Buying or selling a waterfront property is a specialized niche within the already complex world of real estate. There are only a handful of real estate agents in the United States who have been certified by the CWS as “Waterfront Specialist Real Estate Agents.”
In order to become a Waterfront Specialist Realtor, an agent must complete a rigorous course of study and pass a comprehensive exam. The coursework covers topics such as tidal currents, riparian rights, flooding and erosion. In addition, agents must have completed at least 10 transactions involving waterfront property.
With so few agents possessing this specialized knowledge, buyers and sellers of a waterfront property can often find themselves at a disadvantage. Fortunately, there are some things that buyers and sellers can do to level the playing field.
What Buyers and Sellers Can Do
If you’re thinking about buying or selling a waterfront property, it’s important to work with a real estate agent who has experience with these types of transactions. Here are some things you can do to find an experienced agent:
- Check for the Waterfront Specialist designation on an agent’s website or marketing materials.
- Ask the agent how many transactions they’ve completed involving waterfront property.
- Get referrals from friends or family members who have recently bought or sold waterfront property.
- Interview several agents before making a decision.
Once you’ve found an experienced agent, there are some things you can do to prepare for the unique challenges of buying or selling waterfront property:
- Educate yourself on the local regulations regarding waterfront property. These laws can vary significantly from one municipality to the next.
- Familiarize yourself with the unique terminology used in waterfront real estate transactions. Terms like “tidelands,” “riparian rights,” and “coastal zone” can be unfamiliar to those who don’t regularly work with waterfront property.
- Hire experts to assess the condition of the property. Because of their potential liability, most real estate agents will not make any representations about the condition of the property beyond what is required by law. This means it’s up to the buyer or seller to hire experts like surveyors, appraisers, and home inspectors to assess the condition of the property before entering into a contract.
Buying or selling a waterfront property is not for the faint of heart. There are very few real estate agents who have been certified by the National Association of Realtors as “Waterfront Specialist Realtors,” which means buyers and sellers often have to educate themselves on the local regulations and hire experts to assess the condition of the property. But if you’re up for the challenge, working with an experienced real estate agent can help you navigate through these unique challenges and ultimately find success in your transaction.