffic.

There’s also the question of setbacks, which limit how near you can get to a neighbor’s property line in terms of where you can dock your boat. Every lot has its own unique setback requirements; thus, checking the local zoning laws is critical. If you have a sailboat or larger yacht, it’s essential to determine the water depth during low tide to ensure that your boat won’t scrape the bottom while docked.

You should also consider fixed bridges. Depending on how big your boat is, you may only be able to buy property where there are no fixed bridges. A draw bridge can be raised to allow huge boats to move under, but a permanent bridge cannot. Before buying a house that sits behind a fixed bridge, you should measure the height of your boat and that of the bridge to ensure that it will pass under it during high tide.

Equipped for Extreme Weather Conditions

Due to their proximity to the sea, waterfront properties are particularly vulnerable to the effects of weather and storms. So, make sure the property is ready for the elements. Because of the proximity to the sea and the potential for corrosion and rusting of metal components, stainless locks are essential.

Impact-resistant windows and storm shutters are very crucial in safeguarding the property from heavy rain and storms. Property owners in coastal areas that are prone to hurricanes should not only secure their homes with sturdy barriers but also prepare for the safety of their boats.

It’s important to consider whether your dock is located somewhere safe with little surge risk or if you’ll need to transfer the boat at the first sign of a hurricane or storm. That means you’ll need to factor in some additional expenses for things like relocating and safe harbor docking, just in case. Changing water levels can also significantly impact a waterfront property, so it’s important to talk to neighbors, the former homeowner, or an inspector to find out what to expect.

Wrapping Up

Many people dream of buying a luxury home by the water. Those who live on the sea can take advantage of various activities, enjoy breathtaking scenery, and live like they’re constantly on vacation.

Investing in Delray Beach waterfront homes calls for good judgment, thorough research, and a curious mind. With the help of this guide, you can find the perfect waterfront home for your needs and budget, eliminating any unpleasant surprises along the way.

Posted by Andy Mandel on
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