Buying Waterfront Property in Jacksonville? Ask These 4 Questions Before Finalizing
Situated near the Atlantic Ocean, St. Johns River, and the Intracoastal Waterway, the Jacksonville waterfront homes for sale are some of the most desirable in the country. Jacksonville has a warm climate, miles, and miles of beautiful beaches, high quality of life, and an affordable cost of living. Investing in a waterfront property in Jacksonville will offer you an everyday retreat and escape from the hustling and bustling of the city. Looking for tips for buying your first waterfront property in Jacksonville? Keep reading to learn about the questions you must ask before buying a waterfront home in Jacksonville.
Can You Build The Waterfront Home You Want?
Although a waterfront property in Jacksonville grants seamless access to the water, it is subject to riparian regulations from local and federal agencies. That means, according to Florida riparian rights, you cannot build docks or piers without inquiring or having proper permits. Generally, in Florida, if the land underwater was covered by navigable water when Florida was incorporated, then the state owns and has control over it. That means even with full riparian rights, the privilege to set up a dock or any other structure on the waterfront remains subject to public ownership, and the property owner should seek permits first before constructing anything.
These regulations might get even more challenging in the future, as they're currently being updated. So, before buying a waterfront property in Jacksonville, find out whether you have riparian rights, and if so, can you build whatever you want? If not, consider whether you'd still be interested in the property.
You can inquire from the seller or find out yourself by reviewing a map of the public lands survey system from the Florida Board of Trustee Lands Document System (BTLDS) to determine whether the land below water on your waterfront property is considered navigable. Some regulations limit what one can build on their waterfront and how a home can be remodeled.
Are Boats Allowed at The Waterfront Property?
Waterfront homes have different shorelines and water characteristics. How you use it often depends on the size and type of waterway. For instance, large vessels and watersports like waterskiing might not be ideal with riverfront properties because the water is too shallow and slow. In other cases, properties may feature a soft shore bed while others are sandy, weedy, muddy, and unsafe for swimming or other watersports and boating since boats will be more prone to running aground.
Also, in some neighborhoods, even waterfront property owners with full riparian rights cannot fish wherever they want due to ecological regulations. Water vessels like speed boats might not be allowed in some communities due to HOA regulations. And due to the condition of the water in specific neighborhoods, you'll find that some boats aren't allowed. For instance, some waterfront properties might have a high tide season and turbulent waters, making them dangerous for casual boaters to use small vessels like kayaks since they're not strong enough to withstand the current. So, before you close that deal, inquire about the water and shoreline conditions, whether there are regulations regarding speed and size of the boat, and where one can or cannot fish. Also, how is the access point? If the shallows have a steep drop-off, you might need a trailer to find a good access point.
How Old Is the Seawall Near the Waterfront Property?
Most waterfront properties in Jacksonville usually feature a seawall. It protects the property's land and even the structure itself from land erosion. It also helps prevent flooding due to water level changes or storms. The best part? It doesn't take up as much of your property space as dikes and is cheaper to set up compared to shoreline protection structures like dikes.
However, an old seawall can quickly turn into a money pit since it's often quite expensive to maintain. So ensure you inquire about the age of the seawall before you buy a waterfront property in Jacksonville. If possible, have a licensed contractor inspect it to ensure it won't turn into a liability soon.
How Private is the Waterfront Property?
Enjoying beautiful, unobstructed ocean views from all the rooms in the house is among the top reasons people buy waterfront homes. But if the property is located near a public beach, it could be noisy and subject to heavy boat traffic, conversely spoiling your peace and privacy. This is especially the case if your property is expansive. Ask how private the area is to avoid getting stuck with a property you'll actively want to get rid of from the moment you settle in.
Ask the Right Questions About Waterfront Property in Jacksonville
Buying an estate on the water and personalizing it with essential home purchases for waterfront properties is undoubtedly exciting. However, without proper research, your source of excitement may soon turn into an expensive asset that doesn't suit your needs. Asking the right questions before you close and doing your research will save you stress and help you purchase a waterfront home in Jacksonville you'll be pleased with for years to come.