If you are buying a Miami Beach waterfront home, you are likely to have a boat or will be considering a boat in the near future. We are constantly asked a number of questions regarding waterfront purchases and Rick and I decided to write a list of 7 important factors to consider when buying a waterfront home in Miami.
Condition of Sea wall -
It is important for anyone buying a waterfront property to get a seawall inspection by a structural engineer or a seawall specialist. Inspections should include not only the actual seawall but also settling cracks within the main house, patios and pool as well as dock areas. Because most canal systems in Miami and Miami Beach are artificially made or made with landfills, the integrity of the seawall could ultimately determine the integrity of the structure of the home. Doing a visual inspection of seawalls of adjacent properties is also recommended in order to avoid future settling.
Type of waterfront property
- If you look at an aerial view of Miami and Miami Beach, you will notice that there are numerous types of waterfront properties: lakes, rivers, canals with direct ocean access, canals with fixed bridges, canals with no ocean access, non-navigable canals, and bayfront homes, to name a few. Depending on the type of boat you have, you will need to consider fixed bridges (clearance heights), depth of canals, and proximity to bay and or ocean access. There are several waterfront communities in Miami and Miami Beach that have direct ocean access but you have to navigate at idle speed for miles which can mean being on your boat for a couple of hours before you can really do some boating.
- it is important to inspect not only the condition of an existing dock, but also if the type of dock can accommodate your boat. There are a lot of canals in Miami with natural coral sea walls and no docks - you may not want to dock your boat next to natural coral. If there is no dock on the property, it may be a good idea to contact DERM (Department of Environmental Resources Management) about what kind of dock they will allow in a particular canal. DERM may even send an inspector out to the property in order to make recommendations.
Davits and/or Boat Lift
- depending on the size of the boat, most boat owners will not keep the vessel inside the water and use davits and/or boat lifts to raise the boat out of the water while not in use. Whichever your choice, make sure to inspect existing davits or make sure the existing seawall can accommodate a boat lift of your choice.
Protection from the elements
Bayfront homes are obviously the most desired type of waterfront property but can also leave your property very exposed to the elements (weather and hurricanes). Canal front properties are said to protect not only your house, but boats as well in case of increment weather. This doesn't mean that you should not purchase a bayfront home, it means you should consider location when purchasing.
Location of home within a canal
- because of the intricate design of canals in Miami and Miami Beach, some canals may be comparable to dead-end streets. These canals, depending on currents and wind may accumulate debris and garbage that can become a nuisance. If a property is located at the end of a dead-end canal, make sure you ask about accumulation of debris throughout the year.
- just keep in mind that property insurance costs will be higher for waterfront homes, especially open bay properties.
There is nothing like owning a Miami Beach waterfront home. To be able to enjoy our beautiful weather as well as the views is priceless and it is what makes Miami Waterfront Real Estate so unique.
*originally published on Nov. 23, 2008*