Expert Article: Tips on how to buy a waterfront estate

There can be no doubt that living by the water has its own natural charm. Most waterfront estates offer unobstructed views of the water and are situated amidst stunning nature. Moreover, houses by the water provide perfect conditions for living in privacy and experiencing an overall sense of calm and relaxation. If you consider buying a waterfront property, our expert from Engel & Völkers Vancouver, Harry Kramm, has collected useful tips for buying a waterfront home, helping you to avoid common pitfalls and make a good choice. 

Tips on how to buy a waterfront estateNeeds and Requirements

First of all: Clarify what you want to use your waterfront home for. Most buyers use such a home for water-related activities, such as boating, fishing or just wide open water views. In this context, make sure to check the potential of the surroundings: Is the lake really enjoyable and safe to swim in? Is there an option to fish or surf? 

Viewing Properties

If you plan on buying a waterfront property, always remember that there is a finite amount of waterfront real estate and emphasis should be on the property as such and not solely on the house. More level and flatter properties with spectacular views and easy access to for example a private beach or with easy boat access, will command the highest prices. As the term “waterfront” can mean different things to different people, please make sure that the property you are looking at actually extends to the water. 


When selecting the property that has nearly everything you are looking for, but lacks a dock or a seawall, please be aware of the fact that the permit process may be long and tedious, thus restricting the usage for the duration. Conversely, if you have already purchased a waterfront property with a dock or a seawall, you need to make sure that the correct permits are already in place. 

Health check of the house 

In many areas, such as Vancouver and parts of British Columbia, the houses were built by people who just purchased land and didn’t follow modern building codes. Therefore, take the time to examine (with a help of a house inspector), if the home can stand up to extreme weather conditions, such as hurricanes, floods and strong winds. Additionally worth mentioning is that if you are living in a risk area, you may have to pay higher insurance rates. 

Check your neighbours

It is highly recommendable to ask potential neighbours what to expect when owning a property in that particular area. You may receive valuable information about the local community and what kind of requirements for owning a home in the area are placed by for example the homeowner’s association.

How living by the water could look like

This elite Oak Bay home stands on approximately 1,000 feet of unobstructed ocean frontage. 15,000 square feet of lavish living space offers a seamless fusion of state of the art amenities. This spectacular contemporary waterfront property features masterful architecture, comfort and functionality of a family home as well as top-of-the-line materials and endless appealing features. Another highlight is the heated/covered space with an adjacent boat mooring. Panoramic windows capture the unrivalled south-facing ocean views, sandy beach and immaculate grounds. Simply exquisite!

Tips on how to buy a waterfront estateIf you are interested in buying a waterfront estate, Engel & Völkers can offer you a wide range of different waterfront homes from its global portfolio. If you plan to find your perfect home in Vancouver or across Canada, our real estate advisor and expert for waterfront properties, Harry Kramm, will be pleased to assist you.

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