What to consider when buying waterfront property in South Florida

In real estate, it is all about location, location, location. This could not be any more true than when it comes to waterfront property in South Florida. In particular, salt waterfront properties represent a simple supply and demand scenario. Simply put, you can not make any more salt waterfront property in South Florida. With the demand for waterfront properties with ocean access continuing to increase as more Americans move to South Florida, this factors in nicely for those that have invested in this segment of the market.

What factors to consider when buying waterfront property

All waterfront property is certainly not created equal. When it comes to salt waterfront properties in South Florida, below are some key things to consider based on your needs or desires:

  • What exposure to the sun does the property have? For example, if the backyard on the water faces due west, you will likely have some extreme sun/heat directly impacting you in the late afternoons & evenings.
  • Does the property include a deeded dock? This is the difference between actually owning the dock or simply renting it from a community or association. Needless to say, a deeded dock will also benefit resale value.
  • Is the water at the dock deep enough at low tide to operate a boat? This is a big factor for boaters and should always be considered. Of course, the type of boat and its respective draft will play a role in this.
  • Does the property have ocean access? If so, are there fixed bridges to the ocean? These are critical questions for any boater that desires to navigate out to the ocean. In particular, any fixed bridges between the property and ocean will limit the type of vessel that you may have. For example, a sailboat owner must ensure that a waterfront property does not have any fixed bridges to navigate to the ocean.
  • How much water frontage does the property have? Is it enough to accommodate the buyer’s boat(s)? This may seem obvious, but buyer’s should always confirm that they will be able to dock and navigate their vessel on the waterway and at the dock. As a best practice, we encourage taking a boat ride by the property to confirm there are no issues with navigation.
  • What is the flood zone & how has the property or neighborhood fared with natural disasters such as hurricanes? These are particularly important questions, especially with the recent active hurricane seasons encountered in South Florida. Obtaining insurance quotes is highly recommended when considering a waterfront property.
  • If the property is located on a freshwater lake or canal: What does the body of water lead to? Similar to gauging whether a saltwater front property has ocean access, you will also want to find out if a freshwater front property has access to other lakes or canal systems?
  • If the property is located on a freshwater lake or canal: Are there limitations on the type of boat? This is an important question as some lakes or associations do not permit motor-powered boats. Therefore, paddle crafts such as kayaks, paddle boards, or other non-motorized boats would be the only vessel types permitted on the lake.


In closing, there are many other factors to consider when purchasing a waterfront home in South Florida. Like any other property, you will want to ensure that your real estate professional is knowledgeable and able to provide a comparative market analysis. Whether you are a boater or not, a waterfront home can be a great investment, particularly in South Florida. Given that there is a finite supply of water frontage, the continual increased demand will only help solidify and even increase waterfront property values. As an example, recently, two marinas in Broward County were sold to a condominium developer. Needless to say, many of the boats that were stored in these marinas will now be searching for dockage elsewhere. This has created an even higher demand for dockage in this area. Dock space is a premium everywhere and particularly in South Florida. We only see this demand increasing with time.

Are you thinking about buying or selling a waterfront property in Palm Beach, Broward, or Dade counties? As waterfront experts, we have assisted many clients with buying or selling waterfront properties in South Florida. Don’t hesitate to contact Live South Florida Realty, Inc. today!

By natasha@livesouthfl.com

REALTOR® with Live South Florida Realty, Inc.