Although buying waterfront property, like most real estate transactions, has been impacted by the pandemic, there’s still a huge secret that remains unaffected: If you want a great piece of waterfront property—at a much greater value than similar property in southern Maine, New Hampshire, or Massachusetts—the key is to look to Central Maine.
Why? The answer is clearly laid out in the most recent report of the Maine Association of Realtors. As you read these words, the median price of a home in Kennebec County (Augusta area, Belgrade Lakes area, Waterville area) is only HALF what it is in Cumberland County (greater Portland, southern Maine). Yet Central Maine—where E.B. White first met and fell in love with his adopted home state—offers some of the most truly magical summertime locales you could ever find.
Special Considerations When Buying Waterfront Property
As you look forward to buying waterfront property and experiencing (as the Maine slogan says) “The Way Life Should Be,” it’s important to bear in mind a waterfront home is not like other homes. To make sure it matches your expectations of lifestyle and activities you desire, special considerations need to be taken. The first is to get very clear about your wish list. How do you want to use your property? What are your specific expectations? What water-related activities do you most enjoy? Then make sure the lake, pond, or river the property is on, as well as the property itself, can deliver those things. For example, if your bliss is peaceful kayaking, you won’t want to be on a busy pond packed to the gills with loud jet skis.
Smart Ways to Scope Out Waterfront Property
After you have created the vision of what a waterfront property means for you, it’s important to contact your real estate agent, share your vision with her or him, then start scoping out the areas in Central Maine that match your needs. One thing you’ll want to bear in mind is that your dream house, cottage, or cabin may be part of a community, and you need to make sure that community is also a good fit for you.
“Extra Value” Considerations
As you and your agent hone in on various waterfront properties, determine how the property “scores” regarding specific attributes that deliver extra value to the home buyer. These include a sandy beach which can make the property more child & pet friendly, a level lot that may be helpful for ease of access, or a dock for tying a boat. Perhaps your needs are simply for privacy and a place to relax with a view, making the actual proximity to water a little more flexible.
Given the unique considerations that go into buying a waterfront house, it’s crucial to have a real estate agent who specializes in waterfront properties and knows the restrictions and stipulations around owning and purchasing waterfront; for example, since 1990, Maine state law has stipulated that all waterfront properties must be built at least 100 feet from the water, and a new passed in 2020 requires all waterfront properties with a septic system to have a septic inspection as part of the transaction.